Armor is used to increase the players Armor Rating which reduces damage from attacks. Armor can also have beneficial enchanted effects that improve character attributes. There are nine levels of armor in three subcategories Light Armor, Heavy Armor and Mage Armor.
Armor is available in five categories which identify where the Armor Item is worn on the player:
- Armor (which covers chest and leg areas of the character)
- Shields, which are carried in the left hand (sorry lefties! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a dextrous orientation)
Armor can be gained through various means: bought from Armor Vendors, gained through quest rewards by completing quests, crafted which requires various levels of the Smithing skill depending on the item being crafted, looted from corpses or containers, temporarily made by Conjuration skills, or picked up directly from the world surroundings.
The actual armor rating for any given player is calculated based on the base armor rating for each piece of armor worn (these are the numbers provided in this wiki) in combination with the quality of the armor (base value, Fine, Superior, Exquisite, Flawless, Epic or Legendary) and any associated perks and skills.
The play testers on the UESP wiki have estimated the calculated armor rating as follows:
In skyrim there is a maximum armor cap of 567 when wearing 4 pieces of armor with each piece of armor adding a hidden 25 armor points which would make the actual armor cap without wearing any armor is 667. 567 equals 80% damage reduction and with enough perks in Smithing/Alchemy/enchanting and the corresponding armor perk can make even Hide Armour hit the armor cap.
A complete set of matching armor confers extra armor bonuses on the Dragonborn with the Matching Set perks.