Originally Posted by mlifxs
dumb question: if I decide to attempt a DIY here, should I somehow soak up this oil before removing spark plugs?
Why do you want to take the spark plugs out? To replace with new?
I would definitely soak up and clean this excess oil off before taking the spark plugs out, in fact even when "clean" looking one should consider that there might be some not so easy to see grit and dust that you don't want finding its way into the combustion chamber.
But otherwise, the spark plugs don't need to come out when replacing the valve cover gasket, and in that case, once the valve cover is off it would then be easier to access and clean around the spark plugs.
Just an observation, it seems as though this is a more tricky job with the N52 than for instance the M54 - more cramped with the N52 and things like the strut brace will probably be in the way...
But definitely still a DIY job!