8 Must-Have Skyrim Mods

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I'd also recommend "richer merchants" (I believe that's what it's called). It gets rid of the annoying early game part where Merchants only have like 900 gold, and saves you the endless hassle of running from city to city to sell all your loot. Not game shattering, but gets rid of a ton of annoying busy work in the game.

Immersive Armors has always been one of my favorite mods. So fucking legit.

I always wanted to get back to playing Skyrim with a UI mod. The original was so horrible that I didn't really feel like playing for more than 20 hours. That's how much time I've logged since November 2011.

Since this list is (rightly) full of serious mods, allow me to recommend at least watching some videos of the joke ones: Macho Man Randy Savage replacing the head of Alduin, the MLP dragon mod, any obligatory Star Wars mod, the simple DBZ kamehameha sound clip for the master level lightning spell, and, best of all, the farting dragon shout mod.

There are soooooo many good Skyrim mods. It was super hard to pick out just 8.

Skytweak, if you like tweaking every single setting ever, even the ones you usually can't. http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/33395/?

The unofficial patches are awesome. http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19/?

Last but not least, Alternate Start, so you don't have ever go through that cart ride again. Plus, you can start as a vampire. http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/9557/?

Fappy:
Immersive Armors has always been one of my favorite mods. So fucking legit.

Immersive Armors is pretty awesome. Immersive Weapons is cool too.

As for myself, my favorite is Tropical Skyrim. Does exactly what it says on the tin: turning the frozen wasteland into a tropical rainforest, with just as much, if not more, variety in the landscape as the vanilla. You get your standard jungle (Falkreath area), a bamboo forest (the Rift), a barren desert (Whiterun), a volcanic wasteland (that hot spring area), sandy beaches to the north, and more deciduous forests around Solitude and the Reach. The towns a bit revamped too, with bamboo platforms in Riften and sandstone walls in Whiterun. And as for the enemies, you get tropical crabs instead of mudcrabs, apes instead of trolls, pandas instead of bears, tigers instead of sabercats, and velociraptors instead of wolves. Add in a couple additional mods and you've also got ambient jungle chatter in the background (which admittedly it kinda loud and gets a little annoying sometimes) and parrots flying everywhere! My only complaint is that in some of the more heavily forested areas like Falkreath it gets really hard to see where you're going, and occasionally the plant replacer gets a little weird in caves, leading to things like underground palm trees and roots that completely block your path. But oh well, nothing's perfect.

Fappy:
Immersive Armors has always been one of my favorite mods. So fucking legit.

OmegaRed99 did a great one too:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/49827/?tab=3&selected_game=110&navtag=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nexusmods.com%2Fskyrim%2Fajax%2Fmodimages%2F%3Fid%3D49827%26user%3D1%26gid%3D110&pUp=1

...It's surprising how certain GoT and LOTR armour sets don't stick out as much as you'd think in Skyrim. Then there's aMidianBorn's Book of Silence mod that retextures almost every single item of armour in the game:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/24909/?tab=3&selected_game=110&navtag=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nexusmods.com%2Fskyrim%2Fajax%2Fmodimages%2F%3Fid%3D24909%26user%3D1%26gid%3D110&pUp=1

On top of those, I use the Static Mesh Replacement Mod and whichever mod has now merged with or replaced the W.A.T.E.R. one. Oh, and Skyrim Redone.

OT: I swear you are on the ball with these, man. The timing couldn't have been better; I've only just reinstalled and unf***ed Nexus Mod Manager and Skyrim seems to be in stable enough condition to mod again.

Eh, I prefer Skyrim Redone to High Level Enemies, largely because in addition to tweaking the enemies (so as to better scale up to level 100) and improving their AI, it also makes some great changes to the player (LOTS of changes to perks, and racial abilities were changed to give them more lore-friendly 'oomph', among other things) and a lot of other behind the scenes changes that affect the way the game plays.

If you're going with the higher level enemies getting the "run for your lives mod" is a must, you will start losing townspeople and traders to Vampire attacks or roaming creatures. Might as well get "Deadly Dragons" as well, makes the Dragons a lot tougher so they don't seem really pathetic compared to other NPCs.

J Tyran:
If you're going with the higher level enemies getting the "run for your lives mod" is a must, you will start losing townspeople and traders to Vampire attacks or roaming creatures. Might as well get "Deadly Dragons" as well, makes the Dragons a lot tougher so they don't seem really pathetic compared to other NPCs.

I wondered why all the towns seemed so empty. :-)

A dragon buff is a good idea as well.

Heck, you guys are going to make me start playing Skyrim right now.

No love for the Train Shout? My favorite mod.

If you're using mods with lots of textures, I can't recommend this texture optimiser enough: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12801/
It resizes and repacks improperly formatted textures so as to greatly increase performance and reduce disk space required without sacrificing quality. It's a godsend if you've got 200+ mods like me. Just don't let it touch the .bsa files, as it'll most likely make you crash on load.

Good list. However the 8 I'd pick are......

Sky UI
Immersive Creatures
Immersive Armors
Heavy Armory
Expanded Towns and Cities
Hroldan, Nightgate, and Sawmill Villages
ASIS
Deadly Dragons

ffronw:

J Tyran:
If you're going with the higher level enemies getting the "run for your lives mod" is a must, you will start losing townspeople and traders to Vampire attacks or roaming creatures. Might as well get "Deadly Dragons" as well, makes the Dragons a lot tougher so they don't seem really pathetic compared to other NPCs.

I wondered why all the towns seemed so empty. :-)

A dragon buff is a good idea as well.

Heck, you guys are going to make me start playing Skyrim right now.

If you start cranking up the difficulty and adding AI mods you really need it, a single Master Vampire can wipe out almost everyone in a town after level 40 or so. Its not to much of a problem until traders and non essential quest givers start dying.

ffronw:
Last but not least, Alternate Start, so you don't have ever go through that cart ride again. Plus, you can start as a vampire. http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/9557/?

Oh yeah, forgot about that one, and it's absolutely crucial for replays. It really lets you use your imagination as to how your character ended up in Skyrim, and allow you to establish a new story for yourself.

Really? I still can't believe people use that UI mod it. Is so ugly I want to throw up whenever I see it.

But...but...but what about all the noodie mods! And the big bewbies mods! And the Tera Armor Mods! I am disappoint. >:(

:P Seriously though, my personal favorite mod was...well unfortunately I forget what it's called, but it improved being a vampire by leaps and bounds. For starters it hooked you up with some new abilities (such as the ability to turn people into your underling vampires :D), but it also gave you stat boosts depending on what "level" you were at in terms of your feeding. In addition to that, you actually earn vampire ranks based on how many times you've fed (it keeps track cumulatively)...the more you feed, the more powerful you grow. As you unlock new ranks, you gain new powers. My favorite thing about it, though, was that it gives you the vampire ability of little to no fall damage (unless you're jumping from a ridiculous height). That proved very useful in escaping pesky mortals that would chase me every now and then.

Oh, I also enjoy the mods that enhance the Character Creation abilities...I was able to make myself a Night Elf! :D

What? Wheres the mod that lets you have sex with dogs? That should definitely be on everyone's modlist.

I am running 150 mods and some fo these and well...Skyrim still sucks.... its just a horrible nightmare of mishmash balance concepts and over simplification. ><

As others have said the alternate start is a must and I'll add Perkus Maximus. it's a perk overhaul. http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/59849/?

Also belt fastened quivers and the dance of death.

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/35717/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10906/?

I can't remember the name but there was a Warhammer 40K mod where you could play as a space marine and shoot down a dragon with a pair of plasma pistols. Made the game a bit easy but come on, there's few pleasures in life greater than smacking a dragon to death with a demonhammer.

Cloaks of Skyrim is a nice mod to go along with frostfall.

iNeed is a better food and disease mod. Dance of Death, reworks the killmove system and adds a bunch of new kill animations (the unarmed killmoves are awesome now).

What ? No interesting Npcs ? Awww.... Thats the best skyrim mod imo .

Not a bad list (though I don't think any quest mods are really "must have")

My list would probably be:
SkyUI -mandatory!
Alternate Start -I like the opening, but after playing it dozens of times, it's nice to be able to skip it
Immersive Armors -probably my favourite mod
Immersive Creatures -I prefer this to Higher Level Enemies since that mod sort of turns the game into Oblivion's leveling system
Apocalypse Spells -adds some much needed spice to the magic system
All of the Unofficial Patches -mandatory!
Quality World Map -being able to see the roads clearly is something I could not do without now
Run For Your Lives/When Dragons Attack -never again will your favourite shop keeper die after trying to fight a dragon

Honestly, I like the base game a lot, but after trying to think of what I consider the mods that I couldn't do without, I realized that there's a lot more than 8. I know a lot of people criticize Bethesda for not doing a lot of these things, but the reality is that if they had spent the extra time developing all of the amazing mods there are, the game probably never have released. I still don't know what they were thinking with the interface though...

Anyway, here's a long list of honourable mentions:
Better Vampires
Moonlight Tales
All kinds of graphics mods, pick the one you like best. Climates of Tamriel is a good starting point IMO.
Interesting NPCs
Cloaks of Skyrim and Winter is Coming Cloaks
Frostfall -one of my favourites, but since it has such a big impact on gameplay, I couldn't call it mandatory (similarly how I wouldn't call realistic needs and diseases mandatory)
Wet and Cold
Either UFO or AFT
Dance of Death
Realistic Needs and Diseases
SkyRe -bears mentioning since it's definitely a good mod, but since it overhauls a large amount of the game, I couldn't call it mandatory. To be honest, I'm not really a huge fan of it, especially since it conflicts with so many other mods. Still, a lot of people swear by it so it's definitely worth a try.
ReProccer if you're going to use SkyRe
Immersive Patrols
Lanterns of Skyrim
Better Dialogue Controls -This one almost made into my top 8 since it's such a fantastic quality of life change.
Unique Uniques
The Paarthunax Dilema -FUCK YOU DELPHINNE!
Inconsequential NPCs
One of the combat overhaul mods -I prefer Duel Combat Realism
Dual Wield Parrying and the animation mod that goes with it
Deadly Dragons
Stranger Danger
TESV Edit -some people swear by it, I haven't really needed it. LOOT has been good enough for me. Speaking of witch...
LOOT -not really a mod, but it optimizes your load order and lets you know if something is potentially going to cause issues. This is the replacement for BOSS.

There you go. There's others that I like a lot, but I wouldn't consider that important (admittedly, some of the mods on my list aren't that important either, I just like them a lot). Keep in mind, there's a lot of texture mods that I like as well but I really didn't want to list them all.

RJ 17:
But...but...but what about all the noodie mods! And the big bewbies mods! And the Tera Armor Mods! I am disappoint. >:(

:P Seriously though, my personal favorite mod was...well unfortunately I forget what it's called, but it improved being a vampire by leaps and bounds. For starters it hooked you up with some new abilities (such as the ability to turn people into your underling vampires :D), but it also gave you stat boosts depending on what "level" you were at in terms of your feeding. In addition to that, you actually earn vampire ranks based on how many times you've fed (it keeps track cumulatively)...the more you feed, the more powerful you grow. As you unlock new ranks, you gain new powers. My favorite thing about it, though, was that it gives you the vampire ability of little to no fall damage (unless you're jumping from a ridiculous height). That proved very useful in escaping pesky mortals that would chase me every now and then.

Oh, I also enjoy the mods that enhance the Character Creation abilities...I was able to make myself a Night Elf! :D

I think your talking about Better Vampires by Brehanin which I would agree is one of the best mods out there. I could never go back to playing as a vampire in Skyrim without this mod, it just adds so much to them and best of all it let's you modify nearly every aspect of them to make your own customized vampire experience.

Want more traditional vampires who are strongest when they are fully fed? You can do that
Want your vampire to be immune to the sun? You can do that
Want your vampire to be extremely vulnerable to the sun so that being outside in it for even a few seconds will turn you to ash instantly? You can do that.

The fact that feeding boosts your power permanently also feels really nice, it really feels like your progressing as a vampire.
This is the mod here http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/9717/?

Why are these sort of 'gallery' articles written over eight pages instead of listing them down on one page? Is this for click revenue? More popups being displayed?

Would have liked to read your recommended mods but cbf trawling through eight individual website pages.

Lockpick Pro, because fuck that stupid lockpick minigame.

Joshua Claydon:
Why are these sort of 'gallery' articles written over eight pages instead of listing them down on one page? Is this for click revenue? More popups being displayed?

New ads are displayed on each page, so yes I believe it's for ad view reasons.

Joshua Claydon:
Why are these sort of 'gallery' articles written over eight pages instead of listing them down on one page? Is this for click revenue? More popups being displayed?

Would have liked to read your recommended mods but cbf trawling through eight individual website pages.

Eh? That weird, it's all one the one page for me. Maybe you should let the Tech Team know. Alternatively, Pub Club might be what stops that from happening.

Asita:
Eh, I prefer Skyrim Redone to High Level Enemies, largely because in addition to tweaking the enemies (so as to better scale up to level 100) and improving their AI, it also makes some great changes to the player (LOTS of changes to perks, and racial abilities were changed to give them more lore-friendly 'oomph', among other things) and a lot of other behind the scenes changes that affect the way the game plays.

Skyrim Redone is also, as I recall, modular. The extensive changes on offer are broken up into appropriate sections to be installed as you please.

It's a really great mod. A complete perk overhaul might seem drastic, but personally I found myself wishing I'd had it from day one. The extra options really make use of the game's possibilities and tailor for a greater range of specialist play-styles.

I always liked ELO as opposed to RLO, but the FPS hit isn't worth it, IMO. Especially if used in tandem with ENB, ELO makes my game a freaking slideshow, whereas RLO has nearly no FPS hit.

Surprised none of the NPC or companion mods were on this list. Interesting NPCs, Vilja, and Annas NPCs are pretty much a requisite for me...and there are tons of amazing quest mods I'd take over "immersion mods" that didn't have anything to do with graphics, but that's just me.

Elswyr and Falskaar are good, but I also liked Cerwiden, Undeath, and Wyrmstooth. I have a feeling that, if it ever comes out, the Mannimarco mod will probably become the new gold standard for quest mods.

Top ten + one essential mods for me:

Frostfall
Cutting Room Floor
Enhanced Lighting and FX
Interesting NPCs
Inconsequential NPCs
Enhanced Towns and Villages
Wet and Cold / Ashes
Vurt's Flora Overhaul
Book of Silence
Duel Combat Realism
+ Khajiit Speak

How has nobody mentioned Requiem yet?? Its overhauls the entire world to make Skyrim a hardcore, realistic roleplaying experience. Completely re-energizes the game.

Kanatatsu:
How has nobody mentioned Requiem yet?? Its overhauls the entire world to make Skyrim a hardcore, realistic roleplaying experience. Completely re-energizes the game.

Yeah, I wonder why it isn't getting any love? If I could have any one mod for Skyrim, it'd definitely be Requiem.

I'm honestly surprised no one has mentioned Tame the Beasts of Skyrim II

It's basically like Pokemon, except way cooler where you can have almost any creature / monster follow you around and fight alongside you. What's crazy is that this also applies to modded animals or monsters, so it works for vanilla & unique creatures from any mod.

All you do is weaken it, do a special shout taught to you by the shop keeper ... and ta-dah! You now have a trusty companion to accompany you! What I also love about this mod is that the beast you capture also levels up, and you can choose what kind of fighter he/she is. You can name it, tell it whom to attack, when to wait for you... auto summon it to yah, and if you're wanting more- have it breed with the the opposite sex of it's kind.

A mod that's definitely amazing. Do note it has some slight issues here and there, but when i've used it.... the mod was so satisfying when my snow wolf tanked a Mammoth and actually won. I was helping, but to know it held it's own was incredible plus it saved my hide countless times. Her name was Alas lol.

008Zulu:
iNeed is a better food and disease mod. Dance of Death, reworks the killmove system and adds a bunch of new kill animations (the unarmed killmoves are awesome now).

mentions the updated needs and diseases mod while telling people to use the outdated kill move mod.

Even the author of Dance of Death states at the top of the description page to use Violens.

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/56980/?

but seriously folks, if you want a serious discussion about modding skyrim get yourself over to the reddit page where professionals will guide you through the correct process of modding your game.

http://www.reddit.com/r/skyrimmods/

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