Making Skyrim look good is only 50% of modding Skyrim. After you stare at the beauty for a while and start playing you will notice how boring and dull the game can get after so many hours. There are thousands of mods out there that alter Skyrim’s gameplay from subtle to major with complete overhauls to just a few little things added to improve the small details. These mods are ones that I currently use myself and I will make another issue featuring other great gameplay mods out there.
ABT – Arrows and Bolts Tweaks
Archery in Skyrim is sub par at best. Arrows aren’t knocked realistically, they fly too slow, they sound dull, and it’s just not as fast and light as archery is supposed to feel. ABT fixes the arrows and bolts part by making them fly faster, hit more realistically, and feel like actual arrows. This doesn’t improve the overall archery gameplay effect, but it’s an essential mod in getting in that direction. The mod is fully customizable with loot rates, damage percentages, how far an arrow is embedded in an object, how fast they fly, etc. There are even hardcore options for those into that. I have used this mod since day one and can’t use bows in Skyrim without it.
Complete Crafting Overhaul
Crafting in vanilla Skyrim is very straightforward and leaves any depth to be desired. CCO is a must have mod for anyone who enjoys crafting their own items. This mod actually helps keep the vanilla feeling of crafting while making it more robust. There are so many options in this mod I could not list them all, but after installing I can’t go back to vanilla crafting.
This mod is in my top 10 must have mods for Skyrim. This is something that Bethesda should have already implemented in the vanilla game. Aren’t you tired of going through every single dead body to loot what you want, but most of the time it’s stuff you don’t want? Automate this with Kace Auto Loot. In MCM you can configure what item categories you want auto looted and even set the distance at which the looting happens. When you kill an enemy there will be some white sparkles around their body indicating that there’s something on them you can loot.
Ever wanted to start Skyrim (or more common, having to restart due to corrupted save) and want to skip the Helgen intro? Now you can with other a dozen new ways to start your life from a prisoner to a hunter, farmer, or various other professions. This doesn’t break the radial quests as you still have to investigate Helgen to get the game going, but it’s best for modders who would otherwise crash their game starting vanilla. If you have a perfected mod setup this wouldn’t happen, but most don’t due to the complexity of modding Skyrim without issues. This is on my top 10 must have mods to start with.
Realistic Ragdolls and Force
This is actually a must have mod for other mods that effect gameplay and various animations. Skyrim had crappy physics with enemies crumpling to the floor like puppets once they died. This adds knock back for arrows, enemies with fall forward when they die while running etc. I can’t imagine fighting in Skyrim without this mod because without it the game now looks goofy. As a side note this is one of the first mods ever released for Skyrim at just one week after release. While it was flimsy in early beta, as the modding community progressed this mod because a necessity as nearly every Skyrim modder has used it at some point.
Stones of Barenziah Quest Markers
This may seem silly, but this quest was one that most players never completed because there were no quest markers. Most people had to use a guide or come across them accidentally as there were no hints as to where they could be. They are spread all over Skyrim from bedrooms to dungeons so this quest marker actually fixes something that already should have been in the game. A must have for any Skyrim modder.
Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim
The perk system of Skyrim works well enough, but it’s very basic and generic. Ordinator adds an extra layer of depth to this tired perk system by giving us more choices and actually having us think about which branch to choose. With vanilla perks you can just pick anything as you will eventually be able to get to it. Ordinator gives us perks that we want now or sound really cool like a Dwarven auto cannon, sounds like something in an MMO right? The perks are fantastic and any player should replace their vanilla perks with this.
Archery Gameplay Overhaul
This is one of the best mods EVER crated for Skyrim. This mod is something that was seriously needed as I hated archery in vanilla Skyrim and wouldn’t touch a bow. This mod MAKES me stick with archery as it’s now so satisfying and fun to play. More realistic animations, bow draw and nocking are more realistic, and it just feels like real archery. Combined with ABT Arrows and Bolts this is one mod that every Skyrim player must have.