We all have our favorite mods to use for Skyrim. That isn’t what this thread is about. This topic is going to be about the base essentials you should use for any install of Skyrim you have that improves the game tremendously. I will be linking to Nexusmods, which are the easiest to use imo, and has the most variety. Full credit to the wonderful creators of each mods.
Graphics- Vanilla Skyrim is pretty dated. Here are a few mods to use to improve the general textures and atmosphere of the game.
Skyrim HD is an excellent place to start insofar as texture mods go, and can scale up to 2k resolution for a really nice experience. From there you can overwrite the various textures based on your preferences (like terrain, grass, water, etc) but I always recommend to go easy on texture mods because they can get pretty greedy with hard drive space
Vivid Weathers overhauls the weather system in the game, which I gotta say takes the exploration to a whole other level, and does tons for immersion in the game
Enhanced Lights and FX is another must-have immersion mod that really goes well with the aforementioned texture mod. It can turn the somewhat mundane interiors of houses and castles into beautiful scenery. It also makes the dark feel darker and more terrifying, which is nice if you thought the “blue” darkness of vanilla was kind of boring.
Skills and Gameplay- I’m sure when Vanilla came out I was pretty impressed with the overall feel of playing the game and the rpg system involved. However, it aged out pretty quickly and using these mods have made vanilla virtually unplayable.
SkyUI is almost not worth mentioning as of how necessary it has become. It overhauls the inventory and magic system to a much more user-friendly design.
Alternate Start, Live Another Life - if I’m honest I probably use this mod to exclusively skip the new game cinematic bs. However, if you like to rp a bit when you play then this is pretty much a mandatory addition, giving you a ton of starting stories and beginnings for you to try out. Warning, some of the alternate starts are kind of difficult!
Skyrim Redone is an absolute RPG must-have. Frankly, you could skip every mod on this list and be fine just using this one. It overhauls the gameplay to make it fun to play characters other than sword and shield dps machines, and makes enemies a lot more realistic to fight. Overall, it vastly improves the gameplay mechanics and rpg elements within the game. There is so much in this mod that it would take me a lot just to summarize what it does, but I’ll at least say that this mod makes it possible and fun to play a smooth-talking blacksmith with a penchant for pickpocketing.
Obviously there are tons more mods out there, but that can make it difficult for some folks to get into it. Travel over to the Nexus Mods website and download their software, pick out the mods above and enjoy a truly enhanced mod experience.
And if you liked these, support the mods!