The complex world of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim offers many different ways for players to level up, even within the tutorial. One Skyrim player took full advantage of an exploit allowing players to use Hadvar to grind sneak experience and made it all the way to level 241 before even leaving Helgen.
After reportedly spending a couple of weeks grinding sneak experience by pickpocketing Hadvar, Reddit user Harlen_Sinclair finally emerged from Helgen with over 900 health, 100 sneak, and 100 one-handed, among other skills. They soon discovered that leveling up early completely destroyed Skyrim's difficulty balance.
According to Harlen_Sinclair, when they finally exited the tutorial area, they made an unpleasant discovery: the enemies had scaled up to max level, making the rest of Skyrim brutally difficult to navigate. Making matters worse, Harlen_Sinclair still only had access to the most basic gear, which left them incredibly vulnerable to attack. They stated that having 100 in sneak and one-handed definitely helped, but they still found themselves dying a lot as they tried to adjust, even with the extra health boost from being level 241.
The poster also joked about being confronted by the Ebony Warrior, an experienced Redguard warrior who generally approaches Skyrim players when they reach level 80 and requests they fight him to the death. Although the Ebony Warrior does not attack players on sight, choosing instead to issue a formal challenge to meet him at Last Vigil, there may be something funny about the image of this legendary warrior seeking a worthy opponent to send him to Sovngarde with honor hunting down a prisoner still wearing shackles and carrying a rusty dagger. A response to this post played on Harlen_Sinclair's over-leveled stealth skill by pointing out that if they crouched, the Ebony Warrior would likely be unable to spot them.
As of writing, it appears that many other Skyrim fans are impressed with Harlen_Sinclair's achievements. Some users posted about exploits and shortcuts that could help over-leveled Skyrim players avoid damage. However, other fans shared their own horror stories about accidentally breaking Skyrim's difficulty balance and rendering the game borderline unplayable. One user asked Harlen_Sinclair how long it had taken to reach level 241, as they had also made an attempt to level grind during the tutorial and it took them several hours to reach level 30 or 40. When several other users learned it had taken several weeks, they seemed to be impressed.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
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