Skyrim isn't exactly Minecraft when it comes to being a sprawling sandbox open to the player's imagination, but it does have resource nodes for crafting and upgrading – if you want to make your Hearthfire house a little bigger, you'll need some clay. Wanna make an ebony sword? Gotta get out the pickaxe. But some fans are discovering, ten years after launch, that you can hit ore veins rather than going through the animation.
Typically, you'll lose control and be forced to watch the Dragonborn swing a few times. You're then awkwardly pushed back into your body with a few bits of ore and maybe some gems to sweeten the deal. During that, you're vulnerable to attacks so if you're digging through the mine outside Riverwood, a few bandits might sneak up on you for a cheeky backstab – we've all been there.
But as it turns out, you can just equip the pickaxe and hack at the node like it's Nazeem – cathartic, eh? You'll notice some pop-ups in the corner of your screen saying you're getting ore, all without the animation. It's slightly less immersive, but it's efficient. What's more, if you dual wield pickaxes and have perks that boost your speed, you can mine rapidly.
Pickaxes weigh ten units so you're filling your pockets by carrying two at all times, but you can get a boon to carry weight in the pickpocket skill tree while the Anniversary Edition even has backpacks – Bethesda's got you covered.
But the mining animation can provide you with a brief little moment to grab a drink, go to the toilet, or cook a three-course meal, so there are some upsides to waiting around for it – it's like Skyrim's version of ad breaks.
If you do want to cut them out entirely, just be sure to enchant your picks with elemental fury. But be careful as some report that veins don't come back this way. Typically they regrow. Don't ask how. But if you mine them without using the animation, there's a chance they'll never replenish.
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