( Want to know what Skyrim looks like when you install 200 mods at random? Find out in our eye-opening, eye-bleaching diary: Skyrim: Week of Madness . )
If you haven't already seen, we're pulling together all our favourite Skyrim mods from the Steam Workshop into two collections. Collections are just lists of mods, but they make it super easy to install them all at once: we check they're good and that they all work together, and you just click a 'Subscribe to all' button. They'll all be downloaded and added to your game the next time you start it up, and they'll even be updated as the creators improve them.
To give you more choice, we've split our favourites into two collections. The Improvements collection is full of mods that just tweak the game, round out rough edges and add useful features. The New Content collection is about mods that add something substantial to the game, new areas, or more significant features like camping.
We'll be adding to both collections continually, so you know any mods you think we should add, let us know in the comments and we'll check it out. Here's what we've put in both collections so far, and what it does.
I've always had a weakness for player home mods, and The Asteria is one of the best. Instead of the rather dull selection of houses available in the vanilla game, the Asteria gives you a gigantic flying ship to make your own. It's not just the dramatic location that makes The Asteria stand out though, it's one of the most complete and carefully constructed player homes I've ever seen.
There are herb gardens, weapon stands, mannequins, a forge, and alchemy station and even an archery range. All these amenities are laid out beautifully, with tastefully themed rooms that are not only convenient and gorgeous to look out, but give the player a sense of a functioning, real home. To find The Asteria, simply travel to the map marker you get from the start, and touch the statue to be teleported aboard. Check out the stand next to your bed for a lore book on the ship's history.
Elvenwood is one of the most beautiful and original player made cities Skyrim has seen. Built as a network of treehouses, it nestles in the forest between Helgen and Falkreath. The town sports an inn, a blacksmith, a general store and a full population of Bosmer inhabitants, including several mercenary followers. It's a lovely little construction that's like no other village in the game, and well worth your visit.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
This mod gives you a taste of Elsweyr, the home of the Khajit. It adds a quest that takes you through two types of terrain you've never seen in Skyrim: lush jungle caverns, and wind-swept deserts. Those who fancy a change from snowy mountaintops can find the entrance between Twilight Sepulchre and Crask Tusk Keep. The waypoint is already active, so you can fast travel there at any time.
Ever got jealous of all those bandits and their spiffy campsites? Well why not make your own? This mod lets you purchase camping equipment such as tents, tinderboxes and cooking pots from general stores across Skyrim. Drop a tent to put it up, drop your tinderbox to consume firewood and make a fire, instant campsite! There's a lot more you can add to it too, including the using a cooking pot on the fire for some nice outdoor cooking. Perfect for all those realism lovers who can't always find an inn in the middle of the night.
Enhanced High Level Gameplay
Most of Skyrim's monsters only go up to level 30, meaning high level players rarely find themselves facing a major threat. This mod addresses this problem by introducing levelled versions of current creatures and bandits that are carefully introduced as you level, sustaining the challenge all the way to the endgame.
Midas Magic was a fantastic magic overhaul mod for Oblivion, which added flashy, powerful new spells to make high level mages even better at setting people on fire with their minds. The Skyrim version is just as good, with spells that summon mini dragons and call down meteor strikes. You can also summon a player house, just because. It's not exactly balanced, but it is hilarious.
Unrelenting Force Spell
This hilarious mod turns Skyrim's famous Unrelenting Force shout into a spell that can be learnt from a tome in Jorrvaskr. It works as long as you hold down the button, making it totally overpowered but utterly brilliant to use.
Next page: The Improvements Collection explained