Nearly four years have passed since Skyrim was released for Windows PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Most of the time players lose interest in a game after they have played through it once or twice, or after a certain period of time, but the mod community for the game is so expansive that you can entirely revamp Skyrim with a little research. If you are picking up Skyrim again, or even if you have shelved it, here are some mods, in no particular order that will make the gaming experience exciting again.
Familiar Faces is a mod that allows you to create copies of your own characters for the purpose of allowing them to exist independently of their own save file. That is, they will exist in other character save files as well, and can be recruited as a follower, married or even killed.
The mod provides the player with a portal stone to teleport them to the “Shrine of Heroes,” where the character may record their achievements. Equipped armor and weapons, character appearance, ammunition, vanilla spells, most perks and shouts will be saved.
There are 12 alcoves to record characters. Trophies associated with guilds and in-game achievements (such as killing Alduin, or completing the main quest in a DLC) will be displayed in the alcove you saved your character on. When other characters visit the Shrine these will be visible.
Each character can be assigned a voice type, class, and hangout, determining the voice they have when they are imported as an NPC, how their skill points are distributed when they level as an NPC follower, and where they can be found when imported to another file.
Like achievements, but do not like that they are relatively purposeless other than to show off? Achieve That implements an achievement system to Skyrim, but with a twist. Every achievement you earn gives glory points, which you can spend on stat increases, perks or skills. The stat increases are not large, so it is fairly balanced, but if you are particular about not breaking immersion, this may not be the mod for you.
Achievements are sorted into general, professions, combat, epic and other categories. Some achievements include having a high bounty in a hold, or even just stuffing your face with a certain kind of food.
Imperious- Races of Skyrim implements new racial abilities and powers, and modifies racial stats. Each race gets two new racial abilities and two new powers. NPCs will use these abilities and powers. Not all the new powers are entirely positive in nature, however, and must be used with caution. For example, the new Altmer ability, “Bright Star” replenishes magicka and stamina rapidly when they are low, but decreases your armor by a significant amount.
One power per race is earned through a quest that generally incorporates another racial power. The Nord power “Avatar,” a once a day use power (which gives a 50 point bonus to all combat skills for a short period of time), is one power that can be earned through a quest.
There are some compatibility workarounds required for some common mods, such as ASIS, PerMa, Character Creation Overhaul, RaceMenu, Requiem and SkyRe, and Ethereal Elven Overhaul. SkyUI is recommended for use with this mod but not required. However, the Dawnguard DLC is also required for the mod to work.
If you enjoy collecting and hoarding items you will likely enjoy Legacy of the Dragonborn, which opens a gallery for items found in integrated and supported mods, as well as vanilla Skyrim. Legacy of the Dragonborn, in addition to the museum, adds a questline, donations from patrons, rewards for filling museum displays, and a new armor set. It also adds 8 new dungeons tied in with quest content.
To get an idea of how expansive this mod really is, it even has its own Wiki about collectable items, galleries, quests and more.
All official DLC and SKSE are required to run the mod. There are additional compatible mods that can be run concurrently that will add more items to the gallery, such as Falskaar, and Skyrim's Unique Treasures.
For those of you who want yet another different playstyle, there is Wrath of Nature- The Path of the Druid. This mod introduces a quest that will lead you to four different trials, each pitting you against an elemental aspect. Each one is a challenge to deal with in themselves. Upon defeating an elemental aspect a new alteration spell is unlocked that allows you to transform into a new form.
Each form, such as frost form, comes with left click, right click and simultaneous left and right click abilities (or the space bar, in Aspect of Nature form), as well as an "aura," a passive ability and transformation bonuses that scale with level.
Though some of the forms can be a bit overpowered that can be countered by increasing the difficulty level at which you are playing, or possibly using mods to revamp the combat system. However, this mod may have issues working with Requiem and Grandmaster- True Unarmed and Unarmored Combat.
Wrath of Nature- Path of the Druid requires SkyUI and SKSE to work. Wrath of Nature- The Champion of Kynareth (a direct sequel to the original mod), which adds 4 more shapeshifting forms, and Druid Essentials (which adds non-shapeshifting spells, although Druid Essentials is by different modders), are also recommended.
This particular mod is highly endorsed and downloaded, and rightfully so. Interesting NPCs does exactly what it claims to: the mod adds over 250 new NPCs to the game. Most, if not all of the NPCs have voice acting. These NPCs have around 50 new quests associated with them, and a fair number are available as followers or even marriage partners. However, some of the NPCs are merely for added flavor to the world of Tamriel.
This mod is truly massive in size and unfortunately is manual download only from the Skyrim Nexus, which is a slight inconvenience. Nevertheless, there are no prerequisite mods for Interesting NPCs, although there are a fair number of compatibility patches associated with other mods (the most commonly used mod being Alternate Start- Live Another Life).
Though some of the voice acting is a bit hit or miss if you are interested in adding more quests, followers, and just general liveliness to Skyrim, Interesting NPCs is the way to go.
The creators of OBIS - Organized Bandits in Skyrim, are of the opinion that the vanilla bandits are not as varied as they should be. Given the sheer amount of bandits in Skyrim one would think there would even be specific gangs, beyond what is designated by each stronghold, camp, or questline. This is not so in vanilla Skyrim.
OBIS aims to redo the whole system. The mod, first, makes each bandit look unique, and adds 57 different types of bandits to the game to make each encounter different. There are also 207 named bandits added to the world that drop special loot. Each gang has its own strengths, and weaknesses to be exploited (for example, one gang has members that all know ice magic, but have low defense). Some gangs also have unique shields with their own crest.
There are some optional files that create extra bandit spawn points in bandit controlled areas, allows them to attack towns, or even replaces most non-hostile animal spawns with bandit spawns instead.
OBIS is also a mod that does not require other mods to run concurrently with it to work, though it may need compatibility patches for users of certain mods such as Cloaks of Skyrim.
Moonlight Tales is an overhaul of sections of the werewolf system. The mod allows customization of the appearance of your werewolf or werebear, and transformation of followers into werewolves or werebears. The mod also uses the lunar system in Skyrim to give a random chance for a player to transform during any part of the lunar cycle, as well as the typical unavoidable werewolf transformation upon the full moon (though these settings are changeable in the MCM menu).
Several new abilities have been added, such as howling at the moon (which, if the Heightened Senses setting is enabled, increases your reflexes), reverting to humanoid form if you transformed voluntarily, and a power jump that protects you from fall damage. Moonlight Tales will also remember what items you had equipped before your transformation and re-equip them when you revert.
You can leave the game completely untouched, or load it down with mods. Whatever you do with your game is your choice, and no gamer's experience will be exactly the same. While compatibility, Skyrim's cap of 255 mods, and the capability of your computer to handle a heavy load of mods may limit this to a degree, Skyrim is arguably a better game modded and the ones listed here do not even scratch the surface of what is available. Take the time to browse files at the Skyrim Nexus or the Steam Workshop for popular mods, or just things you like. You never know what you might find.
Brodual. 2013, May 1. Skyrim Mod: Moonlight Tales - Werewolf & Werebear Overhaul [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvfqm1PnH-E.
Brodual. 2013, August 27. Skyrim Mod: OBIS- Organized Bandits in Skyrim [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81nCvBd3J7Q.
Brodual. 2013, March 2. Skyrim Mod: Wrath of Nature [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=109&v=L40Cki0sZMM.
Brodual. 2014, June 28. Skyrim Mod: Familiar Faces [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nE6BEAPG4A.
Brodual. 2014, December 14. Skyrim Mod: Legacy of the Dragonborn – Completionist (2/2) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=18&v=PNidBwgqYp4.
Brodual. 2014, October 4. Skyrim Mod: Wintermyst- Enchantments for Skyrim [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=41&v=BhJBcHCJ5S0.
insane0hflex. 2013, February 6. Skyrim Mod Feature: Interesting NPCs [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf1Jg4ZAav8.
TombRaiser. (2012). Alduin [Online image]. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/File:VC-Alduin.jpg.
[Untitled screenshot of Skyrim mod Achieve That]. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://gamewise.co/games/12909/The-Elder-Scrolls-V-Skyrim/Mods/Gameplay/Achieve-That.