Tips For Playing Skyrim For The First Time


  • Trying different character builds and classes can make a playthrough more diverse and dynamic.
  • Regularly visiting merchants will allow Skyrim players to sell items and ease the burden of carrying too much weight.
  • Wabbajack, an automated mod loader, can be used to easily enhance the Skyrim experience with a wide range of mods.

It’s hard to imagine that, after all these years, some gamers haven’t given Skyrim a try yet. That said, there are some holdouts or new gamers who are coming around to explore what this iconic game has to offer.


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For fans looking to play a classic, or maybe a long-time veteran who has taken a break and wants to come back fresh, here are some things that should be kept in mind when playing Skyrim. Although it isn’t a particularly hard game, these are some important details fans should know before starting this fantasy epic.

Updated on April 15, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra: Skyrim is a game that needs no introduction. The success of this title single-handedly turned Bethesda into an industry giant, and everything it has released since has paled in comparison to a game that set the open-world genre on fire with its immaculate world design, an amazing wealth of side content, and a gameplay loop that still stands strong to this day. The fact that a game like Starfield struggled to deliver the same brilliance present in Skyrim is a testament to how ahead of its time this game was when it first launched. To make the most of everything Skyrim has to offer, new players who are jumping into it for the first time should keep certain pointers in mind to make their journey as smooth and engaging as possible.

1 Too Many Mods Can Spoil The Broth

Incompatibility Can Strike At Any Given Moment, And The Vanilla Cohesion Can Also Be Hampered

The Chanterelle mod for Skyrim

There’s no denying that a huge reason why Skyrim has remained relevant to this day is the wealth of mods that have been developed for it. Despite Bethesda’s attempts to monetize this portion of the game time and time again, there’s no stopping the user-generated content train that has kept this game afloat and relevant for so long.

However, while players can get pretty excited to check out mods for this game and download as many as possible, the fact is that not all mods for Skyrim are worth downloading for those who want to preserve the vanilla aesthetics of the game. On top of this, certain mods are incompatible with each other, and the fragile nature of the Creation Engine means that players will be setting themselves up for failure if they go bananas and install every mod in sight.

2 Disenchant Items To Permanently Learn Armor And Weapon Enchantments

Only Needs To Be Done Once With Each Enchantment

An Arcane Enchanter in Skyrim

It’s extremely tempting to sell any piece of enchanted equipment that isn’t as strong as most people would like it to be. After all, the sheer amount of gold this equipment can be sold for makes this act seem like a no-brainer, but there’s one thing that players should always do if they stumble upon an enchantment they’ve yet to mess around with in the game.

Skyrim players should always use an Arcane Enchanter to disenchant certain items. This allows players to permanently learn the enchantment on offer, letting them buff powerful regular weapons and turn them into something incredibly viable that can completely destroy most enemies in the game with ease.

3 Fighting Guards Is A Fool’s Errand

There’s Nothing To Be Gained From Operating On The Wrong Side Of The Law

Screenshot Of Whiterun Guard In Skyrim

There’s something to be said about letting loose and going on a murderous rampage in any video game that allows players to kill anything and everything in sight. However, if such an urge grasps the player in Skyrim, then the first thing they should do is save the game before killing anyone, including the guards in a settlement.


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Getting rid of a bounty is a pain, and players will be hounded in every settlement they go to if the bounty they’ve incurred there is too high. Even if players end up paying this astronomically high bounty somehow, it’s not exactly fun or immersive to roam through ghost towns that used to be populated with a wealth of residents who once added life to the world of Skyrim.

4 Try Playing As A Unique Class

There’s More To The Game’s Combat Than Just Melee Strikes

The Transmute spell in Skyrim

Most people would assume that running up to opponents and hacking them to bits is the best way to enjoy Skyrim. While this is true in a sense, the magic of Skyrim is also in the many varied classes that players can try out if they wish.

The schools of magic are pretty interesting in their own right and can help players multi-class to make battles more dynamic. This is just one of the many ways players can make their playthrough of Skyrim more diverse instead of just sticking with what works in a game that isn’t all that challenging anyway.

5 Visit Merchants Regularly

Selling Items And Easing The Dragonborn’s Load Is Important

The dragonborn fighting a dragon in Skyrim

Early on, players strapped for cash would want to loot and sell items as much as possible. However, players end up focusing on the former so much that they can get caught in a tough spot if they’re encumbered in the middle of nowhere.

So, it’s recommended to seek out merchants as quickly as possible whenever players enter a settlement. Traveling merchants are also quite helpful if players want to relieve their load and earn some cash on the go.

6 Use Wabbajack To Make Modding A Single-Click Affair

An Automated Mod Loader That Makes Modding As Painless As Possible

Wabbajack, a mod loader for Skyrim

Wabbajack is one of the best tools any Skyrim player can use to make their modding experience a fairly painless one. Instead of going to Nexus Mods to download each mod individually, this tool allows players to install mods easily with a single click.


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It helps that there are several curated modlists on Wabbajack, so players can easily find and select the mods that adhere to their interests. That being said, there’s another step that players need to take to simplify their modding journey.

7 Subscribe To The Premium Membership In Nexus Mods

Mods Can Be Downloaded Quickly At Unrestricted Speeds

Nexus Mods logo and a collage of various video games

It’s important to keep in mind that Nexus Premium is also required to make the act of installing mods fairly seamless. Wabbajack auto-installs all the mods on a Premium account without the player needing to intervene too much.

Even with a free Nexus Mods account, players can still use Wabbajack to make modding easier, even if it still might require way more mouse clicks than before. However, this process is incredibly lengthy and will easily test the patience of most players.

8 Increase The Difficulty After Gaining Great Equipment And Some Levels

Helps To Counter Skyrim’s Inverted Difficulty Curve

The dragonborn plunging their sword into an enemy in Skyrim

Skyrim isn’t a hard game by any means, even if the beginning can feel a bit rough with enemies that can send the player flying. Over time, those who gain levels and equipment will start trivializing most of the challenges in the game.

To avoid this, it’s recommended that players increase the difficulty after gaining some levels. By doing this, enemies become more of a threat, and traps become something to take into account instead of just powering through like one normally would.

9 Stealth Builds Are Really Strong

Members of the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim

There’s a reason why being a stealth archer is one of the most popular ways to play Skyrim. The damage bonus afforded by sneaking around coupled with the range afforded by arrows makes it a powerful build that everyone should experience at least once.



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That being said, any stealth build is bound to be quite powerful in its own right. Backstabbing someone with dual daggers is pretty much a guaranteed kill once players get some points and perks in this skill tree.

10 Don’t Ignore The Main Quest For Too Long

Losing Track Of The Main Story Can Affect A Player’s Overall Enjoyment

The dragonborn stands on a mountain in Skyrim

A big mistake most players make while playing Skyrim is getting distracted by everything that’s going on around them. It’s easy to see why this is the case, given just how much content is crammed into Skyrim at every step of the way.

However, players should keep in mind that the main quest should not be forgotten either. A big reason why people drop Skyrim midway is that the main quest has lost all urgency, which is a shame since it leads to some of the most memorable moments in the game.

11 Character Builds Aren’t Rigid

Players Can Switch Classes If Combat Is Becoming Too Monotonous

Skyrim Warrior and Sneaky Archer Builds for Best Skill Perks

A common mistake that most veterans of The Elder Scrolls make while playing Skyrim for the first time is sticking to one build. Unlike the games in the past, there’s no need to stick to one particular skill in Skyrim.

Instead, players can just choose to try out different skills and see which ones suit their fancy. It’s an easy and engaging way to play this title without reducing the fun factor and allows for a unique experience whenever the player wants one.

12 There’s No Need To Level Up Using Cheap Exploits

It Doesn’t Take Too Long For Players To Become Strong

A screenshot from Skyrim showing the Dragonborn aiming a bow at a dragon.

Skyrim players will eventually discover how easy it is to exploit the leveling system via a few workarounds. However, veterans recommend against pursuing this particular course of action.

The major reason for this is that Skyrim isn’t a particularly hard game, and players can easily level up and tackle more dangerous threats as they progress through the game at a natural pace. There’s no need to break the leveling system, especially since it might make certain fights and quests rather trivial further down the line.

13 Mods Can Substantially Enhance The Game’s Quality

Players Can Enhance The Skyrim Experience With A Few Choice Mods

A split image of the best total conversion mods for Skyrim

Any player who tries out Skyrim should understand just how important mods are for this game. If anything, mods are the sole reason why Skyrim is still relevant to this day.


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Everything from bug fixes to new content can be integrated into Skyrim through the use of mods. Players should highly consider installing mods like these to make the overall experience more seamless and less dated.

14 Try Getting As Much Gold As Possible Early On

It’s Easier To Go Through The Game Without Worrying About Money

A pile of Gold Ingots on a road in Skyrim

Skyrim‘s economy isn’t the strongest, with most players being able to hoard vast reserves of gold at a moment’s notice. However, that doesn’t mean that players should take it easy from the get-go.

Surviving early on in this brutal world can be quite a major task, and players need to be ready to tackle all the threats that lie within. This can be made possible with the use of gold, which players should gather as much as possible early on to make the beginning of this title easier.

15 Don’t Grab Everything That Can Be Taken

Encumbrance Is A Huge Pain

Various consumable items on a table in Skyrim

Of course, just because players need to earn money doesn’t give them the right to take anything and everything they see fit. Skyrim‘s world is still bound by rules, and over-encumberment is one of the most annoying ones in this regard.

Players should understand the value of the items they’re taking and shy away from useless loot. Doing so will reduce the number of frustrating trips they will need to make to merchants in order to offload their unwanted goods.

16 Save Often

Death Can Lurk Behind Any Corner

A skeleton outside a house in Skyrim

Saving often is by far the most important thing that players should do in this game, and there’s a reason why a quicksave option is available. The game has an autosave feature, but it only kicks in whenever players rest, wait, fast travel, or enter a new area.


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If players take a quick nap and then spend two hours exploring the countryside and getting a lot of loot, they will be very disappointed when they get slapped by a giant and lose all of their progress, returning to where they took their nap as a result. So long as players save their progress whenever they think it’s necessary, situations like this can be avoided.

17 Don’t Lower The Difficulty

The Game Is Already Easy Enough

Fighting a spider in Skyrim

One temptation new players have is to change the difficulty to an easy setting, and many long-time RPG players will crank it to the max difficulty. Players shouldn’t do either of these things, at least at the beginning of the game. The game’s creatures level up with the player’s character, which means that, for the most part, players won’t encounter a fight they can’t handle at normal difficulty.

That said, there are a few instances where the enemies are simply too powerful no matter the difficulty setting. This is intentional, so there’s no need to worry about these areas until players become a little stronger. Skyrim is fair for the most part, and if players are working on combat skills consistently, they shouldn’t have too many problems.

18 Try Everything To See What Works

Variety In Skyrim Is Prevalent, But Players Need To Actively Engage With The Systems

A Vampire Lord in Skyrim

A great thing about Skyrim is that players are not restricted to particular class archetypes or builds. All of the skills are available to players at all times, and there’s no penalty for progressing with any or all of them. If players find themselves getting bored of melee combat, they are free to dive into spells with that same character.

There is a finite amount of perks in the game that dramatically boost a character’s strengths. Players receive a lot of them, and many of the perks are handy to have, so it’s hard to mess up and almost impossible to break a character unless one is actively trying to.

19 Change Standing Stones When Required

Standing Stones Are Prevalent And Abound In Skyrim

Standing Stones in Skyrim

One decision players are asked to make at the beginning of the game is to pick an ancestral stone based on one of three archetypes – mage, warrior, or thief. The stone players pick determines which skills progress the fastest, but in the end, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

Standing Stone blessings can be changed whenever players want. When gamers get out into the main world, they’ll discover that there are 13 different standing stones that they can choose at any time with no penalty. Players should just go with the one that benefits what they’re interested in at the time and switch when they change their mind.

20 Do Some Side Quests

The Optional Quests In The Game Are Pretty Entertaining

The In My Time Of Need Quest in Skyrim (Alik'r Warriors)

Many players, especially those coming from more linear-based gameplay experiences, will feel like they need to prioritize the main quest before pursuing any side quests. This isn’t the case in Skyrim, and players may find the game harder in spots as a result.

Players are expected to pursue at least a few side quests, and the rewards from doing so will sometimes be better than those obtained via the main quest. Many of the more interesting storylines and most powerful pieces of loot can be found at the end of a seemingly random quest. Because of this, it’s recommended that gamers pursue optional quests from time to time.