What Is The Best Skyrim Version For Mods? The Answer Will Surprise You

I remember the first time I stepped into the vast, snowy expanse of Skyrim. The thrill of adventure, the promise of untold stories, and the allure of mods that could transform my game into a personalized epic. But as I delved deeper into the modding community, I was faced with a dragon-sized dilemma: which version of Skyrim was the best canvas for my modding aspirations? I felt like a mage without a spellbook, overwhelmed by choices. I couldn’t help but think, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a guide to navigate this Daedric maze?” And I knew I wasn’t alone; many fellow adventurers would benefit from a beacon in this modding wilderness.

In this guide, we’ll embark on a quest to uncover:

  • The allure of the Original Skyrim for modding
  • The magic woven into the Anniversary Edition
  • The enchantments that make the Special Edition a modder’s dream

So, fellow Dragonborn, grab your favorite enchanted weapon, and let’s dive deep into the world of Skyrim modding. Trust me, by the end of this journey, you’ll be more equipped than a Nord with a full set of Daedric armor. Ready to unlock the secrets? Keep reading and let the adventure unfold!

Which Version of Skyrim is Best for Mods and Why?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a magnum opus from Bethesda Game Studios, has been a cornerstone in the gaming community since its debut in 2011. With its expansive open world and intricate lore, it’s no wonder that modders have been drawn to it like moths to a flame. But with multiple versions available, the burning question remains: which one is the modder’s paradise?

10 Reasons Why Original Skyrim is Best for Modding

The original Skyrim, the game that started it all, was a blank slate, a canvas waiting for artists to leave their mark. Its untouched and pristine nature was a beckoning call to modders everywhere.

  1. Unrestricted Canvas: The original version of Skyrim has often been hailed as a modder’s paradise due to its unrestricted canvas. The game was like a blank slate, waiting to be filled with new ideas and innovations. Modders had the freedom to experiment and redefine the game without any pre-existing constraints, making it an ideal platform for creativity.
  2. Large Modding Community: As the first of its kind, the original Skyrim naturally attracted a vast and enthusiastic community of modders. This meant more collaboration, more ideas, and a plethora of mods to choose from. The community was not only large but also incredibly diverse, ensuring that there was something for everyone.
  3. Less Graphical Intensity: The graphics in the original Skyrim, while groundbreaking at the time, were simpler compared to later versions. This allowed modders to focus on texture and graphic enhancements without the pressure of matching high-end visuals. It also meant that the game was more accessible to a wider audience, including those with lower-end hardware.
  4. Legacy Mods: The original version of Skyrim saw the birth of iconic mods that have since become legendary in the modding community. These mods set the benchmark for what was possible and inspired future modders to push the boundaries even further. They also ensured that the original Skyrim remained relevant and popular long after its release.
  5. Simplicity: Without the bells and whistles of later versions, modders could focus on core gameplay enhancements and narrative-driven mods. This simplicity allowed modders to create mods that were focused and purposeful, without being weighed down by unnecessary features.
  6. Compatibility: Designed for the original game, most mods from this era seamlessly integrate without conflicts. This means that modders can choose from a vast library of mods without having to worry about compatibility issues or conflicts with other mods.
  7. Pioneering Efforts: The modding tools and software available during the original Skyrim era were in their infancy, which led to groundbreaking innovations. Modders had to be creative and resourceful in order to create mods, and this led to the development of new tools and software that are still used today.
  8. Raw Nature: The untouched nature of the original allowed for complete game overhauls without the risk of clashing with existing enhancements. Modders could create mods that completely changed the game, without having to worry about conflicts with existing mods or enhancements.
  9. Foundation: Many mods that are popular in later versions can trace their roots back to the original Skyrim, showcasing its lasting impact on the modding community. The original Skyrim provided the foundation for many mods that are still popular today, and its influence can still be felt throughout the modding community.
  10. Nostalgia: For many, modding the original Skyrim is a trip down memory lane, rekindling the magic of their first journey through the game. The original Skyrim holds a special place in the hearts of many modders, and its legacy is still felt throughout the modding community today.

In conclusion, while each version of Skyrim offers its own unique advantages for modding, the original version stands out for its unrestricted canvas, large modding community, and pioneering efforts. It was the starting point for the countless mods and innovations that followed, and its simplicity and compatibility make it a popular choice for modders to this day.

Ultimately, the decision of which version to use for modding comes down to personal preference and the specific goals of the modding project.

10 Reasons Why the Anniversary Edition of Skyrim is Best for Modding

Celebrating a decade of dragon-slaying and adventuring, the Anniversary Edition is a tribute to a timeless classic. But does it hold the throne in the modding realm?

  1. Updated Graphics: With a decade of technological advancements, the graphics have been revamped, offering a visually richer playground for modders to enhance even further. With the Special Edition, modders have access to a game with stunning visuals, from high-resolution textures to dynamic lighting, making graphic mods even more breathtaking.
  2. New Content: Fresh quests, characters, and locations mean new opportunities for modders to tweak, enhance, or even create parallel narratives. By including all three DLC expansions, the Special Edition provides a vast landscape for modders to modify and enhance, leading to a greater variety of mods.
  3. Bug Fixes: Bethesda addressed many of the original’s issues, offering a smoother experience for both players and modders. This means that mods run seamlessly, minimizing crashes and enhancing the player experience.
  4. Optimized Performance: Enhanced game mechanics ensure that mods run smoother, reducing crashes and glitches. With the newer engine, modders have a more robust platform to work with, allowing for more advanced modding capabilities.
  5. Integration with Current Gen Hardware: The game’s compatibility with modern hardware allows modders to craft more intricate and resource-intensive mods. Modders can take advantage of modern hardware, making mods more intricate and immersive.
  6. Revived Community Interest: The renewed interest in Skyrim has led to a resurgence in modding, with many returning to craft new masterpieces. With the Special Edition, modders have a fresh canvas to work with, leading to new and exciting mods.
  7. Backward Compatibility: A nod to its roots, many mods from previous versions can be integrated, ensuring legacy mods aren’t left behind. With the Special Edition, modders can continue to use their favorite mods and build upon them.
  8. Enhanced AI: Smarter NPCs mean modders can create more complex interaction mods, leading to richer gameplay. With improved AI, modders can create more nuanced and immersive mods that enhance the player experience.
  9. Richer Sound: With improved sound quality, modders can craft immersive soundscapes and audio mods. The Special Edition provides modders with an opportunity to create soundscapes that are more immersive and atmospheric.
  10. Modern Tools: With a decade of progress, modding tools have evolved, offering more features and compatibility with the Anniversary Edition. Modding tools have come a long way since the original Skyrim, and with the Special Edition, modders have access to more advanced tools and features.

The Anniversary Edition, which was released as an expansion to the original game, brought a new level of depth and complexity to the world of modding. With its release, modders were given a plethora of new challenges and opportunities to explore. These included new game mechanics, updated graphics, and improved AI, which allowed for more complex and engaging gameplay experiences.

The expansion also introduced new storylines and characters, providing players with even more content to explore and enjoy.

In short, the Anniversary Edition was a game-changer for the modding community, and it opened up new possibilities for gamers around the world.

11 Reasons Why the Special Edition of Skyrim is the Best for Modding

The Special Edition, a remastered marvel, combined enhanced visuals with the richness of all three DLC expansions. But does it reign supreme in the modding kingdom?

  1. Graphical Overhaul: The Special Edition of the game has made significant graphical improvements. The high-resolution textures and dynamic lighting enhance the visuals, making it even more stunning. With the help of mods, you can take the graphics to the next level and enjoy the game like never before.
  2. Stability: The Special Edition is built on a more robust engine, ensuring that mods run seamlessly and minimizing crashes. This makes for a much smoother gaming experience, and you can enjoy all of your favorite mods without worrying about compatibility issues or game-breaking bugs.
  3. DLC Integration: With all three expansions included, modders have a vast landscape to modify and enhance. This means that there are more quests, characters, and locations for modders to work with, leading to a greater variety of mods.
  4. Wider Audience: The Special Edition appeals to both old fans and a new generation, resulting in a diverse modding community that offers a wide variety of mods. This means that there’s something for everyone, and modders can find inspiration and support from a large and active community.
  5. Improved Engine: The enhancements to the Creation Engine mean better mod compatibility and more advanced modding capabilities. This makes it easier for modders to create high-quality mods that work seamlessly with the game and offer new gameplay mechanics and features.
  6. Console Modding: The Special Edition introduced console modding, which was a groundbreaking feature that opened the gates for console players to experience the magic of modding. This means that even more people can enjoy the benefits of modding, and the community has grown even larger because of it.
  7. Active Community: With its popularity, the Special Edition boasts a vibrant community, ensuring continuous mod development and support. This means that modders have a wealth of resources and inspiration to draw from, and that the game will continue to be updated and improved for years to come.
  8. Quality of Life Improvements: The game became more player-friendly, and mods further amplified these improvements. The Special Edition features many quality of life improvements that make the game more enjoyable and user-friendly, and mods can take these improvements even further.
  9. Modern Features: The Special Edition introduced new features like dynamic snowfall and improved water dynamics, which opened new avenues for modding. This means that modders can create mods that take advantage of these new features, resulting in even more immersive and engaging gameplay experiences.
  10. Legacy Support: The Special Edition supports most mods from the original, ensuring that classics are not forgotten. This means that modders can continue to use their favorite mods and build upon them, and that the community can preserve some of the most iconic and beloved mods from the original game.
  11. Largest modding community: The modding community for Skyrim Special Edition is truly impressive. If you visit Skyrim Special Edition Nexus Mods, you’ll find that there are nearly 72,000 mods available as of the time of writing, along with nearly 2,800 collections of mods. With so many mods to choose from, the possibilities are endless!

In conclusion, while each version of Skyrim has its own advantages for modding, the Special Edition stands out for its graphical overhaul, stability, wider audience, improved engine, console modding, active community, quality of life improvements, modern features, legacy support, and the largest modding community.

It offers endless possibilities for modders, with its rich landscape and diverse community.

In my personal opinion, after having extensively modded both versions of Skyrim, I would undoubtedly choose the Special Edition as my preferred option. The reason being that the newer version has an abundance of mods available that cater to almost every preference, rendering the older version obsolete.

Furthermore, the Special Edition boasts superior graphics, offers a more stable gaming experience with fewer bugs and glitches, and comes with all the DLC and other additional features that the previous version lacks.

All in all, the Special Edition of Skyrim has a multitude of benefits over the previous version, making it an optimal choice for avid gamers and modders alike.


Our journey through the vast landscapes of Skyrim and its modding realms has been nothing short of epic. Just like a mage mastering spells or a warrior honing skills, understanding the nuances of modding across different Skyrim versions is a quest in itself. As we stand at the crossroads, looking back at our adventure, here’s a quick recap of the treasures we’ve unearthed:

  • The Original Skyrim’s raw canvas is a modder’s dreamland.
  • The Anniversary Edition blends modern enhancements with nostalgic charm.
  • The Special Edition offers a fusion of graphical brilliance and modding versatility.
  • Each version has its unique strengths, catering to different modding aspirations.
  • Out of all the versions available, I would choose the special edition.

Remember the confusion I felt, standing at the gates of Whiterun, overwhelmed by modding choices? I hope this guide has been the Clairvoyance spell you needed. Now, before you ride off into the sunset on your trusty steed, there’s one more section you shouldn’t miss. Ready for the next chapter? Dive into the “What Next?” section!

What Next?

I always believe that knowledge without action is like an arrow without a bow. Here’s what you can do to make the most of your Skyrim modding journey:

  • Join Skyrim modding forums: Engage with fellow Dragonborns and share your modding tales.
  • Experiment with mods: Try out mods across different versions to find your perfect fit.
  • Create your own mod: Channel your creativity and contribute to the community.
  • Attend modding workshops: Enhance your skills and learn from the masters.
  • Collaborate with fellow modders: Team up for bigger mod projects and create something legendary.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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