It’s no secret that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great game, even the standard “vanilla” version has tons of fun to be had. What’s not to like about creating a badass mage, fighting dragons, adventuring across a massive world, and stumbling across dungeons? Even though the game was released in late 2011, this title is still played like it was just released. It has built a huge following of devoted players who are consistently creating custom modifications (“mods,” for short) that add to the game and create a unique experience.

Modding isn’t as complicated as some people seem to think it is, it only requires a bit of tinkering with Steam and the game’s native settings.

Getting Started: Steam

Before you start downloading mods without much thought, it’s best to know how to get started. You need to have Skyrim installed on your PC through the Steam app, and then you can download mods from the Steam Workshop for the game.

It’s much easier to download mods through the Steam Workshop. Just download Skyrim, go into the workshop (mods are also called “workshops” in Steam), subscribe to a mod you like, and once you boot up Skyrim, it’ll be ready to be installed.

It’s as easy as finding the mod and downloading it, with Steam doing all the work for you. This way is best for beginners, since there’s really no way to mess your game up. There are other external programs that you can use to mod your game further, but still, going through Steam is the easiest way to get going. The pictures below will illustrate how easy it is to figure it all out.

1. Open steam (the program, not the website from a browser) and search “Skyrim.” Then click the “Community Hub” button above the logo.

Skyrim 1

2. Hit the “Workshop” button on the following screen to bring you to all of the mods.

Skyrim 2

 3. Choose What Mods You Want. Once you’re on the mod page, you’ll be able to check out individual mods from there. Click anything on the front page that seems interesting to you. For this example, I’m using the “Falskaar” mod which adds news areas and environments to the game. Hit the subscribe button and wait for it to download, as noted by the progress on the bottom of the Steam client.

Skyrim 3

Skyrim 4

4. Open up Skyrim. You need to wait a few minutes for the actual Skyrim game to install/acknowledge all of the mods you downloaded.

Skyrim 5

5. Choose which mods to be included. Click which mod you want to play with when you load your game, and leave the ones don’t want unchecked. Deleting them essentially ‘unsubscribes’ the mod from your game, so you would need to re-subscribe if you want them again.

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6. Play and enjoy! You’re set to enjoy your game. Warning – if you use a mod that changes the game a lot, such as appearances or a new area, don’t unsubscribe when you’re in the middle of a game. This can cause your game to become unstable and even crash. Play around with various mods so you know what you want, before you devote 60 hours to a single game.

Lastly, as mods have different PC requirements than the vanilla version, you may need to tinker with your settings a bit, otherwise your PC could get laggy, crash, or just not work well as a whole. Turning off shadows and HD textures and running the game at a lower setting is the best way to ensure the best gameplay experience (unless you have a really badass PC that can handle Skyrim at top quality!)

Keep an eye out for the second part, “The Best Mods for Skyrim,” coming soon.



Alex Landa
Alex Landa
SEO, news, and gaming writer. Batman impersonator. Has an unhealthy obsession with grilled cheese.