The best ‘Skyrim’ quests, ranked

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that can be played almost anywhere, sweeping players off on an epic journey.

Since its release in 2011, people all over the world have tangled with vampires, combatted a villainous dragon, ventured into other planes of existence, and committed daring heists. There is a lot of variety packed into this game — in fact, it is estimated the average player will need more than 200 hours to fully enjoy its contents.

Some of Skyrim‘s included content may not be up to snuff (nothing is perfect, after all), meaning some quests are distinctly superior to others. We counted what was included in the original release alongside its official downloadable content in our list of Skyrim‘s best quests.

10. The Book of Love (Starts in Riften)

Making a quest that doesn’t revolve around combat can be a tricky for games like Skyrim, but the team at Bethesda Studios pulled it off with “The Book of Love.” When wandering near Riften, players will meet a priestess who requests their help in aiding people across the region with their relationship woes. Near the end of the quest, you’ll even have the chance to help a spirit connect with her husband before passing on. This kind of touching and heartfelt story is exceedingly rare in games like Skyrim.

9. Hail Sithis! (Starts in the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary)

Main quests throughout the Elder Scrolls franchise often cast players as an unknown figure in the midst of a major event. Often, the players eventually become legend, as is the case with the Dark Brotherhood’s faction quest. Here the player is given the task of assassinating the emperor of what remains of Tamriel’s empire. There is a lot of subterfuge required, and in the end players must make a daring escape before returning to their contacts for a big reward. A tense and very memorable quest.

8. Forgetting about Fjola (Starts in Mistwatch)

A good quest in a game like Skyrim is fun, but a great quest swerves and zig and zags with your expectations. With “Forgetting about Fjola,” you get the latter. A random fort filled with bandits contains a man searching for his lost wife. When you eventually meet the wife in question, she reveals she is happy with her new life and does not want to return to him. It’s a nice change from the damsel in distress stereotype, and the ethics around this quest’s final decision are genuinely difficult to traverse.

7. Blood on the Ice (Starts in Windhelm)

Many young people dream of being a detective and solving crimes. The “Blood on the Ice” Skyrim quest leans into this childhood fantasy, after players discover that several young women in Windhelm have been murdered. Players will get to interview witnesses, experience a medieval autopsy, and eventually arrest a suspect. To top it off, you’ll be rewarded with a home if you play your cards right.

6. Frostflow Abyss (Starts in the Frostflow lighthouse)

The Bethesda team has been open about their affection for works by H.P. Lovecraft, and yet another neat little tribute to him exists in the Frostflow Lighthouse. When they enter the lighthouse, players will find a number of bodies. Eventually, they’ll be forced to venture into a hidden abyss to discover what horrors lurk in the dark. We may never get a proper adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, but additions like this provide at least a bit of satisfaction for the time being.

5. Lights Out! (Starts in Solitude)

This is a cool quest which sees your character actually leave an impact on the environment. After someone asks players to put out a fire at a lighthouse in order to rob a ship, they are betrayed, forced to fight off their former collaborators, and take part a magical heist gone wrong. This quest is loads of fun, and honestly could have been fleshed out a bit further to provide players with a longer quest to complete.

4. The Mind of Madness (Starts in Solitude)

Typically, the characters you create and play in the Elder Scrolls series are either entirely absent, or at least mostly absent, from future releases. Such is not the case here. Players get transported into a character’s mind, before being reconnected with Sheogorath, the Daedric God of madness. For players who’ve previously enjoyed a specific downloadable content for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, they’ll well recognize this figure. The DLC’s ending is even implied in the dialogue. It’s a very cool shout-out to fans who’ve been enjoying the franchise for years.

3. A Night to Remember (Starts in a random tavern)

Some of the best quests in this series, like “A Night to Remember,” revolve around Sheogorath and their siblings. This quest starts out with a drinking contest. After drinking themselves into unconsciousness, players wake up to find themselves lost, in a completely trashed area, and forced to retrace their steps from the night before. This quest almost feels like a tribute to 2009’s The Hangover.

2. Ill Met by Moonlight (Starts in Falkreath)

Another quest involving the Daedra — they are some of Skyrim‘s best stories, after all — “Ill Met by Moonlight” pries into the humanity of some of the monsters that exist in the game’s universe. At the start of the quest, a man finds himself in jail for killing a little girl. After talking to him, players will gain the uncontrollable curse of Lycanthropy — the same curse that led to the murder. There is a subtle commentary within this quest regarding flaws, and it is a delight to explore.

1. Battle for Whiterun (Starts in Whiterun, obviously)

Far and away, this is the best quest in Skyrim. It forces you to take sides, feels rich and epic throughout, and ultimately leaves permanent marks on the environment and story within the game. We want to see more battles like this in the future of the Elder Scrolls, and genuinely can’t wait to see what Bethesda comes up with next.