Home Editorial Skyrim Strategy: Never really done

My Skyrim playtime’s lagged in the past few months, though only because I’m wary of finishing the main quest. I’m afraid that I’ll have no incentive to continue once I’ve finished the story Bethesda wanted to tell.

Or at least, I was afraid until the mods started coming in droves. Not to mention that I have a metric shit ton of quests left to do. However, the main reason I’m all about Skyrim these days, or will be soon enough, is a single location: Deus Mons. But I want to max out my perk trees as well, so today’s topic will in fact take place in two articles, covering:

1) How to make the best of the mods in the game, and…

2) What to do once your main build, in my case a battlemage, is essentially done.


Moving through Modes of Modification and Magnificence

From the Space Core crashing right in front of you to whole new worlds appearing at your behest, the mod community in Skyrim is alive and well. Even before Bethesda released a proper creation kit, modders were hard at work changing, improving, and adding to the world of the Dragons and Nords. For space reasons, I’ll only cover my two favorite mods, Deus Mons and SkyUI, but not before I show you the road to modification heaven.

If you’re serious about adding to the base game, you’ll want to know about the Skyrim Nexus. A hub for the Skyrim mod community and proprietor of their own mod manager, if someone’s made it, it’s probably there. The Steam Workshop is certainly a good place to look, but the real treasure trove is at the Nexus. Plus, you’ll need the manager if you plan to use either of the mods I’ll discuss below, since they aren’t in the Steam Workshop nor with they run without Nexus’s program.

One last thing note when installing mods. Sometimes the code for the mod doesn’t interface with the base game code. Thus, so errors are possible. To help alleviate this issue, read the notes modders provide with each iteration of their mod, taking special care to always back up important information in case of a horrid crash. Provided everything goes smoothly, you should still be aware of how powerful your rig is. Some mods are very taxing on even the most powerful PC’s due to the large number of objects and actions on screen at one time, so be aware of the limits of your graphics card and processor.


Console’s heads up display is icky!

On install, Skyrim comes with a user interface tailor made for the console. Having seen it played on an XBOX, I can say that it is well suited to a controller and four buttons. Of course, the PC is a totally different beast, and the tediousness acceptable on consoles is just plain frustrating with a mouse and keyboard.

Modders being PC buffs, many people set out to rectify the situation the stock HUD presented, long before mod tools came out. The best, and subsequently most popular UI fix is called SkyUI. It provides not only a clearer picture of what all’s in your inventory, it organizes it in a way that is far more friendly to the PC experience. There are more inventory items on screen at one time, they’re easier to select and organize, and you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of nested menus to get to important quest items. Scrolling is much faster, as is selecting the proper items for the job. I could go on for a while about all the small touches that make this such an improvement, but I’ll just let you guys find out for yourselves.

The one thing I don’t like, as it currently stands, is how the magic is organized. Rather than the words describing the various schools, it uses the symbols for them. Aesthetically and spatially, I can understand the need for this change, but I’m not well versed enough in the Elder Scrolls lore to know off hand which symbol means Destruction and which is Restoration. All told though, this little complaint is all I can bring against SkyUI. Other than that, I can’t recommend this mod enough.


A fortress fit for a Dragonborn

My main quest in Skyrim now is making sure that Deus Mons is a testament to the power of the Dovahkiin. From filling it’s vault with all manner of riches to hanging every major artifact of Skyrim in its armory, I want my castle to be the awe of Tamriel. And of course, it can be yours as well.

Closed to you until you literally wrench the key from the stomach of a powerful dragon, Deus Mons is the ultimate fortress. It even has a hotspring filled with water pulled from the planet’s core by dwarven technology. To get the most out of it, though, you need to invest a great deal of time. The living quarters alone will take ages to fill. There are around ten three tiered bookshelves, twenty of more manikins to cover in armor, perhaps forty different weapon racks to fit your means of destruction to, display cases to fill with the powerful texts and items of the gods, even a wall to place your dragon priest masks.

The best thing about Deus Mons, however, are the small touches, not these grandiose monuments to your personal power. There are places to store your excess soul gems, potion racks, a full garden of alchemy ingredients, and a place to store bugs you catch in the wilds. Because it’s so large, the creator’s put portals that allow easier movement throughout, and while you might not want to, sometimes doors and hallways  just won’t do.

In the future, Deus Mons’s creator will be adding NPCs and other improvements, and if I were to give one suggestion, I’d ask to somehow make me the king of Tamriel.


Though that might be asking too much.

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