In Skyrim you can become whatever you like. Literally. A thief, a person of goodwill a serial killer – anything? If you’re interested in becoming a master Mage, however, there’s lots of work involved – but don’t worry, we’ve got all the help you’ll need right in this post.
It’s once more courtesy GamingReality. Thanks, guys.
Buy the half casting cost perks for Novice through Master as available.
Get Dual-Casting and most important, Impact as fast as possible.
Choose one (your favorite) branch of Fire/Ice/Shock to follow.
Fire spells do great damage, but the travel time of the bolts is slow enough to make it prone to missing the target if you fight at range. Fireball is great for aoe on multiple targets. Frost is also great on multiple targets but has even slower movement time. This is sometimes handy as enemies who don’t move out of it will get hit multiple times and take even more damage. Frost is aces for close quarters combat with multiple foes.
Now for the unlimited mana…
Find an item that ‘reduces the mana cost of destruction spells.’
Disenchant to learn the “Fortify destruction” spell.
Get your enchanting skill up into the 40+ range.
Get enchanting perks that make it 20/40/60/80/100 more effective.
Get the ‘insightful’ ‘corpus’ and ‘extra effect’ perks as you can.
Get your hands on 3 Grand soul gems with Grand souls.
Get your hands on a ring, necklace, and circlet you like.
Apply the ‘fortify destruction’ enchant to all three, and equip them.
You’ll want to recreate these items every so often as your enchanting improves, since they will give greater benefits each time. By the time you have all three of these items at 20%+ reductions in destruction spellcasting, you’ll be able to sling Adept spells like freebies and enough Expert spells to kill a dragon while in the air before it even has a chance to hit you. The effects stack. As you approach 100% the size of your mana pool for Master spells doesn’t even matter, you can cast them as if they were Novice spells.
Always dual cast after you’ve gotten Impact. The staggering effect will stun your opponent (even a dragon) long enough for you to cast again – you can effectively chain cast Thunderbolt this way and chew through any opponent at a great distance – giants never even get the chance to close with me at L18.
Once you have the Extra Enchantment you can put two enchants on a single item, and double this up with another school like Restoration, or with Fortify Health enchants (since we know you’ve been putting most of your point boosts into magicka).
I think once you hit 250 to 300 magicka unbuffed that’s enough. Max out enchanting instead of going for huge amounts of magicka, and put those points into health instead so you don’t get one-shotted. It doesn’t cost you anything to carry around a couple of pounds of enchanted jewelry.
Don’t worry about the “mana regeneration” aspect – your mana regenerates like crap in combat even if you have 300%+ mana regeneration. It’s all about making the spells cost less and less to cast as you level up. The robes available at the wizard college will give you a boost to mana regen and fortify the school of your choice, just talk to the same person/vendor who would train you in that school.
The investment in Enchanting pays off big time later as well – no matter what abilities you are working on advancing, you can always carry around a pile of near-zero weight jewelry items tailored to whatever you require. Get Azura’s star or the black soul gem, put a life stealing enchant on a bow, and you’ll have all the grand souls you need. Combine this limitless soul stream with the jewelry you can make while smithing, the gold/silver ore you mine or buy, and the rare gems you find as you adventure, and you can manufacture mountains of exceptionally expensive enchanted jewelry to sell to vendors (a good way to get rid of the less-than-Grand souls.) Most of the mage vendors at the mage college will buy this enchanted jewelry, giving you what, seven? vendors all right near each other with about a thousand gold each to harvest. You can make mountains of money this way which can then be spent on training.
With all this training money you may worry about leveling up too fast – you won’t. Once you hit 25ish the pace slows considerably even with the training. Your big boosts in exp come mostly with the advancement of your highest skills, not the lower ones. All of the trainers I’ve found won’t be able to get you past 75, and they will charge 1500-3000 gold per point from 50 to 75. I think you get the most bang for your buck training from 25 to 50. Fortify Archery enchantments are wickedly deadly for thieves. You can easily make bows do 100%+ more damage by enchanting a set of jewelry for it, and turn your already-enchanted bow into a one shot soul reaping death machine. If you fancy yourself a thief rather than a mage maxing out archery is just as good as maxing out destruction for this purpose.
I’ll be honest, this is the sort of thing that needs to be rebalanced. The cost reductions and various enchantments should all cap at some point, perhaps 10% + 1% per level. That would give you a maximum of 90% at level 80 which is I think where you end up after maxing out all skills. It’ll encourage you to buff several stats at a time instead of pushing a single one into exploit territory. Mark it up as a request for Skyrim: Wanderer’s Edition. You know it’s coming.