The max character level in Skyrim isn’t the same as it used to be. You’ll need to level up your individual skills to raise your character level. With the addition of Legendary skills, these individual skills no longer have caps.
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How Leveling up Works in Skyrim
In Skyrim, you have 18 individual skills: Light Armor, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Speech, Alchemy, Smithing, Heavy Armor, Block, Two-Handed, One-Handed, Archery, Illusion, Conjuration, Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, and Enchanting.
Depending on which character you start the game as, your beginning levels in each of these skills will vary. However, no matter which character you pick, the maximum level any one skill can reach is 100.
To raise your character level, you must raise the levels of your individual skills. The more skill levels you gain, the higher your character level will be.
Original Max Character Level
When Skyrim first launched, players could only reach a character level of 81. This level was the highest that players could achieve with all their individual skills maxed out at 99. However, this is not the case for modern-day Skyrim.
Max Character Level With Legendary Skills
When the 1.9 patch for Skyrim came out in 2013, Legendary Skills were introduced. Legendary Skills allow the player to reset any individual skill back to level 15 once they hit 100. You can do this as many times as you want without losing any XP from your character level. This means that, theoretically, there’s no longer any max level in Skyrim.
If you’re looking to unlock all 251 Perks in the game—or all the abilities within each individual skill—you will need to reach a character level of 252.