The Must-Have Mods of Skyrim

UI and Bug Fixes

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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