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So I've been playing Skyrim for some time now and I've reached level 35. I heard about the new Dawnguard DLC but never bothered reading about it. I recently found out that you can now smith arrows for archery, which is a big plus for me as I like archery in the game. I also noticed there are crossbows, new shouts, new weapons and armor, etc.

However I do not know how will this change the balance of the game. Are there any major advantages I am missing by not getting the DLC?

Would the DLC affect the balance of the game or shall I finish the main quest before getting it?

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All of the features you mentioned are available through modding, if you are a PC player, and they can be found in mods specifically designed to minimize impact on balance. – Lawton Jul 16 '12 at 18:36
Thanks for reminding me, I should have mentioned it's on console ! – Render Jul 16 '12 at 18:42
You need to reword your title; as it stands, the kneejerk reaction is to close it, because it sounds like you're asking for our opinion. – Frank Jul 16 '12 at 18:50
I 'AM' asking for people's opinion, for those who bought it the game and the DLC. I do not want to waste my money on something that can ruin my gameplay. I do not see what is the problem of asking such question here. THank you. – Render Jul 16 '12 at 18:54
@Fendi We try not to ask questions that solicit opinions, as they are not a good fit for the site. The FAQ specifically states you should not ask questions that ask for shopping advice. I still recommend you edit the question to remove that bit, as I won't be the only one with that kneejerk reaction. – Frank Jul 16 '12 at 19:11
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The short answer is No, the balance of the game won't be noticeably affected.

Dawnguard introduces a few new things that modify minor aspects of the base game:

  • Dragonbone Weapons: With a smithing skill of 100, you can now craft weapons from Dragonbone. The bow has the highest base damage of any bow.
  • Arrow Smithing: Able to smith arrows
  • Crossbrows: Faster first shot with slower reload time. You can smith an Enhanced Version of this cross bow that ignores 50% of armor. This is pretty huge and all you need is the steel smithing perk.

  • The vampire and werewolf perk trees are also available, and improve the base abilities for those factions. These are gained by feasting on the flesh of your fallen foes (aka devouring a killed NPC as a werewolf or killing an NPC with drain life or bite as a vampire lord)

So what you're truly given with the DLC is some interesting build depth for players who enjoy playing as a Vampire or Werewolf, slightly more powerful weapons for those who reach 100 smithing, and a bow substitute that can eventually be improved to ignore 50% armor at high levels, but needs to be earned through Dawnguard questing.

Looking at all the info I think you can reach an objective conclusion that current players shouldn't notice any major balance upsets.

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