The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was unleashed in 2011, and nearly from the moment it arrived on desktops players have been enthusiastically modding it. Skyrim modders have addressed minor problems and fixed major bugs, added custom quests and entirely new locations, and overhauled combat, magic, and leveling systems. Along the way hundreds of hours of new content has come, free, from the community. Just about any change you can imagine has been made by someone, and there's no sign the modding well has dried up yet.
Below, we've completely overhauled our selection of the best mods and gathered them together into categories to help you find whatever you're looking for. There are visual improvements, new magic spells, survival elements and roleplaying enhancements, and yes, even guns. If we're missing a few of your favorites—there are over 40,000 mods out there, so that's practically a given—feel free make a case for them in the comments. We'll be revisiting and revising this article in the future.
One final word: some mods on our list require other mods to work, some require special steps to install and use, and some mods conflict with one another. Be sure to read the mod page for each carefully for instructions on how to install and use them.
Table of contents
- Patches, optimization, and UI: A grab bag of useful improvements.
- Visual overhauls and weather: Make the game look beautiful.
- Quests and new locations: New adventures and new lands.
- Roleplaying, survival, and immersion: Find different ways to play.
- Creatures and animals: Some improved, some entirely new.
- Equipment and animation: Armor, weapons, and custom accessories.
- NPCs: Changes to the other characters, plus some new ones.
- Magic, combat, and skills: Soup up your sorcery, pep up your perks.
- Tools and utilities: The best ways to install, organize, and use these mods.
Contributors: Tom Hatfield, Christopher Livingston