The game contains two cursed afflictions: Vampirism and Lycanthropy. Each of these afflictions grants access to exclusive skill lines, and each curse offers its own mix of positive and negative effects. Curses are featured in some very effective builds. It is up to you to weigh the potential benefits against the drawbacks.
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Vampirism is a popular choice for Magicka-heavy builds; Lycanthropy is generally preferred for Stamina-heavy builds. Curses are curable, but they can only be removed with help from a specialist. You can acquire and cure these afflictions as many times as you like.
Vampires use powerful magic to damage, stun, and elude their enemies. With high damage potential, effective damage reduction, and some very nice stealth Passives.
Developing the Vampire skill line takes a bit of time and a good number of Skill Points. Vampire receive many benefits from their curse:
- Powerful new Magicka/Ultimate abilities
- Up to 10% additional Magicka/Stamina Recovery
- Multiple options for damage reduction
- Improved stealth movement speed
- The ability to transmit Vampirism to willing players
- Up to 25% more damage taken from flame attacks
- Up to 75% less Health Recovery
- Up to 20% more damage taken from Fighters Guild abilities
Most of these benefits and penalties are affected by the stage of your Vampirism a value that changes based on how often you feed and/or use Vampire abilities.
The Vampire skill line features only a few Active Effects:
- Bat Swarm is a damage-focused Ultimate Ability that blends area-of-effect and damage-over-time effects.
- Drain Essence is a channeled attack that also serves as a self-heal and single-target stun.
- Mist Form grants a brief window of powerful damage reduction and immunity to all Disabling Effects
As a Vampire’s need for blood increases, the effects of Vampirism become more potent:
- Stage 1: Your thirst is sated. Apart from your status as Undead, your affliction carries no penalties or benefits.
- Stage 2: You suffer a 25% penalty to Health Recovery and take 15% more damage from fire. However, the casting cost of all Vampire abilities is reduced by 7%.
- Stage 3: You suffer a 50% penalty to Health Recovery and take 20% more damage from fire. The casting cost of all Vampire abilities is reduced by 14%.
- Stage 4: You suffer a 75% penalty to Health Recovery and take 25% more damage from fire. The casting cost of all Vampire abilities is reduced by 21%.
Vampirism progresses by one stage every six hours, but using any Vampire ability advances the stage timer by 30 minutes. Feeding lowers Vampirism by one full stage. To do this, sneak up behind a humanoid target and press your designated Synergy key or buttons.
Feeding With The Blade Of Woe
The process of feeding is much like using the Dark Brotherhood’s Blade of Woe. If you have both abilities, your distance from the target determines whether you’ll feed or perform an assassination. Stay back to feed; move close to activate the Blade of Woe.
Werewolves slash, bite and tear through their enemies. They’re strongest in packs, but even a lone Werewolf can send its enemies running in terror.
Compared to Vampirism, Lycanthropy is very much an all-or-nothing affliction. Transforming into a Werewolf grants you a number of benefits and penalties.
There are only two Werewolf-related effects that don’t require an active transformation:
- Immunity to Vampirism
- A 15% bonus to Stamina Recovery (if a Werewolf Ultimate is ability-slotted)
- 9966 additional Physical Resistance
- 9966 additional Spell Resistance
- Light attacks that inflict Bleeding
- Increased sprint speed
- Powerful new abilities
- Longer-lasting transformations
- Up to 100% more Stamina generated from heavy attacks
- Up to 18% more Weapon Damage
- The ability to transmit Lycanthropy to willing players
Whenever you’re in Werewolf form, you can expect:
- 25% more damage taken from Poison Attacks
- Up to 20% more damage taken from Fighters Guild abilities
- The inability to use weapons or non-Werewolf skills
Werewolf abilities can only be used while Werewolf form is activethe exception being the Ultimate Ability, which triggers the transformation. Luckily, this skill line contains all the abilities you’ll need for an effective transformation:
- Werewolf Transformation changes your character into a savage beast for a short time. While slotted, this Ultimate Ability also increases Stamina Recovery by 15%.
- Pounce is a direct-damage gap closer.
- Hircine’s Bounty is a Magicka-based instant heal.
- Roar serves as a short-range area-of-effect fear.
- Piercing Howl combines heavy single-target damage with a Stun effect.
- Infectious Claws is a cone area-of-effect attack with a considerable damage-over-time effect.
Werewolf Transformation ability carries a heavy Ultimate cost, and because the Werewolf skill line progresses fairly slowly, Lycanthropy represents a serious investment. If you intend to embrace this affliction, take steps to ensure you make the most of each transformation.
Transforming into a Werewolf activates a new Action Bar. Avoid placing any non-Werewolf abilities in these slots.
Killing monsters while you’re in Werewolf mode is the only way to rank up the Werewolf skill line. While you’re in Werewolf form, a thin bar appears just below your Magicka pool.
This extra bar indicates the time left until the transformation ends. Staying near a Werewolf ritual site allows you to remain in Werewolf Mode indefinitely.