Aight homies, so I've been wanting to start a Requiem discussion for some time now, but I didn't really want to make an in-depth guide or anything, because that's more work than I really want to do. However, I thought it might be helpful if I compiled answers to some of the most common questions I hear about the mod from people who have never played it. This isn't driven by numbers or anything, just questions I can remember answering from curious new players most frequently. So I'll list some here, in no particular order.
What even is Requiem? What's it all about?
Basically, it's a complete overhaul of Skyrim, to make it into a very different experience from vanilla, almost an entirely new game. Specifically, one of the big things it does is overhaul every perk tree, trimming them down and adding many new mechanics, available through certain perks. Another major change is combat; damage done by the player and by NPCs is greatly increased across the board, and NPC AI is altered to fit this. What this ends up meaning for the player is that blocking, dodging, and timing become very important, and combat is a lot more tense, since just a couple of blows from either side may be lethal. In fact it's not uncommon for lightly-armored players or NPCs to get killed by a single arrow if they fail to block, dodge, or use cover. And the last of the most important changes is that Requiem uncouples most of the game world from the player character's level. No longer will enemies or loot change to fit the player's level; they instead remain the same from the moment a new game is started, to the moment a character is retired. A simple bandit may seem almost unbeatable at level 1, but pose little challenge 20 levels and some equipment or spell upgrades later. Some "endgame" enemies will eat the player character for breakfast in most cases, but when others have ceased to be much of a challenge at level 40 or 50, they'll still provide a fight to remember. Similarly, loot is unleveled, so beating a really tough enemy at low level can earn the player some seriously awesome equipment, while an enemy that could barely put up a fight anymore probably won't have much of value.
There are also many, many smaller changes: New spells, new game mechanics (such as bull-rushing and knocking down enemies) perk-based or otherwise, an overhaul of crafting skills, an economy overhaul, new quests, a seriously impressive amount of added backstory and lore through new journals, notes, and letters, new enemy types and other NPCs, new weapons and armor, an overhaul of spell costs and damage scaling, lots of high-level hand-placed loot in the style of Morrowind, with a corresponding increase in the difficulty of buying or making said loot, changes to the mechanics of how food and potions work in or out of combat, new enchantment effects, major changes to NPC and racial damage-type resistances and vulnerabilities, and a new branch of Speech perks that improve the player character's Thu'um, in duration, effectiveness, and recharge time.
However, I would say that the "essence" of Requiem, what it's really all about, is a shift towards an enjoyable amount of realism, and what the community calls adaptive role-playing. Builds that only have one type of offense or defense are likely to struggle. Players new to the experience, who try to play Requiem in the same way they play vanilla, Ordinator, or other perk overhauls, will definitely struggle. The most successful Requiem characters adapt themselves to changing circumstances. For instance, some enemies may be nearly impossible to kill with bladed weapons, or at least not fast enough to survive the encounter. A limited build, played by someone who is unwilling to adapt to the circumstances, might never be able to get past these enemies unless they brute-force their way through with lots of potions and reloaded saves. A successful build, however, might try a different type of damage, such as blunt weapons, arrows, or magic. Builds with multiple options go furthest, while focus is still encouraged through the trimmed-down perk trees, and the fact that one type of damage may be unneeded when another one is available, such as carrying a bow when the character can already use Destruction magic to kill enemies at a distance.
So what about compatibility? I've heard Requiem isn't compatible with a bunch of popular mods.
Compatibility depends on the type of mod. Any mods that just make graphical changes are fine, most of the time. Mods adding new armor, weapons, or other equipment are usually fine, but may require a patch. Mods adding new spells or changing spells, like Apocalypse, will probably need a patch, but there is also probably one available for most of the popular ones. Mods that add other new mechanics, like Frostfall or Hunterborn, also probably need a patch, but these are, again, easy to find in most cases. Mods that change existing combat, the game economy, crafting, or other mechanics are a mixed bag. Some will be incompatible since they modify the same mechanics as Requiem but in a different way. But many will still have patches available. Always check each one for compatibility. Quest mods, similarly, vary by the individual mod. Check for compatibility, and check for a patch. Finally, mods that add new perks or change existing ones are almost always incompatible, and will not have patches available. Requiem and Ordinator, for instance, take the opposite philosophy towards perks. Requiem's perks are trimmed down, not awarded that often, and often significant enough that a single perk can push a build to a new level of effectiveness against high-level enemies. Each perk is a precious resource. Ordinator, meanwhile, adds even more available perks than vanilla, with an individual perk point having relatively little effect on a character's overall viability. Ordinator perks require significantly more investment to see a large change in a character. Thus, other perk mods are incompatible, and trying to patch them is essentially trying to reconcile two different philosophies on game design.
That said, I do have some advice for anyone considering Requiem, and worried about compatibility with their favorite mod: Don't worry about it. Make a clean-slate load order, just include favorite graphical mods, bug fixes, basic quality-of-life stuff like Long-Lost Smelters or Cutting Room Floor, and any desired quest mods that are compatible or have patches. Then install Requiem and give it a try. It's like an entirely new game, so there will be plenty of new stuff to try, learn, and get used to even if all of the usual modded content isn't available. After trying Requiem with a new character or two, that's when most players will start to add other mods to their personal preference, to enhance what they like about it and change what they don't like about it. For instance, many Requiem veterans will install a separate mod that overhauls Requiem's own overhaul of the Alchemy skill, which is largely considered one of Requiem's weaker points. But for a first time, just stick with a minimal load order, and enjoy the new experience.
Is Requiem a difficulty mod? Doesn't it make the game way harder?
Yes and no. It definitely makes the game more difficult than vanilla, but that's not the main purpose of Requiem. After all, if I want to increase the difficulty of vanilla, all I have to do is bump up the difficulty selector, and I'll deal less damage, while enemies deal more. However, that's honestly not much fun to do, since it basically just means I'll have to hack away even more at enemies that already needed quite a few hits to kill. Requiem's approach to difficulty is one of immersive semi-realism. Everyone deals way more damage, so it's what I'd call "tough but fair". Even a basic bandit could easily kill me with one good power attack from their hammer, but if I dodge or block that attack, and hit back before they get their guard up, I could just as easily kill them with one good attack from my own hammer. Similarly, archers or mages can often one-shot the player from a distance, but with similar weapons or spells, the player can do the same to them.
Beyond the basic changes to combat damage, a number of other things are also tweaked to make things more difficult, though usually not in a way that feels "grindy" or unfair. For instance, eating food during combat does nothing, since there's no logical reason why it would be possible to tell everyone to stop attacking and let the player character eat for a few minutes. But outside of combat, it restores stamina and magicka, and many stews and soups give some awesome secondary effects, which are far more important for Requiem than they were in vanilla. Another example of this philosophy is sneak attacks and arrows when used against undead like Draugr. Logically, there's no reason why a single, regular arrow could instantly kill a Draugr without very careful aiming, since they're reanimated and withered corpses that don't feel pain or fear. Unless the archer can aim precisely enough to sever joints, arrows wouldn't really do much more than just kind of stick in its body and annoy it a little bit. But use a silver arrow, which Requiem adds to the game, and invest enough in the Sneak perks to learn a Draugr's weak points, and it becomes a different story.
Generally speaking, there are always multiple ways to beat any enemy, but powering through everything in the game with the same type of attack just isn't feasible like it is in vanilla, especially not while basically just ignoring defense and using potions to shrug off hits. Thus, much of the difficulty comes from learning the best ways to defeat particular enemies, and keeping the player character equipped with the options they need. Most of the time, enemies with a very powerful attribute, such as the massively increased health regeneration of Spriggans and Trolls, will have a corresponding weakness that can be exploited, such as any kind of fire damage completely negating the regeneration of Spriggans and Trolls for a short time.
What should I try if I'm new? What are the best ways to have a fun build and playthrough in Requiem?
My personal recommendation for new players, to really sink their teeth into the content the mod has to offer, is any build that combines melee combat and magic, especially support magic like Restoration and Alteration. Requiem's "meta" definitely takes a shift away from the vanilla supremacy of the stealth archer, and instead makes high-level melee and magic users the top contenders for beating its very difficult endgame content. Stealth still works as a supplement to a build, but pure stealth often won't be viable against certain enemies, and most builds should be able to fight openly if needed. Mages are also quite powerful, though I personally don't have as much fun with them since they don't require the same level of tactics and timing that melee builds do. They have a rough start since their spells will be weak at low level, but late-game magic doesn't hold the same challenge and thrill for me as late-game melee. Archers are a lot of fun, but they tend to be more difficult for new players, so they're best played with a bit of experience under the belt. Of course, the experience with any build will probably vary from person to person.
Generally speaking, sticking to robes or light armor is an easier start than heavy armor, which is changed significantly by Requiem. I like to avoid crafting skills, and just run the Honed Metal mod if I want to have enchanted or tempered equipment. Alchemy is especially notorious for making Requiem easier, since it's possible to make very high-value potions with cheap ingredients, earning a bunch of gold without having to do any real quests for it. However, Requiem does add some stuff to each of the crafting skills, so it can certainly be interesting to try them out at least once. Non-combat skills are also generally less viable, or at least less important than in vanilla. A pure thief will have a much harder time relying on pickpocket poisons and Illusion magic than in vanilla, as it will be much harder for them to actually stay hidden consistently. Requiem does add some excellent role-playing opportunities with new perks and mechanics, but it's definitely a combat-focused mod at its core.
Is Requiem hard to install? All the compatibility stuff sounds a bit daunting.
I won't go into details here, since the Requiem developers already have an excellent installation guide. There's one unusual step in the installation that differs from most mods, where a third-party patcher utility is used to patch Requiem with all the other mods in the load order. But the whole thing is laid out clearly, and while it takes a bit longer to install than most mods, it's not particularly difficult. Just follow the instructions, and ask the community if any confusion arises. The main bulk of the time spent installing Requiem is devoted to checking for compatibility with other mods and installing necessary patches. Requiem itself took no more than about 10 minutes last time I installed it, from the start of the Nexus download to launching the game. Mod Organizer 2 is strongly recommended over Vortex or the Community Nexus Mod Manager.
Where else can I go for help if I do want to try Requiem?
You can certainly ask me for help, either in this discussion page here, or on the Sky Forge Discord. As some of you are probably aware, I'm a big fan of the mod, and almost always happy to tell newcomers about it. Beyond that, the Requiem community has an active subreddit:
As well as its own community Discord:
This Discord includes a dedicated "tech support" channel for technical questions, as well as dozens of active users who are happy to give gameplay advice. For those who want to see a sample of what Requiem gameplay looks like compared to vanilla, I have my own Fireheart Raider build video series linked here on the Sky Forge, and some "blooper reel" videos showing the tougher side of Requiem on my own YouTube channel, under the same name of SirFloopy. In case I haven't made it clear yet, Requiem is by far my favorite mod for Skyrim, and since I started playing it in its early days, I've never looked back. So I encourage anyone who's curious to give it a try.