Time-Based Enemy Scaling

From Skyrim Nexus Latest Files

The usual enemy scaling is the most annoying feature of the offline single-player games for me. I hate it when my enemies get stronger as soon as I level-up. What’s the point of getting experience if it makes your enemies stronger as well? Unleveling the game actually makes things even worse. Yes, you stop “sharing” your progress with your enemies, but is it really a good idea to play a game where you have the most OP advantage: you can get stronger, but your enemies can’t? It’s like playing a strategy game, where you can develop new technologies, you can improve your cities and armies, you can conquer new territories, but your enemies can’t. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Even if in the beginning of the game your enemies are challenging, all you need to do is spend time in the game, and eventually you are going to “outrun” your opponents. Boring.

The Vanilla Scaling System

Advantages: Not known to me.

Disadvantages: “Self-improvement” becomes pointless at some point or even detrimental.

The Unleveled Game

Advantages: The absence of the disadvantages from the previous system 🙂

Disadvantages: Boring late game. Spend-time-to-win mechanics. Hard-to-make, often incompatible mods that overhaul almost EVERYTHING to make the game unleveled.

Location-Based Enemy Scaling

Advantages: Sometimes can be successfully used alongside with the time-based enemy leveling system.

Disadvantages: Turns an open-world game into… well, not so open. “You can go there, but not there”

The Time-Based Enemy Scaling System


– Both the early and the late game can be interesting and challenging.

– Like in the PVP games, you and your enemies become stronger independently of each other, but you have the same amount of time, and only your superior gaming skills and strategy will let you outrun, “outfarm”, outperform and win the game.

– Time becomes an important resource, which by itself introduces an interesting new game mechanics to the game.


– It makes the game endlessly replayable (If you consider this an advantage)

– Uses the existing game mechanics, doesn’t require too much “overhauling”. Super-compatible (at least, my implementation of the idea)

– and so on…

Disadvantages: It’s not for people, who just want to spend time in a game, doing nothing.

Actually, my mod/guide gives you not just the time-based levelling, it also gives you control over what your enemy scaling depends on. (We’ll talk about this later)


Most of the mods, like Experience treat the vanilla experience system as a part of the player’s progression, treat the XP-gaining as something good, beneficial for the player. I’ve decided to take the unconventional route and completely untie the XP mechanics from the player (and tie it to time). With my system, leveling up is actually bad for you and good for your enemies. The vanilla player-leveling system becomes solely an enemy-scaling mechanics. Having level 15, for example, tells you nothing about the player’s abilities, skills or stats. It only tells you something about the enemies and the rest of the world, not the player. You don’t get stats for leveling up. All you get is stronger enemies.

This lets us use the vanilla mechanics, which makes enemies stronger on higher levels, to our advantage. And we don’t have to overhaul anything. We don’t need to get rid of the leveled lists or something like that. We may just unlevel loot a little bit, nothing more serious.

STEP 1: Install the mod

In Skyrim your overall level depends on the levels of all your skills. (Who came up with this?) So, the first thing we need to do is completely untie these things from each other. That’s what my .esp does. With it, increasing your skill level won’t affect the overall level.

Not many mods change the same setting, so, no need to worry about the load order. But if my .esp doesn’t work, and you’re still getting XP, place it lower in your load order.

STEP 2: Find alternative ways to gain stats, perks, etc.

There are lots of mods for that. Here are some of them:

Buy Stats and Perks (LE,SE) – My mod, made with my enemy leveling system in mind. The most compatible, conflict-free way to add stats, even if you’re using other mods that change stats, like SkyTweak.

ESO SkyShards  (LE, SE) – Get perk points by exploring the world.

Smooth Attribute Scaling (LE, easily convertable to SE) – scales attributes with the level of skills instead of overall level. (Haven’t tested it with my load order, but want to try it in my next playthrough).

– There are tons of mods that let you trade dragon souls for perks or stats. (Type in the search-bar “soul perk”, “dragon souls” or something like that)

STEP 3: Level up!

So, now your character progresses without affecting the overall level. But how can you level-up your enemies? For better of worse, this step has to be done manually. Whenever you think it is time for your enemies to level-up, just type this simple console command:

player.setlevel x

“x” is the number of your next level (for example, if you are at level 3, type: player.setlevel 4)

Levelling up this way doesn’t give you stats or perk points. It only makes your enemies stronger. Of course, you’ll have to decide in advance what would be the conditions of leveling up.

I know, it might be better to have some sort of mod that does this automatically, but, unfortunately, “setlevel” function just doesn’t exist in Papyrus (even with SKSE), and the other ways to level up have their downsides.

But on the other hand, this method gives you full control over your enemy scaling. It gives you the ability to make your own scaling system with your own rules.


STEP 4: Get a reminder!           (optional)[/size][/color][/b]

Of course, to help you track your in-game time, you need some sort of a timer. I’m simply using the “Taxes of The Nine Holds” (LE, SE) mod and a courier, which comes to collect taxes, serves me as a timer and a reminder. Maybe there are ways to track in-game time better, but this one works for me. I usually set the timer for 4-6 days between level-ups, but you’ll have to figure out, what suits you, at what pace you want your game to be moving, at what pace your own skills progress, etc.

STEP 5: Unleveled loot, but leveled enemies           (optional)[/size][/color][/b]

The perfect situation for the time-based enemy scaling system is when the loot you find in chests, etc. is unleveled, but the enemies and their weapons/armor are leveled. There are mods that make both enemies and loot unleveled. Using them, obviously, doesn’t make sense with the time-based leveling. So, be aware of this.

Morrowloot (LE, SE) and Morrowloot 4E Edition (LE) should go well with my system, but not the Morrowloot Ultimate, because it makes enemies unleveled.

For myself and for those who are interested, I’ve made my own mod: Unleveled Loot and Minimalistic Gear (LE, SE), which is made with the time-based scaling in mind. It does everything I need loot-wise.

STEP 6: Get creative!           (highly recommended)

[/size][/color][/b]As I mentioned, you can make your own enemy scaling system with your own rules. Use your imagination. Here are some of my ideas:

– You can use leveling as a punishment for death (if you don’t die too often).

– You can use waiting as a punishment. With time-based scaling, waiting = wasting time = loosing your advantages over your enemies.

– I’ve just tested an interesting mechanics, and I liked it: I disabled health regeneration (with SkyTweak), made my health pool a lot bigger (3000-4000 points), stopped using any healing spells and restoration potions. Leveling Up was the only way to replenish my health pool. And every time my health level dropped below the point, when I started hearing my character’s heartbeat, I had to level up. Of course, this works well with the time-based leveling. Sometimes I was able to survive up until the time, when the courier came and I had to level up because of the time constrains, sometimes I was forced to level up earlier, because of loosing too much health in fights… That was fun 🙂

– You can use the unpaused menu mods to complement the experience (I’m using the SkyrimSouls in Oldrim); auto-harvest and auto-sell mods; mods that change the fast-traveling speed, depending on what you want; alternative start and other mods that change your “relationship” with time.

And I’d like to hear your ideas, guys! Feel free to comment and share them!

Original URL: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/98435

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