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Vampire Castle in Skyrim
Image via Bethesda

Skyrim Vampire vs Dawnguard: What’s the Benefit of Each Choice?

Choosing between Vampires and Dawnguard is not necessarily a coin flip.

Skyrim‘s Dawnguard DLC is quite a lovely addition to the main story of Skyrim, and in its storyline, you get to choose a side. You get to either side with the Vampires or with the Dawnguard (vampire slayers). Each side has benefits and drawbacks, so let’s check them out.

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Should You Be a Vampire or Align With Dawnguard in Skyrim?

This sounds like a million gold coin question (and mind you, these come with the “over-encumbered” status) that I don’t have a real answer to, but what I can do is provide a complete list of benefits and drawbacks of each choice, so if you’re not in the mood to save the game before making this choice and playing the “other side” afterward, it should be of significant help to you.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Vampire in Skyrim

Based on the list of pros and cons of being a Vampire in Skyrim, I’d say that this is the choice for the players who don’t mind playing the “evil” side, players who want more challenging gameplay, and maybe players who play mage characters (given the powers align better with mages). All in all, the Vampire aspect is indeed well-developed, and you can experience a lot of cool and unorthodox features in Skyrim by playing as a Vampire.

Pros:

  • You take less Frost Damage. (Take that, Frost Troll!)
  • You have a badass skill tree to develop, including transformations, invisibility, immunity to diseases, poisons, empowered illusion spells, sneak bonuses, life drain ability, night vision, and necromancy.
  • Death hounds as pets.
  • Serana! (Although this feels like a betrayal of Lydia.)
  • Cool castle to hang out in.
  • You can literally re-enact the meme where you’re shooting at the sun, causing eternal darkness, and allowing yourself to roam freely 24/7.
  • Cool bow.
  • You can hypnotize NPCs

Cons:

  • You take more Fire Damage.
  • The sun burns you whenever you’re outside, so you’ll probably be able to act only at night.
  • You need to drink human blood regularly to maintain your vitality and powers.
  • Everyone will be scared of you or will outright try to kill you, so good luck interacting with people.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Being with Dawnguard in Skyrim

On the other hand, the pros and cons of being aligned with Dawnguard in Skyrim are much shorter and simpler. Basically, if you’re playing the “good” side or don’t want to be trifled by managing your character (due to a lot of different powers and responsibilities (drawbacks) that go with them), or you’re a melee/warrior/armored class, you might just enjoy playing as Dawnguard.

Pros:

  • Better Crossbows (Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow) that are especially effective against Vampires.
  • Cool artifacts.
  • Cool spells to fight against the undead and Vampires better.
  • Huskies as pets.
  • Armored Trolls as companions.
  • You get to hang out in the Fort Dawnguard.

Cons:

  • You don’t get all the cool Vampire Powers.

All in all, I’ve chosen to play as a Vampire and have thoroughly enjoyed the complexity behind the gameplay because I found the Dawnguard to be the typical, default, boring choice. And I wasn’t even a mage character! I was a rogue who was also good at Archery, but it was absolutely enjoyable and challenging.

Check out our Skyrim guides hub for more guides, such as how to get the dark seducer armor.


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Nikola L
Nikola's been a member of GameSkinny since March 2024. He enjoys various game genres, but you'll most likely see him chasing quotas in Lethal Company with friends and grinding roguelike/roguelite games such as Vampire Survivors, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor and Brotato. Loves 90s, driving, video making, and music.