41 Best Skyrim PC Mods 2021 You Can’t Play Without
From huge expansions to wee QoL improvements, here are the best mods you can get in Skyrim right now.
It’s 2023, and somehow we’re still interested in Skyrim, a game that came out in 2011. That’s in part to the vast, open-world that Bethesda created, and also because of the amazing mods that have supported, updated, and expanded the game immeasurably. Heading back to Tamriel is a magical experience, but these mods take it to another level. With that said, let’s dive into the best Skyrim PC mods you can’t play without.
Unofficial Skyrim Patch
One of the most crucial Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mods, you can install, even still in 2021, is the Unofficial Skyrim Patch. What this does is patch out a bunch of bugs, mistakes, and otherwise undesirable features from the vanilla game with the ultimate goal of fixing every bug possible.
If we had to pick one mod to add, this would be the one, as it’s the least intrusive and most helpful.
Ultimate Followers Overhaul
No list of Skyrim mods would be complete without including the Ultimate Followers Overhaul. If you’ve ever been frustrated about the lack of interactivity there is between you and your followers, this is quite literally the mod you’ve been searching for.
To start things off, this raises the follower limit to 15, and also enables them to do things such as dual-wield weapons and prevents them from attacking while sneaking (which was always a pain).
Not only that, but the mod also adds an absolute ton of different dialogue options, meaning you can tell your followers to train up to reach your current level, learn magic from spell tomes and change their current clothes… or just put some on if they’re naked.
Noble Skyrim is definitely one of the best, if not the best, texture mods out there right now. Adding this to your game overhauls the architecture, structures, dungeons, and a whole lot of other things in the game.
If you’re looking to enhance your Skyrim experience, you definitely can’t go wrong with this mod.
Sky UI changes the UI of Skyrim into something that’s quicker, easier, and more intuitive to use, making it more like a normal RPG. And, as an added bonus, if mods support it they can take advantage of a mod configuration option in the new menu as well.
Enhanced Lights and FX
A staple of the Skyrim modding community, and one of the most impressive graphical updates you can add to Skyrim. Enhanced Lights and FX adds drama and realism to the lighting in Skyrim by adding lights and light sources.
It also removes light without a source, which makes for more dramatic scenes and a more immersion experience.
Immersive Patrols ups both the difficulty of Skyrim (which at a certain level gets laughably easy) by adding random patrols to every faction and also the immersion.
Aside from the random events that happen across Tamriel, sometimes it can feel a bit… empty. Immersive Patrols fixes that by adding loads of soldiers across the map. It makes sense that they’d be there, too, there’s a civil war going on!
Recent updates have added battles that allow soldiers of a faction to capture the forts of an opposing faction, which is insanely cool.
Winter is Coming
Need a little Game of Thrones in your Skyrim? Game of Thrones – Immersion has you covered. It adds over 120 pieces of Game of Thrones items to the world of Skyrim. Moreover, plenty of the factions reflect their GoT equivalent. If you’re a big fan of HBO’s hit series, you’ll definitely want this mod in your game.
Speaking of harsh cold, Frostfall is one of those mods that, even if you decide you don’t want it installed forever, you must try it out. There are three main gameplay components it adds hypothermia, cold water survival, and camping equipment.
The basic premise is that if you jump into an icy lake in the real world, you’re going to freeze to death if you don’t warm up. Why not add that to Skyrim?
Ever feel like the civil war in Skyrim wasn’t really happening, rather it was just being talked about? WARZONES fixes that in a big way. It adds battles, skirmishes, ambushes, and a new armory to amplify the feeling that there’s actually a war going on.
WARZONES does this intelligently and creates randomized battles so that each one is different. Sometimes the Stormcloaks take out the Imperials in quick fashion, and other times there are 20-minute battles that span huge areas of land.
This mod isn’t for the faint of heart, though, and requires a significant degree of tweaking and optimizing to get everything working. If you have the patience, it will reward you with an experience unlike any other.
Falskaar is a legitimate expansion for Skyrim. It’s enough content to be a game in itself, adds 20-30 hours of quests, new spells, items, soundtrack, and even has voiceovers.
It was apparently impressive to Bungie, the makers of Halo, because they offered the creator Alexander Velicky a job after seeing his work. Good thing, too. He spent over 2,000 hours working on Falskaar.
It shows, too. Falskaar is clearly a labor of love and melds seamlessly into the Skyrim universe. If you own Skyrim, Falskaar is simply too good to pass up.
More Dangerous Enemies
Skyrim can be an easy game once you’ve mastered it. Get your skills down right and you’ll be slicing, firing, and shouting your way through anything and anyone.
However, this mod allows for the game to get a bit more difficult. Every single one of Skyrim’s enemy types are now far stronger and don’t have the lower level caps that they had in the vanilla version of the game.
Players will have to stick to their survival skills if they want to survive the wilderness. Go out there and have a challenge!
Do you feel like your wardrobe is lacking in the game? Have no fear; Immersive Armors is here. With this mod, you’ll be able to choose from 55 new sets of armor, 396 new shields, and “a large number of other items such as eye patches, capes, earrings, scarves and more!”
There will be no shortage of what you should wear the next time you’re out adventuring. Don’t worry about looking out of place, by the way. Everything has been balanced to not only appear as though it should be a part of Skyrim’s world, but also have the stats that make sense, too.
Magic Duel – Reborn
Magic Duel – Reborn is an overhaul of the mod Magic Duel. What does it do? Makes awesome magic duels a possibility. That’s right. Have you ever wanted to be like Harry Potter versus Voldemort, or Goku versus Vegeta?
Well, with this mod, you totally can. You don’t even need a mage character for it (though it does make you more capable of winning the duel). Every NPC is able to duel back with you, you just have to cast some magic on them to start it up. Once you do, you need to show that you have more agility and dexterity than them to win.
Thunderchild – Epic Shouts and Immersion
Tired of the vanilla shouts? Thunderchild – Epic Shouts and Immersion has you covered with 29 new shouts that each have differing effects. It’s a pretty robust mod and can really change your game up if you’ve had enough of the same old, same old. Here’s the full list of features:
- 29 brand new shouts with multiple effects.
- 3 abilities that make shouting more effective and fun.
- Learn new shouts by revering Kyne and completing her tests of faith.
- The High Hrothgar Library.
- 24 variants of the Greybeard Robes based on a high quality custom model.
- 23 Pillars of the Voice to power up your shouts.
- Several new weapons and items.
- Buffs and bugfixes to existing shouts.
- Configuration options available in the Thunderchild MCM if SkyUI is installed (SkyUI not required to use Thunderchild).
A surefire way to change Skyrim up is by completely overhauling the animations. Animations allows you to do this with new, optional gestures as well as tweaking some of the older ones. Definitely grab this if you want a simple, yet revolutionary, change to your Skyrim adventure.
Simple Multiple Followers
Simple Multiple Followers is absolutely essential for adventurers that hate being alone. It allows you to have up to 10 followers and pets at a time.
If you’ve always wanted to have your own mini-army in Skyrim, you can’t go wrong with this mod. After all, the journey is definitely more fun with companions by your side.
If you’re a fan of Skyrim’s many different dungeons, you can use this mod to add a ton of new areas to explore. The Forgotten Dungeons mod patches in 11 extra dungeons along with over 40 different quests.
This mod is perfect for players who’ve just about seen everything there is to see. While Skyrim’s dungeons will always have a few surprises up their sleeve, having more will expand your ongoing adventure.
Alternate Start – Live Another Life
If you’re a fan of The Elder Scrolls, you’ve probably escaped incarceration in the serious numerous times. The Alternate Start mod for Skyrim allows you to try something a bit different.
Choose your class and decide how you want your adventure to start. No more having to deal with that whole Helgen fiasco.
VioLens – A Killmove Mod
Love to watch killmove animations but hate that they’re almost always the same? It turns out that a lot of people feel that way. VioLens – A Killmove Mod allows you to customize both your ranged and melee killmoves. Time to get fancy.
HDT Physics Extensions
The HDT Physics Extensions mod takes the existing Havok physics and applies them to even more items throughout the world. Clothes, hair, body parts, they all move using the same physics now adding a bit more realism to the world of Skyrim.
LeanWolf’s Better-Shaped Weapons SE
Skyrim certainly does have a lot to offer, but after a while, you may get the feeling that you’ve seen it all already. This is especially true when it comes to weapons.
Thankfully, there’s the Better-Shaped Weapons SE mod which gives life to some of the blander weapons. That way, you can slay in style while keeping your favorite sword in check.
Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim
Mastered all the schools of magic in Skyrim? Think you have what it takes to rival the best Mages in the world? Think again. This mod adds 155 new spells.
Some will make life easier, others will bring nothing but death and destruction to all who oppose you.
Run For Your Lives
It’s always weird watching all of the NPCs in Skyrim try to go toe-to-toe with a dragon. We all know they have no chance, yet they still pull out their rakes, brooms, and other weapons in an attempt to be a hero.
The Run For Your Lives mod changes that by given them the sense to run inside their homes instead. Let you deal with the mighty beasts, they’ll just get in the way.
Ultimate Fire Effects
If you’re a battle mage who loves using fire spells, you’ll love this enhanced mod. What this basically does is tinker with the resolutions to provide realistic fire.
Take note that this mod doesn’t only apply to your spells, but to every single flame throughout Skyrim. Fire has never looked this good!
Not everyone can be a natural with a bow. And even if you happen to be, perhaps you want your bow to look a bit cooler. Enter Scoped Bows, amazing bows with slick designs that fit right in with the world of Skyrim.
A Quality World Map
What better way to see all of Skyrim than with a better map? That’s what this mod pretty much adds to the game. This highly-detailed 3D map provides routes and roads that you can follow so you’ll never get lost.
Foliage and water get a lot of love within the Skyrim mods world, but you know what don’t? Clouds. Fortunately, Real Clouds is one of a handful you can get your hands on, and thanks to its randomization and varied cloud types, Skyrim’s skies will look all the better.
Depending on whether it’s raining, sunny, or just a bit overcast in Skyrim, the clouds will change in look and altitude to offer more realistic 3D cloud coverage.
If you’re looking for a mod that messes with Skyrim’s ENB, Project ENB is one of our top-picks. As you might have guessed, this mod gives the game a massive visual overhaul. Just take a look at some of the provided screenshots over on the mod’s download page and you’ll understand why we’ve included it.
That being said, Project ENB does require you to do a little bit of extra messing, but there are handy steps on what you need to do down in the mod’s description over on NexusMods, so you shouldn’t have too many issues.
KS Hairdos – Renewal
Character creation is a big deal if you’re looking for the most immersive experience possible. You want your character to look just like you (or how you envision them to look in your mind), but the hairstyles on offer just aren’t quite right.
KS Hairdos – Renewal is the perfect Skyrim mod to cater to your hairstyle needs. It contains 724 hairstyles (645 female, 79 male), meaning you’ll have a far greater chance of finding exactly the style you’re looking for (or something at least very close to it). Sometimes, it’s the mods with the simplest additional content that can make all the difference.
LC_ Build Your Own Noble House
If you want to carve out your own slice of Skyrim, then this mod is one you’re going to want to check out. The LC_Build Your Own Noble House mod enables players to build their own little fiefdom from humble beginnings as a small shed and a tent, right through to an entire village with a fortified noble house for you to reside in.
Even better, the fortified noble house has enough room for you, your spouse, and six children to live, so you won’t have to live a lonely life in the wilderness just for using this mod.
Diverse Dragons Collection 3 (DDC3)
The dragon types in the original Skyrim are all well and good, but they’re not quite as diverse and varied as some players would perhaps hope. After all, dragons can come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes.
Diverse Dragons Collection 3 consists of 28 different dragon type which all have seven ranks of strength to scale with your level. There are 16 new breath attacks and 19 abilities that dragons can use in battle, and you can enable and disable dragons in your game as you see fit.
Essentially, this is the perfect way to give the dragons a bit of a sprucing up and having full control over the extent to which they take over (as well as which ones show up).
Destructible Display Cases
There are many things that don’t really make sense within the world of Skyrim. Why, and how, for example, would you want to carry such an abundance of cheese wheels around with you for days on end? The more immersion-breaking issue is why can’t you just smash through display cases and grab what’s inside!
That’s exactly what this Destructible Display Cases mod is all about. You can just walk on over to it, smash through the glass and take that damn fine weapon.
For those players looking for a lengthy quest mod to sink their teeth into in Skyrim, Project AHO is one of the best you can download right now. This mod let’s you embark on a quest to uncover the history and inhabitants of Sadrith Kegran – a hidden settlement of Great House Telvanni.
The mod has few performance problems and actually offers up a pretty engaging storyline to follow to boot. Top it off with the fact that you’ll uncover the Aetherium Hyperspace Observatory on the way and there’s little reason not to give this a try.
Guards Armor Replacer
The Guards Armor Replacer mods gives all of those guards a bit more variety about them. Every Hold in the game now has its own armor and equipment, that depends on the hold’s prosperity, geographic location, weather, cultural influence and more. It’s all divided into heavy and light, each of which have different appearances.
What’s more, all outfits can be used for both sexes and all races in the game. If you’ve been looking for a way to make those guards look a little less generic, this is the Skyrim mod you’re looking for.
Sometimes you need to move on, as painful as it may feel. Sometimes, you just have to start a new playthrough and begin the adventure all over again, leaving your old character to sit and question where you’ve gone and have yet to return.
Familiar Faces is a Skyrim mod that aims to take some of that pain away. You’ll be able to head to the Shrine of Heroes, where you can meet your characters from previous playthroughs and even create monuments of them to celebrate their achievements. Oh, and if that’s not enough you can bring them into your world and have them fight alongside or against you.
Skyrim is all about experiencing an immersive role-playing experience, but if you’re still rocking the base NPC interactions then the game can feel pretty stale and lifeless by modern standards. This excellent new mod by jayserpa adds a huge array of realistic animations that completely changes the feel of the game. It’s also highly customizable, so you can tweak the extent of the changes to your preference. Download here.
Imperial Guard Centurion Armor
If you’ve pledged your allegiance to the Imperial Guard then this new armor set will be of special interest. Not only does it look absolutely awesome and fits within the lore of The Elder Scrolls Online but it’s also more powerful than the standard Imperial Armor in Skyrim. Here’s an overview of the set:
Imperial Centurion Armor Set
Each piece is +3 higher than the standard Imperial Heavy set. Can be worn by both Male & Female.
If you’re a dog-lover then the range of doggos in vanilla Skyrim is pretty underwhelming, so you might like to take a look at this new Dog Replacer mod by gg77, which adds the following models:
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- German Shepherd
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Pit Bull Terrier
- White Beagle
- Golden Retriever
- Great Dane
Pandorable’s NPCs – Males 2
Pandorable has done a number of excellent NPC makeover mods, and this latest one adds 60 new male models to the game. Given that vanilla Skyrim’s selection of models is somewhat limited and bland as standard, this introduces some much-needed diversity and much more detailed models in general.
Summon Ice Horse
If you want a new way to traverse across the snowy plains of Skyrim in style then this Ice Horse is the business. As you can see in the image above, it’s a summon that you’ll need Conjuration for. In addition to looking totally badass, it’s also faster than a normal horse.
The Eyes of Beauty
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul and in vanilla Skyrim, the eyes of the NPCs can look a little… lifeless. With this handy mod, the eyes of all the NPCs will look way more shiny and realistic.
It’s not just the humans, either. Elves, Orcs, Argonians and Khajiits all get their very own overhaul, and the results are mighty impressive.
That does it for our list of best Skyrim PC mods for now. We’ll be keeping this article updated, though, so be sure to check back in with us soon.
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