One of the most enduring and popular aspects of Skyrim is its replayability, which is thanks to its open-world setting and easy-to-mod code. While the vanilla version of the game is massive enough, a lot of players, both casual gamers and professional coders found that making small tweaks to the games provided an all-new experience. From mods that provide UI and graphics improvements to mods that provide entirely new quest-lines and settings, the Skyrim modding community is alive and well, a decade after its release, still churning out different mods that can augment the original experience, or provide an entirely new experience with just a few simple changes.
If you’re wondering where to find Skyrim mods, there are plenty of forums and message boards online that cater to players looking for a more-than-vanilla experience, with Nexus being the most popular and arguably the best site for Skyrim mods. But to help you out, we scoured through the message boards and forums ourselves. We provided links in the article so you know where to find Skyrim mods. Here are some of the best Skyrim mods we’ve seen so far.
The Best of the Best Skyrim Mods:
When Skyrim was released back in 2011, it was at the cutting edge of graphics, with specs that took a toll on many machines back then. But it’s been a decade; with more powerful rigs now, Skyrim graphics look pretty bland, almost dated.
The 2K Textures mod fixes that, providing the vanilla game with improvements that up to its resolutions all the way up to 4K, giving the game a more life-like quality and almost bringing us to the Uncanny Valley.
Although it was (or, rather, still is) one of the most visually-stunning games of all-time, Skyrim suffered from a few problems regarding lighting. Eagle-eyed players noticed that many of the lights in the game were coming from weird, strange, or downright illogical places.
To fix this, the Relighting Skyrim mod fixes a lot of the light sources in the game, reprogramming the vanilla game’s lighting effects to be more realistic. The mod fixes the vanilla game’s illogical light sources by making the light come only from logical sources: fire, stars, spells, the sun, the moon, and other places that make sense.
“Hey, you. You’re finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there.”
Regardless of what race you choose, this will always be the first line of dialogue that you’ll encounter in Skyrim. While, in my honest opinion, it’s one of the best starts in an RPG, it can get a little tiring if you’re on your Nth replay.
Alternate Start fixes that by providing different starting points depending on the character you choose. These starting points are carefully selected to reflect the unique storyline of each race. But more than just a new starting point, the mod actually offers an all-new way to play the main story, giving the game, even more, replay value.
While some mods focus on providing new storylines or upgrades to the graphic, the Apocalypse Spells mod is all about elevating gameplay. The mod adds a whopping 140 new spells, each with its own unique animations and effects. The new spells can range from summoning tornadoes to psionically grabbing items to smash them on your enemies.
But these aren’t just random spells; each new spell is designed to still reflect Skyrim’s story and setting, so everything stays canon.
Cutting Room Floor
To say that Skyrim is big is an understatement: it has over 100 hours of gameplay in the vanilla version alone, without even counting unique encounters with various landscapes, creatures, buildings, and characters. But if you want, even more, the Cutting Room Floor mod provides an extra few hours of gameplay. It integrates content that was cut from the final version of Skyrim and features all-new items, quests, creatures, and NPC’s that were absent in the initial release of the game.
Duel Combat Realism
Skyrim has been praised for many, many things, but its combat system left much to be desired. To change this, the Duel Combat Realism mod takes the vanilla game’s clunky combat system and overhauls it entirely. This mod integrates armor, weapons, and even shields into your stamina and damage attributes, making it much more realistic than the original.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
No matter how beautiful Skyrim’s natural landscape is, it can get pretty boring, especially if you’ve spent a couple of years replaying the same places over and over again. Moonpath to Elseweyr fixes that, bringing people to the strange, magical, and often deadly lands of Elseweyr, a region in Tamriel home to the Khajit. The mod features six, short quests, but stunningly beautiful landscapes that are very much different from Skyrim. Every new creature, NPC, and the quest has been expertly voice-acted, with professional-quality animation in all aspects of the mod. Pair it with the 2K Textures mod, and it’s like playing an entirely new game.
Bandolier Extra Inventory
Sometimes, even small tweaks can change a game completely; just take the Bandolier Extra Inventory Mod. It’s a simple mod that expands your inventory, giving you just a few extra slots and a few extra kilos of weight to carry. A simple change, but it completely redefines many of the dynamics your character will face throughout the game; from changing the kind of equipment you carry to being able to carry more potion ingredients and other things that can help you in combat.
With almost a hundred different types of creatures to kill, battling monsters in Skyrim doesn’t seem like a boring prospect at all. However, if you’ve been playing the game for as long as many players have, it tends to get repetitive.
Enter: Monster Mayhem. Monster Mayhem is a mod that introduces brand new creatures and enemies to the game, as well as all-new locations (with each location featuring a unique mini-boss) where you can find these new enemies.