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Minor spoilers ahead — can you really spoil a sandbox game? Maybe if you bury some undesirables in the sandbox, or I don’t know… steal all the buckets? Then again, Skyrim is the kind of game where you can steal all the buckets.

If that bit of nonsense made sense, you may have surmised that I beat Skyrim. My Imperial was level 59 and had maxed Alchemy, Archery, Conjuration, Enchanting, Smithing, Sneak, and Speech. Since it’s a sandbox game, it doesn’t really… end.

I think the most striking thing about the whole affair was what greeted me upon my return from the Nord underworld — seeing a bunch of dragons staring at me like, “by the gods, what have you done?” but not actually talking to me, and then flying off one at a time was a really effective way to underplay things.

Underplaying them is probably the best route in this case — since according to the (official?) timeline on UESP, the World-Eater was supposed to be slain in 201, and my game reads 202. By all accounts, by character was months late in putting down the villain. I was in Skyrim almost six months by the in-game calendar.

That’s probably nothing to the hardcore ES enthusiast, but there was a lot of fast-travel, waiting, and sleeping that went into the accumulation of that six months.

I’m not a completionist, so I really don’t know how much more of the game I will play as my initial character. I told myself over and over again that I wasn’t allowed to make a new character until I beat the game with my first character.

It became a sort of mantra for me. Not really, but let’s pretend it did.

After taking so much time to get into the game — it didn’t really hold my attention well at the start, large in part due to Oblivion leaving me cold to the Elder Scrolls series in general — but I finally started digging into the game’s lore.

With some prodding from Alex over at Cirsova, I read a couple of the in-game books, and I scoured the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages for stuff that piqued my interest. For example, I was curious what the deal with the Thalmor was — and once I found out, I started killing their patrols indiscriminately. Stupid elves.

I have some ideas for a few characters I’d like to try, to experience the game the way the designers may have intended, from different points of view:

  • Khajit Thief — Light Armor, Pickpocket, Sneak, etc.
  • Orc Warrior — Heavy Armor, Two-Handed, Smithing, etc.
  • Altmer Mage — Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, etc.
  • I’m glad I didn’t complete all the various guild quests — I didn’t even touch the Companions or the Thieves’ Guild — it leaves me something to do with future characters. While I did get made by the Orcs and was granted passage in their holds, I didn’t do anything there. I liked them though.

    There were also plenty of dungeons I didn’t plumb, artifacts I neglected to obtain, and more than half of Labyrinthian left to plunder.