The 18 Best Mods for A Skyrim New Playthrough

The 18 Best Mods for A Skyrim New Playthrough
Image credit: Bethesda

Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a timeless game and an instant classic when it was released. Even though it was released in November 2011, it still holds its own ground against newer games.

Skyrim is a game filled with hours of content. There are countless side quests and missions that you can do, steering you clear from the main story. Generally, a whole Skyrim playthrough should take around 30-40 hours to finish. However, the content found within the game can easily extend that number to more than 100 hours.

If you’re looking to revisit The Elder Scrolls V and go for a Skyrim new playthrough, adding mods is the best way to give the game some additional spice. Mods change a game’s code and usually provide additional gameplay elements, stories, and content, among other quality of life changes.

Mods are a great way to bring new life to an old game and help you create a brand new experience. Mods are available for almost every game. You can install mods on Minecraft, The Sims, GTA, and of course, Skyrim, among many others.

To help you out, here is a list of the best mods for a Skyrim new playthrough that can have you feeling like you’re playing a new game.

Best Mods for a New Skyrim Playthrough

These mods and instructions are exclusive to PC players of Skyrim. Unfortunately, you’ll have to enjoy the experience without any mods if you’re planning on starting your new Skyrim playthrough on a different device. Luckily, Skyrim is still one of the best medieval games on the Nintendo Switch and other consoles, even without mods.

Installing Skyrim Mods

Installing Skyrim mods is actually a straightforward process. On Steam, you can simply go to the Steam Workshop, find Skyrim, and subscribe to the different mods uploaded onto the service. This is by far the easiest and fastest way to get mods for a new Skyrim playthrough.

However, not all mods are available on Steam. Sometimes you’ll have to install the mods yourself or use a third-party mod manager to do it. Follow the instructions carefully for each mod that isn’t available on the Steam Workshop since they will have slightly different installation instructions.

Finally, install Skyrim outside your Program Files folder if you’re just starting to download it via Steam. This is a crucial step since it ensures that any mods you install don’t conflict with other files or folders.

If you’ve already got Skyrim installed on your PC, you can quickly move it using Steam itself.

  1. Go into your game library and find Skyrim.
  2. Right-click on Skyrim and select “Properties.”
  3. Go to the Local Files tab and choose the “Move Install Folder” option.

From there, you should be given the option to move the game without losing any files. Just move it somewhere that isn’t in your Program Files folder, and you should be good to go.

1. SkyUI

SkyUI mod for skyrim new playthrough

SkyUI is one of the best mods you can install for a Skyrim new playthrough. It gives the standard Skyrim UI a PC-friendly and elegant-looking update that also adds a ton of new improvements and quality of life changes to using the menus.

It extends all menus from crafting, enchanting, alchemy, and smithing. It also allows you to categorize your items for a fast and easy way to access important objects. SkyUI also displays any active effects directly on your HUD, allowing you to view them instantly.

Overall, SkyUI is a huge game changer in managing your items and navigating menus. I personally can never play Skyrim without it again. It’s hands-down one of the best Skyrim mods you can use whether you’re going on a new Skyrim playthrough or revisiting old saves.

2. Arthmoor’s Skyrim Villages – All In One

Arthmoor's Skyrim Villages - All In One

This next mod is perfect for your Skyrim new playthrough because it introduces a ton of new life to the villages in the game. Arthmoor’s Skyrim Villages – All In One mod is a collection of 11 village mods that were all created by Arthmoor.

The villages that are included within the mod are the following: Darkwater Crossing, Dawnstar, Dragon Bridge, Helarchen Creek, Ivarstead, Karthwasten, Keld-Nar, Kynesgrove, Shor’s Stone, Soljund’s Sinkhole, and Whistling Mine.

Most of the changes are related to the NPCs and their behavior within the said villages. Karthwasten NPCs all have their own homes now, Dawnstar NPCs no longer live in the mines, and Soljund’s Sinkhole now has barracks for the guards. These are just some of the NPC changes included within the mod. There are tons more that you should check out yourself.

Note: Any other mods that alter any of the villages included within Arthmoor’s Skyrim Villages won’t work.

3. Open Cities Skyrim

Open Cities Skyrim

The Open Cities Skyrim mod aims to give you an enhanced feeling of immersiveness and realism. I know how annoying the loading screens are when entering cities or exiting them. You’ll no longer get these loading screens with the Open Cities Skyrim mod.

You can freely run into the city’s center without being greeted by the dreaded Skyrim loading screen. This also adds a new unique interaction with the guards of each city. If you’re being chased by an enemy, you can simply run into the safety of a city’s walls and let the guards do their duty.

It’s a great additional mod to any new Skyrim playthrough and allows you to fully enjoy the open-worldness of the game without any loading screens.

4. A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map

A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map

The A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map mod is a simple mod that aims to enhance your map viewing experience. It simply adds better textures and detailed roads that make the World Map and Solstheim Map for fun to look at.

The mod also works for the Dragonborn DLC, but you don’t need any DLC to use the mod. There’s nothing more to be said. It’s just simply a quality of life upgrade to your map viewing experience.

5. Pure Waters

Pure Waters

Have you ever noticed how off some of Skyrim’s water textures and graphics are? Well, Pure Waters is here to save the day. It’s a complete overhaul of the waters within the game. It aims to provide pure, clean, natural waters to Skyrim’s mountains.

The improvements include color enhancement, realistic transparency, new textures, and flow effects, better reflections, and a more natural underwater look. It gives a completely new life to the waters in Skyrim and provides a more enjoyable graphical experience.

The creator also guarantees that you shouldn’t experience any FPS drops or performance changes. It should also be compatible with other Skyrim mods, making it perfect for a Skyrim new playthrough.

6. Pure Weather

Pure Weather

The Pure Weather mod comes from the same creator as Pure Waters. The goal this time is to change the overall look and feel of the weather conditions and lighting around Skyrim. It adds new weather types adding a better feeling of immersion and realism to the environment.

Aside from clouds and rain textures, the mod also adds sun glares, snow, rocks, and fog textures that help make Skyrim feel like a new game. It also adds various sunsets, sunrises, and auroras thanks to the better lighting and colors.

There’s also a Purity mod available that combines the Pure Waters, Pure Weather, and Pure Waters – Waterfalls mods into one big texture overhaul. Unfortunately, this mod isn’t available on Steam. Feel free to go ahead and manually install it yourself if you want an updated and all-in-one package.

However, both the Pure Weather and Pure Waters mod available on Steam are still usable and look fantastic. So, if you don’t want the extra trouble, just install the mods from Steam instead.

7. Unread Books Glow

Unread Books Glow

The Unread Books Glow mod does exactly what it says; it makes unread books glow. It’s a simple yet beneficial mod that can easily allow you to see what books you haven’t read yet.

The books in Skyrim can grant various benefits, from unlocking quests, increasing skills, or even uncovering locations on the map. This is why no book should be left unread. The Unread Books Glow mod helps you achieve this feat. It’s a perfect mod for a new Skyrim playthrough.

8. Faster Vanilla Horses

Faster Vanilla Horses

A lot of players complain that Skyrim’s horses aren’t that much faster than running on foot. Luckily, Faster Vanilla Horses fixes that problem. This mod increases the default horse running speed by 30% and increases their overall stamina as well.

This allows players to explore Skyrim faster, making traveling more enjoyable and worthwhile. It’s a must-have mod for a Skyrim new playthrough. Once you install it, you can never go back.

9. Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

The Unofficial Skyrim Patch is a huge game changer and is definitely one of the best mods for a Skyrim new playthrough. The mod’s main goal is to fix every bug in Skyrim that hasn’t been fixed by the developers.

We all know how famous Skyrim is for its hundreds of different bugs. Bugs can be funny, annoying, or straight-up game-breaking. The Unofficial Skyrim Patch fixes most of those bugs and provides players with a flawless gaming experience.

It’s one of those mods that you never know you needed. You’re never going to notice the huge improvements this mod brings, and that’s what makes it so great. It just proves that it’s done its job and fixed a ton of bugs you’ll never have to encounter again.

It does have some quirks. You’ll need to follow a general load order for your mods. But trust me, it’s definitely worth it.

10. Isilmeriel’s LOTR Weapons

Isilmeriel's LOTR Weapons

This next mod is perfect if you want to give your weapons some extra pizzazz. Isilmeriel’s LOTR Weapons allows you to use some weapons from Lord of The Rings. It’s a fantastic mod for a Skyrim new playthrough and allows you to experience new weapons.

There are a total of 10 weapons, some with a few variations included within the mod. Some swords can be bought from Eorlund at skyforge, but you can also craft all the weapons at the Moonforge.

It’s a nifty little mod that really fits Skyrim’s overall theme and concept.

11. Enhanced Blood Textures 4.0

Enhanced Blood Textures 4

Are you looking for a mod for your Skyrim new playthrough that helps improve realism? Well, the Enhanced Blood Textures 4.0 can help you achieve that goal. It’s a simple mod that does one thing: improve blood’s details, texture, and resolution.

Skyrim’s original blood textures are bland and unrealistic. With this mod, you can really see the detail in each drop of blood.

Aside from enhanced details, textures, and resolution, the mod also increases the amount of blood spilled during battle. Various blood splatters, additional blood pools, blood drips, blood trails, and blood spurts are now included within the game. There’s going to be high-resolution blood everywhere.

12. Static Mesh Improvement Mod

Static Mesh Improvement Mod

The Static Mesh Improvement Mod (SMIM) is simply a thing of beauty. It improves the appearance of 3D models within the game. This include’s the architecture, furniture, and landscaping, making the general visual quality excellent.

SMIM improves over 750 individual meshes, making the game more pleasing to the eyes. It’s a massive mod that affects the entirety of Skyrim. In general, you can see countless SMIM improved objects every few minutes of playing the game. Even though it has a huge scope, it only has a minor performance impact, making it very worth it.

It’s a must-have mod for a new Skyrim playthrough and adds some fantastic graphical improvements to the game.

13. Optimized Mod Textures

Optimized Mod Textures

Sometimes, you just have an itch for Skyrim and want to play it on old, low-end hardware. To help you run the game, you can use the Optimized Mod Textures, a compilation of different weapon mods and textures resized and optimized for low-spec gaming.

This mod will allow the game to run better on low-end hardware while adding extra content and fluid combat mechanics. Some of the included weapon mods are Lore Weapons Expansion Pack, Immersive Weapons, Dawnguard Arsenal, and Jaysus Swords, among a few others. Who says you can only run mods on powerful machines?

14. Realistic Ragdolls and Force

Realistic Ragdolls and Force

We all know how weird and clunky some of the physics Skyrim can get. One minute the footsoldier you just killed is lying on the ground; the next, his body is flying around. With the Realistic Ragdolls and Force mod, you can fix these quirks.

Now, each dead body you encounter will feel more realistic. The mod reduces the amount of force for ragdolls and increases their bend and twist radius. Arrows can also no longer carry bodies farther away, and magic doesn’t send people flying 20 feet in the air.

A ton of smaller details are included with this mod that just makes ragdolls better than ever before. It’s a unique and quirky little mod that adds an extra layer of realism to ragdolls in Skyrim.

15. Enhanced Lights and FX

Enhanced Lights and FX

The next mod is the Enhanced Lights and FX mod. This great mod aims to bring a little more realism to Skyrim. It adds brightness to all light sources and removes unnecessary glows without a proper source.

It also adds effects to smoke, volumic lights, candles, water reflection, and shadows. It also provides darker interiors, dungeons, fog colors, and shadows for a more realistic effect. The Enhanced Lights and FX is a good mod to install when starting a new Skyrim playthrough because it adds a better dramatic effect.

16. UFO – Ultimate Follower Overhaul

UFO – Ultimate Follower Overhaul

We all know that some of the follower mechanics and features can be a little bit wonky. Sometimes they help you in battle, while other times, they just stare until you’re dead.

The UFO – Ultimate Follower Overhaul mod aims to fix most of the problems related to followers and provide a more robust and helpful system. It adds many new features, fixes a few bugs, and dramatically improves vanilla Skyrim’s follower system.

Followers now have additional dialogue that has different effects. You can also have up to a total of 15 followers, and they can now ride on horses as well. There are also various follower commands that you can learn from the book “Field Command.” These commands can be used to control your followers and can be placed on hotkeys for easier use.

There are other features and content that we’ve failed to mention above. Just make sure to check the mod out since it’s a superb mod for a Skyrim new playthrough.

17. Interesting NPCs

Interesting NPCs

Some of the NPCs in Skyrim can feel a bit bland and underdeveloped. The characters you meet in the game have great potential for content but weren’t explored by the developers. This is where the Interesting NPCs mod comes in.

The Interesting NPCs mod adds an extra layer of life and substance to the characters in Skyrim. Each character is now integrated into the world, complete with a full backstory and extensive dialogues to tell.

The coverage of this mod is insane. The characters are even voiced by over 80 voice actors, helping make each NPC more interesting and lively.

Overall, the Interesting NPCs mod covers over 250 fully voiced NPCs, 25 followers, 15 marriage characters, and 50 quests. It indeed covers almost all characters in the game. It’s one of the best mods for a new Skyrim playthrough, especially if you want to add more content to the game.

18. Expanded Towns and Cities

Expanded Towns and Cities

The final mod we have for you is the Expanded Towns and Cities. It’s one of the most content-filled mods you can install for a new Skyrim playthrough. It’s expansive and provides a ton of new areas to explore within the cities and towns we all know and love.

This mod covers Darkwater Crossing, Dawnstar, Dragon Bridge, Falkreath, Ivarstead, Karthwasten, Kynesgrove, Morthal, Riverwood, Rorikstead, Shors Stone, Stonehills, and Winterhold. It also has various language translations, making it easy for anyone to enjoy.

Each town will vary customization levels but will generally add new houses, NPCs, dialogues, and quests. Some also have added general stores, blacksmiths, alchemists, and stables for the player’s use.

The layout of each town will be completely different and will give you a refreshing new scene. There are also tons of aesthetic changes that will help make each town and city feel like a completely new one.

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