Two-handed weapon builds/play-styles that are actually viable?
I started an Orc character last week in Skyrim and decided to make him a two-handed weapon bruiser. Just doing Bleak-Falls I needed lots of potions... My attack speed was so slow that while doing a standard attack with a Greatsword, I'd get hit one or two times before I even swing.
I have since switched to a sword and shield tank build, I still think it would be fun to play a two-handed weapon specialist. So to make this build viable (meaning to me: not requiring 10,000 potions while fighting mudcrabs ;-) ), do I need to supplement with Alteration pre-combat buffs? Do I need to level/wait it out til I have more health? Do I need to play differently?
Sounds like you're leveling up your character too quickly and not focusing enough on combat-related perks. As you level up, the enemies get tougher. If you're spreading your perks too thin across non-combative skill trees like sneak, speech, block, lockpicking, and pickpocket and don't perk up on 2H or heavy armor, you won't have anything to show for all your leveling up and will be overtaken by a lot of enemies.
Like I said in my post, I was doing *Bleak Falls Barrow*, one of the first quests in the game. I think I was level 2. My perks/generalization was not the problem...
That doesn't necessarily mean you went there first. On my later play-throughs, I didn't even bother with Bleak Falls until much later in the game. At any rate, I don't know how you're having such a hard time at that level provided that you have good armor.
Potions? You shouldn't need potions at level 2. Can you describe your armor? Are you wearing head, hands, chest and feet armor?
Two-handed weapons have greater range than one-handed weapons, you have to take advantage of that: going backwards while swinging is a good way to minimize hits received, bash the enemy by blocking and attacking if they are in your face, then hit them while they stagger.
Blocking is less effective without a shield, so bashing should be your preferred mode of defense. Might want to enchant your weapon with drain stamina so you can always keep on swinging and bashing.
Overall, I feel two-handed weapons are less effective than one-handed weapons, because they offer less versatility and your DPS doesn't benefit as much from smithing. You're also missing out on shield enchants and blocking effectiveness, as well as the ability to cast with your left hand.
@MooingDuck nope, one-handed weapons get a x3 sneak attack multiplier or a massive x6 with the relevant perk, while two-handed only get x2 and no benefit from perks. Considering that a properly-smithed one-handed weapon does virtually the same amount of damage per hit as a properly-smithed two-hander, two-handed weapons are terrible for sneak attacks.