Mastering Skyrim: Day One

Mastering Skyrim: Day One

Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 in Commentary |


This is a series of blog posts about playing Skyrim on Master, the highest difficulty setting. The only thing that difficulty affects is damage. On Master level player characters deal only half damage while receiving double the usual amount.

After escaping Helgen my first task was to find out if what I planned to do was sustainable. I don’t have a lot of patience and, if you read my recent post on Uncharted 3, I’m not exactly fond of higher difficulties either. However Skyrim seemed like it was at least worth a try. I decided to get my answer by doing a quick run of Embershard Mine. It’s a cave populated by bandits that’s near where you exit Helgen, reachable through one of the branching paths that you take as you make your way to Riverwood.

The run turned out to be everything but quick. I took my time, sneaking my way through the cave, sniping with my bow, backtracking I was fully hidden then repeating the process. When I had no choice but to engage in melee I found my damage to be pitiful. I mean, I knew it was halved, but it was still tough to accept, especially when I found myself comparing the pain I was doing against what I was receiving.

Power attacks became the equalizer. At base (100) stamina the most I could do was two power attacks while dual-wielding iron swords. I had to make them count. Doing that along with sneaking and sniping allowed me to complete my run of the mine. I knew then that I’d end up doing the same thing over and over until I got better gear.

Do I want to do this? I found myself asking that question, already thinking of Bleak Falls Barrow, the site that I consider to be the game’s first major dungeon. It’s where you get Unrelenting Force, after all. Will this style of play be enough to conquer it?