Alright so if anyone hasn't played skyrim yet (or might want to replay)...
I'm a bit behind you guys but even Skyrim I delayed big time, because I knew it'd be a big hit on my time (and pocket). I've basically played it all day every day for 2 weeks. Pretty great game I thought. Apart from all the crashes and bugs, of course. At this point I can't even go near Markarth in fear of doing that stupid prison quest that bugs out. I've probably had over 100 ctd's. At least it restarts quick though.
I ended up playing the main game, most of the guilds (except Bard and Dark Brotherhood), probably 2/3rds of the side quests and half the Daedric quests. Then the main quests for Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC's, both of which were great.
Oh and I also played with a lot of mods. Literally took a day just setting mods up. I went by this for my setup:
However ENB looked shit. Because you start in the dungeons (after the short intro) and ENB always looks shit in dungeons because it's too dark, I decided to switch it off. Play it the way Bethesda intended it to be lit. But once I finished the official stuff I decided to give it another shot, this time using the NLVA settings here http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/75346/?
and shit, the outdoors do look pretty sweet. Indoors still suck most of the time but at least you can switch it off using shift-f12 when you're in a dungeon. Definitely worth having on for outdoors, after 50+ hours in skyrim you do start to get sick of the greys. Most ENB settings go overboard with it and oversaturate and overexpose the fuck out of everything. This one isn't too bad though. Does take a hit on loading times, they almost double. Runs smooth though.
Also found this long list of mod suggestions which might be better than what I used (more up to date)
I can't compare to vanilla, but I think all the mods I used have made the game much better. Bigger more detailed cities, better graphics and textures, weather systems, missing quests, even just having a couple of good followers (like Arissa) and I kept the vampire chick around because she's hot make a difference.
So I'm playing through lots of quest mods now. Anyone like some that were on a professional level? There seems to be a lot of amateur garbage. Even the most popular stuff I'm finding a lot isn't very good. Boxmap shit. There's the odd reviewer but they're not critical enough to get modders to improve.
Wyrmstooth is obviously a must-play. It's shorter than the official DLC's and more linear but quality is up there with Bethesda (if not better in some areas). Shame this guy deleted the mod and his online profile to focus on real life, because he had some talent. It's still available on google though, which is how I got it. I haven't come across anything else near as good yet, but I do still have lots of look through.
But stuff like The Wheels of Lull - amateur mess, shit puzzle solving.
Voyage to the Dreamborne Isles - looks pretty, combat completely unbalanced. Game ending CTD midway.
Molag Bal's Inferno - boring gameplay, odd designs. I had enough of the dream world shit in Dragonborn.
The Temple of Black Rock - awful maze design, no lighting, ridiculous hard combat
Clockwork Castle - looks pretty but way too much backtracking and fetching
Moonpath to Elsweyr - some different ideas but poor execution, laughable voice acting
I've been saving up Falskaar, so that's coming next. I hear some are mixed on that though. Then I'll move on to Enderal: The Shards of Order at some point but it's standalone game length, and harder I think so I'm not sure if I'll keep at it. No fast travel wtf.