Putting the War Back in Skyrim
What it is: A project to create an actual civil war in Skyrim
What it does: Creates dynamic battlefields in multiple locations in-game.
Does it change game balance: No
Performance Impact: Varies
Download Location: Not Available on Steam / Skyrim Nexus
One of the most disappointing limitations in Skyrim is its portrayal of the civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks. The age and limited capabilities of the Xbox and PS3 made it difficult for Bethesda to model any sort of significant combat.
As a result, Skyrim is a remarkably peaceful place, even when a civil war is supposedly tearing it apart. Warzones changes this by implementing battlefields where the various forces are busy trying to slaughter each other. Who fights who is a function of Warzone and where you are in the main quest; we've seen clashes between Imperials and Stormcloaks, bandits and both of the main factions, elves and bandits, and Stormcloaks against undead.
The battles are more skirmishes than full-fledged invasions -- we'd wager the average conflict is between 10-15 NPCs -- but even this adds a sense of immersion that's sorely lacking in the original game. The various factions will engage third parties like dragons or giants if either puts in an appearance, which can lead to some rather awesome dragon fights.
While Warzones isn't meant to impact the game's storyline or quest completion in any way, the author notes that it's possible that the mod could make it more difficult to complete certain objectives and that the battlezones may not perfectly align with the comments various NPCs make about the war. Having experimented for a number of hours, we think the chance of a problem is minor and that the benefit more than outweighs a bit of odd lore.
We consider this to be one of the most important Skyrim mods when it comes to adding value to the PC version of the game. Even without true battlefield simulations of 100-200 individuals, Warzones makes Skyrim feel like a land at war in a way that the vanilla game simply can't.