updated December 24th, 2022
Let's face it, Skyrim's gameplay sucks. Time to hopefully fix this issue.
Note: If a mod from the Legendary Edition page isn't featured here, doesn't exactly mean the mod doesn't work, it just means the mod hasn't been officially ported to Special Edition at this moment. If you want to, download the mod and try to port it yourself by following this guide.
NOTE: ANY MODS CONVERTED BY YOU ARE NOT TO BE POSTED ON THE NEXUS OR ANY OTHER WEBSITE WITHOUT THE ORIGINAL MODDERS PERMISSION. CONVERT MODS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY.
NOTE 2: IF YOU RUN WRYE BASH AND IT COMPLAINS ABOUT "OLD/OUTDATED" FILES, AND SHOWS YOU A MOD ".ESP/.ESM", THAT MEANS THAT MOD HASN'T BEEN PORTED PROPERLY, OR IS A LEGENDARY EDITION MOD, IF SO, YOU NEED TO UPDATE THAT SHIT YOURSELF, AND GIVE THE MOD AUTHOR A STERN TALKING-TO.
Just follow the tutorial mentioned on the "Essential" page to update the mod yourself, skip everything, and just re-save the ".esp" on the Creation Kit.
In this section, we will discuss:
-Skills and Perks
-Magic and Spells
-Dragons and Shouts
-Werewolves and Vampires
-Items and Loot
-Crafting and Enchanting
-Miscellaneous Gameplay mods
It has been arguably said that the Elder Scrolls combat has gotten more streamlined as each sequel is released. However, this doesn't mean the combat is any good, it's far from that. Here are a few mods that can remedy this problem.
If you want a quick and easy guide to combat in Skyrim that isn't just "Dark Souls but Skyrim" check out Concept's guide on the subject:
Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim
Wildcat makes combat AI more responsive and makes combat more dangerous and visceral by increasing lethality and adding injuries. It accomplishes this with minimal scripting and no save bloat. Has some undesired features, which the mod creator acknowledges, check Smilodon, by the same mod author if you want a version with less changes to combat.
Ultimate Combat 3.0
Officially out for Special Edition!
One of the very few combat overhauls that actually does something. Ultimate Combat is written by Google Translate, but to sum it up: This mod not only balances stats and cooldowns, but adds new features to NPCs such as making them quicker to react with active dodging and finding cover. NPC special attacks cause locational damage, and bosses like dragon priests and centurions have special abilities like teleportation, crazy new spells, and whatnot.
Now here lies the problem with these two mods. They're both dynamic in the way they change combat, but they also drastically change how you should play the game. It's up to you to choose which you prefer better. You can use both combined for a very deep combat experience. Check below for some complementary mods.
Skills and Perks
Some pretty basic mods that fix or change a lot of issues that vanilla Skyrim had. You don't have to use them all but it is recommended. Disparity is not listed, as it has not been officially ported yet, but a DIY port of it is possible. Follow the guide linked at the top of the page.
Magic and Spells
Magic has been fun in every game. Casting spells on either friend or foe is exhilarating, especially during combat. For some reason, however, magic is always broken in each of the Elder Scrolls games in a way that either you or your enemies will get the upper hand. Here are a few mods to fix that balance issue and add more spells to play around with! Be sure to check out the mod Undeath under the Quests guide for necromancy.
Let's be honest here, stealth is broken. Most of the balancing issues and AI have already been fixed in the several overhaul mods we featured in the Skills and Perks section. So if you're worried about stealth you'll be fine for now. There are not a lot of stealth mods currently, let alone good stealth mods. We'll try to dig up some interesting ones for you to use until then!
Dragons and SHOUTS
Shouts are fun and are the core of Skyrim gameplay. For some reason though, some shouts are rarely even used by some players. Here are some mods that will fix shouting and add some new features to them too! As for dragons, they don't get much love. Even though there are a lot of dragon overhaul mods, most of them are really bad. We don't recommend a lot, but for the few that are brave or desperate, here are some dragon mods you might want to check out.
Werewolves and Vampires
Lycanthropy and vampirism were always a side thing in elder scrolls games. It was really inconvenient to be any of these really. Being a vampire sucked because no one would talk to you and you could only go out at night. Being a werewolf felt underpowering for some reason in Skyrim. The mods listed here will make being a werewolf or vampire awesome and playable through the long term.
Items and Loot
These mods add new types of items or item features to Skyrim. Some of these mods even edit loot tables to change how loot drops work and even how item spawning works.
Removes all upper-tier armor and weapons from leveled lists, instead hand-placing it around the world, so that you actually need to explore shit. Also adds in hidden artifacts from past games. Can conflict with mods that add loot into the leveled list, as well as crafting tables. However, it does play nicely with mods that add custom weapons into the crafting tables.