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Excuse the flex, but I've put hundreds of hours into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim over the years. I've been a stealth archer, a Nordic warrior, a battlemage, and even an archer that favours stealth (not the same as a stealth archer). I've completed countless quests, slayed hundreds of dragons, and crafted enough iron daggers to make it rain knives for 1,000 years.
I've done almost everything Skyrim has to offer. Yet there was always one quest that eluded me. I'm referring, of course, to 'No Stone Unturned'.
Take a look at our own guide to travelling the wintry wastes of Skyrim below:
For the uninitiated, 'No Stone Unturned' is a particularly lengthy quest in Skyrim in which the player must track down the Stones of Barenziah that have been scattered throughout the region. Chances are you've come across a good amount of these "unusual gems" on your own adventures, but to really get the most out of them you need to speak to Vex at the Thieves Guild, who'll then ask you to track down the full set.
Look. I have no issue with a good old-fashioned hunt for collectibles in a video game. The big problem with 'No Stone Unturned' is that there are no less than 24 stones to find, and they can be hiding pretty much anywhere. I don't know if you've noticed, but Skyrim is kind of a big game with a pretty massive world. Finding all 24 stones is a real needle in a haystack kind of situation, and it doesn't help that the game gives you zero indication as to where the stones might be. Oh, and one or two of them can only be picked up during the main adventure, which means you can miss them during a playthrough and be locked out of completing the quest.
The one saving grace of 'No Stone Unturned' is that it never pretends it's not going to be a massive pain in the arse. It never promises to help you find the stones with waypoints, and it makes it abundantly clear from the off that you will need to find all 24 to finish it. That's probably why I decided I was never going to bother with it, and I'm certain the vast majority of players came to the same decision. Really, was it worth it?
As it turns out, no it wasn't. I recently revisited Skyrim and decided it was time, once and for all, to gather the Stones of Barenziah. It took many, many hours of tireless exploration, after which I managed to get about 20 of them on my own. Eventually I realised life was too short and threw up a guide to get the remaining four. It was long, and really kind of boring. But I'd done it. I'd gathered the stones.
I never bothered looking up the reward for 'No Stone Unturned' before, perhaps because it's such a forgettable part of Skyrim that it never occurred to me. My mistake. Finally bringing together all 24 stones nets you the Crown Of Barenziah, a regal piece of headgear that you get to... take back to the Thieves Guild and put on display. Wow. Such a prize.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I guess I'd hoped I'd at least be able to take the Crown for myself and maybe display it in one of my many homes like the baller I am. Nope. To be fair, what you do get is a new permanent perk called "Prowler's Profit", which massively increases the chances of finding valuable gems as loot. Sounds great on paper, but it gets old fast.
I'm not saying this perk isn't useful and kind of cool for those looking to get rich in Skyrim, but the sheer amount of effort it takes to obtain it really isn't worth it. I mean, what good is near-limitless wealth if the quest you took to claim it has made you almost hate the game with a burning passion?
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