The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The 50 best Skyrim mods

Tom Hatfield at

Fixes, Optimisation and UI

Sky UI

Steam
Nexus

If you ask any seasoned Skyrim player what the game's greatest flaw is you’ll hear one answer above all others: The Menu screens. Skyrim’s UI is slow, inelegant and quite frankly a pain in the arse to use. Which is why Sky UI has been top of our mods list ever since it came out. Sky UI not only fixes the problem’s with Bethesda’s interface, it improves it immeasurably. Simple icons let you know if an item is poisoned or stolen. The inventory can be sorted by value and weight or searched by text. Finally and most importantly it boasts a Mod Configuration Menu, letting you tweak and adjust any compatible mod (including several on this list) from inside the game.

Unofficial Skyrim Patches

Skyrim Mods - Unofficial Patch

Steam: Original, Dawnguard, Dragonborn, Hearthfire and HD-DLC.
Nexus: Original, Dawnguard, Dragonborn, Hearthfire and HD-DLC.

This mod does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Modders realised they could patch the game faster than Bethesda, so they banded together to fix whatever bugs they could. The mod is being constantly updated, fixing new bugs as they emerge and updating the patch whenever Bethesda themselves release an official fix. There’s also a variety of subtle tweaks, like making sure Brand Shei (above) eventually gets out of prison after you frame him to join the Thieves Guild, so you aren’t robbed of his services forever. There's one for every piece of official DLC, including the official High Resolution textures.

Skyrim Project Optimisation

Skyrim Mods Project Optimisation

Nexus

Originally a part of Realistic Lighting Overhaul, Project Optimisation improves Skyrim performance by occlusion culling: which means not rendering things you can’t see. If you use a lot of serious lighting mods, like ENB and Realistic Lighting, then Project Optimisation can save you several frames a second. If you’re installing anything from the Weather and Lighting section of this guide I heartily recommend it.

Categorised Favourites Menu

Skyrim Mods Categorised Favourites

Nexus

Skyrim’s favourites menu is a neat idea, but it’s painfully obvious it was made with console controls in mind. This mod expands it from the corner of the screen and groups it into categories, letting you make full use of your mouse instead of scrolling endlessly. It’s also fully customisable, so you can edit the config files to emphasise whatever areas of the game you specialise in, be it magic, potions, or stabbing people in the face.

Better Dialogue Controls and Better Messagebox Controls

Skyrim Mods Better Dialogue

Nexus: Dialogue and Messagebox

It seems like a small thing, but Skyrim’s dialogue and message controls are very strange. Often when you go to select a dialogue option you’ll accidentally say something completely different by mistake. These two mods help fix this and make sure you’ll always select the option you want. It’s a tiny change, but one that will save you hours of frustration.