For all those who avoided the full sticker price of a brand new AAA game plus the pricey season pass, your patience has paid off now that Fallout 4 GOTY is here, which bundles all the F4 expansions and the high-resolution texture pack in one place. (If you wait until Black Friday, I have a sneaking suspicion you might get an even bigger discount...)
But if you waited until the Game of the Year edition arrived to jump on Bethesda's Commonwealth entry in the Fallout universe, that means you've got a full two years worth of mods to catch up on! Graphics mods, skill mods, UI mods, new quest mods, and (of course) nude mods -- there are tens of thousands available, and far more than any one person could ever even play in a single lifetime.
So to get you started off right, we're rounding up a lineup of tried and true mod stalwarts that have always been Fallout 4 staples, as well as some newer offerings that will mesh well with F4's Game Of The Year edition.
Note that these are all free mods, and unlike Bethesda we're going to actually call them mods. As such, we won't be listing any of the paid "not-mod" nonsense from the Creation Club (which is just paid mods by another name). Now that we've got that little tidbit out of the way, lets get onto the must-have Fallout 4 GOTY mods!
Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch
If you've got a huge, open world Bethesda game, your very first order of business should be to find and download the unofficial fan patch. Like this one, it's guaranteed to fix hundreds of bugs, both major and minor, from small issues with items and dialog to big problems with quests and markers.
Best of all? The huge number of changes are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, so they don't ever break other mods or become irrelevant with new patches. This is essential download material for Fallout 4 Game of the Year edition.
No More Creation Club News
Now that you've got the unofficial patch installed, the next order of business is to get rid of the Creation Club News marquee taking up the corner of your screen, which can be really annoying.
If you want to drop real-world money in-game on small cosmetic changes that are readily available elsewhere as free mods, well, that's your business. But for the rest of us, downloading this mod helps us reclaim the Fallout 4 experience we want to have.
Hopefully, the fact that this is consistently in the Top 10 endorsed mods list every single week sends a clear and obvious message to the developers and publishers out there.
Full Dialog Interface
OK, so we've patched all the bugs and gotten rid of the Creation Club nonsense, so now it's time to fix Bethesda's other major Fallout 4 stumble -- the condensed dialog wheel.
Half of the time the paraphrased example doesn't even really match the real dialog that's said. And there's no question the full voice acted main character really cut down on the dialog options in comparison to previous games.
While there's not much to be done about the latter, the former is handily dealt with using this mod that changes things back to the classic Fallout dialog tree, showing exactly what will be conveyed with each option. Again, this is another essential mod for the best F4 GOTY experience.
One of the elements of Fallout 4 that was most touted prior to release is also the element that is probably the most heavily modded: F4 settlements. Although changes and additions were made with the game's official add-ons, there's still plenty about settlement building and settler duty-assigning that's pretty rough around the edges.
Sim Settlements is much different from the typical settlement mod in that it drastically changes how settlements work, rather than just simply adding new objects.
The goal of the settlements mod is to make it so you are the leader of any given settlement -- and not its micro-manager. The mod brings in "zones" that can be placed (in the manner of Sim City) that prompt your settlers to plant crops, connect water supplies, and construct buildings of a specific type.
Every settlement will end up unique using this overhaul, and a progression system is added in so that building settlements is more satisfying and less of something you have to do every so often.
Settlement Management Software
Going the opposite direction of the previous mod, this one gives you greater micromanagement powers -- and from a distance as well. Instead of having to manually walk up to any given settler, you can automatically assign them to a settlement object from a terminal.
This simple terminal program also lets you move settlers between towns, assign supply routes, and check a settlement's stats all in one clean interface. This will be a great addition to your Fallout 4 GOTY collection. Because let's face it: quality of life upgrades are always welcome.
While the various Steam Workshop add-ons did expand the settlement creation options, there's always room for more ways to customize your perfect post-apocalyptic settlement in Fallout 4.
That's where the Homemaker mod for F4 comes into play, adding in an astounding 1,000 additional items, from toilets to walls, appliances, and knick knacks. Don't even think about starting your own vault or settlement without downloading this mod first!
Visible Companion Affinity
This mod feels like it should have already been in a menu screen somewhere! As the name suggests, the mod tells you the current affinity level of any companion, as well as notifying you of the specific amount their affinity dropped or increased as you interact with companions or make choices that upset or excite them.
If you want your journey through Fallout 4's Wasteland to go smoother -- or you're just up for some friendly skullduggery -- this is a must-download mod.
For how often he appeared in the marketing for Fallout 4's pre-release, Dog Meat really didn't offer that much to F4 players when the game finally arrived. Let's rectify that with a customizable mod that lets you craft a new harness for your faithful hound, giving him more carrying capacity, different colored outfits, extra armor, and more!
Traits And Perks
Miss the old style of traits and perks from the previous Fallout games? This recreates them in Fallout 4 after a fashion (and adds in new additions).
While they can't be directly brought over to the new perk system with its unlimited level cap and new level S.P.E.C.I.A.L. screen without causing some major problems, this mod brought them back in a roundabout way using the crafting system.
Now you just have to craft a specific type of item that grants you the new traits/perks, and you can easily remove everything to respec your character on the fly from the ground up.
While the Contraptions Workshop DLC added an ammunition station that slowly churns out ammo at a fairly high power cost, it isn't really an economical option.
This Fallout 4 mod has been here all along, letting you do something that should have been there from Day 1: craft any standard ammo type at a chemistry station. So instead of throwing your junk away, download this mod for F4 GOTY and craft that refuse into something explosive.
Stop slogging for ammo -- seriously. It's not becoming ...
Possibly the single most helpful Fallout 4 mod in all existence, this indispensable little addition to the game makes one small, but powerful change: most of the random junk found in the Commonwealth -- from wrenches to tin cans -- just simply has no weight.
All your weight and inventory management just became incredibly easy, and there will be far less frustration in carrying around resources before you can dump them at a crafting station.
Any Mod Any Weapon
This one lets you go absolutely hog wild on weapon crafting, letting you add absolutely any modification to any weapon. Put a MIRV launcher on an automatic rifle so you can fire off dozens of nukes a round; give a scope to your rocket launcher; or add any other ludicrously awesome combination you can come up with!
Needless to say, this Fallout 4 mod pretty much breaks balance and lets you make weapons the developer most certainly did not intend. Note: To use this mod, you need the Armor And Weapons Keyword Community Resource installed first.
There's a reason this is one of the most-downloaded Fallout 4 mods of all time -- and you should find out why by downloading it yourself at your earliest convenience!
Totally overhauling the weather systems in Fallout 4, the True Storms mod brings in new sound effects, textures, particle effects, and much more for a complete change to how rain and storms work.
This is more than just adding dreary rain to the game, however, as it also brings customizable radiation storms and ghoul attacks to F4 GOTY!
Welcome To Goodneighbor
Between the base game and the Automatron/Nuka World/Far Harbor expansions, there's already a staggering number of quests to undertake in Fallout 4. But frankly, there's always room for more in the Commonwealth!
As the name implies, this mod adds several new quests, assassination missions, buildings, enemies, items, and more to the Goodneighbor settlement. There's also somewhere in the neighborhood of 500+ lines of dialog added, greatly extending out your Fallout 4 experience.
Fusion City Rising
Another quest/area mod, this one offers up three new companions, a whole new city, extra factions, a ludicrous nightclub, an entirely new vault, and nuclear explosions galore!
It's a top-notch combination of over-the-top action and legitimately fun quest lines that go in directions you might not expect. If you want to try out the various new questlines made by modders but aren't sure where to start, there are far worse places to begin than Fusion City Rising.
Have fun trekking across the revamped Commonwealth wasteland with these 15 must-install Fallout 4 GOTY mods! Did we miss any other mods that enhanced your experience? Let us know about the best mods out there you've tried in the comments below!
Of course, 15 mods out of tens of thousands barely scrapesthe surface of what's available. If you're still looking for even more Fallout 4 mods, check out our Fallout 4 mods page. Here are a few to get you started: