Best Ways To Ignore The Main Quest After The Helgen Opening

The world of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim opens up after escaping Helgen. Instead of starting the main quest, there are many other places to begin.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been out for over 10 years, and for those who have created more than one character, the carriage ride down to Helgen’s execution is not an enticing prospect. The following race to escape, familiar trek to Bleak Falls Barrow, and meeting with the Jarl of Whiterun aren’t much better. They comprise an overplayed part of the main questline, one from which many Skyrim players may be ready to diverge.

The plot of Skyrim encourages traveling down to Riverwood after escaping Helgen, but in reality, the player can go wherever they choose – whomever they escape with even says as much. After the first playthrough, the origins of the dragon attack on Helgen aren’t as intriguing, and there are many more interesting sights to see, quests to embark on, and loot to collect before the audience with Jarl Balgruuf.

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At its core, Skyrim is a roleplaying game. While that role is always the Dragonborn, there are many races, skill trees, questlines, spells, and gear types that can shape any player’s image of that Dragonborn. For example, when playing Skyrim’s terrifying illusionist assassin build, the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood might prove a good first stop. Undergoing the Thieves Guild questline first means having the Skeleton Key early on, which can be a huge advantage when dungeon crawling or house robbing.

How To Make Your Own Fun In Skyrim Without The Main Quest

One of the best ways to ignore the main quest in Skyrim is to ride carriages to each town and ask their respective barkeeps for local rumors and work. This quickly fills out the quest log with all sorts of objectives, ranging from Daedric Quests to Skyrim‘s more overlooked quests, and chasing these down inevitably leads to more discoveries.

While prolonging the Dragon Rising segment of Skyrim’s main quest does mean there are no roaming dragon spawns to contend with, it also prevents access to Skyrim’s 27 Dragon Shouts, one of the game’s defining features. Combat without access to Unrelenting Force, Become Ethereal, or Storm Call will be more difficult and, depending on the build, less interesting. The lack of offensive Shouts will especially be felt when up against large mobs of enemies, such as in the assault missions of the Skyrim Civil War campaign.

One of the best ways to ignore Skyrim’s main quest, though, is to use a mod like Alternate Start – Live Another Life. This skips the game’s lengthy introduction altogether, starting the player off at any number of locations, including guild halls and DLC areas like Harkon’s castle. There are hundreds of Skyrim mods that make players feel like Dragonborn, but this is one of the few that allows them to be someone entirely unique. In the end, that’s the real incentive for ignoring Skyrim’s main quest: having a new, distinctive adventure.

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