You should rest and meditate on what you’ve learned
Despite further simplifying things by cutting several skills and the 8 primary character attributes, I think Skyrim’s leveling system is an overall improvement from previous games. You don’t have to worry about being efficient and getting the maximum multipliers for the attributes you want to increase for fear of becoming underpowered, you just play however you want and become more effective at whatever that is over time. After a certain number of skill increases (that threshold is raised each subsequent time), you will level up, at which point you choose whether to increase your magicka, health, or stamina (also raises your carry limit) and get rewarded with one perk point. You can do this at any time; no more having to find a bed and sleeping to become stronger.
If you’re wondering, the skills that were done away with since Oblivion
- Athletics -- all characters move at the same speed now, except when burdened by armor to varying degrees (Heavy is more sluggish than Light, etc.), sprinting has been added to allow you to move faster than the normal run speed
- Acrobatics -- no more super-jumping, surviving long falls, or doing backflips, though a high-level Sneak perk grants you a stealthy forward tumble
- Blade and Blunt -- weapons are split into One-handed and Two-handed categories now, but each skill has perks that allow you to specialize in swords, hammers, or axes
- Hand to Hand -- unarmed combat is still possible and is used mainly in non-lethal brawls with NPCs, Khajiit can attack with claws and a Heavy Armor perk give you a bonus for punching while wearing gauntlets, it does damage to health instead of stamina
- Mysticism -- some spells from that discipline, such as Detect Life, Soul Trap, and Telekinesis, were simply mixed in to the Alteration and Illusion skills
- Mercantile -- this was combined with Speechcraft to create the new Speech skill, which affects buying and selling prices at vendors, as well as your ability to successfully persuade, intimidate, or bribe people
Like in Fallout 3
and New Vegas
, perks grant you bonuses or abilities that are useful in activities related to each skill, like being able to zoom in while using a bow reducing the magicka cost of a type of spell, increasing the effectiveness of armor, etc. Each skill has its own tree of perks, with the more helpful ones higher up requiring that you’ve reached a certain level of proficiency and unlocked the perk(s) before it. If you don’t know which one to pick, or you don’t quite meet the skill requirement for the one you want, you can save the point and choose a perk at a later time. You should consider carefully, as there’s no way to undo the choices you make here. That is, unless you want to get the console involved…
Since you don’t choose a class at the beginning of the game, and thus do not choose to specialize in Magic, Combat, or Stealth, there are no major or minor skills; everything levels at the same rate for everyone. However, you can receive bonuses to that rate for certain skills (or all of them) by choosing the Mage, Warrior, Thief, or Lover constellations. Indeed, these guiding stars still exist, but instead of picking one and being stuck with it for the whole game, you can switch between them at any time by visiting one of the 13 standing stones scattered about Skyrim. This, along with the ability to train any skill equally well means that your “class” is only as rigid as you want it to be. Just because you’re a warrior, that doesn’t mean you can’t don your robe and wizard hat to start casting spells, instead. Or does it? It’s up to you.
Another major addition to Skyrim
is the potential for the player to wield the mystical Voice, or Thu’um, utterances of the ancient language of the dragons. As the Dovahkiin, Dragonborn, you have the ability to speak words of power that invoke various effects to help you on your quest. Some have use in combat as damage dealers (fire breath, lightning storm) or utilities (force push, disarm), while others can aid you in stealth (throw voice), navigation (whirlwind sprint), survivability (become ethereal), and more. There are 20 shouts in all, and each of them become stronger as you learn up to three words for each phrase. You’ll need to defeat dragons and absorb their souls in order to unlock each word, though, so this power does not come so easily or quickly. Still, such powers are particularly useful for combat or stealth classes as an alternative to spell-casting.