The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Skyrim Difficulty

I remember the first time I booted up Skyrim. The epic landscapes, the rich lore, and… getting absolutely obliterated by a random mudcrab because I had no idea what difficulty setting I was on. It felt like trying to beat a Dark Souls boss with a Guitar Hero controller. I mean, who knew that choosing the right difficulty could be as tricky as sneaking past a sleeping dragon?

I’ve been there, lost in the vast world of Tamriel, feeling either invincible or like a skeever cornered by a pack of wolves, all because of a simple setting. And I bet I’m not the only one. That’s why I thought, wouldn’t it be epic if there was a guide to help adventurers like us choose the right path? So, here we are!

In this guide, we’ll dive into:

  • Understanding Skyrim’s Difficulty Levels: From Novice to Legendary.
  • 10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Easiest Difficulty: Because sometimes, you just want to enjoy the view from High Hrothgar without a frost troll chasing you.
  • 10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Default Difficulty: For those who want a taste of everything.
  • 10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Hardest Difficulty: For the true Nords out there, ready to face Alduin with no fear.

So, grab your favorite mead, sit back, and let’s embark on this quest together. Ready to level up your Skyrim experience? Keep on reading, Dovahkiin!

Understanding Skyrim’s Difficulty Levels

Skyrim offers several difficulty levels, each altering the damage dealt by the player and the damage received from enemies. Understanding the differences can significantly enhance your gaming experience. The primary keyword for this section is the best Skyrim difficulty.

Novice: The Entry-Level Difficulty

Novice is the easiest difficulty level in Skyrim. It is mainly designed for players who are new to the game or those who wish to focus more on the storyline and exploration rather than combat. In this mode, the player deals double the standard damage to enemies, while the damage received from enemies is halved.

Apprentice: A Step-Up

Apprentice difficulty is a step up from the Novice level. Here, the player deals 150% damage, and the damage received from enemies is reduced to 75%. This level is suitable for players who have gotten the hang of the game’s mechanics and are looking for a bit more challenge.

Adept: The Balanced Middle Ground

Adept difficulty is considered the game’s default difficulty. It offers an equal playing field where the damage dealt by the player and received from enemies is the same. This level provides a balanced challenge and gives an accurate representation of the game’s combat mechanics.

Expert and Master: For the Seasoned Players

The Expert and Master difficulties are designed for experienced players seeking more challenging gameplay. In the Expert level, players deal only 75% damage, while enemies deal 150%. In the Master level, the damage disparity increases with players dealing only half the damage, while enemies deal double.

Legendary: The Ultimate Test

Legendary is the hardest difficulty level in Skyrim. Here, players deal only a quarter of their standard damage, while enemies deal triple. This level demands strategic gameplay, extensive knowledge of the game, and a high degree of patience.

10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Easiest Difficulty

Playing Skyrim on the easiest difficulty (Novice) offers several advantages. Here are ten reasons why you might want to consider this option:

  1. Stress-Free Exploration: Novice difficulty allows players to explore the vast world of Skyrim without the constant fear of powerful enemies.
  2. Focus on Storyline: With less challenging combat, players can focus more on the rich storyline and quests.
  3. Learning the Game Mechanics: For beginners, playing on Novice provides an opportunity to learn the game mechanics without being overwhelmed.
  4. Quick Progression: With easier combat, players can progress through the game faster.
  5. Freedom to Experiment: Novice difficulty allows players to experiment with different builds and playstyles without severe consequences.
  6. Less Resource Management: Players won’t need to worry as much about managing health potions, armor repairs, and other resources.
  7. More Forgiving Combat: Mistakes in combat are less likely to lead to death, providing a more forgiving gameplay experience.
  8. Less Grinding: Players won’t need to spend as much time grinding to level up their skills.
  9. More Casual Gameplay: Novice difficulty suits players seeking a more casual, relaxed gameplay experience.
  10. Enjoyment: Ultimately, the purpose of gaming is to have fun. If battling formidable foes isn’t your idea of fun, the Novice difficulty is a perfect choice.

10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Default Difficulty

The Adept difficulty, being the default setting in Skyrim, offers a balanced gameplay experience. Here are ten reasons why you might want to stick with this level:

  1. Balanced Gameplay: The Adept difficulty offers an even balance between challenge and enjoyment.
  2. Realistic Combat: With equal damage dealt and received, combat feels more realistic.
  3. Skill Development: This level forces players to develop their combat skills and game knowledge.
  4. Strategic Gameplay: Adept difficulty encourages strategic thinking, like choosing the right weapon or spell for each enemy.
  5. Rewarding Progression: Overcoming challenges on this level feels more rewarding.
  6. Engaging Quests: The difficulty level of quests aligns well with the player’s progression.
  7. Fair Loot System: The loot system feels more balanced and fair at this level.
  8. Enhanced Immersion: The increased challenge enhances the game’s immersive qualities.
  9. Versatile Gameplay: The Adept level suits a wide range of playstyles.
  10. True Skyrim Experience: Playing Skyrim on its default difficulty offers a gameplay experience as the developers intended.

10 Reasons to Play Skyrim on the Hardest Difficulty

For seasoned players seeking a considerable challenge, the Legendary difficulty offers the ultimate test of skills. Here are ten reasons to consider this option:

  1. Ultimate Challenge: Legendary difficulty provides the most challenging gameplay experience in Skyrim.
  2. Skill Mastery: This level forces players to master every aspect of the game.
  3. Strategic Depth: Legendary difficulty demands strategic gameplay, from choosing the right gear to timing attacks perfectly.
  4. Long-Term Engagement: The high difficulty level ensures a longer, more engrossing gameplay experience.
  5. Rewarding Combat: Defeating enemies on this level feels highly rewarding.
  6. Character Optimization: This difficulty level encourages players to optimize their character build and gear.
  7. Intense Boss Fights: Boss fights are significantly more challenging and intense.
  8. In-Depth Game Knowledge: Playing on Legendary requires a deep understanding of the game mechanics.
  9. Bragging Rights: It’s a great achievement to complete the game on the hardest difficulty.
  10. Unforgettable Experience: The intense challenges make for an unforgettable gaming experience.

Choosing the Right Difficulty for You

Selecting the best Skyrim difficulty ultimately boils down to personal preference and playstyle. If you’re new to the game or value story and exploration over combat, you might prefer the Novice level. If you’re seeking a balanced and realistic gameplay experience, the Adept difficulty might be the best choice. For seasoned players seeking a significant challenge and the chance to test their skills, the Legendary difficulty is the ideal option.

Whichever difficulty you choose, remember that the primary goal is to enjoy the game. Skyrim offers a rich and immersive world full of adventure, mystery, and surprise. The most important thing is to choose a difficulty level that enhances your enjoyment of the game and provides the kind of gameplay experience you’re looking for. Happy gaming!


Ah, Dovahkiin, our journey through the treacherous terrains of Skyrim’s difficulty settings has been as epic as any quest in Tamriel. Just like that time I faced that mudcrab, we’ve tackled the challenges and mysteries of each difficulty level, ensuring you’re well-equipped for your next adventure. Let’s recap our epic saga:

  • Understanding Skyrim’s Difficulty Levels: Every adventurer needs to know their battleground.
  • Novice Level: Perfect for those who want to bask in the beauty of Skyrim without breaking a sweat.
  • Adept Level: A balanced challenge, just like a well-forged blade.
  • Legendary Level: For those who seek to test their mettle against the fiercest foes.
  • 10 Reasons for Each Difficulty: Tailored insights to help you make the best choice.
  • Choosing the Right Difficulty: Because every Dragonborn deserves their perfect adventure.

Now that we’ve conquered this quest, are you ready to see what’s next? Dive into the “What Next?” section and keep your adventure going!

What Next?

I always believe that knowledge without action is like a sword without a sharp edge. So, here are some actionable steps to take your Skyrim experience to the next level:

  • Experiment with Different Levels: Spend an hour on each difficulty and see which feels right.
  • Join Skyrim Forums: Engage with other players and share your experiences.
  • Revisit Old Quests: Try a quest you found easy on a harder difficulty.
  • Challenge Yourself: Set personal goals, like completing a dungeon without health potions.
  • Mod Your Game: Explore mods that offer new difficulty tweaks and challenges.


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

Recent Posts