Jesus, took long enough.
I was one of the stupid ones who never played Skyrim when it first came out five years ago(!), but I ended up buying it on sale sometime last year or the year before, and sunk about 24 hours into it without making a sizable dent into the story (I think I got up to somewhere towards the beginning of Act 2). Then I stopped playing, for whatever reason (probably me going off to college without my desktop…?), and when I picked it back up I had no memory of my character, so I ended up creating another.
Which was fine, because I tried to be everything with my first character and spec’d out as much as possible (for future reference, a magical warrior with archery skills and no shield isn’t such a great build), so my restart was a chance for me to actually make an effective character.
I ended up going with a fairly simple and pretty easy-to-play generic adventurer focusing on heavy armor, one-hand weapons (I tended to prefer swords), and archery. Apart from that, pretty much every other skill was up for grabs if I encountered an alchemy or enchanting table, anvil, or whatever (I kind of wish there was a cooking skill, though there almost certainly exists a mod for one). Since it was my first time playing, I spent pretty much all of my time exploring Tamriel and its magic. When the Greybeards sent me to recover the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, I ended up becoming extremely distracted and before I knew it, I had houses in almost all of the major keeps, including Raven Rock (somehow, I never made it to Morthal in my adventures), was married to Ysolda of Whiterun, adopted two daughters and a fox, explored the four corners of the map, fought Miraak in Apocrypha, and met the Thieves’ Guild and Dark Brotherhood.
Unfortunately, my travels ended up making the main questline seem a little anticlimatic, because by that time I was equipped with Stahlrim items and received knowledge of many Dragon Shouts, not to mention having already unlocked hundreds of fast-travel points. After having spent over 70 hours dicking around as the Dragonborn on various unimportant tasks (especially given the threat of the dragons), discovering the Elder Scroll and defeating Alduin in Sovngarde took little more than three or four hours.
That’s alright, though. Skyrim is still a great game, despite its repetition (which is a problem with all RPGs), and I certainly plan to go back to it in a year or two, slap some mods on, and change up my experience again. I only wish I had played it earlier when it was a big thing.
On a side note, I also once wrote a lore-friendly bard song for a university project; maybe I’ll upload it sometime (and when I don’t forget).