Skyrim has arguably the largest modding scene of any game out there. The RPG behemoth has outlasted its release decade to stay relevant, and part of it is down to the modding scene.
Over the years, there have been numerous re-releases for Skyrim across multiple platforms. Its 64-bit remaster came not only with engine and stability improvements, but also the Creation Club. Creation Club Content is Bethesda's own attempt to bottle some of the modding lightning. While its early rollout as a microtransaction-based add-on raised some eyebrows, it did call attention to Bethesda's own affinity with the modding scene.
Skyrim's survival mode, if anything, proves that Bethesda is keen to try out popular community concepts to bring out what fans want. Todd Howard's design philosophy with Skyrim was to create a radically new and different Elder Scrolls experience, even at the expense of losing some of Oblivion's game concepts.
So while the upcoming Elder Scrolls VI is still in its earliest stages of development, we may see some popular Skyrim mods find their way into the gameplay loop.
5 Skyrim mod-inspired game mechanics fans want in the next Elder Scrolls game
The cold atmosphere north of the Jerall Mountains makes the entire province of Skyrim conducive to survival mechanics. Chesko's Frostfall and Campfire, released in 2012, became the staple bundle to add such a system. Primarily, the twin mods add hypothermia as a mechanic that the player has to juggle through various means of keeping themselves warm. Of late, Sunhelm has become a more streamlined modern alternative to Frostfall.
With the addition of Creation Club content, Survival Mode became Bethesda's official plug for a similar system that was integrated into the base game. Bethesda's other flagship RPG, Fallout, has had "Hardcore Mode" since Fallout: New Vegas as its own spin on survival gameplay. While only a small section of Elder Scrolls players would enjoy hardcore survival mechanics, it is feasible for TES 6 to have an optional mode to enable them.
2) Spell Research
In the 3D Elder Scrolls games, spellbooks are the primary way to acquire new spells, irrespective of class. Spellbooks are essentially a consumable item which adds the spell to the player's inventory, destroying itself in the process. This is only a minor modification of Morrowind's spell-learning process, where the mage NPCs teach the spells directly.
Tracing Morrowind's roots, spells in Daggerfall can be acquired with the help of magicka-oriented NPC vendors. Earlier in the game, the priests in the temples serve this role. Instead of outright purchasing the spell, the player gets to craft their own spin on it, including the type and target of casting, spell effectiveness, and cost. Oblivion and Morrowind continued this with custom spellcrafting, but Bethesda did away with this system soon after.
Mods like Requiem attempt to address this by tying some of the spells to the perk tree to emulate organic growth of knowledge about magicka. Spell Research takes a more comprehensive and immersive route by tying spell learning to experimentation and thesis writing via its research journal. It takes some getting used to, but a streamlined rendition of it can add an extra layer of flavor to spellcasting classes in The Elder Scrolls 6.
3) TK Dodge (and Mortal Enemies)
In Morrowind, combat was purely a visual representation of the in-game diceroll mathematics in real time. Swinging a sword came with the risk of missing completely, depending on the character's skill. In Oblivion, this was changed to be more dependent on player input. In both Oblivion and Skyrim, swinging a sword only counts when the hitbox physically comes in contact with the target.
Barring this change, the combat remains an otherwise direct comparison of resources, i.e., damage and sustenance. From the legacy 32-bit engine days, the modding trend to address this was to tie success to player skill. Attack commitment mods like Mortal Enemies make it so that dodging attacks manually or with a dodge mod becomes feasible.
There have been numerous mods that have attempted to achieve this, such as TK Dodge, which recently got a scriptless version; The Ultimate Dodge Mod; Combat Gameplay Overhaul; and Requiem's own spin on it via a light armor perk. Given its popularity and the gradual shift towards player skill in RPGs, we might well see a dodge mechanic to make Elder Scrolls 6's combat more engaging.
4) Enhanced Skyrim Factions - The Companions Guild
For most fans of the franchise, guild questlines in Skyrim pale in comparison to Oblivion, not just in terms of writing; which is subjective, but in terms of the breadth of the actual playtime of questlines. In Oblivion, the player has to get a letter of endorsement from each major city mage's guild in order to get into the Arcane University. In Skyrim, the dragonborn can saunter into the College of Winterhold without ever investing in magic. Furthermore, they can finish the questline to become the arch-mage within two hours of playtime.
The now-defunct Enhanced Skyrim Factions series attempted to pad out the questlines and make various improvements, starting with the Companions, Skyrim's de facto fighter's guild. It made much more sense that the player needed to earn their ranks rather than being railroaded into it with nary a thought. If TES 6 does away with the demigod-like status granted to the player by design, the guild questlines can be both long and engaging to enhance the sense of reward when climbing the ranks.
5) Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim
Plotwise, religion has always been a major part of Elder Scrolls games. The Nerevarine, the Champion of Cyrodiil, and the Dovahkiin are all heroes that walk into prophecies of divine ordinance. The all-encompassing aedric and daedric presence, however, does not translate to God-worship as a game mechanic. There are no ways to interact with religion in these games save for the small buffs granted by shrines.
Religion is not only a keen element of roleplaying, but also a major gameplay archetype of DnD classes like paladins. Broadly speaking, players cannot play paladins in Skyrim save for a few restoration perks to fit the archetype.
Wintersun, from renowned mod author EnaiSiaion, adds an entire religion system complete with prayer, favors, disfavors, and tenets to nearly every deity established in the lore. Granted, its implementation may take away some of the streamlining and de-cluttering philosophy Skyrim took compared to its predecessors. The popularity of more lightweight alternatives like Trua or Pilgrim, however, suggests that we might see a resurgence of the divine favor system that was somewhat noticeable in Oblivion.