In the middle of April, 2017, we completed the "main" quest line of Skyrim.
I had a fantastic time -- pun intended -- living inside this character, choosing the direction of his growth, and fulfilling the Dragonborn destiny.
The game is not "done" as far as I am concerned. I'll keep playing to see more of the world and accomplish more quests, but I do want to pause for a moment and take note of some items as we reached this point. (I say "we" because most of the time, I was using the PS3 controller, but Sherry was sitting next to me watching, advising, and helping with puzzles and strategy.)
Character Name: Will
Game Days: 396
Calendar days: 66
My game was helped tremendously by having the Sanguine Rose staff, which allowed me to have access to a summoned Dremora, who was always tougher than any Atronoch I could summon. Sure, I kept having to recharge the staff, and sure, the Dremora (we called him "our demon") had no ranged attack, but generally, if "Atty" (the Flame Atronach) or "the Storm Trooper" (the Storm Atronach) were not being as helpful as we'd like -- particularly in a Boss battle -- we called on the Demon. We acquired the staff at the end of a quest called "A Night to Remember" which starts with a drinking contest between my character and a guy I meet in a bar. So, yeah, there are always opportunities in this sort of game to do things which are out of character for me, as a person. I played mostly "heroic" -- choosing not to Join the Assassin's Guild, for instance -- but could not be saintly. This game has a story in which there are many times when the "good" choice either doesn't exist, or is not obvious.
I used Lydia as my follower right up until I married her, at which time I recruited Jordis. Lydia and I adopted Lucia and Samuel. I owned Breezehome, from early on, but the family never lived there. I owned Proudspire Manor, which is where the family spent most of the time, until I built Lakeview Manor, at which point we moved there. Late in the game, I also bought Honeyside, but honestly, once you've lived in Proudspire or Lakeview, who would want to live in Honeyside? Even when it's fully outfitted, it's crowded and seems a bit dirty -- not unlike Riften, the city it's in.
I "finished" wearing a set of double-enchanted Dragonscale Armor, with a double-enchanted "damage + health-stealing" sword option, and a "damage + soul-stealing" sword option. By the end, I was typically casting Icy Spear in my right hand, and wielding one of the swords in my left. I typically used the Ice Form shout in normal battle, though Fire Breath was situationally useful against things which burned easily, and I almost always used Dragonrend, once I got it, when in a battle with a dragon.
Skills: Primary skills I focused on are above the line.
- Destruction: 100 - though I never used, or even acquired, the Master level Destruction spells before completing the main quest.
- Conjuration: 97 - For a long time, Conjuration was higher than Destruction, but it levels as your summoned creatures do damage, and it's much easier to make sure you, yourself, do damage with Destruction spells than it is to make sure your Atronach gets its licks in. Oh, and I never used the necromantic Conjuration spells. It's not my style.
- Smithing: 100 - Worked hard to advance this, wanting to do Dragon Scale armor. I focused on the "left" side of the Smithing tree. I only took a "right" perk to be able to use the Dwarven metal we kept finding.
- Enchanting: 100 - I decided early on that I would not try to finish the main quest until I could double-enchant.
- Light Armor: 84 - focused on this skill late, as I wanted the Dragonscale Armor to become "weightless" to wear, and then to provide more protection. For most of the early and middle game, I wore the Arch-Mage Robes rather than armor, but switched once I could do the Dragonscale smithing.
- One-Handed: 73 - also a late focus, as it became clear I needed to balance my Magika use better. For a long time, I stayed out of hand-to-hand range, letting my follower and my Atronach handled the close fighting, but I'd run out of Magika if the battle lasted a while, and I decided I wanted to be able to fight continuously. I couldn't, though, until I was wearing armor.
- Alchemy: 76 - I remember buying training in this a few times, but most of the levels were gained through experience.
- Speech: 80 - Worked on advancing this skill early, to make money faster and more efficiently. Once I got the perk which allowed me to invest in businesses (which meant I had also gotten the perk to allow me to sell any kind of item to any vendor), then I just let it grow through experience.
- Lockpicking: 73 - never bought a level of this; books and picking locks got it this high.
- Restoration: 58
Aside from the Main Quest, the only other major questlines I completed were the College of Winterhold (I gained character level 12 in the final battle which made me the Arch-Mage) and Dawnguard. I never chose a side in the civil war, though, I will likely do that as I continue playing.
Here are some stats from this point in the game.
Skill Increases: 801
Skill Books: 56
Dragon Souls Collected: 68
Words of Power: 52
Soul Gems Used: 231
Souls Trapped: 303
Locks Picked: 163
Largest Bounty: 1000
Lifetime Bounty: 1045
Items Stolen: 8
Spells Learned: 56
Quests Completed: 82
Misc Objectives Completed: 205
Questlines Completed: 3