Archers are soldiers armed with longbows or crossbows who patrol rooftops and watched for possible enemies below. They usually initiate attacks against any intruder they noticed above ground. A well-placed arrow or crossbow bolt had the potential to possibly knock an adversary off a rooftop.
When approached by an enemy, an Archer would cease using his bow in favor of his short-sword or hatchet in melee combat. They also hide a dagger in their boots as a last-resort weapon. Though accurate and deadly from a distance, archers do not usually pose a serious threat in close combat.
In some circumstances however, a group of archers are capable of taking on an adversary, with some attacking from a close range and others from a distance.
Archers are usually stationed on rooftops within cities and on top of tall guard towers. They usually guard important areas or people, keep an eye out for troublemakers and strictly enforce the city's laws against civilians being up on the rooftops and restricted areas.
Archers take advantage of both normal and enchanted bows along with two varieties of arrows: normal arrows and fire-tipped or poisoned variants. Fire tipped arrows had many uses, such as setting enemy horse drawn carriages or structures susceptible to fire ablaze or sending signals to hidden units from a distance. Aside attacking passing intruders or enemies, archers also hunt down pickpockets, snatchers, and enemy messengers, should they cross their patrol.
There are more than one form of archer, depending on their overall combat style and their skill level
The most basic archer that are no different from rank and file soldiers. They are generally equipped with a long or short bow depending on their assignment. They are generally the weakest of the archers and are hampered by their lower training in weapons besides the bow. They are also limited by the arrows they carry.
A highly trained archer that is adept in survival and close in combat. They are given better quality bows and generally carry a one handed weapon of sorts, be it a sword, axe or mace. Rangers are adept in melee combat and rely on a combination of their medium armor along with their agility to fend of foes, giving them well rounded performance, although they are still considerably inferior to Headhunters as they lack magical ability and are not as physically capable. They are still limited by the arrows they carry.
The mystic archer is a hybrid between a ranger and a spellsword, which makes them naturally rare as the training to become one is harsh. They are powerful ranged combatants, generally equipped with enchanted bows and having the ability to fire as many bound arrows as their magicka would allow. They can also cast spells to enhance and enchant their bound arrows for a variety of effects, which they can apply at range. Mystic archers are highly adept in close combat, generally using swords, self enhancement and basic magic spells, although their ranged focus makes them less dangerous than a dedicated spellsword.
Archers are the most effective when stationed in elevated positions to cover more ground. They are also deadly to adversaries only wearing light armor or clothing. They acted much like scouts in terms of combat, except that they are less agile. A skilled archer can easily kill, disable, or cripple adversaries with a well-placed shot.
As listed, rangers and mystic archers are more skilled in close combat and can prove to be difficult foes if encountered. Furthermore, mystic archers have the advantage of an arrow supply as much as their magicka, and the ability to perform magical arrow techniques. This makes them far more dangerous than the common archers.
In groups, archers had the potential to overwhelm adversaries with ranged attacks and pressure them in battle by going on the ranged offensive with other fellow soldiers. The usage of spells and timed dodging or strafing are commonly used as countermeasures. Skilled swordsmen can parry arrows. Shields also prove to be effective at increasing survival against archers. It is possible to greatly reduce the utility of an archer by letting them finish their arrows.
Mystic archers do not suffer from the weakness of running out of arrows, and instead have to be depleted of magicka. As magicka recovers, this does not leave them vulnerable for a long time. Furthermore, it is harder to strafe and dodge their close combat strikes and sometimes area of effect arrows, making a covered approach more useful when dealing with such.
Similarly to scouts, lightning magic is useful against archers, primarily because it travels faster than any arrow, is quick to cast and also shocks the archer, throwing off their aim. Lightning magic is doubly effective against Mystic Archers as it also drains their magicka, reducing the amount of times they can attack in quick succession.