To Imperials, the haughty, tall, golden-skinned peoples of Summerset Isle are called High Elves. The Ayleids referred to them as Salache, but they call themselves Altmer, or the "Cultured People". In the Empire, "High" is often understood to mean proud or snobbish, and as the Altmer generally personify these characteristics, the "lesser races" generally resent them. Altmer confidently consider themselves, with some justice, to be the most civilized culture of Tamriel; the common tongue of Tamriel is based on Altmer speech and writing, and most of the Empire's arts, crafts, laws, and sciences are derived from Altmer traditions. However, the Altmer's smug self-assurance of superiority can be hard to bear. The Altmer are the most strongly gifted in the arcane arts of all the races. They are among the longest living and intelligent races of Tamriel, and they often become powerful magic users due to both their magical affinity and the many centuries they may devote to their studies. Some Altmer's incredibly strong minds make them naturally immune to all kinds of paralysis.
For more information, see the main Lore article.
 In-Game Description
Also known as "Altmer" in their homeland of Summerset Isle, the high elves are the most strongly gifted in the arcane arts of all the races. They can call upon their Highborn power to regenerate Magicka quickly.
- Highborn ability (FormID
00105f16): High Elves are born with 50 extra magicka, constant
- Highborn greater power (FormID
000e40c8): Regenerate magicka faster for 60 seconds, once per day.
- Power causes a x25 increase in regeneration rate.
- Height: 1.08
- Altmer start with the spell Fury.
Altmer are arguably the best choice for a pure Mage character and maybe even any character who intends to use enough magic that they would invest in magicka. The largest advantage is the additional 50 magicka as this essentially gives you 5 more levels worth of magicka, which either makes your large pool even larger or you can put those 50 you were going to put into magicka into another stat. They also no longer have the additional weakness to magic that they have traditionally had in previous Elder Scrolls games.
With small bonuses to all the magical skills and a larger bonus to illusion they also can reach the half-cost perks much faster at the start of the game, which makes a huge difference as well. The racial power can be incredibly helpful, especially in situations where you have run out of magicka against a tough opponent and just need a little more to finish them off.
Despite the Thalmor being comprised almost entirely of Altmer, being Altmer makes almost no difference in their interactions with the player -- you can disguise yourself more effectively during Diplomatic Immunity, but that's about it; most Altmer will still act like they believe themselves to be a superior race to you. Similarly, even though many, many factions in Skyrim hate the Altmer - the Empire just fought an extremely brutal war with them - only guards will bring it up ("Speak, Elf"); few others will ever notice your race or mention it to your face.
- The Altmer are the only race to have a natural attribute bonus.
- Unlike previous Elder Scrolls games, in Skyrim, Altmer are not vulnerable to magic, nor are they resistant to disease.
- They have the greatest run speed and jump height due to their increased height relative to the other races (1.08).