The College of Winterhold is now caught in an increasingly unstable maelstrom of magic - so much so that it has disappeared from the world map. The Staff of Magnus can be used to force clear the way across the courtyard and into the Hall of the Elements. There are likely to be one or more Magic Anomalies just inside the whirling force screen.
Upon arriving at the Hall of the Elements, Ancano is waiting, directing energy of some kind at the Eye of Magnus. He is well aware of the Dragonborn's presence. The mad elf spots them and Tolfdir, taunting and crowing that he’s so far beyond any pitiful attempts at magic that he cannot be touched.
Unfortunately, this is true, as Tolfdir’s aimed fireball dissipates harmlessly. The old mage has just enough time to tell the Dragonborn to bring out the Staff of Magnus and use it on the Eye before an enraged Ancano strikes him — and anyone else (such as followers) in the vicinity — with a Mass Paralysis spell, leaving the Dragonborn standing alone.
Ancano decides to finish the Dragonborn himself, opening the Eye of Magnus and tapping into its full and incredible power.
Note: It is possible to keep Ancano from paralyzing Tolfdir and any other follower by blocking the former's Mass Paralysis spell with a magic ward.
Note that any followers cannot aid in the fight and will likely attack Tolfdir after the magic anomalies are defeated, so it will be impossible to complete the quest with one around.
While the Eye is open, Ancano is invincible. When the Eye is fully open, a casting from the Staff of Magnus absorbs its energy, and the Eye begins to close.
Once the Eye is closed, the Dragonborn can start attacking Ancano with effect. Eventually, the Eye reopens, and Ancano becomes invincible again. When the Eye is pried open a second time, several Magic Anomalies are also let loose. Although the Dragonborn must deal with them, their presence has the potential to be very useful, as the soul gems they drop can recharge the staff if it is out of charge. Additionally, the magic anomalies attack Ancano if the Dragonborn is not near him. This quest can be used as a way to farm filled soul gems for training in Enchanting.
The Dragonborn can use the chamber’s topography to an advantage, keeping a healthy distance from Ancano, which allows for more time to maneuver around his spells. Standing behind one of the chamber’s many pillars, or the Eye itself, will block the full force of Ancano’s attacks. A very easy way to safely battle him is to stand in the Hall of the Elements behind the closed gate after Tolfdir is paralyzed. One can stay safely behind the gate to heal or take a break from the battle, or just to sit back and let a summoned follower do the work.
An alternative method, if the Dragonborn has the Sanguine Rose from A Night to Remember, is to use it to summon a Dremora after Ancano casts his paralyzing spell. The Dremora will attack Ancano, leaving them free to use the Staff of Magnus on the Eye. The Dremora will make short work of him as soon as the protection of the Eye is removed.
Another way of quickly dispatching Ancano is to use high archery skill, have health damaging poison, and carry a powerful bow and arrows. With this combination, it is possible to use the Staff to close the Orb. Immediately after it starts to close, a poisoned bow with glass or above arrows can make short work of him.
One other method is to get a Staff of Paralysis (the Paralyze spell, and the level 100 archery perk will also work). Once the Eye is closed, the staff or spell can be used to paralyze Ancano. Then he can be killed easily.
With the hated High Elf now dispatched for good, the Dragonborn can return to Tolfdir. He is thankful that Ancano has been stopped, but has no idea how to dispel the gathering crescendo of power that the Eye of Magnus is exuding. Fortunately, Quaranir appears just in the nick of time.
Although he is as cryptic as ever, Quaranir tells the Dragonborn that the Psijic Order always believed in them, and their actions have proved their readiness to lead the College of Winterhold. Now that the Eye has grown unstable, it may not only destroy the College, but also the entire world.
Ancano’s actions proved that this world is not ready for such power, so Quaranir prepares to secure the Eye. The Psijic Order will maintain the Eye for now, and he summons his brethren, Gelebros and Tandil, to perform a binding ritual. The monks and the Eye soon disappear from this world.
The Staff of Magnus has been recovered, and so it's time to assault the College of Winterhold and strike down Ancano.
Objective: Use the Staff of Magnus to enter the College of Winterhold
Objective: Reach the Hall of the Elements
Objective: Defeat Ancano
Ancano has been defeated, but there's still a tremendous amount of energy coming out of the Eye of Magnus. I need to talk to Tolfdir about what to do next.
Objective: Talk to Tolfdir
Objective: Speak with Quaranir
Ancano has been defeated. The Psijic Monks have removed the Eye of Magnus from the College, saying that the world is not ready for such a thing. With the crisis over, I have been named the new Arch-Mage of the College.
Always add 360 , PS3 , or PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
Click to show Bugs
PC 360 PS3 If the Dragonborn encounters a Dragon before entering the college and does not kill it, the cut scene will fail to start, rendering the quest unable to be completed.
After defeating Ancano, it is possible to go back outside to kill the dragon. Upon reentry, the cut scene with Tolfdir will start upon approaching him
Sometimes, if a magic anomaly encountered outside is left alive, upon entering the Hall of Elements, it will then respawn in the Hall during the fight with Ancano. This will cause Ancano to start fighting it while he is not invincible.
If a magic anomaly encountered outside is left alive, upon entering the Hall of Elements, Ancano will speak the beginning lines, but Tolfdir will run into a corner preventing the Dragonborn from being able to fight Ancano. In order to fix this bug, one should go outside and kill the magic anomaly then re-enter the hall, Tolfdir should now run his proper course.
PS3 360 } Upon completing this quest it is possible to acquire double or triple the rewards, two (2) arch-mage robes and two (2) arch-mage keys.
360 Upon completing this quest, the Dragonborn receives the achievement. If the achievement is opened while talking to Tolfdir, the player will get stuck in the conversation and won't be able to exit for about 2 minutes.
360 After fighting Ancano, the game will tell the Dragonborn to speak to Tolfdir. Once this is done, he may say something about the Psijics being there even if no one appears.
This can be fixed by continuing to talk to Tolfdir until Quaranir appears, or running around a bit. Once speaking with Quaranir, two Psijics should teleport in.
If this does not occur, searching Ancano's body again will trigger the continuation of the quest.
PC 360 When entering the Hall of the Elements, it is possible that Tolfdir will just run straight into one of the windows behind the pillars, will not move after that, and will never shoot his firebolt, making it impossible to complete the quest.
Exiting and re-entering the Hall of the Elements seems to fix this.
360 Sometimes if the Dragonborn uses the Staff of Magnus on the Eye of Magnus before Ancano casts his paralyze spell on Tolfdir, Ancano will begin attacking the player and will be invincible. In addition, Tolfdir will be laying on the ground with a flame spell in his hands.
At this point the only way to fix this is to restart from the last hard save or autosave.
It is also possible to cast the Fire Breath shout at Ancano if this bug occurs, and he will take damage. After defeating him, Tolfdir will stand back up.
Once the Dragonborn gets the Staff of Magnus and uses it to break the ward Ancano made, the ward will disappear, but the Dragonborn cannot enter the college.
The only way to fix this is to reload the last save.
If the Staff of Magnus runs out of charges during the battle, using the Sparks spell will also close the Eye.
PC No matter how long the Dragonborn waits outside the Hall and re-enters, Quaranir may never appear, and Tolfdir continually repeats his line.
This can be fixed by using the console command, player.placeatme and Quaranir's reference ID (0002ba3c) to make Quaranir appear. This will cause the rest of the quest to proceed as normal.
If the Dragonborn dismisses their follower after entering the Hall of the Elements, the follower may then attack Ancano of their own accord. This can lead to a disruption of the normally scripted sequence of conversation and actions, although it may not have any impact on the ability to complete the quest.
Sometimes if the Dragonborn enters the college after obtaining the staff, Ancano will not be there.
The only known fix at this time is to start from a save before entering Winterhold.
The Staff may not work on the Eye.
This can be fixed by leaving the college and trying again.
When the Dragonborn is fighting Ancano, he will sometimes just sit there and do nothing, and he will be invincible.
This can be fixed by fast traveling to Winterhold. Upon return, he should be unfrozen.
The game may count killing Ancano as killing another member of the College, and the Dragonborn will be expelled from it. This makes any attempt at conversation with Tolfdir about reinstating membership impossible, thus making it impossible to complete the quest until the fine is paid.
Tolfdir's AI may make him not walk to the designated spot to trigger the fight.
360 Sergius may be present inside the Hall of the Elements and will assist the Dragonborn in fighting Ancano, but will attack the anomalies first.
360 Tolfdir may fast-travel with the Dragonborn upon the start of this quest, and will walk back to the college afterwards.
PS3 It is sometimes possible that after defeating Ancano, he will spawn dead, without clothes and will be fixated to one spot but appears to be running for unknown reasons.