First play (November 2011)Edit
Bought it on Steam and downloaded it (successfully!) at midnight when it was released, and was playing it within minutes.
Played a male wood elf, Pluvialis, didn't want to do my usual sneaking thief assassin join-the-Thieve's-Guild-and-the-Dark-Brotherhood type, so I tried being a light armoured, dual knife wielding wood elf melee fighter, but ended up skilling up sneak and lockpicking just through what I considered prudent gameplay... seems I can't help trying to get into places I wouldn't be able to by brute force. I joined the Companion's Guild thingy and was quite pleased to become a werewolf. It was annoying how dead-end being one seemed to be in the end, but I tried to transform occasionally, for fun. At first it was mostly just useful for loping to towns carrying more loot than I otherwise could, although of course quickly you're richer than you could ever need (my house in Whiterun had more jewels, artefacts, and priceless armour in it than the Emperor's palace probably).
Finished the Companion's quest line but got bored of the main quest after a while and let that be. Joined the Winterhold College and in about half an hour became the Arch-mage, despite not being a magic user (sigh). Clocked about 100 hours in the first couple of weeks or something, before realising I wasn't going to enjoy it that much and basically putting it aside.
Second play (May 2012)Edit
Booted it back up again in May 2012, a while after Dawnguard was announced and patch 1.6 was promising mounted combat and I figured I should have a go (and I was supposed to be writing an essay). Picked up again as the sneak/dual-knife-wielding wood elf Pluvialis and finished the main quest and the Thieves' Guild.
Overall just not that impressed really. Not sure what it is, the limp acting, the annoyingly linear story lines, the lack of recognition or respect from most NPCs, or just plain ennui on my part. I guess I'll play the next one but I damn well won't be as excited about it.
My two major gripes are the poor acting/dialogue - the dialogue might be well written and even (although not always) well read, the characters' movements are completely wooden and it ruins immersion. The second is the crap journal and quest-related dialogue compared to Morrowind - you're given a compass that points you to your objective (which I disabled immediately) and so there's only the barest support given from other sources. Like right now I just gave blood I'd collected to some crazy guy to get into this dwarven cube thing, and this giant purple portal-looking thing appeared behind me and was apparently some being from another dimension I'd struck a deal with or something. I'd totally forgotten and my journal had no hint of it. Bah.
Also I'm convinced the world seems smaller and I've decided it's because, due to the quest compass, nobody actually describes how to get anywhere, and Morrowind's low view-distance (fog) seems to make the world feel bigger. Also fast travel (bah!) - in Morrowind you had to find a silt strider and pay for it. In Oblivion/Skyrim you just open the map.
BAH! It's pissing me off just thinking about it.
Also I just remembered another thing - the lack of levitation/flying/stupidly-high-jumping, combined with (even just occasional) invisible walls and the towns being cut off from the main world, makes the world seem not quite as freely explorable as Morrowind's. Which is bad.
Third play (September-October 2012)Edit
Steam, major mods: Dawnguard, SkRe (Skyrim Redone), Live Another Life, Dragons Diversified, and several misc ones
After Dawnguard was released (and Hearthfire announced) I just couldn't be bothered to get it, and wasn't sure if I ever would. But I ended up finding out about a few mods that aimed to seriously improve the game, most significantly Syrim Redone, and since that required Dawnguard I bought it and fired up the game again, starting with a new character (female wood elf, Aquali, aiming for a wayfarer/archer/magic skillset - resurrected from one of my Morrowind plays). A few levels in and I'm loving the revamped skill-trees, although can't say if they work in the long term, over multiple characters.
I levelled up to nearly 30 without actually doing any quests or joining any factions, just because I play, you know, properly, getting immersed in the game. But my intention was to play a mage/scout type and ended up with level 100 fingersmithing and sneak, still only 4 spells, all fire attacks, and mediocre archery. On October 18th I tried using flame runes to wittle down a tough bunch of bandits guarding a fort and quit the game after they got hit and immediately ran to the cranny I'd secreted myself in around the corner and started beating on me. Just how the fuck are you supposed to know where I was?
Dragonborn trailer (November 5th 2012)Edit
The second expansion, Dragonborn, was announced with a trailer on November 5th. I spotted the upload on YouTube and watched it. Even though I had just abandoned Skyrim with a -1 rating, I got goosepimples watching the trailer. If only I liked the actual game!
Fourth play (May 2013)Edit
Steam, major mods: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn, Skyrim Redone
Decided to have another bash at Skyrim Redone, found that quite a few updates to some of the mods I'd been using had been released. I mostly wanted something to occupy my fingers while I was watching Hikaru no Go.
Really got into it this time around, I picked up Aquali where I'd left her, but I'd forgotten most of how I'd played so far, I just saw a level 30 sneak/archery/destruction/alteration character, and remembered I was specifically going for the new wayfarer skill. I devoted my destruction use to fire and had a ball figuring out how SkyRe had balanced the different attacks so they all have their tactical use. I got the hang of planting flame runes to cover my retreat before sneaking up to hit enemies with a flame touch sneak attack and backing away over my runes if necessary.
By the end of Hikaru no Go I was level 40, a vampire lord (Dawnguard), and having quite a good time with the new skill trees. They really do make a difference, anything you choose is rewarding, and you're encouraged to specialise which vanilla Skyrim was phobic of.
As of September 2013 I was still playing it now and then, still working on Aquali's skill trees and playing a bit of Dragonborn.
I got bored of it again, apparently, because it's now February 2014 and I haven't played it at all for ages. Oh well!
With Skyrim Redone, this experience was probably a 1. Vanilla Skyrim still sucks though.