A few years ago, while playing Dead Rising, I realized that I could “complete” the game, and even get a reasonably good grade on the ending, simply by playing for six hours without triggering the event that unleashed the zombies into the mall.
That probably wasn’t intentional.
Similarly to Dead Rising, Skyrim has a trigger event that sets dragons loose upon the world, and it happens pretty early in the main plot. At first, it’s actually pretty neat – you fight one pretty wimpy dragon, then dragons start showing up on occasion when you use fast travel to go places or when you’re running across the landscape, they start showing up more often and you start seeing tougher dragons… there’s a real sense of urgency and danger.
Then it gets annoying, because you can’t go 5 minutes without tripping on another scaly tail.
As an example, there was a point where I was working on trade skills – forgive me my sins – and I was regularly using fast travel to go between Whiterun and the Mage’s college at Winterhold. If you’ve never played the game, don’t worry about the particulars, just think of them as points A and B.
Every single time I traveled to point B, then, I would have a dragon drop down on me and all the college mages would run around shouting “ERMAGAHD IT’S A DRAGON KILL IT” or similar things.
And I would kill it, and this would leave a big ol’ dragon skeleton in the courtyard of the mage’s college, and then I would do the same thing all over again the next time I needed to make the trip.
I have to assume that the college janitors got really tired of cleaning up dragon bits. The mages never got tired of running around screaming.
So avoiding the trigger that sets off dragons has made a second play-through much more enjoyable. I don’t have to worry about getting jumped when I travel, I can take on side quests without the sense that, somewhere, a dragon is burning a small village to the ground, and it really changes the scale of the game from EPIC FANTASY to a personal adventure.
Eventually I’ll probably go back to the first town and talk to the guy who kicks the main storyline quest into full gear. That can wait a while, though.