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This article details the main differences between Oblivion and Skyrim, and how to adapt.
 Main Characteristics
- Your fatigue no longer drains while you are running and attacking normally. Running only slows the rate at which fatigue regenerates.
- Skyrim possesses both the transport system of Morrowind and the fast travel system of Oblivion.
- Enemies are scaled in level as in Oblivion, but some areas are more difficult than others, while Oblivion had no such difference.
- Dialogue is now done in real time, meaning that the game is not paused when talking to someone. This means you can also be attacked during a conversation.
- You can not ask every NPC for the latest rumors. Only the Innkeepers have that option.
- You do not need to sleep in order to level up. Leveling happens automatically when you acquire enough skill points. Sleeping does give you a bonus the rate of leveling.
- Chests and containers do not divide items in different categories(IE weapons, armor, potions).
- There are 18 skills, instead of the 21 Oblivion has.
- There are no major and minor skills anymore. Leveling up can done be every skill.
- There are no Acrobatics, Athletics, Hand To Hand and Mysticism skills in Skyrim.
- Instead of each skill gaining perks automatically at fixed skill levels, you will get 1 perk point per level-up to manually spend on your skills. Each skill comes with multiple perks, with 251 perks in total. Since the maximum level in Skyrim is 81, you cannot get all perks, unlike Oblivion, where they were granted automatically.
- Some skills have been merged:
- The Speechcraft and Mercantile skills have been merged into the Speech skill. Most of its perks are dedicated to the mercantile aspect of the skill.
- Instead of the Speechcraft mini-game, where a player must go through a cycle of actions including admire, joke, coerce, and boast, persuasion now only happens at a select amount of conversations. During such a conversation, the player can persuade, bribe or intimidate the other character.
- Spells that were previously fell under Mysticism are now brought to other Skills. An example is Soul Trap, which is now a conjuration spell.
|Blade governs all lengths of bladed weapons and Blunt governs axes and blunt weapons. Hand to Hand is changed as seen below.
||In Skyrim, all melee weapons are now governed by the Skyrim:Onehanded and Skyrim:Twohanded skills. One-Handed governs every weapon you can wield in one hand, like daggers, war-axes and maces, while Two-Handed governs weapons that must be wielded in two hands, like war hammers and great-swords.
|One handed weapons are always wielded in the right hand, while the left hand is only used to hold a shield, or when the player uses a two handed weapon.
||Both hands can now be equipped with a weapon, allowing the player to dual wield.
Shields are still equipped in the left hand.
|Hand-to-Hand damage is governed by the skill Hand-to-Hand.
||Skyrim has no Hand-to-Hand skill, but certain perks and racial traits can influence Hand-to-Hand damage.
|Weapons and armor can only be found in stores, as loot, or quest rewards.
||You can forge your own weapons and armor at a blacksmith if you posses the right materials and skill.
|Weapons and armor degrade over time when used.
||No such degradation happens in Skyrim.
|When you reach level 75 in the Oblivion:Armorer skill, you can improve your weapons and armor to make them 25% better than normally possible. This only requires a repair hammer.
||You can always improve your weapons and armor at a blacksmith. But this requires raw materials.
|A full set of armor comprises six pieces: boots, greaves, cuirass, gauntlets, helmet and shield.
||The cuirass and greaves have been merged into a single piece. This means that there is no greaves slot in Skyrim.
|The block button triggers blocking. Blocking may be performed with shield, hands or a weapon.
||Blocking is also actively done with a button, but can not be done when the player is unarmed, wields no weapon in the right hand or is dual wielding.
|Holding the attack button causes a "power attack". More types are learned as a player's skill with a type of weapon increases.
||Holding the attack button also causes a "Power attack". But the player does not learn more types. Instead, the existing power attacks are improved through perks.
|Each weapon has varying damage levels for each type of attack.
||Every weapon does the same base damage no matter what attack is used.
|You may miss an enemy entirely depending on their armor, luck and on your skill.
||You always hit an enemy (or their shield) when you attack: 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 the player for a long distance.
|Bows are the only type of ranged weapon in Oblivion.
||Bows are also the only type of ranged weapon in Skyrim.
|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.
||Arrows act the same in Skyrim as they do in Oblivion.
|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.
|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, or you can pay Enchanters to do it for you.
||Weapons and armor must be brought to enchanting altars to enchant them.
|Custom spells are created by paying a Spellmaker.
||Custom spells are created for gold at an Altar of Spellmaking.
|Most magical items apply their effect when you use them, rather than having a constant effect.
||Enchanted pieces of clothing or armor are always "Constant Effect" while enchanted weapons are always "Cast on strike".
|All spells can be cast at any point, regardless of your skill, with varying chances of success.
||You must possess the required skill level in a particular magic school before you can cast more powerful spells of that type.
|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, using the following formula:
( [Luck / 8] + [Willpower / 4] + [Spell Skill * 2.5] - [Magic Cost * 1.25] ) * ( 0.6 + [0.4 * Current Fatigue / Max Fatigue] )
|Spells have a 100% success rate. Your Skill affects the Magicka cost.
|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.
|The chances of successfully casting a spell are decreased as fatigue decreases.
||Spell effectiveness is decreased as more armor is worn.
|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.
|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.
|Certain spell effects from Morrowind were not included in Oblivion, including Mark/Recall, Levitate, Jump, Sanctuary, Slowfall, and Divine/Almsivi Intervention.
|Several spell effects are associated with different Magic Schools in the two games. For example, Absorb is a Restoration spell in Oblivion, but a Mysticism spell in Morrowind.
|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 instead used to move and manipulate physics based objects, but in a similar fashion to Morrowind, it is also able to trigger tripwires.
|There is no restriction on the number of potions you can drink at one time.
||You can drink only four potions at once.
|Potion strength is determined by your Intelligence attribute.
||Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill and, to some extent, your Luck.
|You can fail at making a potion: a higher Alchemy skill reduces this chance.
||You cannot fail to make a potion.
|Potions with negative effects have no use except to sell for cash.
||Potions with negative effects (poisons) can be applied to a weapon to give it extra effects.
|You can make potions with the undiscovered effects of ingredients.
||You can only make potions with the effects you know about.
|Potion strength is 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", such as health potions that restore several thousand points of health a second and last for weeks or months of game-time.
|There is no icon to warn you that you are about to commit a crime, so be careful when you pick something up that might be owned.
||The take icon will turn red over owned items to warn you that picking up or moving it will be considered theft.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|The weight of your boots affects your ability to sneak until you are a Journeyman in Sneak.
||The weight of your armor as a whole affects you sneak until you get the perk Muffled Movement, at which point sound from your armor is cut down by 50%.
|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.
|Trespassing is not illegal.
||Trespassing is illegal. Many NPCs will issue a warning before reporting you to the guards and/or attacking you for trespassing.
|You cannot sleep while trespassing or in an owned bed.
||You cannot sleep while trespassing or in an owned bed.
|Lock-picking success is randomly determined based on your agility, security level, luck and lockpick quality.
||You can either let the game randomly determine lock-picking success based on your agility, security level, and luck, or you can play a lock-picking mini-game to manually pick the lock.
|Lockpicks always break if you fail to pick a lock. If you always succeed, you may use one pick an infinite number of times.
||Lockpicks have a set amount of health. Depending on how close you are to the "sweet spot" of the lock determines how long the lockpick will jiggle until broken. Also the health of your lockpick resets once you go into a different lock.
|Locks are not trapped.
||The locks themselves are never trapped, but some chests in dungeons have a trap next to them. When dungeon crawling always check all sides of a chest before attempting to open. If you find a trapped chest the trap can be disabled by going through a lockpicking mini game.
|A merchant's gold goes up and down when you buy and sell, respectively, and resets every 24 hours. So if you sell an item that is worth 600 to a merchant that has 600 gold, you will be unable to sell anything to them without first buying something or waiting for the gold to reset.
||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. Since that amount never diminishes, two items can be sold so that the sum total is greater than the amount of gold. Characters with high enough mercantile may invest extra money in the store so merchants have more gold.
|Shops never close for the night.
||Shops will close at night and will be locked until they open again.
|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.
|Items in a merchant's store are usually for sale.
||Merchants have separate inventories for trade items.
|Merchants will equip items you sell to them.
||Most merchants will not equip items you sell to them.
|Any number of items may be sold and/or bought in one transaction.
||Each item or stack of items you sell or buy constitutes a separate transaction.
|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.
|Most non-Khajiit merchants will refuse to speak 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.
|There is no fast travel in Morrowind; it is not possible to freely travel instantaneously in real time between any two known exterior locations.
||You can fast-travel to any location that you have discovered (some you don't even have to discover), but there are no transportation services like boats (except in the quest Caught in the Hunt) or Silt Striders.
|There are no horses.
||Horses help to speed up regular on-foot travel and fast-travel.
|Paid travel services between fixed locations are available through silt striders, boats and gondolas (Intra-Vivec only).
||There are no paid travel services. However you can now fast travel between any locations you have discovered.
|Instant travel between Mages Guilds is available through Guild Guides.
||There is no instant travel between Guild Halls without the Frostcrag Spire plugin.
|Instant travel from any location to nearby "safe" spots: Almsivi Intervention, Divine Intervention (these work from interior locations, too).
||Almsivi and Divine Intervention no longer exist.
|Mark and Recall are spells that are much like instant travel to certain spots are available.
||Mark and Recall spells have been removed from the game.
|A network of Propylon Chambers surrounds the island, with instant travel, if you have the right index.
||There are no Dunmer strongholds in Oblivion. Since all Propylon Chambers are located within a Dunmer stronghold there are no more Propylon Chambers.
|Custom Jump and Levitation Spells can make for very fast travel.
||Jump and Levitate are no longer available, presumably because now that cities are interior cells it would be possible to Jump or Levitate over the walls.
|All cities in Morrowind are in exterior cells (bar Mournhold).
||Each city loads in a separate cell, instead of in the exterior. Small towns and villages, such as Harlun's Watch, are still in the outside world however.
|Your mini-map shows where you are on the local map.
||Instead of a mini-map, a compass is at the bottom of the screen, which points out locations, discovered or not, and quest targets.
|Any container or door, even one essential to a quest, can be opened with a high enough skill in security or alteration.
||Some quest-related containers or doors will require a key to be opened.
|You can drop and sell quest-related items, so it is possible to lose them. It is a good idea to save items that have a unique name, or look them up on the wiki before getting rid of them, because they might be related to a quest later on.
||Quest-related items cannot be dropped or sold until they are no longer needed. They will have no weight for as long as they are considered essential.
|There is no map marker for quests. It is important to get full directions from a quest-giver before you leave. Make sure to ask about every topic that seems relevant to your mission to make sure you are getting all the information you need.
||You can select a quest in your journal to be your "active quest". In most situations, a quest marker will direct you to the next location for your active quest.
|The journal is organized chronologically. You can also look up conversation topics in your journal to see all the dialog related to that topic. You cannot look up all entries relating to a specific quest.
||The journal is organized by quest title. You can view all of the entries for your active quest in reverse chronological order. You can also view a shortened list of all of your current or completed quests. You cannot look up conversation topics.
The joinable factions vary for each game, but in both games you can join the Blades, the Fighters Guild, the Mages Guild, and the Thieves Guild. In both games, NPCs' dispositions and behaviors toward you will be affected by both their faction memberships and yours.
|Belonging to one faction can prevent you from joining another (notably, the Great Houses and the Vampire Clans).
||You can belong to all joinable factions at one time.
|Being a member does not grant you special access to doors or items on the faction's properties.
||Being a member grants you ownership to most doors and items on the faction's properties.
|A faction's quests may require you to kill an NPC essential to another faction's quest.
||You can never kill an NPC essential to another quest until after he or she is no longer essential.
|You do not need to finish all of a faction's quests to advance to its highest rank.
||All of a faction's quests must be completed to achieve its highest rank, except for quests that only become available at the highest rank.
|Advancement is dependent upon completing a certain number of quests (in no particular order) and having sufficiently high skill levels within the faction's favored skill set.
||Advancement is dependent only upon completing the required quests, usually in a linear fashion. There are no skill level requirements.
|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.
|Stolen items will not be marked as stolen, you must remember which of your belongings are ill gotten.
||Stolen items will have a red hand icon over them to indicate they're stolen.
|If you pay your bounty the guard will simply take your money on the spot and release you.
||If you pay your bounty you will be transported to the nearest castle/prison to be processed and released.
|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 a jailbreak.
|If you gain a bounty equal to Five-Thousand Gold a death warrant will be issued for you, guards will not attempt to arrest you. The only way to get rid of your bounty is the Thieves Guild.
||Guards will always attempt to arrest you, and you can always be forgiven for your crimes through the proper channels.
|Stolen goods may be sold to merchants, regardless of their ties to the black market.
||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.
 Console use (PC only)
- To effect the player character using the console, a command is to be proceeded with "player." (or enter third person and click on yourself) instead of "player->".
- To find out something's stats/skills or modify them, the commands are "getav" and "setav" instead of "get" and "set"
- "showracemenu" the equivalent to Morrowind's "enableracemenu" will reset all abilities to default levels.
- The new command "kill" may be used in place of of "setav health 0"