If there was ever a series of games that simply demanded modding, it was the Elder Scrolls series. The sheer depth and size of Bethesdas worlds, combined with their always excellent modding tools, have meant that there were always thousands of mods covering every imaginable facet of the game. Skyrim is no exception.
However, just as with Morrowind and Oblivion, this often makes choosing which mods you want to have installed a mindboggling choice. Maybe all you want in life is a pair of Argonian skin shoes? Or perhaps your dogs eyebrows simply aren't dark enough?
Frankly, I'll leave that sort of thing up to you to decide. What I can give you, on the other hand, is our top 5 Skyrim mods that aim to simply enhance the base game without making any drastic changes. You know, stuff that probably should have been there in the first place, but we shouldnt complain because THANK YOU BETHESDA.
Ahem. Without further ado:
5. FXAA Post Process Injector by some_dude
FXAA is supposedly the best of the many post processing mods out there for Skyrim, and blimey, you can see why. I dont pretend to understand all the technobabble about "bloom, sharpen, technicolor, sepia, tonemap, and vignette", but that screenshot sure does look pretty. A nice mod for those who consider Skyrim to occasionally look too bland and muddy, even for fantasy medieval Scandinavia. Apparently it hardly affects performance either.
4. Enhanced Night Skyrim by Cpt_Joker
I've always been a big fan of night sky mods for previous TES games, and Enhanced Night Skyrim (I get it!) doesnt disappoint. Its a beautiful mod, and as you gaze up one of Skyrim's glorious aurorae under the watchful eyes of Masser and Secunda, you might even notice that this mod still keeps all the Tamrielic constellations! How cool is that?
3. Realistic Water Textures and Terrain by isoku
Once again, I dont pretend to understand any of the technical stuff, but Realistic Water Textures and Terrain changes everything from waterfalls to individual raindrops and makes them look a hell of a lot prettier. If you like your rivers turbulent and your lakes shimmering, this mod is a must.
2. A Quality World Map - With Roads by IcePenguin
If there was one problem I found with Skyrims main map, it was that I never knew where the roads were. Oh, and there were always clouds everywhere. A Quality World Map - With Roads fixes the former issue by adding... well, exactly that. It comes in four different flavours - a new, more detailed world map or a 'classic' paper-style map, both with the option of either all roads or just the main roads between the big towns. Theres even a sub-mod that displays the borders between Holds, which can be handy if theres a bounty on your head.
1. SkyUI by SkyUI Team
I've saved the best until last. Behold, SkyUI in all its glory. Skyrim's answer to Oblivion's classic BTmod, SkyUI makes Skyrim's UI approximately ten million times easier to use with a mouse and keyboard. There is less wasted screen space, smaller fonts, icons instead of text-based item categories, and various sortable columns (including the invaluable 'sort by combined weight and value'). Simply put, it is an absolute necessity. To even consider playing Skyrim without it on the PC would be sheer madness.
So thats the top 5. If you've got any other great - or hilarious - mods that you think are worth mentioning, feel free to drop by the comments section and let us know.