Modding Skyrim is not that hard really. Anyone can get the basics down in a matter of days/weeks. When you understand how mod conflicts work as well as common issues that users run into, you’ll be able to troubleshoot and patch things up very quickly. In this video (guide) I am going to show you how to get started with installing mods, after that it’s all up to you.
I will be mostly focusing on Skyrim SE (Special Edition) but the process is pretty much the same for LE, all you have to do is download the appropriate files where applicable.
The golden rule for beginners is to not go crazy with mods!
If you’ve installed a bunch of mods and your game doesn’t even want to start, it means you overdid it.
On the Nexus website you will see many different games, for LE the suffix on addresses will be Skyrim, for SE Skyrim Special Edition. Pay attention to the URLs when downloading stuff. Textures work between both versions (but not meshes). Let’s get started!
Mod Organizer 2 (MO2) – Robust Mod Manager
I personally use Mod Organizer 2 (works for all Skyrim versions). This is a very powerful and robust mod management utility that’s totally worth getting used to. It may look a bit daunting at first but it’s really not that hard to get the hang of it. When you start the installation process make sure you check the handle Nexus links box. You will be able to download mods straight into the utility.
There’s also a comprehensive tutorial as well as lots of guides online. Immerse yourself deep into it.
You can install this in a separate folder of your Skyrim and go with the portable version if you’d like to keep all mod & configuration files in it. I prefer it like that. Your STEAM installation should be away from your Windows drive to make sure there’s no permission errors.
This utility also works for modding other games like Fallout 4.
Install SKSE64 – Skyrim Script Extender
Now it’s time to install the Skyrim Script Extender. Get the 7z archive for your appropriate version of the game. Download and extract anywhere on your machine.
Copy all extracted files to your Skyrim’s root folder. It’s important to keep this updated but thankfully the updates do not happen often. When it’s time to update, simply re-download the newer version and do the same (overwrite old files).
After you’ve installed SKSE, open Mod Organizer again and you will see a dropdown option that says SKSE. This is how you will be starting the instanced SKSE enabled version of Skyrim which you can mod.
You can send the shortcut to desktop, rename it and even change the icon by right clicking on it > change icon and pick up the executable from the root folder (it will only pickup the graphic).
You are ready to install mods at this point.
Must Have Mods
Also install Sky UI for SE because this mod provides the MCM menu functionality for other mods to use. Without it you won’t be able to change settings for other mods you get in-game.
Whenever you install new mods, always read descriptions carefully and even the posts area where users will often report potential problems and incompatibilities.
Do not go crazy with mods and after you’ve gained a bit of experience and your modded build has grown, it’s time to learn how to patch things up.
And those are the basics.