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I've tried using Ice Form shout level 2 (Slen) but I didn't notice any difference compared to level 1 (Iiz). Same goes for throw voice - it however has a lower cooldown, but I couldn't notice anything else. Can someone please explain? Why would I want to be spending Dragon Souls on shouts level 2 and 3?

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throw voice levels 2 & 3 decreases the cooldown so you can use it more often if I recall. Its one of the few that works differently from the other level 2-3 shouts. –  z ' Feb 19 at 13:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Higher level shouts usually add more damage, longer effect durations, or more effects at the cost of higher cooldown. (more info here)

For ice form specifically, it increases the amount of time spent frozen and increases the recharge time.

              Effects                        Recharge
Iiz     Paralysis and 2 damage/s for 15 s   60
Slen    Paralysis and 2 damage/s for 30 s   90
Nus     Paralysis and 2 damage/s for 60 s   120

Each shout is different. Some are absolutely awesome at level 3 and lack luster at level 1. Look at Soul Tear for example.

               Effects  Recharge
Rii     Slight push     5
Vaaz    Slight push     5
Zol     Soul Trap for 2 secs on enemy, drain health 300 pts and reanimate body upon death for 1 minute.
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They higher the level of the shout means the more damage it does with a longer cooldown , for instance when you first learn ' Fus ' of the 'fus-ro-dah' it is weak but once all levels / words are unlocked of it you've gone from tickling bandits to throwing goats off a mountain , hope this helps but Words/levels = upgrades to the shout! :)

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+1 just for throwing Goats off mountains! –  Doomsknight Feb 19 at 13:10
    
There are goats in this game? –  ChargingPun Feb 19 at 13:25
    
Yes , You get goat hide them them which makes leathers :) –  Kallumasaurus Feb 19 at 13:29
    
You are not answering the OPs shouts Ice Form and Throw Voice. They never asked about Unrelenting Force. Not voting on your answer. –  ヴァイシャリ Feb 19 at 16:43
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I wish I could throw goats off mountains... but I took an arrow to the knee :( –  WernerCD Feb 19 at 17:16

Level 2 and 3 shouts become stronger or better in one way or another, depending on the the specific shout. You can read how different shouts get upgraded with levels at UESP wiki. For exmaple, Ice Form paralyzes and applies a DOT effect on the target for 15 seconds at the 1st level, for 30 seconds at the 2nd level, and 60 seconds at the 3rd level; while Throw Voice simply reduces the cooldown with extra levels.

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