Top 15 mods that make great games even better

FeatureSep 1, 2017 at 6:12a PSTby Wacha

Top 15 mods that make great games even better

There’s a lot of mods out there, probably as many as there’s games on Steam. It’s a bliss, but it also means it’s quite easy to overlook some really interesting projects. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 15 best mods for great games.

When browsing the Internet in search of mods, you might be tempted to say that the ability to modify games is among the greatest advantages of PC gaming (although mods are also available for chosen console titles). The list begins with simple graphics additions or mechanics-related tweaks; then there’s new content – characters or items; on the opposite side of the spectrum we have full-on conversions, which sometimes transport the game into a brand new universe. Many older titles boast an active modding scene that sometimes is the only thing keeping them alive. Talented groups of modders ceaselessly create new content, and some of their creations are more advanced than the core games themselves. The developers sometimes contribute to the scene as well – it’s much easier to work on games that come with official tools that allow to easily access the required files instead of laboriously look for them in the game directory.

The best part is that everyone can create mods; the worst part is that anyone can do it – among the amazingly polished modifications, there’s also a ton of rather useless and uninteresting mods that are only a waste of time and effort. Bearing this in mind, we’ve created a list of 15 best game modifications that we think deserve attention. A small disclaimer before we begin – the following mods are the best mods for the chosen games; not all of these would be included in a list of the best mods of the year (or of all time).

The list of games and their mods that we cover in this article:

  1. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – Enderal
  2. Mount & Blade – Star Wars Conquest
  3. The Witcher 3 – Devil’s Pit Mod
  4. Gothic – The Dark Mysteries
  5. Mount & Blade: Warband – Anno Domini 1257
  6. The Battle of Middle Earh II: Rise of the Witch-King – Edain Mod
  7. Medieval II: Total War – Third Age: Total War
  8. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat – Call of Chernobyl
  9. Crusader Kings II – Game of Thrones
  10. The Witcher – Full Combat Rebalance
  11. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion – Nehrim
  12. Minecraft – IndustrialCraft
  13. Napoleon: Total War – The Great War
  14. The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind – Morrowind Overhual
  15. Fallout: New Vegas – Project Brazil

Enderal: The Shards of Order (Skyrim)

Enderal: The Shards of Order:
  1. Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  2. Modder: Sure A.I.
  3. Size: 8 GB
  4. Current version: 1.1 (as of August 2017)

The mods for Skyrim go by the thousands, but amidst this avalanche of content, the mod called Enderal: The Shards of Order is a real gem. You could even venture to say that it’s actually a whole new game – Enderal takes the players to a new universe, offering 100 hours of gameplay.

The story unravels in a world called Vyn – the titular Enderal Island, to be exact. Although the game world is much smaller than that of Skyrim, it’s also much more diverse – there are lush forests, tropical coasts and snowy mountain peaks. Each location was meticulously designed, so simply visiting new places is pretty entertaining. The visuals are boosted by new graphics effects and high-res textures – Enderal definitely looks better than The Elder Scrolls.

The authors of this mod created not only a new land, but also a well-written story. The quests introduce the player to a range of interesting and, more importantly, believable characters. The character progression system was also redesigned. The system known from Skyrim was discarded – instead, the authors introduced XP points that are awarded for finishing quests and killing enemies. At this point, we should probably mention combat. The fights in Enderal are quite difficult, mostly because the methods of healing the character are limited. Using healing spells and potions increases the magic disease, consequently weakening the protagonist. Healing without such negative effects is only possible with food or rest.

The soundtrack and professional voice-overs complete the mod. You will hear the voices of Dave Fennoy and Lani Minella, among others.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

Enderal: The Shards of Order is fitted with its own installer, which will conveniently place the files in their locations.

Star Wars Conquest (Mount & Blade)

Star Wars Conquest:
  1. Game: Mount & Blade (Warband as well – after installing a patch)
  2. Modder: Star Wars Conquest Dev Team
  3. Size: 224 MB
  4. Current version: 0.9.4 (as of August 2017)

When I say Mount & Blade, not many people will say Star Wars. Fortunately, the team responsible for the Star Wars Conquest mod are not part of the majority here, since they have launched the medieval land of Caladria straight into the far-away galaxy. Most importantly, they did a great job.

Star Wars Conquest impresses us right from the start – the character creation tool offers over a dozen races known from the universe. Then the player has to choose their faction (The Empire, The Rebellion or the Hutt Cartel) and proceed to the conquest of the galaxy. And there’s a lot to conquer – the game world consists of hundreds of different planets, which were given characteristic traits by the authors. Apart from that, the players receive a few dozen different units and new items – among them the iconic lightsabers and blasters. You can really see that the modders spared no effort with this mod; the combat mechanics were fundamentally changed, thanks to which slashing and shooting enemies is very satisfying and brings tons of fun. The Star Wars feel is present in every aspect of the game, so the fans of the universe will surely enjoy it.

Star Wars Conquest also offers some new Quick battle options. The authors prepared three scenarios – an assault on a temple on Yavin IV, an attempt to take over an Imperial ship, and a Tusken raid.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

Place the contents of the zip file in the Modules folder, found in the main game directory.

Devil’s Pit Mod (The Witcher 3)

Devil’s Pit Mod:
  1. Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  2. Modder: SkacikPL
  3. Size: 20 MB
  4. Current version: 0.92 (as of August 2017)

Even though there’s a ton of mods for The Witcher 3, those offering new items or characters are few and far between. Most of the time, The Witcher 3 mods change the mechanics or graphics – the Devil’s Pit Mod breaks these conventions. The mod developed by SkacikPL, a guy responsible for a couple of well-known mods on Nexusmods, furnishes the game with a new location, new items and new characters.

The mod gives us access to the titular Devil’s Pit – a place unavailable in the game. Inside await four characters – Iorveth, Saskia, Thaddeus and Victoria. Unfortunately, in the current version you can only interact with the latter two. Thaddeus is the local quartermaster, and Victoria can be hired as a mercenary. She can carry some of Geralt’s equipment, will be happy to play a round of gwent and will light your way in caves. She’s obviously quite useful in a combat situation as well. To top it off, the Devil’s Pit Mod provides nineteen new items, among them a shaving kit, a couple bombs and knives and a magical sword.

If you like this mod, stay put – the author promises to add more missions and let Geralt interact with Iorveth and Saskia – something like that would be quite interesting.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from Nexus Mods.

Just unzip the mod and paste it to the main Witcher 3 directory. When the computer asks you if you want to replace the files, say “yes to all”.

Installing this mod with Nexus Mod Manager can potentially corrupt the game files.

Dark Mysteries (Gothic)

Dark Mysteries:
  1. Game: Gothic
  2. Modder: The PoziomkaZ
  3. Size: 489 MB
  4. Current version: 2.02 (as of August 2017)

The Gothic series (mostly the first and second installments) stand out thanks to a great number of available mods that offer hours and hours of gameplay. Dark Mysteries is among the best mods out there for Gothic.

Dark Mysteries don’t take the players into another adventure. Instead, the mod adds new adventures and expands those already available in the original world. Most importantly, the mod introduces five new camps – the Smugglers, the Fanatics, the Guards and the Primevals. The last faction is in the center of the Dark Mysteries’ intrigue, and the Nameless Hero can join them. The remaining camps offer numerous new quests and the ability to learn new skills – blacksmithing, cooking and brewing.

Apart from extensive, multi-thread plot the mod also adds new locations, and around 80 (!) new characters. New monsters, as well as new items (including helmets), are scattered all around the world. The arena is an interesting addition – there, you can watch and bet on fights, or take part in them yourself. The mod also alters the mechanics of casting spells, introducing the ability of creating your own. The mod is completed with a set of better textures (imported from Gothic 2), and amateur voice-over.

Installation

  1. Download Gothic – Dark Mysteries mod from our FTP servers.
  2. Download Gothic – Player Kit from our FTP servers.

This download includes an installer that will place all the files in the right location.

In order for this mod to work, you will need the Player Kit (which also comes with an installer).

Anno Domini 1257 (Mount & Blade: Warband)

Anno Domini 1257:
  1. Game: Mount & Blade: Warband
  2. Modder: 1257AD Developers
  3. Size: 1 GB
  4. Current version: 1.13 (as of August 2017)

Mount & Blade: Warband has a very creative modding community; among the most interesting inventions of theirs is Anno Domini 1257. The mod takes the players into the 13th century, more precisely the titular year 1257.

This mod’s main focus is on maintaining historical fidelity, hence the forty new factions – among them, The Holy Roman Empire, The Duchies of Poland, The Kingdom of England or the Papal State. The nations feature hundreds of new units and thousands of items straight from the 13th century. The mod significantly changes the battles, which become shorter, more complicated and satisfying. Many new units were introduced, along with a weather system that impacts the conditions on the battlefield.

The mod also allows players to take part in a crusade (or to start a new one) and even lets you develop your castle. The recruitment system has also been changed, and the companion mechanics revamped; naval battles are a new addition. Castles, cities and villages received a set of new locations based on the historical appearance of their real counterparts.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

This download includes an installer that will place all the files in the right location.

Edain Mod (The Battle of Middle Earth 2: The Rise of the Witch-King)

Edain Mod:
  1. Game: The Battle of Middle Earth II: The Rise of the Witch-King
  2. Modder: Edain Team
  3. Size: 2.1 GB
  4. Current version: 4.3 (as of August 2017)

Tolkien’s universe inspired a number of pretty good games. Among them is LOTR: The Battle of Middle Earth, in this case along with the The Rise of the Witch-King expansion. Even though fighting the powers of Darkness is cool just by itself, the whole game becomes even cooler with this mod.

Edain Mod upgrades and expands virtually every aspect of the game and strives to convey the atmosphere known from the books and movies as faithfully as possible. It adds a myriad of new units, maps, heroes, buildings and factions. Dividing Humans into Rohan and Gondor was a great choice – I don’t suppose any of the fans had ever been able to understand the decision to combine these two radically different nations into one. The heroes were changed in many ways as well. They received a lot of new skills, and some of them can even wear one of the rings; however, most are better off without any jewelry, as they take the vicinity of the ultimate weapon rather poorly. While the game does delete the original campaigns, it adds new missions in the Skirmish mode – sieges in which we can stand on either side of the city walls.

Edain Mod is constantly developed and updated by its creators. The next update should introduce more skills in the Dwarven skill tree, so you might want to closely follow the progress of this project.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

This download includes an installer that does all the hard work for you.

Third Age: Total War (Medieval II: Total War)

Third Age – Total War:
  1. Game: Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms
  2. Modder: TW_King_Kong
  3. Size: 3.8 GB
  4. Current version: 3.2 (as of August 2017)

Third Age – Total War is a total conversion, replacing the world from Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms with the Third-Era Middle Earth. Interestingly enough, this mod is considered one of the best adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.

This hardly comes as a surprise if you consider all the details the creators had to bear in minds. First of all, they rendered the map of the entire Middle Earth, along with the 14 factions – for example, the player can side with Gondor, Rohan, Mordor, Isengard, The High Elves or the Orcs of Gundabad. Of course, each of the factions comes with a set of characteristic units and locations. And the latter are more than just names: they’re faithfully recreated places from the movies – the creators had to prepare a ton of new textures to fill this new world. Some changes were also introduced in the combat mechanics, which are now much more challenging and epic, which is only fair in the Tolkien universe. The ents, mumakils or giants greatly contribute to the atmosphere of the Middle-Earth.

The Third Age – Total War mod contains an interesting feature called Historical Battle. It allows you, for example, to take part in The Battle of Five Armies known from The Hobbit or participate in the siege of Cair Andros on either side of the conflict.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

Download the archive and then launch the three files in the following order:

1. TATW_3.0_Part1of2.exe

2. TATW_3.0_Part2of2.exe

3. TATW_3.2_Patch.exe

Call of Chernobyl (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat)

Call of Chernobyl:
  1. Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
  2. Modder: TeamEpic
  3. Size: 3 GB
  4. Current version: 1.4.22 (as of August 2017)

Considered the best mod of 2016 by ModDB, Call of Chernobyl is an enormous sandbox developed on the engine of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. We’re not exaggerating by saying it’s “enormous”: this mod combines every area released to date in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe into a singe world.

The changes are evident right after starting a new game – you can choose one of the characters prepared by the creators, decide where you want to begin the game, chose the mode (story, free or ironman that includes permadeath). The mod lets you join almost any faction available in the series. The bandits, the military, Clear Sky, the ecologists, the Monolith and others – it’s entirely up to the player. The revamped AI really stands out – people and creatures now act more logically, making the game more challenging. Random encounters in the Zone can be surprising. The mod also introduces changes in the interface, animations and graphics, as well as adds new special anomalies and a range of various quests.

Installation

  1. Download from ModDB.
  2. Download updates from ModDB.

This download includes an installer that will place all the files in the right location.

Game of Thrones (Crusader Kings II)

Game of Thrones:
  1. Game: Crusader Kings II
  2. Modder: CK2:AGOT Development Team
  3. Size: 245 MB
  4. Current version: 1.5 (as of August 2017)

The universe created by George R. R. Martin is wildly popular nowadays, so it’s not very surprising that different medias, including video games, constantly refer to or use that world as a setting. One of the most interesting adaptations of that franchise is the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings II.

The mod takes the players into the world known from The Song of Ice and Fire novels, and the Game of Thrones TV series. The game is the perfect opportunity to change the course of history – the authors prepared many scripted scenarios, but, according to the rules of Crusader Kings II, the mod allows nearly total freedom. The player can choose the leader they want to sit on the Iron Throne, set the starting date or adjust the season cycle. Apart from that, the mod alters different game mechanics, changes the AI scripts and tries to faithfully render the feel of Westeros.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

This download includes an installer that will place all the files in the right location.

Full Combat Rebalance (The Witcher)

Full Combat Rebalance:
  1. Game: The Witcher
  2. Modder: Ifrit Creative Group
  3. Size: 21 MB
  4. Current version: 1.6 (as of August 2017)

The first entry in the series of digital adaptations of The Witcher didn’t come close to the level of recognition achieved by the Wild Hunt, but the game received a good amount of mods nevertheless. Full Combat Rebalance is a project well worth noticing.

The focus of this mod is to overhaul the combat and character development systems, which considerably increases the difficulty and realism of the game. Full Combat Rebalance changes the parameters of the protagonist and NPCs, reshapes skill trees, changes weapons, potions and oils balance and introduces the Heliotrope sign. Apart from that, the mod decreases the number of enemies while making them a lot stronger – this makes the game more lore-friendly: in Sapkowski’s books, the monsters are more rare, but always borderline-fatally dangerous. The mod also adds a new sword, three new difficulty levels and a new main theme for the main menu.

Installation

  1. Download from GameWatcher.

This mod comes with an installer that allows customizing many settings.

Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge (Oblivion)

Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge:
  1. Game: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  2. Modder: Sure A.I.
  3. Size: 1.7 GB
  4. Current version: 1.5.0.8 (as of August 2017)

Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge is a total conversion of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, created by a group called Sure A.I., i.e. the authors of Enderal: The Shards of Order. The similarities don’t end there – this mod is set in the same land as Enderal, which provides yet another chance of immersing in the world of Vyn.

Much like in the case of the Skyrim mod, Nehrim takes the players to the titular land and offers them a long, multi-thread story and a couple of cut-scenes that propel the whole thing. The available area is similar in size to Cyrodill from Oblivion, but it’s much more detailed and interesting – each location was created from scratch, without using any procedural algorithms. Of course, since this is a conversion, the mod comes with many new characters and quests, which are actually more polished than those in the original. The NPCs have more distinctive features, and are overall more memorable; the missions are extensive and often feature cool plot twists.

Some similarities to the Gothic series are easily noticeable. The enemies don’t scale down to match the level of out protagonist, while combat and quests yield experience points. You can develop your character with XP, but you need to find a teacher first. This stretches character development in time, hence influencing the difficulty – so does the new combat system by increasing the difficulty of fights.

Installation

  1. Download from our FTP servers

This mod comes with an installer that will place all the files in the right location.

IndustrialCraft (Minecraft)

IndustrialCraft:
  1. Game: Minecraft
  2. Creator: IC2 Dev-Team
  3. Size: 6,7 MB
  4. Current version: 2.6.253 (as of August 2017)

You can use your creativity in Minecraft by building all sorts of structures or worlds like in no other game. No wonder that Minecraft’s mod scene is particularly creative, constantly bringing something new and interesting to the fan base. Among countless projects, the one called IndustrialCraft is particularly interesting.

IndustrialCraft introduces a wide range of new resources, items and machines. Most of them offer new solutions in processing resources, as well as in agriculture and mining, but there are also new weapons and armors. A characteristic element of IndustrialCraft are special factories that allow you to double the resource output – the extracted ores can be processed into a sort of dust, which is more effective than the regular melting. Such endeavor requires energy – harnessed from coal, water, wind or even nuclear fusion. You ought to be extra careful with the latter, since it’s totally possible that it will blow up, along with a good portion of the world. The mod also adds a sort of futuristic equipment (nano-armor, laser rifle), dynamite and new types of fences.

Installation

  1. Download from IndustrialCraft Wiki.
  2. Download Minecraft Forge.

Before the installation, make sure to download the version of the mod that matches your version of Minecraft. Then you will need to install Minecraft Forge (the tool includes its own installer). Once you do that, just place the downloaded file called IndustrialCraft (it’s a .jar file) in the mods folder, in the game’s main directory.

The Great War (Napoleon: Total War)

The Great War:
  1. Game: Napoleon: Total War
  2. Creator: The Great War Dev Team
  3. Size: 641 MB
  4. Current version: 5.1.4 (as of August 2017)

The Total War series plays out during different epochs, but never in the history of the franchise have the developers taken us to the war that began in 1914. A talented modding team decided to take matters in their own hands and created the mod called The Great War for Napoleon: Total War.

The Great War is a gigantic project altering every aspect of the game. The creators didn’t stop at creating new textures and models, but rather gave us a great campaign with many historical events. The players can choose to lead most of the countries that fought in WW1, and the battles are waged a bit differently than in the original. That’s mainly because of the new equipment and new battle possibilities – tanks, flamethrowers, chemical weapons, artillery and, most importantly, trench warfare. Apart from this, the mod also influences the way units behave, and allows more freedom in terms of formations and setting up your armies before the battle. Direct battles are not the only way of weakening the enemy – destroying enemy ports and merchant ships will gradually lead to hunger and shortage of resources.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

Download the archive and extract it into the main game directory. Then launch the file called Launcher.exe.

Morrowind Overhaul (Morrowind)

Morrowind Overhaul:
  1. Game: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  2. Creator: Ornitocopter Team
  3. Size: 1.7 GB
  4. Current version: 3.0 (as of August 2017)

The The Elder Scrolls series is synonymous with a whole lot of mods. Morrowind, which was released a good chunk of time ago, is no exception. Although a great game, it’s pretty unapproachable for new players because of its age; it’s not that the graphics in general suck – there’s still something to feast your eyes on, even after all these years – but the character models and animations leave a lot to be desired. The Morrowind Overhual mod is a solution – it revamps the graphics and the audio layer.

Morrowind Overhaul is a pack containing a few dozen mods that improve the way the game looks and sounds. The authors created hi-res textures, upgraded models, improved faces and animations. Apart from that, they added a ton of new assets – bushes, trees and other elements of vegetation. The original Morrowind was plagued by the omnipresent emptiness, which was the most flagrant in the Ashland, where the environment virtually had no distinguishing features at all. The authors furnished the land with dead trees – such a simple addition takes the exploration to a new level. Mechanics-wise, the game remains unchanged, so everyone who mastered Morrowind back during its heyday can still feel at home – you can easily tell it’s the good old Morrowind; the unique mood is still there – the thing is it just looks better.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

This mod comes with an installer that allows you to customize many options.

Morrowind Overhaul requires two official expansions in order to run – Tribunal and Bloodmoon.

Project Brazil (Fallout: New Vegas)

Project Brazil:
  1. Game: Fallout: New Vegas
  2. Creator: The Project Brazil Team
  3. Size: 1.3 GB
  4. Current version: 1.3.1 (as of August 2017)

The plot in Fallout: New Vegas is a piece of well-written and captivating story. If you felt like something was missing in your life after finishing the game, the mod called Project Brazil, which introduces a very good and mature campaign, is just the thing for you.

The mod lets you play as an inhabitant of Vault 18, located in the heart of the California wastelands. The story begins with a new intro, giving you a sense of a new adventure. The plot of Project Brazil sees the protagonist get mixed up in a conflict between the three most important factions, where the only way to survive is by switching alliances between the New California Republic, The Enclave, the army of supermutants and different camps of bandits. The story consists of many engrossing quests, in which the player can be aided by new companions (their voice-overs are totally decent). New radio stations will accompany you while you explore the wastelands.

Installation

  1. Download the mod from our FTP servers.

This mod should be installed with the Nexus Mod Manager.