A Deep Dive Into Skyrim’s Sneak Mechanic

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is a fan-favorite RPG that’s worth revisiting time and time again. One of the game’s biggest allures and strongest replayability features is the vast skill-building possibilities, which nearly always include some level of sneaking proficiency.

 As the Dragon Born, you can train in various disciplines such as studying the arcane arts at the Mage’s College, testing your metal as a warrior against the Companions, or throwing your lot in with the Thieves Guild. You can also mix and match these skills for a completely unique character build. This means, no matter how many times you find yourself restarting at the gates of Helgen, you’ll likely never make the same character twice.

Sneaking is one of the first rudimentary skills you will try your hand at, right along with swinging your sword or casting spells while escaping the Helgen Keep. After learning the basic mechanics – the open-eye icon signaling you’ve been detected while a flat line indicates you’re hidden – it is up to you whether to hone your stealth proficiency or take a more head-on approach to combat.

However, the sneak mechanic is super versatile. If you’re not looking to become a full-fledged assassin, sneaking can be a mighty helpful support skill for any other build. Like it or not, creeping around will definitely come in handy at some point no matter your playstyle, so it’s certainly worth devoting a few skill points towards, at the very least.

When committing to a thief or assassin build, beefing up the sneak tree feels super rewarding. You’ll witness your character become gradually stealthier until they’re virtually able to hide in plain sight. Perk highlights consist of sneak attacks causing up to fifteen times the normal damage, making you a downright deadly assassin capable of one-hit kills. Other indispensable skills include the Silent Roll, enabling you to move faster while remaining in sneak mode, and Silence, which negates how movement affects being detected.

The only real downside to the sneak build is the need to sink points into the Light Foot perk in order to advance the stealth branch of the sneak tree. This is a huge waste of hard-earned skill points as the perk’s only benefit is not triggering pressure plates that are fairly easy to avoid. Unfortunately, you’ll need to dump those skill points to obtain the Silent Roll and Silence perks, which are imperative for a solid thief or assassin build.

Sneaking is a core mechanic in Skyrim, one that’s always fun to toy around with. The unique thrill of triggering one-shot critical animations like slitting throats and gut jabs is one of the repeating joys of Skyrim. The sneak mechanic utilizes realistic aspects with maneuvers like hiding behind objects and staying out of the line of sight to ambush enemies. The realism is just enough, though, combined with a suspension of disbelief when you remain hidden in improbable circumstances or stolen objects disappear from under NPC noses. Those improbabilities create vast mischievous possibilities, turning Skyrim stealth into the nostalgic mechanic it is today.

NEXT: The Witcher 3 Vs. Skyrim — Which Is The Better RPG?

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Kim is a freelance writer for TheGamer. She recently began writing online articles in the summer of 2019 when she was approached on Discord to contribute some articles and guides for Wizards Unite World. Kim is a fan of fantastical genres, some of her favorite titles including Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and The Witcher. She’s a bookish Ravenclaw eccentric, with an inquisitive sense for adventure. Kim seeks to use her writing as a means to travel and explore, hoping to share her findings and spread curiosity.

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