The Must-Have Mods of Skyrim

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Unofficial Skyrim Patch - By Kivan & Mod Team



What it is: It's the Unofficial Skyrim Patch! (Currently v1.02 is in beta)
What it does:: Fixes things. Lots of them.
Does it change game balance?: Yes (indirectly)
Performance Impact: None
Download Location:  Steam / Skyrim Nexus

The Unofficial Skyrim Patch (USKP) is a collection of hundreds of bug fixes to virtually every aspect of the game. It adjusts item textures and meshes, fixes quest bugs, and cleans up errors in the game's skills, perks, and text. While some of these changes do impact game balance, virtually all of them are clearly bugs -- the Ebony Blade and Headsman's Axe, for example, were both treated as 1H weapons when it came to Perks, despite being 2H.

Virtually all the substantive changes were made because other in-game evidence indicated previous implementations were broken. This mod also contains a fix for the 'Invisible Hunting Bow' problem (most followers will refuse to equip even a vastly better bow in the vanilla game and would stick with a hunting bow that couldn't be seen/removed from their inventory.)

This mod is at the top of our list because it's the one we recommend you install, even if you eschew every other option. The developers have indicated that they'll remove fixes from the USKP as official versions are implemented. Until that happens, the Unofficial Skyrim Patch is the best way to clean up a staggering number of errors, from items that can't be upgraded correctly to randomly floating objects.


SkyUI - By SkyUI Team



What it is: Skyrim UI modification
What it does: Makes the game more playable (really)
Does it change game balance?: No.
Performance Impact: None
Download Location:  Steam / Skyrim Nexus

Skyrim's default UI is a questionable piece of work. It's not so bad at the beginning of the game, when you have virtually no gear, but it quickly becomes cumbersome and effectively impossible to organize. Items are displayed in alphabetical order, period. There's no ability to sort by weight, type, status, enchantment, or item value — and no searching. This makes it impossible to quickly manage things like encumbrance (the weight of your equipment); the only way to see item weights is to manually look at each and every item.


The default Skyrim UI is on the left; SkyUI is on the right

SkyUI fixes all of this. Its spreadsheet approach breaks items down by category and offers the option to sort them by various characteristics including weight, value, value/weight, damage, and armor. You can also search via direct text entry.

The difference is significant enough that we recommend SkyUI to any Skyrim PC player. It's not often that we'd say a user interface mod makes a game more fun, but this one does.

Headbomb's Better Sorting - By Headbomb



What it is: Skyrim UI modification
What it does: Sorts items more effectively
Does it change game balance?: No*
Performance Impact: None
Download Location: Not Available on Steam / Skyrim Nexus
* -- The mod can to change the weights of various in-game items, but this is a secondary function.

Headbomb's sorting mod organizes items in a more logically consistent way. Objects are sorted by type, followed by name -- arrows are "Arrow - Iron" and "Arrow - Elven" as opposed to "Iron Arrow" and "Elven Arrow." By default, Skyrim uses different names for potions that do the same thing depending on whether the pot is self-created or bought from a vendor. Headbomb's mod distinguishes whether a pot is bought or made via an asterisk, but renames them both the same thing -- "Fortify Marksman."

Potion strength is indicated by a number rather than a word; a "Potion of Minor Healing" becomes "Restore Healing - I." This sort of approach won't appeal to everyone, but it makes inventory management a good deal simpler than it is right now.

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I'm lmfao at that video!!!! I just picked this game up, can't wait to play it!

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From now on, any time anyone asks me what Skyrim is, I'm just going to point them to the Pinkie Pie video.

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3vi1:

From now on, any time anyone asks me what Skyrim is, I'm just going to point them to the Pinkie Pie video.

Bronies?   

 

Thanks for not posting any of the nude mods/texture packs. 

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I considered some of the mods that added geometry and allowed for a wider range of body types. Such work isn't automatically a bad thing. Ultimately, I decided not to include it for two reasons: 

1)  Nudity is enabled by default. While I don't have a problem with that, it changes Skyrim's rating and could thereby create problems with parents who are unhappy with such content. 

2)  The mods, without exception that I could find, are exclusively female. Combined with #1, this was enough to tilt my verdict on the merits of including such work. There are mods available that improve character geometry or allow for taller/heavier/curvier women than the vanilla models. Players who want such mods can find them. They are not just "nude" patches of the sort that existed for classic Tomb Raider games. Ultimately, however, they are aimed more at providing sexual eye candy than a more generic mod that seeks to improve the rendering of in-game content. 

If there was a mod that included such options for both male and female characters, and kept to the ESRB's rating, I'd have recommended it (assuming it was worth recommending).

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when my daughter goes back to middle school and start playing Skyrim i'll use Pinkie Pie

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This is one of my favorite ones:

http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=13268

It improves the water, turning it from the weird gel of the original into...water.

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Sackyhack, 

 

I also looked at that mod, but ran into a few too many issues with other mods that impact water textures to feel comfortable recommending it. I've also had a problem recently with water rendering on the NV card I used while writing the article (specifically, with water turning opaque). 

Still, it's a good project. Thanks for contributing. :) 

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I must get a copy of this game :P

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Been awhile since I played. Going to get back in when school slows down abit.

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I applied a majority of all these mods over the weekend in combination with the recommended mods from Kotaku on how to get its looking as best as visually possible.

That combined with the gameplay fixes and improvements from this have resulted in a refreshed Skyrim experience (I left out harder dragons and the difficulty adjustment mods as I'm low level and at the moment haven't felt things to be too easy)

This is an awesome post, thanks for taking such an in depth review and analysis of not only a game but its mods and troubleshooting the ones that work best together.

Earlier in the year when the game first out I dabbled in modding and screwed up my save games from incompatible mods.

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