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I've now tried all three crafting trees and I must say, I don't really see the point of alchemy over the other two, save for lore. As I see, alchemy has a few shortcomings

  • Takes ages to level, unless powerleveling it (which to me is a bit of an immersion sink).
  • Doesn't give that extra kick crafted and enhanced/enchanted weapons and armor do
  • Poisons have to be applied constantly which brakes the flow
  • It's hard to know if the applied poison will make a difference or not. You might oneshot a mob without poison and in that case it's a waste of charge.
  • More often than not, poisons are resisted, like the draugr.
  • You can buy pretty much anything you need from an alchemy shop. Even as a non-alchemist I was basically drip feeding myself with potions.
  • While not exactly boring, enchanted weapons still allow for more versitality and interesting combinations.

All in all, I don't really get what all the hype about the alchemy tree is. I've read that it's quite overpowered but so far I haven't seen it. To me it's functional but uninteresting. I don't really see why I would pick alchemy over the other three. Could it be that I'm missing anything?

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What you're missing is the positive feedback loop between Alchemy and Enchanting, and the combined effect of this feedback loop on Smithing in turn. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jun 3 '13 at 23:46
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Some people just enjoy playing alchemists. I've never been able to get into the smithing tree, myself. That's the great thing about TES games: different players can enjoy them in so many different ways. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 4 '13 at 0:40
    
@LessPop_MoreFizz - I can see your point. But that would render alchemy a support for the others, not a crafting skill that holds it's own. I think that the designers originally thought that warrior = smithing, rogue = alchemy and mage = enchanting. To me, alchemy is inferior on it's own compared to the others. –  Sandokan Jun 4 '13 at 5:53
    
It has its benefits. especially fortify skill potions are very good. And as an Archer, Poison of Slow helped me very often to Kill Giants and other Mobs you cant kill in melee range. But of course, if you think Potions and Poisons break the flow of the game, there is no point in leveling alchemy. –  Yalla T. Jun 4 '13 at 7:49
    
Yeah I also feel alchemy is a bit of a letdown in Skyrim. It was of great use in Oblivion if you played as an atronach sign, and for making potions that just lasted much longer than spells, and not to mention four-effect poisons. Now it's just meh. Magic also got simplified too much. I loved magic in Oblivion, now it's just reduced to getting to the staggering perks and firing away. Although I only played it once (and as a mage), it seems that smithing really makes up for the alchemy/magic deficiencies somewhat. –  SMeznaric Jun 6 '13 at 14:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

One aspect of Alchemy that is often considered overpowered are the looping exploits in conjunction with smithing and enchantment that can be performed to create ever stronger equipment.

The most basic of these is basically to:

  • Craft fortify alchemy equipment(s)
  • Equip said item(s)
  • Craft some fortify enchantment potion
  • Drink the fortify enchantment potion
  • While under the effects of fortify enchantment repeat the steps above

With each iteration you can craft stronger potions until a certain threshold (I can't quite remember at this point). But ultimately once you reach that threshold then you can craft some fortify smithing and enchantment potion drink that and make extremely strong equipment.

I'm sure with some googlefu you can dig up other alchemy exploits which are more efficient/better yields.

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1  
Good point (+1 to you), but as you said in your opening sentence - an "exploit". To me, that pretty much ruins the game. I would rather see that I'd be equally buffed by specializing in either of the three. As it is now, only going alchemy would put be back compared to the other two. –  Sandokan Jun 4 '13 at 5:57
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Not to mention that if you're playing on PC and are happy to exploit the game, you can save yourself the exploit grind and just give yourself perks/xp/etc via the console. –  Alex Jun 4 '13 at 13:59

If you aren't interested in restoration, you can craft healing potions to help you stay alive, as well as other buffing potions, such as Fortify (light/heavy) armour, and a whole load of other stuff besides.

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