Saturday, 25 August 2012

Skyrim: Mods

I've really been enjoying the Skyrim posts that emerge on the blogs around me. Eldaeriel, Rakuno and Ocho and I have been forming this small group that loves to write and read about each others adventures in Skyrim - at least, in my silly mind! They also all have written about their favorite mods for this game and I obviously can't stay behind!

There's an amazing amount of mods available for Skyrim, and many of them will greatly improve the game. Tiger and I use over 50 mods (seriously, I don't know how the game survives it) and use the Nexus mod manager to keep them in line, which works well so far. Here are the ones I enjoy the most, sorted by type.

1) Game mechanics

Skyrim is an amazing game, but some things could've been done better. The Convenient horses mod shows this: with it, you can allow you to interact with your environment while riding a horse (talking to NPC's, picking flowers). It's pretty ridiculous that you normally can't, if you think of it! The mod also allows your companion to ride a horse, so they don't have to run after you all the time, and you can summon your horse with a horn. Plus it introduces more intelligent modes for your horse, so it won't break you out of sneak. A great mod if you like to ride. Another mod I like is Auto Unequip Ammo, which means that you don't keep the arrows on your back all the time when you swap between weapons. Finally, I really recommend SkyTEST - Realistic Animals. It makes animals hunt and generally act smarter. It's crazy if you see what this mod does.

2) Utility

Some mods give better utilities, such as Better sorting, which renames potions and other items in a logical way so they sort better and allows you to decrease the weight for potions. I know weight decrease is kind of a cheat, but I spent so much time getting rid of junk that I wasn't enjoying playing anymore. Couldn't live without this one! Another nice utility mod is Categorized Favorites Menu, which sorts your favorite weapons, spells, potions, shouts, armour etc into categories. I can't even imagine what the game would play like without these. The categories really make it easy to find your important stuff fast in mid-fight. I also have a Quality world map installed, which shows the roads more clearly. Lastly, I use Unread books glow, just to make it a bit easier to keep track.

3) Visual improvements

We use Countervibe ENB, and I simply love it. It's a complete overhaul of the game graphics that makes it look fantastic, while still looking authentic. I'm not exaggerating if I say I can't play the game without it anymore. In addition, I have small extras installed that makes the environment look more realistic, such as Birds and flocks, Better Dynamic Snow, Skyrim Flora Overhaul and Lush Grass. I found W.A.T.E.R. - Water and Terrain enhancement reduce better looking than Pure Waters (tried them both).

4) Character looks

To have some extra options with the character creation, I installed Apachii Sky Hair, which adds about 80 new hair models. I also use Better females to improve female faces. They don't look like barbie dolls, but just have a bit more detail.

5) Fun things

Some things aren't very useful, but just a lot of fun. Footprints falls into this category. Both you and NPC's will leave footprints while walking in the snow, which is how it should be. More morbid mods are Enhanced blood textures and Realistic Ragdolls and Force, which makes NPC's and - if you're unlucky - you, die in a more realistic way.

More mods to try

After all this mod fun, I finally took the time to carefully read the mod posts of my fellow bloggers:
Casual Aggro: The Modification of Skyrim: Top 10 Skyrim Mods
Shards of Imagination: [Skyrim] Adventures with Mods! 
StarShadow: Skyrim: Mods and Build
I recommend to read them if you're into Skyrim mods. They're all excellent posts.

I selected the following mods from them and installed them. I want to try these the coming days:

  • Amazing Follower Tweaks & Better Followers: Is supposed to fix followers so they won't trigger traps and won't equip heavy armour if they're mages etc. Seems useful for Ravereth.
  • Build your own home: Ravereth is a wood elf, so she doesn't want to live in the city. A house in the wilderness sounds just about right! Am also just curious how this works, so want to try it out.
  • Lanterns of Skyrim: The roads can do with some lighting, in my opinion.
  • Wearable lanterns: Allows you to wear lanterns on your belt, so you can still equip weapons. Seems handy.
  • Skyrim HD (2k textures): Skyrim should look even better with this.
Let me know if there's a vital mod I missed!


  1. ooh cool! even more to try out :) The unread books mod sounds really handy for a start! Just need to drag myself away from lotro now... ;)

    (I will add a link on my post to your list too :))

    1. and forgot to say that yes it is cool being part of a small group - it was definitely a spur to get back on and playing after reading everyone's adventures :)

    2. Thanks, and I'm happy you enjoy it too. :D

  2. spectacular photography - as always!!

  3. So I've felt the urge to play Skyrim again and have started trying out Mods. I didn't use any the last time. I've greatly improved the quality of my character, gotten the UI thing and other quality of life ones and am now starting on trying to make the game look better.

    I first tried the Flora Overhaul one which I wasn't sure was working as I couldn't see a difference but when I tried the summer version it was obvious I had it installed correctly. It's just from the pictures, things seemed more Lush.. does one need to use Lush grass/trees to see the effect really? Do you need things on really high graphics to notice a change? Just a pity nothing much seemed to change as this was one of the mods I was really looking forward to.

    1. Cool that you're trying out Skyrim with mods now! I really like them, the environment and character mods in particular. I don't really remember whether you need the highest graphics to be able to see the mods. As far as I know, they did all work for me, but it's a while ago that I played Skyrim.

      I ought to get the latest expansion thingy, reinstall everything and start over.

      Are you going to write a bit about Skyrim as well?

  4. You don't need the highest graphics to be able to see mods per say.. but perhaps it's needed to properly see some of them. The Lush Flora one just doesn't seem to make a difference for me and I don't think my PC can handle the graphics being bumped up anymore.

    I wrote one post about character mods, but we'll see about future things. :)


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