POINTERS †by Lu Richardson
There are already some splendid walkthroughs for this brilliant game.† However, I missed simple guidance in the real basics and this is what I hope to supply. Because this is the type of game one can play time and again to try and do better.
You are supposed to do what you want in any order you want and any way you can; which is all very well, but Skyrim is so complicated that you can find a quest item before you are asked for it... and then the whole thing goes pear-shaped.† If you do find such an item or person, itís worth going back to the saved point on entering the place Ė now you know to leave the quest item exactly where it is or avoid finding the quest person.† Youíll be coming back to deal with it when you are asked to do so.
I found it slightly annoying that sometimes completed quests were not removed from the journal; I ended up with quite a list of them.† This makes it confusing when coming back to the game after not playing it for a while Ė so, if a completed quest is not removed from the journal, it is worth going back to a point before it was given... and do it all over again until it is.† Save a lot!
As in any game of this type, youíll get out of it however much effort and time you are prepared to put in.† Since Skyrim is vast, there is no point in rushing things; youíll not finish the game quicker (and why should you?)† You might as well take it slowly and be methodical... and enjoy yourself.
So here are some pointers which I hope will help you do just that. †I ought to explain that right at the beginning I followed Hadval to Riverwood and then went on to Whiterun.† These two towns, and particularly the latter, contain everything you could possibly need to develop your skills and cure the horrible diseases you are bound to pick up.
Here we go:
1. Once you have established a base (e.g., a place shows in the map and you can fast travel to it), use the daylight hours to explore around it:† sneak, collect ingredients, hunt a little to hone your bow skills and gather raw materials, fish with your bare hands, find new places (but donít enter them), do a little mining (always carry a pickaxe), make potions, cook, smelt, use the smithy, etc., etc.† Youíll need a lot of gold, at least at first, and combining raw materials to turn them into a finished product raises their price.† Sell your surplus... and make sure you have plenty of it.
2. Please note that you should buy a house in Whiterun as soon as you can afford it so that you can store items in your own chests/cupboards, since to store them anywhere else not your property will cause them to disappear.† Incidentally, because there is a limit to how much you can carry, try to collect light but valuable items such as jewels, potions, ingredients, etc.† Stick at first to light armour and shed anything heavy you donít need to lug around.
3. The moment you reach a new level, level up at once.† You donít need to allocate your perk points yet, but you do need to train; should you go up several levels at once, you will miss the opportunity.† Train at first with someone who is also a vendor (for example, Arcadia at Whiterun); that way you can sell more to her and recover the cash you paid her.
4. You advance by using your skills, so be sure to use them all whenever you can.† For instance, outdoors use a two-hander or a bow; indoors, the spell Candlelight in one hand and a one-hander weapon or a Destruction spell in the other (when confronted by multiple or long-ranged enemies, use a shout; and if your enemies are standing on an oil pool, toss a Flame spell into it).† Apart from the towns or in combat, sneak at all times.† Cast all the spells you have somewhere safe.† Disenchant/Enchant weapons, use the smithy, make up potions.† Well, you get the idea.†† However, donít get too enthusiastic:† bear in mind that training is expensive, so make sure you have the cash (i.e., go out there and get stuff to sell) before you reach the level up point.† You really have to work this out.
5. What to train in first?† Well, I felt the most useful skill of all was Speech Ė youíll need to go to the Bardsí Guild to be trained for that, but it is worth it. †Of course, the game is so long, youíll get plenty of opportunity to train in other things; so no need to worry if at first, say, you train with Arcadia in alchemy.† In any case, using your favourite weapon or magic will advance you in these skills.
6. As soon as you can afford it, hire the carriage at Whiterunís Stables and discover each town (sometimes you actually have to enter them to do so). †This will make it easier to walk to new places, since they become points of reference.† A word here:† if you enter a town to discover it you might have to listen to a conversation (always do so, everywhere); or you might get caught by somebody who wants you to do something.† Always accept the quest but you donít need to do anything about it till you are ready.
7. As soon as you can, visit Meridiaís shrine W of Solitude Ė you get a wonderful weapon youíll need throughout the game.† Visit also Azura, S of Winterhold for an invaluable soul gem.† With these two items and a weapon with the trap soul enchantment (preferably a bow) youíll find life a great deal easier.
8. I also found that visiting the Tower Stone (half way between Winterhold and Dawnstar) gave me the ability to open difficult locks once a day.† Of course you can choose any other Stone that suits you.
9. As to how to go about things, well, here is a suggestion:† you could start by following the main quest; that is to say, you start in Riverwood (complete the town quests here, i.e., talk to everyone, starting, always, by the bartender), move on to Whiterun (complete the quests here before or after seeing the Jarl), and get sent to the Greybeards, then you tangle with Delphine (when you reach the Temple, make sure you get the sword Dragonbane from the armoury) and move on to the College of Winterhold.† Do all their chores but donít pursue the Elder Scroll quest further.† You could, of course, finish the main quest right away if you wanted to, but I think it is better to leave it to the end.† Your choice, really.† At any rate, you get the idea:† do the town associated to the group you wish to join either before or after you do the groupís quests.† (Incidentally, when youíve finished the groupsí main quests, thereíll always be someone to go on giving you side quests forever.† Once you notice somebody is giving you the same type over and over, just stop asking for work when youíve had enough. )
10. Go to Solitude and join de Bards, then join the Companions in Whiterun.† Visit all the other towns, orc forts, mills, villages, inns, etc., looking for quests (talk to everybody more than once; ask all bartenders for rumours).† Finally, either join the Legion or the Rebels and do their quests.† After that, join the Thieves Guild and later the Assassins Guild.† Find the Daedra deities you havenít come across yet.† Of course, although this is the general plan, a lot of people will get you involved in their problems and youíll find yourself with a long ďto doĒ list.† Donít worry about it, just do the quests in any order you want or can.
11. Once you have done with side quests you can finish the main one - goodness knows you should be ready by now.† But this neednít be the end of the game, either, since you could explore some more; there are all manner of interesting places, things and people (some of them quite dead) to find in Skyrim.† Wrap up warm and go for it.
12. Finally, all through the game people will ask for items which you will have either sold or used and it is a pain suddenly to have to find them, so here is a list of things that I know† of to collect and keep till asked for them:
20 Jazbay grapes (abundant on rocks around hot springs)
10 Dwemer cogs (in any Dwemer ruin)
2 Daedra hearts (randomly found, but a sure bet following up the Museum poster quest)
Troll fat (anywhere)
Frost salts (random encounters or alchemist shops)
20 Deathbell (plentiful on certain locations)
20 Nightshade (I found a lot round Riften and Solitude)
20 Nirnroot (follow the rivers and find them on the banks)
10 Fire Salts (you find them in all sorts of places)
5 Ice Wraith Teeth (ditto)
Glowing mushroom (in caves)
Night Falls on Sentinel
The Last Scabbard of Akrash
Song of the Alchemists
Of course, youíll be asked for many other things but I found the above the most troublesome to find.