I'm starting to find Sands of Time settings which don't annoy the shit out of me.
I still have some tweaking to do. Taking Faldar's Tooth
turned from a 10 minute venture into something closer to an hour. On the road to Ivarstead - attacked by wolves. Lots of wolves. Fair enough, I'm mounted, it's not a problem. Then I'm attacked by bandits. Not a problem either.
Get to Faldar's Tooth. Bandits attack. Because I'm mounted, they can see me and so call for reinforcements. Only a few extra, but they are OBIS bandits, so they're tougher and smarter than normal. Then, a "peddler" who was walking by starts to attack me. As it turns out, he was a Morag Tong/Mephala assassin in disguise. Then some Elite Vigilants of Stendarr come along...since I don't have any daedric artifacts yet, they join in on the fighting and kill a few bandits before being taken out themselves. Inigo spends most of his time paralysed by poisons. Thanks a lot, you useless skooma addict.
After 10 minutes or so, I get past the main gate. Once in the castle, I get down the stairs, and another assassin follows me through the door. She sets off the trap, killing herself, but not before poisoning my character and requiring the use of a lot of healing potions (even in Dark Scrubberhood armour, that stuff was just eating my life away. Maybe Deadly Poisons is increasing the damage even beyond SoT's intended levels). In the fort, things are slightly better, as I can use stealth to my advantage, taking out isolated bandits before mopping up the more concentrated groups. That said, because I'm using SSR and Combat Evolved and Duel, staying in stealth was not easy and the times I was exposed, the bandits would call for reinforcements.
Get to the outside section. Wolves start attacking the gates. Bandits see me killing them, call for reinforcements. The bandit chief, due to exceptional AI (Combat Evolved) realises the fort is under attack and starts raining down crossbow fire from the very top of the tower. It's almost impossible to hit him, due to the protection up there, but he can and does rain down some serious pain on myself and Inigo. We fight our way past the bandits and rampaging wolves and pit wolves up the tower, to finally slay the bandit chief and take his delicious loot.
It's now night time, and with RotE enhanced vampires roaming about, I'm debating whether to stay in the fort and risk being ambushed in my sleep, or making straight for Ivarstead.
So, settings wise. I've turned off the Zombie Apocalypse entirely. I did give it a go, but Whiterun, Windhelm and Ivarstead were being attacked simultaneously, and Whiterun was pretty bad. I think there were about 30+ zombies massing outside the city walls, and they're very hard to take down in close combat.
Currently using the "ale-drinker" preset with enforced lore mode, once I find the settings I like I'll no doubt put it on Spartan. I turned off Burning Inferno, turned on lore-friendly Silver Hand and Vampire Hunters. I turned off rats entirely, that shit is annoying. Same for spiders, and not just because I don't like them. The hallucinogenic spider is annoying as hell. I'm also looking for options to turn off the refugees entirely...that encounter isn't something that really interests me.
I think I need to play with the cooldowns and spawn increasers more. I don't mind a bit of variety, but fighting through 7 extra spawns in a single area is a bit much.
But yes. If you want fun times, I fully recommend Combat Evolved, OBIS and (significantly configured) Sands of Time.