Nils has a lot of posts up about Skyrim, and some good discussions are going around those posts.
One theme I’m seeing is the debate about what is OP, and how easy it is to min/max the game. I find this… odd. As Nil’s himself pointed out, you can turn godmode on if you want, and be as ‘maxed out’ as you can possibly get. Hearing that people are ‘exploiting’ the game by running into a wall for hours while hidden to max out stealth makes no sense to me. Why waste all that time, just go into the character file and put stealth to 100.
Far more importantly, why would anyone want the game to limit this behavior? If you want to ruin/alter the challenge for yourself, go for it. Me, I’m enjoying the fact that the character system is flexible enough to adjust, and that min/maxing is so de-emphasized that I can, wait for it, just play and enjoy the game while still making progress and feeling powerful-enough to care about the ding.
One issue I had with Oblivion was the leveling system, and how the world reacted to it. Oblivion to me almost required a certain level of min/maxing. I don’t get this feeling at all in Skyrim. My first playthrough ended at level 24, and at no point did I feel gimped or overwhelmed. I also never felt god-like. At all times things felt balanced. Some encounters were more difficult than others, but never one-shot hard/easy. Hats off to Bethesda on this, because I think it takes the good aspects of the world leveling with you, while removing or minimizing the bad.
Another aspect of Skyrim I’m enjoying is how interconnected things are. In Oblivion many (most?) of the quests where in their own vacuum, and once finished, that was it. At most the NPC in question would make a reference to your deeds, or random ‘rumors’ would mention you did X or Y. In Skyrim, even from the limited amount of content I’ve seen (as relates to the total volume of content), many quests lead in or relate to others. I don’t want to go into details to avoid spoilers, but I’ve been surprised more than once to find out that a character I helped earlier turns out to be involved in another quest, or that a decision I made during one quest now impacts another. This not only makes completing quests more interesting overall, but greatly enhances the feeling of immersion and continuity to the world. The locations in Skyrim truly do feel like places rather than ‘quest hubs’.
Finally, Dead End Thrills is one amazing blog for Skyrim screenshots. Be sure to check it out.