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Joostin's Essential Skyrim Mods

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    Joostin's Essential Skyrim Mods

    I know I am very late to the party, but I've been playing Skyrim and exploring all the most popular (and some lesser known) mods. If you've never played Skyrim on a computer, or just want a fresh play-through, these are the mods I consider essential to a good gameplay. There are plenty of other amazing mods (I've got at least 50 installed), so I still recommend exploring Nexus Mods. Note that these run on a moderate build. ENB's are excluded because my system couldn't run them.


    Nexus Mod Manager
    NMM is the ultimate tool for downloading and installing mods. You can download them from The Nexus, and they are automatically organized.
    LOOT - The Load Order Optimization Tool
    Improper load orders will prevent Skyrim from launching. It also checks for unclean DLC.
    TES5Edit
    To put it simply, the official DLC is very dirty. This isn't a problem with an unmodded Skyrim, but it greatly increases the chances of a crash with some mods. TES5Edit is an easy way to clean it. While it may initially seem confusing, the process is actually quite simple. It is a little time consuming, but you only have to do it once. Watch this video for instructions:

    SKSE
    Skyrim Script Editor is necessary for advanced features in many mods, including some that are on this list. It is available as an installer, so there is very little work required.


    By today's standards, Skyrim is ugly. There's no denying that. Thankfully, that can be changed. There are hundreds of re-texturing mods out there, but I've limited it down to four that cover just about everything. These obviously affect performance, so unless you have a high-end machine, I suggest disabling both anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. With these hi-res textures, you won't even be able to tell a difference, and performance will be much better. The order you install these is important! If you want to install the official high res textures (which, in many cases, are very ugly), do that FIRST. Several of them will be replaced by SMIM, but the overhauls are meant to be used alongside the official DLC. Always say yes when prompted about overwrites. There are many other great texture mods out there so you should still browse the Nexus, but these four give a strong base.
    Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM
    This replaces a lot of meshes, removing some of the blockiness. For example, circular tables will now actually be a circle, instead of a many sided polygon. Watch the video below for examples.

    Skyrim HD - 2K Textures
    This is the most complete texture overhaul in the game. It covers pretty much everything, except the plants and clutter.

    Skyrim Flora Overhaul
    Remember how right above this sentence I said Skyrim HD didn't cover plants? Skyrim Flora Overhaul to the rescue! I recommend version 2+, but it's up to you. Remember to also install "Billboards for v2.5b" (in the Files section of SFO). Follow the instructions in the FAQ for details on how to use it.

    Ruins Clutter Improved
    Hopefully someday either SMIM or Skyrim HD will cover clutter, but currently items such as urns stick out like a very sore thumb. Even though support has ended, it is very complete. After installing all four of these mods (plus the official HD textures), only uncommon textures will remain low-res.


    SkyUI
    As with Oblivion, Skyrim on PC uses a UI that was optimized for consoles. SkyUI replaces that with a much better one. It also lets you configure a lot of mods in-game, so it is often a requirement.
    Better Dialogue Controls
    It is a common problem to for Skyrim to detect you choosing a different dialogue option than what you clicked. This fixes that.
    A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map
    This mod improves the textures and (if you install HQ3DMap - Meshes Hi-Res) meshes of the map, adds roads, and removes the clouds that obscure the map view.


    The economy system in Skyrim is unbelievably broken. After a few hours of gameplay and you should be rich, completely ruining any financial challenge. These mods help balance it out. Just don't complete the No Stone Unturned quest, or you'll find yourself with more gems than you know what to do with.
    Reduced Gold Rewards for Quests
    The title says it all. You'll get far less gold for quests.
    Cutthroat Merchants
    Purchases cost more, and you get less gold for what you sell. I strongly recommend the Very Hard version, because your speech kill and mercantile enchantments will be useful.
    Expensive Investments
    Houses should not cost as little as a fancy looking sword. The prices of horses, houses, followers, and furniture all go up. As with Cutthroat Merchants, I recommend the highest option, which is 10 times the cost.

    Convenient Horses
    Convenient Horses adds numerous features, not least of which is actually making horses fast. By default, horses move about as fast as the character, so there isn't much point in riding one. You can also make them unkillable, add armor, have them run away from a fight instead of charging in, and much more.
    Hush Doggy
    As the description says, it makes companion dogs like Meeko shut the hell up. It's an incredibly simple mod, but it turns the constant pistol-in-mouth barking into a simple head shake animation. I was on the verge of giving up dog companions until I found this mod.
    Sofia - The Funny Fully Voiced Follower
    Whether or not this mod should be essential was a difficult choice. I added Sofia on the grounds that I can't imagine a Skyrim play-through without her. After adding her, I felt no interest in looking for another follower. She's highly customizable, lore friendly, hilarious, and gives many quest-specific comments. Be warned though, many of her jokes are mildly sexual. You will also have to install some "adult" mods (she stays clothed) in order for her to appear exactly like the below video. That's totally optional though.



    Elder Scrolls games are huge, but they're also hugely buggy. The official patches, which are no longer released, only fix a portion of the problems. You can easily find yourself locked out of a quest. Thankfully, fan-made patches exist.
    Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch
    This is the most important mod of the game. Even if you want to play an unmodded game, you should still install this. It includes patches for all the DLC as well, except the High Resolution update. If you don't have the legendary edition, you will need to download individual packs as needed. They are no longer supported, so you would be better using the Legendary Edition (or just buying all the DLC), but you can still get the bulk of fixes from Unofficial Skyrim Patch, Unofficial Dawngaurd Patch, Unofficial Hearthfire Patch, and Unofficial Dragonborn Patch as needed.
    Unofficial High Resolution Patch
    If you downloaded the Official hi-res DLC, then you've introduced a fair number of bugs. You can fix them with this patch, but obviously don't install it without the patch.
    Skyrim Project Optimization
    SPO doesn't fix any bugs, but it does GREATLY improve performance inside buildings, with no negative effects. Basically, anything you can't see is not generated.
    OneTweak
    Games run much better in borderless windowed mod, and this allows that. It also fixes a few bugs.


    Obviously not every mod is essential, but there are some that I still strongly recommend checking out.
    Better Thieves Guild Entrance-Exit
    Entering and exiting the Thieves Guild is a pain, especially if you want to get to the Ragged Flagon. This adds a direct door to the Ragged Flagon, as well as a few other tweaks.
    Golden Vendors
    This gives the merchants a great deal more gold. It makes selling your loot faster, but some may see it as cheating.
    Scarcity
    If you want to knock the economic challenge up a notch (bam!), Scarcity is for you. It decreases the chance of finding valuables in chests and rare items sold by merchants. In addition to that, it limits the potions too, so you can't easily stock up on healing potions and be invincible. I find it a worthy addition to my mods list, but if you want enchanted items ASAP, you probably won't like this.
    Sneak Tools
    If stealth is your preferred method of combat, this definitely adds some fun to the game. The noisemaker arrows are particularly interesting, as they can be used to draw enemies away from the target.

    moreHUD
    Often when looting an area, players grab everything just in case they need it, then go through their inventory later and drop what isn't needed. This is especially true with alchemy ingredients. moreHUD completely solves this problem, as you can see from the video below. However, if you're more interested in immersion, it may not be a good choice for you.
    Last edited by JoostinOnline; 09-13-2016 at 12:12 AM. Reason: Moved tools to the top for NMM
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    If you guys have any feedback or mod suggestions, I'd love to hear it.

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    Founding Member LiNkZoR's Avatar
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    Why are you quoting the first post?

    Also, these are pretty cool although I have very limited skyrim modding experience. All i've done is this http://wiki.step-project.com/Main_Page totals to about 200 mods when you're finished


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    Quote Originally Posted by LiNkZoR View Post
    Why are you quoting the first post?
    Not sure what you're talking about.

    I was trying to edit from Tapatalk, and it wasn't working. I guess I was hitting the quote button instead of the edit one.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiNkZoR View Post
    Also, these are pretty cool although I have very limited skyrim modding experience. All i've done is this http://wiki.step-project.com/Main_Page totals to about 200 mods when you're finished
    That's a lot of mods.

    Btw, I'm about to add Scarcity and moreHUD as honorable mentions.
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