Why does the armor rating of my Dwarf Armor decrease when I enchant it?

It didn't happen when I enchanted the sword but strangely this happens when enchanting the dwarf armor and helm and probably for the gloves and boots aswell.

  • 1
    Had you previously improved the armor, turning it into (Fine) or (Superior)?
    – bwarner
    Nov 14, 2011 at 14:13
  • 1
    Yes I had improved it to flawless before I wanted to enchant it. I was thinking that that might be it but it didn't happen to the sword which I also improved to flawless, so it didn't make sense to believe that that could have affected something.
    – Libssa
    Nov 14, 2011 at 15:22
  • 2
    I believe it may be the effect of smithing and magic items. When you upgrade a normal item, it increases by a greater amount than a magic item would.
    – Domocus
    Nov 14, 2011 at 16:45
  • Ok, so what I'm getting from the answers is that it is supposed to happen with armor only and not with weapons? As I can recall the perk increases the strength of the enchantment and I haven't invested in it but it's still weird that the decrease didn't happen with the sword. Unless like skizzlefrits answered to me, it's only supposed to happen with armor as like some sort of compensation (you're enchanting it so we decrease the armor rating because you're getting something extra on the item).
    – user14348
    Nov 14, 2011 at 23:05
  • The user's comment continues: And that's where it's pretty weird concerning the rest of skizzlefrits' answer about the item giving more protection because I tried enchanting it with the effect that gives stronger resto spells and magicka regen. Now I don't see why the armor rating would decrease in that case because that enchant isn't giving me extra protection. So all in all this is a pretty weird mechanic that's blowing my mind in why it's implemented.
    – Mana
    Nov 15, 2011 at 6:36

5 Answers 5


I just enchanted - Glass Armor (Epic) with Magicka Regen (25%)

Before the enchant it had: 134 armor After the enchant it had: 134 armor

While enchanting at the table, it had 90 armor. This seems to be a display bug with the enchanting menu.

I do have the glass smithing perk, I don't have the arcane blacksmithing perk

  • 1
    Maybe the enchanting table shows the base value, without adjusting for skill level?
    – Mauricio
    Nov 23, 2011 at 18:01
  • Perhaps, but I recall the armor having 90 armor before upgrading. I guess I could do another test. Or someone else could (people enchant stuff all the time I would think). My heavy armor skill is low and unperked, so I could compare a steel armor piece.
    – Amy B
    Nov 23, 2011 at 19:11
  • Point. I forgot we are talking upgraded armors here. Then it's probably showing base armor rating, as the AR from improvements is, IIRC, stored separately. Therefore, the enchant table shows base armor, but the inventory later adds the quality value.
    – Mauricio
    Nov 23, 2011 at 20:33
  • @Kyte that's what I'm saying - this enchanting table display bug is misleading people about what enchanting is doing to their upgraded gear.
    – Amy B
    Nov 23, 2011 at 22:02

Its because you don't have the arcane enchanter perk.

Just tested it, with dragon armor. Legendary gauntlets started at 51 armor. When I enchanted it with a grand soul gem, the black star :), the base defense displayed as 26 on the enchanter. However when I checked the bow damage induced gauntlets in my inventory the armor was 51 again.

  • I suspect this is the reason
    – l I
    Nov 14, 2011 at 18:45
  • I can confirm this. Nov 19, 2011 at 20:50
  • 1
    So is this just a display issue?
    – Matt Ball
    Feb 26, 2012 at 18:04

it is because you do not have the arcane smith perk under the smithing tree. need 60 smithing in order to purchase this one,


What's happening is you're enchanting your item of armor, meaning you're giving it abilities that take from the overall protection of the item. So if you enchanted it with a form of defense, it would be better armor for protection but the rating would decrease even if it protects you because it doesn't count the enchantment.


When you enchant an item which had been upgraded with Smithing, such as Iron Dagger (Superior), it reverts to the basic item unless you have the Arcane Enchanter perk. Once you take that perk, you can go to the forge and re-upgrade the item.

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