I went to level 54, I think, before I started dragons and yelling. The first shout I spent a soul on was the one that MAKES LIGHTNING FALL FROM THE SKY AND SHOCK MY ENEMIES *TO DEATH!!*
I fast travel now. Not all the time, but still, I am ashamed... Actually it's a bit more complicated than that, really. All Elder Scrolls games had fast travel. Getting anywhere in Arena was literally impossible without it (since you just wandered through random areas forever until you actually decided to click on another city on the map), Daggerfall was so ridiculously huge and largely uneventful that it was an exercise in stupidity/brave reader!/whatever to actually walk from one end of the map to the other, Morrowind encouraged it, but only allowed it through in-game channels, but every once in a while it WAS damned annoying when all you wanted to do was go back home to sell the tons of silver longswords you'd looted. I kept with the Morrowind standard for a while, using the cart a bit but otherwise walking or horsing (riding, really) everywhere, but I think there was one quest that told me to go all the way back and I just said... screw it, I'm too tired for this, and beamed there instantly. I can't say I don't regret it a bit, but I think I reached a point where I wanted to reduce the amount of unchecked boxes, and they were legion.
Food feels... you know, if there was one thing from my little difficulty list I made that I'd still absolutely want here, it would be to make food matter more. I want my dudette or dude to be hungry, and I want to, you know, feel like they enjoyed their baked potato. The cold weather stuff... meh, the alchemy's actually decent enough (although I level like a slug that doesn't know how to mix potions), if I had to worry about warm weather gear I'd actually want to have clothing like in Daggerfall, which is a whole can of worms with these modern graphical model requirements... but food, man. Food. Please.
One of the first things I did was trek across one of the most treacherous reaches in the whole of Skyrim in search of a way to heal myself of vampirism. I still treasure that, actually, even though I died way too often as I tried to negotiate my way past tigers that guarded several tiers of waterfalls. There really was no in-game hint (until after I'd found a temple) that just praying at a shrine heals any afflictions. I had to rely on the old RPG cliche to see me through, but that worked out all right. Gave me a nice vignette to tell.
I started on the top level of difficulty, but got sick of dying all the time and pushed down one notch. Whosoever said the game was too easy either didn't know about the difficulty setting or are way into metagaming/min-maxing. My sneaky-warrior-conjurer does all right now, especially with the coolest weapon ever Dawnbreaker as an undead carver, but there are times, especially with spellcasters, that I can still get thumped pretty handily. I can't imagine how much top difficulty would have soured my enjoyment if I'd stubbornly kept with it all this time.
I play with the crosshairs off. I also play with the compass off. I don't regret it one bit. If I need to know my direction, I look at the map. I even use the map to help me figure out some quests (and really, some of these quests are rather impossible without some sort of gamey hint, sadly), but I keep that to the map, and ignore it unless I need it. Not having the compass just lets me enjoy the scenery (and occasionally get lost, but well, that's how you find new places).
My character's a Redguard, a lady, wears orc armor everywhere, with maxed out smithing and enchanting. I spend perks too readily, but I've focused in weapons and heavy armor and things have worked out quite well (once I forced myself, through my mate's constant insistence, to get unencumbered... which meant I had to buy a house to dump my endless potions and books into).
There was another rule I started with that I eventually had to drop, and that was that I only got money through trade. I actually started out that I only used money I got in trade locally, but that became a bit hard to justify when I'd get quest rewards. But that damned house... there were a bunch of dead Legion guys lying around with tons of money in their pockets, and I'm sitting there wondering how long it will be until I get to dump all my damned books, and I'm like "fuck this action" and start looting all the corpses. Slippery slope. Never stopped after that, pretty much. Even pick up the pocket change in urns now, like a damn miser.
I sometimes wonder how I would have taken this game if I had played Oblivion. I've barely even watched people play it. The changes from Morrowind to this game are big, and sometimes very satisfying, but there's one thing I feel that I miss. I miss being able to run into people who I didn't recognize who didn't want to instantly kill me. There's a very high body count in Skyrim, which is initially fun to help increase, but it's hard to feel much escapism when I'm clearing out yet another hovel filled with mindless bandits. I start asking myself why I'm killing them, what's the point of this, and I KNOW that Morrowind had bandit caves and cultist camps and all of that, but it feels like the murder meter has slid just a bit further to the red zone in this game, such that I feel a bit more first-person shootery than I used to with this sort of game. Surprise me, Skyrim, have some friendlies with some quests you'd normally reserve for towns. OK? No? Fine. *kill stuff*
The wonder I get from seeing places like Blackreach or High Hrothgar remind me why I'm still a fan of the Elder Scrolls game franchise, though, so whatever quibbles I might have are usually forgotten when... and bears! Why do bears have to be so damned aggressive!? Seriously, fuck off and eat some honey, goddamn it!
Where was I? I don't even remember. I think I'm going to play some more and try to earn myself another shout. Peace!