The Virtues and Mods of Skyrim

From fighting dragons to magical shouts that hurl your enemies off cliffs to joining a guild that assassinates an empress, Skyrim can do it all. So, if you are interested in slaying dragons to gain words of power, wielding magical weapons, and using an immersive character leveling system, Skyrim is the game for you.


Jade Lilly, Writer

While The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released in 2011, it still is quite prevalent to this day. This game takes around 232 hours to fully complete, but if you just want to complete the main quest line, then it will only take around 34 hours. However, with numerous mods-which are packs you can download for free for modified gameplay-being added daily, and Bethesda officially releasing their own mods, players have numerous opportunities to experience Skyrim several times in different ways, especially if they have already completed the game beforehand. Thus, this article will attempt to convince you to download Skyrim, as I have completed the game several times over traditionally and with modifications. I have also played a “run” (before continuing, when I refer to a “run,” I am referring to a game that is completed or a “run through”) on every difficulty, so I can provide insight into this topic as well.

“Traditional Runs” 

Now, a traditional run consists of you traversing the entirety of Tamriel to complete certain quests assigned to you by numerous characters. There is also downloadable content (DLC) available that adds a completely new island that you can visit for another, entirely new main quest line. These do not affect the original main quest line, but I recommend purchasing the additional content, as the DLC was extremely entertaining and felt like an entirely new game. On another note, the lore within the collectable books is quite entertaining, as I have read every single book that had content within it. This game is lore heavy, but if you don’t feel like getting invested within the game, you do not have to pay attention to it. However, there will be a few quests that deviate depending on the decision you make, so exert caution and pay attention to dialogue later in the game.  

“Modded Runs” 

Modded runs add a fun little-or big depending on the mod-twist to the story, environment, spells, and even character customization. You can download a mod that allows you to become a half-dragon, find a mod that allows you to summon a bear with a lute (yes, this is an actual mod), or even change the environment to make it look more breathtaking than before. Personally, the bear with the lute is one of my favorite mods, as it also accompanies numerous other additional spells that can be quite entertaining (such as summoning a mud crab that swears at you. It’s absolutely hilarious). I recommend downloading mods from the official site or getting Mod Drop and Nexus mods for this. You can do both, but I will explain how to download the mods in another section of the article to ensure you don’t accidentally download a virus.  

Note: Keep an eye out on what you download, as some mods can “collide” with one another, causing errors in the script. This will deactivate both mods, so this process is more or less trial and error.  

How and Where to Download Mods 

You can download mods at Nexus mods, and then move them to Mod Drop by going under the tab named “file” (on Nexus Mods) and downloading them with “mod manager” (which is an option you can select). You then can enable the mods on Mod Drop by clicking download. Regarding Bethesda, you can open Skyrim and then hit the “Mods” tab. It’s a strange process, but you can find some pretty cool mods with the right amount of patience.   

Recommendations For Starting Players 

When starting your first run, I recommend not modding it. The experience is much more genuine and purely the gameplay designed for you to see, as some mods can accidentally get rid of side quests or break other larger quests, so use your discretion and put research into what mods you are downloading (when you do). Personally, I would not start any modded runs until you are satisfied with the amount of original gameplay you have seen. I played 6 runs before modding my game, all on varying difficulties so I could get the “full” experience. On another note, if this is one of your first open-world games or you are a beginner to Skyrim, I recommend starting on “Adept”, which should be what the game automatically sets you too. However, if you are more experienced with these types of games, then you will likely be ok to kick up the difficulty a few notches. Whatever you do, don’t ever play “Legendary” on your first or second run. You think it’s easy: newsflash, it’s not. I made this mistake and when I began the game, I wanted to sob. So just don’t. Unless you want to prove me wrong, that’s fine too, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Note: I recommend always upgrading your stealth, archery, and armor abilities first. You’ll need them for every other quest-especially for the Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, and Dawn Guard story line-and if you don’t have them upgraded, you probably will want to throw your controller or keyboard into the wall when the guards spot you stealing something for the umpteenth time in a row, a dragon decides to take a bite out of you, and/or your arrow misses the shot and alerts the enemy. 

Why You Should Start Playing 

Skyrim is an extremely immersive game that values character freedom above all. You have freedom of choice, an excellent selection of shouts and spells, and there’s dragons. I mean c’mon, must I say more? Skyrim does go on sale every so often on Steam, so if you’re interested, it is absolutely worth the money. So, go forth and slay some dragons, Dovahkin (which is draconic for dragon born).