First - hello to all of you! . I have just found this community and hopefully I will stay here for a while. [Into - skip if you're bored]I have been playing pure mage for a while (becoming arch-mage before hitting level 10 etc.). Then I learned a bit more about the game mechanics... I thought I would share my experience and observations. With conjuration at 100 and two dremoras at your side, life is quite easy. Add some follower (mostly to carry your stuff ;]), destruction with impact and you are set. At level 25 with difficulty setting "expert" (I don't play master just because everything takes sooo much longer), there are few problematic encounters. The difficulty increases slightly between 25 and 50 level, but it's still very comfortable (as you might know, enemies do not level above 50lvl). Magic is crap in Skyrim? Yeah, if you don't know how to play it... Character Build There are two approaches to Battle Mages: 1)A warrior, using magic, and 2)a mage, using some warrior skills. This is the latter. Idea: You enter the battlefield with your atronachs on your both sides. You say 'hello' - using the most powerful spell in your book. Your minions run to kill anybody in their sight. You just stand still - killing everything which still has enough effrontery to be moving. Don't care about anything. Repeat. You are not a stealth player. You enter, you do the massacre, you leave. Major skills: 1)Destruction Apprentice[- Master], Dual Casting, Impact, Augmented Flames, Shock and Frost ->To fully use the character of a mage you will need to strategically use all three elements. Relying only on fire is a big mistake. ->Impact is most important. ->Intense Flames, Deeping Freeze, Disintegrate are just a waste of points. ->Do NOT underestimate sparks, flames and frostbite. These are my spells of choice even at higher levels. 2)Conjuration Novice[-Master], Summoner (1/2), Atromancy, Elemental Potency, Twin Souls ->Thralls and Atronachs give you more flexibility than reanimating dead. Thus, skip necromancy and dark souls ->Do not take dual casting. ->Second level of Summoner is generally not useful. ->Two permanent Thralls summoned way before any battle means you don't really care about the magicka costs. 3)Restoration Adept, Recovery (2/2), Regeneration ->Recovery is a must-have for any mage. ->Regeneration is helpful at higher levels. 4)Heavy armor Juggernaut (5/5), [Conditioning] ->The biggest problem of many mages is to stay alive after one or two hits. Once you remove significant reasons to use robes, there is no reason NOT to use heavy armor. ->Summon yourself a Deadric Armor once you hit 100 Conjuration. So, no need to use smithing. ->Conditioning would be nice but it requires wasting two perks for useless Fists of Steel and Cushioned. If you have spare perks - go for it. 5)Enchanting Enchanter (5/5), Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect ->Enchanting is the key to low/zero cost destruction spell casting. Comments and tips: 1.This character is played as a pure mage, utilizing Arch-mage robes and Morokei mask until higher levels (read: until getting Deadric Armor) 2.TIP: The first thing you should do is select mage stone + go to the mage's guild and do their quests. They are doable early. Yes, you will struggle in the third dungeon - you might need a followed to help you. 3.Conjuration is the key. Get the fire atronach before doing anything else (I got it during my first guild quest, at around... 3rd level?). Once you get the ice atronach, life becomes nice. Once you hit 100 and 2 permanent atronachs, you are set. You should level primarily via conjuration - NOT destruction. Having 100% destruction is MUCH less useful than 100% conjuration, especially at early levels. 4.Destruction at apprentice level will be enough for a loooong time. Fireball is fun but initially very expensive to use it efficiently. Once you learn how to use your spells efficiently and can afford spamming them - higher level spells become very powerful. TIP: In this game, it is not the damage per spell which is relevant but damage per second. One powerful spell every minute is less useful than 30 slightly less powerful spells 5.It takes a bit of practice to learn how to use magic together with your atronachs. Casting powerful AOE flame spells around your ice creatures is a BAD idea. 6.Thus - Magicka regeneration is more important than total magicka supply. In easy battles, you don't need to cast any spells (followers kill everyone). In difficult battles, you won't have enough mana to kill everybody anyway and your limitation is regeneration rate. 7.REMEMBER: The choice is between heavy armor and alteration magic (*necessarily* with Mage Armor). I have chosen the first as overall more efficient/powerful. --->Dragonhide spell is very expensive to keep up, has long cast time, can be interrupted. So it's useless except for the first few seconds of the battle (when the enemies are far from me anyway). So you have to rely on Ebonyflesh + Mage Armor... which still gives you a lower armor rating than a good deadric armor and it is not permanent. Drawbacks of using heavy armor: heavier set, slower movements. 8.There is A LOT of perks unused which can be added to anything you want. I did not cover other schools of magic because I don't consider them crucial - but they are useful. Same with alchemy etc. My doubts: 1.I don't know the differences in deadric armor quality between what you can summon and what you can make yourself using smithing. Soooo, it might ultimately be helpful to take smithing (at least to farm lots of gold for these expensive spell books ;]). 2.One issue: summoning of thralls is expensive. There are three options: ----1)Have more base mana ----2)Have master conjuration perk ----3)Have low/0% cost enchantments. --Personally, I would go with the perk. Reason: You don't need lots of mana for anything else, there is little need for 0% conjuration casting (usually you don't have to spam summoning new creatures all the time and there are better enchantments to use) and conjuration master perk can cater sufficiently for the need to re-summon dead atronachs during the battle. You DON'T re-summon thralls in the battle. Too expensive, too slow. 3.Illusion makes life even easier (though in very funny way), but it requires min. 9 perks to unleash its potential against all highest-level creatures. I am still wondering if there are better uses of these perks. I do however recognise and emphasize the significant power of illusion school. What do you think? SummaryI have tried to bring your attention to the usefulness of some of the perks. It is not true, as some people claim, that a pure mage should use all the perks e.g. from destruction or conjuration. Also, I believe it is worth re-examining the usage of heavy armors by mages in skyrim, especially as the many penalties which appear in other RPGs are gone. The advantage you get: getting randomly hit during the battle is not a reason to worry. Finally, there are lots of people complaining about magic. I mean - seriously? I stopped playing Oblivion when I realized how boringly overpowered the magic was. Here, at least you need to spend a few minutes thinking on what you are doing - as opposed to just spamming your newly-crafted spell. This is NOT a build for people looking for warrior-like experience of clicking one button all the time. This is NOT a build for people who like exploiting the stealth kill on a dragon. I am happy to hear your comments/questions on the build as well as any advice you might have! Do you think there is a better way of reaching full potential of a mage? Have you come across some particularly useful perks/spells from other schools of magic which you believe should be included as "must have"? I would love to hear about them! Best, Theriel P.S. Apologies if posted in wrong place. If that's the case, I would be grateful for moving the thread.