-Steam. I don't feel like writing more about that.
-No birthsigns and custom classes (or any classes at all) is kinda lame. The stones don't count, Oblivion had them too.
-I find it kind of weird that you can't block while dual wielding. Even if you wield a spell in one hand and a weapon in another like I do. Makes combat feel very "hit-and-run" and Hexen-esque, in a bad way.
-Speaking of spells, there is a lack of them and Destruction is underwhelming. The perks are bad too as the only way to raise your damage is to specialize. I chose Shock, as I've never noticed the burn DoT last more than a couple of seconds, the stamina damage from frost seems nice but both elements' projectiles are TOO SLOW. Fire and ice are worthless vs. dragons as you can't hit them. Lightning Bolt for instance travels instantaneously. I like Flames and Sparks (I especially love slowly finishing surrendered enemies with Sparks. I'm the Goddamn Palpatine) but are there not any better versions of them? 8 damage per second just doesn't cut it. Runes seem to do a lot more damage than just the listed 50.
Removing spellcrafting, one of the trademark features of TES, is inexcusable. As it is you just have more hoops to jump through to make your own spells.
-The soundtrack is as boring as unremarkable as Oblivion's, but on the bright side there's at least one Morrowind track ported.
-Level scaling, the most complained-about "feature" of Oblivion, is back. Once again if you level skills that don't directly affect combat (speech, lockpicking, pickpocket, enchanting, smithing) the enemies will grow too strong. Not as blatant as in vanilla Oblivion but still. I have to constantly upgrade my armor to stay alive for more than a few hits from normal enemies. I wear heavy armor and I still feel I die too easily, even though I put ~60% of my leveling stats on Health.
-Perks: First of all, why "perks"? Why not "talents" or "abilities" or something more fitting to the fantasy setting? Most are 3 or 5-pointers you have to take because they are the most effective. Many are useless in combat or useless in general (more gold from selling? less reloading when pickpocketing?), I especially expect fully upgraded (100 smithing) and enchanted (100 enchanting) items to be the best in the game, as the perks that go into enchanting and smithing do absolutely nothing in combat.
I haven't found much use for speech, and if it's done in a pants-on-head-retarded manner like in Fallout 3 (percentage instead of hard checks) I will definitely not invest on it.
-The UI. I really just have to say this, so that everyone knows. I really, absolutely must. Let it be known. Let the word be known: the UI is shit. I thought they couldn't do worse than Oblivion's default UI but they've outdone themselves. On many occasions I've misclicked dialogue options because the UI doesn't understand "hover mouse over option and click", the inventory doesn't LET YOU SORT ANYTHING by weight, name, etc, the skill tab, oh god the skills. Okay, the constellation thing is cute, but why the hell can't there just be a single list with all the skills and their levels? The tree could open in a separate page or something, but why this? Now, the skills are just lined up, you can scroll through them at the rough rate of one per second, no scroll bars, no nothing. The UI is almost as bad as Borderland's, and that's saying something. The mods will fix it, I'm sure, but I'm paying for the game as it is, not what it may be after tons of (conflicting) user modifications.
-Vertical mouse sensitivity is related to FPS, horizontal isn't. This is a huge mistake and extremely irritating. Just another sign that they either didn't test with the PC at all or they didn't care about the tester feedback.
-Dragons are kinda good. I'm impressed with how fluidly they move in Gamebryo (I didn't believe from day one in Toddler's bullshit about a new engine) but they are kinda easy. I'm playing on the normal (adept?) difficulty. One strange bug makes fighting them really easy: When they land, run to their side and just keep hitting their flank. The dragon won't turn but he does this ground stomp which does little damage and can easily be healed with potions (a glaring balancing flaw, which makes stronger alchemy health, stamina and mana potions almost useless). After some time he starts to fly again and you can zap him and/or outheal the damage from his breaths with Healing.
-I've found two quest items so far with weight (1 and 4). This is bullshit, developers, don't do this. ESPECIALLY when you have no pointers where to take them to get rid of them.
-Racials: Bretons and NORDS have better bonuses to Speech than Imperials, who have none at all. What the hell?
-Combat is better than Oblivion's, but enemies (and the PC) could have more HP. Now blocks are actually easy to break with a power attack, and I don't find myself staggering at all, even without Tower of Strength. Sometimes you and the enemies suddenly do a one-hit KO attack from full health. Why? And why does the camera sometimes switch to third person view? It's incredibly annoying, and usually I just wonder if I died. And unlike Fallout 3, there's no option to turn them off. Also, hitting a guy with an axe or a sword feels much better now. Maybe the better hit sounds and increased blood splatter has something to do with it.
-The bars. The BARS. Goddammit, how can they screw up something as simple as health bars? The health bars deplete from both sides, just like in Oblivion and Fallout 3. This is incredibly annoying. Now, what's the most important aspect of a health bar, or any HUD in general? To provide to you the information you need. The health bar as it is fails in that task. It's VERY easy to think you have more HP left than you actually have and die because of that. Look at the inventory screen and what will you see? You have less HP than you thought. This happens constantly. I get why they did it like this, the mana (magicka) bar depletes from the right, the stamina bar from the left and the HP bar from both sides. But I don't care about aesthetics in a HUD. I care about functionality.
-Fatigue renamed to Stamina and given an actual use: I like it. In the past Fatigue was very confusing: if I have a lot of fatigue, does that mean my character is tired? If I don't have much fatigue, doesn't that mean I'm not tired? Stamina just works better. Power attacks use up a lot more than before, and they're more useful in the past. In Oblivion power attacks were used when the opponent staggered, but in Skyrim power attacks are very good block breakers, and you can hit before the opponent recovers from the flinch. Sprinting is a very good use of the fatigue bar, but it IS extremely strange that running doesn't affect you fatigue regeneration at all. You can jump around all day too.
-The art style is much better than Oblivion's, in fact Oblivion had no art style. Everything was engineered to be as generic as possible to give console players an easily accessible playground to fool around in. Skyrim as an area isn't as unique as, say, Vvardenfell, but it's a definite upgrade. The Nordic environment is nowhere as alien as Vvardenfell, but the varying architecture and landscapes make for a much more interesting world that Cyrodiil ever was. Imperials look like Romans again, too. Races in general are unique again, unlike in Oblivion where the variance was mostly in skin and eye color, and height.
-There is an incredibly annoying bug where the game freezes for a few seconds while walking in any large cell.
-Children can't be killed. Nothing that mods won't fix but as it is, it's extremely irritating hearing a brat trash-talk you and being able to do nothing about it. Just you wait, my pretty. I'll bide my time and get revenge on you, you little shit.
-On that note there are
immortal essential characters.
-I feel that the increased blood and gore (Oblivion was originally 12+ or Teen, and Skyrim is 18+ or Mature) contributes nothing at all to the atmosphere, and just feels tacked on.