| Hints and Tips
01 Raising Skills
--- All Magic
--- Block, Light Armor, Heavy Armor
--- Weaknesses Quick List
04 Oblivion (Closing Gates)
--- The Hard Way
--- Smash 'n' Grab
Any two food items can be combined to make a Restore Fatigue potion. You will find hundreds of these food items throughout the game - laid out on tables, in barrels and cupboards, or available for purchase. Whenever you find items like bread, tomatoes, leeks, rice, etc. combine them together to make a Restore Fatigue potion. Even with a low skill in Alchemy you will make some money from these, and if they over-encumber you, simply make the potions and then drop them. Your alchemy skill is governed not by the quality of the potions you make, but by the frequency. Churning out these weak, cheap potions allows you to raise your skill fast and make some extra money.
Inn-keepers and tavern owners tend to have an extensive food inventory. Check that they buy potions. If they do, buy up all the food they have, convert it into potions, then sell it back to them for a neat profit, while simultaneously raising your skill much faster than usual.
All Magic Skills
This method is incredibly effective yet completely within the rules of the game. You will, however, need access to the Altar of Spellmaking at the Arcane University. To do so, you will need to complete the Mages Guild Recommendation Quests.
You will first need to know a spell effect that can be cast 'on self' for the schools of Mysticism, Alteration and Restoration. You will need to know one Destruction spell, be able to conjure one creature for Conjuration, and be able to cast Charm for Illusion.
Head to the Altar of Spellmaking and build a spell using an effect from the Magic School you wish to improve.
For Conjuration, one example is a spell with a Summon Skeleton effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible. You will now have a spell that will essentially 'blink' skeletons in and out of existence. Buy the spell for a few gold, turn to face the open room, select it as your active spell, and then start tapping your spellcast button. Watch as you summon skeleton after skeleton, filling the room as they appear and disappear. You will expend only a tiny amount of mana (for my character, it regenerated faster than it was spent) and your Conjuration skill will increase rapidly.
For Mysticism, one example is a spell with a Dispel effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible and the target is 'Self'. Cast the spell on-repeat (you can do this anywhere, as you travel, etc.) and your Mysticism skill will increase rapidly.
For Alteration, one example is a spell with a Water Breathing effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible and the target is 'Self'. Cast the spell on-repeat (you can do this anywhere, as you travel, etc.) and your Alteration skill will increase rapidly.
For Restoration, one example is a spell with a Restore Health effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible and the target is 'Self'. Cast the spell on-repeat (you can do this anywhere, as you travel, etc.) and your Restoration skill will increase rapidly.
For Illusion, one example is a spell with a Charm effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible and the target is 'Touch'. Find an NPC and continuously cast the spell on them: your Illusion skill will increase rapidly.
For Destruction, one example is a spell with a Drain Fatigue effect. Make sure the effect sliders are as low as possible and the target is 'Self'. Yes, in your desire to better your destruction skills you are willing to practice on your own body. Your Destruction skill will increase rapidly. [Screenshot]
Don't run... jump! As it was in Morrowind, jumping around the place is a great way to raise your Acrobatics skill. Better yet, fall from a high place and hurt yourself. The game seems to love it, and though it's a drain on your health, such falls provide the biggest boost to your skill level progress.
In the beginning of the game it seems more cost effective to have your weapons and armor fixed by a shopkeeper. However, you'll notice this is 1) inconvenient, when you are in an Oblivion gate forced to use a weapon with a condition of 50 and 2) very expensive. At first, it will seem cheaper to have your weapons fixed than to buy the amount of repair hammers you need. This may indeed be the case. However, when you find yourself spending more than 200 gold on repairs, it's time to start doing things yourself. This is the cost of 10 repair hammers and, even at Novice level, you are not likely to need more than this to get things done.
As you play the game, you'll notice that unless you are a Journeyman in Armorer, you need to pay for someone more skilled to fix your enchanted weapons and armor for you. This can be very expensive - the sooner you reach Journeyman level, the better. You do this by going through lots of repair hammers (unsurprisingly). If you have money to spare for lots of repair hammers and want to do this more quickly, you can pick up the weapons and armor of your enemies, repair them, and then drop them again. Either way, resist the temptation to pay for such services. Doing it yourself will save you a lot of money in the long-run, and will increase your combat effectiveness, as you won't have to wait to return back to town to fix your severely damaged weapons.
Have your character face a corner. Toggle Auto-Run On. Find some way to hold the run key/button down. If you're using the 360, an elastic band will work. If you're using a keyboard, an iPod laid on its side has worked for me. However you do it, start your character running into the corner. Think of it as a medieval treadmill. Leave the game and return when your character's Athletics skill has reached a level you're happy with.
Head to a body of water until you find a mud crab. Hold down the block key and let it attack you as your shield soaks up the ineffectual blows. The mud crab is unable to do much damage, or at least, less than you can easily heal. Allowing a weak creature to hammer away at your shield is a good way to increase your Block skill. This is also a good way of leveling up your Light Armor or Heavy Armor skill, though you will soak up more damage as you aren't blocking. Prepare to get a little bored as you stand, heal, stand, heal... but it's all worth it!
The key to raising your mercantile skill is buying and selling with the 'Haggle' slider set somewhere other than zero. The higher this is, the quicker you will gain experience. With a bit of experimentation you should be able to find the maximum threshhold a merchant will buy from you at. The better they like you, they higher this will be. Making connections with a merchant who has an 'Apprentice' level skill in Mercantile is also a good training ground.
Find a Merchant who sells food ingredients from between 1 and 2 gold. If you are selling items at 51% of value or more, you will be able to buy and sell these items at the same value. If you're prepared to get bored for the sake of your character's betterment, buy all their 1 gold and 2 gold items, then sell them back, then buy them again, and so forth. This is a neat way to train your Mercantile skill without losing any money.
I'm going to be controversial and say don't bother with this skill after level 10. Find the Shrine of Nocturnal (a Daedric shrine) and the goddess will give you a relatively straight-forward quest. At the end of it, you'll receive an unbreakable lockpick called the Skeleton Key which will fortify your Security skill by 40 points. With this, you will be able to unlock anything!
You can have the location of the Shrine marked on your map by Alves Uvenim at the Leyawiin Mages Guild. You won't need to make an offering to Nocturnal, but you will have to be at least level 10.
Go to a public building, such as a guild, and park against a wall. Select a location where you are often in sneak mode but can sometimes be seen. This indicates that the location you've chosen is something of a challenge to sneak in and is therefore boosting your sneak skill. Leave the game and return when your skill has been raised sufficiently.
The normal way to raise your speechcraft is to do so as you try to raise the disposition of the person you're talking to. To raise this more quickly, however, enter into a conversation with someone you are likely never to speak to, such as a random townie or guard. Do not select anyone with a crown icon! Once you've found a suitable NPC, start the persuasion minigame and click randomly. The game doesn't seem to mind whether you get positive or negative responses, only that you try. The NPC might be taken to the extremes of friendship or the depths of hatred -- most likely they'll just be confused. You, however, will be on your way to a silver tongue (or perhaps just a x5 Personality modifier).
Weaknesses Quick List
Knowing a creature's weakness can give you the edge in battles.
Clannfear: weakness to Shock
Daedroth: weakness to Shock
Dread Zombie: weakness to Fire
Dremora Churl: weakness to Shock
Dremora Caitiff: weakness to Shock
Dremora Kynval: weakness to Shock
Dremora Kynreeve: weakness to Shock
Dremora Kynmarcher: weakness to Shock
Dremora Markynaz: weakness to Shock
Dremora Valkynaz: weakness to Shock
Flame Atronach: weakness to Frost
Frost Atronach: weakness to Fire
Headless Zombie: weakness to Fire
Lich: weakness to Fire
Nether Lich: weakness to Fire
Ogre: weakness to Poison
Scamp: weakness to Shock
Spider Daedra: weakness to Frost, weakness to Shock
Spriggan: weakness to Fire
Stunted Scamp: weakness to Shock
Troll: weakness to Fire
Xivilai: weakness to Shock
Zombie: weakness to Fire
# It's always a good idea to carry around two weapons. If you're a blade user, these would be two swords, if you're an archer, two bows, and so on. If you are stuck without repair hammers and your primary weapon breaks, you'll be hard pressed to survive without a back-up. Ideally, it's best that each weapon carry a different damage effect. If you're fighting a Storm Atronach with a Shock enchanted weapon, you're going to find the battle difficult, as the creature is unaffected by Shock. However, if you have a second weapon in reserve, say, one with a Fire damage enchantment, then you can switch to this weapon and take command of the battle.
# If you look at the weaknesses list above, weaknesses to Shock are most frequent (as all Daedra are weak to Shock) followed second by Fire, which is the bane of most undead. Carrying two weapons, one with Shock and one with Flame enchantments, will give you the edge in many battles.
# Against hard-hitting enemies, such as Trolls, Ogres and Zombies: these creatures have a slow power-attack which can be avoided by the astute player. Retreat as the enemy makes it's attack, then run forward and land a flurry of blows as they draw back for another attack. If you are correctly using this tactic, you should find yourself attacking and retreating back and forth.
# Against spellcasters, such as Necromancers and Spider Daedra: engage immediately in melee and ignore summoned creatures. Every blow you land on a summoned creature is a wasted one. This includes the little miniature Spider Daedra. If you poison your weapon with a Silence enchantment then you should have little trouble whittling down the health bar of your opponent as spellcasters are almost always weak in melee.
# Against powerful creatures, such as Xivilai and Storm Atronachs: if you are facing these creatures, you need to get yourself a good enchanted weapon with a destruction effect, such as Fire, or my personal favourite, Shock. One example is a weapon with Shock 20 points on Strike. When fighting powerful creatures, you can be forgiven for sucking the energy from your enchanted weapon. Get up close and land a flurry of quick blows - remember that each hit, while doing little damage from the weapon itself, is hitting the creature with the destruction effect each time. You will do far more damage with five quick hits at 20 points each from an enchanted weapon than you will with a single power-attack.
# Against skeletons: these creatures crumble beneath big weapons like Claymores and Hammers. It's also incredibly satisfying to watch them shatter beneath your giant blows!
# Against minotaurs: these creatures seem to be able to do little damage once you enter their personal space. Charge straight up to the chest of the beast and whack away at it. The creature won't be able to step back enough to swipe his weapon at you, and even better, will recoil from your blows. A quick flurry of blows from very close range will see your otherwise fearsome opponent completely dominated.
# Against multiple enemies: some enemies, like Goblins, tend to attack in groups. In this situation, focus on one creature at a time, landing all your blows against them until they fall. This lowers the number of creatures attacking you at one time. Spreading your attacks between multiple creatures means they are able to gang up on your for much longer.
To name your horse on the PC version of the game:
Target the horse with your cursor, open up the console with the tilde (~) key, then click on the horse. You then type in:
setactorfullname "xxx xxxx" if you use a name with a space.
Yes, xxxx is where you type the name you want.
CLOSING OBLIVION GATES
The Hard Way
This involves fighting your way through the scorched landscape of Oblivion and into the central tower holding the all-important Sigil stone. A few tips to help you on your way:
# Other than Storm Atronachs, a vast majority of the foes you face in the realms of Oblivion will bear a strong weakness to Shock. Enchant yourself a weapon with a Shock damage effect, call it 'Gate Closer', and feel cool.
# 'Wait' at every available opportunity. The realms of Oblivion contain a great many enemies packed into a confined space, meaning you will often get 'You cannot wait while enemies are nearby' messages. Even if you are a little bit hurt, regenerating that health and mana via 'Waiting' could mean the difference between life and death here.
# Stock up on repair hammers before entering a gate. You won't find any inside, and considering the heavy combat you'll be facing, your weapons are bound to degrade quickly without maintenance.
# Bring a supply of filled soul-gems with you. Many of the enemies you'll face within Oblivion are NPCs, meaning you cannot soul-trap them with normal soul gems.
# Try to avoid taking on enemies in groups. Particularly inside the tower holding the sigil stone you'll find several enemies in an enclosed space. If you can, let one of them see you and then retreat down a corridor to face them alone.
# Unless you're craving experience, make a beeline for the central tower and then for the Sigil stone. The loot available in Oblivion is meagre at best, and the resources you expend using potions, scrolls and soul gems to stay alive will prove more expensive than your gains.
# The plains of Oblivion are often wide-open spaces. Take advantage of this by softening up your enemies with arrows or targeted destruction spells as they approach. As all Daedra are weak to Shock, Shock damage spells are very effective.
Smash 'n' Grab
If you don't enjoy being inside Oblivion or simply don't need the experience then the Smash 'n' Grab option is a fun one. Only attempt if you have a good Restore Health spell or a lot of potions, because if all goes to plan, you won't unsheath your weapon once while you're in Oblivion. This method involves bolting from the Oblivion gate to the central tower and then up to the Sigil stone while dodging blows and leaving a trail of enraged Daedra behind you. You will inevitably soak up damage as you go. This is where the healing spells/potions come in. Just remember to always head upwards: once you enter Sigillum Sanguis, you're home and hosed. Make your way up to the Sigil stone and grab it. There will be about a ten second period of vulnerability as the world closes in around you. Jump down a level to throw any pursuers (particularly those of the Xivilai persuasion) off your tail and wait to be deposited back in Cyrodiil.
This as an option for those who completely cannot be bothered with the process of closing Oblivion gates - either they have enough experience or it is simply not fun for them. Open up the console with ~ and type 'tcl', which stands for 'Toggle Collision Off'. This essentially allows your character to levitate - not only in the air, but through walls and solid objects. This option is the Smash 'n' Grab method taken to extremes. Fly straight to the central tower entry. Once inside, you will not be able to fly straight up to the Sigil stone, as the game has not loaded all the interior maps. You will need to proceed up the levels using the doors, but this is made considerably easier when you are able to fly to them. Once you've grabbed the Sigil stone make your way upwards, out of reach of the enemies around you. Oh yeah, and to turn off the effect, type 'tcl' again.
Of late, I've been using a combination of the TCL and Smash 'n' Grab methods. I absolutely hate trying to find my way to the entry of the central tower. This phobia started after I spent three hours in the Leyawiin river gate trying to make my way to the tower portal. I simply couldn't see how to do it. I can no longer be bothered. I TCL my way up to the tower door and then Smash 'n' Grab my way to the Sigil stone. For me, this is much more fun that doing things 'the hard way'. When you reach the section of the Main Quest, 'Allies for Bruma', perhaps you will come around to my way of thinking, also!
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