Of all the games out there, few have the fanbase, popularity, and commercial success of Skyrim. Bethesda’s biggest game in the Elder Scrolls series–scratch that, their biggest game ever–is undoubtedly this incredible RPG. There are hundreds of side quests before you even get started on the whole dragon killing business. You can head off and become a master blacksmith, kill a few dozen bandit camps, join literally every faction, become a world-renowned thief and the Archmage of the College of Winterhold. For all the good that last one will do you.

But one of the most fun (and in my opinion, underrated) things to do in Skyrim is to become a werewolf. Why? Well, doing this has a number of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Using a Werewolf in Skyrim

A werewolf in Skyrim

Flinging Enemies: One of the most fun things about being a werewolf in Skyrim? The fact that one of the power attacks (attacks activated by holding down the attack button rather than just pressing it–the kind of attack that uses stamina) allows you to swat enemies and send them flying. Everyone from archers in light and flexible leather to the most muscled and heavy enemies in full steel plate can be tossed around, and it’s always amusing to see it happen.

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Unique Executions: Another entertaining aspect of being a werewolf in this game is the fact that when you wear down your enemies health enough or deal enough damage with a hit to kill thim, sometimes it’ll trigger a unique werewolf execution, one of which involves leaping at your foe and tearing them to shreds with your claws.

Howling: A unique and useful werewolf ability, depending on the Totems of Hircine you’ve collected with Aela the Huntress, you can unleash different howls. The default howl, the Howl of Terror, allows you to scare off enemies that are low enough level.

Buffs: Becoming a werewolf allows you to access a whole separate skill tree (accessible only in werewolf form), which grants a series of buffs depending on how many hearts you’ve consumed. You’ll gain greater damage, more health, and other perks as well.

Fun: All other perks aside, it’s good fun just to rip through a fort or camp full of enemies. I’m currently doing a run in this game in which I play a stealthy assassin/thief character, and in addition to being delightfully ironic–who’d expect the sneaky little thief to be a werewolf?–but it also provides a great fallback for if I get caught stealing something.

Disadvantages

Joining the Companions: Not necessarily a downside, but if you’re trying to play a character for whom joining the honorable, valiant Companions doesn’t make the most sense (like a sneak thief, for example), then it can be tiresome to have to go and join up with an unrelated faction. More than that, it can just be tedious to have to go through the Companions’ questline, but unfortunately it’s the only way to become a werewolf.

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Can’t Loot or Lockpick: This is a big one for most players; you can’t loot or lockpick as a werewolf. This makes it difficult to grab things off of the enemies you kill or out of chests, so you’ll have to go all the way back and loot them all once the transformation wears off. You also can’t open locked doors at all, meaning you won’t be able to progress if there’s a locked door in your way. You can tear through crowds of enemies, but you’ll be defeated by a simple padlock.

No Well Rested Bonus: Being a werewolf in Skyrim means you’ll never again gain the benefit of the “Well Rested” bonus, which allows you to gain skills faster, which means it’ll be that much harder to level up. But let’s be honest, who uses beds in this game? No, it’s much easier to just use the “Wait” button and stand there creepily still for hours on end.

Bounty: One of the other downsides, in addition to being attacked on sight by normally friendly NPCs while in werewolf form, if you’re seen changing into a werewolf, you’ll be given a bounty of 1000 gold–the same amount you’d get for killing someone in broad daylight. This is high enough for any guards in the entire hold to attack you on sight, so needless to say it’s not recommended that you change forms in public.

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