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Skyrim Perks Ancillary: Smithing
By Nick M. Facer
Published on 02/13/2013
Smithing is an important skill in Skyrim for nearly every character, so above most others it deserves a more detailed look at the effects of its skill tree on gameplay- and at the same time, we can afford an overview of the armors and weapons crafted with any given perk.

Before going over the individual perks, a moment for a note on Smithing.  You want these perks.  The only character who might not have an interest in them is a cloth-wearing mage, and even then there’s very little reason to skip them.  There aren’t a lot of perks in the skill category, and just having them can do staggering amounts of good for your funding, particularly if you ever enter a mine-type dungeon.  Characters who wear armor have doubled interest, as the perks increase the degree to which they can improve their own armor (beyond the capability provided by skill ranks) and what’s more, the dragonscale and dragonplate armors that stand at the top of the heap as the best armor available cannot be bought- only made or unearthed by you.  And you can bet that finding them in a dungeon is both difficult and very rare.

There is a second, smaller point worth taking note of here.  While you can improve any armor regardless of whether or not you know how to make it, taking the perk for making the related kind of armor and weapons doubles the degree of maximum improvement you can work on the materials, greatly increasing the effectiveness and slightly increasing the sale value of your equipment.

Steel Smithing-

This is one of the only two must-have perks for the ‘tree’.  Without it, you cannot make any of the other kinds of armor aside from basic leather and hide.  Since some of the light armor falls under this as well, it’s hardly banal to take and while the steel armor is heavy, it’s considerably more valuable to sell than iron and corundum ore or ingots, so there’s very little to lose by picking up this perk regardless of anything else.

Arcane Blacksmith-

Not an immediate take, this becomes much more important in the middle parts of the game, when the available armor types (whether or not they are made by you) are changing regularly and you may find that your ability to improve armor even outgrows that, leaving you with armor you’ve enchanted (you did pick up Enchanting, right?), bought, or found that you want to take to the workbench, or similar weapons you want to take to the grinding wheel, but already has an enchantment on it and otherwise can’t be enchanted.  The importance of this perk can even make it worthwhile to take a little time and dive into each mine you find, gathering ore to make more things and thereby pumping your Smithing skill more quickly up to the level you need for this perk.  It’s an honest pity the perk doesn’t come in considerably earlier, as 60 is a pretty high rank for your Smithing.