The Best Skyrim Mods to Download Right Now
Still play Skyrim but want to get a little more out of it? Feel the need to go back to the world and explore some more? Here are some essential Skyrim mods to make that experience even better.
Skyrim was one of the best game releases of all time. Even if RPGs aren’t your thing, the sheer depth and breadth of gameplay, the story, characters and open world where you can literally do what you want is a real draw. I have over 300 hours in Skyrim and I expect there to be many more before the game is done. Much of that is thanks to Skyrim mods.
Some mods improve gameplay, some improve the environment while some even add missions and content. There are thousands of Skyrim addons on both the Steam Workshop and Nexus Mods. Here are what I think are ten essential Skyrim mods you need to download right now.
Skyrim Script Extender
Skyrim Script Extender is an essential Skyrim mod that enables other mods to work properly. Many mods have gone way beyond the capabilities of the core game so need a little help. This mod helps convert more complicated commands other mods depend on so the game can understand them. I would suggest installing this mod before any other. Of all of the mods in this list, Skyrim Script Extender is the most critical mod to install. I would install this first and have it loaded first too.
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch
The Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch replaced the Unofficial Skyrim Patch and does what Bethesda never quite managed to do. Create a relatively bug-free gaming experience. The patch rights many of the original game’s wrongs and fixes a lot of bugs, errors and issues. Like the Skyrim Script Extender, I consider the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch essential and would definitely recommend using it.
Sky UI transforms the core interface into something much more usable. It makes the inventory easier to use, changes the menus into something much more straightforward, offers search and effects and generally overhauls the entire UI into something much better than the original. Another essential Skyrim mod that makes the entire game easier to live with.
Immersive Armors adds a wide selection of armor to the game that keeps within the lore. There are dozens of armors to choose from that will suit your chosen class within the game. Some of them are very good indeed and are balanced and fit nicely within the story. This was one of the first mods I added to my game and it is still updated some five years later.
Immersive Weapons does much the same thing but with weapons. This mod introduces many more weapons to the game that fit into the lore and scale up with your character. All of them are well drawn and not overpowered so fit seamlessly into the game world and work alongside Immersive Armors to create a whole new look.
2K Textures completely overhauls the look of Skyrim and enhances the entire experience. This is most definitely an essential Skyrim mod. Despite the name, it can scale up to 4K and applies new textures everywhere. You do need a decent system to run the game at max resolution but there is a lite version for older computers should you need it.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
Moonpath to Elsweyr is a content mod that adds an impressive amount of gameplay to Skyrim. While containing ‘only’ six quests, there is a lot of extra game to explore, a new landscape, new characters and a lot more content. It is still maintained and updated too. There are many quest mods out there but this is one of the most complete.
Enhanced Lights and FX
There are a number of lighting mods but I think Enhanced Lights and FX is the best. I don’t quite know how it does what it does, but once installed, this Skyrim mod transforms how light, smoke and certain effects work in the game. The entire experience is made more realistic and fires, windows, sunsets and torches become events in their own right. Definitely an essential Skyrim mod!
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
The Static Mesh Improvement Mod may have an underwhelming name but the effect it has on immersion is powerful. It changes many of the less dramatic 3D models skimmed over in the core game. Buildings, surroundings, non-story items and more are all transformed into works of art and all of them add to the feeling of being inside the world. A minor but very effective game enhancement.
A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map
Considering how much of the game you spend staring at the map, A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map is essential. It makes the original map much clearer and easier to navigate while also placing roads on the map too. There are also several versions of the map to choose from depending on your preferences. This is definitely worthy of being my final essential Skyrim mod.
How to install these essential Skyrim mods
Some mods not on the Steam Workshop have complicated instructions so you will need to follow them closely. Some mods come with their own installer and will take care of everything for you.
For most mods, you can copy the decompressed file into DRIVE:\Steam\steamapps\Common\Skyrim\Data if you got Skyrim from Steam or DRIVE:\Skyrim\Data if you bought a standalone version. Change DRIVE to the hard drive you installed Steam or the standalone game onto.
Adding mods to Skyrim is relatively painless but check the compatibility section of each mod before installing it. Given the sheer power and number of changes some of these mods make to the core game, not all of them play nicely with each other. If you’re having issues getting one to work, check for compatibility first.
This is my own list of essential Skyrim mods. I have concentrated mainly on gameplay and immersion improvements as they were the strengths of the vanilla version. I appreciate that your list of essential mods will differ so now it’s your turn. What do you consider are the essential Skyrim mods? Tell us about them below!