Skyrim came out 12 years ago, 12 long, long years. Now because of the length of time since its release, people have generally found every possible little secret, lore-based Easter egg and hidden pop culture reference hidden within Skyrim’s boundaries.
For any sort of exciting new content, be it lore-friendly or outlandish, fans of the Elder Scrolls series have had to resort to modding the game. These mods come in all shapes and sizes, from simple tweaks and improvements to its somewhat broken stealth mechanics, to completely overhauled and updated popular missions for a certain Dark Brotherhood, all the way up to recreating the entirety of Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion in Skyrim’s engine.
Now, however, it seems even mods aren’t enough to keep people invested in Bethesda’s world. Some players are resorting to extremely time-consuming, but damn impressive, challenges to kill time until the release of Elder Scrolls 6. One of the most impressive challenges to come out recently is by Youtuber ‘SnailonYT’, who honestly blew my mind with what he accomplished.
What you can accomplish with so little
SnailonYT decided that they did not need to explore the wondrous land of Skyrim, but instead chose to become a god among men and completely max out every single stat without setting one foot outside the mighty walls of Whiterun.
Now for most people, the first question about a challenge such as this would be simply ‘Why?’ Luckily for us, he provides a direct answer - and it’s the same response as many challenges humanity has accomplished throughout history: To see if it could be done.
Over 70 hours, and I imagine many, many curse words, yawns and life realisations - he did it. All 18 skills in Skyrim all maxed out to 100 - challenge complete. But how was the road to victory for our Elder Scrolls madman?
This challenge was no easy feat, with combat skills such as One-Handed or Archery, and the Destruction school of magic providing some of the longest-winded paths to perfection. Understandably these skills would be difficult to gain levels in, especially if being completely and utterly destroyed by Whiterun’s guards isn’t on your daily agenda.
Surprisingly, SnailonYT claims the lengthiest level up was for Lockpicking, accounting for over 30 hours, and literally hundreds of broken lockpicks, of this 70-hour challenge. On the opposite side, Alchemy, Smithing and Speech only took under 5 minutes for each to get them to max level.
What goes into a Skyrim challenge like this?
Now many of you might be wondering how you would even increase some of the skills in Skyrim - Light & Heavy Armour and Block being just a few that feel like impossible tasks. Luckily our hero of Whiterun gave us an in-depth report on how all of this was accomplished - and you may or may not be disappointed to learn it wasn’t all above board.
A few in-game exploits were used for a number of skills, such as creating a potion worth literally a million septims to max out alchemy, and then selling said potion to raise speech by 100 levels in one swift transaction.
For at least 2 of the skills, the mechanic of ‘aggro-reloading’, where you hit a merchant and reload to renew their inventories, was used to drastically decrease the waiting time for a shopkeeper's new stock.
Additional props were also used for skills like Sneak, such as an elastic band being used to allow SnailonYT to go off and accomplish some things in real life which his character churned through the levels to get to that magic 100.
And if you're looking for some new reasons to return to the world of Elder Scrolls then how about roleplaying as Batman himself, or bringing the Gotham Knights to the land of Skyrim?