• Use the Wait button to detect nearby enemies -- if you can wait, the area is clear.
  • Do not improve unimportant skills. Enemy toughness is based on your overall level. So, for instance, if you raise your Alchemy from 0 to 100, your overall level might go up and all enemies might as well. In terms of combat, it's good to have the lowest overall level but the strongest combat skills you're actively using, along with whatever auxiliary skills you prefer (such as smithing & enchanting for your gear). On the other hand, loot is also leveled...
  • Many companions (those who start with bows) won't use superior bows in combat, although they will use hand-to-hand weapons & armor you provide. They will also use better arrows; give your companion one of your best arrow -- they never use it up, and you can police them off dead enemies. Companions often tend to choose the wrong weapon or armor -- you might need to take away one piece to make them reconsider.
  • Weapons matter much more for companions than armor because they generally cannot be killed.
  • Don't give your companion a staff if you have a horse (or dog?). They're sloppy and liable to start a fight by accidentally attacking your pet.
  • Most dungeons loop back to end by the entrance. Find chests (or other containers), periodically dump all the stuff you don't need soon -- I normally do this before going through a portal to another section -- and sweep back through after you have cleared the whole dungeon to get your loot.
  • To level Smithing, create iron daggers. To level Enchanting, enchant them with Banish (this is how I use up all my Petty Soul Gems). Then sell them for all the money you'll ever need.
  • Pick a type of weapon and a type of armor and specialize. I picked Archery and Heavy Armor, although if I had known that Light Armor can (eventually) provide the maximum Armor Rating I might have picked that instead.
  • Find a chest you must steal from that's easy to get to. You can stash stolen goods in it and have your companion steal them to launder the items, removing the Stolen flag.
  • If you get the wrong soul in a gem, drop it on the ground to empty it.
  • The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Wiki seems to be the best reference.
  • On Xbox 360 scrolling gets faster briefly if you use both the left thumbstick and the D-pad to move up or down.
  • Don't bother exploring and clearing dungeons unless you're on a mission -- if you do, you will probably have to run through it again as part of a quest later.

Problems

  • Some quests are broken. I cannot complete the Companions questline because I need to kill someone who I already killed; I cannot start the Bards questline because I already spoke to the head of the College and now he won't say his line.
  • The inventory system is broken. Normally when you remove something the next item down pops up under the cursor, but sometimes the next item above is selected instead. This is carried over from Fallout.
  • The Stolen system is broken. It seems like items of the same type (and graphic) are supposed to stack, with Stolen items (marked "Stolen" in your inventory, but colored red instead in containers) on top. So you should always be able to grab the stolen items and leave a stack of un-hot items behind. But the ordering doesn't work right. It would be much better if Stolen and non-Stolen items didn't stack together.
  • The 'Cleared' flag on a dungeon means it was cleared -- it does not mean it's still clear.