Have you recently picked up Skyrim and wanted to mod it, but don’t know how? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place! We’ve detailed what Skyrim mods are, and how to install them. Of course, we’ve also included some of the best Skyrim mods you can choose from.
What Is Skyrim?
Skyrim, or more formally known as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is an open-world RPG game by Bethesda Softworks. The game shows a range of middle-aged themes such as nordic Vikings as well as dragons.
In Skyrim, a horrible prophecy exists. This prophecy states that a dragon by the name of Alduin will bring ruin to the world. You start as a regular guy who turns out to be the Dragonborn, who is destined to defeat Alduin.
People thought Bethesda Softworks was at its peak when they released Fallout New Vegas. This was because New Vegas reinvented the open-world genre and set the standard for it. But then, Bethesda released Skyrim.
Skyrim expanded upon the foundations that New Vegas set. It came with everything New Vegas had to offer and more, all with a medieval theme. And like New Vegas, Skyrim was fully moddable. This made people who were already fans of the base game even more excited about it.
What Are Skyrim Mods?
A mod (short for modification) is something that changes your game, making it slightly or entirely different than what it is. Mods add changes to how the game plays out or just change its looks. With mods, you can change the game however you like. Virtually anything is possible with mods.
If you want to use mods, you should probably try out Skyrim in its original form first. Mods are generally for people who have finished the base game and are getting bored of it. If you’re wondering if Skyrim is better with mods — it really depends on the player’s taste as some have stuck to playing the base game for hundreds of hours while some have tried dozens of mods available.
There are so many Skyrim mods that if you think of something, there’s probably already a mod for it. Do you want to make the game more like Dark Souls? There’s a mod for that. Do you want to be a ninja who uses shurikens, or maybe even a gunslinger? There are mods for those. There are mods for even your wildest dreams.
Skyrim is available on many platforms ranging from PC to consoles and the Nintendo Switch. Most of these platforms support modding, and there are even Skyrim mods for PS4. Installing those mods on a console is easy, unlike mods on a PC.
Things You Need Before Installing Skyrim Mods
Are you excited to use Skyrim mods? Well, hold your horses because you need to learn how to install Skyrim mods first. There are two main ways of how to install Skyrim mods: either you install them manually or use software that makes your life easier by installing them for you.
Most mods can be downloaded using software, so we don’t need to tell you which method is better. Before talking about installing mods, let’s talk about some of the stuff you’re going to need first.
Vortex Mod Manager
Mod managers make your life a lot easier. They can download, install, and repair your mods for you. Currently, the most widely used mod manager is Vortex. It’s an all-rounder that can manage mods for various games all at once.
You can use Vortex to download mods all with the click of a button. And in case there are some mods you don’t use anymore, you can choose to deactivate them in favor of other mods. Vortex allows you to browse all the mods you’ve downloaded through its directory. In a way, it’s like a Skyrim mod organizer.
Vortex also automatically detects problems with your mods and tells you how to fix them. If one of your mods gets corrupted, it will notify you immediately. The most common error is for two mods to be incompatible with each other, and Vortex can tell you how to fix this as well. People praise Vortex for its ease of use and flexibility since it can also launch your games for you.
Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE)
SKSE is essential if you want to make the most out of modding. It’s not necessarily going to help you install mods, but it will help you run your mods. Most good mods require SKSE to run, including some of the best ones.
More often than not, complex mods will need SKSE. If you don’t have it, you’re probably going to crash over and over. Not only does SKSE help you run your mods, but it also assists you by lessening the probability of crashes.
Load Order Optimization Tool (LOOT)
There’s a term in the modding community called load order. This refers to the order that your mods are activated and then loaded into the game. LOOT is essential because it tells you which mods should be loaded in before others.
Occasionally, you’ll run into errors and crashes because your load order is incorrect. This is because some mods need to be loaded in before others for them to run properly. LOOT helps with knowing what load order you need to play properly.
How to Install Skyrim Mods
Like we’ve said before, there are two ways to install Skyrim mods. You can either use software like mod managers to do the work for you or download them manually. While the former option is the most appealing, there are times when you’re left with no choice but to download manually. So in this section, we’ll tell you how to manually install Skyrim mods as well.
Your main source of Skyrim mods is Nexus Mods. It’s a site that dedicates itself to storing mods of a variety of games. Nexus Mods is everyone’s go-to modding site. Is Nexus Mods safe? The answer to this question is yes, as millions use it to mod their games worldwide.
After visiting the Nexus Mods website at Nexusmods.com, go to the Skyrim section. If you have Skyrim Special Edition (Skyrim SE), go to the Nexus Skyrim SE section and search for a mod you want. Once you’ve reached the store page of the mod, there will be a download section on the right side of your screen. Depending on if you’re installing manually or with Vortex, click on Vortex or Manual.
Installing Skyrim Mods Through Vortex
First, you need Vortex downloaded on your PC. To download using Vortex, click on the Vortex button to be redirected to a separate page. You’ll be redirected to the download page, with there being slow and fast download buttons. After choosing your download method, your Vortex will ask for permission to open.
Once you open Vortex, it will download the mod for you. When the download is finished, you can install the mod by checking the Vortex notifications and selecting install. Afterward, all you need to do is enable the mod.
Installing Skyrim Mods Manually
Well, after clicking the Manual button, you’ll be redirected to another page with slow and fast download options. After downloading, your Google Chrome will download the mod as a compressed zip file.
Open the zip folder, and inside should be a “readme” file that instructs you how to install the mod.
Installing Skyrim Special Edition mods manually is the same process. While you’ll usually install mods with Vortex, some mods aren’t compatible with it.
5 Essential Skyrim Mods
Now that we’ve told you how to install Skyrim mods, here are some mods to start with. While there are a ton of cool mods out there, these mods are essential to enhance your gameplay. Some of these mods also fix bugs and prevent crashes.
As the name suggests, this mod fixes crashing. What it does to prevent crashing is increase the string limit that Skyrim can run. This was done to accommodate the huge amount of mods people put in their games.
Immersive HUD (iHUD)
If you want to get completely immersed into the world, this mod is for you. Modders created iHUD for the sole purpose of making the HUD less distracting and cleaner to look at. iHUD gives you the option of disabling your crosshair. It lessens the amount of time your UI is on the screen.
One of the most beloved mods ever made is SkyUI. With SkyUI, the inventory system as well as other interfaces are made more streamlined and easier to use.
SkyUI allows you to filter icons on your map to selected ones as well as have a long-form list of inventory items. As opposed to the original inventory system, SkyUI gives you more information about all your inventory items on the screen.
SSE Engine Fixes
This mod is only suitable for Skyrim Special Edition and is essential since your modded Skyrim SE won’t run without it. It fixes a lot of the existing problems with the engine and like crash fixes, it helps prevent crashing.
Unofficial Skyrim Patch
If you want your Skyrim to be bug-free, you should get the unofficial patches. They fix a lot of bugs and glitches present within Skyrim that the developers never bothered to fix. Things such as quests that sometimes break and your character randomly flying into the sky will be no more. The creators of this mod also did a high-resolution patch for Skyrim textures.
Pros and Cons of Skyrim Mods
Skyrim mods are not all rainbows and butterflies. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using them.
Skyrim is quite an old game, released in 2011. For a game from 2011, its graphics are alright, but if you want a completely overhauled experience, mods are the way to go. Your Skyrim will look much livelier and high-res.
Some mods even make the whole look of the landscape look various with color contrasts. Other mods give your character a different look, allowing you to customize your character more than you already can.
Tons of Content
Some people say that Skyrim is the ultimate game. This is because so many mods exist you probably won’t be able to try them all out even if you play Skyrim your whole life. With mods, you can quite literally make Skyrim your favorite game. You won’t ever get bored with the number of mods out there.
Do you want your character to ride a dragon? Or go to war with a neighboring country? Perhaps even survive a zombie apocalypse? Consider it all done. There’s just an endless amount of stuff to do with mods.
On top of all this, some mods even add their own stories to the game. You can consider them DLC for the game, but they’re all free. Other mods change the way the game works entirely. Mods like Frostfall make it so that Skyrim becomes a winter survival game with tents and campfires.
Skyrim mods are cool, let’s admit it. What’s not cool is learning how to install Skyrim mods. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to downloading mods. To get into the modding community, you need to learn a bunch of terms and what they mean. Sometimes, you even need to watch hour-long videos to learn how to install Skyrim mods.
If two mods that you have downloaded are incompatible with each other, your Skyrim may crash. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Crashes can happen frequently and are a cause for irritation for modders everywhere. You’ll need a lot of time and patience to get into modding.
Start Modding Skyrim Today!
We’ve told you how to install Skyrim mods, what mods are essential to start, and even the pros and cons of modding. Although it may take quite a bit of time to learn how to install Skyrim mods and manage them efficiently, it’s all worth it in the end. You get to infinitely play Skyrim and change it however you like.
If you learn how to install Skyrim mods and get them all to work, you’ll be playing Skyrim for quite a long time. And now that you know how to install mods on Skyrim, it’s time to launch Skyrim. Endless content awaits you.