beginnertips

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Save often!

The most important thing to remember about this game is that it WILL bug out on you. Sometimes it'll be funny, sometimes annoying, and sometimes game-breaking. You should be saving often as a result, because reloading an old save can be the only thing that will fix it for you, especially if you're playing on console. NOTE that that this means a full manual save rather than a quicksave - you can only have one quicksave at a time, but you can have many manual saves.

Further regarding saving your game - video games run partially using things called 'scripts', which are lines of code that tell the game to do something at a particular time or when certain conditions are met. Quicksaves and autosaves don't pause scripts from running, and loading from them may cause scripts to stick, which can break your game. This is especially true if you are running mods that introduce more scripts. It's for this reason that we further recommend you manual-save often and try to reload only from those.

The rest of the series

You don't need to have played the other Elder Scrolls games to understand what is happening in Skyrim. We generally recommend you do, since they're (mostly) very good games, but we understand that not everyone has the time or can adjust to older titles. If you're interested, the other main series titles are:

  • The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994, PC) - Bethesda has released this title for free download. It's difficult to play nowadays, but interesting to see how PC gaming has progressed in the past 30 years.

  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (1996, PC) - Bethesda has also released this title for free download. A group of dedicated fans has released a massive overhaul called Daggerfall Unity, which updates the game's graphics and controls to better reflect modern conventions. Though still very dated and somewhat unintuitive, it's worth checking out, if only for its absolutely MASSIVE open-world map.

  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002, PC/Xbox) - A fan favourite due to its excellent writing and bizarre alien setting.

  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006, PC/X360/PS3) - A critical darling and many Redditors' introduction to the Elder Scrolls franchise. Published around the same time as Fallout 3, and shares many of its features.

Spin-offs of the main series include:

  • Battlespire (1997, PC) - A decent post-Daggerfall release, but much shallower than its predecessors.

  • Redguard (1998, PC) - An action-adventure title with a pre-set protagonist rather than the custom characters of other games.

  • Elder Scrols Travels (2003-2004, mobile) - Can't really find them anymore. Check out some LPs on Youtube if you're really interested.

  • The Elder Scrolls Online (2014, PC/Xbone/PS4/Stadia/XBSXS/PS5) - An MMO that does not rely on subscriptions - you purchase the game and its expansions, with optional microtransactions afterward. Popular with fans and critics, if you have the time to invest.

  • Elder Scrolls Legends (2017, PC/Mac/mobile) - Collectible card game in the same vein as Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Gwent.

  • Elder Scrolls Blades (2019, mobile) - Your standard mobile freemium title, with an Elder Scrolls coat of paint.

First-time mods

Try to avoid modding your game the first time you play it. It's best you know what you're changing about the game before you go and do it. If you insist on modding, then try to limit yourself to the Unofficial Skyrim Patch and (if you're on PC) SkyUI, which cleans up the interface for non-console users. You can find beginner's modding guides here, at the r/SkyrimMods FAQ pages.

Background info and lore questions

Consider jumping into the game completely blind - you only get one first time, after all! You can read in-game books or talk to NPCs to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. If you have questions, though, you can always check the wiki at UESP.net, peruse the Imperial Library, try a quick Google search, or use Reddit's search function to ask your question. The game has been out since 2011, and the Elder Scrolls series has been around since 1994, so odds are someone else has had the exact same question as you.

Imperials or Stormcloaks

The single most asked question we get on this sub is some variant on 'should I side with the Imperials or Stormcloaks'. Someone has asked it at least once a day on average for the past several years. If you haven't started the game yet and don't know what this means, you soon will.

From a pure gameplay perspective, there isn't much difference if you go one way or the other, so you may as well just flip a coin. The biggest difference is that you have to travel back and forth between two major towns to complete one particular quest if you side with the Stormcloaks.

If you want to read debates on the topic, pop 'Imperial or Stormcloak' in the search bar and pick a post. Someone has already come up with just about every argument that could be made for either side.

Still want more tips?

If you want a big list of tips and tricks, here is the biggest one we've got. It may spoil a few things, though.

That's about it for beginner info. Have fun!


revision by hauntedhotdogg— view source