The only thing that would make Skyrim any more immersive would be to use the Oculus Rift, but not all of us have the money to just go out and buy that. That being said, using mods that add to the immersion can really help make Skyrim a far more enjoyable and believable place.
In this post, I will be discussing what I believe are some of the best immersion mods for Skyrim. I will be covering them in detail below, and will provide links to where you can download them. One of the best things about Skyrim is the way it draws you into the world and makes you feel as if you are really there.
What makes a mod “Immersive”?
An immersive mod is one that allows you to enhance your game experience in a way that makes you feel like you are truly a part of the world.
An immersive mod should never take you away from the game experience.
If it gives you the slightest impression that you are playing a modded game, then the mod author has failed in delivering the immersion.
When you browse the internet, you will find that a lot of mods have the word immersive added onto the front of it. 9 times out of 10, I guarantee that it only has the prefix so that it sounds appealing.
Some of these mods are in fact, immersive; others, not so much. But the truth is, with so many “immersive” mods out there, it is very hard to find the perfect ones for your game.
This is where I come in! Below are some of what I believe to be among the best immersive mods you can find. I will provide links to each of the mod download pages.
All that said, below are among the most immersive mods you can find on the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (In no particular order!)
Holidays (by isoku)
When I first created a new character, I had to set a date in which I start in-game. As it was just after Christmas, I decided to set the date to December 27 (or the 27th of Evening Star, for the loremongers out there!)
As I reached Riverwood with Ralof, things looked different. Wreaths were hung on houses, and colourful lanterns were strung around the roads and buildings. Looks like I missed Saturalia, the Tamrielic equivalent of Christmas!
This mods adds Holidays based on Elder Scrolls lore to the game. As the days and weeks go by, you will see towns and cities change to reflect the occasion. Some villagers will even dress up to reflect the holiday, and go out to celebrate in the city streets. Even the shopkeepers who typically stay indoors when not at their shops will partake in the festivities
This seemingly simple mod breaths new life into a game by adding something that we typically experience in real life. This mod really makes the NPCs far more believable, going about their daily schedule.
This mod is currently available on Skyrim Special Edition.
Immersive Citizens – AI Overhaul (by Arnaud dOrchymont)
Over the course of playing Skryim, you get used to seeing the NPCs going about their business as usual. But the more you look, the more you see that the NPCs act more like robots.
Take Anoriath, for example. During the day, he operates a stall in the market. During the night, he goes to the Drunken Huntsman, where he spends the rest of the night. And he repeats this schedule, every day of the week.
“I can assure you, it’s all fresh. I hunt the game myself, every day.”
– Anoriath, during a conversation with Nazeem
Based on his personality, and the things he says, its quite obvious that he loves to go hunting. That’s how he fills his stall with meat he obtained from.
But do you ever see him go hunting in-game? Where does he get all of his stuff if you never see him do it?
Immersive Citizens changes his schedule to better reflect his life as a hunter. Now, if you closely watch his daily life, he might go into the plains of Whiterun to go hunting, just as he says he does.
Immersive Citizens overhauls nearly ever single NPC in the game to act more “human”, and breaths new life by changing the things they do by the week, as opposed to making them do the same thing every day. This is done by modifying the AI of each NPC, based on their class and state.
The mod author even took things further and overhauled how the NPCs act in the face of danger. Remember when the blacksmith’s wife pulled out their iron dagger to fight the vampires, alongside the guards? She likely ended up dead, as would any other villager who would dare try to be a hero.
Now, when an NPC is attacked by a hostile enemy, special AI feature runs to make the NPC respond more realistically. If the aggressor is 10+ levels above the villager, they’ll likely run away without a second thought.
This mod is currently available on Skyrim Special Edition, and can be downloaded from Nexusmods.
Frostfall (by Chesko)
Skyrim is a cold, frigid land. The people talk of the cold, and how harsh it is. The Skaal people are bundled up to protect from the terrible winds of Solstheim. And yet, you can jump into the icy waters of the ocean, swim to the bottom, loot a chest, and swim back to shore without developing hypothermia.
Frostfall is a superb mod which adds a brand new survival element to the game, adding an extra degree of challenge for the hardcore gamer. In a nutshell, your character will get cold in frigid weather, and you must wear warm clothing to avoid freezing to death. You will now have to prepare in advance for journeys, especially in the northern Holds.
This mod is so expansive that I actually went and wrote a separate mod review which can be found here.
Immersive Patrols (by Scrabbulor)
As you travel the roads of Skyrim, the more you begin to notice how empty the wilderness really is. Sure, you come across the occasional wandering bard or a lone thief. With a civil war going on, you’d expect to see more action going on.
This mod adds just that. From Stormcloaks to Imperials, Thalmor to the Dawnguard, you will start to see more factions roaming the world. Even the Hold guards will patrol their respective region in search of bandits and miscreants.
When I first started using this mod, I was playing on the dreaded Legendary difficulty. I was low level, and I needed to get to Windhelm. This meant travelling the road that passes the Valtheim Towers, which are inhabited by bandits. On my way there, I passed by a Whiterun Guard patrol, and continued until I made it to the towers.
As one would expect, a level 6 adventurer was no match for the bandits. I was quickly cut down. Luckily, I save often, and so I had a save as early as the point where I met the guards. I watched them as they walked, slowly, along the road towards the Valtheim Towers. I couldn’t take on the bandits myself, so why not these guards?
I traveled alongside the Whiterun Guards until they reached the bandit hideout, where they eventually attacked. As my past scuffles with guards has taught me, you don’t mess with City Guards! So I watched the battle unfold. Without getting too close, I saw the guards reign supreme in the end, and even stuck around the area while I got to loot the place.
Wet and Cold (by isoku)
In a nutshell, this mod adds weather-dependent visual effects and changes to the NPC AI to better react to the current weather conditions. During bad weather, NPCs will try to go indoors and wait out the cold. If they have to go out, they will wear cloaks and hoods to keep warm.
This is one of those mods that adds that little bit of immersion that blends so well into the game that you’d never realize that you were playing a modded game. This is in essence what makes an immersive mod well made.
That’s about all I have for now. As I explore the internet, I may find some more mods out there, and I’ll keep you posted.
Until next time, happy gaming, and happy modding!