Upon completing the quest Elder Knowledge, you collect an Elder Scroll. You will need to return to Paarthurnax atop the Throat of the World and read the scroll at the Time Wound. When the Elder Scroll is read, a cinematic scene will begin. You will see an image of past heroes. You will then learn all three words of the Dragonrend shout, which will be used to defeat Alduin. Once you come out of the vision, Alduin will attack you. Use Dragonrend on Alduin to make him land on ground, where you can then begin to damage him. After Alduin is defeated, he will fly off and escape.
I've located the Elder Scroll that was used to cast Alduin forward into our time by the Nord heroes of old. If Paarthurnax is right, if I read it near the Time-Wound I will get a vision of the past, when the ancient Nords used the Dragonrend Shout against Alduin.
Objective: Read the Elder Scroll at the Time-Wound
Objective: Learn the "Dragonrend" Shout from the Nord heroes
I read the Elder Scroll near the Time-Wound, and learned the Dragonrend Shout in a vision of the Nord heroes fighting Alduin in the distant past. Now I need to use Dragonrend to defeat Alduin in the present time.
Objective: Defeat Alduin
I read the Elder Scroll near the Time-Wound, and learned the Dragonrend Shout in a vision of the Nord heroes fighting Alduin in the distant past. When I returned from the vision, Alduin attacked me, and I used Dragonrend to bring him down and defeat him.
Depending on difficulty, Alduin has roughly 100 - 250% resistance to both frost and fire magic and only shock damage will harm Alduin.
If you have completed the Quest for the College at Winterhold and retrieved the Staff of Magnus bring it with you to the Throat of the World with enough Soul Gems to recharge it fully. It will take two full charges while attacking Alduin from behind but since the staff drains Magicka immediately, then it drains Health, once the Magicka is depleted it will make swift work defeating him.
It is possible to trap both Paarthurnax and Alduin on the ground when they are attacking each other. If this can be done, stand behind Paarthurnax and use him as a shield and pick away at Alduin's health. Use Dragonrend whenever you can and the two will become stuck on the ground fighting each-other instead of the character.
Like all dragons, Alduin's breath attack relies on his magicka pool. A barrage of Shock spells can potentially deplete his reserves to a point where he is helpless on the ground able to only do physical attacks.
During the fight between the Nord Heroes and Alduin, Alduin might get pushed toward the Word Wall when he steps over the corpse of the dead Dragon nearby. This causes Alduin to be stuck facing the Wall and trying to turn around. However this does not affect the game much, and Alduin will still be banished as usual.
You can stop Alduin from shouting the meteor storm by using Dragonrend as soon as you see him then conjuring a Storm Atronach; this can prove useful for lower-level players.
A good trick for low-level players is to always stand behind Alduin. He will always perform his tail bash attack, which is much less damaging than his bite or breath attacks.
The Shout Marked for Death is the best shout to use for low level players and it's advised to get all three first as in only getting one or two of the whole shout might not take full effect until forcing him to land again by using Dragonrend.
Summon something (e.g. Dremora, Atronach, Spectral Assassin) to distract Alduin whilst you attack him from the rear.
Shadowmere also distracts Alduin during the battle allowing time to heal etc. Tip: Grand Healing will heal all allies.
Players may also Summon Durnehviir at this point to witness three dragons all fighting at once. However, this is not recommended, as it leaves the player unable to use Dragonrend due to the former shout's cooldown.
For a faster way for Alduin use the Dragonbane and attack him on the back and keep on using Dragonrend for him to stay on the ground.
Always add 360 , PS3 , and PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
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PC 360 PS3 After viewing the cutscene and engaging in battle with Alduin, it is possible that if you use 'Dragonrend' before he has finished talking Alduin will not take any damage whatsoever and/or to become stuck. Also applies when a follower attacks Alduin before the conversation ends (verified with Serana).
360 If you don't wait until Paarthurnax tells you to use Dragonrend before you use it, then Alduin may be affected by Dragonrend but will not land, and the shout will be ineffective against Alduin.
A known method of fixing this is by reloading an earlier save from before using the Elder Scroll in the Time wound. Also, leaving the location and fast traveling back to it fixes this. And if you die as defeating Alduin it is possible that you have to repeat this.
Another method is to travel to High Hrothgar, enter and exit the building, and run back up to the mountain to resume the fight.
Do not open any menus until Paarthurnuax says "use Dragonrend if you know it!", or the game may crash.
PC 360 PS3 The music for the cutscene does not seem to play and there is no known way to fix it.
360 During the vision Hakon may slide under Alduin and make both of them fight on Felldir's left.
360 Sometimes when attempting to kill Alduin, all attacks (Fire and tail/wing) will kill you instantly no matter what your armor or skills. This will continue until you turn off your console and reload the last save before reading the Elder Scroll.
360 The cutscene can freeze, causing you to be stuck staring at the 3 tongues, only pause works causing you to reload
360 When you begin the fight with Alduin, for some reason there will be no combat music. To correct this, simply reload the autosave made immediately after the cutscene.
PS3 When the player casts the Dragonrend on Paarthurnax, while he is fire breathing on Alduin, it is possible that the sound of Fire Breathing will remain forever. This can be fixed by fast traveling back.
PS3 Felldir may be killed by Alduin in the cutscene in the past before he opens the Elder Scroll, causing the player to be stuck watching an endless battle between the sword hero and Alduin where they keep hitting each other but do no damage. The flashback never ends and the player must go back to a savegame prior to opening the scroll and try again.
PC Use console command <setstage MQ206 32> to go on with cutscene.
PC 360 PS3 The Elder Scroll can be permanently stuck to the inventory after being used, adding 20 points of weight. This is because it is probably still needed by Septimus Signus'
Note: You can return to Urag and offer to give him the Elder Scroll, which removes it from your inventory and nets you 2000 gold.
Note: If you keep the Elder Scroll in your inventory, you can later return to the Throat Of The World, the air will ripple as if you are about to go into the flashback, and if you read the Elder Scroll it will act as if you are about to enter into the flashback, but you will remain on Throat Of The World.
PC PS3 It's possible that Alduin won't appear after Gormlaith Golden-Hilt's warning. This causes the three Nord heroes stuck looking at the sky.
To fix this bug, first open the console and type: setstage mq206 70
Then, to get out of the cinematic type: setstage mq206 100
Alternatively, fast travel to another location and attempt to read the scroll. After this wait for 24 hours and the quest should work as intended.
PC Killing Alduin too fast may glitch the quest and leave you unable to complete it. Waiting until he summons fireballs from the sky usually solves the problem.
If you have Shadowmere with you (the horse you get from the Dark Brotherhood quest line), while he is grounded he will only attack the horse. So keep using Dragonrend on him and pick at his health with a bow from a distance.
360 When Hakon One-Eye is using his power attacks with his Ancient Nord Battleaxe, he seems to hold two weapons instead of one; the left hand has no visible weapon though.
PS3 During the fight with Alduin, Paarthurnax may become an "enemy". You will not be able to end the battle without killing Paarthurnax. This affects future quests as the quest marker sits on the bones of Paarthurnax (Though Esbern may provide the information required to complete the next quest.) The Blades will not give you the Paarthurnax quest and Arngeir will not recognize that Paarthurnax has been slain There does not appear to be a fix for this - merely restart from previous save.
PC During Alduin's Bane, when Alduin eat Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Alduin can hit and instantly kill Felldir the Old by accident leads to Unfinished quest.
PC During the cutscene, after the three Nord heroes used Dragonrend to cripple Alduin, he may become invulnerable, causing the three heroes to keep hitting him and the event in which Gormlaith is killed never happens, resulting in an endless battle.
To get out of this cutscene and finish the quest, open the console and type: setstage mq206 100
Note: Upon exiting the cutscene, an additional Alduin may appear standing on the ground, in addition to the actual Alduin that needs to be defeated. He is invulnerable. After defeating the actual Alduin, fast travel to any other place, and if you return to the Throat of the World, the bugged Alduin will be gone.
360 Repeated use of poison against Alduin may cause the game to freeze. Loading from a save made after the use of poison can also cause the game to freeze.
PC A rare bug makes the player completely invisible. Can be fixed by reloading the last save.
It is possible that Alduin will take no damage no matter what. This is caused by attacking Alduin before the talking is over.
360 Simply exit the game and go to console settings/memory. Once there press y and reset your system cache. Be warned that you may have to do this several times because you can cause it to glitch again the same way.
Another way to fix this is to run away from the fight and to come back after a few in-game days. Alduin will take damage as normal.