I absolutely agree. I do that exact same thing in Skyrim (always wind up stealth archer --ranger–) and have right around 2k hours in it as well. Even stranger is that I’ve 2172 hours in CE, so nearly the same there as well heh.
Hardly anyone but you mentions the no longer being able to lead shots and it is a pretty huge deal. I used to love the thrill of becoming exceptional with aiming and timing. I think most who got to play before the archery nerf miss it, but that it just gets temporarily forgotten in favor of the forced heavy shot and stupid low damage and effectively useless accuracy stat.
I have spouted off in several threads about how I work hard to remain positive and have faith and trust in the developers, but there are definitely some darker times where I feel as though someone important in development really has it in for archery. I was reminded of another seemingly minor thing last night and maybe it is skewed perception on my behalf, but I could swear that mobs have some anti archery AI by design as well. Often they seem to be capable of miraculously and instantaneously changing direction right at the last moment to avoid a perfect shot.
The last couple of days, I’ve been playing using an arrow mod that increases their damage and penetration as well as lowering their weight in addition to giving myself free accuracy points with the Pippi mod and focusing my actual combat training on strength (to get the 30 and 40 point perks) and it, of course, makes archery feel better, but still not quite the same as back when, for me, “it was working” before the nerf.
I’ve actually been considering taking a breather from CE and doing another Skyrim play through to have some real archery and stealth fun.