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A few days after The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim came out, I saw something on my Xbox Live friends list that I still can't believe to this day: My friend Seanbaby was already level 60.

That's simply mind-boggling. I had already logged most of my waking hours into the epic role-playing game at that point, and I wasn't even halfway to where he was at. A team of an infinite number of monkeys on computers can accidentally program Elder Scrolls 6 in the time it takes a normal human to reach level 60 in Skyrim; Seanbaby did it in less than a week.

The thing is, the and EGM writer didn't even consult a guide or the Internet for some of his character-boosting techniques. He just took the cheap crap he learned from the last game in the series, Oblivion, then added some common sense and applied those strategies here.

If, over the holidays, you're tired of playing Skyrim the way it's meant to be played and want to do some heavy exploitive grinding to get those high-level skill perks, read on for some of Seanbaby's personal tips….


1. Blocked shots

Seanbaby: "The hottest tip that I can give you is you should go and find some of those Forsworn — those Indian people — and you get a couple of guys that are dual-wielding. You stick up your shield, you let 'em pound on you, you turn the difficulty all the way down, you let them do that to you for five minutes, and your Block skill will go up like 30 points."

2. Stealing from teacher

"Whiterun is the town everyone goes to first, and what's awesome about Whiterun is there's this chick Arcadia who teaches you how to do Alchemy. So what you do is train one point of Alchemy, and then you pickpocket all the money back from her, and then you do that back and forth. Alchemy is a total bitch to level up otherwise.

"That’ll also give you a point of Pickpocket. You get a point of Alchemy; you get a point of Pickpocket. Eventually, you'll start getting two points of Pickpocket per thing and so you'll start raising levels in the room. So you go into the store, you come out six, seven levels higher, maybe."

3. Deluxe daggers

"Get iron ingots and leather and you can make iron daggers all day long. Save those because once you disenchant an item that has Banish, you can enchant your iron daggers with Banish really cheap, with any type of soul gem, and each one of those daggers is worth more than like any vendor has. You get like 3,000 gold per each Banish dagger." [Editor’s note: this will help raise your Smithing, Enchanting, and Speech skills. Plus, you can use that cash for further training.]

4. Costume quest

"You’ll want to enchant five pieces of equipment that boost your Alchemy and Smithing, and then with those, you can make your super weapons. Also, when you're actually making your potions, you level up your Alchemy based on how expensive the potion is. So if you're wearing your outfit to make your potions better, then you can make a potion worth like 3,000 gold easy, and that's almost a point of Alchemy. Then you're carrying around all the money you'll ever need."

5. Talk loop

"There's a dude in Riften. He's like an elf, and he works in the Meadery — I can't remember the name. [Editor’s note: Ungrien.] You go in, and you ask him about his boss, and he's like, "Oh, she's lovely." But you can Persuade him, and then he'll tell you about how much of a bitch his boss is, but you can just keep doing this. And you don't have to move the cursor or anything, you just keep hitting the A button. You change the TV channel, watch a show, keeping hitting the button, and 20 minutes later, you'll have a Speechcraft of 100, which has the best perks." [Editor's note: Make sure you don't do this too close to closing time, otherwise Ungrien will call the guards if you're not paying attention and end up trespassing.]

6. Silent skill

"Magic's really superslow to power up, so go to the Magic College early, and meet all those guys. But Illusion is easy — you just cast Muffle on yourself all the time. If you're waiting for someone to lead you on a mission, just cast Muffle on yourself. If you're traveling on foot, just Muffle yourself.

"That's another easy one. Just turn the channel and periodically pull the trigger. [Other skills need] the organic stuff to level up — like you can't get Restoration points unless you're actually healing yourself."

7. Costume quest 2

"This one's a little OCD, but when you're making your special outfit for Smithing and Alchemy, what you want to do is name it all kind of the same thing, like 'Crafting hat' and 'Crafting shirt' or whatever; that way they’re all in the same spot in the menu, and you don't have to search through all your garbage."

8. Killer chat

"There’s those guys who live on the mountain and teach you all those Dragon Shouts — they're kind of invincible, and they have really long cut-scenes, so when you go to talk to them, you gotta sit through eight minutes of them just, 'Blah blah blah blah blah.' So what you do is you sneak behind them and beat the shit out of them, and you get your Sneak and Weapons up, and they don't seem to care. Now you have something to do during the cut-scenes."