Skyrim: Sneaking doesn't work

Hello all. I've been having a problem in Skyrim that's pretty much killing the game for me: Sneaking doesn't do anything anymore. I've played a sneaky character up to about level 20 and everything's gone fine, but the other day things went bad. I enter sneak, creep up towards an enemy, and they see me from a sizeable distance - as in, across a river or similar. I've tried removing all my gear to get rid of that potential issue (though I was wearing light armor), and that did not help. I figured my skill might have lagged behind, so I started a new character to try it out. A level 1 Bosmer with 21 in sneak gets seen as soon as it enters line of sight of enemies. Using cheats I upped my sneak skill to 100, with all perks, set my level to 1 and dropped all my gear - no difference.

tl;dr: Sneaking makes enemies see me better than not sneaking.

I've restarted and even reinstalled, removing the entire My Games/Skyrim folder, but the problem remains. Any ideas?

Barring the possibility that it is in fact a bug, which is possible (and which I wouldn't be able to help with anyway), consider the following:

Some mobs appear to be marked as lookouts. They have a MUCH better chance of spotting your sneaky ass than a normal mob.

Light level affects sneaking tremendously. Dark corners are easy to sneak in. Bright, sunlit meadows, not so much.

If you've taken these things into account...I.E. you're not trying to sneak up on a lookout mob, and you're not trying to sneak on a bright sunny day, then I'll go with "weird bug".

It makes me curious to WHERE you are trying to sneak. You mention things like 'across a river' and it makes it sound like you are outside in a field. Sneaking in a dark dungeon is so overpowered, especially with maxed sneak.

in my game i cant get my person to stop sneaking

I play a theif type as well - but im finding that sneak is becoming useless as I progress in the game. I am now level 54, and I wear 4 pieces of gear that each give +45% BETTER Sneaking (For a total of +180%). I wear Dragonscale armor and have both my sneak tree and my light armor tree maxed out (5/5, all perks, etc). However, even in dungeons I can't sneak up on sleeping Daugar - Everything always spots me. The only way I can ever sneak attack anything anymore is with an Arrow or to do a "sprint-roll" and time my attack right at the end before they turn around. Its very frustrating that an entire tree with the full magical armor complement is useless. I should mention the game is set to Master also, which could effect the AI's ability to spot me. But regardless given the amount of effort put into my sneak that shouldnt matter. =/

I tried to sneak through that thalmor embassy mission, but it seemed like those damned elves could hear a pin drop in the snow from a mile away..... so frustrating.

You must always be careful when stacking skill effects with gear. This was a known problem in the Fallout series, where you could essentially go past the maximum allowable effect and loop back to zero.

Theoretical example: Stealth capped at 300%, you've leveled to 100, plus the max Stealth perk rank 5 for 40% bonus, plus 180% Gear bonus. You should be at 100% + 40% + 180% = 320% but that is over the cap and the engine loops you to zero beyond the cap, so your Sneak is effectively operating at 20%.

I'm not saying this is happening for sure, but Bethesda has put these skill caps in previous games to limit overpowering and it has bugged out before. You should always test skills with and without gear enhancements.

this is is odd, i have sneak 94, with muffled boots, and i can sneak up to people fine, like literally stand in their crotch and not be seen.

 

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