Here you'll find just about all essential and/or highly useful mods for Skyrim. As always, the approach here is to note mods useful or essential for the majority, with a minimal amount of attention paid to mods which significantly change the game, excepting special cases (eg. Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul). Any mods which introduce significant issues of any kind for all or a large amount of users are purposely excluded; mods which introduce issues for some may be included, but issues are noted where possible. With that said, it's up to you to discern what you prefer and to research thoroughly for potential issues of any kind.
Note: before installing mods, it's recommended to read this best practices guide & FAQ from Bethesda.
- If you need crystal clear textures, this mod is for you. Over 100 hours in the making, it overhauls tons of textures for a more pleasing look. Performance hit should be minimal or non-existent if you have more than 2GB RAM and a 1GB or more video card.
- Guards are Stormtrooper clone armies no more! Outfits guards with more clothing so they all look like the individuals that they all wish they were, and changes their looks/behavior to better match their location.
- Skyrim's night skies are already pretty impressive, but this mod takes them a step further. A few versions offer different intensity levels. Seems to work smoothly for most (constellations are preserved), though a few report a "Dark Moon" issue.
- Like its New Vegas counterpart, this mod increases the resolution and intensity of blood textures, making blood more visceral and aesthetically appealing. An option for on-screen blood is available.
- Completely new high-res textures for trees, plants, etc. Variations include "Foresty Green", "Blue Spruce", "Subtle Green" and "Bright Blue Spruce".
- A popular mod which optimizes the game interface for high resolutions and mouse/keyboard. Menus in particular should be much easier to navigate.
- Significantly enhances the Favourites menu by adding categories and the option to switch very quickly between weapon and armor sets. This mod supports config tweaking, and is compatible with SkyUI, QD Inventory, and Better Sorting.
- Converts the inventory to a table-style format. Note the font seen here is not what's included by default -- whatever you normally use is what you should see.
- Renames some items for more logical sorting. Naming is less natural, however.
- Alleviates many of the issues of the default controls.
- Improves the textures of the world map and adds detailed roads. Includes a wide variety of versions with the ability to customize further through .ini tweaking.
- Offers much more freedom with perks by removing most prerequisites, so you can skip investing in abilities you don't want and won't ever use and only invest in those you do want and use often. The prerequisites which remain are logical. For example, you'll need Fireball if you want Firestorm. Two versions of this mod allow you to choose whether or not you want the Smithing requirements intact or not. This COULD hurt the balance of the game, so do your research before deciding.
- Makes punching things in the face like a man actually somewhat viable. Even adds an addition to the One-handed perk tree for manly men who solve their problems with fists!
- If you just love mining, this mod makes it so ore veins are easy to see instead of hiding very well in the background as they do by default.
- The first in a series of Smithing mods intended to work together, this one allows you to smith weapons and armor you should logically and technically be able to, but can't. Carefully designed to not break balance or gameplay. It's strongly recommended Lost Art of the Blacksmith and Weapons and Armor Fixes mods are used with this one.
- Adds every missing weapon and armor improvement recipe to the game. Carefully designed to be balanced and compatible with game lore. It's strongly recommended Smithing Perks Overhaul and Weapon and Armor Fixes are used with this.
- Fixes various inconsistencies and illogical mechanics of hundreds of armor and weapons -- consider it a QA patch of sorts. It's strongly recommended to use Lost Art of the Blacksmith and Weapons and Armor Fixes mods with this.