Sunday, August 19, 2012

Skyrim, Dawnguard Expansion - Werewolf Perk Guide

I have to be honest, prior to the Dawnguard expansion, I had never tried being a werewolf in Skyrim.  Well, now that I come to think of it, I had never tried being a werewolf in just about any game except for occasionally playing Warwick in League of Legends.  But I digress.

While the feral side of Skyrim provides some very cool things to play around with, I've personally found it VERY difficult (and to an extent, useless) to continue to play as a werewolf after level 45 or so.  While you're fast and dish out a lot of damage, you also take a tremendous amount in return - this is mostly as a result of the werewolf's lack of a decent (or even any, really) armor bonus.  I'll leave the final decision up to you - we're here to talk about the perks!

They actually made the perk tree look like something relevant.  How nice of them!

First, you need to understand that you can only access this tree when you are actually in werewolf form (and hence have your race changed from whatever to werewolf).  Second, you can only purchase perks if you eat NPC corpses, NOT creature corpses or undead corpses, etc.  The more corpses you eat, the faster you can buy the perks in this tree.

Bestial Strength: This is the only perk with multiple levels (4).  Each one upgrades the damage you do as a werewolf by 25%. So, by maxing this out and you'll do double damage with your attacks.  Also, as its the first perk in the tree, you can't buy any other perks until you put at least one point in this one. 

Totem of Ice Brothers: Taking this perk makes your Totem of Brotherhood howl call Ice Wolves instead of regular wolves. While that's a really nice thought at lower levels (sub ~30) the value of this perk is unnoticeable by level 40.

Totem of the Moon: A solid high-level upgrade to Totem of Ice Brothers; instead of Wolves, your Totem of Brotherhood now summons Werewolves.  You'll notice the difference at any level.

Totem of the Predator: This skill upgrades the Totem of the Hunt, extending the range, plus what state the targets are in - combat, searching, or not in combat.  Useful, but probably the least 'important' perk in the tree, especially since it doesn't lead to any other perks.

Totem of Terror: Makes howl of terror effect higher level enemies.  If you use howl of terror often, get this sooner rather then later.  If you never use it, try using it, and if you like it, buy this perk sooner.

Animal Vigor: +100 HP and Stamina.  This should be your second point spent in the tree.

Gorging: As a werewolf, feeding mid-combat (when possible) is key to surviving.  This perk doubles the health you regain from eating corpses.  Useless out of combat.

Savage Feeding: So after taking this perk, you can feed off almost any creature, however doing so only extends wolf form by 1/2 the amount of eating a normal NPC would.

So that's it.  Bestial Strength, Animal Vigor and Gorging are easily the clear winners in this tree, as they all directly effect combat without involving the AI.  Not that the other perks don't help (because they sure do), but there's just something about relying on summons to do damage - especially as something as fragile as a werewolf, that I'm not comfortable with.

Honestly, there's no reason you shouldn't max out this tree relatively soon after acquiring it.  You'll come across plenty of corpses in Skyrim, and there's no reason to ignore free upgrades, no matter how narrow their usage might be.