What Skyrim Gets Real Archery Wrong

There are many ways to fight enemies in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and although archery is one of the most effective, its representation in the game is not realistic. Unlike previous entries in the Elder Scrolls series, there are no set classes, so players can choose which weapons they want to use. There are many different archetypes, and one of the most popular is the Stealth Archer. When undetected, players from Skyrim can deal massive amounts of bonus damage, and it’s easier to stay hidden when using a bow.

In a land filled with civil war, bandits, dragons and all sorts of other dangerous creatures Skyrim animals, using a stealth archer build is a very effective strategy, as it ensures that the player will inflict maximum damage while minimizing risk. The Dragonborn’s many abilities provide a wide range of different strategies that don’t incorporate range and stealth, but archery is arguably the most effective strategy. Players who upgrade stealth and archery skill trees will be rewarded with a safe and devastating way to destroy Skyrim enemies, especially when they acquire higher level bows and arrows.


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Although Skyrim is still a fantasy game that uses magic and dragons, archery has been around for thousands of years, and many NPCs found throughout Skyrim do not have access to magic, one would expect them to follow similar rules in the real world. They don’t, however. Instead, they act like archers in the movies, with Skyrim ultimately taking more cues from the Lord of the Rings than actual military history.

Everything Skyrim Gets Archery Wrong

Leveling archery in Skyrim has its pros and cons.

Bows and arrows have a lot of myths and legends behind them, and Skyrim adheres more to myth than to real history. The way they are portrayed in media and fiction is often inaccurate, and in Skyrim, it is no different. A lone archer taking out a group of enemies is pure fantasy and a feat a true Dragonborn can accomplish in Skyrim with ease. That’s not to say such heroic deeds never happened in real history, but a trained soldier facing off against multiple opponents is at a serious disadvantage, regardless of skill level.

Accuracy was not the most important thing for medieval archers. Archery competitions existed, but in combat archers lost arrows on massive units. If an arrow didn’t hit the specific target it was aiming for, it would probably hit someone else instead. Most important was the volume of fire, sending as many arrows as possible into the enemy formation before they closed in to attack with sharp instruments in a close battle.

Getting hit by an arrow is a big deal, even with armor to counter it. It’s still a fast projectile and can stagger a given target, leaving bruises or even broken bones. There is also the possibility that he could strike a weak part of the armor and pierce, or deviate to hit a less protected area, such was the fate of the unfortunate Skyrim guard who took “an arrow in the knee“. When an arrow is shot in real life, it spins like a bullet. This makes it more accurate, but for some reason arrows in Skyrim don’t behave the same way.

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Since Skyrim is in the middle of a civil war, it would make sense to see large formations of enemies in the game. Instead, they end up being more skirmishes, and the AI ​​teaming up with single targets rather than working as a unit. This can be changed with mods. But even then, the game isn’t the best at simulating big battles, unlike other titles like Mount and Blade II: Bannerlordwhich is realistic.

Something else Skyrim wrong about archery is the use of the quiver. While quivers could be carried on the back for transport, archers did not do so at the time of battle. They would rather have it on their waist, or on the floor beside them. They might even have arrows in their drawing hand. Each of these styles provides easier access to the arrows than having them attached to their backs. Since players can enter combat at any time, having a quiver on their back doesn’t make much sense.

Then there is the bow. How does it stay on the back of the player when not in use? It’s kind of magnetized to the player’s armor throughout Skyrim, without visible case. One of the other things that games and movies frequently get wrong about archery is the immense force required to use a bow. It takes a lot of practice to use bows effectively because the weight of bows can be very heavy, especially those designed for warfare. Archers will need to fire the bow multiple times during a battle, so stamina is also key.

Posture and positioning are also important, especially for those trying to be precise. Since accuracy is so important for arches Skyrim, running while trying to shoot arrows is unrealistic. Again, since players can face many deadly enemies and bosses while playing Skyrimrunning is probably a good idea.

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In any combat situation, arrows generally cannot be reused. If the arrows hit something hard, they tend to snap, either snapping in half or shattering. Arrowheads will be dented and deformed. If arrows can be picked up after a battle, they must be reforged and retouched. In Skyrimhowever, players simply need to walk to their victim’s corpse and collect the arrows they just fired, which remain intact and fully reusable.

Skyrim’s archery combat is cinematic but unrealistic

Although Skyrim The approach to archery is not realistic, it is ultimately a fantasy game that has different rules compared to the real world. Skyrim has restoration magic, which can quickly heal wounds so that they are not infected, and the injured can be ready to fight again. The different breeds of old scrolls The universe also has some unique attributes, which means that not all characters will react the same as a human when sustaining an arrow wound.

It is clear to Skyrim gameplay that it doesn’t try to achieve any kind of realism, but there are certain aspects of its portrayal of archery that are rooted in real history. Bows and arrows are found in many different cultures throughout the ancient world. They all differed in available technology, nearby materials and societal needs. It’s something Skyrim the depiction of archery comes across beautifully, as there are many different types of bows and arrows, ranging from elaborate elven bows to those built by dwarves, and they cause varying amounts of damage.

The objective of Skyrim is not an archery simulator, but rather a fun fantasy adventure. In this regard, it certainly succeeds, as it allows players to take on the role of an epic fantasy archer. If a player wants a more realistic archery gameplay, there are plenty of mods to achieve that as well. As it stands, however, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim succeeds when it comes to making the player one of the best archers in Tamriel.

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Earnest A. Martinez