Build Your Own Skyrim, Part 1: Fixing The World

By Craig Pearson on March 10th, 2012 at 9:19 am.

DERRRRP!
Skyrim might not be broken, but it is a bit cracked. There’s never been an open-world that didn’t crumble at the edges of a simulation, and Bethesda’s Nord land is detailed with a fine filigree through its stony butt. Patches will help, and Bethesda have done a lot of good work to keep the game ticking along, but with all those dragons stomping around, sometimes backwards, the mud has been loosened. Thanks to Steam Workshop, the act of modding Skyrim is phenomenally easy: all you need to do is select a mod in the system’s list and it’ll be integrated into the game. There’s also a few from the venerable Skyrim Nexus as well. While we wait for both Bethesda or these guys to pack the mud back in place, there are a few tweaks you can make to the base game, gleaned from the Workshop’s finest fiddlers. They won’t be as fancy as adding monocles and top hats to mudcrabs – I’ll be getting to those in a later article – but they will strengthen Skyrim’s core and fix a few glaring errors and inconsistencies.

The biggest problem I have with Skyrim is the stupid UI. It’s a mess and doesn’t take advantage of a lot of the screen, or of the mouse and keyboard. SkyUI’s more appealing, tabbed, searchable interface (if you also install the Skyrim Script Extender) keeps the feel of Skyrim’s while shaming Bethesda’s awful partitioning of your inventory: the fonts are tighter, the interface catagorises everything, and you can arrange items by worth and magic by cost per second. It’s embarrassing how much of an improvement to the base game this is.

I managed to not notice just how fiddly the followers were on my first playthrough, because I’d tell them to GTFO at the earliest opportunity: I’d rolled a Thief and focused on stealth, so I wanted to be alone. So when everyone was talking about Lydia and her tenacious stupidity, I smugly sat back. Modder ‘mangue’, however, decided to do something about it. His mod, Fixed Followers Lite, takes two main threads: it stops followers from respawning a low-spec hunting bow if you’ve given them a more powerful one to use. You can now remove the bow from their inventory and it won’t return. It also ups the level cap of companions to 81, and adds a bunch of small tweaks to specific companions. Further updates hope to make companions less clumsy in dungeons. Follower Trap Safety does that, but FFL doesn’t play nicely with other mods. If you want that and the hunting bow fix, here’s a standalone mod just for that.

I love the aesthetic of the Skyrim map, but like the menu system I came to realise that it gets in the way of functionality. It’s odd how a map can show you real-time details, like cloud cover or a dragon burning up, but miss out basic navigational information. It’s a map without roads, which I think says a great deal about Bethesda’s design choices in Skyrim. Over at Skyrim Nexus there are a number of fixes: A Quality World Map – With Roads comes in a standard and a high-resolution. It adds all the main and minor roads, and thins out the cloud cover, to allow you make use of the map as an actual map. There are a few additional add-ons to the base set that really improves the usage as well. Improved 3D World Map changes the movement of the mouse and keyboard, so you’re never stuck attempting to angle the camera awkwardly, and Coloured Map Markers separates out the black and white map markers into different colours, making them much easier to discern. The final mod is in-progress, but it adds map markers for your followers.

One of the more annoying aspects of Skyrim is how unknowable enemies and companions skills are: I like knowing what I’m up against in order to make some tactical decisions, and I’m amazed there’s no obvious or helpful way of doing so in the game. Detect Skills Spell is a book that vendors have for sale that’ll give you the ability to quickly discern the strengths of NPCs: followers, animals, enemies and dragons. It’s pretty essential if you don’t want to run in and guesstimate what the next course of action is.

Find the horses a bit wheezy? Skyrim Speed lets you alter the global walking and running speeds for pretty much anything on legs in the world, including the player character. You can accept the defaults, or easily tweak them to your pace. When combined with Same Walk & Run Speeds from the same author you can have speedier game altogether, but with speeds matched to the character’s pace, so you won’t be outpacing a companion. Relatedly, but not really, Better Horses gives the you the one power the Dovakhiin is missing: dominion over the equine brethren of dragons… okay, it’s a mod that alters horses. It gives you a bunch of controls over the neighy buggers by adding a number of calls that’ll summon them wherever they are, as well as making them unkillable and cowardly, to help with self-preservation. Again, these are really considered, really necessary tweaks. I mean, really, who was making Skyrim and forgot saddle bags?

One of the more interesting tweaks I’ve come across deals with cell respawn. Skyrim’s world is split into “cells”, to allow the game to more easily shoulder the amount of content it need it only loads at any given time. Each cell has a specific amount of time it takes to start repopulating things. If you’re looking for a livelier time then Faster Cell Respawn will speed the world up a bit, repopulating cells after three in-game days. If that seems too speedy, there’s a slower version here.

One thing I tweaked, but I’m aware you might not want to, is lockpicking. I hate it. I hate everything about it. I’ve never managed to understand what it is they’re trying to portray, and it’s swallowed time and lockpicks aplenty as I’ve fumbled my tumblers. So, yes, this is a cheat, but it’s made my life in Skyrim so much more pleasurable. I have no moral problem with cheating my way past a badly designed game mechanic.

So that’s part one. Next week I’ll be looking into how to rebuild the world with open cities and improved atmosphere. Feel free to suggest mods for this week’s theme in the comments.

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141 Comments »

  1. wearedevo says:

    I don’t consider lockpicking badly designed at all, beyond the fact that it’s far too simplistic and easy. I played a warrior, never spent a single point in lockpicking, and could pick master locks without potions due to the abundance of lockpicks. The mechanic needs to be made tougher, not modded out altogether.

    • dorianGREY326 says:

      I agree with you completely weardevo!

      a good compilation of mods you have collected here Craig.

      • Askeladd says:

        Don’t forget the people that are utterly bad at it too… you know they balanced it for the majority.

        You are right about the master lockpicking thing as warrior. After a while of playing you are so good that no lockpick breaks anymore and you have like 100+ picks, but shouldnt it be that way?
        Any other way you would be forced to level it, just to make your inner lootwhore statified.
        Alternative choices would be interesting… like bashin it open.
        The points you spend in that tree are all rubish until you get the item bonuses (more gold and better items are found).

        • felix6 says:

          Yeah I agree, its way to easy to pick locks, they should make it harder and less of a guessing game.
          Like for example, it makes sounds when u drag the pick around in the lock, it could be possible to hear where the sweetspot is or something.

          • Craig Pearson says:

            You people have skills. I fail.

          • deke913 says:

            I agree, Craig! Why for you guys keeping all the smarts?

          • Bhazor says:

            @ Craig

            Well thats an unfortunate Gravatar blob

          • newprince says:

            Neverwinter Nights (and by extension, D&D) had an elegant solution I believe, which could have a mini-game aspect tacked onto it if need be. A warrior can bash a chest, but he has a high chance to also bash something inside the chest. This is a fair tradeoff in my mind, because it should take some ‘skill’ to be able to loot high-value chests IMO. You can’t just have high Strength and be able to smash everything to bits and get all the loot, while a Thief has to put points into Lockpicking.

            A wizardy type character has the Knock spell we all know and love, but it comes at the cost of putting it in your spell book… a tough choice for a spellcaster. The alternative route that would also work in Skyrim is having fairly rare staves/wands or whatever with charges of Knock on them. So a Mage could open almost any chest he wanted, but he would have to make decisions if he’s limited by charges/soul gems.

            I still have no problems with the lockpick minigame itself, though.

          • Strangerator says:

            As previously stated, the lockpicking minigame is way too easy, and thus not a single perk needed to spent in lockpicking. Even if the minigame was sufficiently difficult to necessitate spending perks, I would never do it. The chests in Skyrim are not frequently locked, so you would only miss a couple per dungeon. It would nag at the completionist in me, but that’s about it. Also, there’s nothing a locked chest has that can’t be found, or created, better elsewhere.

            So to really fix lockpicking, you’d need special loot tables that were bound to each kind of locked chest from novice up to master. Some of the expert and master level locks should definitely contain items with unique enchantments that cannot be found anywhere else in the game. Also, a higher percentage of chests should be locked. Not master locks everywhere, but you’d think if someone was going to invest money in a gigantic wooden chest, they’d at least have the wherewithal to lock it.

            As much as I dislike mini-games, I see the necessity of a it instead of a % chance, because then people would probably save/load to win. You would have to change how the basic lockpicking works in order to make it tougher, maybe have locks that force you to find the correct starting point, turn the lever a bit, then move the lockpick again, etc. With practice and experience, anyone should be able to open novice, but the tougher ones would be near-impossible without some perks.

            Keep the randomly-generated nature of the lock solutions to prevent save/load abuse. Lockpicks should not be lying around absolutely everywhere, and they should become an improvable item (not craftable, just improvable). So basically you’d have fewer lockpicks that you’d want to improve at a workbench, with perks specially geared towards lockpick crafting.

        • Roxton says:

          What I would have liked to see was multiple ways of opening locks. In addition to the normal lock-picking, you could have the option you mentioned of bashing it open (maybe have that available if you have really high stamina?), and then also have a high-level spell as well.

          • Wizardry says:

            That’s why lock picking shouldn’t be a player skill based mini-game in an RPG.

        • Chris D says:

          Lockpicking might be a bit of a positive feedback loop. If as a player you’re better than average at it your character gets better at it faster and you also have more lockpicks, therefore it’s easier to level up further and save even more lockpicks.

          If you’re slightly worse then maybe you just keep running out of lockpicks before you can level up and therefore have less opportunities to advance.

      • Boozebeard says:

        Was the same in Oblivion. Even if I was rolling a thief I didn’t bother making lock picking a major skill.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I really wish Skyrim’s lockpicking worked like Fallout 3′s. You could mod out the minigame in Fallout 3 (and New Vegas) but still had the level requirement which forced you to level up lockpicking. In Skyrim if you mod out the minigame there is literally nothing stopping you from opening every lock in the game at level one.

      Not that there is anyway really, such a dump-stat.

      • Bork Titflopsen says:

        But that system is worthless too! If the game forces you to spend points in lockpicking you might as well not have the skill in there at all. Why not make it based of character level instead?

        • StingingVelvet says:

          I don’t get your point. You have to decide when to put points into lockpicking, i.e. how much to prioritize it, which will depend on the character. If you are combat focused you will probably be maxing out other stats first for example.

          Same for almost any RPG.

        • Wizardry says:

          This is the strangest comment I’ve ever seen. Why have skills for anything if you’re going to put points into them? It’s an RPG (supposedly), that’s why.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            In his defense, lockpicking isn’t always as useful in RPGs as it might be expected. You can pour points into the skill–sacrificing other skills–but whether you’ll find tons of locked chests/doors/whatever, let alone locked objects that have worthwhile rewards within/behind them, is entirely up to the whim of the developer. The player just can’t know how useful the skill will be until they’ve played the game to a considerable degree.

            I found this to be particularly bad in Neverwinter Nights 2, where there were relatively few traps and locked chests on top of the ability to bash open locked objects. Sure, there were a few places that required a rogue’s touch, and the chance to destroy items when bashing, but I never, ever felt that I lost out on anything for not bothering with the skill. I could make or just buy items that were as good as what I’d find in chests, so why bother?

            And I know that you’ll say that it’s a balance problem and devs need to work harder, but how can this be reasonably compensated for without elevating rogues above other classes, making them so essential that you remove player choice in skill/party composition?

          • NathanH says:

            I think, Skeletons, that the best approach to that problem is probably to segregate combat skills from support skills. This is sort-of done in NWN through the 3rd edition skill system, but that system doesn’t quite work perfectly for lockpicking where you can’t get it from any non-rogue class. The idea of a utility class that has a lot of skills but is weak in combat is not a good idea for a cRPG I think.

            If I were making an RPG, I’d try to balance classes for combat and balance them for non-combat separately. You’d still get situations where you have a character whose non-combat skills don’t happen to work particularly well because of level design choices, but at least you don’t have the added kick in the teeth of being crap in combat as well.

          • Wizardry says:

            Except then you’re treating combat as something entirely special, which ideally it shouldn’t be. You should be able to use other skills to avoid combat. Balancing for both combat and non-combat means that both combat and non-combat situations are vital for progress rather than being just tools for you to make use of depending on your play style.

            If there are 10 combat skills then why can’t there be 10 conversation skills? Why can’t any single one of them be as useful as the sword skill or gun skill? Accepting that combat is an exception to a character’s skill set is a “defeatist” attitude in my opinion.

          • NathanH says:

            In the vast majority of cRPGs, particularly modern ones, combat *is* given special status. Your various combat options are much greater than your lockpicking options, and so on. There is just much more game in these areas. There’s no reason why this has to be the case, but since it usually is, and will be for most games in the future, it seems reasonable to concentrate on this case.

            You could try to make a very detailed game in all areas, but this would be really hard. You could instead abstract the combat more, so it doesn’t make up the meat of the gameplay. In this case you could then have all your skills governed by the same rules, since they’re all on an equal footing. But if you have one area where the game is very detailed, and many areas where the game isvery abstract, it seems quite sensible to control the skills on a different footing.

            Further, if a game specializes in one area, then it is likely you can make full progress by specializing your characters in that area. If you’re given the choice between skills for that area and skills for other areas, you are safe in choosing that area. It’s like when you have a choice of what type of weapon you want your warrior to use. Absent any better information, you choose swords, because you know that this is a safe choice, because you know the developers will know that lots of people choose swords, so swords will not be bad. Especially if I’m playing a single-character game like Elder Scrolls, there is no way I’m going to specialize in lockpicking because I know that game will be eminently playable without it.

            Short version: If one area of your game is vastly more detailed than the rest, then it makes sense to separate that area’s skills from all other skills, for the benefit of the player. You don’t have to privilege combat, but if your game mechanics and focus privilege combat then your skill system should as well.

          • Wizardry says:

            I’m not suggesting watering down the combat. I’m suggesting beefing up the rest of the gameplay. Completely redoing the dialogue system would be a good start. Connecting other non-combat skills together would be something else that would help, such as connecting lock picking, trap disarming and perception (an example).

            You could also create a proper stealth system with multiple skills to govern it. You could specialise in sneaking past enemies or specialise in sneaking up to enemies. You could specialising in sneaking through shadows or sneaking silently in the open. There’s all sorts you could do to make a stealth system as significant as a combat system. In fact, in many ways it could be easier because sneaking tends to have more goals to it than combat. In combat you want to defeat an enemy. When using stealth you may want to kill a target, hide from a powerful group or infiltrate a base.

          • NathanH says:

            It would be lovely to see a game with that sort of detail. It would be really hard to make, I think, but really good if made well.

          • DrGonzo says:

            If that’s what a ‘true’ RPG is Wizardry then I hate them. I want to be immersed in a world and ‘role play’ a character, I want there to be as little stats as possible, or at least not see any at any point.

            I’m interested in being immersed, pretending to be a character and having a good world and plot to journey through. Everything else is just remnants from the limitations of dice and paper. If you want to carry on gaming like that then please do, and have fun. But don’t stifle progress simply because you are opposed to change.

            ‘Proper’ marriage was only between a man and a woman, and now progress allows us to change it to something more positive where same sex marriages are allowed. We don’t keep it the same simply because that’s the ‘true’ definition of marriage.

            My favourite RPGs so far are Planescape (on easy :)), Morrowind and New Vegas. Didn’t really like the ‘game’ side of any of them, but they allowed fantastic exploration, good story along with interesting characters.

    • Anders Wrist says:

      Indeed, I too find it extremely easy, and would have like for something to make it harder instead. The lockpicking perk tree is useless in its current form.

      • Phantoon says:

        Most perks are either useless or just stat increases.

        It’s odd, because if they didn’t have the perk system, it’d all be rolled up into just leveling the skill like it’d always been. It should’ve been about choices that give me different bonuses that I have to think on, not “25% less mana cost” which, with enchanting, makes mana cost/regen the only good enchantments.

        Also, Shouts could’ve also been spells, but weren’t. I don’t mean all, but stuff like animal dominance- why is that not also a spell anymore (or if it is, why is it so high in the illusion tree)?

        Also, Radiant UI “random encounters” have interrupted me in:

        The middle of a Dragon battle
        At the bottom of a lake
        While fighting a large amount of Thalmoor

        I enjoy the game, but it feels even more disjointed than Oblivion did in terms of features. Plus, maybe it was my unreasonable expectations, but the dev talk before launch make it totally sound like you could take different spells in each hand and combined them for a new effect, ala Magicka.

        And to continue my meandering rambling, did you know there’s a mod for New Vegas that allows you to play in Fallout 3 with it? One character for both games. It’s quite nifty.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Actually working on this now. Overdraw, Armsman, Barbarian, Stealth all level with you. You take the perk once and as your skills get better, you so does your bow/weapon damage and sneaking. Returns you to the ‘you are what you do, not what you pick’ focus of other TES games. The mod, Skybalance, will be out shortly, if you are interested.

        • Anders Wrist says:

          I agree with you on pretty much everything you said. I usually play using some kind of mod, or cheat to give me access to the perks I want, since I feel that when I use my skill, I should be getting better at it. (I believe others made this point in some of the other comments as well.)

    • Lemming says:

      Not only is his stance on the lockpicking perplexing, he claims to play as a theif! I’m not sure I want to live in that world…

      Mind you, I guess technically all theives hate locks, right?

    • Stitched says:

      Could have been worse. Could have the lock picking from Kingdoms of Amalur.

      • top8cat says:

        Ohhh man, don’t remind me. As much as I like that game I absolutely loath the lock picking mechanic….a prime example of mimicking gone wrong.

    • Space_Masters says:

      It all felt too random to me. I imagine on an xbox the controller rumbled to give you some warning when the pick was about to snap, but on PC it just broke with a fraction of a second of warning. But whether or not it was hard or easy, it wasn’t very fun.

      • Caiman says:

        Here’s your reason right here. Lockpicking using a 360 controller is far better than when using a mouse. The force feedback buzz you get when the pick is in the wrong position makes the mini-game playable. When you don’t get that feedback, it feels far too random. That, and the fact the combat feels much more solid with the 360 controller (again, force feedback) is why I play using that instead of kb&m. Of course, that means SkyUI is rather unusable, it was obviously not designed with a 360 controller in mind.

    • povu says:

      My problem with lockpicking is that there is no alternative. If you want to unlock chests, every character is going to be a skilled lockpicker eventually. For Mages there should’ve been the Unlock spells at least, as well as scrolls for the less magically adept. I can’t think of any reason why they didn’t include these spells? Balance? It can be balanced, and they barely care about balance anyway.

      But that’s what mods are for. I think Midas Magic includes unlock spells.

      • SF Legend says:

        Midas and I think ancient spells both have unlocking spells, and there’s this mod for bashing locks open.

        • Phantoon says:

          Thank goodness we’re PC gamers.

          I can’t imagine the frustration of playing this on a console and never being able to change a thing about it- but then again, I couldn’t imagine playing this on a console, either.

      • marcusfell says:

        I thought there was an Alteration spell for opening locks.

        • RakeShark says:

          I believe that was removed, but the Tower Stone/Birthsign still grants you the ability to unlock chests.

          • kastanok says:

            One lock of Adept level or lower, once per day. That does not make up for the lack of Open Lock spells, especially since the Tower Sign was available in previous Elder Scrolls games (though it was fixed from character creation).

    • NathanH says:

      I think that if lockpicking as a levelable skill disappeared from RPGs completely I wouldn’t care at all. I don’t really see the point in it.

      • Askeladd says:

        Less is more eh? I could live with that too, but what is with the people that are more causal…? Those people that don’t have a high mouse accuracy. What possible alternatives would exist?
        I just hate leaving stuff behind because I can’t open it. If the person is more of a perfectionist he will get really mad unable to open that crate because his mouse has shitty DPI.

        I think alternatives would be really interesting. Giving the warrior a bash abilitiy that involves moving the mouse fast in predetermined directions… The mage has more of a spellweaving minigame and well … thieves should stay with their picks.
        The trick is implementing those things so they are easy to get while leveling other stuff.

      • Wizardry says:

        It works fine in games with random chest spawns with random loot because the player won’t be compelled to pick every single lock. This is the main failing of modern RPGs, though the TES games do it better than most with the random loot.

        • NathanH says:

          I just don’t see the point in lockpicking. Opening a locked container never made me happier than opening a non-locked container (unless there was a minigame, but you despise them). And failing to open a locked container always makes me unhappy. Locks and lockpicking based on character skill just seem like a negative mechanic to me.

          • Wizardry says:

            Missing an enemy with a bow and arrow never made me happy.

          • NathanH says:

            But hitting an enemy made you happier than if they had been dead to start with.

            I’ve never played a game that had chests that are never locked and though “it would be good if they had some of these locked, and I have to either redirect skill points to lockpicking or not open them!” I can believe that other people differ, but I don’t speak for other people, only myself. So I assume that if lockpicking as a character skill disappeared from all games, I wouldn’t care.

          • Wizardry says:

            And why doesn’t the same apply for all non-combat skills? Like speech in Fallout? If you don’t pick it then you miss out on “content” just as you would miss out on “content” if you fail to pick a lock.

            There’s very little difference. Either you keep skills like lock picking in an RPG or scrap anything to do with non-combat interactions.

          • NathanH says:

            Not entirely sure. Part of it is probably just psychological. Speech skills seem to be inherently more satisfying to use, and seem more like getting goodies than having goodies withheld.

            Another part is that generally speech skill uses are usually set up to provide an alternative route through a problem, and if you don’t have them then you have to solve the problem in a default way, whereas lockpicking is usually more incidental. I suspect that if principally lockpicking was implemented to mostly give you better paths through a mission, then it would be more attractive to me. Generally, though, such examples are special cases and it mostly exists to keep you away from loot. If, for instance, the main use of speech skills were to talk your way to a better reward for a quest, I’d not care too much about them either.

          • Wizardry says:

            So what non-combat skills do you think are worth it? Because from my understanding you dislike almost all of them. If an RPG has non-combat gameplay yet no non-combat skills to match then that portion of the game isn’t an RPG.

          • Janto says:

            The big problem I see with looting is a lack of feedback. Often, you’ve no indication of the worth of the content of a locked chest, so it’s a gamble to open it. Confining locked chests to situations where someone has a key (kill them/rob them to get it, avoid lockpicking, or avoid them and pick the lock) and there’s some information on what’s inside would be good. Also, unrealistic but functional ‘appraisal’ skills that let thieves (or anyone) have a good idea of the rough worth of a locked chest’s contents.

      • onetrueping says:

        Way back in the day, when RPGs were played with funny-shaped dice and a pile of graph paper, there were four main class types, which were distinct from the current “Holy Trinity.” They were the Warrior, the Divine Caster, the Arcane Caster, and the Skilled Hero. The current MMO configuration is the Tank, the DPS, and the Healer, cutting out the role of the Skilled Hero entirely.

        In single-player RPGs, the Skilled Hero still exists, though only in part. His (or her) purpose is, through a combination of intelligence or skills, to get through the dungeon, potentially without ever being touched himself. Hazards geared towards this character are traps, locks, and stealth sections.

        Essentially, the purpose of locked chests and the like is to reward a player who might otherwise completely skip combat with the various monsters in a dungeon. Though, admittedly, in Skyrim, avoiding combat is extremely unlikely, the character is instead served through the “Thief” skills by using stealth instead of being a bruiser.

    • Soon says:

      The only reason to have a mini-game is if there’s a gameplay reason to purposefully delay the player. That’s why difficult locks are on guard patrol routes in Thief, and out-of-the-way chests/doors tend to be easy or unlocked because there’s no longer any tension when trying to get access (as lockpicking is real-time). Design your systems to enhance the mechanics.

      In Skyrim, I’d either just compare lockpicking skill to lock level and unlock it if the skill is greater. Or use up a certain amount of picks depending on the difference between skill and lock level. Mini-games are rubbish when they serve no purpose beyond frustration. Few games seem to understand that.

      • Wizardry says:

        Including pointless player skill in combat is a bad enough sin, but a lock picking mini-game is the worst of all because it has never served a purpose ever. This is why I can’t understand its inclusion in games. Just use up lock picks or do a straight skill check like you suggested.

        • Acorino says:

          But Wizardry 6 had one too! etc. etc.

          To be more constructive: I rather liked the lockpicking mini-game in Dungeon Lords, as bad as the game otherwise is. A well done lockpicking mini-game because offers more than a mere stat check. If every enemy encounter was also a mere stat check it would be rather boring to play, wouldn’t it?
          You actually have to do something to get your loot. But the well done part is important. The one in Gothic 2, for example, was dreadul and pure guesswork. In this case a mere stat check would have been indeed better.

    • fwfulton says:

      I have no problem with lock-picking either to me I seems to be able to hear when I hit the sweet spot. I think the big problem is there should be an extra perk every 5 levels (level 5 Two Perks, level 10 Two Perks, etc..)

  2. Riaktion says:

    Thanks, liking the follower mods and the map mods. Will try those out today!

  3. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    I would like a mod where if you played a hefty barbarian type, you could just kick the doors in. Otherwise lockpicking never really bothered me.

    Camping Lite is very good. Just gives a tent, the ability to gather firewood and to make a fire. It’s a realistic tent too, just a sleeping bag so it doesn’t break with reality. You can also cook over the fire but at the moment the pot just hovers eerily over the fire.

    One mod I really REALLY like is the Horses for followers. It’s still WIP but basically if you avoid using fast travel at all, it runs perfectly fine and really ramps up the immersion. It works with another mod which adds horse armour. For some reason you do have do download a seperate mod which allows followers to use the horses. Luckily it does not affect the other follower mod I use which lets you sset them to an alternative “wait here” command and lets them do as they please. This mod worked well with the camping mod too, once I set up camp, Mjoll sat herself down, had a few beers, got up and chopped some firewood (I was practicing my camping in my back garden so it was the chopping block for my house she used) and then she cheekily nabbed my sleeping bag and went to sleep. I guess she decided I got first watch.

    It has been a week since I played though due to ME3 so it’s possible they have been improved upon.

    • Craig Pearson says:

      I actually had camping lite on my list, but it’s in a different category. Shame I missed Horses for Followers: that seems like a good ‘un.

      • TheBigBookOfTerror says:

        Looks like it has been updated and it does support Better Horses. For me it made horses a completely viable method of transport as before I just felt stupid with my follower running along behind me. Of course, the other option would be to not have a follower, but I find it’s helpful to have someone to hold a torch when I go dungeon raiding.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Speaking of camping, there are a couple of mods I’m loving – a basic needs one (as in, you now need to eat regularly, drink and sleep; every food item has a set nutrients value, so a single green apple won’t satiate you like, say, a venison chop; alcohol gives small immediate boosts if consumed in adequate quantities, getting shitfaced ain’t gonna do good to you) and a hypothermia mod (as in, the further up the mountains or up north you go, the colder it gets, so you better bring some padded clothes or a fur armor along). Add them, disable fast travel – or avoid using it – and suddenly you *will* have to prepare carefully for that trip from Whiterun to Solitude.

  4. Durkan says:

    iHUD (immersive HUD) – hides all the UI clutter when you don’t need it. I was surprised at how big a change it made to how I felt about the game. Everything feels much… bigger.. and you more vulnerable with the UI Gone (but still there when needed)…

    • Llamageddon says:

      I second this, it massively adds to the immersion (when it’s not popping up and disappearing) and is the first thing my friends ask me about when they see me playing, also screenshots look much better of course.

  5. tumbleworld says:

    “Uncle Sheogorath’s Really Helpful Hints and Tips” is an attempt to make the loading screens a bit less… well… naff. Just made it to Steam. Been on the Nexus for a few days.

  6. Askeladd says:

    I’m frightened of modding my Skyrim to be honest… last time I modded for 3 days… played 2 and never looked at it again.

    • Bhazor says:

      Same thing happens to me with Morrowind. Spend a whole afternoon installing all the mods from 3 or 4 “Essential Morrowind Mod” articles and then ten minutes into the game I remember how crap the combat is and give up.

      I’m sure it gets better but god damn is it annoying to fight an unarmed bandit at the start.

      • onetrueping says:

        You might want to check out the Morrowind Overhaul project. It attempts to install, in one go, a working list of mods to improve graphics. The point being that there’s a second pack being worked on (fixes and the like to prevent conflicts) that includes a combat overhaul. It’s not ready yet, and the guy doesn’t have all the permissions he’s looking for yet, but it sounds like it’ll be a great pack.

  7. Oof says:

    I think I’ll wait another six months to a year before I fire up Skyrim again. There’s so much that needs fixing…

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Personally, I think Skyrim was in pretty good shape on release. Sure, theyll always be a whole bunch of different preferences people will have but nearly all the mods so far haven’t done much to the main gameplay.

      It certainly isn’t this ‘broken mess of a game!’ that it’s made out to be by some. Otherwise, how did so many of us pump 100+ hours into it and enjoy every minute?

      • Doesn'tmeananything says:

        Because it’s a content-oriented game. And it’s crammed with content. It has terrible, terrible mechanics for something that wants to be an action-rpg, but as long as there’s a new location to explore, another fox to chase or shinier sword to mindlessly swing at an enemy, people will still play it.

      • Phantoon says:

        I still have the same love for these games, and the same around of patience for them as when Oblivion was released, and I dare say Oblivion held my interest more.

      • Oof says:

        I meant on the content side of things, actually. I don’t care how poor the VOs are, how badly the characters are animated, or how amateur the story is: I want some quests that branch or at least make an impact on the world. I expect a few of those to be out in about six months to a year. Maybe Bethesda will have some DLC to fill this hole by then, too.

        • Doesn'tmeananything says:

          What you criticise is actually a part of the game’s terrible mechanics.

          • Oof says:

            How so?

          • Doesn'tmeananything says:

            Well, the presence of choice and a dynamic world are game mechanics (the former is even the definitive element of RPG genre). Skyrim lacks both.

          • tumbleworld says:

            I don’t agree. You can have branching, far-reaching quests. You just need to be a tiny bit clever with how you handle your quest code design. No, the problem is that Bethesda just didn’t put much effort into thinking about the quests.

          • Quinnbeast says:

            “It’s not an RPG!” volume 176,980. Available at all good lolposts.

          • Doesn'tmeananything says:

            That’s not the point.

          • RakeShark says:

            I think your problem with the quest system in place is more that the game doesn’t pat you on the back for saying “No, I don’t want to do this.” For example, if you decide the lady that gives you the Namira quest is too evil to live, and you kill her, it simply flashes “Quest Failed” and ends the string, as opposed to the quest structure giving you options to kill her and/or anyone associated with her. Another example is when they want to make you a werewolf, and those of us that say, “Oh hell no, you keep your whitey cracker disease, I’m outta here” don’t get an option to close out that quest string without going through the motions set forth by the quest.

            I’ll admit that it was jarring to me as well that catered options weren’t there for me. But after awhile I realized that the quests in of themselves didn’t need to cater to every possibility. It’s not like completing a quest gives you XP, it gives you something to do. Sure the “Quest Failed” flash feels like the game’s shaming you for going off rails, but I don’t see it as that anymore. I don’t really need the game to suggest “Here’s an idea, kill all of Namira’s followers when you get inside.” I can do that for myself. I don’t want to kill someone who trusts me, so the Ebony Blade remains in a locked closet. I don’t want to be a werewolf, so the Companions keep doing what they do and I go my own way.

            I wouldn’t MIND a little deftness to the questing system, but in context to how the game works, I don’t NEED it to do what I want to do in game.

          • The Tupper says:

            Spoilery warning (if indeed there are any left who haven’t played Skyrim yet).

            I tend to agree with the points mentioned by RakeShark, although I find it quite a bit more frustrating. The quest to kill the orphanage matriarch in particular turns me off. It’s not even like she’s truly evil – just a nasty old vinegar-tits – but to murder her?

            The Thieves Guild is also problematic for me – you spend your early hours in Riften hearing how the Guild has brought the city to its knees and then are offered no option but to join in with the thievery and corruption.

          • ulix says:

            “For example, if you decide the lady that gives you the Namira quest is too evil to live, and you kill her, it simply flashes “Quest Failed” and ends the string, as opposed to the quest structure giving you options to kill her and/or anyone associated with her. ”

            There actually is a quest that is designed exactly like that…

            Spoilers, obviously:
            If you’ve killed the old hag in the orphanage and get “invited” into the Dark Brotherhood, you can just kill the Dark Brotherhood leader (Astrid? or whatever her name is) and free the three guys, one of which she asked you to kill.
            This then triggers the “Destroy the Dark Brotherhood” quest.

            I was very suprised to find any real consequence to my choice purposefully designed by Bethesda, in one of their games, but there you have it.

            Sure, there aren’t enough quests designed like this… but still. It’s also disappointing that there haven’t been any assassins after me since I killed her, which was like 30 or 40 hours ago, and I still haven’t destroyed the Brotherhood…

          • The Tupper says:

            @ ulix

            I haven’t played through the Dark Brotherhood quest yet – I balk at killing the orphanage owner. It’s nice to see some ability to influence things as you describe, but I reckon it’s a bit late to have an attack of the morals after you’ve murdered an elderly lady in cold blood – on the word of a seriously disturbed ten year-old boy.

          • RakeShark says:

            Interesting, I did not know that option for that questline was catered to.

            I suppose I have an easier time with self interpretation of what I do, rather than relying on the game to say “Ooooh! I see what you did there, I’ve planned for this!” Not to continue to be argumentative for the sake of it, but sometimes I feel those (don’t know a better term for it, but) moral choices switch story rails with the grace of clumsy mechanical jolts. I kinda prefer the game not really give a damn if I decide not to do things as they specify, or do it at all, allowing me to craft my own narrative around my own actions.

            Don’t get me wrong, I hear you on wishing the game was more aware of what you did, to show that it somehow acknowledges you did or did not do something. Hell, in this playthrough I haven’t visited High Hrothgar yet after 70 hours in, you’d think they’d shout “DOH-VAH-KIN!” again from the mountaintop, reminding me “Oh hey, there’s still something to do there.”

            I guess we’re arguing more over how the game isn’t aware of your decisions or lack there of, as opposed to the quests giving you various options of how to complete such things.

          • Lycan says:

            SPOILERY (and in quite a bit of detail, so my apologies):

            I disagree (respectfully, and only on the point regarding whether the Dark Brotherhood quest could have been done differently with choices to account for people’s fairly predictable tastes – all the other analysis by RakeShark has been top notch and mirrors my own feelings on the cannibal, the werewolf quest line and the orphanage matriarch).

            To give an example from a game that is rated in a lower bracket than Skyrim, there is a quest in Two Worlds II – part of the main plot line, admittedly – where you are essentially asked to murder someone you might not want to (he’s another informant / double agent like you) to prove your loyalty to the underworld ring you’re trying to “infiltrate” (air quotes because this is all done quite superficially so don’t expect too much intrigue). Even for a game where the plot design is rarely inspiring (though of course, enjoyable for other reasons including self-deprecating humour), they manage to do the simple thing right – which is to give you the option of asking the guy to skip town and never come back. Surely that’s RPG basics and done to death before – no genius design there, just a basic option that allows to me to continue a quest line without doing something I find morally abhorrent. And in the case of the Dark Brotherhood, essentially a big chunk of quests.

            In my playthrough, I played the cannibal quest line until she asked me to bring the priest of Arkay back to the slaughter. I went to Markarth to check my dialogue options with Brother Verulus just to see if I could tell him about the grisly cult and take the quest down a slightly different path there. When it was obvious to me that he was utterly oblivious, I just went back to the cave and put an arrow in the cannibal’s throat (she was alone – if her buddies were there, they would have copped it too). At that point, I don’t mind that the game says “quest failed” or whatever because I feel like there was a resolution to the quest. With the werewolf quest line, I found it much harder to to reconcile proper “role-playing” with not missing out on the companions’ quest line. In the end, I made my peace with accepting the Beast Form but then slinking out via the secret passage from the Underforge straight out into the wilderness. From that point, you can just not use the Beast Form until you can cure yourself (again, my sincere apologies for how unashamedly spoilery this is). I find it grating that there is simply *no* such option with the Dark Brotherhood.

      • newprince says:

        I love it when people state with such certainty that Skyrim has ‘terrible mechanics’. It’s called an opinion, and it’s nowhere near the consensus.

        I also agree this article comes off as making the perfect the enemy of the good. Sure, I adore the modders that go out there and make a one-off mod that removes a Hunting Bow. But are they really the heroes here, saving us from a broken game of incompetent coders? Or are they merely adding a little relatively easily-made functionality to an incredibly dense, complicated game? I argue the latter.

        • NathanH says:

          But it’s popular, so it must be bad!

        • Kdansky says:

          When the “consensus” becomes what we consider correct, I’ll go kill myself. 30% of Americans believe that the earth is younger than 10’000 years, and Farmville has more players than any other game. So yeah, terrifyingly wrong. Skyrim’s mechanics are just not awesome. Dark Souls and Amalur totally show two ways how to do combat well.

          • NathanH says:

            Those games sound like they are action games and about reflexes and “combos” and things like that. I cannot stand that sort of thing. I think Skyrim’s light action-RPG mechanics are fine and if they became more complicated from an action point of view I wouldn’t like it as much.

          • Quinnbeast says:

            30% of Americans? That would suggest the majority know better?

            Also – The history of the earth (& associated religious debates) doesn’t really offer much insight into an individuals opinion of game mechanics does it? Make game isn’t broken. It’s a shame yours is.

  8. Kdansky says:

    I will throw out a few controversial ones:

    1. Remove weight of crafting items. Not having to care about ingots and flowers clogging up your 300 pounds means you spend 90% less time in your inventory, with the actual difference being that you don’t have to run home to dump your crafting mats into a chest all the time.

    2. Make potions lighter. That means you can just pick them all up, and burn through them when you want to, or sell them. Again, the only difference being that you spend less time dropping crap from your inventory.

    3. Make buffs last longer (such as my Exalted series): Recasting stone-skin every two minutes gets old REALLY fast.

    4. Make wards cheaper (again, I’ve had to write that myself). Because honestly, shields are always the better choice than a ward.

    5. Have dual cast do 500% damage at 500% cost. Impact is suddenly not much of an issue any more, and you spend a lot less time repeatedly spamming firebolts, because you can afford only one or two.

    If I had the time, I would rewrite pretty much the whole magic system. Because let’s be honest, we don’t highly overpriced spells and then 25 perks that all say “50% cost reduction”. That’s not an interesting choice, that’s just filler. And who at Bethesda thought “stacking magicka cost reduction” is a good idea for enchantments? You end up with very weak, but free spells. Spam-ahoi!

    • Phantoon says:

      Truth. My first playthrough was as a dickass Mage that took whatever I wanted to take, and I won fights by spam-casting Firebolt at them, as not even dragons were immune.

      • Roxton says:

        Likewise: dual-casting Firebolts with the Impact perk meant that I could stun-lock dragons from 100% to death without having to move or do anything other than click both mouse buttons. It was incredibly easy and after a while a little boring.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      player.modav carryweight 5000 … Problem solved!

      I played my first run through strictly unaltered. But 2nd time around, I wasn’t really willing to take 13 trips back to a dungeon to collect a bunch of heavy crap. Dump the pies!

      • tumbleworld says:

        Yeah. This, ‘unlock’ and ‘tcl’ make my game experience happy and shiny. Even with almost-compulsive console unlocking, my skill is still up at 70.

    • Blackcompany says:

      My methos for fixing this is different. Believe it nor I actually allow impact to work without even dual casting. You took the perk, and spells should have impact. Weapons, too.
      .
      What I did do, was set Magicka combat regen so low that magicka in combat is now a precious resource. You won’t regen enough magicka to stagger lock high level enemies in a single fight. You have to use potions and enchantments, and even then, because the base rate of combat regen is so low, any multiplier just makes magicka regen less slow, instead of fast.
      .
      This makes magic use tactical and important, rather than a spam fest. It also lets me introduce more powerful spells like fire and frost barrage, dispel ward/armor, and magicka-draining constant mage armor effects.
      .
      Probably not for pure mages though, admittedly.
      .
      Little something in the works, that really is almost ready for public consumption.

    • ulix says:

      “Balanced Magic”… just sying. Doesn’t adress all your quibbles, but some.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I made each of those perks add 50% effectiveness to that level of magic and things got a lot better. It’s still a bit spammy, thanks mostly to the way magic is tiered, but spells don’t suck so bad anymore and the perks are no longer obsolete due to Enchanting.

  9. The Tupper says:

    Jonte’s Better Alchemy Satchel made my life hugely easier. It’s a very simple mod that allows you to empty all your ingredients into an apothecary satchel with one keypress.

  10. MistyMike says:

    I think the fact there is so many people saying “I wish Skyrim had feature x or y” is actually a point in the game’s favour. Why? Because it shows how Skyrim has the power to speak to the imagination.

    When somebody plays Terrorist Takedown IV (low-budget CoD-clone) you will never hear them say “Man, I wish I could order my squadmates around. Or call in fire support. Or receive a thank-you letter from the president. “

    • kastanok says:

      When I do play those games, I often find myself *thinking* the former example. Of course, I don’t voice that desire, I don’t use their forums or such.

    • PacketOfCrisps says:

      Except that we are not really requesting major feature changes, we just want a game that works like it should. Poor interface, terrible combat, and lame follower AI are problems that a game like Skyrim shouldn’t have.

      • Lycan says:

        Zigackly! These are improvements that would make Skyrim go from a 9.5/10 to a 10/10 – which is what makes the exercise more attractive than, say, trying to list all the improvements that would be needed to make Rise of the Argonauts go from 6.5/10 to 9.0/10

  11. Blackcompany says:

    One thing is for sure: Skyrim inspires emotional responses from fans and haters alike. I mean, we love it, we despise it.
    .
    Vegas could take bets on the over/under for posts on any – and I mean any – forum discussion of Skyrim anywhere on the internet, at any time of day. And you know what: The “under” would never be less than 100.
    .
    Not ever.

  12. pakoito says:

    Midas Magic is a must, but Destruction magic is still not on par with broken weaponry.

  13. Blackcompany says:

    Like it or not the elephant in the room with any TES game is the combat. Skyrim is the best so far, granted, but its still leagues worse than most modern games. The problem goes something like this:
    .
    Weapons have no weight and no impact. No physics, if you will.
    .
    In the beginning you are pitifully weak. You can hack. You can slash. You can block. And sort of do a shield bash-lite.
    .
    Then you learn shield bash and become invincible. Completely, utterly untouchable in combat. Someone trying to stab you? Shield bash. Can’t get through a block? Shield bash. And power attacks? Forget about ever getting touched by one of those again. Ever.
    .
    I am working on changing this. And almost there this time.
    .
    See, Shield Bash requires stamina to execute. No stamina = no bashing. So, you make regular blocks and even regular attacks take stamina. Slightly increase stamina required for power attacks, too.
    .
    Then you make NPC’s use bash and blocking A LOT more often. And in a more intelligent manner, too. You also make them fall back more to conserve stamina and ‘rest’ behind a shield a bit, for pacing and realism.
    .
    Then…oh then…you set the player to Essential, so instead of the by-now-idiotic ‘die and reload’ you stagger, go to your knees and are forced to sit there and face defeat. And you allow NPC’s to “wound” a player whose health is low.
    .
    Wounds are health and stamina and regen-draining effects which last several hours to a full day. Some only drain regen or health or stamina slightly. Or even Carry Weight. Some drain a significant amount. You cannot get wounded unless you are below 25% health AND are struck while NOT blocking. But if you do get wounded, you will either need bandages to heal your wounds (only when combat is over) or you will have to live with the consequences of your actions until natural healing takes care of your wounds for you.
    .
    Bandages are made using Linen Wraps, leather strips and healing potions (for the salve). Carry them with you always. They are the only thing that can heal wounds, and they only have 1 use each, but do heal any wounds you have at the time.
    .
    This fixes the whole ‘combat has no lasting impact’ issue.
    .
    As for physics…once NPC’s are smarter and able to block and break blocks in an intelligent manner, you introduce staggering and force into combat. If NPC’s catch you with low health, they can either stagger or wound you, if you are not blocking when they hit.
    .
    Likewise, if you catch them not blocking, or open, you can now stagger them when you hit. This takes care of the weightless weapon issue.
    All of this is in testing now, and working quite well, in fact. Should be available soon. Hopefully, addresses at least one problem with TES – the combat.

    • NathanH says:

      There’s nothing wrong with Skyrim’s combat, viewing it from an action-RPG point of view. It’s good that there’s modding availability for people who like action games though. Hope your mod turns out well!

      • Blackcompany says:

        Thanks Nathan!
        .
        I actually agree that there is nothing wrong with the combat, per se. Its tight and realistic for a game, and that’s fine. Exciting its not. But then, when I stop and think about it some…it doesn’t need to be exciting, either…just serviceable. Which I guess it is.
        .
        In other words, unlike Amalur, skyim combat will never be the star of the show. But that’s fine for this game, too.
        .
        My problem with combat in a world as immersion-oriented as Skyrim, is the lack of longer-term consequences. Fighting has no real draw back, no consequences. You fight. You heal. Wash, rinse, repeat.
        .
        With a wounding system which makes you stop and craft your own bandages, and which can add debuff effects lasting for hours (which can translate into days, game time) combat now has possible consequences. Gear up and keep your health up, or otherwise, you might get wounded and be forced to retreat and heal up before adventuring out again.
        .
        This is, to me, the biggest thing lacking in combat, for games striving for immersion. Death and reload is arbitrary. We all know the main character isn’t going to die (this isn’t the Seven Kingdoms) so why not come up with a better system that features real consequences for carelessness in combat?

    • pakoito says:

      Find two platforms within jumping distance. Get a ranged weapon and a pinch of patience. Own ALL the enemies.

      Except Liches. Fuck Liches.

    • Wizardry says:

      I agree about an injury system. RPGs have had them for coming up to 3 decades now yet hardly any modern ones bother with them.

    • Phantoon says:

      Just make the combat into Dark Souls’ combat. Then you have a winner.

  14. Metonymy says:

    The game needed quests that directed you to other towns immediately.

    Everyone used ‘Lydia’ even though every major town gave you a free follower, and with better voices and appearances.

    • kastanok says:

      While I’ve not exactly been trawling or camping Skyrim communities, I am surprised that I haven’t heard more people acquiring Uthgerd the Unbroken. She can be found in the Whiterun inn and convinced to join you with an easily winnable Brawl. You get 100 gold for winning, too.

      She *starts* with full plate steel armour and, though I’ve not checked her actual skill numbers, seems exceedingly handy with double handed weapons.

    • RakeShark says:

      I disagree with needing quests that make you go other places within the first few hours of the game. It defeats the intent on making exploration a fun pastime.

      There’s also the poetic mercenary in the Drunken Huntsman players can pick up, not free admittedly

    • marcusfell says:

      I actually had Faendal the entire time on my first run. I took all the light armor, and he got the best heavy. He was honestly one of my favorite characters, rather polite and yet continually getting eaten by dragons.

      Actually, I did use Lydia once. I sacrificed her on Boethia’s Pillar. Hm.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Yeah, there are tons of followers, and Lydia isn’t the first you can encounter. If she’s the one that most players first encountered, then most players approached the game in a very linear fashion. Hell, I had J’zargo before I had Lydia, having made the long (and pretty dangerous at low levels) trip to Winterhold a priority for my Argonian mage.

    • Jhoosier says:

      SOMEbody hasn’t gotten drunk and wound up in Markarth. That was a weird experience.

      I had Sven because he was the first one I met. Then I had the Orc lady after my drunken trip. I have Lydia now, but only because she’s a 1-hander too and I give her my hand me downs.

  15. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    The must have mod for me right now is “Realistic Lighting with Customization”

    http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=7654

    I use this customized version “grVulture Realistic Lighting Configuration”

    http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=10919

    • Kdansky says:

      Nothing quite like a mod that calls itself “realistic lighting” that makes Skyrim’s lighting system even less realistic! Our eyes are able to work with about six or seven orders of magnitudes of light intensity, and nights ARE. NOT. BLACK. If even a tiny bit of moonlight or even starlight is available, we can actually see rather well. Skyrim (and most non-shitty games) try to emulate this by not making nights pitch-black, because our crappy screens cannot actually show the difference in light intensity all that well, and most of us don’t play in a completely dark room.

      So there you go: Realistic Lights is stupid. It’s wrong, it’s unrealistic, and it makes Skyrim night-time a major pain in the ass because you can’t see a bloody thing.

      And even if it were realistic (which it isn’t), then that’s not a plus! I can have realism all day (with way better graphics, assuming the glasses patch is installed), but I want a good *game* when I play a game. Realism can keep the fuck out, especially when everyone can throw around fireballs at will. That’s not realistic either.

      • Quinnbeast says:

        The mod is designed to be fully customisable to suit your tastes, including the light levels during the night and shadows in dungeons etc. It’s worth reading the info that comes with it first before you get all /ragequit on us. Patience dear boy. You can use it straight out of the box if you wish, but that would miss a whole stack of config options for tweaking to your own tastes.

        It’s really very good, and allows me to avoid using post processing and shaders entirely.

  16. Stardog says:

    How about a post on how the Creation Kit is broken? We need advertising for these issues or Bethesda will ignore them…

    http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1347249-unofficial-creation-kit-bug-list-2/

  17. Shooop says:

    There’s also quest fixes like this one which lets you keep the Blades’ help but spare Paarthurnax,
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=8503

    a fix for the steps in Breezehome,
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=11567

    a way to shut up that insufferable ranting fanatic Heimskr,
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=8231

    and even auto-potion like the Thief games.
    http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=11718

  18. Inverness says:

    I’d just like to name drop “Deadly Combat” which I’ve been using for quite awhile on my assassin/thief character. It’s an excellent mod that makes combat much more enjoyable and dynamic. I also use it in combination with “Dual Wield Parrying” due to the increased importance of blocking in order to prevent your shit from getting pushed in.

    Deadly Combat: http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1355683-relz-deadly-combat-2/
    Dual Wield Parrying: http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1347156-relz-dual-wield-parrying/

  19. oldsam says:

    In Oblivion I used the demon horse instead of any saddlebag mods – a few friendly cuffs would knock him unconcious, leaving me to fill his corpse with whatever I was carrying. When he ragained conciousness he was none the wiser, until I needed my stuff back.

    I was ok with the lockpicking in Skyrim, but it wasn’t exactly fun. I really missed the nighteye spell though (unless it’s there and I’ve yet to find it), it was too late when I realised it was only available through character selection.

  20. notjasonlee says:

    i don’t know if anybody mentioned it, but steam workshop is garbage if you have a lot of mods. you don’t get to control the load order AND it will automatically update mods, which can cause major conflicts if a modder adds something to a mod that you’re unaware of. nexus mod manager is superior in every way.

  21. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I’m going to shamelessly plug my own small mod. It buffs magic via the mastery perks (the ones that reduce the magicka cost of each level by 50%). My thinking was that this approach keeps the perks relevant in spite of Enchanting while simultaneously keeping spells relevant for longer. Give it a shot!

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=10271

  22. Masked Dave says:

    The one mod I need, and can’t find anywhere, is to make dogs stop bashing into your legs all the time. I’ve already got one to make them shut the fuck up, but essential dog Barbas is following me around unti I complete that quest line and while really useful in a fight keeps pissing me off in conversations and trapping me in corners in dungeons.

  23. futage says:

    I cannot live without the Laugh Track Mod. This brought a decade of my claiming that Morrowind is better (than anything else) to an end.

    http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=1632

  24. Chumbaba says:

    Skyrim is essentially broken when it comes to character development. All atributes were removed (strength, intelligence etc.), which means that e.g. sword damage is NOT dependent on strength, persuasion is not dependent on charisma etc. Without this core RPG principle, the game becomes… wel stupid in this respect. Also, with no atributes, there is no atribute increasing and the whole concept of carefully planning levels (+5 +5 +5) is gone. For me, the game simply is not worth playing after some 120 hours. So, wot I really need is some Francesco or Oscuro bringing back the real RPG system and getting rid of this perk nonsense.

    • Svant says:

      Not having to micromanage skills to not get gimped at level up is probably the best change going from oblivion to skyrim because that level up mechanic was probably the stupidest thing to ever be implemented. But I can feel that not having strength, dexterity/agility etc makes the game feel much more artificial, just having +10% damage instead of a belt of giant strength feels very gamey and has 0 immersion. Just like Diablo 3 started to sound when it was all +attackpower and not +strength etc. Luckily D3 changed back to the characteristics we know and love.

  25. Rudel says:

    I grew tired of Skyrim a while ago (after ~100 hours of playing it), so I will wait a few more weeks and restart with some cool mods. Thanks for the overview. :)

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