Looking for Skyrim Advice: Strict Magic User?

#1 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

I have a level 30 two handed warrior on the PC version, but I recently got an Xbox and started a new game there, and concentrating on magic this time. I must say that it seems much less powerful early on than the more warrior type did. I could wade into rooms with my big 2 hander without many issues, but with the mage type it's a much dicier proposition. Do you have any advice on what spells to look to, and what paths to take to maximize my abilities as a mage in Skyrim? Does it get better at later levels? (Only level 6 right now.) Thanks!

#3 Posted by Namekaze_Minato (22 posts) -
@Irishdoom: If u r still playing; Try for my Arcane Warrior build
 
1. Wear heavy / light armor; and what ever weapon u prefer; an easy way to level up is to take a beating from an enemy/s without fighting back; if your life gets too low use restorative spells; then shift to just blocking until magica refills; repeat this and  Armor; restoration and shield will level up.  (Restoration perk tree has a perk that boosts magica regeneration by 50%, and one that restores stamina)
 
2. Smiting can be leveled up by buying Iron Ingots and leather strips; and craft (a lot of) iron daggers (and if possible enchant them before selling them back; thus increasing enchantment) selling will increase speech level.
 
3.  Cast Oak Flesh / Stone Flesh and conjure familliar / flame atronach before all your battles; if these skills cost too much magica, invest in perks that halves the cost of these skills.  Alteration and Conjuration will level up easily.
 
4. Lastly keep casting illusion spells like muffle in towns in front of people; and  Illusion will level up.
 
I know u might not need all these skills, but these steps will help your character level up and u will have plenty of perks to spend. Hope this helped. 
#4 Posted by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

Conjuration can be cheesed pretty easily. Get a mudcrab to come at you and stand in a place where it can't land a shot, then cast, sheath, and recast Bound Sword a bunch.

High level Conjuration spells are incredibly helpful. Conjure Dremora Lord and Dead Thrall, together with the Twin Souls perk, allow you take on a wide breadth of the game's tougher enemies.

There's no quick way to boost Destruction to the point of being effective out of the gate. Training, obviously, will be your best way to mainline that skill, but money can be an issue in the early goings. Getting the Impact perk helps your offense by staggering nearly all enemies that get hit by dual-cast, single blast Destruction spells. Firebolt runs the cheapest (both in terms of gold and Magicka costs) and ends up being the most efficient of the early single-shot spells. I wouldn't even bother with Runes, since you can do higher amounts of damage with less Magicka through other means of Destruction.

A really useful spell--Paralysis--becomes available once your Alteration hits level 50. With it, you can stun your enemies long enough to get several open, indefensible shots. Certain specific enemies--Dragon Priests and some dragons included--are immune to Paralysis. But it's invaluable for those dungeoncrawling times.

Finally: WEAR ARMOR. I get it, you (generally speaking, not the OP) found a shawl of robes that boosts your magic in some way. But, wearing robes, you're quickly going to bend to the assaults of the world's austere, relentless dangers. There isn't a single advantage to sticking religiously to robes. Even their enchantments can be replicated or bettered once you increase your Enchanting skill (or boost it artificially with some savvy Alchemy work). Most players naturally lean into Light Armor, since it weighs less and doesn't constrict your Stamina so much. Personally? I prefer Heavy Armor. While I can't run for long stretches (or away from faster enemies), I can soak up noticeably more physical damage and, combined with my ability to absorb Magicka and Magicka damage, my mage is a goddamned Abrams Tank. I rarely flinch away from non-dragon/Dragon Priest enemies for any reason. It's a lot of fun.

Anyway. Good luck. Have fun. Take your time. Don't be ashamed to buy Training when you have the disposable income to do so.

#5 Posted by Ares42 (2672 posts) -

@HistoryInRust said:

There isn't a single advantage to sticking religiously to robes.

Except if you use Alteration protection spells and get Mage Armor (doubling to tripling the effects of those spells if you wear no armor). I've only been playing around with a mage for a bit, but going full robes with Mage Armor seems completely adequate compared to the alternatives. It won't beat crafted armor ofc, but that's just overpowered. Comparing my lvl 19 no-craft heavy armor guy and my lvl 15 mage their armor values are actually pretty close.

#6 Posted by Superfriend (1556 posts) -

@HistoryInRust said:

Conjuration can be cheesed pretty easily. Get a mudcrab to come at you and stand in a place where it can't land a shot, then cast, sheath, and recast Bound Sword a bunch.

Ah yeah, exploiting skills in an Elder Scrolls game. Don´t do it. It ruins all the fun.

One of my characters was a Breton mage with heavy armor (except for the mages robe) and a destruction / conjuration / alteration focus. I did the mages guild first and was able to complete it at around level 18, even though that second to last fight was kinda hard.

While it is true that you won´t get the more powerful charge up spells right away, summoning a creature to fight for you helps a lot if you don´t want to get your hands dirty. I pretty much never used a weapon except for the first 5 levels when I was one hand melee and one hand magic. As soon as you get those powerful spells a couple of levels in (you can buy them from mages in the academy) and the archmages robes or something along those lines, you´ll be casting charged fireballs like nothing.

If you don´t want to waste magicka for summoning stuff, I suggest you seek out Sam Guevenne in a pub somewhere, he might hook you up with something :D Gotta be lvl 14 or over though.

#7 Posted by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

@HistoryInRust said:

There isn't a single advantage to sticking religiously to robes.

Except if you use Alteration protection spells and get Mage Armor (doubling to tripling the effects of those spells if you wear no armor). I've only been playing around with a mage for a bit, but going full robes with Mage Armor seems completely adequate compared to the alternatives. It won't beat crafted armor ofc, but that's just overpowered. Comparing my lvl 19 no-craft heavy armor guy and my lvl 15 mage their armor values are actually pretty close.

I acknowledge this point, but I have two arguments against it. With both leaning toward the same idea--use your Alteration protection spells as supplements, not primary lines of defense.

Argument One: Higher-leveled enemies are going to eat through your Mage Armor. Mage Armor won't ever be able to match the damage reduction a chunky set of Heavy Armor will net you. And we're not even talking improved Heavy Armor. Just the standard, out-of-the-box sets. Boost your Heavy Armor skill and suddenly Ebony Armor outclasses the Mage Armor skill. Combining Ebonyflesh and Mage Armor, the two most powerful compatible Alteration protection spells, gives you an Armor Rating of 300. To contrast, Heavy Armor can be pushed up to the damage reduction cap (an Armor Rating of 567). That's a significant difference. And scaled enemies are going to punish you for not addressing it.

Argument Two: If you're going to take the time and Magicka to cast an Alteration spell, one that only lasts for a brief window of time--especially if you haven't spent the perks to reduce the Magicka costs of the spells themselves (and I'm just assuming, but the point stands regardless)--why not gear up with Heavy Armor and cast a Destruction-based Lighting/Fire/Frost Cloak to whittle away the Health, Magicka, and Stamina of your melee-ranged opponent? You're going to get caught eventually, is my point, in a position where you'll need to recast a protection spell or Mage Armor but won't have the time and the health to get it summoned. Or you'll have burned through your Magicka--a precious commodity for a mage--and will have no way to attack even if you do get it set off.

---

Why spend the time and the Magicka to cast a temporary spell when you can have, worn constantly, a set of armor that, A, protects you better, and B, never needs tending to in the midst of battle? You're handicapping yourself unnecessarily.

If you really want to milk Alteration, cast Ebonyflesh atop the set of armor with which you're equipped. And if you're certain you're about to fall into close-ranged armed combat, cast Flame or Lightning Cloak atop that. But really, just cast the Destruction cloak and forget the Alteration business. Because it only hurts in the long run.

#8 Posted by Ares42 (2672 posts) -

@HistoryInRust: The answer is very simple, skillpoints. Sure you can spend a bunch of skillpoints into both an armor tree and alteration and ofc your armor will be better, or you can pick either and they'll provide about the equal bonus. Or you can go balls out and invest in armor, smithing and alteration and completely break the game if you want. My point was merely that using alteration with mage armor is completely viable compared to using armor, and especially early in the game using the robes provided to you are way way better than any enchanted armor you can make yourself. Having a fair amount of extra magicka and magicka regen completely balances out the fact that you have to spend some magicka now and then to re-apply your armor.

I will admit that playing my mage has been quite more difficult than my heavy armor guy though but he's not really dying quicker, his damage however is nowhere close to matching my greataxe swinging orc.

#9 Edited by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

@Ares42: The actual, simple, inarguable answer, is "roleplaying."

Because by the end, Mage Armor isn't viable, and the bonuses between Alteration and Heavy Armor aren't "equal." They aren't even close. In championing Mage Armor, you're spending substantially more skillpoints on something that works really well early and not-so-well late when you could be spending fewer skillpoints in an armor tree to get better protection statistically and pragmatically. You don't need to drop a point into crafting or enchanting to reap those rewards.

#10 Posted by Ares42 (2672 posts) -

@HistoryInRust: You might be right. As I said I've not gotten that far yet, but so far it's been completely viable. You do end up with Mass Paralysis and Dragonhide at the end though.

#11 Posted by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

@Ares42: Dragonhide is a waste. It takes four full seconds to get through the casting animation. By then you've probably taken enough damage to totally nullify that spell. If you haven't, then you're likely dead.

#12 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

Play on PC and use 3 mods:

Balanced Destruction

Combat Magicka Regen

Extended mage armours.

Or just turn the difficulty down. Mages fucking suck in skyrim.

#13 Posted by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

@Canteu said:

Mages fucking suck in skyrim.

I also don't agree with this. But I'm too close to naptime to write an extended dialogue why.

#14 Posted by Benny (1953 posts) -

I seem to remember Kessler made a how to video on the GB YouTube account that shows you how to have unlimited magicka.

#15 Edited by Gravier251 (217 posts) -

Well with going spellcaster it is a good idea to get quite skilled at enchanting and make some items that reduce the cost of specific schools (especially destruction). They stack, so once you hit a total of 100% across all your items, spells no longer cost anything. The main problem with magic is that (mods aside) it tends to in the long run pale in comparison to bows (especially with sneak attacks) and melee aswell. In melee dual-wielding you can potentially with the right spec and gear deal around 8-9 power attack hits per second, if you are sneaking at the time most things in the game die to the first power attack combo of 3 hits, let alone 9.

With the right enchantments destruction magic can perform adequately, but the game is kind of the same as elder scrolls has always been in that magic caps too low versus other avenues. So I usually wind up just using it for utility, like invisibility, etc. Also the game carries on the tradition since Morrowind in that the best race is Breton, everyone else is statistically inferior.

If you want to go pure mage i'd say go Breton and have a spec somewhat akin to thisCraft and enchant your own light armour, aim to reduce the magicka cost on destruction by 100%. If they haven't patched it out then going vampire is also useful. As the perk necromage which makes all spells you use more effective vs. undead also makes all your gear enchantments and self buffs more effective against yourself (since you are undead). So you could get to 100% magicka reduction in about 3 enchants. Leaving plenty of room for other things like magicka regen, reduce other schools a bit, etc.

Anyway, eventually once you have the 100% cast reduction and complete mastery of destruction, do the destruction school quest for the mages guild and get the "Lightning Storm" spell. Usually costs an obscene amount of magicka per second, but if you reduce that to 0, then you can just infinitely channel it.

#16 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2129 posts) -

@Benny said:

I seem to remember Kessler made a how to video on the GB YouTube account that shows you how to have unlimited magicka.

Oh it wasn't for unlimited magicka but how to reduce the cost of all spells of one category to be 0, through grand enchantments of magic cost reduction to all possible gear. Throughout the game you can find enchanted items that reduce the cost of let's say destruction magic by 15%. Disenchanting it and then applying it to several defensive items will stack the effect (strength of each item is determined by your skill at enchanting and the perks you have to boost the enchants). You can only have it work for one school though as normally you'd need all your equipped items to have this effect to get the cost down to 0.

#17 Posted by buft (3317 posts) -

Conjuration has always been a staple of my magic users in the skyrim games, i usually roll with a Breton because they start with summon familiar which is incredibly handy early on in distracting enemies from you and also doing a considerable amount of free damage, the summon weapon spells also allow you to do some decent melee damage without encumbering yourself with physical weapons.

Take restoration for shields and healing or to a lesser extend alteration for damage mitigation from armor spells like oak flesh and later in the game good crowd control like mass paralysis

with destruction as your base damage then you shout be set as long as you can keep a decent amount of magicka to heal

#18 Posted by insane_shadowblade85 (1456 posts) -

I made 5 pieces of gear that had 25% less magicka used when I use destruction spells so I don't have to worry about magicka while I fight. I forget what perks in the enchanting perk tree you need but you also need a grand soul gem (with a grand soul in it or it'll only get to 16%) and an item that has that enchantment to disenchant so you can learn it. I'm using an Expert level lightning spell (Thunderbolt) and I'm losing no magicka when I use it.

I'm kind of messing around with heavy and light armor, as well as getting my two hand and archery skills maxed out before I max out my destruction level so I can learn Master level destruction spell.

#19 Posted by L44 (561 posts) -

Use dem bound spellz.

#20 Posted by Elfen (41 posts) -

the electricty spells are banging.

#21 Posted by mikey87144 (1775 posts) -

I don't think going pure mage is viable early in the game but mid to late game it's a very viable option. Like others have said go with armor. I chose Heavy armor for the increased protection and after getting the perk that nullifies the encumbrance of the armor my mage is now and agile tank who that also happens to be a master swordsman.

#22 Posted by skrutop (3615 posts) -
#23 Posted by gogosox82 (424 posts) -

Get the bound bow as early as humanly possible and then just play as thief/assassin character and the game is a cake walk.

#24 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@skrutop: Nice guide, I'm about to start a new game trying this whole magic thing again.

#25 Posted by skrutop (3615 posts) -

@Irishdoom: I enjoyed going through it as a mage. It's certainly not as easy as putting on heavy armor and getting a big 'ol axe, but I wasn't really interested in making someone who could just obliterate everything. I wanted a bit of a challenge. That being said, I was pretty insanely powerful by the end of the game.

#26 Posted by TheHBK (5486 posts) -

Take it slow, have the three kinds of destruction handy, ice, fire and electricity since some enemies will be immune to one.

Make sure to start the game with the two hander, and kill some mages to steal their robes. That is how you get boosted quick, then switch to magic. Grab some amulets and jewelry you find lying around. Of course going on the college of winterhold quest first helps with this as you will encounter a lot of magic items.

Also, remember to keep a look out for restoration spells, use that a lot to build it up and when leveling, focus on health and magic, health more. And carry lots of potions you find around. Buy some too.

#27 Posted by buft (3317 posts) -

@Elfen said:

the electricty spells are banging.

I agree but early the game i always find the higher magic cost prohibitive

#28 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

why would you play skyrim on a 360 if you have it on the PC.

#29 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

I have never played a strictly Magic character in a RPG before, I have pretty much maxed out my Wood Elf Archer in the ways I wanted to, so I am tempted to start again and go straight to the Wizard school and go though that quest line, any recommendations on a Race that is good for magic?

#30 Posted by Khemitude (222 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior: Breton or Altmer will be your best bet, but really for the most part it doesn't matter so just pick whatever race you want.

#31 Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY (446 posts) -

YOU NEED CLEAN FACES, HOT BODIES, DEATH STAR MOONS

#32 Edited by YOU_DIED (703 posts) -

@Canteu said:

Or just turn the difficulty down. Mages fucking suck in skyrim.

#33 Edited by believer258 (11914 posts) -

Man. This is all it took for the recently-gone Skyrim bug to bite me again.

Best game this gen.

#34 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@doobie said:

why would you play skyrim on a 360 if you have it on the PC.

Maybe this is sad, but I'm kinda playing it on both. :) Also, up until 2 weeks ago my PC couldn't run it all that well, and I was getting weird graphical bugs due to it being too much for my system. I upgraded from an X3 455 Rana to an FX 6300 Piledriver, and from a Radeon 4830 to a Radeon 6950.

Yeah, things are better on the PC now. On the Xbox I'm going the sneaky archer/assassin route, which seems really, really powerful. I figured I'd start again on the PC with my new system and go a more magical route.

#35 Posted by believer258 (11914 posts) -

@Irishdoom: Since you've got this on both the PC and the 360, you should know that you can (easily) transfer saves between the two provided the area you're in is in both versions (i.e. I don't believe you can transfer a save that's in the Dragonborn DLC with DLC-exclusive armor onto a system that has neither of those).

#36 Posted by casper_ (903 posts) -

i think stealth and magic work real well together especially once you get quiet casting

#37 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@Irishdoom: Since you've got this on both the PC and the 360, you should know that you can (easily) transfer saves between the two provided the area you're in is in both versions (i.e. I don't believe you can transfer a save that's in the Dragonborn DLC with DLC-exclusive armor onto a system that has neither of those).

Seriously? Wow.

#38 Posted by pweidman (2337 posts) -

My main was a two hander, one magic one sword. As I got my destruction up and found good gear, and kept adding magic regen and higher lvl spells, the spell damage got quite powerful and easy to spam(fire especially), to the point where I experimented just going both hands magic. Low lvls it's tough but a higher lvl magic user can hold their own in almost all circumstances in my experience. I didn't really consider robes and kept building better armor and stats instead. Worked for me and was a ton of fun along the way. Maybe a pure magic character though could be progressed differently, dunno. So many super knowlegable posts and ideas in here though, just as I referenced in another thread about this community :).

#39 Posted by Dethfish (3667 posts) -

It's not really an early game thing, but eventually you can enchant your armor enough so you never run out of magic, even when casting the highest level spells. I did a mage playthrough, but its been so long since I did it that I can't really remember any tips or anything. I do remember it was pretty hard at the beginning of the game and I died a lot, but by the end I was shooting non-stop beams of death out of my hands.

One thing I do remember doing was using a healing spell and destruction spell at the same time on my horse. It took a while and was not very fun, but I did gain some levels.

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