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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Skyrim Modding - Help!

    So, somehow I've never actually gotten around to playing Skyrim (despite owning it forever) mostly for lack of time. However, one never plays a TES game unmodded, that's a personal motto, so I need to figure out what's worthwhile from the dense and boundless pile of existing mods at this stage in the game's life. Perhaps you'd be so kind as to help me?

    Some parameters: I don't have SE, and don't particularly want to have to get SE. I really don't care that much about the graphics, the original game looks fine to my eye.

    I don't have the DLC, but am willing to get it if it's needed for a particularly worthwhile mod.

    I vastly prefer Nexus to Workshop.

    What I'm looking for: Mostly balance and rules overhauls, with perhaps some added challenge content that doesn't seriously alter the original game. Basically I'd like to find the equivalent of Project Nevada or J Sawyers mod, but for Skyrim. Quality of life improvements (like fixing the UI) would also be great.

    I'm explicitly trying to keep the mod list fairly minimal, both because I don't want the modding itself to take all summer and because I'd like to preserve at least a modicum of the original experience.

    Thoughts? A pre-emptive thank you for anyone willing to help me sort through this mess!
    Last edited by vinraith; 16-06-2017 at 01:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    There's countless threads about Skyrim modding. So, short story:

    a) Skyrim without DLC is going to be a pain in the ass to mod. Never buy a Bethesda game without DLC unless you don't care about having to rebuy the game all over again. By which I mean, it's likely going to cost you less to buy Skyrim Legendary than the DLC individually, unless you have store credit to which you attach zero or small value.

    b) the UI doesn't need fixing, it's a console peasants argument that drags on. I would only recommend SkyUI for the late game if you're the packrat type (I am)

    c) you don't re-balance the game and retain the original experience any more than you can live the real pizza experience with pine-apple pizza. I'm fine with others putting whatever they want on their pizza, as long as I'm not the one doing the eating, but it's an either or proposition as far as I'm concerned.

    d) QoL is highly dependent on your specific tastes and the way you play the game; more: the way you play the game will change over time.

    So initially you may want to restrict your fast travelling to a minimum, later you may just want to finish dangling quests easily, as you already know the way around the world and have travelled long enough that you don't want to walk a certain path all over again, thrice.

    I would recommend playing the base game for as long as you can, and pick the mods as you go.

    e) back to c) if you have enough horsepower there's plenty of mods that enhance the appearance of the game without turning it into something artistically different (such as lighting, improved textures and models, animations - think e.g. distant waterfalls), but then you say you're not interested into graphics improvements, so make of that what you want.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    There's countless threads about Skyrim modding. So, short story:

    a) Skyrim without DLC is going to be a pain in the ass to mod. Never buy a Bethesda game without DLC unless you don't care about having to rebuy the game all over again. By which I mean, it's likely going to cost you less to buy Skyrim Legendary than the DLC individually, unless you have store credit to which you attach zero or small value.
    Yeah, I know, it was given to me as a gift shortly after launch and I knew at the time this is exactly what would happen.

    I would only recommend SkyUI for the late game if you're the packrat type (I am)
    Thanks.

    c) you don't re-balance the game and retain the original experience any more than you can live the real pizza experience with pine-apple pizza. I'm fine with others putting whatever they want on their pizza, as long as I'm not the one doing the eating, but it's an either or proposition as far as I'm concerned.
    A lack of specificity on my part. I mean preserve the original plot, environments, critters etc. The original leveling rate, combat difficulty, magic balance etc are almost certainly in dire need of retooling, because they always are in TES games.

    d) QoL is highly dependent on your specific tastes and the way you play the game; more: the way you play the game will change over time.

    So initially you may want to restrict your fast travelling to a minimum, later you may just want to finish dangling quests easily, as you already know the way around the world and have travelled long enough that you don't want to walk a certain path all over again, thrice.
    Usually the ideal solution to this is making fast travel sensible (i.e. only from and to hubs) and making it cost something. Basically it should make sense in-universe, like it did in Morrowind. Having a Mark and Recall spell would also be nice, of course.

  4. #4
    I haven't played in a while, but when I did skui was necessary for lot of mods, it enabled mod configuration menus. I'd recommend civil war and dragon combat overhaul but someone mentioned recently on here the modder pulled them. Deadly dragons is great, and I'd go with a perk/combat overhaul, and probably an AI overhaul. Again it's been a while but I liked Perkus Maximus, I forget what AI mod I used, Iirc it was Duel combat realism. You might also consider a horse and follower overhaul.

    I'm sure other posters (and your own googling) will give you many of the popular ones, two I really liked that weren't as common were immersive hud (ihud), and conjureable chest and crafting furniture. Ihud gives you the option to toggle the hud on an off with a hotkey, and all kinds of other nice hud options like auto hiding and reappearing health magika and stamina bars, map bars cross hair etc. Conjureable chest and crafting furniture spells is just what it sounds like, it gives you spells to conjure a chest and all the crafting stations. There's also a handy Dwarven rolling suitcase that follows you.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    I seem to recall having this conversation with Vinraith before.

    At this point, the only thing I'd be dead-set on modding out if I went back to Skyrim is the instant-death kills. Not the ones you execute against NPCs. The ones NPCs can execute against you. They're unavoidable because the kill succeeds when the NPC decides to make an attack and makes a good die roll, and you cannot see it coming because the animation hasn't started yet, and when it does start you're locked in and dead.

    The consequence of this rule is that you to either save often and accept deaths you cannot avoid, or stay the hell out of melee range. Particularly out of range of 2-handed weapons. Melee and melee-ranged magic is not an option, only archery, fireballs and the like.

    The mod you want is VioLens, which allows for all the customizations to the rule you might want. In particular, just turn on player kill move immunity and you'll be fine.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    A lack of specificity on my part. I mean preserve the original plot, environments, critters etc. The original leveling rate, combat difficulty, magic balance etc are almost certainly in dire need of retooling, because they always are in TES games.
    In that case, you might consider SXP Redone. I haven't played with it myself, and I'm uncertain if it's well balanced, but I'd probably give it a shot if I returned to Skyrim. I don't consider it "must have" since it completely changes the experience system, and thus is very much a matter of personal taste.

    Basically, it lets you convert to a conventional advancement system where you get XP for doing things, and then use that XP to buy skill points. Instead of the-learn-by-doing skill system that The Elder Scrolls has always used.

    I'm not suggesting SXP because it's a more familiar, conventional system. I'm all for exploring alternate game systems. I'm suggesting it because I think the learn-by-doing system sucks. Specifically, it forces you to grind the hell out of things like blacksmithing, doing boring, repetitive tasks because that's the only way to improve your non-combat skills.

  7. #7
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    A lack of specificity on my part. I mean preserve the original plot, environments, critters etc. The original leveling rate, combat difficulty, magic balance etc are almost certainly in dire need of retooling, because they always are in TES games.
    The only meaningful criticism I can level at the game is that it's challenging at the beginning but gets easy too quickly - a reason that adds to my recommendation to avoid rebalancing from the get-go, actually. I think every rebalance makes the game more challenging for the sake of the experienced player.

    It is that way, if nothing else, because there are so many ways to become powerful, and the game isn't designed in the same way, as say, a strategy game, where a designer would seek to maintain checks and balances.

    It's more meant to be played in a "do what you like best" or "what do you feel like doing today", minmaxing or enough optimization will just break it after a certain stage.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    Usually the ideal solution to this is making fast travel sensible (i.e. only from and to hubs) and making it cost something. Basically it should make sense in-universe, like it did in Morrowind. Having a Mark and Recall spell would also be nice, of course.
    In the late game I used mods to add extra fast travel locations, actually.

    Mark/Recall sounds like a good idea on paper, but I'm not sure how it would work in practice - the quests are designed in such a way, and pile up fast enough, that you're rarely going A to B, back to A. Fast travel actually makes sense, and the game feels designed by someone who thought it would be an integral part of gameplay.

    It's only natural, for anyone who has reached the critical point, such as testers, or for designers, and whoever has had their fill. Exploring the world is pretty much one of the high points of the game, though, and as a new-ish player I fought against any push to jump around.

    It is big/packed with stuff enough already, and being thrown to the other, unknown corner of the world, felt disorienting too.
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    The only meaningful criticism I can level at the game is that it's challenging at the beginning but gets easy too quickly - a reason that adds to my recommendation to avoid rebalancing from the get-go, actually. I think every rebalance makes the game more challenging for the sake of the experienced player.
    Bethesda games always get too easy too quickly. It's a waste of a playthrough to play them on that default configuration, in my experience, because I'll just get bored a quarter of the way through the game and end up restarting with a mod to fix it anyway. This is exactly why ever since Morrowind I've always tweaked the challenge level even on first play. Usually leveling has to be slowed drastically, level scaling has to be tweaked or eliminated, and various obvious exploits in the magic system have to be corrected. There's usually a "most popular mod" for that sort of correction, but I've been unable to dig up anything that clearly tells me what that is.


    It's only natural, for anyone who has reached the critical point, such as testers, or for designers, and whoever has had their fill. Exploring the world is pretty much one of the high points of the game, though, and as a new-ish player I fought against any push to jump around.
    Yes, in general I try to avoid fast travel, be it by mod or simple self control. Exploring the world is the great pleasure of these games, I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus_Smedstad View Post
    I seem to recall having this conversation with Vinraith before.
    I don't remember that but it doesn't mean you're wrong. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have a look at them.
    Last edited by vinraith; 16-06-2017 at 03:24 AM.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LordShadoko's Avatar
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    A very small suggestion; a mod I always install first, even if I don't install anything else : Climates of Tamriel. The weather of vanilla Skyrim quicly becomes a bit boring. It's only cosmetic though, and has options for different lighting settings. Basically a good way of having a more realistic and diverse lightning and weather in-game without using ENBs that are a real pain most of the time.

    I'd add this link to two huge lore-friendly mod collections that I find quite nice, even though I might be using something like one percent of them : http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23826/?
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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    I'd strongly recommend playing it as vanilla as possible when you first start, like Alms said. I was in a similar position as you are now around Christmas last year, when I first played Skyrim, and back then I resisted the urge to install mods apart from the unofficial patch (highly recommended) and some very minor visual tweaks (among them a mod that makes certain 3d-objects look much more convincing, like chests, ropes, loaves of bread and more - you'll find it soon enough if you google around). In hindsight, I'm glad I did, since some mods that are usually recommended can change the experience quite a lot. Now I know what I like and dislike about the vanilla game, and I will mod the game accordingly when I go for a new playthrough. Don't let anyone tell you that vanilla Skyrim is boring and bad, because it isn't. I can imagine that some things will grate when you play the game again, but I had no serious complaints all through the 115 hours my first playthrough lasted.

    Edit: I see you express a preference for Nexus instead of the Steam workshop, but for what it's worth, the workshop worked absolutely fine for me. Maybe that'll change when I install much more elaborate mods though.
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  11. #11
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    Immersive Patrols - adds faction patrols all over. Imperial, Stormcloak, Elven, Dawnguard, even I think bandits now.

    Travellers of Skyrim: traveling merchants, mercenaries you can hire, other assorted travellers.

    Skytest: realistic wildlife behavior. If there's a version that tones down animal health get that one.

    Immersive creatures: significant enlarged bestiary. If you see a robed figure standing at a crossroads in the dark...don't fight him.

    The Parthanaax dilemma: for the main quest. Just...trust me here.

    Nightingale Prime armor retexture

    Any mod you like that diversifies dragons. Ditto for one to retexture the godawful elven gear in the game. Without such a mid the oppression of the Aldmeri looks like an Invasion from a Disney cartoon.

    Ordinator perks. It's amazing but balanced. Sperg is cool but will make you a god. Right now, I have perks in Speech that let me get paid to perform as a Bard once per day, I empower Illusion spells used in close quarters and am deadly with... Restoration and Conjuration magic. I've killed a hundred enemies using magic and never cast a Destruction spell.

    Phenderix magic. Really cool, useful spells. Including Channeling spells with sniper like range.

    Immersive armors. Huge download. Worth it.

    Morrowloot. ESSENTIAL MOD. Makes loot work like in Morrowind. Rare stuff really IS rare. You have to search it out. Has a patch for immersive armors.

    Unique Uniques: makes the one of weapons Actually look unique by giving them their own models and textures. Highly recommended.

    Also: tkdodge for melee dodging and to hitstop for adding impact to swings. Add in any combat rebalance you like.

    Hope this list helps.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    Ordinator perks. It's amazing but balanced. Sperg is cool but will make you a god. Right now, I have perks in Speech that let me get paid to perform as a Bard once per day, I empower Illusion spells used in close quarters and am deadly with... Restoration and Conjuration magic. I've killed a hundred enemies using magic and never cast a Destruction spell.
    I'd never heard of it but it sounds awesome. I think I'll reinstall Skyrim just to try this.
    I love the flavour it adds to lockpicking and pickpocketing.

    • 30 - Thief's Eye - When you enter a major city, illuminates a random citizen on the streets for 300 seconds. If you interact with the target during this time, they will carry valuable items (based on your Pickpocket skill). This can only occur once every 12-60 ingame hours.



    • 80 - Crime Wave - Shortly after you pickpocket or speak with the target illuminated by Thief's Eye, a new victim is illuminated, up to 5 times in a row.
    Last edited by AshEnke; 16-06-2017 at 03:47 PM.

  13. #13
    Ordinator sounds cool, I may give it a shot.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions folks.

    Does anyone have any experience with Requiem? That with some survival mods (Frostfall, Hunger and DIsease) looks like it might just fit the bill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions folks.

    Does anyone have any experience with Requiem? That with some survival mods (Frostfall, Hunger and DIsease) looks like it might just fit the bill.
    No experience, I'm afraid, but I know it does NOT play nice with other mods broadly, so if you're using others, you may want to ensure Requiem has compatibility patches and so on for them. Or at least notes that they'll be fine.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    No experience, I'm afraid, but I know it does NOT play nice with other mods broadly, so if you're using others, you may want to ensure Requiem has compatibility patches and so on for them. Or at least notes that they'll be fine.
    Yeah, there's a compatibility suite for the survival stuff, it appears. I rather like being able to keep the list minimal, and it at least looks like Requiem does most of what I want all by itself.

  17. #17
    Activated Node Aitrus's Avatar
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    I would say Immersive Compass and No Enemies On Compass are essential for me. It might not be to your playstyle, but Immersive Compass removes location markers on your compass, meaning you'll discover a new location by actually walking through the world and looking at things, not just having an icon pop up and going in that direction. And No Enemies On Compass of course means there are no red dots that indicate where enemies are. That's just an immersion thing for me.

  18. #18
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    Oh I am so, so picking up those thief perks with this character. Thanks for that.

    And no enemies on the compass...that's a must for me. I used a mod like that for my Fallout: New Vegas playthrough and it made a huge difference in how you navigate the world.

    In fact, I am also going to find or make one for Fallout 4. I have regrowth there, so the world is now a claustrophobic green jungle and line of sight is a real issue. No compass enemies will make that really tense.

    Thanks.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    From a modding perspective, is there a difference between having all the DLC's and having the Legendary edition?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    From a modding perspective, is there a difference between having all the DLC's and having the Legendary edition?
    I can only advise to read carefully. It shouldn't make a difference. But Bethesda may have added or changed scripts, including syntax, from one version to the next. Or made under the hood changes.

    Not likely, Probably, but I think there's precedent.

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