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Sneak Archer Guide

Discussion in 'Skyrim Guides and Tutorials' started by Byronb81, Dec 21, 2011.

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What is your choice for armor your archer?

  1. Heavy Armor

    7.5%
  2. Light Armor

    88.7%
  3. Nekkid

    3.8%
  1. Byronb81

    Byronb81 With two .22's and belly full of booze...

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    I’ve been leveling/loving an archer in Skyrim with a stealth focus yet haven’t found more than a handful of random suggestions on this class so I decided to write my own guide. If you’re a number crunching gamer this might not be the guide for you, I’ll be talking tactics rather than specifics. The following guide is simple suggestion and you should keep in mind the fun of Skyrim is that you can play your character any way that is fun for YOU.

    First off, nice choice on going archer! You will not regret it; I am seriously digging it. Let’s dive right into character creation – I went with Wood Elf to get the native archery bonus. In retrospect I would have chosen a different race; the bonus becomes almost negligible later in the game. You’re going to get so mean on bows later on… I don’t know, damage just isn’t an issue for me and I keep wishing I had a cat head. You have the choice to increase either Magic, Health, or Stamina each time you level. Health is going to be the right choice most of the time. I throw in a Stamina every fifth level to prolong Steady Hand, Magic might be fun if you use Illusion spells but really you want health. So what to do with the Perks?

    Stealth goes well with archery! If you dig thinking your way through dungeons and dropping foes from the safety of the shadows than this is the way to go. The bread and butter of your skill points will be Sneak, Light Armor, and of course Archery. You NEED to grab everything in the Archery tree as soon as possible but some of the best perks are Overdraw, Eagle Eye, and Steady Hand. In the sneak tree you want to get the first level of Stealth ASAP so that you even stand a chance of sneaking. Deadly Aim is the jewel in this tree but I strongly suggest taking Backstab as well (purely from a fun stand point). In Light Armor grab Agile Defender, Custom Fit, and Unhindered early on.

    So how to play this powerful and entertaining class? Let’s talk tactics. You won’t be bum rushing corridors and spastically trading blows with the enemy. Instead you will be crouched in sneak mode most of the time, creeping around the edges, staying out of the light, avoiding debris on the ground that might alert others to your presence. The developers were kind enough to include plenty of hidden areas and chests that only the circumspect sneaker will find. You’ll discover paths and hidden perches from which to fire from before stealthing away to other hidden vantage points, culling your confused foes one or two at a time. You sneak up to encampments taking in their unaware conversation, figuring out guard routes, and planning ambush points. You’ll fire at empty walls to create distractions and when the group turns to investigate you’ll drop one from behind and disappear, keeping the enemy off guard and vulnerable.

    When you get forced to fight in the open you need to drop the ninja crouch and change tactics. Two terms you should get familiar with: strafing and kiting! When fighting mages and other archers you’re going to want to strafe back and forth as you line up your shots, dodging return fire (here’s where the Steady Hand perk comes in handy). As for those pesky melee baddies? Kite ‘em! Run back through the cave you’ve cleared turning and firing every chance you can until they drop. If you can kite them around a large stone or column even better! The key is not to stop and trade blows with them… unless of course you’re leveling up your One-Armed skill to better Back Stab fools.

    The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines are good ones to knock out early on because you get fantastic sneak/archery gear and the missions pretty much teach you how to stealth effectively. I went Dark Brotherhood first just to get the Whisper Aura shout (you pick it up during one of the quests) which in my opinion is the most useful shout in the game PERIOD. This shout let’s you see through walls, levels, anything to CLEARLY see all life forms, including undead and mechanical! I’m a bit of a scary game sissy (the music swells just kill me) and this power turns the tables. Instead of timidly peaking into each dark corridor sure of instant ambush, I get to be the stalker in full control, aware of each threat with a plan for bringing ‘em down. Whisper Aura is a must have shout for the brave but skittish.

    Let’s talk money, most games make it expensive to play archer and Skyrim does a pretty good job of eliminating that. I found there to always be plenty of arrows on the ground/dead. In fact I only started buying arrows when I wanted to be firing all Glass Arrows (still somewhat rare for my level at the time) and I was already stupid rich. Another thing, don’t miser your coin – the game gives you TONS of money as a sneak archer so go ahead and fully furnish the Dark Brotherhoods new digs, treat yo self! Just make sure you have ample lock picks on you at all times.

    Lastly let’s talk about items briefly. I hardly ever use poisons on my arrows but you will need to eventually. After awhile you come up against some pretty big baddies that don’t drop as easily as their minions. Unless your Sneak level is through the roof it isn’t going to help you much at times like these. Dive into your menu and prepare for battle! Throw on your resistance armor. Lace your arrows with a heavy poison. Put on every piece of +Archery gear you have. Drink that potion of True Shot. Drop into third-person mode to better navigate the field of battle. And start notching arrows into that fools heart! Aim a little low for what you want to hit, make sure your bow is drawn all the way back before firing (patience), account for movement, smile as the arrow lodges in your foes neck, put another two arrows in his chest while he recovers, now RUN! Rinse and repeat :)

    This is my first time writing a guide, I hope you enjoyed it, cheers!

    -Byron
     
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    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    Tactikul: 1 Point (Well done. Gives the newer archers some direction.) Jan 1, 2012
    PurpleShew: 4 Points (Great Work added to my recommended guides) Jan 23, 2012
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  2. Allen Lemkuhl

    Allen Lemkuhl Member

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    sounds like a pretty useful guide i enjoyed reading this :)
     
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  3. Rayven

    Rayven Global Moderator
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    Thanks for the guide, Byron. And welcome to the forums!
     
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  4. Teritus

    Teritus Giving it to you straight since 1869

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    Great guide, man. It might just help me later on. One question though. Can you use a dagger in close combat if you must? Cause I've seen other assassin type guides where people use daggers.
     
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  5. Byronb81

    Byronb81 With two .22's and belly full of booze...

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    Thanks for the feedback guys! As for daggers, you can use them effectively in combat if you double up with the Dual Flurry perk. It speeds up your attacks enough that the damage catchs up but even then... all things equal - the sword wins out because you get that extra bit of reach that can mean the difference between a dodge and a hit, offensively and defensively.

    Daggers really shine on Backstabs after you get the Assassin's Blade perk which makes sneak attacks with a dagger hit for FIFTEEN times normal damage! No sword is keeping up with that bonus. I like to keep my carry weight down to bring back more loot so my melee setup is simply my primary dagger and whatever is my best sword in my offhand. A word of caution, if you are sneaking around with a sword out that has an enchantment... make sure the enchantment doesn't hum or make noise, it will give away your position. Took me a quick second to realize that one lol
     
  6. Teritus

    Teritus Giving it to you straight since 1869

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    Thanks for the quick reply.
     
  7. Rayven

    Rayven Global Moderator
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    And I recommend carrying 2 bows at all times. There's a critter who iikes to disarm in a spectacular fasion.
     
  8. Teritus

    Teritus Giving it to you straight since 1869

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    Oh, yes, I know that. But surely you can just pick the bow up again? I see what you mean though.
     
  9. Byronb81

    Byronb81 With two .22's and belly full of booze...

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    Haha first time that happened to me I was so confused that I just ran away. After finally dropping the mob with a sword it took me a good 10 minutes to find my awesome bow that had been tossed into a dark corner under a bunch of wine bottles lol
     
  10. Stone

    Stone Retired Moderator

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    Great guide, looks like a lot of work and thought has been put into it. Keep it up.
     
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  11. Fizzy Menthos

    Fizzy Menthos New Member

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    nice guide :p Can i suggest a few things to Pretty it up ?

    Start
    Make nice header titles not underlined tho.
    Have an opening! makes for a nice read and easy navigation of the thread

    Middle
    Have your main tips and guides here pictures should be put in spoilers to for aesthetic reasons :p

    End (conclusion)

    Just a quick goodbye or a nice summery of anything else you wanted to say :p

    This is literally only a suggestion, please don't think in anyway shape or form i am trolling you, your post was really good, just trying to help you make the absolute best of it :p

    Kind regards,

    Fizzy!
     
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  12. Byronb81

    Byronb81 With two .22's and belly full of booze...

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    Honestly I appreciate the input! Definitely gives me some good ideas for my next one. I've been thinking about doing a guide on items/merchants so I'll try a bit more structure, cheers!
     
  13. Gemini Sierra

    Gemini Sierra Pre-emptive Salvage Specialist

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    Wow great post. I just recently started an archer myself. I'm actually planning archer/mage combo primarily focusing on the archer and seconday the mage. The thought is that I'll take the mage armors to help my own.

    A comment on somthing you said:
    You have to take Backstab to get Deadly Aim, so it's a win win there.

    I can't think of anything else at the moment. I'm at level 8 or 9 right now and except for some big orc boss' I've been one shotting creatures and people. some of the heavier armored people have taken two shots.

    OH! What's your favorite bow? At this level so far, I like the Imperial bow, but from experience on my other character, the Ebony bow is what I'm working towards.

    And now I have questions lol
    did you put anything into enchanting? alchemy? so you can make poisons and enchant your own armor/jewelry?
     
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  14. Agincourt

    Agincourt 'Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!'

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    Good Guide mate, i'm on about my 4th Archer/Thief/Assassin build, and some very good tips in there for peeps new to this playstyle.

    If i can add my 2 coins worth tho....

    I always fully clear rooms/Caves etc, this style of Play is "Hit and Run" Fully clearing you know you can retreat if seen untill you can hide away again, then sneak back in when you Hidden again, If theres a couple of Mobs together take the first one if its a one shot kill, and the other mobs is looking the other way take the other shot (Quickdraw perk is very handy here) If they survive the first shot retreat to your cleared areas till they calm down.

    Always keep an eye on your Compass bar for the red dots some mobs will aggro from other rooms, and like Byron said the "Aura Whisper" shout is a must have for this build, as well as the "Throw Voice" shout.

    My new guy is lvl 41 atm playing on the lvl below master, with no perks in armor, its trickey when you get seen so "Hit and Run" is a nice way to play! Who needs Armor!!! You can't Kill what you can't see!!!!!

    I'm using Enchanting atm Paralyse on your bow is a very nice addition to this playstyle, i also roll with some Banish/Fear/Turn undead daggers for when it goes "Pete Tong" saved me a few times.

    Anyway nice guide mate, hope to see more from ya!!!!
     
  15. Amazonia

    Amazonia Member

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    lol this was great advice for me! I am definitely skittish when the music begins to swell. I made my character "evil" so I planned on doing the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood anyway, but definitely extra incentive for the armor and shout.
     
  16. Grey Fox

    Grey Fox Active Member

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    Nice piece of work you have there. For me personally, paralyze on a bow is a bad idea. If you kill your enemy with one shot that's fantastic but, if you don't and they fall to the ground paralyzed, it makes it much more difficult to hit them. Especially if they are laying behind a low wall.
     
  17. intellectualjoke

    intellectualjoke New Member

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    woot, score one for the Byrons... don't meet many of us out there.

    great guide, make sure to link it if you do update.

    maybe i can help, just my opinion due to my preferred game-play. no correct or incorrect ways just trying to help you with possible opinion/optional avenues when you write your next guide.

    Disclaimer:long winded due to the fact that i am snowed in and with nothing to do i have not been sleeping... i am currently more of a mechanism thats only function seems to be turning caffeine into Skyrim. tl;dr doesn't need to be expressed, i will assume.

    i am more of a role-player without actually living the character, if my toon dies i usually lose interest and have even been known to start over (re-roll). adds more pressure for me so i prefer it that way (got something to lose, i am an ex EVE player... so i am unstable like that)

    i agree with everything, but, your choice of health over stamina... i do about the opposite. i am very squishy but that doesn't matter, if the NPC knows i am there it is only because i allowed it and even then it is only for as long as it takes my arrow to hit. i went with the most bang for my buck when it came to raw power and left defense to be handled by my offense.

    if forced into a tight situations (multi melee against my bow or angry giant/mammoth/both), steady hand plus quick-shot with the high stamina, i can easily out maneuver 4 to 5 enemies at point blank and that is with minimal movement. i never run, though i dont die... much. usually when i die it is from hitting the ~ instead of the damned tab button. i need a new keyboard, preferably the next one will have better spelling and grammar.

    i deff do use all of the stuff on the archer tree thus far... aside from eagle eye, messed up my long shots for some time. i have read alot of conflicting material on things like Ranger or Power shot. i tell you what, the idea of trying to maneuver backwards while turning to fire in front (leading the target) just to then have to turn another 4 or 5 directions to repeat this process... while steady handx2 is going... without Ranger... makes me want to stab my eyes out with a fork. power shot with quick shot equals a free shot in the rotation. every two to three shots. mix that with the paralyze ability of my bow (or soon with the tree perk) it takes a good long while, and is almost comical seeing enemies try to fill that gap between their position and mine. i just rotate my shots, taking the extra one in the rotation from the power shot perk to finish off already injured (nearly dead) enemies.

    for my bow it really doesn't matter much to me. i am currently using a legendary elven bow. legenday due to and made possible by the anal repetitive crafting of my collection of iron daggers. i am only lvl 25 ( i have only been to three town/cities). so i am still noobish.

    i enchant paralyze on bow, i am at lvl 70 within the archery tree so no 100* lvl paralyze perk yet. i will deff be taking that perk so i can use a bow with damage mod on it. or maybe to just dble paralyze chance... if they stack, pr say. anyone use that perk? the paralyze i use is for 2 seconds, but it triggers quite a bit. if i have to shoot more than once at a mob, i usually stay pretty consistent; one out of three is a paralyze. within that two seconds they fall prone and then have to slowly get back up which adds another two or so seconds. mainly useful when overwhelmed by multi high end mobs, kinda overkill with weaker enemies. then again, so is most of the damage mods on bow when it comes to low end mobs.

    something with a 20 plus dam mod would prob be smarter. i just like it to be a challenge. as enchanting perks are added, the paralyze time will get better allowing me alot of crowd control. NOTE: i stopped using my stamina syphon bow because i use stamina regen gear and i could stay in slow motion pretty much indeff, wasn't exciting :sadface:. but is a tactic none the less.

    only do to game mechanics i find it easier to pull a full room down a tunnel. the power shot stun usually bogs down the movement of the mobs behind your target and they bottle neck into a nice tight package, making the possibility of missing one of them near impossible. paralyze helps as well as summoning a familiar also nicely bogs down the tunnel further.

    i have not done the thieves guild or brotherhood yet... would stand to reason that the drops for my skill path would be better geared huh.

    i would go more in depth in leading the enemies with arrows. i would have to say that is one of the most useful tools in the bag. you can lead them out and away from a position entirely. allows you to either bypass them (ack, i never leave anyone alive) or get to a better position.

    also the half shot - you mentioned to take your time and make sure you have a full shot. in close battles when the power shot is needed or just a little damage to finish off...taping the fire trigger for a limp arrow FTW. that quick... if not flaccid shot has saved me arse from many nasa launches while up against giant.

    ok i am running out of coffee now. i have a lot of other stuff but i think i will turn your thread back to you. i am too tired to proof read this and for the readers sakes i am going back to Skyrim. My rant, ty for the help Byron, keep it up bro.
     
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  18. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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  19. Necromis

    Necromis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I agree a great little guide. I actually think I am gonna go Breton or High Elf with my sneaky archer. I tried doing the mage tank route, but honestly even though I was not having issues, except the occasional killing of lydia, i wasn't enjoying it. I miss the sneaking around and sniping. I am gonna slip in and steal the bound bow book from Fort Amol and couple conjuration with a little illusion to be more mystic sneaky archer ninja. I can't wait.
     
  20. D3adToU

    D3adToU New Member

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    Great guide :)
    Was wondering if you can organize it a bit :/
    Kinda messy and hard to find a specific point
    but nevertheless, amazing guide!
     

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