Friday, 2 November 2012

Welcome to the Tundra - A Player's Guide to Profit in Skyrim

Welcome to the Tundra:

This game will give you seemingly endless options for personal growth and character creation, fighting styles, allegiances and more. With all of these factors to worry about I'm here to take the weight of making money off of your shoulders.

Math Warning:

This is likely the most important lesson you will learn as it applies to turning a profit in this game... Learn some simple math. It sounds obvious but too many adventurers will make a beeline for the big, shiny, 'valuable' treasures during their travels but this is a pitfall you can avoid by asking yourself this question: "Can I really afford to be carrying this around?" Here's an example...


You have 11 items ranging in weight from 0.5-10lbs ALL valued at 200 gold each. Which item would you think is the most valuable? If you need help making a decision, here's a handy little graph!
"True" Value
As you can see, the 0.5lb item is worth more per pound than any other piece of treasure on the list. To be realistic not all decisions are going to be this simple, with items all having the same value but the rule of thumb here (unless obviously out of the question) is that lighter is better. Because you can carry more of an item, it is USUALLY more beneficial to do so unless you require the heavier item for another reason (it's a better weapon or piece of apparel than you already have equipped). I'm not saying 'keep a calculator handy', just be mindful of what you're carrying and what it's true value is.

Transmutation of Iron Ore:

(Cost is a result of Alteration skill, and related equipment boosts as well as skill perks)

It's really simple... Get the "transmute mineral ore" spell and use it... A lot... Like, as much as freaking possible okay? Alright, lovely. Now that the basic point is out of the way, here's how you start turning iron ore into gold ore FOR FREE!!!
  • Go to the Halted Stream Camp north of Whiterun (if you don't know where Whiterun is... I can't help you lol)
  • Clear the camp and mine (Use the suspended fire pots in the mine to wipe out the leader and a couple of henchmen without much of a real fight).
  • Pick up the "Transmute Mineral Ore" spell tome from the bandit leader's table.
  • Grab a pickaxe.
  • Gather up all of the iron ore you can find (deplete all of the iron ore veins in the mine).
  • Read the spell tome, select the spell, and get to work generating your gold.
Now the spell's costly, no doubt about it. It's an adept-level alteration spell that costs 85 points of magicka so players just beginning their adventure are only going to be able to cast it once before waiting for their gauge to refill. However like many barrier in the Bethesda world, Skyrim offers you a loophole. You can hit the select button to wait (just select one hour) and your gauge will refill faster than if you'd stood there waiting for it.

That's not the only option though, you can purchase or enchant equipment that will lower the cost of alteration spells as well as items that will speed up the rate at which your magicka regenerates. Don't use potions though folks as it's a waste of your money for just one or maybe two castings of this spell. 

Once you've turned all your iron ore into silver ore (first casting of the spell) and then into gold (transmutes from silver to gold) you'll have to find a smelting furnace and turn the gold ore into gold ingots. After this, turn the ingots into gold rings at a forge (2 rings made per ingot), enchant them for some practice if you'd like, and sell the rings (or keep them as some 'bling' or beneficial accessories if your enchanting ability makes it worthwhile to keep them). Here's the summarized breakdown with the items in bold and the process used to change them italicized:
  • Iron ore
  • Transmute
  • Silver Ore
  • Transmute
  • Gold Ore
  • Smelt
  • Gold Ingot
  • Forge
  • Gold Ring (2)
And there you have it folks. At about 30-35 gold per ring once sold (with a decent speech level or with SERIOUS bonuses from blessings, spells and equipment) you're making next to pure profit off of simple, common iron ore. Also, since you won't always have a loaded iron ore vein within arm's reach, you can usually buy iron ore from general goods stores and blacksmiths for between 4-6 gold each. Either way you're making a 400% profit at least through the deal not to mention the smithing, speech and alteration experience gained in the process.

Honestly folks that's all there is to it. Once you've nailed down this little trick you're sure to have pockets jingling with gold throughout your travels as long as you make sure to pick up iron ore wherever you go. With money being next to no object, you'll be able to afford the best equipment, spell books, staffs, and weapons available to your character's level and that makes diving into the unknown of a new cave or crypt a little easier knowing that no matter what's waiting for you... You've got it out-gunned.

Oh, and what with the dragons and all..

Eyes on the skies!

Joshua J. Taylor

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