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Skyrim is one of the most iconic games ever to exist. It has seen so many re-releases since its launch date in 2011 that you can now even play Skyrim on your Amazon Alexa. Part of the reason for the longevity and its dominance across the Steam charts for a solid decade is due to the framework it provides through modding.
For the uninitiated, Skyrim mods change the game completely. I’m talking about everything from the weapons you can use, the magic spells you can cast, the animations of your attacks as well as entirely new lands to explore, fully voice acted questlines that are better than most of the original quests, and also brand new paths to take in the already existing story.
Because of the modding community, Skyrim is nearly infinite. While everyone will find their favorites, here are my favorite Skyrim mods.
Apocalypse Magic of Skyrim
Have you ever played Skyrim as a Mage and got the feeling that if you were truly this level of powerful magic user, that you’d have had just a few more spells up your sleeve than what the game provides you? Well, so did I, and that’s why Apocalypse Magic of Skyrim makes playing as a Mage a far more fun experience.
With 155 spells added to the gameplay, each with completely unique effects and animations, you won’t even be able to tell what is a mod and isn’t as they all fit seamlessly into the lore and they are all completely balanced to start off as well.
The amount of variety in the spells is pretty large, too, as you might have ash-based spells that give a variation to the fire spells, or you might have crazy new spells like lightning boulders that fling gigantic, lightning infused rocks at enemies that explode on impact.
The list is pretty vast and you can find yourself spending all day just trying out all the cool new spells available here. You can find the spells all over, but usually, they are sold by merchants that frequent Dragonsreach in Whiterun. This is a must-have for magic users.
Sometimes you’ll be wandering around Skyrim and notice that the game’s main factions, the Stormcloaks, Thalmor, and Imperials, just aren’t all that present despite a full-out war being waged. Immersive Patrols change all of that as it adds patrols to the world of Skyrim in the form of the above factions as well as enemy patrols as well.
The results add all kinds of unique random encounters that can involve you or that you can just watch play out and it’s an awesome spectacle when you see random Stormcloaks happen upon an Imperial Patrol and just go right at each other regardless of your interaction with them or not.
The arsenal you can acquire in Skyrim has always been pretty solid, but isn’t more always better? With Immersive weapons, you get 230 weapons added into your game not only for you but for enemies as well and this gives a whole new flavor to the experience as you will now have wildly different battles than you’re used to depending on which of these new weapons your enemies happen to be wielding.
There are also entirely new crafting requirements involving quests that fit right into the game’s lore and that package makes this a mod you simply should never play without.
One thing that Skyrim has always been guilty of is having tons of NPCs who do literally nothing at all. Sure, they might look cool and greet you, but most of the time, that’s all they’ve got to add to your experience. Say goodbye to that issue with Interesting NPCs as this mod adds over 250 fully voiced NPCs into the game as well as over 25 followers, 15 plus marriageable NPCs, and also 50+ quests to take part in with them!
It’s an incredible way to add life into the game, and so many of the NPCs have entire stories to share with you and endless amounts of lore to talk about as well if you’re just in the mood to learn more about the epic world of Skyrim.
Over 80 voice actors lend their talents to these characters, and you can choose to react to them as you see fit with your reactions and actions factoring into how the quest lines play out.
Not only do they have their own quests a lot of the time, but they also react to original Skyrim quest lines being finished as well and have custom dialogue during the quests themselves if you recruit them as followers. This is truly one of those mods where you have to say to yourself, ” I can’t believe they did this for free.”
Legacy of the Dragonborn
Where do I even start with this one? In terms of quest mods, this might be the biggest one ever made as it not only adds hours and hours of gameplay to Skyrim, but it completely integrates into the main story as well, and it’s in many ways a sequel to the main storyline.
If you have ever wondered what the Dragonborn would do after defeating Alduin, wonder no more as you’ll be sent on a journey to collect the most prized artifacts in the world, all while starting a guild yourself from the ground up in Legacy of The Dragonborn.
I’m just scratching the surface here, but the mod adds a gigantic museum for you to display your findings throughout your time with Skyrim, tons of new quests, new areas, new boss fights, massive plotlines, new skills, and more.
If you want to give your Skyrim a huge makeover while keeping it in tune with the lore of the world, Legacy of The Dragonborn is a mammoth-sized, incredibly well-made mod that deserves your attention.
The Wheels of Lull
If you’re like me, eventually, you get tired of exploring the same old ruins and castles that Skyrim has to offer. Sometimes, you just want a change of scenery, maybe some new characters to get to know, anything to change up the formula. If those sound like you and you like your fantasy stories with a dash of science fiction thrown in, man, do I have the mod for you.
The Wheels of Lull is not only a massive, DLC-sized mod that adds tons of new quests, armors, weapons, and dungeons to Skyrim. It also boasts one of the most interesting and creative stories I’ve experienced in a mod.
Things start off pretty weird as you’re contacted by what appears to be a malfunctioning robot, and from there, you’re lured into the underground where you eventually discover an incredibly sophisticated world with amazing looking characters and you’ll discover a plot that’s worthy of its own game, let alone a free mod for Skyrim.
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m obsessed with this quest mod, and I think it’s essential to any Skyrim player looking to spice up the formula a bit. It’s also a continuation of other mods as well, so you can download all the ones on the mod page for the complete experience.
The Brotherhood of Old
Arguably the coolest questline in all of Skyrim is when you get to be an assassin for the Dark Brotherhood. It darkens the flavor of the game and provides some incredibly creepy moments as well, giving Skyrim a much-needed edge.
The problem is that the questline is over too soon, and despite having radiant quests that keep appearing for you after it’s done, there’s just an emptiness to it that doesn’t make it feel rewarding anymore.
The Brotherhood of Old comes in to fix that by giving us another 12 hours of content that includes 24 quests, new items including weapons, armor, and clothing, entirely voiced new characters, new areas, followers, a new potential wife, and a new player home.
The questline involves you rebuilding the Dark Brotherhood and going far and wide to do so. It fits in nicely with Skyrim lore and should be a must-have for fans of the Dark Brotherhood storyline.
Immersive World Encounters
In the same vein as Immersive Patrols, Immersive World Encounters adds a whole new dimension to exploration within Skyrim. This mod adds 100 new events into the game that can trigger at any time while you are playing.
This includes running into people escorting prisoners, coming across a group of rogues, finding people asking for help, random round travelers seeking assistance, etc. The bottom line is that it makes Skyrim feel far more alive than it ever has before.
It’s a massive world map you have to explore, so it only makes sense that it would be inhabited by tons of people with their own lives and problems going on, and with this mod, you get to see a more busy and interesting world along with some awesome new encounters.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
Skyrim is a decade old already, and that means that visually, there will be some serious issues, and when it comes to the flowers, trees, and grass of the original game, it is plain tough to look at in 2021. That’s where Skyrim Flora Overhaul comes in.
This incredible mod adds 16 new tree models, improves the LOD so that things are more visible in the distance, 180 new textures for trees, grasses, and plants, 65 new grass and plant models, and a feature that spawns 7 different types of texture per grass area. The result is an environment that is incredible to look at, and gone are the horrible-looking 2d trees and plants of the past.
Now when you’re hiking through the woods or hiking up snowy mountains, the visuals will be a beauty to look at, and that’s all thanks to Skyrim Flora Overhaul.
Followers in Skyrim have always been one of the cooler parts of any game out there, though there was always something very wooden and inhuman about the way they would speak and react to things.
Mods have made it possible to have any number of followers you want, and while there are an absolute ton of followers to download if you’d like, none match the quality and presence of the Khajit Inigo.
To say Inigo makes Skyrim better is the understatement of the century. He has over 7000 lines of dialogue, he levels up alongside you, he’s smart enough to not get hurt by traps, he’ll shut up when you’re sneaking, he has specialties in archery, one-handed combat, and sneak, and he also chimes in on all of the game’s questlines as well as.
On top of all of that, he talks to other NPCs, his relationship changes with you based on what you say or do, and he interacts with other modded followers. You can also alter his fighting style, give him a horse, and most importantly, learn about his interesting backstory.
If you’ve ever been playing Skyrim and thought it felt too lonely, Inigo is the virtual friend you never knew you needed. He’s an integral part of any Skyrim run I’ve had since his release in 2016, and he’s one of the best characters you’ll ever have by your side in any game, period.
Alternate Start- Live Another Life
The opening sequence in Skyrim is awesome and among the most iconic in all of gaming’s lengthy history. Encountering Alduin, running for your life, and escaping into the grand expanse that is Skyrim is something every gamer should experience once.
Do you know what isn’t awesome though? Doing that EVERY time you decide to start up a playthrough with a new character.
Alternate Start- Live Another Life offers you a way out of the initial Helgen sequence by giving you a ton of choices on how you want to start your journey. The amount of options you’re given to start your journey here is really just staggering.
Do you want to be Vigilant of Stendarr? How about a member of The Companions? What about an innocent adventurer? Ally to the Thalmor? Apprentice to a Master Vampire or just a friend of some guy named Erik? All these choices are yours, and they even have game-changing implications depending on which one you start out as.
Don’t worry about the main quest being unavailable through this either as finding your way to Helgen is as easy as talking to any innkeeper. Alternatively, you can join the Civil War questline, do two missions, and then when you get to Whiterun; the main quest will be started automatically from there anyway. I don’t start up Skyrim without this mod. It’s a must-have.
Everyone loves dogs, right? Well, how about wolves? This is a newer mod, and it’s already one of the coolest I’ve experienced as you’re given a wolf pup as a follower that grows into a full-sized wolf as you feed it. It’s an amazing system that plays out over the course of 10 in-game weeks, and it breeds an incredible closeness as you’ve really got to care for your pet here.
That means feeding him daily, and if you fail to do that, your poor wolf pal will get sicker and sicker until the 7th day where he will die. Please don’t let this happen if you use this mod. I want to think of you as a good person.
Anyway, some cool features of this mod include the power Retrieve Kill, which sends your wolf to a recently defeated enemy and has them bring you its corpse. It’s incredibly immersive and one of the more interesting follower mods I’ve experienced.
One of the more interesting features in Skyrim is the ability to not only own a home for you and your followers to stay in but also to raise a family. The issue is that although some of the homes are pretty nice and sizeable, they just don’t really seem fit for you know, the freaking Dragonborn and savior of the world.
Because our Skyrim egos need a home to match our accomplishments, Dragonfall Castle exists. Located in the Rift and available for 50,000 gold, Dragonfall Castle is an enormous castle that is follower and family-friendly that will make you finally feel like the epic badass you know you are.
It’s not just incredible to witness on the outside either as the indoors are equally impressive with multiple bedrooms, a private study, 3 floors, a throne room, dining hall, kitchen, crafting and smithing room, war room pools, guest rooms, wine cellars, etc. It’s absolutely huge in every way.
Not only that, but you get full custom armor for your guards, NPC’s will use pools on occasion, a teleport spell, and a full staff working in the kitchens for you to give you that “hero of the world” feeling.
Keep in mind that this isn’t the only home available from this mod author too as he has a ton of other incredible locations to call your home and they are all compatible with each other, so go wild and load them all up and give yourself a huge array of epic places to live in Skyrim!
Requiem- The Roleplaying Overhaul
At some point in Skyrim, you just become so damn powerful that a Draugr Deathlord becomes as threatening as a Mudcrab, and that’s when the game just stops being fun. If you’ve reached that point in the game, then it’s time to try Requiem- The Roleplaying Overhaul.
Starting this mod requires a new game, and once you do, you’re going to notice things are a lot different this time around. Requiem completely changes the game in so many ways, including combat, magic, how items work, how leveling works, and rewards as well. If you ever thought Skyrim should feel a lot more dangerous than it currently does, then Requiem is for you.
It rebalances combat in ways that make things feel about as close to realistic as you’ll ever get in Skyrim, so that means that you’ll be able to withstand arrows if you’re wearing the right equipment and stabbing an enemy in the stomach who is wearing heavy armor will likely do little to no damage. That means you’ve got to think.
How can I get this enemy off his guard? Where are their weak points? Would knocking them to the ground first give you a better chance at victory? This new approach to combat makes for a whole new feel to the game. If this sounds like you need to approach combat much like you would in, say, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, then you’re on the right track.
If you’re ready to win fights in Skyrim how you feel like you probably would in real life, then it’s time to start up a new save and dive into Requiem.
Obsidian Weather and Seasons
Sometimes you just want to stand and admire the atmosphere in a game because, on occasion, it really should be considered a work of art. Skyrim is one of those games and although the normal weather of Skyrim is quite nice to look at, adding Obsidian Weather and Seasons into the mix creates a spectacle that you need to see to believe.
This mod installs an entire weather and seasons system into the game that never existed previously.
There are 12 months that you will cycle through as you sleep in-game, and it gives you a real feeling of time passing as you play. The months have wildly different vibes to their weathers too, as Winter has increased snowfall with a colder feel to the lighting while the Summer months have gorgeously sunny weather peppered with lightning storms.
It’s an incredible mod that won’t tax your system much, and it’s entirely customizable to your liking, so you never have to suffer through too much of a particular weather if you don’t feel like it. This is another that I don’t start up a playthrough in Skyrim without. It makes the world feel that much more real.
Beyond Skyrim- Bruma
Before Skyrim existed, the most popular game in the Elder Scroll franchise was Oblivion. It was the first game to combine incredible graphics with its engaging story and choice and consequence gameplay in the series and really brought a new level of popularity to the franchise.
Beyond Skyrim- Bruma lets you return to the world of Cyrodiil, aka the land explored in Oblivion, and what a return to that world this is. By crossing the borders at the bottom of the map, you get to visit Bruma, a large area of Cyrodiil, and from there, you are free to explore at your will.
It’s got new dungeons, weapons, tons of new quests and storylines to follow, and over 24,000 lines of dialogue fully voiced by an incredibly talented cast that has worked on several big games.
Beyond Skyrim- Bruma is a welcome addition that feels like it could’ve easily been a DLC added in by Bethesda, but instead, we get the brilliant modding community adding this to our game and it fits like a glove and is a huge shot of nostalgia for those of us who took the original journey back in 2006.
Ever wonder what an entirely new game would feel like inside of Skyrim? Well, with a massive new land to explore, 20+ hours of voiceover work, and tons of dungeons and quests to explore, Falskaar is one of the biggest mods of all time while also being its most popular land mod and one that sprung the creator into a job with Bungie at just, ever heard of em?
With that in mind, you know you’re in for some serious game design, and Falskaar doesn’t disappoint. We’ve got an entire custom soundtrack with over 40 minutes of music, new spells, new dragon shouts, new weapons, armor, new books, and 20-30 hours of gameplay here.
The feel of the mod is wholly unique from Skyrim, and although it’s one of the earlier new land mods, it’s one of the best realized as the design of the world is just breathtaking to behold, and some of the dungeons are incredible looking, and the attention to detail here is elite.
There’s a reason it’s the second most downloaded new land mod ever, so if you’re yearning to explore a new world, Falskaar is just what you’re looking for.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
Khajit are one of the more interesting races in all of Skyrim and their cat-like appearance really makes you wonder sometimes just where did this race of beings come from. If you talk to some of the interactable Khajit NPCs, they might tell of a land called Elsweyr which, while it’s a funny pun, is also a land that has long been shrouded in mystery.
That mystery is dispelled with the Moonpath to Elsweyr mod. This is one of the original quest mods for Skyrim that has been fully updated with better graphics and technical issues than ever before, and the result is a magical journey to a place completely unrecognizable from Skyrim.
Wild deserts, fantastical forests, and amazingly designed cities are here to explore in this sect of Elder Scrolls lore that has never been explorable in game form. Follow an intriguing questline that has you fighting against the Thalmor while traveling through airships, fighting brand new enemies, and discovering the culture of the Khajit.
Plenty of mods boast brand new worlds to explore, but none make you feel like you’ve truly come across foreign soils like Moonpath to Elsweyr. It may be missing some of the technical magic that other more recent quest mods have, but the magic is still there, and it’s worth the trip to this strange new world.
Wildcat- Combat of Skyrim
Not everyone wants to completely overhaul every aspect of their game in order for a different combat experience and for those people, Wildcat-Combat of Skyrim is the way to go.
What this mod does is make combat an actual challenge by adding several aspects to it such as stagger, injuries, and also changing the enemy AI to be far more aggressive than usual. You’ll have to master new mechanics, too such as attacks of opportunity and timed blocking, which turn the combat of Skyrim into more of a dance and less of the hack and slash fest that it has classically been.
28 Days and A Bit 5
Has Skyrim ever just frustrated you and angered you to no end? Ever wish you could just inflict some sort of horrendous plague on the citizens and watch as the world burned around you? Well, you need therapy! But after you’re done with that, you can download 28 Days and a Bit 5 to unleash the zombie plague on the entire game world.
This doesn’t mean the whole world turns to zombies off the bat, but small portions of Skyrim will be infected, and slowly it turns into a virtual hell.
You can choose from several preset scenarios if you don’t want to wait for the whole world to slowly turn, and each of these is more insane than the next with the finale called Last Stand, which will put you inside the last hold left that has resisted the virus. You vs. the entirety of Skyrim that’s been turned into zombies.
You have several tools at your disposal here, too like the Barricade Door power that allows you to barricade doors to stop zombies from getting in. You can also cure NPCs afflicted with the virus as well as long as you have the proper ingredients that also have the Cure disease effect attached to them.
Alternatively, you can also become a part of the undead horde and wreak havoc with your zombie horde on the world. If this sounds like your idea of fun, go ahead and turn the world of Skyrim into a Zombie apocalypse. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Draugnarok and Walking Draugr
While similar to the mod above, Draugnarok gives your apocalypse a different flavor to it. Instead of zombies of different kinds coming to destroy the world of the living, this sees the Draugrs of Skyrim unite to destroy you. If you ever wondered what it would be like if the White Walkers won in Game of Thrones, this is a great simulation of that event.
To make this mod even crazier, add in the Walking Draugr mod to cause any NPC killed by a Draugr to resurrect as one of its allies. This turns Skyrim into a full-on warzone as massive battles between the forces of dead and living will be clashing at all times, leaving you to do everything you can to survive the onslaught.
Invasion of Skyrim- The Force Awakens- Grand Admiral Thrawn
Sticking to the theme of complete gameplay overhauls, Invasion of Skyrim adds in a massive and mean MASSIVE storyline from Star Wars involving the invasion of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The story here is that the world of Skyrim has been invaded by the Galactic Empire and here, that means the invasion of a new race called the Chiss. In response, you join the resistance in an attempt to gain control of the world back.
This mod adds in a new race, 20 sets of armor, 30 new enchantments, 10 new powers, 2 new lands, 15 radiant locations, 2 new bases, 22 unique followers all with their own dialogue, 30 marriage candidates, 30 quests that are constantly being added to, 100s of NPCs, wandering assassins, merchants, spies, enslaved dragons and new world encounters, and over 40 new scenes that play out as well.
This is a massive mod in every sense of the word and takes up an insane 1.3 GBs to download, so be prepared to have some space ready to take this on. The story takes place alongside your Skyrim main quest, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to complete the game normally either.
This is a huge change to the gameplay of Skyrim, so if you’re ready to get a little bit weird and out of the box, Invasion of Skyrim is a great place to start.
Immersive Sounds- Compendium
One of the most underrated part of the Skyrim experience has always been the audio. The sounds of the wild, the dark ambiance of the dungeons, and the chilling roars from dragons. The problem is that the sound design is 10 years old, and an upgrade is needed.
With Immersive Sounds, you aren’t just adding more sounds to the game that replace the existing ones as it instead recreates the entire sound design from the ground up with 1000’s of different sounds that will affect literally everything you do in the game.
Your movements now are accompanied by different sounds based on the armor you’re wearing, and your sword clashes with enemies will now sound different depending on what weapon each of you has equipped at the time.
This extends to spells as well, and now that dull Flames spell noise will become a powerful, booming surge coming from your hands, and your high-level spells will have epic echoes accompanying them making everything feel that much more powerful.
Everything you do in the game will now have that much more presence to it, and innocuous things like pulling out a torch or hearing the approaching growls of a wolf become absolute feasts for the ears, and it’s all because of this mod.
Skyrim 2020 Parallax
I know it says 2020, but considering Skyrim came out in 2011, that’s still a 9-year jump in graphics that is badly, badly needed in a game that looks pretty rough if you play it in its vanilla state.
While this isn’t the only mod you’ll need in order to make the graphics closer to something you’d see on a current-gen console rather than a PS2 game, Skyrim 2020 Parallax is an awesome base to build from.
You’re going to be getting a ton of improvements here, and armor, landscapes, ground textures, mountain textures, and so much more are all going to look so much sharper and clearer than ever before, thanks to the hard work being done here.
In terms of your options within the mod, you get a bunch of choices ranging from 4K textures or 2K textures to just completely different looks for a large variety of different thing. As a player who largely does his Skyrim playing in VR these days, I have to deal with even more downgraded visuals because of that, and despite that, Skyrim 2020 Parallax makes the visuals incredibly clear in a headset.
This effect is almost doubled in the flatscreen version, and if you want your environments to look like something that came out last month rather than last decade, this is the mod to get you there.
Skyrim loves its dragons, and whether you are fighting them, shouting like them, or riding one yourself, dragons are constantly present in some way shape, or form throughout your playthrough.
While all encounters are usually fun, the chances are that you’ve seen all the dragons already after getting through a playthrough of the game and that makes the inevitable subsequent playthroughs feel like they lack the surprise needed to keep you going. Enter Diverse Dragons, a mod that aims to add a massive amount of variety to the dragons of Skyrim.
What’s on tap here is 28 brand new dragons added to the game that each has completely unique designs and models as well as new abilities as well.
Now, when you hear a dragon roaring in the background, you will have no idea what’s about to come your way and some of the encounters are absolutely horrifying with some dragons being way bigger than others and some designs being just overwhelming in intimidation factor.
You can customize which dragons you want to see appear as well, and the dragons will level just like the normal ones do as well. This is an awesome way to inject some new life into Skyrim, and you’ll no longer dread the dragon roars closing in on you, and instead, you’ll welcome a new challenge.
Skyrim’s melee combat has always been pretty underwhelming for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest is because of its lack of a feeling of impact when you actually connect with your attacks.
Too often, you’ll feel your killing blows barely differ from your normal swings and even your magic attacks. While cool, don’t offer any real bombastic ending to your enemies. Maximum Carnage introduces a whole lot of blood and guts to the proceedings in a very meaningful way.
How it works is if you do enough damage to a certain part of an enemy or just kill them outright using a power attack or destruction spell, you will see an epically gory death.
These animations would make Mortal Kombat fans blush as you will see some truly gruesome ends to your enemies, such as their insides being spilled out, limbs chopped off, heads split open, and all varieties in between. This is all accompanied by some very gruesome sound effects too so there will be no quest of whether or not your enemy is down for good.
This isn’t just limited to your human enemies either as creatures like Trolls, Spiders, Draugr, and pretty much any other enemies you can think of get this brutal treatment as well and you’ll see split heads, severed body parts, or depending on the enemy, see them completely blow up.
The coolest part of this mod to me, though is how it affects the spells of Skyrim. Instead of your normal spell deaths with an Ice attack, let’s say, now your enemy will completely freeze and explode into Ice chunks if you follow up with a power melee attack.
Flame spells will now burn enemies to a crisp, and electrical spells will leave enemies a sparking and disintegrating skeleton. This mod is so crucial for those who want a bit more realistic brutality to their game, and it’s compatible with just about every mod out there.
Total Character Makeover
No matter how devout a Skyrim fan is, no matter how many times they’ve taken down Alduin or won the civil war, they will all agree on one thing, these characters are ugly as sin. It’s not that it’s a unique design Skyrim is going for here. There’s just nothing about Skyrim’s faces that look anything resembling human.
It’s different for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s nice to look at, and with a game this big, you’re going to be looking at these faces for a decent amount of time. Thanks to the great modders of the world, all the face mods out there have been compiled into one massive makeover for the residents of Skyrim, and this makes all the difference in the world.
No longer will character faces look like they’re made out of melting clay, and now you’ll be excited to your spouse in-game instead of being nauseated by her in the vanilla version. Followers like Lydia and Serana take on wildly different appearances too making them look more battle-hardened and ultimately more life-like.
Few mods really deserve the must-have moniker, but this one is definitely a contender for it as it really makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable.
Weird name, huh? That’s because Skygerfall lets you play through the game The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall in its entirety through Skyrim! That’s right. There is an entire game inside Skygerfall for you to play.
Now, the graphics here will be pretty weak as all the assets are self-built by the developer, and it does its best to mirror the original game’s look in every way, but the player and character models will still be looking pretty. The entire game’s main questline is playable, though, and that in itself is just an incredible achievement.
The game is played separately from Skyrim, though after you finish it, you have the option to bring all your items and experience over into your next Skyrim playthrough as well. If you’re curious about what the Elder Scrolls series looked like long ago, Skygerfall gives you an awesome way to view it.
Ever play a game called Dark Souls? For those that have, you know the combat is brutal and punishing, and the atmosphere breeds constant dread, and the story is drip-fed to you through its surroundings rather than hammering you over the head with dialogue.
That is exactly the vibe you’re going to get from the Darkend mod, as it’s an entire island called Pharos that will give off that same feel that you get from Dark Souls. Darkend is for the Skyrim players who are tired of mowing down everything in their path in one hit and want to find some challenge.
There are tons of unique enemies to fight here as well as new weapons and armor to discover as well. It’s recommended you don’t even step foot here until you’re level 15 as you will be beaten pretty badly in just the initial area if you do. Few mods feel as creepy and brutal as Darkend, so if a challenge is your thing, go ahead and give it a try.
The Elder Scrolls V Middle-Earth Redone SSE
If you’re a fan of Skyrim, in all likelihood, you’ve seen a Lord of the Rings movie before. Of course, the Elder Scrolls itself takes a ton of inspiration from the legendary novels and movies as all self-respecting fantasy writers do, so what better way to pay tribute to it than to include it in your game?
While it’s technically not a completed mod, The Elder Scrolls V Middle-Earth Redone recreates some of the most iconic areas in the Lord of The Rings franchise, and not only that. It also allows you to take part in the battle of Helms Deep! You get to fully participate in all three phases of what might be the most exciting battle any movie has ever produced.
This means orcs and all will come for your head and the rain will be falling as well, giving you an absolutely epic atmosphere to defend the deeping walls as if you were Aragorn and company yourself.
It’s a little glitchy, but getting to visit all these memorable locations as well as taking part in the battle of Helms Deep is really all that should need to be said to get you onboard here. It’s an awesome experience and you can uninstall it with no issues whenever you like.
The Forgotten City
Imagine a mod so good that it literally won a Writers’ Guild Award for its script. It seems crazy that no games ever really come close to that award, so how could a mod win it, right? Stop imagining because The Forgotten City is that very mod.
While not as long as some of the other mods listed here, it is a one-of-a-kind experience that is so good, it is already a standalone game available for purchase that’s winning awards of its own this holiday season. The Forgotten City takes you on a murder mystery investigation set in a roman looking undercity.
Here you will learn to travel through time, fight and solve puzzles based completely on your intelligence, not quest markers or anything else. You’ll be interrogating people, your decisions will cause different outcomes, and there are even multiple endings, fully voiced dialogue, and an entirely original score for the mod as well.
It’s far from the most action-packed mod out there, but if you want something that will blow you away just the same, The Forgotten City deserves a place in your load order.
This is it. The heavyweight champion of the Skyrim modding scene isn’t even technically a mod, but rather a full game conversion. You need to own Skyrim to play it, but from there, it truly is its very own game. Enderal is not only the best thing created from Skyrim, but it’s one of the most astounding games you’ll ever play.
The story of Enderal is wholly its own, telling a chilling tale of an endless cycle coming to destroy the world and the part you play in it. If you’re getting Mass Effect vibes from that description, you’re not wrong, but trust me when I say the rabbit hole goes even deeper than that game ever dared to.
Add to that a ton of side quests, including one which is better than most full-priced games, fully voiced characters, a map nearly the size of Skyrim to explore full of optional dungeons and activities to take part in. Some of the most hauntingly beautiful music you’ll ever hear in a game, and you have one of the most incredible things to ever come out of Skyrim.
While the base engine of Skyrim powers it, several new mechanics are introduced, such as a brand new leveling system, an intriguing healing system that limits you based on a condition you have called Arcane Fever, and a whole host of new abilities, new attacks, and new animations brought to the game as well.
Some of the locations in Enderal are just awe-inspiring, and I’ve never felt creeped out before in the way this game managed to achieve.
The Undercity in particular is one of the most atmospheric masterpieces I’ve ever seen in a game as an entire underground city of less than fortunate people truly comes to life in some pretty horrifying ways and the attention to detail just launches it over the top of any other mod out there.
In terms of how long it’ll take you to finish everything, how’s around 80-100 hours sound? Yup, it’s bigger than most full-priced Triple-A games, too, and the story manages to only get better the further you get into it and with multiple endings and some of the most shocking and tragic moments you’ll see in a game, I guarantee you’ll be gripped the whole way through.
You also get multiple companions throughout the game as well and each one has a branching storyline that you can be completely shut off from if you respond the wrong way to certain things, giving you a whole other degree of replayability.
Enderal is already one of my favorite games of all time, and I haven’t even seen all of the content it has to offer. Sometimes a game just combines atmosphere with plot to punch you in the gut and yet you still want to come back for more. Get ready to cry and love every moment of it. Enderal awaits.
Question: How Do You Join the Dark Brotherhood?
Answer: Complete the quest you get by entering Windhelm and wandering around until you hear about Aventus Aretino. Follow the questline to the finish and then sleep anywhere in the game. When you awake, you will be in a strange shack, and from there, the Dark Brotherhood questline will become.
Question: Do Modded Weapons Replace the Normal Ones?
Answer: Depending on the mod, your normal weapons should remain untouched, but some mods make specific changes to the look of certain weapons, so in that case, the normal weapons will change according to what the mod author intended.
Question: Do I Have to Start a New Playthrough Each Time I Use Mods?
Answer: This all depends on what mod it is and how many other mods you have running at once. When installing a lot of new mods that affect the game scripts heavily, you definitely want to start a new save as you can totally corrupt your save doing this.
Some mods are much easier to insert though such as follower mods or even quest mods, so check the pages to see what the creators suggest.
Best Skyrim Mods Guide: Conclusion
That’s my list for now. If you really want, you can spend years scanning the pages of Nexus to find the mods you like, but you don’t want to get into the trap of modding more than playing, so I think this list will give you a solid start to your modding journey. Be sure when modding to always have the appropriate prerequisite mods installed before downloading something.
Skyrim is a pretty fragile game when it comes to combining all sorts of mods that might either overlap or cause issues with each other and it’s very easy to just completely break a save file because of that. With the mods above, you should always check to see if they’re compatible before running them all at once.
If you don’t trust yourself to mod freely, there are several premade packs at https://www.wabbajack.org/#/ that can download 100’s of mods at once for you, but this requires a ton of hard drive space, so if you can’t swing that, then take it one step at a time, and you should have your Skyrim looking like a new game in no time.