Skyrim is amongst the most recognizable names in the history of videogames. It’s been released on countless different mediums to this point including the hilariously fun Skyrim on Amazon’s Alexa. In 2017 though, Skyrim VR appeared to make every RPG fan’s dream come true and a year later it came to PC VR which meant one thing for anyone that knew anything about Skyrim. It’s modding time baby. The Vanilla experience of Skyrim is a great enough achievement on its own, but keeping in mind that it’s a game from 2011, there are plenty of rough edges to be smoothed out. The 2011 visuals no longer hold up today, luckily with a little bit of time and effort, we can get Skyrim VR looking like the very best game in VR. As soon as you delve into the world of modding Skyrim, trust me and many, many others, there is no turning back.
What is a mod?
So what’s a mod exactly? Well, a mod is a user created extension or alteration to an existing game. They do this work free largely and are the unsung heroes of the gaming community, especially for Skyrim. For example, do you like Game of Thrones? There are several mods available that allow you to insert characters, armors, weapons, and even Direwolves into your game like this one here. If you want the dragons in your game to turn into flying Macho Man Randy Savage’s? Well….I mean you can do that too, not sure why you’d want to have that but you can.
Let’s go even deeper. How about entirely new dungeons and lands to explore filled with completely original quests? What about massive DLC sized areas that are even better written and more exciting than most of the actual game? Hundreds of magic spells that work as well as the ones in the base game but with 10 times the creativity? Specially made followers that have their own voice actors and quest lines and locations to explore? Being able to voice your character’s every word and have NPC’s respond to you? The bottom line is that modding changes everything when it comes to vanilla Skyrim, but when you turn to Skyrim VR for mods, well let’s just say Bethesda should be handing out some paychecks because the quality of some of these will blow your mind.
- Buy Skyrim VR, run it first before doing anything else, then quit.
- Install SKSE via this guide here. This is vital to having your game run without issues. Once you do, run Skyrim VR via the skse_Launcher. Always launch through this to prevent problems.
- Find a mod manager to your preference (Vortex will be detailed below)
- Figure out which mods you’re going to want (here’s an article of our best ones for fitness purposes)
- Install Mods
- Never play anything other than Skyrim VR ever again, I’m not even kidding.
Initially, the process for downloading mods on Skyrim VR was somewhat tenuous because it wasn’t fully compatible with mod managers just yet and some tweaking had to be done to the .ini files and whatnot. Thankfully, that’s not necessary anymore and it’s just a few easy steps to get your game moddable and ready to go.
- Create a free Nexusmods account here.
- Download Vortex.
- From here, we’re going to identify the game in the section used for searching for games.
- We’re going to be asked to authorize connection to your nexus account, click authorize.
- We’re good to go unless you have your game stored on another drive, if that’s the case navigate to the mods tab and then go to where your game is stored ( for example C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\SkyrimVR\) , and click apply to confirm that as your staging folder, allowing easy installation for any mods going forward.
- Mod away!
Normally, it’s here where things might get a little tricky, but in the months following Skyrim VR’s release, full mod integration has been made extremely easy. Here’s how you do it.
Finding your mods
While there is one true mother of all the mods in the gaming world at Nexus, you’re fully able to install and integrate mods from anywhere you’d like on the web. As a first time modder though, I would stick to Nexus as it’s got the easiest to navigate interface and literally thousands of mods to choose from that have been compiled over the past decade. There are specific filters for VR as well, though the majority of the non-VR focused mods will work just fine regardless. One thing to note is that while Vortex fully supports Skyrim VR, Nexus does not have Skyrim VR as a separate game, but Skyrim VR is actually just a VR version of Skyrim Special Edition and therefore every mod that works in Skyrim Special Edition will also work in Skyrim VR.
What Mods do I choose?
Such a simple question right? It’s actually the most complex question on earth because figuring out what mods to choose in Skyrim VR is kind of like choosing from a menu at a restaurant with 500,000 options. The Steam Workshop alone has 10,000 options, though I personally don’t really use those because the Nexus ones are just a lot more fun and ambitious most of the time.
Here is a comprehensive guide to a ton of mods that will get you started, though trust me, this is FAR from the amount available to you
That is overwhelming, Do I Really Have to Download each and every one of them?
At the start of Skyrim VR for PC, yes, that is literally how you’d have installed the mods you wanted to load. It’s an arduous process that can take hours and leave you frustrated and impatient and just ready to give up. There is now an easier solution for people who are ready to put their modding needs in the hands of experts. Enter Wabbajack.
Wabbajack is its own Mod Manager that curates lists of mods and downloads them all at once. You’re going to need A LOT of space on your PC to use this one effectively as some of the playlists included have up to 600 mods installed at once and I’d recommend only venturing into those types of playlists if your PC is top of the line. Luckily, there are tons of different options to choose from and some are just a couple of mods to improve your experience, and then some are specifically tailored to VR.
Using Wabbajack makes the installing process much easier and puts your game in the hands of experienced modders who know what looks good and what feels good in Skyrim VR. This process is painless, though it can sometimes take hours to download the more mod heavy playlists, but at least you can just hit install and go do something else when it’s done rather than scour the endless pages of Nexus for mods to suit your needs. Here is the link for Wabbajack
Installing a Mod
So, you’ve gotten all your modding tools together, it’s time to actually find a mod you want to use. Here’s how we do it.
- Find a Mod you like the look of.
- Go to the files part of the mod page.
- Click Mod Manager Download.
- Make sure you download any prerequisite mods before you go any further. Mods will tell you which ones you need after you click download, so just follow the links from there and repeat the steps from above.
- Open Vortex
- Go to downloads
- Click install on the right side of the screen to install your mods
- Click Enable in the Mods tab
- Deploy your mods
- Run your game and test out your mods!
Some mod managers don’t have a way to automatically order your mods, luckily, Vortex does a pretty good job of this. If you run into issues, start by running only a couple of mods at a time otherwise you’ll run into this problem right here.
In order to combat this, you simply turn all the question mark boxes into the recommended options and all should run just fine. Again, running a couple at a time or using the above Wabbajack application can help you avoid any issues.
One of the best mods out there is actually a separate application. The Skyrim VR Configuration tool will let you tweak just about any setting in the game which can lead to changing how melee combat works, what the LOD settings are, tweaking graphics as well as tons of others.
The Skyrim VR Reddit is a great place to learn how each and every mod works and thankfully there is one totally dedicated to the VR Configuration Tool https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrimvr/comments/89dlbp/ini_tweak_megathread
The modding world is overwhelming, so despite all the places you can go, I’m going to show you a few mods to get you started with that will greatly enhance your experience in Skyrim VR
I’ll start you off with the MVP of the Skyrim VR modding community. This mod does a whole lot, but the main feature is that it adds an entire VR body to your character. Before this mod, all you had was a floating weapon or some disembodied hands using magic. It was weak looking, to say the least. Now, every armor set in the game is animated giving you some truly incredible visuals, and even armor sets from mods are supported. The same goes for weapons and bows. Adding on to the amazingness of this mod is the ability to holster your weapons in up to 12 slots on your VR body. That means you can literally pull swords out from your waist holsters and reach back over your shoulder to grab a bow. No more menus, just full immersion and it’s pretty wild that one man was able to create this mod that functionally changes the way you play a massive Triple-A game like Skyrim. There is a lot more to the mod as well and it’s constantly being updated, so make sure you start off with this one, you won’t regret it.
One of the best things about Skyrim VR is how great magic feels to use. The only problem is that the base game is somewhat limited on your magic arsenal. Apocalypse Magic of Skyrim is here to fix that with 155 new spells from all different schools of magic. It adds tons of new textures to the game as well and the creativity of these spells is just unreal. Tornados, Infernos, Mind Control, you name it, this mod has it. It’s also compatible with all spell mods as well, so no need to shy away about building up your spell list if you so please. Also would like to point you to Phenderix Magic World- Magic Evolved
This adds a ton of original spells as well as weapons, enemies, and entire new locations to explore. These two mods are essential for any magic users out there.
Ever wonder where the mysterious and lovable Khajit from Skyrim hail from? Well, this mod allows you to take a journey to an entirely new land filled with new enemies, weapons, characters, and quests as you make your way to the bizarre swamp desert that is Elsweyre. This isn’t a massive questline like some of the others you will find like Falskaar or Vigilant, but it’s a nice detour into a strange world and it’s one of the first-ever quest mods for Skyrim, so it deserves a look.
That’s everything you need to get started on modding, I’m sorry for the coming hours you will spend seeking out every mod your PC can handle, I’ll only tell you that it’s worth it. For reference, I have run 100+ mods on a 1060 GTX card, but now I’m running 200+ on a 2070 Super. Your performance will vary and some of the graphic enhancement mods might take a heavy toll on your performance, so look for the 2K version of those instead of the 4K to ease the burden on your PC.
Here are some videos to help you out, happy modding!