‘Skyrim Improved – Overhaul’ is a mod that promises to enhance Skyrim’s gameplay mechanics

Modder ‘Mofakin’ has released the first version of his Skyrim Improved – Overhaul mod. Skyrim Improved – Overhaul is an overhaul of Skyrim that primary tries to enhance and improve gameplay. Not only that, but this mod is also a source for new and unique features, such as craft able barrels, bear traps and lanterns, new followers/summons, a crafting, perk and combat overhaul, and tons of minor features listed in the detailed information section. Skyrim Improved is styled in a hardcore fashion which means that most elements of SI will make your life in Skyrim much harder than you’re used to in the default game. And did we mention that the mod disables the automatic health regeneration for both PC and NPC?
Those interested can download it from here. Below you will find its huge changelog, so make sure to read it before installing it.
Skyrim Improved – Overhaul Features:
Main Gameplay Changes:
Skyrim Improved Menu at start up: Once you start the game with Skyrim Improved enabled, you’ll be prompted with a configuration menu that let you choose to turn certain features on and off. Make sure to choose exactly what you want, for the moment you’ll only be given this chance once.
Automatic health regeneration for PC and NPC turned off: Basically this turns off automatic health regeneration for all humanoid races, including the player. Automatic health regeneration in combat is also turned off. This feature is chooseable when starting the mod.
Slower magic and stamina regeneration for PC and NPC: Just as the sentence implies, this lowers the automatic regeneration of magic and stamina for all humanoid races, including you. This feature is chooseable at game start.
Basic athletics and slower speed: You’ll start with 75% of default running speed at level 1. You’ll slowly build up more speed when leveling up. The highest speed you’ll get is 203% at level 100. The formula of speed progression is based on different multipliers through the leveling up process: level 1=9, 2=8, 3=7, 4=6, 5=4.9, 6-10=1.9, 11-15=1.8, 16-20=1.7, 21-25=1.6, 26-30=1.5, 31-35=1.4, 36-40=1.3, 41-45=1.2, 46-50=1.1, 51-55=1, 56-60= 0.9, 61-65= 0.8, 66-70= 0.7, 71-75= 0.6, 76-80=0.5, 81-85=0.4, 86-90=0.3, 91-95= 0.2, 96-100=0.1. Once you’ve reached Level 101 you no longer gain higher speed.
No starter spells, racial powers and racial abilities: You’ll start without any magic capabilities. No spells, no powers and no abilities. The same is for every humanoid race. This feature is chooseable at game start.
Reset all skills to 0: This feature is turned off by default, and you should only use it if you really want a challenging game. Lowering all off your skills to 0 is a hard step to take, and combined with the lower skill progression renders you almost incapable to survive in Skyrim. Combine that with a Basic Needs and Hypothermia mod, and your Skyrim experience will remind you more of an adventure in the Zone.
Carry Weight lowered to 120 from default 300: This feature is also turned off by default. What it basically does is taking the ability from you to carry 6 tons of steel around. Who can do this in real life? Ok, Skyrim is a game, but for my taste the vanilla carry weight renders the game into a simple slash, hack and loot fest. Your carry weight won’t be gone forever. There are new spells, a rucksack and other options to increase your carry weight throughout the game. Apart from that you’ll gain +2 carry weight every time you level up and choose stamina as raised attribute. Also, why not let your followers ‘carry your burden’?
Changes to crafting:
Portable crafting tools and blueprinting: Every static tool like the forge, the smelter or the workbench is now craftable as temporary portable tool. How many uses you’ll get from it depends on the material you craft and how much you craft. The portable tools are very expensive, but come in very handy in huge dungeons such as the Blackreach. Blueprinting means you can now make a blueprint copy of every item with a paper roll and something to write, like a inkwell and quill, or charcoal. You’ll use these blueprints to recreate the item at every forge you come across. This way you don’t need to carry the item around.
All unplayable Armor/Clothes/Jewelry/Weapons made play- and craftable: Yep, that’s right. Every item of that category which wasn’t playable before, is now playable. You can craft it at the forge or elsewhere and if the item was enchanted by default, you’ll also get the chance to craft an unenchanted version of it. Some items are only craftable when you’ve made a blueprint copy of it or did certain quests.
All unique Armors/Clothes/Jewelry/Weapons made play- and craftable: And another right. Every item of that category, which wasn’t craftable before, is now craftable with or without enchantment. Certain items will only be craftable when you’ve done some quests or got a blueprint copy from the requested item.
Craftable level upgrades for level scaled items: If you got an item at low level progression you’ll now get the chance to upgrade the said item to the next higher level. Just step up to a forge and upgrade the weapon or armor or whichever else item you like.
Every Armor/Clothes/Jewelry/Weapon now improvable twice as much: Now this feature is no longer limited to steel and certain other items. You’ll get the chance to temper every useable item, including those imported by Skyrim Improved.
Fixed every Armor/Clothes/Jewelry/Weapon to be in the recipe list: To make it short. You’re able now to craft and temper every item, no matter where you are. Both do certain quests, gain a certain level/skill, have a certain perk or catch blueprints of items and you’ll get the chance to make it yourself, with or without enchantment. I’ve added over 500 new recipes for you to craft.
Crafting recipes revisited: Most of the default recipes got overhauled in a fashion that you’ll need more ingredients to craft the item. I’ve changed more than 100 recipes to use ingredients that make logical sense. Some of the recipes need ingredients that have been imported by Skyrim Improved.
Craftable Arrows: Yes, you also get the chance to craft every single arrow in game. You’ll need feathers, arrow heads and arrow shafts to make a bundle of ten arrows. Arrow crafting is depended on skill and perks, so you won’t be able to craft ebony arrows when not having the appropriate perk. Additionally I’ve introduced new arrow types, Silver and Quicksilver arrows. Read more about it in the archery section.
Craftable Scrolls and Staffs: For the mages out there, you can now craft scrolls with paper rolls, a quill and inkwell and the appropriate spell, if you own it. The same is for staffs. You basically craft a ‘dry’ staff and then enchant it with known magic.
Craftable new and old misc. items: You can now craft new stuff like portable barrels, bear traps, rucksacks, refine bottles, lanterns, torches, lock picks, inkwells, quills, forks, spoons, knifes and paper rolls. All of those items are useable and some of them are needed crafting prerequisites. You’ll use a portable barrel by crafting it, drop it from your inventory and activate it by grabbing (default z key). You can put it into your inventory with the content inside, but it’s not a good idea to carry it around, since it’s a huge encumbrance. Bear traps are used by just dropping them out of your inventory. They’re a little picky to handle, but I think you’ll get to understand how and where to use them. Lanterns function just like torches, rucksacks increase your carry weight when worn and refine bottles are a prerequisite when trying to milk venom from spiders. Additionally there are now branches which you need to collect in order to get certain recipes done. See more in the Loot, harvest and Ingredients section.
Crafting meltdown certain misc. items: Certain misc. items can now be used to smelt ingots from them. You get the chance to meltdown silver, malachite and iron ingots from cups, plates and other kitchen stuff.
Grain different ingredients at grain mills: Grain mills are now a working tool. You’ll need them to craft anything grain and grind related, like flour, salt and gem dust. Additionally grain mills have been placed all around the Skyrim world for easy access.
Crafting tools placed all around the world: Every place in the Skyrim world now has a complete set of crafting/forging/smelting tools. I think it was annoying having to walk for miles sometimes just for a single ingot smelting. It’s even more difficult with Skyrim Improved whole features enabled.
Changes to loot, ingredients, harvestable, potions and food:
Potions have duration: Health, Stamina and Magic regeneration potions now have duration. So you no longer get instant attribute healing from them. The effect develops in 3-5 seconds depending on the potion you drink. The same goes for ingredients that are used to make the said potions.
General loot decreased: In general looting is now much more sophisticated in terms of quantity and quality. You not only get less loot, finding something really precious is seldom.
Milking spiders only with refining bottles: You no longer get frostbite venom from spiders without having a refine bottle. In order to get one, you just need to clean an empty bottle at the forge and then carry it with you, when killing a spider and trying to milk her. In addition you can now refine the common spider venom to a more lethal version, the ‘spider poison’.
Harvest branches from trees: Branches are needed for a lot of crafting recipes now. In order to get them, you’ll just need to harvest them from trees. Or you can craft meltdown them from wooden misc. items, like brooms or pitchforks. Harvesting branches from the gilden green tree and other magical trees grants you a very useful ingredient. I don’t want to spoil, so see for yourself.
Mining ore like harvesting plants: The mining ore animation has been turned off. It was a nice gimmick when I’ve played the vanilla game, but it quickly got annoying having to wait for 30 seconds. Additionally you get now 15 ores instead of 9 ores at every source.
More loot activated: Finally I made changes to certain loot being more frequent, like feathers from Hargreavens and hawks, or Trolls now spawning Troll skulls.
Changes to overall combat:
Melee weapon range shortened: This relies to every melee weapon in game. You no longer have unrealistic melee weapon range and must be closer to enemies in order to hit them. This also relies to shield bashing.
Overall weapon and combat damage rose:
This basically means you no longer have to bash an enemy unrealistic often. Combat is much faster paced and you’ll need to time your bashes and blocks much better in order to fight successful. The torch bash is now much more lethal, as I believe fire should do quite an amount of damage when igniting someone.
Auto Aim turned off for all weapons and magic: Put simply: you no longer have auto aim, not with melee weapons, not with ranged weapons, not with magic. You fail more often to hit something especially in ranged combat. The same is true for your enemy.
Arrows faster and higher range: Arrows are 1.5x faster flying, have a much higher range x2, and are more effective in long range combat. Additionally arrows are now progressing and have different stats. See the Archery section for more.
Combat stamina system revised: Stamina is now much more relevant in combat. Bashing around like a berserk without good timing is no longer possible. And on top of that, if you can’t deliver a good fight, your enemy will kill you without the option to flee, because you either suffer from low stamina, and/or, in lower levels, from your low speed. Power attacks cost 1.5x more stamina, sprinting costs less stamina, but more when you have high inventory weight. In general attacks and blocks cost more stamina and power attacks now have a cool down time just as shouts. So no more power attack spamming. The only exception is zooming with a bow, which costs less stamina. This makes fending off enemies with bows or magic more beneficial before entering melee combat.
Changes to arrows and archery:
Arrows have weight: Arrows now have weight. This has an effect to your inventory and to combat as well. Some arrows are heavier than others and thus having different trajectory. A set of 100 arrows weights 10(kg) depending on the arrows class. The heaviest arrows are Dwemer arrows. Weight has the most impact on Dwemer arrows as you’ll soon notice.
Arrows have different stats: Arrows now all have different statistics from each other and different abilities. Before talking too much, just have a look at this spreadsheet:
As you can see the heaviest arrow is the Dwarven one. The most lethal probably the Daedric and Ebony, and the most controllable the Elven, Glass and Orc arrows. They all have different properties and you’ll need to find out for yourself which arrow suits you best.
Added Silver and Quicksilver arrows: Silver and Quicksilver arrows are special arrows that are only craftable if you have the arcane smithing perk. Silver arrows ignore normal weapon resistance and quicksilver arrows emit light and are the fastest available arrows. They fly with almost 0 trajectory, but have the lowest impact force and damage of all available arrows. They are good in combination with refined spider poison and the weapon of choice for far ranged combat. The new arrows are craftable as well.
More arrows visible on bodies and stay longer: Just for a visual satisfying impact I’ve made those changes. You want to know if you’d hit someone with those new quicksilver arrows, right?
Changes to magic:
Added new Spells: I’ve added 8 new spells. 5 different feathers spells that increase carry weight which is dependent on your alteration skill. A spell that lets you make every NPC essential, and 2 spells that grant you the ability to share inventory with other NPC’s. You’ll need the first spell to set follower status on the target NPC and gain access to their inventory, and the second spell to reset the follower status and maybe take of them what you gave them before. On a side effect you can make any NPC your companion with this spells. If you’re capable of accessing their inventory and make them your follower, depends on their disposition towards you.
Light enhancing spells: I’m using the Realistic lights mod. This is why I made the candlelight spell more sophisticated and all spells give off light when casted.
Toggleable Nighteye and Vampire Sight: Yeah. Basically those two abilities are now toggleable.
Follower and summon additions:
Added 4 new followers: I’ve added 4 new followers to Riverwood. A Nord Barbarian named ‘Arnulf Warzenschlegger’, a Breton Healer named ‘Mira Duvain’, and an Argonian Archer/Ranger named ‘Lifts her Tail’. They share different abilities, characters and preferences. You won’t see Arnulf ever using magic, Mira ever going into a rampage or Lifts her Tail doing any of those. Since this is the first release of Skyrim Improved you’ll get an easy access to all three of them. But this will change in future versions. I’m planning to give them unique quests and other fancy stuff. Additionally you get the chance to recruit a spider named ‘Widow’. I won’t tell you were you’ll find her, but she’s close to Riverwood. If you hear a Cuckoo warble, then you know you’re close.
5 new Summons: The 5 new summons are a ‘Large Familiar’ Bear Spirit, a Draugr ‘Ghost Archer’, a Whispmother ‘Ghostspirit’, a Hallow Dead named ‘Hollow Death’, which basically is Arnulf in ghost form and you’re also capable of conjuring Alduins Ghost once you’ve ended the final stage of the main quest.
Additional minor changes:
Perk Overhaul: I’ve added 70 extensions for default perks and added 15 unique new perks. I don’t want to spoil them, but most are related to conjuration, alchemy and archery.
Bug fixes and fixed annoyances: In addition to the fixes in crafting I’ve also made some changes to other things: cabbage, leek and chicken nests do now respawn. NPC’s and followers no longer block doors and bottlenecks. Just bump them and they move away farther and faster. Days and month now reflect their Earth like counterparts. I’m still too lazy to learn the lore about days and month and I want to know which day it is, cause I’m writing live journals when playing the game. Knife, forks and spoons now have a name. Certain misc. items like lockpicks are weighted now. And finally I got rid of a whole bunch of annoying messages that spoiled my game experience.
Lethality and hardcore changes: Your overall level progress is now lowered 5x. This means when it took you to rise 3 levels in 1 hour in the vanilla game, it now takes you at least 3 hours to raise the first level. Level progression is slowing down exponentially with every higher level. I recommend using a skill uncapper mod like the one from Elys.
Cutthroat merchants: Merchants buy from you for 25% of the vanilla prize and sell to you for 4x higher then vanilla. Money progression is significantly slowed with this.
Training costs higher: Level up training costs 5x higher prizes, but is available to you at any time. So as long as you can afford the money, you can learn your *** off.
Traps and diseases more lethal: Contracting disease now actually does something negative to you, especially with hardcore settings enabled. Traps are 5-10x more lethal than in default game. Most traps mean instant death to you and your followers, so be prepared and careful when venturing those Dwemer caverns.
Unique Barenziah quest book: The Barenziah quest is a very good addition, but after playing two times through the vanilla game, I no longer have the nerve to search for those stones. I’ve created a unique book which tells you where to find those nasty gems, but only if you understand the riddles inside the book.
Smaller changes and additions: Timescale is lowered to 5 from vanilla 20. This means 5 minutes in game is the same as 1 minute in real life. So a Skyrim day lasts 4 hours and 48 minutes in real life. In addition to longer candlelight spell and magic giving of light, I’ve raised the duration of torches and the radius of emitted light. It takes now 1 instead of 2 days to respawn vendors. In addition every vendor has now at least 1.000 gold. Different NPC’s now carry torches on a random base and finally I’ve imported three new unique ambient sounds to different locations in Skyrim.

John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities.Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email