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Kicking Skyrim's Ass Day 6-7: Officially Legendary

The play time is conveniently recorded as part of the name of each save game file.  So I can say with certainty that I only had 24 hours invested in this latest playthrough two days ago, and am now up to 38 hours. You're quite the time sink, Skryim.

My last entry here was about my exploits on Sunday and Monday devolving rapidly into getting entangled in the same old quests despite myself.  Tuesday and Wednesday were more or less the same.  It's all gone in a blur.  I can't remember what I did for certain, although I do have one screenshot to show for it.
There I am re-forging the Gauldur Amulet.  I took a screenshot because I was shouted by Unyielding Force up onto this ledge you are not supposed to get to.  An invisible wall stopped me from getting down.   Apparently, that same wall won't stop you from ragdolling up there around a corner.  Stuck, I had to reload my last save, which was fortunately not a major set back.

For the most part, what I did since the last entry was mostly exploring the interior of Skyrim, marking various locations on my map, occasionally going inside those locations to complete a quest.  The map is looking quite a bit more fleshed out now than it was a few days ago, but I have probably only logged about 40% of the overall locations in the game to it.

My Conjuration and Enchantment skills have maximized at 100.  After playing with them a bit, I decided to go ahead and use the new legendary skills mechanic to reset them both.   I almost felt like apologizing to Bethedsa for suggesting their end game balance was borked, because the legendary skills mechanic does introduce a crude kind of endgame balance to Skyrim: it gives players an incentive to give up their maxed out skills and related perks in order to get more levels.  Playing without maxed skills should keep the game more challenging overall, right?

I talk a lot about summoning Dremora Lords.  That's these guys.
That sword of theirs isn't for show: they hit like a truck!
Almost, but not quite.  Unfortunately, the problem with the end game balance was not due to having skills maxed out.  No, it was due to crafted gear being overpowered:
  • Naturally, before I reset my Enchantment skill, I pimped out my gear with dual enchantments fueled by grand soul gems.
  • I'm now using The Steed Stone to let me wear a full suit of exquisitely-smithed "nordic carved armor" without having to worry about the weight.   I know I said I would be using light armor earlier, but there's honestly no reason not to go heavy.  I have replaced The Lord Stone's 25% magic resistance with a ring that does the same.  Of course, wearing the heavier armor will make up for the lack of the Lord Stone's 50 armor point buff.
  • Between my higher-leveled sized mana pool and having an enchantment-based mana discount for using conjuration, I can summon Dremora Lords even without perks or many conjuration skill points.  Sure, they're not quite as powerful, are not summoned as long, and I can't pull out two at once, but I have yet to meet any enemy that requires any of that.  Besides, my Conjuration is bound to hit 100 again, eventually.
  • My enchanted gear also gives me 80% bonus archery damage.  My crossbow now does over 100 damage per shot (300 on a sneak attack) and this is not counting the fire damage enchantment I put on it.  
  • My enchanted gear also gives me a 40% reduction to shout recharge duration.  Consequently, I am better at shouting away enemies who are in my face than ever before.
It seems that, thanks to my crafted gear support mechanisms, "going legendary" made no real difference to my combat effectiveness.  My tactics are the same: summon a Dremora Lord and have it (along with my follower, Lydia) do most of the fighting for me while I support at range with archery.   If an enemy gets in my face and I am unable to exploit the game's pathing, I can usually just shout them away.  Overall, I am still easily as powerful as I need to be to beat this game.

In the long run, the legendary mechanic will allow my character to become more powerful than was possible before the legendary skill mechanic was introduced.  Fortunately, I can't see leveling alone as introducing nearly as game-breaking of an effect as what trade skills do to equipment, so the long-term damage to the game mechanic will be comparably minimal.

I can get more perk points than I could before legendary mode was a thing, and continue grinding my favorite skills even after they are maxed.  I guess I sort of like that, if only because it increases the overall duration of the game mechanic before it completely fizzles out.

Progress in Skyrim is going to slow down quite a bit for the rest of this month because I am booked for a lot of real life work for the next few weeks.  While I will have the occasional day off, I won't have nearly as much time to waste wrestling dragons as I did at the beginning of this month.

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