Advice for choosing an Alteration path on Legendary

I'm trying to decide what would be the better route:  Alteration with "mage armor" so I can wear all the robes, or just do basic Alteration and skip mage armor, then invest in Smithing later.  Right now, at a low level (12), the Mage Armor seems like a no brainer.  But does it eventually get outclassed if you pile points into Smithing?  I also have no points in the actual Light / Heavy Armor skills, so there is that to consider.  I went with a Breton for the starting bonuses and Magic resistance.

For an idea where I'm going with the build, it's a straight up Conjure / Archery / Alteration.  Those are the only 3 skills I plan to put any points into, at least for the first 25 to 30 levels.  Smithing could be an option down the road, and I suppose it's only one point wasted even if I start using armor at higher levels (on Legendary).

 

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Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 1 Applies to:

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I'm not sure at all but the mage armor works to increase the flesh spells so I always assumed I had to also cast the spell for it to work. This was always a problem for me since casting any spell in the heat of a battle takes away time I could be dealing damage and it is so noisy. The armor rating if it actually worked if pretty good I guess at low to mid levels but I prefer a bit more protection later on when I'm likely to be surprised by a swarm of Foresworn or a hungry Elder Dragon. I never felt those spells lasted long enough and had a tendency to go out just when I needed them. A potion could extend the duration but that was one more thing I had to do instead of defend myself. I'm really not that good at fighting. My full set of legendary dragonscale is at about 1200 while even the Nightingale once improved offers about 700 once your light armor is nearly 100. It would probably be even better had I put any perks into armor.

I know that there is a perk which doubles the duration of any alteration spells, and the mage armor takes effect as long as I have a zero armor rating.  Perhaps it's meant for early to mid-level play (you can get it with only 30 in alteration), and then later you can use smithing to raise the overall rating of your armor anyway.  On this playthrough, I find that I take very little damage.  If I get hit hard at all, it's usually in the first 15-20 seconds of the fight.  After that, I've found a good spot at range.  Another thing that has really helped me with this build and playthrough is the Ethereal dragon shout.  Being able to completely negate a heavy attack from anything is invaluable.  Lasts about 15 seconds and has a quick recharge.  An example of where it came in handy was at the start of the last Mage Quest mission in Labyrinthine.  You have to run through a metal gate and quicly hit the lever to allow your companions in.  When you are hitting the lever you come under heavy attack.  So the shout gives you an awesome window to do that, then run.

Dang. 1200. I was really proud to get mine to 850. I'm loving this Black Book trip as I just got a 100% magic armor spell. Haven't really tried it yet but...

So are you folks saying Mage armor doesn't work over real armor? only clothes that have zero armor?

[quote user="AngelusTenebrus"]

Dang. 1200. I was really proud to get mine to 850. I'm loving this Black Book trip as I just got a 100% magic armor spell. Haven't really tried it yet but...

So are you folks saying Mage armor doesn't work over real armor? only clothes that have zero armor?

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No, the alteration spells still work over armor to buff them a bit, but they designed the game so that if you wanted to be a pure mage, wearing only robes and unarmored gloves and boots, you could do this with the mage armor perk.  It triples the strength of any "flesh" spell as long as your armor rating is zero.  I think most people just end up using smithing and enchanting to make uber-armor anyway.  But the idea seems to be, mages don't use stamina much, so they don't have the carrying capacity that a warrior would have.  Once they start slapping on heavy armor, they lose a lot of carry load.

That's why I use light armor and then improve it a lot. I have smithing clothes and potions so that I can get the max the game will allow on legendary dragonscale. After I had enough health to feel safe I started putting levels into stamina since I was using the close up view on archery a lot. Magic was free so I never added much to it. Mage armor just doesn't make me feel safe, ya know? I'm a wuss and I want lots of protection especially if I'm facing an ancient dragon who thinks I'm good to eat. I spend a lot of time climbing rocks and the dragon always seem to catch me on a mountain top where I have to back into a rock to not fall off. I have to give them some space in front to land or they just leave and won't fight; but if the land in front then they bite.

Okay! I tried my Ebony magic ward and my armor did go up by 100 to 950. It didn't last very long but was still cool. Rieklings were beating on me like crazy and really doing no damage. I didn't get any light armor skill worth mentioning but it was pretty funny. My damage bar lit up but it never moved. lol Magic just seems to take forever to increase.

@ Angelus...there is a perk in the Alteration tree called Stability, and it doubles the duration of any flesh spell.  It's a little dicey on Legendary, because battles are so long and drawn out, considering how much damage you have to do.  I use the spell for some protection as I get set up for any fight.  Once I have an atronach conjured, and my companion wades in, enemies tend to leave me alone.

Sounds like you have enough armor rating that you don't need alteration.  I believe there is a soft cap of around 567 for armor, and anything above that is wasted because the best you get is an 80% reduction.  When I heard about this, I kind of thought it made all those high level perks in Smithing a waste.  Whether your armor is 600 or 900, it still reduces just 80% of incoming damage.  That's why I'm thinking about just sticking with Mage armor on this playthrough.  No need to grind out smithing if I have magic armor and a conjured bow.

"That's why I'm thinking about just sticking with Mage armor on this playthrough.  No need to grind out smithing if I have magic armor and a conjured bow".

.

By contrast, no point grinding out as much Magicka/using it each battle if you've got reinforced armour and... a conjured bow ; )

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No serious point here, just saying. I don't actually using Smithing very much, personally, but I do reinforce the Steel Plate I typically use. Whatever you prefer as you're right, they're basically the same thing. A different gameplay experience the goal? Go for whatever you don't normally do, FTW.

" A different gameplay experience the goal? Go for whatever you don't normally do, FTW." . I keep thinking I should do that and then I try it and can't not sneak or go for my bow. I was wondering something though about illusion. When I started a straight mage with an Altmer I had Fury. I used it on the two bandits in Embershard mine and some crabs and it worked well. What I'm not sure of is how effective it is later. The spell says level 8 characters will attack nearby but if I'm at level 10 to 15 am I getting much use from it without perks? Am I meeting many level 8 badguys in places I haven't been? I can see some value in the various illusion spells but it always seemed a finagly way to play plus I'm not sure I'm competent to juggle things like that.

Thanks BackLot! I didn't know that. I thought the battles were getting a bit easier. Some of the Reavers and Maalog assassins are pretty tough though. I think I have my Conjure up over 50 now but I'm a long way from any other perks for magic.

I found a Master Magic spell that costs 695 magicka to cast. lol I have like 340 to spend.

"By contrast, no point grinding out as much Magicka/using it each battle if you've got reinforced armour" may want to rethink how much a Master Magic guy needs.

@LadyB! I think I read somewhere that NPC's are supposed to be leveling up with us. That would leave me to think that at the higher levels those spells would also have higher levels. I have one that says anything over level 14 or 12. I don't think I'm running into any level 8 bad guys anymore.

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