Bethesda Hates Mages: 12 Reasons Magic in Skyrim Sucks

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Yes, Magic is easy to friendly fire with. There was so many times I was shooting magic spells around for fun that I would eventually hit some npc and have them instantly turn on me. Fuck, I just slightly burn my helpers and they just start attacking me like I'm the real enemy.

Is there a mod to stop friendly fire? Or at least one that stops the npc's go berserk after?

I tried going all Illusion magic once. Its amazingly effective at killing small groups of bandits over the course of ten minutes and very weak at everything else. Also they only made 3 different spells for it which is both uninventive and poor balancing.

Yeah, totally. I stayed with my dad, last week, my main form of entertainment was playing Skyrim on the Xbox. No mods, of course. I had fun which came with playing the game, naturally, as I do, but the main issue was that the magic my character used sucked utter balls. I deliberately kept my weapon skills lower than it to avoid overshadowing it too much. Emphasis on too much. Yes, it was worse even with the perk advantages.

But being the sentimental dimwit I am, I persevered with my magic for the entire stay. But things got worse and worse as I levelled. To begin, I had a nice low damage spell that took out enemies in the nick of time before they could close the distance. Usually. For reference, I played on expert, and we're talking the usual bandit rabble. But for apprentice destruction, I took on the lightning bolt spell. It does about the same amount of damage overall as if I used my sparks spell for its duration, probably slightly less for the time saved in a few quick zaps, but my magicka was gone before I knew it and I was forced to run around like a pansy while I waited for it to recharge, which it does at 33% of its usual rate during combat. I understand, lower the rate to make combat harder, but that would only make sense if the magic was powerful in the first place! Which it isn't!

Reaching adept, like anyone would, I moved on to chain lightning and lightning cloak. If you hadn't worked it out by now, I was specialising in shock, and had taken a perk to boost it. However, chain lightning used up half my magicka as an imperial who had focused on boosting it every level, as did lightning cloak, and neither did enough damage to excuse it. Even chain lightning's ability to jump between targets wasn't predictable enough, versatile enough or had enough range to warrant such a drain. So it was back to being a pansy or whipping out the good ol' axe (however, it was the Rueful axe, which Bethesda messed up by making it as slow as [if not slower] than a warhammer and not nearly strong enough to make this in any way sensible, so it's not very good at all).

So, back at my mother's house where I have my computer, Skyrim and internet. What do I do? Mods, obviously. A level scaling mod (similar to Oblivion, enemies scale in strength as you level. What? I liked it. And it caps for different enemies at a certain level, so no worries about never feeling strong) and a mod to rebalance magic to scale with me in strength, and to boost magicka regen during combat to 75%. And it's perfect. Playing on expert and having all fun, no rage. Not to mention all the balance-unrelated aspects. All the nice little tidbits such as weapon variants, boosted versions of my favourite armours and more dragons to slay. Skyrim summation: Better on PC.

The only good on Xbox magic user I've ever seen was the High Elf my little brother made. So much magicka, endless spells but challenge remained. That porridge was just right.
Some have mentioned the lack of the ability to equip spells as off-hand in Skyrim being silly. I partly agree. Off-hand spells should be limited to 1, in any case, and for full power, you must abandon your arms in exchange for spells on their own. Then you can still dual-cast and use master spells at a cost of safety.
As for robes and non-armour clothing, It's really beauty in the eye of the beholder. There's little artistic license with a traditional robe, but the mage I mentioned earlier that my little brother created looked fancy in the ArchMage stuff. That's a pretty creative looking robe, so I wouldn't say Skyrim's completely dead on that front, referring to Skyrim specifically, of course. Oblivion's robes all used the same model, and you didn't get the nice alteration perks to encourage you to use them!

Then again, you can be a battlemage...why not both? However, Oblivion ruined the image for me. I can't help but think of a Breton in full daedric with a magicka-boosting birthsign one-shotting everything with lightningbolts. Seriously man, Bretons were without question the best race. Argonians, coolest race.

However, in Skyrim, every race is kind of awesome-looking. Khajiit were the greatest step up, I think. They really shine in Skyrim. They even gave them their own voice acting for shouts, rather than reusing the human one, again...I guess they thought 5 or so times was too much. Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, so it's time to hit the post button. Again. Because this is an edit.

Magic's power level was fine. You could clear the game with it no problem even at high difficulties.

What was terrible is the play-style. A crowd-control juggle is fine (which is what magic was, even destruction) but your entire direct damage tree having one useful combo that you spam is not in any way even remotely acceptable. Timed buffs are fine, but baseline "you're a little bit better" incremental buffs need to have LONG timers, anything with a shitty 2-minute timer needs to be a buff of OVERWHELMING power and probably an associated cooldown. Making me recast a shitty mage armor variant every couple minutes is incredibly annoying.

That and, as a direct caster, you couldn't really do much else. A melee character could toss other stuff into the fray, like illusions or pets, just by taking a short break and messing around. Someone using spells as their main offense had to keep stunlocking or they'd die.

Alleged_Alec:
That's a shame. I'd really want to make a Dunmer dual-wielder with some light armour and some stealth skills called Drizzl Schmo'Durden or something, but you're saying that wouldn't really work out?

Dual wielding doesn't really work that way, its ass backwards in some ways. If you want to dual wield go heavy armour so you can tank damage yet dish out loads of damage, yet two handed works best with light armour so you can sprint around spamming AoE power attacks. You would think it would work the other way around, a dual wielding Orc in heavy armour with the right gear and berserk will tear anything apart though even those Draugher Death Overlords.

If you are dead set on Dunmer dual wielder you want to get the correct perks like the double speed speed attack perk and the dual savagery power attack perk, put a light fast weapon in your "main" hand and a heavier one in the off hand. That way all dual attacks, regular or power will use the speed of the weapon in your main hand so its well worth losing some DPS from not having two identical weapons as you will gain a lot more in the long run from faster attacks.

This was quite a good read. Your style of writing in this particular article was very enjoyable.
Please do use it more often!

Many correctly identify the problem - Bethesda messed it up. Most do not understand why though. It was due to the project lead's desire to phone-in his commitment to this project, and spend as much time as possible doing anything else, while still taking a massive share of the credit and profit from the rest of the team. You see, Todd has decided that since he is such a master game-smith that he "don't need no stinkin' game design document (GDD)". What happens when you do not have a comprehensive, well considered GDD? Well, magic like this is one good example. Where you have to throw in a stun-lock effect, which is basically just another cheat, to make the damage spells worthwhile. I could go into many of the other factors in magic to illustrate how cobbled-together the entire system is, but the horse is dead already and only mods can bring it back to life. If Howard is to continue eschewing GDD's you can expect more of the same, so you should never buy a Bethesda title in the first four months of it's release (takes them that long to patch it past Beta stage anyway + you might get it a bit cheaper), and then the modders can begin to fix yet another "Blockbuster Mega Hit", while Bethesda spends more time on DLC instead of fixing their messes.

When you are making $400m from a game that you only spent $20m to develop (too much to management like Todd), you really should be doing a better job.

You've leveled loads of mages, and haven't noticed that mysticism has been removed in Skyrim? You've leveled countless fighters without noticing that stamina does not affect carry weight, and is thus only useful for mages if you plan on running away a lot? And nor did you realise that your fighter does not level only weapon skills but block and armour as well? Sorry, but I don't believe that you ever got past the tutorial whilst researching this article.

You sparked a discussion on The Skyrim Blog, but they debunk these points pretty handily. Being a mage doesn't suck in Skyrim; you may just be doing something wrong.

Im glad im not the only one who thinks this. Im always a mage/caster of some sort in ever RPG i play and it seems like Bethesta is biased twoards stealthy characters or warriors depending on the game. Much like with the Deadric armor vs. Arch Mage Robes comparison.

Well,if you say magic is really poor in dmg, you're probably (and most surely) talking about destruction. Yes, it's true, it's quite underpowered, compared to melee. But the rest of magic is actually quite powerful. In illusion, if you have the proper perks (no need of potions) you can use all spells to anyone whose level is lower than 80, and characters whose levels are higher than 80 are very rare in skyrim. In alteration, you can paralyse someone for up to 33 seconds, and paralyse an area for up to 22 seconds. In restoration, you can heal yourself for up to 700 health whenever you want, and thus you dont need potions anymore. And finally, the most powerful school in magic: conjuration. If you have a volkihar vampire thrall, equip it with a very powerful weapon you enchanted and improved (no need of the enchanting-alchemy-smithing cheating), it can kill almost anything. Also, vampires dead thralls can regen at night if you have dawnguard (I don't know if it's a bug or it's intended).

Well yeah, but if you hardline do pure anything it is gonna suck. A warior with no potions and no enchants is not going to get far. A stealthie with no weapon skills is gonna faceplant every 5 min. The power is in the synergy. Illusion + sneak + conjuration =unstopable. Conjuration + heavy armor + any weapon skill is pretty badass. Enchanters can pretty much roll over everything.

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