Bethesda Game Studio’s iconic fantasy epic is a great game with a ton of content on its own, but with the hard work of a tirelessly hard-working modding community, Skyrim becomes something truly unique.
In this article, we’re going to run down some of the best, most interesting, and most essential mods that Skyrim has to offer.
How do I install Skyrim mods?
There a few ways to install and manage your mods for Skyrim, and how you do it depends on which version of Skyrim you have. The Special Edition includes tools for searching for, installing and managing mods all built into the game. You can access it all from the main menu and it allows you to find and install new mods and update old ones without closing the game.
We also made a selection with best online casinos that accept Neosurf deposits.
If you have the original version of Skyrim, then your best bet is using a third party mod manager such as Nexus Mod Manager. This software allows you to easily install and update mods and handily keep them all in one place. Of course, you could always install mods manually into the game’s directory, but third-party managers make it quicker and simpler.
Table of Contents
Best Skyrim Mods
SkyUI is an excellent mod that overhauls the game’s original cumbersome inventory. It makes the UI much easier to navigate and is much more appropriate for the many, many, many items, weapons and random objects you’ll be picking up. It may also be a good introduction to the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE), a tool that expands the capabilities of mods and allows you to make more dramatic changes to the game.
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
The Static Mesh Improvement Mod is a graphical mod that simply makes the game’s static 3D models look nicer. It’s no secret that Skyrim’s graphics haven’t exactly aged well in the 7 years since its original release and this is one of countless mods that attempt to alleviate that problem one bit at a time. An essential mod for anyone trying to make Skyrim look as not-bad as possible.
Total Character Makeover
Total Character Makeover is a mod that aims to make the character models of Skyrim look a bit more aesthetically-pleasing and less muddy and rough. The faces of Skyrim have always been a little on the ugly side, and this mod gives the NPCs and the player avatar some improved resolutions without ruining your frame rate. Featuring complete overhauls for texture sets for all races, improved teeth textures, eyebrow textures, beard textures, and even high resolution makeup, warpaint, dirt, freckles, and scars. This mod will improve detail on your characters while remaining consistent with vanilla looks.
Opening Scene Overhaul
The Opening Scene Overhaul mod restores some lines that were cut by Bethesda but can still be found in the game’s files. It adds additional carriage dialogue, and offers some deeper insight into the world you’re about to explore. It also gives you the option of escaping with Ulfric himself if you decide to side with the Stormcloaks. This is a great mod if you think that Skyrim’s opening sequences were a little underwhelming. This mod has new voice actors, more dialogue and different conversations with lasting impact on the game. A great mod for fresh immersive experience.
The Open Cities mod curbs the immersion-breaking loading screens that hit you whenever you enter a city, and aims to give the game a more Morrowind like feel. Stroll through cities on horseback and come and go as you please. This gives the world a much more open and natural experience, allowing new gameplay opportunities like riding a horse into the center of the new open cities! There are plenty of new battle and conversation interactions that can be had, and none of these will be interrupted with any pesky loading screens. A great mod to help make the world of Skyrim more seamless and connected.
The Alternative Start mod offers a different start for new characters. It’s the ideal mod for players who have experienced the original Skyrim opening more than enough times for one lifetime. A fun and unique role-playing mod, this mod is a great way to mix things up a bit if you have to start again with Special Edition, or simply want to make a new character.
Diverse Dragons Collection
This very cool mod overhauls the dragons you’ll encounter in Skyrim. The original game featured a small variety of dragon designs and the fights quickly become repetitive and underwhelming. The Diverse Dragons Collection adds a staggering 28 new dragons, each boasting their own big dicks. It also features a variety of new dragon breaths and abilities to make the fights more interesting, as well as new ranks for the dragons intended to make the encounters scale with your level.
Achievements Mod Enabler
Achievements Mod Enabler mod is pretty straightforward. It allows you to earn achievements when using mods. It does this by patching Skyrim SE during its runtime. This will work on any version of Skyrim as it was designed to be version independent. You also do not have to worry if you already have modded before installing this, it also works on saves that have already been modded. Using mods doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re cheating, so why shouldn’t you be able to earn achievements whilst modding the game? Who plays Skyrim without mods, anyway?
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
Another nice graphical overhaul mod, the Skyrim Flora Overhaul mod replaces most of the game’s trees, grass and plants with original models, including 16 new trees and more than 180 new textures for ground cover and plants. This mod adds a lot more variety of flora, and they are all better looking and unique. It comes with a lot of support from the creator, with installation guides and lots of Frequently Asked Questions to help with any issues you may have. One more essential mod for players looking for the prettiest Skyrim possible.
Surreal Lighting adds a bit of wonder to the landscapes of Skyrim, helping to make it feel more fantasy and less ordinary. Helps to make Skyrim more colourful and vibrant. This mod helps to alleviate the often depressing look of Skyrim, and makes it much more pleasant to play. There is also a handy video to show the detail of this mod and no per-requirements are necessary to download and install this mod.
Interesting NPCs adds some variety to Skyrim’s oft-bland and lifeless NPCs, most of which, if they don’t have a quest for you, will just spout generic lines that you’ll hear repeated over and over again. This mod adds a whole host of new characters, all with their own back stories, unique lines, and (most importantly) new voice acting that is (mostly) high quality. In total the content added by this mod is quite plentiful, with over 250+ fully voiced NPCs, 25+ followers, 15+ marriage NPCs, and 50+ quests as well. This is a great mod to add a lot of new feel and life to the game of Skyrim through these characters and all these characters are well integrated into the game. Overall a great mod for increased immersion and content.
The Forgotten City
This mod resembles something more akin to a Bethesda DLC expansion. The Forgotten City is a murder mystery set in the titular Forgotten City. It offers around 8 hours of gameplay and some high-quality writing that won a national Writer’s Guild award. It’s a very unique mod that’s well worth checking out. Featuring a very interactive story line where the player can explore the forgotten city and work through many challenging decisions. It has different endings based on what you decide to do, original music and even custom dialogue by professional voice actors. A truly amazing work of art for all Skyrim players to enjoy.
Way of the Monk – Unarmed Overhaul
This Unarmed Overhaul mod does exactly that. It overhauls unarmed combat in an attempt to make it a viable play style. Featuring two new skill trees, Unarmed and Unarmoured, as well as a variety of related perks and equipment, it allows players to roll a Monk-like character and discover their inner zen. It also adds new enchantments, enemies and locations to the game. This mod has had a ton of work put into it (500+ hours) and completely adds a new way to play the game. A great mod with a ton of detail that is worth checking out!
Duel – Combat Realism
Duel is a mod that aims to fix the unrealistic combat system in Skyrim and completely change the way you play. It makes the player pay close attention to their stamina bar in order to survive, it ties in your weapons and armour to bring added realism, it changes how archery works, and more. If you’re looking for a dramatically different combat experience in Skyrim, Duel is your best bet.
Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim
Apocalypse is a much-needed overhaul of the magic in Skyrim. Any fan of mages in RPGs is more than aware of how underwhelming magic is in Skyrim. This mod introduces 140 new spells that give you a large variety of new ways to tackle your enemies. These spells aren’t just the usual hold down spray of fire/cold/lightning until enemy dies and then rinse/repeat, this mod includes disables, summons, and a number of other cool surprises. Essential if you want to play a mage without getting bored.
Sneak Tools is a mod that aims to make the stealth more dynamic than simply staying in the shadows and getting bonus sneak attack damage. This mod allows you to slit throats, knock out enemies from behind, wear masks that hide your identity. Douse torches and lanterns to move through the shadows. Add an arsenal of trick arrows, including one that launches ropes that allows you to climb walls. Sneak Tools gives Skyrim a touch of Thief to make it’s stealth more interesting.
The Falskaar mod is one of the most impressive and comprehensive mods you’ll find for Skyrim. It’s essentially the size of an official expansion and introduces a new continent with an incredible 25 hours of new material. The creator of this mod took around 2000 hours to make it and now works at Bungie. The continent introduces a huge variety of new quests, wildlife, and a gorgeous landscape. Falskaar is an amazing achievement in modding and is a must-try for any Skyrim fan.
Skyrim Redone is the mod of all mods for Skyrim. A true overhaul in the most literal sense, this monumental package of mods brings together a variety of different mods to give the game a massive makeover. It overhauls every aspect of the game, from perks and skills to the character stats and more, and even includes some more unique things like a grappling hook and disguises. It’s such a complex mod that it can be a bit of a pain to get working properly, but once you get it all up and running it’s the truly definitive modding experience for Skyrim.
Immersive Patrols is a mod that creates a series of patrols for the factions of Skyrim: Stormcloak, Imperial, Thalmor, Dawnguard, Bandits, and so on. These routes will sometimes cross paths, leading to some violent clashes between the factions and offering more of the emergent chaos that we all love to watch.
The Gate of Solitude
A huge oblivion content mod that adds a whole new questline to Oblivion, playing off of the Oblivion gates from the main storyline. It recommends you be at least level 35, and the creator suggests playing on Master difficulty for the best experience. It’s a hard and challenging load of content that’s sure to be a fun and interesting experience for experienced Oblivion player who have tired out the rest of the game’s content and its expansions.
Download The Gate of Solitude.
Skyrim HD – 2k Textures
Skyrim HD is the most downloaded texture mod of all time for Skyrim. This is a comprehensive visual texture mod that replaces over 600 textures and maps across all of Skyrim. It covers landscapes, architecture, sky, water, clothes, clutter, dungeons and more (including some DLC). It is a mod that has been worked on for thousands of hours, and is constantly being updated with new things. It is truly a magnificent experience after downloading this mod and I highly recommend it to any Skyrim players interested in a brighter, more colorful world.
Fores New Idles in Skyrim – FNIS
Fores New Idles in Skyrim is a mod that allows Skyrim to have custom animations added into the game. This includes different types of animation such as idles/poses, sequenced animations, furniture, paired animations, killmoves, creatures, and more. If you add the demonstration mod FNIS Spells, then you can basically use any animation file in the game. Dance animations are also included and that is one of my personal favorite features of this mod. This is a mod that has been updated into 2019 and has lots of support regarding bug fixes and installation help. A must add for improved Skyrim gameplay.
ApachiiSkyHair is a great customization mod for Skyrim that allows you to have new and improved hairstyles for males and females of different races. This includes Humans, Elves, and Orcs. This mod allows you to change the hairstyle on your existing characters and even on NPCs if you want. With over 216 new hairstyles that have been converted from other games like the Sims, Oblivion and Witcher, it adds a great new personalization aspect to Skyrim that brightens up your whole experience!
Immersive Armors is a mod that aims to essentially overhaul the existing armor system in Skyrim. It does this by increasing the variety of armor, all while making sure the armor sets are still able to be fit into the lore, game balance and general feel of Skyrim that you would typically expect. This helps to provide new content while remaining immersive for the player since it is all seamlessly integrated. In total it adds 55 new sets of armor with many different variants, tons of helmet variety, 396 new shields, and other cosmetics such as eye patches and capes. Overall a great mod that is compatible with most other mods.
A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map – with Roads
Quality world map is a large one, with massive quality improvements to the world map, including the accurate hand-drawn roads. This mod gives you the option to filter your map, with only main roads or remain with all roads. This mod includes highly-detailed map textures, which has two different styles: Vivid and Classic. Vivid provides more detailed textures and stone and flat roads, while the Classic style includes similar detail but a more classic Skyrim feel to it. Quality world map mod also has paper maps included, with incredible detail. Overall a fantastic mod that overhauls the world map system and makes it much more detailed. Give it a try!
Well, if you have heard about Skyrim VR, you can learn how to use mods with Skyrim VR at uploadvr.
Stones of Barenziah Markers
The Stones of Barenziah Markers mod is required to provide quest markers to all of the 24 Stones of Barenziah that are the unusual/rare gems. You are tasked with finding or collecting these stones in the “No Stone Unturned’ quest.
Earlier, players used to have this quest on their trays for a long time. Meanwhile, they could have completed several major quests along with a couple of sidequests. But, this quest would keep them stuck since they wouldn’t be able to find all the stones.
Now, this is certainly not your fault, it is the game’s fault. And if you want to clear this quest, you better get this mod and find out what item these stones build in the end.
With this new mod, your horse will gain more stamina to do lengthened rounds of galloping. Also, it makes the horse far less vulnerable in fights and of course, they become much faster. The creator of the game faced a lot of complaints about the horse getting in the way of combat or dying too easily.
Now, this could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. But, with the Better Horses mod, you can bid adieu to all these issues. It makes your horse an asset and not a burden so that you can proudly ride your horse in the game.
Rain and Snow FX
Rain and Snow FX is one of the best Skyrim mods you need, to play the game on PS4. It might seem like a small additional mod but trust us, it makes a whole lot of difference. It improves visual details massively when it is raining or snowing.
It makes the player look wet when drenched in the rain and the snow makes your body shiver while you walk across a blizzard. You will be able to notice the snow on your skin and armor in a better way.
Keep in mind that these effects will vanish quickly when the weather becomes fine again. This mod really gives that extra environmental depth to the game.
Castle Volkihar Redux
Castle Volkihar Redux is the ultimate kingdom of vampires in Skyrim. So, if being a bloodsucker is your favorite, then this mod will make you a part of this spooky town. The mod transforms the Castle Volkihar into a small town which means that now the blood-sucking, bat-loving vampires can roam freely in their kingdom.
Also, the portals that were blocked earlier are now open and lead you to the new vampire towers. These portals and towers are elaborately decorated and bring in that scary aesthetic that this place had been missing. However, when you get this mod on PS4, you just get the new castle and décor. On the other hand, you’ll have quests, NPCs, magic, and so much more when you download it on Xbox or PC.
These are just some of the amazing mods available at your fingertips. Skyrim is the ultimate modding game. Its extreme flexibility and open-ended nature make it the perfect game to tweak and create new content. Check out these best mods for Skyrim and see how it changes your Skyrim experience.
Let us know if you think we missed anything!
Charles has been writing about games for years and playing them all his life. He loves FPS, shooters, adventure games like Dota 2, CSGO and more.