In my last blog I was 140 hours in to Skyrim. I recently broke 240 hours, so I figured it was time to talk about it again. I took a break for quite a while due to some glitches and wanting to wait for the modding community to mature. The creation Kit isn't out until this tuesday, but modders have already done some amazing stuff. Before the landscape gets crowded I'd like to outline and give credit to what users can enjoy.
The modding community had a horrible reputation as being all about nude mods, and the notorious 'clean faces' meme here on Giant Bomb. It does an incredible injustice to the work put in to make the game better. I don't even object to those mods. Whatever you want to add to the game, that's what modding is about. When people see those however, they roll their eyes.
So, to combat this here are my favourite pre-creation kit mods.
Honourable mention to the mod Skyrim Online which is a WIP mod that essentially adds online multiplayer to the game, allowing you to enter another players world. I don't use it, and it is basic and very buggy at the moment but amazing that somebody has even done it.
Souls To Perks
There are only 80 perk points in the game, as your level caps out at 80, yet there are something like 250 perks in the game. With such a huge game you can easily max out your skills before seeing everything, and I think that is a shame. The abilities given by perks are powerful and even give you abilities you can't get otherwise. By having such a limited amount of points you are forced to min-max and not experiment/choose more of the fun perks.
This mod changes that. You can exchange accumulated dragon souls for perk points (which adds a nice choice between shouts and perks). The default is 10 souls for a perk, but you can change it to your liking and balance it however you like. I recommend 1, 2 or 5. Whatever works for how you play. It'll allow you to widen your play style and enjoy more of the gameplay systems.
Maps, Maps, Maps!
An interactive 3D map was a really nice choice for the world of Skyrim. Old cloth style map was cool in Oblivion, but getting a better feel for the verticality of the landscape is almost essential in Skyrim. So why not go even further? There are quite a few really cool map mods to enhance your experience. Unfortunately, it seems like these two are incompatible, but they offer different things for different people.
A Quality World Map With Roads
Seems like something so simple, doesn't it? A really great addition to help you navigate without having to wander through forest areas all the time. There is also a WIP version that converts the map to a cloth map styled 3D map if you crave something more like Oblivion. There is also a great companion mod for this that makes the meshes on the map slightly better.
One of the earliest mods for Skyrim, and an incredible idea. The map in the game loads low res meshes, but imagine the map being a camera zooming around the world. It functions exactly the same but allow you to zoom right the way down to ground level and see all the details as if you were there allowing more exploration and navigational possibilities. Plus it's pretty cool.
One of the first, and best, house mods. The stock houses you can buy in the game are fine, but often don;t have the best assets, layout or utilities. A WIP, this mod gives you a hideout that provides everything Dovahkiin would need. Luxury living, full smithing, enchanting and alchemy tools, copious storage and even a library. Accessible from every in-game house this mod will give you a decent place to relax, store your stuff and improve some skills.
Always a lot of visual mods for these games. Maybe the textures are too low resolution for you, or you just don't like the way they look. Texture replacements are as easy as chucking files in a folder, and don't even modify the game's files. Just be careful not to overdo it because you will get textures failing to load if you have too many high res textures.
- Skyrim HD - 2K Textures
- RWT Realistic Water Textures (highly recommended)
- Skyrim Flora Overhaul (highly recommended)
- Enhanced Blood Textures (highly recommended)
- Glowing Ore Veins (essential, and also highly recommended)
- Realistic Smoke and Embers (highly recommended)
- Skyrim Sunglare (highly recommended)
- Xenius Character Enhancement (essential, and also highly recommended)
- Lush Trees
- Nicer Snowflakes (highly recommended)
- Improved Rock and Mountain Textures (highly recommended)
- Real Ice
- HD Furniture
- Better Gold
- High Quality Food and Ingredients
- Realistic Paper
These are just some others that I use. You might like them too. Some of them are actually game fixes, specifically the blacksmith mods.
- One Day Vendor Restock
- Essential Dogs
- Essential Horses
- Essential Followers
- Dragon Bone Weight Reduction
- Pickaxe Weight Reduction
- Firewood, Ingot and Ore Weight Reduction
- Leathers Weight Fix
- Smithing Perks Overhaul (highly recommended)
- Weapons and Armor Fixes (highly recommended)
- Lost Art of the Blacksmith (highly recommended)
- Unlimited Rings
- Unlimited Amulets
- Longer Candlelight Spell
- Warmer Magic Lights
- I Put A Spell On You - More Enchanting Options (highly recommended)
- Pickpocketing Chance Caps (highly recommended)
- Player Home Map Markers (highly recommended)
- Lightweight Scrolls
- Lightweight Potions
- Increased Carry Weight From Stamina (highly recommended)
That about does it. Let me know if you found this useful.