I won't be listing every single mod that changes combat, this article would be too long. I am not including the large overhaul mods that change weapon stats, armour stats, skills, gmsts, etc unless there is a clear focus on combat. Mods with known issues that need to be fixed are not included.
4NM - Total Gameplay Overhaul by Archimag/AxeMagister
This is the largest and most comprehensive mod when it comes to... well, everything (magic, barter, levelling, stealth, object stats...). I know I said I would not include overhauls but dynamic combat is possibly the biggest goal of 4NM and no other mod does as much when it comes to melee fighting.
Among the most unique features are combos, combat stances, new dodge mechanics (player and actors), active blocking, better combat AI for npcs and kicking.
4NM is a massive mod and anyone installing it without reading up on its features will die, very soon and very often.
AxeMagister has tons of videos showcasing many features.
If you feel the 4NM is too much, I encourage you to check the mini 4NM mods where each one has a single feature from 4NM. That being said, give the total overhaul a go, AxeMagister has added a lot to the in-game menu so you can customize the experience to your taste.
Next Generation Combat by Aracelliy
One of the more popular combat mods. Its main features are toggleable, so you can pick and choose.
- 100% chance hit
- weapon perks (axe can inflict bleeding damage, blunt weapons can stun, etc)
- active blocking
Simple Combat Mechanics by OperatorJack
This mod is still in beta and does 3 things:
- Combat Scavenging: npcs will pick up items lying around if they are useful. It could be a weapon better than the one they have, a potion, etc.
- Disarmament: based on the player's and the npc's stats, you have a chance to disarm your enemy.
- Interactive Bystanders: strong npcs will assist the guards, and weak ones will flee the scene of combat. (My favourite feature of this mod.)
Combat Enhanced - MWSE Edition by Spammer
Ok, I love this one, I love the old MWE Combat mod this is based on.
This mod introduces combos using the thrust, slash and chop attack.
With a short sword, successfully hitting your enemy with a chop, a slash and another slash will cause a "slash throat" attack that silences your enemy. Other combos may stun, even behead!
Differences with the original MWE mod:
- does not require MWE (a third-party program)
- requires MWSE
- does not include hand-to-hand
- does not include rage (see next mod if you loved that feature)
- more stable
Neo Combat by OEA
This mod adds active blocking where you toggle your block on and off, blocking drains your speed and all you can do is block.
In addition, if you successfully block, you have a small window to press the block key again and knock your opponent down.
After a number of successful and varied (slash, chop, thrust) attacks, you can enter rage, a state where your speed, strength, health, and attack are fortified. Press the "o" key to enter rage.
In hand-to-hand combat, after a successful hit, you have a short time to hit the counter key. If you do, you dodge the next attack and deal health and fatigue damage, if not you get a speed penalty.
No Combat Menu by Merlord
A different type of hardcore mod where you cannot open your menu (inventory, magic, map, character sheet) while in combat.
You can configure how close to an enemy puts you "in combat". In practical terms, you'd have to put some distance between you and your enemy to access your inventory.
The mod can be enabled/disabled in-game.
A good quick-key mod is highly recommended, my top mods:
- Quick-key - Hotbar MWSE so you see directly on your UI what weapons/spells/items are currently hot-keyed.
- Quick Loadouts lets you select and save loadouts (weapons, clothes, armour, accessories equipped) so you can switch from your Heavy armour loadout to your Sneaky range loadout.
Virnetch's mod that adds many many hotkeys is currently hidden :(
Defensive Stance by Merlord
An alternative to all the active blocking mods, Defensive Stance lets you "hunker down". When you are sneaking with your weapon drawn, your block skill is fortified, but your speed is lowered. Lua magic lets you decide how much block and how much speed.
Combat Proficiency by josaaku
An older but clever mod. The basic idea is that if you know who to fight with a sword, you won't be totally clueless if you need to fight with an axe.
As a result, based on your weapon and armour skills, you may get a bonus when using different types of weapons and armour.
This allows the player to be more flexible and to switch their equipment more often based on what they find. Works great with the next 2 mods ;)
With this mod, any vanilla, Tamriel Rebuilt, OAAB, Killing Spree and Panoplies have a % chance to be enchanted. It's completely random, every game is different.
You can set the %, where 100 makes every item enchanted (don't do that). I personally play with 2%.
An excellent alternative to DRIP for OpenMW users in particular. Using levelled lists, this mod adds thousands of weapon and armour combinations.
The chitin dagger now has a crude, enhanced, heavy, sharp, brittle, etc... version. The "sharp" trait will increase slash damage, "brittle" will reduce durability, etc.
My only complaint, and that unless you have a pluginless replacer for your weapons and armour, the new weapons won't have the new model/textures. If you don't have a replacer, or it's pluginless, you're good to go!
Weapons Expansion Project by Anroha
An amazing mod that adds new weapons to the game simply by "filling the gaps".
When in the game we only have Chitin club, dagger, short bow, spear and war axe, this mod adds a sickle, a claymore, a dai-katana, a spear and a staff...
HUD weapon charge by Virnetch
A QoL mod that adds a fillbar showing the currently equipped weapons charge under the weapon condition bar on the HUD.
Better Balanced and More Realistic Weaponry by Commander Shrekard
I normally stay away from the very big overhauls but the changes here are justified and fair, I feel. Reach, speed and damage have been adjusted based on the weapon type and the shape of the weapons.
Weapon Overhaul by hollaajith
A classic, if you like the changes, be sure to also check the Armor overhaul. Compared to the previous mod, it does a couple of extra things:
- changes the price of weapons, Dwmer is now more expensive, but Daedric less valuable for example
- Adamantium weapons now have "Ignore Normal Weapon Resistance".
Weaponry of Resdayn Rebalanced by Rosynant
This is the most recent weapon rebalance mod.
- fixes weapon reach
- tweaks some damage
- TR weapons covered
- TB and BM weapons rebalance
Nope, I lied THIS is the latest weapon overhaul mod :)
Damage, reach and speed adjusted. Includes TR weapons. The overall idea is that lower-end weapons such as iron and steel should still be deadly so that a low-level player does not rush to get powerful weapons *cough* White *cough* Woe *cough*. As someone who finds the low levels always more fun, I whole-heatedly agree.
Character Sound Overhaul by Anumaril21
A must-have mod as far as I am concerned includes superior combat sounds.
If you really don't want the whole sound overhaul, Immersive Combat Sounds does a great job with weapon swish and clangs.