I started the game as an sneaky archer, thinking that I could only "choose" 2-3 skill trees to invest in.

At the moment I have high skill in Archery, Sneaking, Conjuration, Illusion, Smithing, Enchanting, and Alchemy.

Is there any formula or, optimal number of different trees i should spread my points, given that i have only 80 to spend ?

  • It all depends on your choice of what you want to do in a fight. Then just take as many perks in a tree that help your role best. For example, being an assassin may require few perks in the smithing tree. Or you may choose to increase your damage through enchanting/alchemy rather than archery.
    – Domocus
    Dec 9, 2011 at 15:40
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    You have 80 perk points to work with (max level of 81, 80 actual level ups) Dec 9, 2011 at 16:09
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    You can't reach level 81 without maxing out every single skill in the game. Think of 60 as more like the max if you actually specialize.
    – agf
    Dec 10, 2011 at 6:41
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    @afg This is very nitpicky, but you don't need exactly 100 in everything. 100 in all skills puts you halfway to level 82. 7 skills at 100 and 11 at 99 still makes you level 81. ;)
    – brymck
    Dec 10, 2011 at 10:00
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    @galacticninja Done. Edited . Sorry about that, i hope this is eligible for reopening now Sep 24, 2013 at 13:42

3 Answers 3


Not all perks in a tree is worthy of investment. For example, with a little bit of time and looking up an ingredients table online, you can mimic the benefits of the three experimenter perks under alchemy.

My rule of thumb for all the characters I've made so far is not to aim for the end goal of 80 perks, but try to 'complete' the build at around 50 perks, and then use the other 30 for padding for interesting looking perks and skills.

Here is how I break it down, using my sneaky archer assassin as an example:

  • 1 primary tree for combat: I decided to go with archery here to make my bows deadly, picking up every perk except Hunter's Discipline, Steady Hand and Ranger - 12 perks
  • 1 secondary tree for combat (don't need to max this one out): I went with one handed, but is only going to get the 5 + damage perks as its mostly to boost my backstabbing damage with my dagger. - 5 perks
  • 1 defensive tree (light, heavy, or alteration): I went with light armor, but only for the + armor rating and 10% dodge perks - 8 perks
  • 2-3 utility (none crafting trees):
    • Sneak - 4 perks to get to the 15x dagger backstab
    • Illusion - 4 perks to get to quiet casting, 3 to get to expert illusion for invisibility
    • Pick pocket - 4 perks total to get to extra pockets and poisoner
  • 2-3 crafting trees
    • Alchemy - 7 perks for alchemist, physicist, and benefactor to allow me to make max effectiveness potions (but not poisons)
    • Enchanting - 8 perks to max out effects and to get to extra effects
    • Smithing - 2 perks just for arcane blacksmith. I plan to wear only leather armor and use steel daggers (mehrune's razor, which I plan to use is a steel dagger).

Total perks: 54

I will have maximum crafting effectiveness via alchemy + enchanting feedback loop, which allows me to craft a set of leather armor with maximum armor rating and a steel dagger that can easily 1 shot anything in a sneak attack. Also, the nightingale bow (which I plan to use) does not require the ebony smithing perk, which is a nice bonus.

If you want to use a different bow, spend 3-4 more perks into smithing, but you'll be done by level 60 rather than level 80, which is much easier to do.

Afterwards, the filler perks will go towards thing such as magika regeneration (restoration tree), spell resistance (alteration), etc.

  • Is the nighingale bow usable as an End Game Weapon ? I´ve made a Daedric one,but the enchanting from Nightingale seems awesome,i just dont know which one to use. Can i disenchant the Nightingale bow and use its enchantment on the Daedric bow ? Dec 10, 2011 at 21:53
  • @Marcello you can, but its effect is reproducible using the extra effects perk from enchanting. Its just frost + shock damage. No need to disenchant the nightingale (I don't know if you can actually disenchant it).
    – l I
    Dec 11, 2011 at 4:26

Archery,Sneaking,Conjuration,One Handed,Light Armor,Ilusion,Alchemy,Enchanting and Smithing

  • Archery has 16 perk points.
  • Sneak has 13 perk points.
  • Conjuration has 16 perk points.
  • One Handed has 21 perk points.
  • Light Armor has 10 perk points.
  • Illusion has 13 perk points.
  • Alchemy has 15 perk points.
  • Enchanting has 13 perk points.
  • Smithing has 10 perks.

Total of 117 perk points.

You can't take every perk in those trees.

So far, I've taken perks as I've leveled to support what I want to do next. It's worked for me. If you want to think about a build, I recommend thinking about what perks you want by level 20, 40 and 50. If you want to go for higher levels than that, you'll want to level all 18 skills. This can be quite difficult for certain skills without at least some perk investment.

I'd like to draw your attention to the root of the weapon and armor trees. These can accept up to 5 perk points and are solid choices.


Personally I've invested in the skills I want to... if you want to get to lvl 81 (the max), you need to get to 100 in every skill.

With regards to spreading yourself out, I think the only risk is leveling too much on non combat skills (alchemy, enchanting, smithing etc.), as the mobs you'll be facing will usually scale to your level and if you don't have very good combat skills you might get wrecked pretty quickly

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