The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is home to one of the most satisfying progression systems ever put to screen in its skill trees, which is just one of the reasons the game has remained so popular to this day. These allow players to progress through the game in a wide variety of ways, specializing in just one area or becoming a jack of all trades. As players progress through the levels, these trees unlock special perks that can drastically alter a character's power or quality of life.
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While some perks may seem trivial, or only a means to unlocking the subsequent ones, others are a vital part of certain builds, and can single-handedly transform a character from wannabe to warrior. Here are some of the most valuable perks on offer in Skyrim, that any player should definitely consider investing in, regardless of which path they choose to take through the game.
- Speech: 30
While Bribery might seem like a fairly irrelevant perk on the surface, it can make the game a much easier experience for any player. Being able to get the guards off a character's back without the need to revert to last save and lose stolen items allows players to level other skills like Pickpocketing, Sneak, and Speech (by selling stolen items) without worrying about repercussions, as they'll be able to easily make back any funds spent on bribes.
This is much more profitable when players join the Thieves Guild and can access multiple fences, as relieving wealthy citizens of their belongings and selling them on is a perfect way to make quick cash and level Speech.
- Destruction: 40
- Novice Destruction
- Destruction Dual Casting
A very useful tool for any combat scenario, Impact allows a player to stagger an opponent with almost any destruction spell, regardless of the opponent's size. While this can't be caused by the novice spell Flames, Firebolt, and any other similar level spell and upwards will trigger the effect, allowing players to completely incapacitate an opponent at a fairly low level of destruction.
While mages can certainly make good use of this perk, any player will certainly benefit, as it can allow them the time to switch weapons, take potions, or simply do some serious damage while the enemy cannot respond. It can also be chained, so an opponent has no way to respond.
- Restoration: 20
- Novice Restoration
Restoration tools will be a huge part of any mage's arsenal, but any player can make excellent use of them in keeping their health topped up, as well as that of any allies. Regeneration increases the healing power of all restoration spells by 50%, which even for lower-level spells makes them far more viable.
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Whether choosing to play as a mage, warrior, or any other build in Skyrim, this perk allows players to quickly use a restoration spell and get straight back into the action, without having to spend time casting multiple.
7 Assassin's Blade
- Sneak: 50
- Deadly Aim
Making use of the Sneak skill will be key for any Thief build, including the ever-popular Sneaky Archer. However, any class of player can use this skill tree to their advantage, as sneaking allows players to make a great deal of money via thievery, or deal significant damage to opponents before they can react.
Assassin's Blade adds a 15x damage multiplier to sneak attacks with daggers, which will be more than enough to finish off most weaker enemies, all without being detected. Even for Heavy Armour bruisers, the ability to take one opponent out of the fight entirely is invaluable. And yes, it will also level sneak faster when attacking the monks of High Hrothgar.
6 Arcane Blacksmith
- Smithing: 60
- Steel Smithing
Arcane Blacksmith will require players to grind some levels of Smithing, but once they do, the reward the perk can provide is immense. It allows players to improve magical weapons and armour, which can be exceedingly useful while making armor, as once players unlock the ability to improve further they can do so incrementally, after enchanting it first.
The true power of this perk, however, is unlocking the ability to improve magical weapons and armor found as loot, which are some of the most powerful in the game. Weapons like Champion's Cudgel can be improved at a grindstone to create one of the strongest possible two-handed weapons, and much more.
5 Deadly Aim
- Sneak: 40
Another incredibly useful perk from the Sneak skill tree is Deadly Aim, which adds a 3x damage multiplier to sneak attacks with bows. This perk will be perfect for any player with an archery specialty, as attacking from range makes sneaking much more practical, and can seriously soften up an opponent.
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However, any player will be able to make excellent use of this perk, to get some considerable damage down before engaging an opponent. Combining it with other perks in the archery tree will increase its power, but this perk is more than powerful enough to be useful in its own right.
4 Extra Pockets
- Pickpocket: 50
- Light Fingers
- Night Thief
Tucked away midway through the Pickpocket Skill tree, Extra Pockets might just be the best quality-of-life perk available in Skyrim. It grants a player 100 extra carrying capacity, which is especially useful early game before players have had a chance to level their stamina.
Almost every Skyrim fan has been in a situation where they're out exploring, maybe just killed and looted a dragon, and suddenly they're hit with the notification: 'You are carrying too much to be able to run'. This perk is the single biggest upgrade to carry capacity available in the game and is well worth the investment.
- Restoration: 70
- Novice Restoration
Necromage may be the most powerful perk in the game in the right hands, and only falls to third on this list as there are conditions a player has to meet before it can be truly utilized. The first use however requires no such conditions, as the perk makes all spells more effective against undead. This makes many dungeons much easier, as spells will take down draugr much more quickly.
The perk comes into its own, however, when the player becomes a vampire, by having the disease passed onto them. With this, all enchantments become more effective, as do skill perks acquired afterward, meaning the power cap for a player is significantly higher than before.
2 Extra Effect
- Enchanting: 100
- Insightful Enchanter + Corpus Enchanter
- Fire Enchanter + Frost Enchanter + Storm Enchanter
Extra Effect from the Enchanting skill tree does exactly what it says on the tin, allowing players to enchant weapons and armor with two enchantments rather than one. While this will require some grinding of enchanting levels, the payoff is well worth it, as it allows players to create incredibly powerful and versatile weapons.
Just one way to use this is to enchant a weapon with both a damage enchantment and soul trap, so it can fill soul gems and effectively recharge itself over time. Equally, damage enchantments can be stacked on weapons, or fortify enchantments stacked on armor, which can turn any Dragonborn into an unstoppable force.
1 Twin Souls
- Conjuration: 100
- Novice Conjuration
- Summoner + Atromancy + Elemental Potency
- Necromancy + Dark Souls
The final enchantment in the Conjuration tree will also require some serious grinding and leveling but is widely considered the most powerful perk in the game for very good reason. Twin Souls allows players to conjure two atronachs, or reanimate two undead, which when paired with a follower, allows anyone to take a team of 4 to any battle in Skyrim, seriously tipping the scales.
Whether players choose to specialize in Necromancy or Atromancy, this perk can turn the tide of almost any fight in their favor and will be especially powerful when paired with its prerequisite perks which increase the strength and duration of the souls they summon. It has more than earned its place at the head of this list.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Anniversary Edition is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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