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Don’t buy Skyrim for a 5th time. Mod the copy you already own

This November, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will arrive … again. Gaming journalists have had to write that sentence many times in the decade since the game has launched. Skyrim originally landed on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC way back in November 2011. In November 2017, Skyrim actually released twice, with one version for the Switch and another for PlayStation VR. This year, Skyrim is being released in November once again as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition. And those are just the times it rereleased in November, specifically. There’s more where that came from. However, this year’s version of Skyrim isn’t like the rest — this one comes with mods.

But I’m going to ask Skyrim owners and people who don’t own the game yet to try something new. Instead of being handed a list of 74 mods by Bethesda, get Skyrim on your computer and mod it yourself. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming — and I’m speaking from experience.

Skyrim, your way

Modding has been around for Skyrim nearly the entire time it’s been available to purchase. At Nexusmods, the go-to site for modding just about any single-player game out there, users have nearly a decade’s worth of mods at their disposal. Sure, there are a lot of bad mods (and a fair number of weird or pointless ones), but that’s made up for with the mods that can give Skyrim a completely new feel and style.

The most basic mods out there add armor and weapons to the game so there’s something more to choose from than dragon bone gear. Some also add new quests and even entirely new DLC-sized areas to the game, all for absolutely no cost. If you have a beefy enough computer, high-resolution texture packs, and ENBs, which change the game’s lighting systems, you can make the 10-year-old title look modern.

But adding content is just one part of modding Skyrim — the other part is adding the content that you specifically want. Want a mod that turns the moon into the one from Majora’s Mask? It’s possible. Lightsabers in Skyrim? Sure. I love playing as a vampire but feel like Skyrim’s base systems for them are shallow. In steps Better Vampires, a mod that completely overhauls how vampires work in the game.

A night in Falskaar, a mod for Skyrim.
A farmhouse in Falskaar, a mod that adds 20 hours of content to Skyrim

Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is going to include 76 mods, or pieces of unofficial content, from the Creation Club. Bethesda even made a point to highlight three: One that lets players fish, another that adds a survival mode, and one more that adds a questline. However, there are alternatives to all of these — you just have to look for them.

On Nexusmods, you can find a multitude of fishing mods, so take your pick. The site also has various options for making Skyrim harder, including one that takes the game’s weather into account. For more content, there’s a mod called Falskaar that adds over 20 hours of new gameplay. Everything that Bethesda is advertising in Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is already available in one way or another; it’s just a search away.

Of course, modding isn’t for everyone. The experience of modding Skyrim is like building a computer. You’ll probably run into a problem at some point, but once you get everything working, there’s a sense of self-satisfaction. For those that can’t be asked to give this a try, play the Anniversary Edition as is — I’m sure it’ll be a great time either way. But if you want a genuinely unique experience, something that you can pick and choose on your own, by Ysmir’s beard just mod Skyrim already.

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