Is Skyrim Hard? An In-depth Look at the Game’s Difficulty Levels

Ah, fellow Dragonborn, gather ’round the campfire and let me spin you a tale. I remember the first time I stepped foot into the vast, snowy expanse of Skyrim.

The wind howled, the dragons soared, and I, a mere adventurer, was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all. I’d ask myself, “Is this game too hard, or am I just not playing it right?” I’d hear the same echoes of confusion from fellow gamers in taverns (or, you know, online forums).

It felt like trying to solo a raid boss without any potions. That’s when I realized, we all needed a guide, a map to navigate the treacherous terrains of Skyrim’s difficulty.

In this guide, we’ll delve into:

  • A Brief Overview of Skyrim’s Gameplay: What makes this game tick?
  • Understanding Skyrim’s Difficulty Settings: From Novice to Legendary, what does it all mean?
  • 10 Reasons Why Skyrim Isn’t Hard: The perks and tricks that make you feel like you’ve got a cheat code.
  • 10 Reasons Why Skyrim is Too Hard: The pitfalls that might make you feel like you’re stuck in an endless respawn loop.

So, whether you’re a newbie just starting your journey or a seasoned player looking for a fresh perspective, this guide’s got something for you. Ready your gear, adventurer, and let’s dive deep into the world of Skyrim. Keep on reading, and let’s level up together!

A Brief Overview of Skyrim’s Gameplay

In Skyrim, players navigate a vast open world, completing various quests, battling enemies, and leveling up their character. The game provides an impressive level of freedom, allowing players to choose their path, develop their character’s skills as they see fit, and interact with the game world in myriad ways. However, the level of challenge in Skyrim can vary greatly depending on several factors, including difficulty settings, player choices, and character build.

Understanding Skyrim’s Difficulty Settings

Skyrim features six difficulty levels: Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Expert, Master, and Legendary. These settings primarily affect the damage dealt by the player and enemies. Novice is the easiest setting, while Legendary is the hardest.

In Novice mode, players deal double damage while enemies only inflict half damage. This setting is perfect for players who want a more casual, story-focused experience. As the difficulty increases, the damage balance shifts in favor of the enemies. In Legendary mode, players deal only a quarter of their normal damage, while enemies inflict triple damage.

10 Reasons Why Skyrim Isn’t Hard

  1. Flexible Difficulty Settings: The game’s adjustable difficulty settings allow players of all skill levels to enjoy Skyrim. If a particular quest or enemy proves too challenging, players can lower the difficulty at any time.
  2. Levelling System: In Skyrim, your character levels up by using skills, not by gaining experience points from defeating enemies. This system encourages experimentation and allows players to improve their character by simply doing what they enjoy.
  3. Companion System: Skyrim allows players to recruit companions who can aid in battles, carry items, and even perform tasks. These companions can significantly ease gameplay, effectively reducing the game’s difficulty.
  4. Stealth Mechanics: Skyrim’s stealth mechanics can often turn the tide of battle in the player’s favor. A stealthy approach can enable players to avoid combat entirely or get the jump on enemies with devastating sneak attacks.
  5. Crafting System: By crafting their own weapons, armor, and potions, players can create powerful equipment that can make battles much easier.
  6. Save System: Skyrim’s save system lets players save their game at virtually any point, which means you can always reload a previous save if things go awry.
  7. Non-Linear Gameplay: The game’s non-linear structure allows players to tackle quests and explore areas at their own pace. If a particular quest is too difficult, players can simply leave and return later when they’re more powerful.
  8. Character Customization: Players can customize their character’s skills and abilities to suit their preferred playstyle, making the game easier for them.
  9. Healing Mechanics: Skyrim provides multiple ways to heal your character, be it through healing spells, health potions, or food. These mechanics can often save players in tight spots.
  10. Enemy Level Scaling: Most of Skyrim’s enemies scale with the player’s level. This means that, for the most part, you won’t encounter enemies that are too powerful for you to handle.

10 Reasons Why Skyrim is Too Hard

  1. Unpredictable Difficulty Spikes: Despite the level scaling, Skyrim can sometimes throw incredibly tough enemies or challenging scenarios at players without warning.
  2. Complexity of Systems: Skyrim’s depth, while one of its strengths, can also make it daunting for newcomers. The numerous skill trees, crafting systems, and other mechanics can be overwhelming.
  3. Legendary Difficulty: The Legendary difficulty setting can be brutally challenging, with enemies dealing massive damage while players struggle to dent their health bars.
  4. Permadeath of Companions: Companions can die permanently in Skyrim, which can make certain battles significantly harder.
  5. Limited Resources: Healing potions, arrows, and other resources can sometimes be hard to come by, especially in the early game.
  6. No Difficulty Adjustment for Puzzles: While combat difficulty can be adjusted, puzzle difficulty cannot. Some of Skyrim’s puzzles can be quite challenging.
  7. Random Dragon Attacks: Dragons can attack at random intervals, potentially catching players off guard and leading to difficult battles.
  8. Powerful Boss Enemies: Certain boss enemies in Skyrim are incredibly strong and can be hard to defeat, especially on higher difficulty settings.
  9. Stealth Challenges: While stealth can be a powerful tool, it can also be challenging to execute correctly. Being spotted can often mean the difference between life and death.
  10. Disease Mechanic: Diseases in Skyrim can weaken your character, making combat and exploration harder.


Ah, Dragonborn, our journey through the vast landscapes of Skyrim’s difficulty has been as epic as any main questline. From the towering peaks of Legendary difficulty to the hidden paths that make the game a breeze, we’ve explored it all. Let’s take a moment to recall our adventure:

  • Skyrim’s Gameplay: A vast world filled with choices and challenges.
  • Difficulty Settings: A spectrum from Novice to Legendary, each with its own trials.
  • Reasons Skyrim Isn’t Hard: The tools and tactics that can make your journey smoother.
  • Reasons Skyrim is Too Hard: The unexpected dragons and pitfalls that can catch you off guard.
  • Flexible Gameplay: The freedom to choose your path and adjust as you go.
  • Character Customization: Tailoring your Dragonborn to your unique playstyle.

But as every gamer knows, the end of one quest often signals the beginning of another. So, what’s next on our quest log? Let’s find out in the “What Next?” section.

What Next?

I always believe that every good guide should leave you with some actionable tasks, a real-life quest if you will. Here’s what you can do after our deep dive into Skyrim’s difficulty:

  • Experiment with Different Builds: Try a mage if you’ve always been a warrior, or vice versa.
  • Adjust the Difficulty: Play a few hours on a different setting and see how it feels.
  • Join Online Forums: Share your experiences and learn from fellow Dragonborns.
  • Revisit Old Quests: With your newfound knowledge, some old challenges might feel new again.
  • Teach a Newbie: Share this guide with someone just starting their journey in Skyrim.

Now, gear up, and may your path always be clear. And don’t forget to check out our next section for more insights and tips!

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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