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Fellow dovahkiins,

I am an archer, with a tendency to sneak. Although my build usually allows me to deal large amount of damage from relatively safe range, I am now thinking of preparing for times when the situation gets ugly.

So is it more cost / time effective to invest in restoration tree or alchemy tree? Or maybe just buy potions from stores? Or is it best to just make potions without investing in alchemy?

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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

With my sneaky archer, I've found that the situations where you end up taking damage are rare enough that you should be able to get by fine with just the potions you loot from the environment, especially if you're travelling with some living bait a trusty companion to tank the damage while you dish out pain from a safe distance.

That said, I think alchemy works better than restoration with this build since you don't have to put your bow away to use potions. When an enemy is chasing you, you need to be pumping arrows into them non-stop for the chance to stagger which is essential for keeping them at a distance or interrupt mages from casting. Having to put your bow down, plus the time to cast healing spells may give enemies too much time.

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alchemy is far better than restoration as it leaves your hands available for other stuff. The only time I'd ever use restoration is if I had to heal someone other than myself. –  z - Jan 15 '12 at 14:08
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Enchanting is pretty useful too. Although it is no active help, the passive resistances to some kinds of attacks or increased health/stamina/magicka can be really helpful. –  chandsie Jan 15 '12 at 14:39
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I might be wrong about this, but from what I've noticed, the bright & shiny spells give away your position, so, e.g., if you try to heal while sneaking, the enemies will see you when you do it. –  TC1 Jan 15 '12 at 18:14
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@TC1 - That is correct, unless you have the illusion tree perk that makes your spells silent. –  corvec Jan 16 '12 at 15:08
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I agree with the other post recommending alchemy. Putting potions in your favourites allows you to quickly restore your health when you get in a tricky spot. For spells, you have to equip them (unequiping your bow) and then wait for the spell to activate. If you're in melee, you'll be dead by this point.

The only downside to potions is the weight.

As to your question of where to get potions, the options are finding them in dungeons, mixing them yourself or buying them. I'd suggest doing all three. There are plenty of potions littering dungeons, and the ingredients for a Restore Health potion are reasonably common. If you have the money, then buying the stronger potions is more weight efficient.

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