I've been thinking about why Skyrim is such a bore lately and it turns out it's not because of fast travel. It's the way the player is treated by the game and I'll elaborate on this by comparing main and other questlines in tes3 and tes5. I can't remember when I played oblivion last so I'm not gonna include it
Tes3: You're special but not in the way you're supposed to be. You're clearly chosen by Azura but it's never clear whether you're the reincarnation. It's noted more than once that you might not be and that just fooling everybody is enough as long as you reach the end goal. You can skip the quest entirely without any major side effects. But if you choose to do it you'll get antagonized hard up until the point of completion and basically your task will be to go though all ceremonies and formalities so you're allowed to go to that damn mountain and nobody even hides this fact. At one point you're experiencing the loss of the mentor figure and it greatly adds to the feeling that you're doing things yourself. Very cool, very realistic.
Tes5: Your special, period. You can't fake devouring dragon souls. Skipping the quest will result in missing out on shouts and dragon smithing so you would want to do at least third of it and get entangled in this world saving nonsense. Throughout the whole ordeal you only get praises and pats on the ass. There's not a single persecution, betrayal, loss or any other plot twist. In the end you're not one on one with Alduin and you haven't even been promised armies like the Nerevarine was. All in all little action, a lot of listening to people talking and following the walking NPCs. Although I have to admit I still listen to Sovngarde soundtrack…
Initially I wrote about every fraction separately but I realized that they all follow the same pattern.
Tes3: You work your way to the top through actual work and skill. There can be little subplots about conflicts with other guilds but they don't take up all space. You're just cog in a mechanism, a very good cog but essentially anyone would have done it if they weren't glued to the place. It can be repetitive but overall it's nice playing.
Tes5: You're either extremely gifted or outright chosen and everyone has to always remind you of this. After one or two actual guild quests there typically starts a drama and in the end you're promoted for handling it, not for being good at skills. The guilds take themselves too seriously. Follower babysitting and slow walking make them even more of a total bore. The game trips over itself trying to make you feel good but it can't stop calling you a new Companions recruit or a Brynjolf's new protege even after you've completed the plot… Duh
Conclusion: Your every success in Skyrim is due to some inherent talent or chosenness, you know from the start that since you're so special you're gonna win, therefore you don't feel that it's earned and there's no sense of accomplishment.
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