The Pros and Cons of the Magic Gameplay in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Most players complete the fifth installment of The Elder Scrolls as a warrior or archer, but when the soul yearns for something new, a new class opens up to players. Mages have their unique set of spells and tremendous gameplay variability. They have their advantages and disadvantages worth mentioning before starting the playthrough.
Access to different types of damage and debuffs
Mages are strong not only due to destructive spells but also because of a wide range of debuffs. For example, during the clearance of ancient Nordic dungeons, spells that turn undead of a certain level into fleeing creatures are perfect. While the undead scurry around, they can be skillfully turned into ash using various destruction spells. It's worth noting that there are different types of damage: fire, electric, and frost.
Just remember the centurion in Dwemer ruins: it has maximum resistance to cold but is vulnerable to fire and electric spells. Thus, a mage can skillfully destroy their opponents by choosing the most suitable spells.
Developing a magic character is much more interesting
The gameplay for a warrior is quite simple - you just need to hit enemies and improve your equipment. With mages, the process is much more interesting: players can easily combine spells from different schools to achieve the desired result. By fortifying themselves with "Alteration," they can achieve decent defense even without armor, and master-level destruction spells will turn opponents into dust.
Even pacifists can find their place - by using "Illusion" and "Conjuration," one can complete the entire game with minimal killing. Players have access to five schools of magic, each of which has unique perks and effects. The restoration school should not be underestimated either, as master-level abilities allow for the rapid healing of the character's health in a matter of seconds.
Mages have more inventory space and don't need weapons
The development of a warrior or archer greatly depends on the weapon held by the main character. They constantly need to develop their blacksmithing skill to create more powerful weapons or search for them in the open world - looting them from enemies, buying them from merchants, or obtaining them as quest rewards.
Mages have it much easier in this regard. Thanks to their talented hands, the main character can use magical abilities without any accessories. This frees up additional inventory space that can be filled with useful ingredients for potions or valuable items to sell. Moreover, there's no need to worry about enchantments on weapons that need to be reinforced with soul gems.
Completing some quests becomes twice as easy
This advantage of magic characters is evident during the completion of two interesting quests - "Diplomatic Immunity" and "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine." In the first case, the hero is sent to the Thalmor Embassy, and in the second - to Cidhna Mine. In both cases, weapons and armor are confiscated by game conditions.
If in the first quest, you can retrieve your equipment as you progress, then in the mine, you'll have to sweat a lot at a high difficulty level. However, if the Dragonborn skillfully uses magic, completing such quests will become much easier. While some magical robes provide pleasant bonuses, the absence of these buffs won't diminish the hero's strength by even half.
"Master" level spells empower the main character to the maximum
If a warrior is cornered, the only way out is a quick load. If a mage is cornered, casting a mass paralysis spell will create an advantage for the hero. Using melee weapons, a warrior will only damage one or two enemies nearby, while a mage can easily cast a mass destruction spell and strike a dozen opponents simultaneously.
Long development of certain skills
The power of the main character will depend on skill levels. It's relatively easy to increase the level of "Alteration," "Conjuration," and "Illusion" - just frequently use spells from these schools somewhere in the field. Magical power can be restored through waiting, but it's not as simple with "Destruction" and "Restoration."
"Destruction" is leveled up when spells from this school deal damage to enemies. "Restoration" improves when the character replenishes spent health points. Naturally, jumping from a small height and using healing spells each time is not the most pleasant activity.
Dependency on good equipment
Warriors, archers, thieves, and other characters who deal physical damage can create armor pieces using the blacksmithing skill. Mages don't have this capability. Developers simply didn't provide such an option, so the Dragonborn who studies magic will have to buy various robes from merchants, and without a developed speechcraft skill, such purchases will be quite expensive. Moreover, it will be necessary to spend additional time searching for the right robes.
Mana reserves often run out in battle
Higher-level spells require additional mana expenditure. Classes relying on physical damage don't suffer from this problem. However, mages will need to study "Enchanting" to apply special enchantments to their robes, allowing them to spend significantly less mana when casting "Expert" and "Master" level spells. Again, leveling up "Enchanting" will take a lot of time.
No benefits from wearing armor
Classes that deal physical damage have a significant increase in survivability by increasing the amount of armor. Mages face many inconveniences due to this issue. They have to apply fortifying spells from the alteration school during combat to enhance their survivability. In other words, the Dragonborn will have to avoid damage or spend a portion of their life studying "Alteration."
It's difficult to choose spells without knowledge of enemies
As mentioned earlier, some enemies have high resistance to certain types of damage. Dwemer creatures are vulnerable to fire but immune to frost. Without knowledge of all the intricacies, playing as a mage will be quite challenging because there won't be an understanding of choosing the appropriate spell.
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