Skyrim SE’s First Patch Tackles Sound, Speed & Saves

Though popular, the latest Bethesda RPG has been met with grumbling about technical whatnots, because really that’s just an unhealthy habit that everyone on both sides of the equation has fallen into. As per usual also, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition [official site] has started up the patch engines, with the first one addressing grump-o-causing issues such as sound quality, AWOL NPCs and savegame compatability.

There’s nothing that’s going to Fus-Ro-Dah your copy of the game into looking ten times prettier or running twice as fast, but the patch notes certainly read like a good start at tackling the various issues raised to date:

  • General performance and optimization improvements
  • Fixed rare issue with NPCs not appearing in proper locations
  • Fixed issue with saves erroneously being marked as Modded, even though no mods are active
  • Updated some sound files to not use compression

The last one relates to a complaint that Skyrim SE uses lower quality music and sound effects than the original. It’s something that many, if not most, people will even notice, but it’s nice to see that they’re doing something about it for those whose ears scream in misery about it.

The savegame thing is handy, though doesn’t relate to the wider issue of Skyrim SE very often not playing nice with saves from modded Skyrim saves – the good news is that there are ways to fix that yourself.

The first entry is probably the closest we have to a humdinger, even though it’s entirely short on detail. There have been complaints that Skyrim SE runs significantly worse than maxed-out Skyrim + official HD texture pack, despite not looking enormously improved on PC. I’ve certainly found that to be the case, albeit not disastrously so as I have a Freesync monitor, but for the 60fps or GTFO crowd there’s been teeth-grinding about not necessarily being able to run the thing at Ultra settings.

So: noticed any boost because of the patch? If you haven’t, it might well be because you need to manually opt into a beta update. Bethesda tend to trial their patches to opter-inners before making them mandatory updates, y’see.

If you want it, right-click on Skyrim SE in your Steam library, click Properties, select the Betas tab, then choose Beta from the drop-down list. Hit OK, then sit through the game updating itself. Then go see if matters are any better.

Meanwhile, the mods, they’s a comin’, so if anything’s been annoying you, it’s worth checking the Steam Workshop to see if anyone who feels similarly has been motivated enough to do something about it.


  1. frymaster says:

    I don’t think that’s accurate.

    Performance definitely comes under the changes in rendering. Shipping improperly-highly compressed audio definitely comes under the changes to art assets. Making old saves work counts. About the only one that doesn’t seem related to the actual process of the special-ing is the NPC issue.

    (Also, note that on steam it’s currently a beta update you have to opt into)

  2. Jenuall says:

    It’s been running fine for me – 60fps locked on my 970 and i5 4690k setup, that’s at 1440p as well.

    Can’t say I’ve noticed the audio quality problems either, but then it’s been some years since I played the original so I wouldn’t expect to pick up on that!

    • Joe The Wizard says:

      This has been my experience, too. SSE is rock solid 60 at 3440×1440 on my 980Ti/4770K, whereas my HEAVILY modded original gets between 40 and 50.

      • Jediben says:

        60? Pff. 144 or gtfo.

        • Sulpher says:

          Skyrim at 144 frames causes oxen and horses to rocket off the face of Tamriel. Some consider that a feature though, not a bug. :)

    • mechavolt says:

      I have a similar setup, but also have g-sync. If I don’t disable g-sync, I get horrible stuttering every minute or so. But Elder Scrolls/Fallout has never worked with high fps setups, since the physics are tied to the frame rate.

  3. Jay Load says:

    I’ve experienced some weird jankiness in towns lately, freezing every couple of seconds for about a second but not sure if that’s caused by game or – more likely – one of the 30 mods I now have installed.

    But I did raise a quizzical eyebrow at Skyrim’s initial decision to set my graphics to medium when the previous version runs smooth at Ultra, but some fiddling got me up to smooth@High. Will be interesting to see if I can push it higher.

    I’ve downloaded the patch (just under a gig) and will experiment further when time allows.

  4. brucethemoose says:

    Some people are saying SE runs smoother than Skyrim ever did, even with the extras. Others are saying thier FPS is cut in half or worse.

    I’m not sure what’s going on, something is up, and I haven’t seen any kind of consensus about it yet.

    • Neonin says:

      Add me to the “something weird is going on” camp. When I read the minimum specs for SSE I thought I was in trouble, as my older 7850 2GB was just under the minimum 7870. The launcher scanned my system and set quality to Low. I ran through the intro and everything was smooth, though a bit “meh” looking, so I quit and set everything to Ultra.

      Imagine my surprise when I run through the intro again and everything is still beautifully smooth… but people with 1080’s are struggling. Very strange.

      • epeternally says:

        It could be that the new version is quite a bit more CPU intensive. Frequently complaints of ‘doesn’t work on my 1080’ are omitting the fact that they’ve paired that 1080 with an ancient CPU like a Phenom.

    • Otterley says:

      There has been an issue with Skyrim’s in-game VSync for some people. Happened to me, too. Had a very mediocre framerate on an AMD RX 470, with some annoying stuttering to boot.

      The solution was to switch off the in-game VSync (via ini-file edit) and force VSync with Vorontsov’s ENB (Nvidia users can simply force VSync through driver settings). Worked perfectly, game plays very smoothly now :)

      I’ve posted about it in more detail below. Or check out the solution on reddit: reddit post: sse performance guide

  5. Taurnil says:

    Another failing for me with Bethesda/Skyrim/SkyrimSE. This is the 21st century and they act like monitors are still stuck in the 90s. I have an LG 34UM95. So guess what? I have to jump hoops for the game to display properly at 3440×1440 (21:9) and menus don’t get cut off. Thankfully at least for Skyrim there was Flawless Wide Screen. Unfortuneately it does not have a plugin for SE.

    Come on Bethesda, really?

    • Person of Interest says:

      THQ Nordic patched Red Faction: Guerrilla to add 21:9 support, just last week. You’d think, if they can do that for a dead and forgotten 7-year-old game, Bethesda could manage it for a “new” release.

  6. Otterley says:

    As a side note on performance issues: some people (me included) were having an issue with low framerates on reasonably powerful hardware (in my case an RX 470). The culprit was Skyrim’s VSync method.

    A detailed solution can be found here: reddit post: sse performance guide

    In short: you need to switch off Skyrim’s VSync and force VSync by other means (differs between Nvidia and AMD cards in this case). Forcing VSync is important, because the engine can’t handle framerates over 60 well (can cause problems with physics and even quest progression, IIRC).

    It entails a bit of .ini-file editing, and is more fiddly for AMD users, but the guide on reddit very detailed and easy to follow.

    For me, without forcing VSync the framerate went up from ~40 to ~120 fps in a particular scene. With VSync the framerate is mostly a constant 61 fps, sometimes dipping to mid 40s. Before it ranged between 30 and 60, rarely maintaing 60 however. (All comparisons at Ultra settings)

    • khalilravanna says:

      Hm this might entirely invalidate my rambling post complaining about performance below. I’ll have to check out this patch *and* your vsync solution tonight. Thanks for the tip.

      • Otterley says:

        Hope it works out. I can imagine how frustrated you were – the 1070 is a nice bit of kit :)

    • Unclepauly says:

      Lol that’s not how v-sync is supposed to work. Silly Bethesdians.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Dang, I wish we still had RadeonPro for dynamic VSync on AMD cards.

      But with AMD being AMD, they felt compelled to hire the dev, promptly kill the program by freezing development, and then never re-implement the best features.

  7. khalilravanna says:

    Ooo I’ll have to check this out tonight after work. Hopefully it will fix my performance issues.

    I *just* bought a 1070 last weekend, loaded up this new fangled Skyrim and discovered it could not run more @ than 30 FPS outdoors. No matter what settings I changed. I’ve been told that most people with far shoddier cards can push the game past 60 FPS easily (which makes sense cause it really doesn’t look that much better) but for whatever reason my special snowflake of a machine is cursed to eye-bleeding-inducing 30FPS. I imagine it’s just a driver or patch away from playability so I’m just waiting for that day to dive back in.

    • RaymondQSmuckles says:

      I have a 1060-based laptop. Like you, I had frustratingly low FPS despite having what I believed to be a pretty decent gaming rig. I personally found that Skyrim was defaulting to the on-board Intel chipset, which I corrected by forcing Skyrim to the Nvidia chipset via Nvida Control Panel > 3D Settings > Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings.

      I then ran into the 1st world problem of “too high” an FPS (running around 120 or so) and all sorts of weird physics glitches, cows falling from the sky, getting stuck on geometry, etc. MSI Afterburner let me force Skyrim to 60 fps, but reading the thread above it seems I have tackled this problem in a bit of a brute-force method. The vsync correction sounds like a much better way to handle this.

  8. nashathedog says:

    The author hit the nail on the head too many people rant and rage when games release without giving the developers a chance to deal with the issues reported, There’s planty of times when it’s to be expected such as Mafia 3 where the AI did not belong in a release but for issues being reported here there the sorts of things that can only be identified and dealt with once enough people with there different PC set-ups have found them. It’s a bit different with consoles but for PC there’s so many hardware & software variations that you can’t tell if it’ll play nicely across the board until a games out in the wild.