WINDHELM, SKYRIM—Having completely filled out his skill tree, obtained every unique item, and successfully completed each quest and subquest within the expansive virtual world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, fully leveled-up video game character Dagmar Brightbane this week fondly reflected on his substantial accomplishments within the fantasy realm, marveling at just how far he's come.

Speaking with reporters at his lavish and well-stocked manor in the eastern city of Windhelm, the level 252 mage-archer told reporters that he was amazed at all he had seen and accomplished since his humble beginnings as an inexperienced dark elf fresh out of character creation.

“When I look back on what I’ve done since my early days nearly getting myself killed fighting rats in the Morthal swamps, it’s incredible where I ended up, really,” said Brightbane, who since arriving in Skyrim has accomplished such feats as slaying the fearsome dragon Alduin and being inducted into the Thieves Guild. “Look at me: I’m standing here in a full suit of Daedric armor, upgraded all the way to ‘legendary’ status thanks to my smithing skills. That’s just not something you think is possible when you’re delivering letters around Riverwood for some lousy Ring of Sneaking, unable to get your hands on a magicka potion to save your life.”

“You level up, though,” he continued. “And you learn.”

Brightbane, who has attained every possible character perk and collected each of the 24 Stones of Barenziah, said that such achievements today serve as a reminder of just how wet behind the ears he was when he first arrived to the small hamlet of Helgen as a captive prisoner without a gold piece to his name. The sorcerer reflected with nostalgia on his carefree days as a low-level dungeon crawler, long before he had used a combination of training, skill books, and “real-world living” to max out his abilities in all magic, combat, and stealth categories.

However, Brightbane emphasized that such advancement didn’t come easily, pointing to long stretches of power leveling that he said were “essential” to his character development. Additionally, the dark elf stressed the importance of the countless hours of trial and error he spent hunting down a particularly valuable silver jeweled necklace of shock suppression, saying this challenge gave him a newfound appreciation for the rewards of hard work, as well as an additional 50 percent resistance against lightning attacks.

Furthermore, the player character emphasized that his considerable efforts have all been worth it in the end, saying that he never in his wildest dreams could have imagined he would one day have the opportunity to defeat the mighty Otar the Mad and ride a horse all across the wide lands of Skyrim back when “[he] was still poking around in random barrels in hopes of finding an old iron dagger.”

“I was so naive back then,” Brightbane said, recounting how many attempts it took him to kill his first ice wraith, a creature he now routinely one-hits with the help of his formidable two-handed weapons skills and a spellbook that includes dozens of powerful incantations. “I remember how frustrating it was being stuck in the Embershard Mine, never sure if I would ever make it to the temple of High Hrothgar—or if I would even survive at all—but I’m sure glad I stuck with it.”

“I guess my success just goes to show the value of experience,” he continued.

However, Brightbane admitted that, at his advanced level—with the Stormcloak Rebellion ended and the Dark Brotherhood long having been destroyed—his ongoing adventures in the land of Skyrim lately have become somewhat tedious.

“Sure, I’ve got all of the Dragon Priest Masks, and yes, I’m famous enough that every townsperson I come across seems to have been automatically informed of my latest exploits, but what’s it all worth in the end?” said Brightbane, admitting that lately he has wondered how his life might have turned out had he pursued his interests in necromancy. “Sometimes it feels like I was happier back when I was just exploring the woods around Whiterun and trying to get together a few followers to go after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Things were so much simpler back then.”

“It just seems that I’ve been going around in circles, casting the same enchantments and fighting the same monsters, but I wouldn’t know how to spend my time otherwise,” he added. “Honestly, I don’t even remember what I was doing before I came here.”