This thing won 2011 Game of the Year?
This thing has people pouring in hundreds of hours into it?
This was groundbreaking back in 2003 when Morrowind was around. This was cool in 2006 when Oblivion did it with prettier graphics, voice acting and real-time combat. This was unacceptable in 2008 when Fallout 3 had absolutely no sense of direction and did not address ANY of the quirks that were present in Oblivion. This was saved back in 2010 when Fallout: New Vegas showed how an open world game needs to have proper quest design and writing to remain interesting.
The only difference is that Obsidian created New Vegas. Bethesda have gone and developed the EXACT same game that they have created since they started. Their quest design and writing have not improved in the least. Is Skyrim entertaining? I suppose it's better than Fallout 3. But it's essentially Morrowind/Oblivion set in Skyrim. The country of Skyrim is interesting, better than Cyrodiil but not as quirky as Morrowind. But at the end of the day, Skyrim is not a major step up from Bethesda's previous works.
This series of random quests that have no purpose game design essentially tosses you into an ocean that's no deeper than a puddle. It's big and there's lots to do, but none of it has any depth. It's all superficial. I notice children love jumping around in giant puddles and splashing like morons. I also grew out of that many years ago. None of the characters have anything meaningful or interesting to say. There are never important details that you need to hear, only dialogue to skip (awful as most of it is) to start your next fetchquest.
There is no reason why Skyrim should have won Game of the Year anywhere. This is a sad little joke when compared to the masterful design of Fallout: New Vegas. Boo Bethesda, boo!