The Elder Scrolls

How to improve Alteration in TES6

Content of the article: "How to improve Alteration in TES6"

Let's face it. You probably don't use Alteration spells. It's kind of a lame school of magic despite the fact that lore-wise, it can allow the user to transform the environment however they damn well please. If there is a path to godhood in the elder scrolls universe, it's through Alteration.

…So why does it suck?

Alteration in combat allows the user to:

1: Paralyse their opponents (this is an expert level spell that costs 450 magicka to cast without perks)

2: Cast an armor spell for a little damage resistance. (honestly, I barely notice the difference.)

3: Cast equilibrium for some extra magicka despite the fact that if you're a mage, you probably don't have a lot of health to burn on that in the first place.

All of these spells require to be cast from one hand while you are using another item to fight for your life. It feels clunky. You have to go into a menu to cast these, then switch back to a weapon/spell that you can actually use to fight afterwards. This school of magic only highlights one of skyrim's main weaknesses: The constant freezing of gameplay to navigate the menu. If possible, some Alteration spells shouldn't have to be equipped in the player's hand. They should be abilities that passively effect the way the player fights. For example:

Armor spells: The player can choose to have these spells equipped to be passively active. Once activated, instead of adding a temporary armor boost, they add temporary hit points in the form of a shield that gets depleted as time goes on. If the player needs it replenished, then they can hit the power button to spend magicka to replenish it. The pool could be bigger if the player isn't wearing armor.

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Equilibrium: Mages need health. You know what they don't need, though? Stamina. Let equilibrium be a passive gameplay mod that allows the player to use stamina to fuel spells once their magicka bar is drained. Once the stamina bar is drained, let the player choose to either let their pool replenish, or keep casting, and drain their health to form spells as well. This could be a cool way to keep mages viable, (As it would make it easier to cast higher level spells) but it could also make mages a little more of a glass cannon.

Feather fall: Once unlocked, it allows the player to hold the jump button to slow down long falls. (at the cost of magicka)

Levitate: Can be equipped instead of Feather fall. Allows the player to fly by holding the jump button instead of gliding down. This costs much more magicka.


Imagine if you could change the material of your gear for increased resistance/ damage? (You would need ingots of the right material to do this) This would add a whole new layer of depth to the crafting system for people that don't want to smith a thousand daggers.

Imagine if you could turn enemies into stone like medusa? (This would require concentration, and would change their gear as well.)

How about turning enemies into gold instead like king midas? You could then try to sell them for money later if you can carry them back to a merchant. (This could be a master level spell that has spell cost relevant to creature size)

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What about turning a locked door into a soft, easy to break material? Or into iron so that it is harder to break down?

What about the ability to turn a potion into another potion? You could do this in the menu, and it would cost quite a bit of magicka to do so. (with an additional slowed Magicka regeneration debuff)

Telekinesis? You remember that? Easily the most useless spell in the game, especially when you take into consideration how much Magicka the damn thing takes to cast. What if it could lift people and throw them too? or catch arrows out of the air? Hell, what about catching hostile spells, then throwing them right back? Instead of being useless, it could be the foundation of a whole fighting style. Different tiers of the spell could be locked behind alteration level.

Paralyze: I'm fine with the spell cost, I just think that it should last longer than a few seconds if the target is taken by surprise, and that they should be able to be looted much easier this way.

Alter weight: Makes all items in the inventory lighter. (Mages have almost no reason to invest into stamina for carrying capacity anyway.)

Polymorph: Turn into animals that the player has encountered. Spell cost depends on size.

Alter self: Turn into other people

Animate: Make objects fight for you like statues or plants.

Even if the Elder scrolls team doesn't plan on doing any of this, they should still allow players to attach Alteration Spells to The Powers Hotkey (like in oblivion). It just takes too much time to cast them otherwise.

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What do you think? How would you change alteration in the next game?


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