This is a page summarizing a large number of significant differences between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. More detailed information can be found on the individual games' pages.
||Altars require an offering of between 0-35 gold pieces to receive a blessing, dependent upon player rank in the shrine's associated faction. Blessings vary from each altar, but you can always be cured of diseases and poisons by using them.
||Altars can be used for free, though a large number of them require that you have visited a wayshrine for that deity. If your Infamy is greater than your Fame, you cannot use altars, except for some found in add-ons.
||Altars can be used for free, but bonuses from multiple altars no longer stack.
||Your race, and to a lesser extent, your class, determine your starting attributes like Strength and Speed. These can be increased on level up.
||Strength, Speed, and the other six primary attributes from previous games no longer exist—there are only three attributes now: Health, Magicka, and Stamina. All races start with 100 in each attribute, with the exception of Altmer, who start with 150 magicka.
||Argonians and Khajiit in Morrowind cannot wear any kind of shoes or boots, or full helmets; helmets which do not obscure the face can still be worn.
||Argonians and Khajiit can wear shoes, boots, and full helmets. There are no restrictions on what you may wear based on race.
||You choose a birthsign at character creation that gives your character special abilities. This cannot be changed.
||You choose a birthsign at character creation that gives your character special abilities. This cannot be changed. In addition, you may use a birthsign stone to grant an additional power, similar to the birthsign abilities, which can be changed but you may only have the power of one birthsign stone at a time.
||Standing stones replace traditional birthsigns and grant corresponding powers, which you may change at any time. With the Aetherial Crown (DG), two powers can be active at once.
||You can wear armor and plain clothing at the same time.
||You cannot wear both armor and plain clothing at the same time. In other words, you can't wear a shirt under a cuirass or pants under greaves.
||Most chests and containers can hold no more than 100 lbs.
||Chests and containers have no storage limit.
||Most containers have no storage limit; however, there are mannequins, bookshelves, and weapon and shield racks and plaques which can contain a fixed number of items.
||Morrowind contains a few cursed items. If you pick up one of these items, it causes a creature to spawn nearby and attack; most frequently this is a powerful Dremora Lord.
||In Oblivion, the name "cursed items" applies to items that you can reverse-pickpocket onto NPCs and cause damage to them. The term also applies to the Staff of the Everscamp, but technically it is a quest item.
||In Skyrim, the only cursed item is the Cursed Ring of Hircine, which automatically equips itself and forces you to randomly transform if you are a werewolf.
||Most NPCs have a large list of topics you can speak with them about, but with many generic responses. However, some NPCs have some unique dialogue.
||There are far fewer topics you may discuss with NPCs, but nearly all NPCs have unique dialogue and dialogue is nearly always personal and individualized.
||There are three types of diseases, requiring three different cures. One of these, corprus, is unique to the main quest.
||There is only one class of disease, so one type of potion or a spell can cure all the diseases you may contract. The exception is Vampirism, which can only be cured through a lengthy quest. You can only contract Vampirism once—if you are cured of it, you can never become a vampire again.
||There is only one class of disease, so one type of potion can cure all the diseases you may contract. The exceptions are Vampirism and Lycanthropy, the latter of which can only be cured through a lengthy process. You can only become a werewolf once—if you are cured of it, you can never become one again. This is changed with the Dawnguard add-on.(DG) You can become a vampire as often as you want.
||Creatures do not scale to your level; their stats are fixed.
||Most enemies will be level-dependent, and will be more powerful when you are a higher level. Different and more powerful variations of enemies appear at higher levels.
||Most enemies will be level-dependent, and will be more powerful when you are a higher level. Most enemies have a level range, restricting their leveling to minimum and maximum levels.
||Running and jumping drain your Fatigue. Low fatigue lowers your chances of successfully accomplishing any task that requires a roll (hitting enemies in combat, casting spells, persuasion, etc).
||Your fatigue no longer drains while you are running. Running only slows the rate at which fatigue regenerates. Fatigue also no longer influences the effectiveness of spellcasting.
||Jumping, running, and standard attacks will not drain your stamina, but sprinting, using power attacks, and blocking will. Your stamina has no effect on spellcasting or combat chances.
||Most of the rare items in the game are available at any time, even level one. Random loot is leveled. All rewards in the form of gold, artifacts and items are level-independent, and therefore fixed.
||Most loot in the game is leveled—don't expect to see the best stuff until you are a high level.
||Any item must be moved from your inventory, but on the PC version, an item can be picked up by opening the menus and left-clicking it, then moved non-dynamically.
||Items can be freely moved and manipulated outside of your inventory using an allocated button.
||NPCs have random greetings, but few dialogues are voiced.
||NPC dialogue is completely voiced, so reading is optional.
||There are essential NPCs, which can be killed, but doing so relays a message that "the thread of prophecy has been broken" and says to reload or "continue in this doomed world". There are many generic NPCs who respawn, such as guards, and there is also one named respawning NPC: Din.
||There are essential NPCs which cannot be killed. Essential NPCs have a crown for a talk icon. There are also respawning NPCs, most of whom are generic but several of whom are named.
||There are two levels of protection, neither can be easily spotted. Essential NPCs cannot be killed, but can be knocked unconscious. Protected NPCs, upon losing a large amount of health, will kneel down and all enemies will disengage combat with them; however, they can be killed by you or certain damage sources. All followers are Protected. Some NPCs respawn, most of which are generic, but carriage drivers and a few others are named. Children cannot be harmed at all.
||With very few exceptions, NPCs always stay in one place or in a small area. Stores do not close at night.
||NPCs have dynamic schedules, so they may move around town, go to the chapel, go to work, or be sleeping at any given time of day. A small number of NPCs travel to different cities periodically. Most stores are closed at night, and buildings locked.
||As a high-level member of a Great House, you can build a stronghold. You can also acquire two player homes in Bloodmoon. You are also given a small house during the main quest.
||You can buy houses of your own in Oblivion.
||You can buy houses of your own in Skyrim. NPCs who have a high disposition for you will often allow you to take some of their less valuable items and even sleep in their beds. Upon marrying someone, you will share ownership on all of your spouse's property. With Hearthfire installed, you can build your own home and customize it with numerous furnishing options.
||No item/ragdoll physics.
||Havok Physics introduced, adding ragdoll and item physics to the world. Living NPC Ragdoll physics was somewhat flawed however, NPCs would sometimes teleport back up if pushed over a railing for example.
||Havok physics retained and improved, especially for living NPC ragdolls. Ragdolls, even living ones will now fall and act like they're supposed to. In addition, fall damage is less forgiving than in the previous two games, falls that would result in barely a scratch in previous games will now severely injure or even kill you. Interestingly, fall damage is not applied right away, but rather just before the NPC in question would get back up.
|Sleeping and Waiting
||You can sleep at any time in the wilderness, provided there are no enemies around and you are on solid ground. You must sleep to level up.
||You can wait at any time in the wilderness, provided there are no enemies around and you are on solid ground. You cannot sleep in owned beds, however waiting now provides all the same restorative effects as sleeping. You must sleep to level up.
||You can wait at any time, provided there are no enemies around, you are not trespassing and you are on solid ground. You can level up at any time—waiting/sleeping isn't required. Sleeping in a proper bed grants you a temporary increase in experience gained unless you're a werewolf.
||Increasing disposition is purely skill-based. It is always possible to increase an NPC's disposition to 100. There is no maximum disposition from admiring. You can taunt NPCs into attacking you.
||Increasing disposition is controlled by a mini-game that gets easier as your Speechcraft increases. NPCs have a maximum disposition that increases with your Personality.
||The Speechcraft skill has been combined with Mercantile into the skill Speech. You can increase an NPC's disposition by doing quests for them, and decrease it by harming or stealing from them.
||When you are underwater, a meter shows how much air you have left before you begin to take health damage. You can avoid swimming with Waterwalking spells or enchantments.
||There is no visible air meter when underwater. Waterwalking is available in Dragonborn as a potion and enchantment and as a Vampire Lord ability in Dawnguard.
|Swimming and combat
||Weapons and spells (Touch & Self) can be used while swimming. In particular, the Swift Swim spell effect is useful for moving around underwater.
||Melee weapons and spells (Touch & Self) can be used while swimming. Ranged weapons can be used, but have extremely limited range in water.
||No weapons or spells of any kind can be used while swimming, though the Cloak spells can be used to attack enemies in the water if cast beforehand.
||If you are a vampire, most NPCs (excluding the Mages Guild and House Telvanni) will not speak with you. Guards will attack you on sight. There is only one stage of vampirism. Feeding is not possible in the traditional sense, but rather through a lesser power. You do not regenerate health while resting. You will take damage from the sun, and may die if you can't find shelter.
||If you become a vampire, you will no longer be hunted by guards and only shunned by townsfolk in late stages of vampirism. Vampirism occurs in stages depending on when you last fed; higher stages have greater strengths and weaknesses. As in Morrowind, the sun damages and can kill you.
||In early stages, NPCs do little more than comment on your health. At later stages, some will refuse to talk to you[verification needed — see talk page], while others will attack you on sight. As before, Vampirism progresses the longer you go without feeding. Sunlight reduces your attributes and nullifies their regeneration rate, but can't kill you on its own.
With the Dawnguard add-on you will not be attacked for being a vampire and you can acquire the ability to transform into a Vampire Lord.(DG)
||At all times, you can fail at making a potion: a higher Alchemy skill and a full fatigue bar reduces this chance.
||You can only make potions if you have two or more ingredients with matching effects. Only revealed effects will work. Creation failure is not possible at all.
||So long as you know the recipes, you cannot fail to make a potion. You can experiment with ingredients, but if none of their effects match, you will fail to make the potion, and the ingredients are consumed.
||Potion weight is determined by the average weight of the ingredients.
||All potions weigh 0.5 regardless of ingredient weight.
||Potions with negative effects can be consumed by you, but you will be affected by the positive and/or negative effects. They cannot be used as poisons on NPCs/creatures.
||A potion with only negative effects is a poison and can be applied to a weapon to give it extra effects. Any positive effects in the mix will prevent creating a poison. You cannot drink poison.
||Whether a mix creates a potion or a poison is determined by the most powerful effect. Potions may contain negative effects, or poisons positive ones. You cannot drink poison.
||Potion strength is potentially much greater. For more on this, see the Morrowind glitches page.
||Your potions are much weaker than previously. This, combined with the fact that Intelligence no longer governs potion strength, means it is no longer possible to create "mega-potions".
||It is once again possible to make "mega-potions" through a process described here.
||You may use from 2 to 4 ingredients to make a potion.
||You may use from 2 to 4 ingredients, but the Master level perk allows you to make potions and poisons from just 1 ingredient.
||You may use 2 or 3 ingredients to make a potion or poison.
||There is no restriction on the number of potions you can drink at one time.
||You can drink only four potions at once.
||You can drink as many potions at once as you want, though certain effects (notably Fortify Skill) will not stack.
||Potions can be made at any time, anywhere, provided you have at least a Mortar and Pestle. The quality of your various alchemy apparatus determines the strength of the potion in addition to your skill and attributes.
||Potions must be made at designated Alchemy Labs. There is no other equipment, and potion/poison strength is determined solely by your skills, perks, and enchantments.
||Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill and your Intelligence and Luck attributes.
||Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill and, to some extent, your Luck.
||Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill, Alchemy perks, and any active Fortify Alchemy effects.
||You can make potions with the undiscovered effects of ingredients. New effects are revealed as your Alchemy skill increases.
||You can only make potions with the effects you know about. New effects are revealed as your Alchemy skill increases.
||You can learn the first effect of an ingredient by eating it (or more effects with the appropriate Alchemy perks selected). You can also make potions with the undiscovered effects of ingredients to reveal new effects. Recipes can be read but the effect is only revealed after making the potion.
||Three weights of armor are available: light, medium, and heavy. Unarmored is also a skill, and can be viable protection.
||Only two armor weights are present in-game: light and heavy.
|Armor and Weapon Condition
||Armor and weapon condition will degrade as the items are used. When the condition reaches 0 (out of total equipment health, say 800), the item is broken and cannot be used. The player can repair them or pay a blacksmith to have them repaired.
||Armor and weapon condition will degrade as the items are used. When the condition reaches 0 (out of 100%), the item is broken and cannot be used. The player can repair them or pay a blacksmith to have them repaired. The Armorer skill can also temper to 125% at high skill levels.
||Armor and weapons do not degrade or break, but can be improved.
||There are three types of attack: chop, slash, and thrust. These are controlled by standing still, moving sideways, or moving backwards/forwards respectively while pressing the attack key.
||There is only one type of attack initially, but other "power attacks" are learned as a player's skill with a type of weapon increases.
||Normal attacks and "power attacks" are open to everyone, and certain perks unlock special power attacks.
||Blocking with a shield happens automatically, depending on your Block skill.
||The block button triggers blocking. Blocking may be performed with shield, hands, or a weapon.
||Holding down the off-hand button triggers blocking if holding a shield, a two-handed weapon, or a single one-handed weapon.
|Chance to Hit
||You may miss an enemy entirely depending on your fatigue, their/your luck, their armor, their/your attributes, and your weapon skill.
||You always hit an enemy (or their shield) when you attack (if the weapon is in range), their armor and skill affect only how much damage you do.
||Enemies will not pursue you into or out of buildings or dungeons.
||Many enemies can pass through doors, and usually pursue you for a long distance.
||Many enemies can pass through doors, and will pursue you. They will sometimes even search nearby buildings for you if you are in stealth mode or invisible.
||Hand-to-Hand damages Fatigue, and does not damage Health until the opponent is knocked out. The Hand-to-hand skill governs how much damage you do.
||Hand-to-Hand damages Health directly, as well as Fatigue, regardless of if they are conscious or not. The Hand to Hand skill governs how much damage you do.
||Unarmed attacks damage Health directly, but not Stamina. Khajiit and (to a lesser extent) Argonians will use their claws to deal more damage, and heavy gauntlets may also increase damage. There is no hand-to-hand skill. It is possible to participate in non-lethal brawls.
||There are three types of ranged weapons: bows, crossbows, and thrown weapons - darts, stars, and knives.
||Bows are the only type of ranged weapon found in-game.
||Bows are the only type of ranged weapon found in the base game, but crossbows are added with the Dawnguard plug-in.
|Sets of Armor
||A full set of armor is made up of nine pieces: boots, greaves, cuirass, left and right gauntlets, left and right pauldrons, helmet, and shield. Additionally, clothing may be worn underneath armor.
||A full set of armor comprises six pieces: boots, greaves, cuirass, gauntlets, helmet, and shield. Clothing cannot be worn with armor on the same body part.
||A full set of armor comprises five pieces: helmet, boots, a set of gauntlets, armor, and shield. Clothing cannot be worn with armor on the same body part.
||There are seven skills for different types of weapon: Short Blade, Long Blade, Axe, Blunt Weapon, Spear, Marksman, and Hand-to-hand.
||Blade governs all lengths of bladed weapons and Blunt governs axes and blunt weapons. Spears do not exist. Marksman covers only Bows. Hand to Hand is changed as seen above.
||The One-handed skill governs all one-handed weapons, likewise with the Two-handed skill. Archery governs bows and crossbows(DG). Spears and blade distinctions are nonexistent. Unarmed combat is not skill-based.
||You cannot recover missed arrows, bolts, or thrown weapons, but they sometimes appear in a corpse's inventory if you hit them.
||Arrows that miss can always be found on the ground near where they landed. Arrows that hit have a chance to become stuck in the enemy, but can usually be recovered.
||Most arrows that miss can be recovered on the ground near where they landed. Arrows that hit have a chance of being recovered from the corpse, and certain perks can increase this chance.
||Each weapon has varying damage levels for each type of attack.
||Every weapon does varying damage levels depending on whether a standard or power attack is used.
||Some weapons are only available in certain materials.
||Aside from katanas and cutlasses, every base weapon type is available in every material.
||Aside from Skyforge Steel weapons, Nord Hero weapons, and three bows, each base weapon type is available in every material.
||Available weapons include short swords, long swords, broad swords, claymores, wakizashis, katanas, daggers, tantos, sabers, clubs, battle axes, maces, warhammers, war axes, halberds, spears, shortbows, longbows, crossbows, throwing knives, darts, and throwing stars. This makes 22 weapons available in more than one material.
||Only short swords, long swords, claymores, daggers, battle axes, maces, warhammers, war axes, and bows are typically available. Unique weapons include katanas, the cutlass, and the club, resulting in 9 weapons available in more than one material.
||Daggers, swords, maces, war axes, battle axes, greatswords, warhammers, bows, and crossbows(DG) are all available to you. Unique weapons include Scimitars and katanas. In the vanilla game, eight weapons are available in more than one material.
||Shops never close for the night.
||Shops will close at night and will be locked until they open again.
||Most shops will close at night and will be locked until they open again.
|Items for Sale
||Items in a merchant's store are usually for sale.
||Merchants have separate inventories for trade items.
||Merchants have separate inventories for trade items. Your spouse will sell items in their inventory, but you cannot obtain the store-specific items other than by buying them. Some merchants share a chest and sell from its inventory.
||A merchant's gold goes up and down when you buy and sell, respectively, and resets every 24 hours.
||Merchants have a constant amount of gold, which never decreases. They can only buy individual items for less than or equal to that amount of gold. Characters with high enough mercantile may invest extra money in the store so merchants have more gold.
||A merchant's gold goes up and down when you buy and sell, respectively, and resets every 48 hours. There are two perks to increase a merchant's total gold.
|Merchants Equipping Items
||There is a bug that makes merchants equip items you sell to them.
||Most merchants will not equip items you sell to them.
|Possession of Skooma
||Most non-Khajiit merchants will refuse to trade with you if you have any Skooma or Moon Sugar in your inventory.
||Merchants will not refuse service if you are in possession of Skooma.
||Merchants will not refuse service if you are in possession of Skooma or Moon Sugar.
||Prices are set after choosing items to buy/sell. Note that the disposition of the merchant will decrease if the offer is refused, and will increase if the offer is accepted.
||Instead of changing the total cost or total sold of a transaction, you haggle to determine what percentage of an item's value you buy and sell consistently.
||The haggle percentage is predetermined, and is based on your Speech as well as any Fortify Barter effects.
||Any number of items may be sold or bought in one transaction.
||Each item or stack of items you sell or buy constitutes a separate transaction.
|Visible Player Inventory
||In the trading menu, all items are shown in your inventory regardless of whether the merchant will buy them.
||Only items that the merchant will buy will appear in your inventory.
||Stolen goods may be sold to merchants, regardless of their ties to the black market. The only exception is that you must not sell back an item you have stolen (or any item of the same type) to the same merchant you stole it from or they will call the guards.
||Stolen items may not be sold to regular merchants (they will not appear in the trade menu). You must find fences from the Thieves Guild in order to sell stolen goods. The exceptions to this are Manheim Maulhand, a Dark Brotherhood Murderer, and Raven Biter (with the Shivering Isles expansion).
||Stolen goods may be sold to fences for Thieves Guild members, and regular merchants if you've invested in them and have the Fence perk.
|Enforcement of Bounty
||The price on your head is always tracked across Morrowind and Cyrodiil and any guard you encounter will attempt an arrest or attack on sight depending on your current bounty.
||Your bounty is tracked separately according to the hold in which the crime(s) were committed. For instance, if you committed a murder in the Reach, your bounty is not enforced if you move to Eastmarch because the guards in Windhelm do not know about the crime(s) committed in Markarth. However, if your bounty is over 1,000, you may be confronted by a Bounty Collector who will track you regardless of the hold you are in.
||If your bounty is not too high, guards will not attempt to arrest you. Turning yourself in to a guard will let you pay less for reparations. If you gain a bounty equal to five-thousand gold, a death warrant will be issued for you. Guards will attack you on sight at that point. One way to get rid of your bounty is through the Thieves Guild, but quests that remove your bounty as a reward are available.
||Guards will always attempt to arrest you, and you can always be forgiven for your crimes through the proper channels. If your disposition with a guard is high enough they can forgive you of your crime without a fine.
||Guards will almost always attempt to arrest you. If you have a bounty of over three-thousand gold, they will attack on sight. If they witness you commit a minor crime such as petty thievery, and their disposition towards you is high enough, you can talk your way out of it. If you are Thane of the hold, you can eliminate the charges, but you can only use this option one time per hold. If you are in the Thieves Guild, an option is sometimes present where you can bribe the guard to drop the charges.
||If you surrender to the guards and go to jail, you are committed to your fate. Escape is impossible.
||When you choose to go to jail, you can try to pick the cell door lock and escape. In the Shivering Isles, you can sleep in the bedroll and go through your time, or escape.
||Most jails are the same as in Oblivion, except that they have a secret exit that not only leads you out but also leads you to the chest containing your belongings. There is one jail where escape is impossible.
||If you manage to kill a guard without being seen, you will not receive a bounty. Also, if you manage to taunt a guard into striking first, you will not receive a bounty for either striking back or killing the guard, as it will be considered self-defense.
||No matter the circumstances, even if you are completely invisible, guards will always seek you out if you kill a guard.
||If you manage to kill a guard without being seen or kill all witnesses, you will not receive a bounty.
|Notification of Illegality
||You are not informed if an action is illegal or not. You will only be alerted to your actions being a crime if you are caught.
||The action icon turns red for any illegal act, alerting you to the crime before you commit it.
||The action text turns red for almost all illegal acts, alerting you to the crime before you commit it. Taking a book or an Unusual Gem are the two exceptions. However, if you read a book, it will say whether you can "Take" it or "Steal" it, thereby notifying you whether or not it is a crime even though the action text did not turn red.
|Payment of Bounty
||If you pay your bounty, the guard will simply take your money and stolen goods on the spot and release you.
||If you pay your bounty, you will be transported to the nearest prison to be processed and released, with your stolen goods removed.
||Stolen items will not be marked as stolen; you must remember which of your belongings are ill-gotten. Stolen flags apply to all items of a given type, not just the one(s) you stole. Steal a Diamond from Nalcarya of White-Haven, and all Diamonds you find are henceforth marked as stolen.
||Stolen items will have a red hand icon over them to indicate they're stolen.
||Stolen items in your inventory are marked with the word Stolen.
|Abilities as a Werewolf
||While as a werewolf, you will have a permanent Detect Animal for 4000 feet, but it will only detect NPCs (your prey). You also have the Night Eye ability.
||You have access to one default shout (weak Fear for 60 seconds), but through quests you can obtain three others. You can only use one shout at a time. The Dawnguard plug-in adds perks that enhance all aspects of being a werewolf. For full details see Lycanthropy.
|Becoming a Werewolf
||You can become a werewolf through the Bloodmoon questline. You may also become one by contracting Sanies Lupinus during combat with any of the werewolves found scattered across Solstheim.
||You can only become a werewolf through the Companions questline.
||Your only method of fighting is by claw (Hand-to-hand), which does Health damage rather than Fatigue damage.
||Your only method of fighting is by claw. However, you can do numerous power attacks, a devastating sprinting attack, and numerous kill moves.
||You must kill an NPC while as a werewolf, or else you will suffer massive damage when you transform back.
||You are transformed into a werewolf for three minutes at default. You can extend this for 30 seconds each time you feed on an NPC.
||Numerous skills and attributes, especially in the realm of Athletics, Endurance, and Strength, will be fortified significantly, and your health will be doubled. However, most of your other skills will either be drained to zero or by 10 points.
||You have a very fast sprint (faster than horses) and both your health and stamina are increased by 100 points. However, your health regeneration slows down dramatically, and the quickest way to regain lost health is by feeding on an NPC.
||Every night, from 9:00pm to 6:00am, you will transform into a werewolf. If you have Hircine's Ring, you may transform at any time of day for six hours.
||You can transform into a werewolf at any time you want to, but you can transform only once a day. With the Ring of Hircine, you may transform any number of times, by your choice or not, depending on the version of the ring. You have limited control over when you revert back to human form - the more you feed, the longer it lasts.
||You can be both a werewolf and a vampire at the same time, but it is required that you catch both diseases before becoming either. You may become either after curing the other condition, but it is impossible to catch either disease while possessing the other.
||You cannot be both a werewolf and a vampire at the same time. If you are a vampire when you become a werewolf, the vampirism will be cured, and vice versa.
||Many items cause negative effects on the player. It is also possible to custom enchant negative effect items.
||Only one item causes negative effects on the player (three more are added by the Dragonborn expansion), and it is no longer possible to custom enchant items with them.
||Weapons and armor can be summoned. They are of Daedric quality, and have built-in Fortify Skill enchantments.
||Weapons and armor can be summoned. They are of slightly less than Daedric quality, and are unenchanted.
||Weapons, but not armor, can be summoned. They are of low-to-mid tier quality, but a perk improves them to approximately Daedric quality. Other perks grant built-in Soul Trap, Turn Undead, and Banish enchantments.
||With enough magicka, all spells can be cast at any point, regardless of your skill, with varying chances of failure. Magic must be selected in order to be cast, and cannot be used with a weapon. Skill reduces forementioned chance of failure.
||You must possess the required skill level in a particular magic school before you can cast more powerful spells of that type. Magic can be cast on the fly with a weapon out. Spells never fail to cast. Skill affects magicka cost.
||Any spell can be cast by any character with enough magicka, although merchants will not offer Adept-level or higher spell tomes to players with insufficient skill in that magic school. There are skill perks to reduce the magicka cost of different levels of spells. Spells must be assigned to one or both hands and can be dual cast for greater effect. Skill affects Damage, Duration, and/or other effects. Spells never fail to cast due to level or difficulty.
||Custom spells are created by paying a Spellmaker.
||Custom spells are created for gold at an Altar of Spellmaking.
||Custom spells are not available.
||You can delete unwanted spells from your spellbook.
||Spells cannot be removed once acquired.
||Detect spells work by causing creatures, enchanted items, or keys to appear as symbols on your minimap depending on which spell you use.
||The only "detect" spell is Detect Life, which causes living (or undead) creatures to be highlighted in the main view screen.
||The Detect Life spell works much the same as in Oblivion, but designates friend and foe with different colors. There is also a Detect Dead spell that highlights undead creatures and lootable corpses, and a shout that detects moving entities.
|Effects of Armor and Fatigue
||The chances of successfully casting a spell are decreased as fatigue decreases.
||Spell effectiveness is decreased by worn armor. The higher your armor skill and the fewer pieces of armor you wear, the less effect your armor has on magic.
||Neither stamina nor armor weight has any effect on spellcasting. There is an Alteration perk which makes defensive spells become stronger if the caster is not wearing any armor.
||Higher quality items can hold more powerful enchantments. Additionally, your Enchant skill determines how many uses you can get out of enchanted items.
||Item quality has no effect on how much of an Enchantment it can hold.
||Maximum capacity is affected by both the Enchanting skill and skill level in the magic school of the effect. Raising the Conjuration skill will net more uses out of a soul trap weapon.
||Most magical items apply their effect when you use them, rather than having a constant effect.
||Enchanted pieces of clothing, armor, and jewelry always have a constant effect while enchanted weapons always cast the effect when striking.
||There are no altars for enchanting or spellmaking in Vvardenfell. Instead, Enchant is a skill which you can use yourself anytime, anywhere and for free, but with a chance to fail. You can pay Enchanters to do it for you.
||Weapons and armor must be brought to enchanting altars to enchant them.
||Enchanting is once again a learnable skill, but the enchanting must be done at an Arcane Enchanter.
||You make enchanting effects available by knowing the corresponding spell effect.
||You make enchanting effects available by disenchanting an item with that effect.
||Spells must be readied just as a weapon must be drawn, and they must cast just as a weapon must attack. You can either have a weapon ready or a spell ready, but not both at the same time.
||Spellcasting has been allocated to its own button. There is no need to switch between weapon and magic modes to cast spells.
||You can equip a spell or item in each hand, i.e. you can equip a spell and a weapon, two spells, two weapons, or any other combination. Each hand has its own attack button.
||Several spell effects are associated with different Magic Schools in the three games. For example, Absorb is a Restoration spell in Oblivion, but a Mysticism spell in Morrowind. Mysticism is removed entirely from Skyrim.
||Magicka doesn't regenerate constantly. It is replenished by sleeping, potions, shrines, or absorption.
||Your magicka restores over time, except for characters with Stunted Magicka.
||Your magicka restores over time but it restores much slower while in combat. There are several enchantments that make magicka regenerate faster.
||Undead minions can be summoned out of nothing wherever you are. Reanimation is not possible.
||In addition to summoning undead from nothing, you can also reanimate dead NPCs (but not creatures) as undead minions.
||Undead can for the most part only be created by reanimating dead NPCs or creatures.
||Powers can only be used once per day, and require time to cast, like spells, but do not cost any magicka. Powers always successfully cast.
||Lesser powers cost magicka but can be used more than once each day; greater powers work in the same manner as powers in Morrowind.
||Powers are activated instantly. Most powers can only be used once per day, but some powers are reusable. None cost magicka to use.
|Recharging Magical Items
||Magical items regenerate automatically over time, although they can be recharged using soul gems.
||Magical items must be recharged using soul gems, Varla Stones or by taking them to an enchanter.
||Magical items must be recharged using soul gems. There is a perk that allows a small recharge of any weapon upon killing a creature.
||Certain spell effects from Morrowind were not included in Oblivion or Skyrim, including Mark/Recall, Levitate, Jump, Sanctuary, Slowfall, Divine/Almsivi Intervention, Sound, Blind and several Summon spells.
||Soul gems are valued based on both the gem quality and the power of the soul trapped inside.
||Soul gem values are fixed prices based on soul size alone.
||Soul gems have two values, filled and empty. Self-filled gems are classed as empty when valued. The exception is black soul gems, which change value when filled.
||Casting spells can fail. The failure rate is influenced by your skill rating in the relevant school of magic, your Willpower, your Luck, and your Fatigue. Instead of the cost of spells, skill level influences the chance of spell failure.
||Spells have a 100% success rate. Your Skill affects the Magicka cost.
||Spells have a 100% success rate. Your Skill and several perks affect the Magicka cost as well as the Power and/or Duration.
|Spellcasting and Armor
||There is no penalty to your spellcasting for wearing armor.
||Wearing armor reduces your Spell Effectiveness, which in turn reduces the magnitude or duration of your spells, by a factor relative to your skill in the armor's school. The only way to have 100% Spell Effectiveness is to not wear any armor at all.
||The Mage Armor perk increases the protection of your Armor spells as long as you're not wearing armor. Also, enchantments that both increase magicka regeneration and decrease spell casting costs are only found on robes, unless custom enchanted. Dawnguard adds Vampire Armor, which can have some enchantments otherwise only found on robes.
||Staffs count as Blunt Weapons and come in enchanted and unenchanted forms. The only notable exception between staffs and other blunt weapons was the fact that they do very little damage, but carry higher quality enchantments and have higher enchanting tolerances.
||Staffs have "on target" enchantments and launch their spells at targets, rather than acting like blunt weapons. They are still wielded with two hands. They affect and are affected by no skills. They cannot be enchanted because no unenchanted versions exist.
||Staffs are one-handed (though they do not count as one handed weapons) meaning they can be paired with either spells, other staffs, shields, or other weapons. In addition, they affect and are affected by their matching magic skill and perks (Staffs that shoot Fireballs are affected by destruction, while staffs that summon/banish dremora are affected by conjuration, etc.). Other than this however, they behave much as they do in Oblivion. Dragonborn adds a staff enchanter which allows you to craft new staffs.
||You can have multiple summoned creatures fighting by your side at one time, one per summon type. You can summon a wide variety of creatures, including animals and automatons. Summoned creatures can be soul trapped.
||Only one creature can be summoned at your disposal at one time. Summoning a second one dispels the first. Undead, daedra, and (with an official plugin) animals can be summoned. NPC corpses can be turned into zombies for a short time using the Staff of Worms. Summoned creatures can be soul trapped.
||Only one creature can be summoned at your disposal at one time. Summoning a second one dispels the first. However, if you have the Twin Souls perk, you can have two summoned creatures at a time. Familiars, atronachs, dremora, undead DG, and two named NPCs can be summoned. Summoned creatures cannot be soul trapped.
||The telekinesis spell is used to manipulate objects at a distance (e.g. open doors, open chests, pick up objects or operate switches).
||The telekinesis spell is used to move and manipulate physics-based objects, but in a similar fashion to Morrowind, it is also able to trigger tripwires. Cannot be used to harm NPCs
||The telekinesis spell is used to pick up, drop, and throw items from a distance. The dual casting perk allows you to control up to 4 objects at a time. In Skyrim, throwing items at people causes health loss to the target and is considered an assault.
||The Acrobatics skill is quite powerful compared to later TES games.
||The Acrobatics skill has been significantly toned down.
||Acrobatics is no longer a learnable skill.
|Major and Minor Skills
||Your character has 5 major Skills and 5 minor skills. Your level is dependent on these. Everything else is considered a miscellaneous skill and has no effect on your level, though they do contribute to your attributes on level up.
||Your character has 7 major skills. Your level is dependent on these. Everything else is considered a minor skill and has no effect on your level, though they do contribute to your attributes on level up.
||There are no major or minor skills; however, each race will have primary and secondary skills that start higher. All skills affect your level as they increase, but do not affect your attribute bonus on level up.
||With the exception of Alchemy (which will reveal ingredient effects at thresholds of 25), there are no skill perks.
||Each skill automatically receives perks at level 25, 50, 75 and 100.
||As you level up, you earn perk points that are spent in trees corresponding to each skill.
|Skill Level 100+
||Most skills will continue to provide more benefit over level 100.
||Athletics and Acrobatics are the only skills that provide more benefit over level 100.
||Skills cannot go over level 100. However, once at 100 they can be made legendary, which resets the skill to level 15 and refunds all perk points spent in it, allowing you to continue to level up after all skills have reached maximum level.
|Skill Level Effects
||A higher skill level in weapon skills increases your chance to hit your target.
||A higher skill level in weapon skills increases the damage you do with that weapon.
||The smithing skill does not exist. You cannot create your own weapons or armor; only repair existing ones.
||The smithing skill can be used to create weapons, armor, and jewelry.
||Trainers can be used as often as you please, provided you have the gold to pay and they are able to train you further. You cannot train a skill over the level of its governing attribute, however. More advanced trainers cost more for training, and the trainer's disposition towards you affects training costs. Trainers may have multiple skills that they can train you in.
||Trainers can only be used 5 times per level. Training costs are fixed, and increase arithmetically as your skill level rises. Each trainer only trains one skill. All master trainers require a quest to be completed before they will train you.
||Trainers can only be used 5 times per level. Trainers cannot train above level 90—you must earn the last 10 yourself. Training costs are fixed, but when your skill reaches 51 and 76 training costs greatly increase. Each trainer only trains one skill. Most master trainers require you to join a faction before they will train you; a few require the completion of a quest, and a few more will train you without prerequisites. A few non-master trainers as well will only train you if their disposition towards you is high.
||The weight of your boots always affects your ability to sneak.
||The weight of your boots affects your ability to sneak until you are a Journeyman in Sneak.
||The weight of all of your apparel affects your ability to sneak. Sneak perks and Muffle spells or items can reduce or negate the impact.
||Stolen goods can be sold to any merchant, but trying to sell a stolen item back to its owner will cause the merchant to take it from you. This applies to all items of that same kind. For example, if you steal rat meat from a person you can't sell any rat meat back, even if you got it legally somewhere else.
||Stolen goods can only be sold to certain merchants.
||Stolen goods can be sold to Thieves Guild fences or to merchants whom you have invested in after unlocking the relevant perk.
||Taking items from guild halls may count as theft even if you are a member of the guild.
||Taking items from guild halls is rarely theft if you are a member of the guild. The exceptions are usually within guild shops (eg: Felen Relas in the Anvil Mages Guild).
||The amount of light shining on you does not affect how well you sneak.
||The amount of light shining on you affects how well you sneak, so try to stay in the shadows.
||Lockpicking success is randomly determined based on your intelligence, security level, luck, lockpick quality and the difficulty of the lock.
||You can either let the game randomly determine lockpicking success based on your agility, security level, luck, and the difficulty of the lock, or you can play a lockpicking mini-game to manually pick the lock.
||Lockpicking is based entirely on a mini-game, the difficulty of which is determined by your Lockpicking skill and the difficulty of the lock.
||Lockpicks break after a set number of uses, which depends on their quality.
||Lockpicks always break if you fail to pick a lock. If you always succeed, you may use one pick an infinite number of times. Nocturnal's Skeleton Key can be used as an unbreakable lockpick.
||Depending on how forcefully you try to open a lock, you can use a lockpick numerous times before it breaks. Any damage to it remains, even if the lock is exited.
||You may sleep in any bed—though it will be a crime if the bed is owned—and you may receive an unpleasant awakening by the guards.
||You cannot sleep while trespassing or in an owned bed.
||Looking at someone's inventory is a crime, so if the NPC detects you doing so you get a bounty.
||It is not a crime to look at someone's inventory, even if the NPC can see you doing it.
||On the PC, you must hold down the Ctrl key to continually sneak. On the XBox, double-click the left stick button to toggle sneak mode.
||On the PC, pressing the Ctrl key toggles sneak mode on and off. On the XBox and PS3, click the left stick button once to toggle sneak mode.
||Some locks are trapped and activate a harmful spell to anything that opens them. Traps can be deactivated with tools called probes, which rely on your security skill. Alternately, using telekinesis on the lock from a distance can trigger the trap while you are outside of its effective area.
||Locks are not trapped.
||The locks themselves are not trapped, but the devices that they open can be.
||Trespassing is not illegal.
||Trespassing is illegal. Many NPCs will issue a warning before reporting you to the guards or attacking you for trespassing.
||You cannot move at all while over-encumbered.
||When over-encumbered, you may walk (very slowly) and jump (a short distance), but cannot run, sprint, or fast travel.
||Your mini-map shows where you are on the local map.
||Your compass points out nearby locations—discovered or not—and quest targets.
||Your compass points out nearby locations—discovered or not—and quest targets. It also shows enemies as red dots.
||All cities in Morrowind are in exterior cells (bar Mournhold).
||Each city loads in a separate cell instead of in the exterior. However, small towns and villages, such as Harlun's Watch and Riverwood, are still in the outside world.
||There is no map-based fast travel in Morrowind; the nearest equivalents are the silt striders, boats, the intervention spells, Mark & Recall, and the Propylon Chambers (see below).
||You can fast travel to any location that you have previously discovered. In addition, you can fast travel to certain locations in the major towns and cities without having discovered them.
||You can fast travel to any location that you have previously discovered.
||Custom Jump and Levitation Spells can make for very fast travel.
||Jump and Levitate are not available, presumably because now that cities are interior cells it would be possible to Jump or Levitate over the walls.
||Jump and Levitate are not available. With the Dragonborn add-on, however, it is possible to fly on the back of a dragon by using the Bend Will shout, but you are unable to directly control the dragon.
||There are no horses.
||Horses help to speed up regular on-foot travel as well as fast-travel. The type of horse affects how fast it can walk or run. You cannot mount a horse while over-encumbered, but can fast travel while on a horse even if you later become over-encumbered (usually due to a magical effect wearing off).
||Horses help to speed up regular on-foot travel but not fast-travel. The type of horse does not affect how fast it can walk or run. You can fast travel if you mount a horse, even if over-encumbered.
||Instant travel from any location to nearby "safe" spots: Almsivi Intervention, Divine Intervention (these work from interior locations, too). Mark and Recall, spells that are much like instant travel to certain spots, are available. A network of Propylon Chambers surrounds the island, with instant travel, if you have the right index.
||Almsivi/Divine Intervention, Mark/Recall, and Propylon Chambers do not exist, having been replaced by map-based fast travel.
||Paid travel services between fixed locations are available through silt striders, boats, Mages Guild teleportation service and gondolas (intra-Vivec only).
||The one service available is quest-related and only used once. The Wizard's Tower plug-in adds teleporters to every Mages Guild Hall, including the Arcane University.
||Carriage drivers outside the major cities can be hired to take you to any city in Skyrim. Dawnguard adds three ferrymen who can be paid to take you to various ports around Skyrim via boat.
Hearthfire allows you to, for a fee, hire Carriage drivers for your homesteads, which can take you to both cities and settlements in Skyrim.