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The best Skyrim Special Edition Xbox One mods

Skyrim Special Edition
Skyrim Special Edition (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition became one of first games to support mods on console when it released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016. Ever since then, the game's dedicated community has created countless mods that alter, improve, or completely overhaul the base Skyrim experience in amazing ways, as also seen with the best Fallout 4 mods. Mod support is uncommon among the best Xbox One games today, which makes it crucial to experience the best Skyrim has to offer.

Due to the sheer number of mods available, though, it can be hard to figure out which mods are the best. We've compiled this extensive list of top-notch options, whether you want to make Skyrim run better, look better, or add new gameplay systems.

Note: You'll need to a make a Bethesda account to access mods, which you can do from within the game on your Xbox. Also, keep in mind that achievements are disabled while using mods. Lastly, check mod descriptions and follow the instructions on where to put each mod in your load order if they're there.

Performance mods

These mods are designed to make Skyrim run smoother and with more stability overall, either by tweaking some graphics down or by fixing troublesome bugs. These mods will be helpful to Xbox One users in particular, as it's the weakest of the Xbox One consoles. It's important to note, though, that the bugfix mod in this section is something everyone should download.

Unofficial Skyrim: Special Edition Patch

Source: Arthmoor (Image credit: Source: Arthmoor)

This incredible mod squashes countless bugs that are present in vanilla Skyrim to this day. The Unofficial Skyrim: Special Edition Patch fixes everything from engine problems to issues with quest scripting, and everything between, too. It's highly recommended that you install this mod before any other, as it will provide you with the most stable and bug-free version of Skyrim available as a foundation.

FPS Boost

Source: Bethesda Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Bethesda Game Studios)

FPS Boost will considerably improve your framerate by reducing the resolution size of snow, rain, and leaf effects in-game. Since these effects are so small, most people won't even notice the quality reduction, too. Overall, this is an excellent mod if you want to boost your performance without sacrificing the game's visual appeal.

Disable God Rays

Source: electricsheep26354 (Image credit: Source: electricsheep26354)

Disable God Rays does exactly what it sounds like: it removes the volumetric god rays that Bethesda added into the Special Edition version of Skyrim. This will give you a decent performance increase, although it will mean that sunlight in the environment won't be as pretty.

No Radial Blur

Source: Gorgulia (Image credit: Source: Gorgulia)

If you're looking for something that improves your performance in combat, No Radial Blur will help. It disables the radial blur effect that happens when you get hit by enemies or perform a killcam finishing move. This can save you valuable frames, especially in larger combat situations where you're getting hit frequently.

Graphics mods

These mods are geared towards folks who want to make their Skyrim look as modern as possible. Though graphics mods options aren't nearly as advanced as what you can get on PC, you can still make Skyrim look incredible on Xbox One. Be wary, however, that some of these mods may negatively impact your performance. If you have an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, this will be much less of a problem due to the stronger hardware.

Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel

Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel (NAT) is a weather, lighting, and effects overhaul, all in one complete package. You may not be able to use the advanced ENB lighting and post-processing mods you can find on PC on your console, but what NAT provides is the next best thing. If you want one mod that will instantly make your game look better without any performance hits whatsoever, this is the mod for you.

Skyland

Source: JohnRose81 (Image credit: Source: JohnRose81)

The all-in-one version of the Skyland mod massively improves the texture quality of nearly everything in Skyrim. From the game's vast earthy landscapes to the wood-and-stone structures that make up each city and nearly everything between, Skyland will make all of it look phenomenal.

Static Mesh Improvement Mod

Source: Brumbek (Image credit: Source: Brumbek)

The Static Mesh Improvement Mod overhauls the look of what Skyland does not, such as things like furniture, food items, and other miscellaneous objects. As a result, this mod's impact is mostly felt in interior spaces, although it covers plenty of outdoor objects as well.

Veydosbrom

Source: Merkcy (Image credit: Source: Merkcy)

For Xbox One users, Veydosbrom is the best overall grass mod since it adds beautiful, dense grass to Skyrim without hitting performance too hard. This is a great mod to pick up if you want your Skyrim to feel more lush. Make sure to pair it with Landscape Fixes for Grass Mods.

Skyrim Flora Overhaul (Trees Only)

Source: vurt (Image credit: Source: vurt)

The trees only version of Skyrim Flora Overhaul pairs excellently with Veydosbrom, as it significantly pretties up Skyrim's trees. After all, it would look weird for the grass to be incredibly detailed but the trees to look vanilla.

Realistic Water Two

Source: isoku (Image credit: Source: isoku)

The Realistic Water Two mod completely revamps Skyrim's water, making it look much more realistic thanks to new textures, colors, and visual effects. The performance cost isn't that bad, either, so this is a great pick for performance-focused players as well.

Gameplay mods

If you're looking to freshen up the Skyrim experience with some changes to the gameplay, these mods will be right up your alley. They add more depth to the game's mechanics and systems, and they bring more overall roleplaying potential to Skyrim.

Alternate Start - Live Another Life

Source: Arthmoor (Image credit: Source: Arthmoor)

Alternate Start - Live Another Life is perfect for people who want to quickly start new playthroughs without having to go through the Skyrim intro sequence every time. It allows you to pick a background for your character and then have them teleported to an fitting location in the world with the appropriate starting gear, which is awesome for roleplaying.

Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim

Source: EnaiSiaion (Image credit: Source: EnaiSiaion)

The Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim mod completely overhauls the game's skill trees, unlocking countless new perk options for players to experiment with in their builds. What's awesome about Ordinator is that it even revamps less popular skills like Speech or Pickpocketing in order to make them more viable and interesting, which is a great way to encourage build variety. None of the new perks are particularly overpowered, either, ensuring a balanced experience.

Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim

Source: EnaiSiaion (Image credit: Source: EnaiSiaion)

Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim is essentially the mage version of Ordinator in that it adds countless new spells to all of Skyrim's schools of magic. From raising magical stone walls to block enemies with Alteration to casting devastating tornadoes with Destruction, Apocalypse is chock-full of creative and fun spells to try out. The mod automatically distributes them throughout the world as well, so finding them won't be difficult (the best place to look is with a Jarl's court wizard).

Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim

Source: EnaiSiaion (Image credit: Source: EnaiSiaion)

Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim is a phenomenal combat mod that breathes new life into the Skyrim hack-and-slash experience we've all gotten used to by now. It makes enemy AI smarter, makes attacks deadlier (for both the player and enemies), adds in locational damage, and makes it so all attacks drain stamina instead of just power attacks. All of these changes make Skyrim more difficult, but they also make the combat system feel more skill-based. Additionally, overcoming foes with Wildcat combat is much more satisfying than it ever was with vanilla Skyrim. We can't recommend this mod enough.

Beasts of Tamriel

Source: SpikeDragonLord (Image credit: Source: SpikeDragonLord)

If you want some more variety in the ranks of Skyrim's creatures and critters, it doesn't get any better than Beasts of Tamriel. As you explore the lands, you'll start to see and encounter monsters you've never seen before, including female giants, massive whales, flaming wolf spirits, big bipedal frogs (you can ride them like horses!) and many more.

iNeed - Food, Water, and Sleep

Source: isoku (Image credit: Source: isoku)

iNeed - Food, Water, and Sleep turns Skyrim into somewhat of a survival game. As you play through the game, you'll need to make sure your character stays well-fed, hydrated, and rested. This is an excellent mod for people who are looking for an extra bit of challenge, and it also gives you more of a reason to stop by in Skyrim's smaller towns while on your travels.

Quest mods

Quests dictate nearly everything we do in Skyrim, and over the years talented modders have come up with some truly incredible quest mods that add in brand new stories with professional voice acting, new worldspaces, and more.

The Forgotten City

Source: TheModernStoryteller (Image credit: Source: TheModernStoryteller)

The Forgotten City is arguably the best quest mod in existence in terms of writing, as it won a National Writers' Guild award for its script. In this 8-hour long adventure, players will work to uncover the truth behind a murder mystery in an ancient underground city. The mod's voice acting is stellar, and the fact there are multiple endings means that the quest has lots of replayability as well.

Project AHO

Source: HaemProjects (Image credit: Source: HaemProjects)

Project AHO takes players to Sadrith Kegran, a hidden settlement owned by Great House Telvanni and built over the ruins of an ancient Dwarven city. As they play through this DLC-sized adventure, players will uncover the secrets of an extremely advanced Dwemeri invention: the Aetherium Hyperspace Observatory.

Carved Brink

Source: HaemProjects (Image credit: Source: HaemProjects)

Made by the same team behind Project AHO, Carved Brink is centered around exploring a Daedric plane of Oblivion controlled by goblins. Over the course of this quest mod, you'll find new treasures, meet new characters, and eventually you'll be tested by the trial of the Daedra.

The Notice Board

Source: MannyGT (Image credit: Source: MannyGT)

Unlike the previous mods we mentioned, The Notice Board is aimed towards players looking for short, repeatable adventures. At every city or town you will find notice boards where NPCs have posted jobs for adventurers like you to complete. These jobs typically entail clearing out bandit camps, delivering secret messages, saving captured civilians, killing beasts, going hunting, and more.

Your thoughts

Did we miss any of your favorite mods? Have you got one you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

21 Comments
  • Nice I'm gonna try these out
  • Some of these are perfect for me, I don't like heavy modding, but quality of life enhancements are grand.
  • I'm buying this game today, can't say I'm super impressed with achievements being disabled where mods are on, I know why they do it, but surely for aesthetic only mods there could be some concessions.
  • Theres a mod to enable achievements with mods on, on the skyrim special edition nexus
  • Can't use nexus mods on xb1 unless (or until) someone ports it over
  • Wnat to try this game, without mods. But man, I am not sure I have the time to really do it justice. One of those on my bucket list.
  • No graphics mods?
  • There's plenty of those
  • The real question is: Why would you mod Skyrim? Not that I don't mod it, but some player don't and they would like to know why they would do it.
  • As a console player confronting mods for the first time it was a bit of a scary jump. But the access and use has been very easy on Xbox. I currently am using at least 10 separate mods. Some add hundreds of new spells, one allows you to become a bard and perform in taverns, one adds more storms and better weather visuals, one increases the blood and gore, one mod adds the Fighters Guild into the game including missions, one adds missions for the Vigilantes of Stendar. There are so many cool mods to try and many of them add to the game not just help you cheat it, or improve visuals, and bugs. I strongly urge everyone to try the mods, a lot of very talented people put in a ton of free work to give us options, the least we can do is use them and say thanks
  • Want to play as deadpool? Done. Want near-DLC quality expansion to add content? Plenty of those. Want to sell all your loot instead of just a few or don't want a merchant to die so you have one more to sell your items to? It's there.
    Don't like how the smithing tree is laid out? There's a mod that separates them into item type categories instead of smithing perk categories (1-h, 2-h, helm, armor, etc).
    Are you a perv and want to see near-naked ladies? There's a mod for that (don't hurt yourself).
    Simply put, when you're done with ALL the quests in the game with nothing left to discover like the Ebony Knight (spoiler), mods give endless opportunities to increase and change repayability experiences to a whole new level.
  • For some reason, my comment was linked to the person below...
  • As long as achievements are disabled with mods i don't se the idea
  • Achievements are set as a challenge to accomplish, making the game that much more... well, challenging. Mods take away from that, which is why they're called modifications.
    A knife is a knife. If you add a gun to it, it's no longer close combat, but ranged with a very low option for close combat, making it unfair to the opponent.
    It is no longer the vanilla form that the challenges are set for. Add a mod to play as deadpool, the Witcher, or dragon ball z, you achieved the change your face achievement without actually going to the ratway and doing it properly.
    Many mods add op gear or a cheat menu or other options that would make earning achievements effortless (in other words, LAZY) and unfair to those who earned their achievements the right and hard way.
    Want achievements? Earn them. Want to goof around and mod? Go for it, but don't expect the achievement activation mod to come along and make it any easier for you any time soon. My best guess is it would probably be approved long AFTER all the rare quality achievements are gone. Glad I got all mine at 1% - 9%.
    You should try it, it'll make your quality of gaming that much more satisfying.
  • Older article so I don't know if I'll get a response on this or not. I've been playing unmodded for a few hours now (15+, not that I feel like I've accomplished much). I have absolutely zero self control when it comes to mods or using console commands. Once I start, I just get to the point where I'm cheating and spawning stuff in or modifying skills, so I've been trying to avoid them. They're like "the Devil in the red dress" of games for me. Anyway, I've still been contemplating the idea of using mods for this game, but my question is: If I decide to mod now, is there a chance I could screw up my save? Are you intended to mod from the get go or can you mod after the fact?
  • Ok so nobody answered your question. I play on xbox 1. After I modded my skyrim, the save files show [M] before your character name to denote that file as modded. Your vanilla file should not be affected by the mods and should be able to go back and play normally after you disable all your mods. So any point after your last hard save will be modded. Make sure you do this before activating your mods or you will lose all progress since then.
    While playing with mods, your entire vanilla save history will be hidden so you cannot overwrite them by accident and will only be accessible from the main menu.
    Yes, you can mod from jump street to any point after your last hard save, or just start a new character with the different life start mod.
  • Are mods available on the PS4 version?
  • I think some mods are on ps4.....but not as in depth as xb1
  • I wish I knew a way or that it existed to be able to stream my Xbox 1 to my PC then use Steam link to stream it to my bedroom for more play time with it still being playable through all the different streaming points.
  • Comments from 2 months ago on an article apparently dated Jan 22 2017? I'm smelling something recycled here!
  • Goods mods but i find some not in the list what i always use.
    Dont remember names but few mods always essential for me:
    1. No more vampires attack in the city
    2. No more dragons attacks outside when u travel
    3. Merchants never die
    4. And replace to real moons and planets visual.