Do you say you want to mod Skyrim? Very good! That’s what my guides are here for. I want to help you turn your game from this… To this. But at the same time, I don’t plan on guiding you through the entire process step by step. No. I’m going to teach a man to fish. Unlike other guides out there that hold your hand and treat you as a child through every minute decision, this one will focus on turning you into an intelligent and well-informed modder. Interested? Awesome! Stay tuned.
Alright first things first, I’m going tell you something and I need you to do your damnedest to accept it. Overhauling Skyrim with mods, or any Bethesda titles for that matter, is a sloppy, messy and painstaking process. There are no shortcuts to sitting down, learning to use the tools, reading mod descriptions, searching forums and debugging mod conflicts on your own. You will find issues, bugs and problems and they WILL make you frustrated but this is all part of the modding experience. If this doesn’t sound like something you want to deal with or face, it may be best to just stick to a few mods or none at all.
Deceptive Nature of Videos
I know you’ve seen the videos online titled something like “Skyrim 2018 load order over 300 mods” or “Insanely modded skyrim AMAZING graphics”, perhaps one of them has even caused you to seek out this video. Those videos are nice and I have nothing against them but I want you to take a moment and think about what kind of mods they were using.
Were they purely graphical? Just because a game looks good doesn’t mean it plays good. Were there gameplay mods as well? Even so, that doesn’t mean the experience was balanced. Did the footage look stable? Sure, it may be stable for 5 minutes but what about 5 hours? Keep in mind too that the longer you play a character the more bugs and issues will surface, becoming apparent. I’m sure you get the picture by now.
But Good Load Orders do Exist
Here’s the good new though, it is entirely possible to make a 99% stable game with hundreds of mods that both looks fantastic and play great. Though it will require a LOT of time and effort on your part. If you were expecting to woop this out in week or even a day you will be sorely disappointed. Unless you’re copying someone else’s load order, something like this takes months of work for experienced modders. So I suggest keeping your expectations in check.
I assure however, that a massive, stable and overhauled load order is a thing of great beauty. Something that you will certainly be proud of. Doubly so, if it’s one you’ve poured months of tears, rage and frustration into. In case you’re not someone that is looking to massively overhaul their game, don’t be put off. There will still be many videos that you will find useful as I will be going over all the basics. Enough lecturing though, let’s get into the logistics and what you will need to start modding.
Legitimate SSE, You’ll Need It
If you missed it in the title, my guides are entirely for the Special Edition version of the game. I truly believe the Special Edition the most stable and well optimized version, based on my own modding experience and research into the matter. Not by much, but every little bit helps right? This is because of its 64 bit nature and how memory allocation works. The details of that are way out of the scope this video so I won’t be going into it here.
What you need to know is that during gameplay, Special Edition, sometimes has higher FPS but more importantly is that in all cases the game’s FPS is more stable so you’ll see less drastic changes from location to location. This is something that plagues the old Legendary Edition quite a lot actually. Obviously this also has to be a legitimate version of the game. That’s required for certain essential mods to function correctly. The source you purchased the game from really shouldn’t matter. As long as you can install and reinstall freely, you should be good. I’ll be using the steam version as that’s where I bought my copy.
My Guides Are NOT for Consoles
For the sake of clarity, I’ll say it here, my guides are not for console users. Modding is very different on those platforms. It’s much more restricted because the Script Extender isn’t available there. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is, we’ll talk about that in the future. Basically if you’re on consoles, much of this won’t apply to you and I will not be able to help you with problems.
Lastly let’s talk about hardware. This is ultimately going to be the deciding factor of how much you can mod your game. If you’re running an 10 year old potato rig or laptop, you definitely won’t be able to overhaul your game to the extent you’re seeing. My guides will be using the Windows 10 OS as that’s what I’m running. It’s also what many others are running, so it works out for me. You can try the others but I don’t know if they’ll have any specific issues or limitations. So you’re on your own there.
As long as you have a Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU or equivalent, you should be able to just about maximize your graphics. If you have enough VRAM. I my GPU has 8 GB which is just the right amount. But if you also want to record smooth footage, you will need something beefier.
Your CPU’s power is also important, Skyrim may as well not support multi-threading so single core clock speeds are your friend here. This won’t affect the graphics you’ll be able to crank out, unless of course your CPU bottlenecks your GPU, but it will limit how many gameplay mods you’ll be able to handle. This is because these mods often heavily rely on scripts which are handled by this component. If you overload your CPU with these, you will notice control input delays and FPS slowdowns. As long as you have an i7 within the last 3 generations or so you should be golden. Older CPUs or i5s will cut it too, just expect to be a little more limited when it comes to installing said mods. Overclocking also couldn’t hurt your performance so be sure to do that if you can. Same goes for the GPU.
For storage, I highly, highly encourage you to have a separate SSD for your games. I like to have a separate SSD for modded games all together as they can take up an incredible amount of storage but this isn’t necessary. If you want to max out your game, expect to need 200GB if not more as we’ll be using Mod Organizer. Trust me, you want an SSD to help cut down on your in game load times because these can get quite long with many mods installed. You may be able to pull through with a hard drive but I really don’t recommend it. You don’t need a fancy NVME SSD, the regular SATA ones work just fine but if you have one of the former, I can’t see how it would hurt your performance any.
With that out of the way, I leave you with these closing words: the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. Throughout your modding journey you’ll encounter uphills downhills and many grades in between. You will get frustrated and there will be times you’ll want to give up. But just relax, take a break and do your research. Rome wasn’t built overnight. The solution is out there somewhere but it may require you to make sacrifices–be it to your load order or time. There are also many amazing modders and authors out there that will be more than willing to help you with your issue, the comments sections of my videos are no exception.
Just remember however that in most cases, the best we can do is guide you. We can’t know all the particulars of your mods and load order, that responsibility is on you. Happy modding, I hope to see you in my future videos and hopefully once all’s said and done you’ll realize, just like myself and many others, why the Skyrim Modding Scene and Community is one of the most amazing occurrences in the history of gaming.