Why does destruction magic suck so much in Skyrim?

#1 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3827 posts) -

I've leveled to 100 in destruction magic, and I can say without hesitation that I was massively disappointed with the magic in skyrim. Magic doesn't seem to level with your character, so once useful spells become completely worthless by the end, and more powerful enemies will always take at least half a dozen attacks, even on the easiest difficulty.

For those who haven't reached the higher levels of the destruction tree, at one point you get a fire spell that creates a massive fireball exposition with a 15 foot area of effect. Then that's replaced by a more powerful spell that has no area of effect, and requires a direct hit. Then THAT is replaced by the most powerful fire spell in the game, which requires a completely ridiculous number of magic points, requires BOTH HANDS, requires that you stand perfectly still when activating it, and--worst of all--it's not even a projectile. It explodes outward from you body, and STILL usually isn't enough to kill all but the weakest enemies by the time you are around level 50. The highest level lightning spell is a little better, but it still requires you to use both of your hands, and stand in place the entire time you're using it.

Meanwhile, I can drop almost any enemy in the game with one or two stealth arrows, or simply sneak up behind them and stab them once with a dagger.

Destruction magic sucks.

#2 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3066 posts) -

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

#3 Posted by Swoxx (3003 posts) -

@ShadowConqueror said:

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

Yeah, way to /thread your own thread @SpaceInsomniac

#4 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1233 posts) -

If you're on PC there's a couple of mods that fix this in the Steam Workshop. Magic Scaling I think it's called.

#5 Posted by talkingtoast (85 posts) -

@Ertard: Just downloaded it last night. Works like a charm. Destruction magic rocks !

#6 Edited by spazmaster666 (1972 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac said:

Magic doesn't seem to level with your character, so once useful spells become completely worthless by the end, and more powerful enemies will always take at least half a dozen attacks, even on the easiest difficulty.

None of the other skills scale with your character, so why would magic? For that matter most of the enemies don't scale with your character either (and even the ones that do aren't close to level 50, except for Dragons).

#7 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@spazmaster666: None of the other combat skills scale with your character, but you get better equipment which allows your skills to benefit as they are a direct % increase. Magic is broken in this way as it it doesn't use weapons to make up for its weaknesses.

Enemies do kinda scale with your level, once you reach certain level caps, the enemies in the world will be replaced by new, higher level versions.

#8 Posted by AndrewB (7669 posts) -

I played through the game putting almost 100% of my level-ups into mana, so I had a massive pool of magic to use even before factoring in the the enchanted equipment that fortified Destruction that eventually adds up to you being able to cast spells which use no mana. At the point where I was dual -blasting the mid-tier fire/ice/lightning spells, it sure took quite a few to take something of higher level down, but with each blast staggering my target, they didn't stand a chance anyway and never got off a hit.

That's not speaking of any of the other spellcasting schools which I hear the same complaint about. At the point where I could cast a spell that turned all hostile creatures neutral against me within a huge area, I technically didn't have to worry about fighting anything besides Dragons anyway.

#9 Posted by theguy (796 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@SpaceInsomniac said:

Magic doesn't seem to level with your character, so once useful spells become completely worthless by the end, and more powerful enemies will always take at least half a dozen attacks, even on the easiest difficulty.

None of the other skills scale with your character, so why would magic? For that matter most of the enemies don't scale with your character either (and even the ones that do aren't close to level 50, except for Dragons).

Correct me if I'm wrong but if your smithing level is really high you can improve stuff more (without perks). If your one handed goes from 10 to 50 your attacks do more damage (if you keep the same weapon and gain no perks). With magic the damage of a spell stays static regardless of your skill. Destruction damage should at least scale with your destruction skill.

#10 Posted by AndrewB (7669 posts) -

@theguy said:

Destruction damage should at least scale with your destruction skill.

I was surprised to find out it didn't That does seem like a fundamental flaw in the design of the magic system. I feel like magic has always been broken in one way or another in every Elder Scrolls game, though.

#11 Posted by mikey87144 (1797 posts) -

You have to put points into health for the damage to go up. Also use the other magic skills. With Alteration you learn paralyze at expert and with conjuration you have summoned beasts who can take agro for you while you blast away.

#12 Posted by sfighter21 (798 posts) -

@mikey87144 said:

You have to put points into health for the damage to go up. Also use the other magic skills. With Alteration you learn paralyze at expert and with conjuration you have summoned beasts who can take agro for you while you blast away.

wait, wait. Is that true? More health gives me more damage output? WHAT!!? ALL THIS TIME, I have never heard that!!

#13 Posted by mosdl (3229 posts) -

@mikey87144 said:

You have to put points into health for the damage to go up. Also use the other magic skills. With Alteration you learn paralyze at expert and with conjuration you have summoned beasts who can take agro for you while you blast away.

No idea about the health thing, but the other part is spot on. Magic users need to mix it up, which makes it interesting in my opinion.

#14 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3827 posts) -

@ShadowConqueror said:

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

@Swoxx said:

@ShadowConqueror said:

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

Yeah, way to /thread your own thread @SpaceInsomniac

I meant more along the lines of Why did Bethesda make destruction magic suck so much in Skyrim? How could they do such a stupid thing, and have one form of combat completely outclassed by everything else? That's horrible game design, etc, etc.

#15 Posted by Daveydave (131 posts) -

Is it really that bad? I have just started and was going for a mix of destruction / conjuring / 1handed. Is this not going to be fun? I thought it would be more fun than a straight up warrior. Maybe I should do something like archery instead...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

#16 Posted by Spoonman671 (4700 posts) -

I don't know, I thought the Lightning Storm spell was pretty fucking awesome.  If you need to knock a dragon out of the sky, there aren't many better ways.

#17 Posted by Swoxx (3003 posts) -

Are you on the PC? If so I'm sure there's a mod for it.

#18 Posted by President_Barackbar (3467 posts) -

Bethesda never makes magic worthwhile in TES. It's something they still haven't really got the hang of.

#19 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3066 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac said:

@ShadowConqueror said:

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

@Swoxx said:

@ShadowConqueror said:

Because of the reason you said: destruction damage doesn't scale with your level.

Yeah, way to /thread your own thread @SpaceInsomniac

I meant more along the lines of Why did Bethesda make destruction magic suck so much in Skyrim? How could they do such a stupid thing, and have one form of combat completely outclassed by everything else? That's horrible game design, etc, etc.

In that case, maybe because they didn't test destruction as much at higher levels as they did at lower levels, or perhaps it was an oversight, or they may have even thought it was fine. Pure conjecture on my part.

#20 Posted by AlexW00d (6308 posts) -

Meh, I find it all right. If you really locked yourself into just a destruction build you're a bit of a berk.

#21 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

I respectfully disagree sir. Yes, destruction magic sucks ass....until you get enchanting to a 100. Then you just enchant your items so that the magicka cost of destruction spells is 0, and destructive magic suddenly becomes badass...but it still does way less damage than bows or melee weapons.

#22 Edited by ZombiePie (5710 posts) -

Magic, especially Illusion magic, pays off in the end but it is a painfully slow process. Those Master Level Destruction spells you learn when you hit level 100 are really awesome. However the more important issue is that you can never really main magic as your only damage output unless you do something crazy like put all of your skill points into the magic trees. Then again you have never really been able to practically use magic solely as your damage output in the Elder Scrolls games (I'm looking at you Morrowind). Even if you're an Altmer you should always have a one handed weapon in one hand and a magic spell in the other, as opposed to trying to dual cast magic.

Moderator
#23 Posted by jeffrud (388 posts) -

@AlexW00d said:

Meh, I find it all right. If you really locked yourself into just a destruction build you're a bit of a berk.

Totally agree with this. I like to think of Destruction magic for my wizard character as the last resort, the oh shit option. There are dozens of other, more effective spells for taking down enemies (en masse at times) without having to resort to fireballs. Playing through Skyrim with Destruction as your only mode of damage dealing just sounds dull.

#24 Posted by Panpipe (475 posts) -

@Daveydave said:

Is it really that bad? I have just started and was going for a mix of destruction / conjuring / 1handed. Is this not going to be fun? I thought it would be more fun than a straight up warrior. Maybe I should do something like archery instead...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Keep doing what you want. That's the fun of Skyrim.

The one thing to be careful about is how you spend your perks. If you're not sure if you're going to carry on using a skill don't spend perks on it - you can still level it up and get good at it, but perks are a commitment (sadly).

#25 Posted by Daveydave (131 posts) -

@Panpipe said:

@Daveydave said:

Is it really that bad? I have just started and was going for a mix of destruction / conjuring / 1handed. Is this not going to be fun? I thought it would be more fun than a straight up warrior. Maybe I should do something like archery instead...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Keep doing what you want. That's the fun of Skyrim.

The one thing to be careful about is how you spend your perks. If you're not sure if you're going to carry on using a skill don't spend perks on it - you can still level it up and get good at it, but perks are a commitment (sadly).

Thanks. I think I may focus on conjuring / 1handed / and something I cannot decide on yet. You know when I conjure items eventually... will 1h skills work on the conjured weapon?

#26 Posted by heavyplay (300 posts) -

Destruction sucks because you're doing it wrong.

Enchant 4 pieces of armor for 25% less magika cost for unlimited destruction casting. As long as you stick to the expert spells and have the perk for double casting you can keep almost any enemy in the game in a permanent stunlock, which makes every fight trivial.

The only use you'll have for the master spells, is when you cast the master lightning spell to try to knock dragons out of the sky.

#27 Posted by CJduke (794 posts) -

You can just craft magic 100% magic regen onto your armor making it so you never run out of mana and then can just use as many destruction spells as you want and kill everything. I think that is fun

#28 Posted by Nottle (1917 posts) -

I find that around level 50-60, magic is really good. You can continuously cast incinerate over and over which knocks dudes back if you have the dual cast perk. Also having really good enchantments helps. The lightening storm is also pretty awesome to use on a dragon. Since I'm level100 in all schools of magic, I'm using the big hammer you get from a Daedric quest and it's not nearly as interesting.

#29 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3827 posts) -

@heavyplay said:

Destruction sucks because you're doing it wrong.

Enchant 4 pieces of armor for 25% less magika cost for unlimited destruction casting. As long as you stick to the expert spells and have the perk for double casting you can keep almost any enemy in the game in a permanent stunlock, which makes every fight trivial.

The only use you'll have for the master spells, is when you cast the master lightning spell to try to knock dragons out of the sky.

@CJduke said:

You can just craft magic 100% magic regen onto your armor making it so you never run out of mana and then can just use as many destruction spells as you want and kill everything. I think that is fun

Call me crazy, but "bullet sponge" enemies never were my idea of fun, and I'd like to think that shooting lightning bolts from my fingertips when I'm a master wizard should do at least somewhat close to the amount of damage that one surprise arrow does.

And don't think I'm hating on Skyrim as a whole. It's still my favorite game of 2011.

#30 Posted by fox01313 (5083 posts) -

Glad to know now that I can just stop buying them after hitting the one past the firebolt to get the fireball & whatever the lightning/cold equivalents are at that section then stop buying destruction spells.Think that this was what happened with me & Oblivion too (though there I got one combination destruction spell that did a variety of effects for low mana cost through the mage guild there in Oblivion which just was good on all occasions).

#31 Posted by Green_Incarnate (1789 posts) -

It sucks, because they went through the trouble of differentiating(sort of) some spells only to have one projectile type be "effective" late game. They should have just left custom spells in.

#32 Edited by Stepside (514 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac: I don't think anybody thinks you're hating on Skyrim man, so don't sweat it. I think you're (like many of us) frustrated by the lack of actual "oomph" when it comes to destruction magic. What people have said about MP-Regen enchantments combined with something like @Nottle: 's incinerate spells are spot on. Keep at it.

#33 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

@mikey87144 said:

You have to put points into health for the damage to go up. Also use the other magic skills. With Alteration you learn paralyze at expert and with conjuration you have summoned beasts who can take agro for you while you blast away.

What? This is the first I've heard of this and I put a lot of time into playing/talking about this game.

#34 Posted by Dethfish (3686 posts) -

I'm at a pretty high level now and I've been using nothing but Destruction and Restoration magic, and sometimes a dagger. I think it works fine. Sure, not nearly as well as a good sword or something, but it's fun to mix it up. Once you get your enchantment up enough to make armor that lets you use destruction at no cost and get the perk that stuns people it becomes pretty easy.

#35 Posted by mikey87144 (1797 posts) -

@CJduke said:

You can just craft magic 100% magic regen onto your armor making it so you never run out of mana and then can just use as many destruction spells as you want and kill everything. I think that is fun

Doesn't work like that. Magic regen slows down a lot in battle.

@Daveydave said:

Thanks. I think I may focus on conjuring / 1handed / and something I cannot decide on yet. You know when I conjure items eventually... will 1h skills work on the conjured weapon?

Summon a sword, axe, or bow instead of using one you get in the world. It levels up both your one-handed skill and conjuration skill at the same time. Also, yes you can make those weapons as powerful as the smithed ones if you put your perks into the one-handed skill tree and the weapons side of the conjuration tree.

@fox01313 said:

Glad to know now that I can just stop buying them after hitting the one past the firebolt to get the fireball & whatever the lightning/cold equivalents are at that section then stop buying destruction spells.Think that this was what happened with me & Oblivion too (though there I got one combination destruction spell that did a variety of effects for low mana cost through the mage guild there in Oblivion which just was good on all occasions).

I've taken down dragon priests, dragons, and a lot of the more powerful enemy types using destruction as my primary means of doing damage. You have to augment your destruction with other skills like conjuration and alteration. You get to paralyze people as you get up the tree and it doesn't take long to level either.

#36 Posted by Mjdemon (24 posts) -

i would agree and disagree. i too got my Destruction magic to 100. completed the specific quest to get the strongest spells but only reason i regretted focusing my whole first playthrough with Destruction is the fact you have to use both hands. I really hate that. Blizzard is an amazing looking spell but it sucks that i have to stand still and take hits. my first character was a beast, My conjuration was around 96 too which made fighting so much easier as i would summon a Daedra warrior and id be good. my new character im using now i wont focus on destruction and if i so happen to lvl it up id keep it at expert. Im focusing on illusion magic now i wanna do alteration too but we'll see

#37 Posted by sfighter21 (798 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac: You were saying also that you can do some serious damage with a bow when sneaking. Yes, I can one shot A LOT of enemies, but not all. However, that is connected with sneak. Destruction magic is not sneaky, so you can't get that bonus. If I am shooting someone with arrows and it's not a sneak attack, I still have to dump a few arrows into the enemy. I don't think its OP by any means, and I think if Destruction magic was OP, the combat could get boring fast. I'm at 75 currently on destruction, and I've been having a blast (sorry) with it combined with my archery. Also, my one hand is starting to get strong, so my combat experience is staying pretty fresh. BTW, what difficulty you playing on?

#38 Posted by ajamafalous (12040 posts) -

I'm not sure what you're talking about; I wrecked everything with 2h Thunderbolts all day.

#39 Posted by DaemonBlack (342 posts) -

@Dethfish77 said:

Once you get your enchantment up enough to make armor that lets you use destruction at no cost and get the perk that stuns people it becomes pretty easy.

That is what sucks about the vanilla destruction magic to me. You have to enchant your way to taking zero skill or strategy before it becomes really powerful. I'm actually surprised that Bethesda hasn't patched in some sort of breakpoint on reduce magic cost enchantments because they totally break the game. Combined with the completely overpowered impact perk, every high level mage just stunlocks enemies over and over again with their zero cost spells until they die. To me that is totally unsatisfying.

One of the best destruction magic mods for the PC is this one http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=1245

Obviously, it makes destruction magic more powerful but it has many options and a lot of customization. I highly recommend this mod to anyone on the PC who feels destruction magic needs a boost.

#40 Edited by heavyplay (300 posts) -

@ajamafalous said:

I'm not sure what you're talking about; I wrecked everything with 2h Thunderbolts all day.

I know. I can stunlock and kill dragon priests before they take two steps from their coffin. I just breezed through every single fight once I got the impact perk and 0 cost spells.

These guys are complaining about the magic saying that it's not as powerful as a sneak arrow attack, but who cares. They can spend half an hour sneaking through a dungeon if they like, while we just run through everything throwing lightning hadokens left and right, and completely destroying everything in sight :)

#41 Edited by spazmaster666 (1972 posts) -

The thing is though if you enchant four pieces of your gear with -25% magicka for destruction spells, destruction magic suddenly becomes really powerful especially if you have the dual casting staggering perk which essentially let's you infinitely spam dual-casting expert level destruction spells at your enemies while they can't even get a single hit on you. I won't even bring up the potions you can create that can also greatly increase the damage you deal with spells.

#42 Edited by Green_Incarnate (1789 posts) -

It's not that the zero cost stun lock isn't powerful, it's that it's the only thing that's viable for destruction, and playing the game that way is boring as fuck. Bethesda was supposed make up for removing custom spell crafting by expanding the different spells characteristics. Well they kinda did that, but then made 95% of the spells weak as fuck late game. Remember how satisfying the duel flame spell was at lv1-14 or so? I want that shit for my lv 70 boss mage. Every single one of the master level elemental spells are basically the same. I want options.

#43 Edited by PenguinDust (12558 posts) -
#44 Posted by benspyda (2038 posts) -

I found it was fine if you combine it with conjuration. Plus dual casting stun made you pretty overpowered combined with armor that cancels out magic cost. But I definitely found the conjuration tree far more fun than the destruction one. It feels like it wasn't designed to be a primary attack skill more a compliment to other skills.

#45 Posted by Mikemcn (6997 posts) -

All you really need is dual casted firebolt anyways.

#46 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3827 posts) -

@Green_Incarnate said:

It's not that the zero cost stun lock isn't powerful, it's that it's the only thing that's viable for destruction, and playing the game that way is boring as fuck. Bethesda was supposed make up for removing custom spell crafting by expanding the different spells characteristics. Well they kinda did that, but then made 95% of the spells weak as fuck late game. Remember how satisfying the duel flame spell was at lv1-14 or so? I want that shit for my lv 70 boss mage. Every single one of the master level elemental spells are basically the same. I want options.

Perfectly said.

#47 Posted by heavyplay (300 posts) -

Er, every master spell is completely different. The only thing they have in common is that they're equally as useless.

#48 Posted by RogD (7 posts) -

Although I tend to gravitate more towards melee combat, I do find magic has its uses and in certain battles, it can save your life. Magic is especially useful vs Giants and other large enemies, where melee combat would almost certainly mean death. I also agree that magic not scaling with your level can be frustrating, even annoying.

My personal preference when it comes to magic is to stick with restoration and use the heal and fast heal spell to compliment my melee combat. Strike with a sword, preferably an enchanted dwarven sword that deals out fire damage and heal yourself with the other hand as you take damage. A certain thieves guild character carries an enchanted sword that absorbs 10 or 15 health points from enemies as you strike them. If you get your hands on this sword, you won't even need restoration spells, and you can equip a destruction spell instead.

You can make yourself nearly invincible if you have the proper robes, necklaces and rings on. Look for anything that increases restoration abilities and cuts down on the amount of magic it takes to cast restoration spells.

I think many players don't realize that magic compliments melee combat in Skyrim. You can't really depend on spells in all situations. A powerful sword or axe is often far more effective. Just make sure you supplement your melee combat with the proper spells.

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