Ranking the Side Questlines in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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I have been playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim over on Twitch for the last month or so. Typically in the past when I played this game, I never played past Act I before restarting the game. So, this is the first time I’ve really ever explored outside of that. And man have I explored outside that. I’ve done practically every side questline (the only ones I haven’t fully done are the ones without stories or connected quests), became a Thane everywhere I could, and bought a house everywhere I could (one of them I still need to finish building). So, I thought it would be a fun idea now that I’ve done all the story side quests that I would rank them from “it was alright” to “this was my favorite thing to do”.

7. Bards College

This is the shortest of all the side questlines. Basically, you find a book containing the story of someone that the college wants to do a festival for. Then once helping them convince the jarl it’s a good idea to have the festival, it’s over. I feel like there could be way more to it. I mean there are additional things you can do afterward, but that’s the main quest.

6. College of Winterhold

I thought there could’ve been more from this quest. Plus, the individual that ends up betraying the college isn’t that big of a mystery. You basically find some strange orb that the assistant to the Archmage decides he wants the power of and ends up killing the Archmage over. You never really get any true answers on what the orb is before it’s taken away.

5. The Companions

Started out as a guild that goes out to settle problems (bandits, giants attacking farms, etc.) and turns into werewolves fighting for their lives. I thought this was interesting especially since you can cure yourself and everyone else (except for Aela) of being werewolves by the end of the storyline. Not to mention half of the guild end up dying due to the werewolf hunters.

It’s a fun quest but ultimately can result in not much since you can reverse what happened to everyone. Not to mention, several people end up dead as a result.

After the quest is done, there is a quest you can pick up from Aela repeatedly where you go out somewhere in the world with her to find totems that are brought back to the undercroft. It’s also after the main quest where you can get the Purity quests from Farkas and Vilkas that want to be cured of their werewolf curse. You don’t have to do them, but it is an option.

4. Dawnguard

One of the DLCs for the game expands upon the vampires. You can either join the vampires or work to stop them from destroying the sun. I ended up going against the vampires. So, my perspective of this is from that standpoint. You go about finding three elder scrolls (one of which is also used in the main quest of the game) and a special bow that can shoot sunlight (or destroy the sun if coated with Serana’s blood). I thought the landscapes this quest took you to were amazing, but we’re well fleshed out. There was a lot of travel without much going on some areas had no enemies or possible side quests that I could find for ages. Plus, you couldn’t fast travel in those areas, so it made for a lot of wasted time.

If those areas had more, I would’ve 100% put this quest line higher up on the list as the rest of it was a lot of fun.

3. The Dark Brotherhood

The Dark Brotherhood Note

Ah, joining the assassins. I thought this was fun yet creepy. Basically, this guild is run by a corpse that can only talk to you. Similar to some of the other quests, the guild is betrayed resulting in the death of most members of the guild. You also kill the Emperor (on his ship) and the Emperor’s cousin (during their wedding).

Not to mention you get an immortal horse named Shadowmere, what more can you ask for?

After the main quest is done, there is a never-ending quest called “The Dark Brotherhood Forever” where the corpse mother will give you contracts to go fulfill out in Skyrim. Once you finish one, you get prompted to go back to her to get another.

2. Dragonborn

This is technically a DLC for the game, but I’m including it anyway. You head to Solstheim where the people are being enslaved to work at the ritual stones across the land (not to mention other things but those aren’t part of the main quest). Through your investigation, you discover the first-ever Dragonborn (Miraak) is behind everything under the direction of Hermaeus Mora (a daedric prince). So, you have to stop Miraak and Harmaeus Mora to free the people of Solstheim by finding Black Books containing various blessings that help you along the way (and through the rest of the game).

While I did this very under-leveled, I still had a lot of fun especially because you get to ride and control a dragon by the end of it.

Nightingale Armor

1. Thieves’ Guild

The questline that leads to one of my favorite armor sets in the entire game: Nightingale. What started out as a guild of thieves trying to rebuild themselves turns into betrayal. You end up being initiated into the Nightingales and taking down the individual who is responsible for the hardship of the guild. By the end, you become the leader of the guild and things are looking up.

Plus, you have one of the best armor sets in the game.

Afterward, you can pick up as many quests as you like from Vex (Burglary, Heist, Shill, and Sweep) or Delvin (Numbers, Fishing, and Bedlam). These never run out so you can do as many or as few as you want.

Do you agree with my list or would you put them in a different order?

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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