Skyrim Special Edition
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Olivier Doorenbos

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OlivierDoorenbos

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About this mod

This is a script-free total recalibration of Skyrim's detection formula, which improves the balanced and realism of sneaking. Enemies will have enhanced sight and hearing abilities, and will search longer when alerted. This mod represents over 300 hours of meticulous research and optimization work.

Permissions and credits
Changelogs
Shameless plug: If you're looking for a simple modding guide, take a look at my Concise Skyrim Modding Guide.

TL;DR: download the "Lite" version to enjoy the best detection mod for Skyrim.



Introduction

This is a complete recalibration of Skyrim's detection formula, which improves the balanced and realism of sneaking. It is not a "hardcore" mod - sneaking is both harder and easier where necessary. You can use it by itself, or in combination with perk and gameplay overhaul mods.

Instead of making simple tweaks to the vanilla settings (like all other detection mods do), this mod holistically re-calibrates the whole formula from the ground up. This represents over 300 hours of meticulous research and optimization work.


Features

  • No scripts. No perk edits. No performance impact. 100% reliable.
  • NPC view cone is reduced to 160deg (from 190deg in vanilla).
  • Ambient light, equipment weight, and line-of-sight are now more important than your sneak skill level. Enemies won't become deaf and blind as you increase your sneak level and perks.
  • NPCs are much more sensitive to light. They can now see better in dimly lit environments, and will quickly spot you if you are carrying a light source. Even equipping a spell that lights up your hand will get you spotted. However, in total darkness (with a mod like ELFX Hardcore) NPCs are just as blind as in vanilla.
  • A higher attenuation factor in the detection formula enables NPCs to see you realistically in very low light levels when very near, without making detection over-powered at further distances (same applies to hearing). It also makes this mod scale better to different perk, armor, and lighting mods.
  • NPC sight and hearing range is now the same inside and outside (in vanilla, enemies only had half the detection range inside compared to outside). This means interior detection range is now doubled compared to vanilla, while exterior detection range is only slightly higher than in vanilla.
  • Enemies will search longer - 70 seconds if you fire an arrow into their knee (was 20), ~70 sec after losing track of someone in combat (was ~40), 40 sec if they find a dead body (was 15), and 20-50 sec if they see or hear something (was 12-20).
  • When searching, enemies will do a better job checking corners, and they will cover a larger area.
  • The huge difference between standing and sneaking has been reduced to a realistic amount. No longer will enemies detect you unfairly far away just because you were standing, and neither will they become blind and deaf the moment you start to sneak.
  • NPC wall-hacking has been reduced in various scenarios: In vanilla, if you broke line-of-sight in combat, NPCs could wall-hack you for up to 10 seconds - this has now been reduced to 5 seconds (making it easier to evade a pursuing enemy, and then backstab them). In vanilla, any nearby enemy with a sneak skill over 50 would wall-hack you indefinitely if you were standing - this effect has now been reduced. In vanilla, casting any loud spell would heavily drain your ability to stay hidden for 5 seconds, which usually resulted in getting wall-hacked over large distances for 10 seconds - this has now been reduced to a slight drain for only 2 seconds, which almost eliminates wall-hacking.
  • "Invisibility" and "Muffle" effects now work when standing and running. In vanilla, these effects did not work against any enemy type when out of sneak mode. With this mod, if you have both "invisibility" and "muffle" active, you will now be 100% undetectable to basic enemies like bandits, even while sprinting right in-front of them. However, enemies with enhanced detection abilities, like mages, vampires, falmer, and dragons, will be able to see through these effects to a small extent when you are standing or running (but not as much as in vanilla).
  • When an enemy becomes alert and starts to search for you, they get a small boost to their detection ability (to simulate concentration).
  • If an enemy has not detected you yet and is in combat with someone else, it is now easier to sneak past or backstab them (since all their attention is focused on combat). This effect is stronger in dark environments.
  • NPC reaction time is slightly increased in some situations. If you suddenly appear in front of a relaxed enemy, they may need a second to realise you are an enemy (instead of instantly attacking as they do in vanilla).
  • Sleeping enemies have slightly reduced hearing abilities (in vanilla their hearing was the same as when awake).
  • Enemies will notice dead bodies 10m away and start a search (was 5m in vanilla). Civilians are also more likely to react to dead bodies nearby instead of ignoring them as they often do in vanilla.
  • When someone sees you commit a crime, the distance guards come running has been reduced moderately.

5 versions for different user preferences and various lighting mod setups

You can only use one version at the same time.
You can use any RAID version with any lighting/weather mod setup you want, but some recommendations are provided here and in the 2nd image above.

Realistic AI Detection Lite
Small increase to NPC visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Small audio detection rebalance.
This is what vanilla detection should have been. This version is suitable for all setups if you want a bit more realism but not much more difficulty.
If you are not sure what version to get, start with this one, and upgrade to a more powerful version later if needed.
Use with "Climates of Tamriel", "Obsidian Weathers", "Rustic Weathers", "Cathedral Weathers", "Surreal Lighting", and most ENBs.


Realistic AI Detection - Medium Interior, Medium Exterior
Medium increase to NPC visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is suitable for vanilla lighting and many other lighting/weather mods if you want much more realistic and challenging detection gameplay.
Use with "Vivid Weathers", "ELE", "Darker Nights", and "Aequinoctium".
Ideal for ELFX when used at vanilla brightness levels (not using its darker lighting options).

Realistic AI Detection - High Interior, High Exterior
Large increase to NPC visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
This is the original version of the mod I use myself in combination with ELFX "Hardcore" and ELFX "Weathers".
Also ideal for ELFX Enhancer+Weathers.

Realistic AI Detection - High Interior, Medium Exterior
Large increase to indoor visual detection ability, medium increase to outdoor detection. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
This version is ideal for ELFX when using it's "Enhancer" but NOT its "Weathers" module.

Realistic AI Detection - Medium Interior, High Exterior
Medium increase to indoor visual detection ability, large increase to outdoor detection. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
Use with NAT - Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel.
This version may be optimal for ELFX when using it's "Hardcore" and "Weathers" module (if high/high feels too hard indoors).

A note about balance
Sneak gameplay balance in Skyrim is controlled by two things. First, the lighting/weather mods you use, and second, the detection mod you use.
The lighting/weather mod controls what amount of light is in a location. The detection formula (tweaked by "Realistic AI Detection") then controls how that amount of light affects detection mechanics. If a lighting/weather mod does not provide appropriate lighting data to the detection formula, then there is little a detection mod like this can do to fix it.

One of the reasons some lighting/weather mods do not provide appropriate lighting data, is that Skyrim's engine does not feed all forms of lighting into the detection formula. This includes "imagespaces" and dark ENB presets. So if a lighting/weather mod makes nights very dark by mainly only changing the imagespace, the game engine still interprets that night as vanilla bright. So, the player could be blinded by the darkness, while enemy NPCs would still spot you easily from afar, which feels unfair.
Even when considering the real light data that is fed to the detection formula, there are still many problems: some mods provide higher light levels for stormy or foggy weather than clear weather, and some mods provide higher light levels for a particular weather type at night than the same weather during the day.
While most of these flaws can be easily fixed by lighting/weather mod authors, others are harder to fix because they involve a trade-off between visual quality and detection balance.

In May-2020 I tested nearly every weather and lighting mod for detection balance, using "player.gll". See the second image above for the results.

The "player.gll" console command prints out values ranging from 0 to 150+, representing the "real" amount of light at your character that is used in detection calculations by NPCs.
If you try this, make sure to disable RAID (as it affects results), and stay away from point-light sources like candles and fires. Also take shadows near buildings into consideration. In vanilla Skyrim, values for daytime range from about 40 to 150, and night values ranges from about 30 to 70, depending on the weather. See the results table above for more info on this.

If you want darker environments while keeping detection properly balanced relative to the amount of light, the best mods are:
"Enhanced Lights and FX" (ELFX Hardcore + Weathers),
"Realistic Lighting Overhaul",
"NAT - Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel",
"Darker Nights",
"Aequinoctium".
If you decide to use ELFX Weathers or Darker Nights, you can improve the visuals (at least in my opinion), by disabling Skyrim SE's godrays and installing the "Imaginator" mod. Increase Imaginator's brightness setting by +20 to +40, depending on your preference. You can also tweak tint in imaginator. (With vanilla lighting and some mods like ELFX, disabling godrays actually enhances contrast and vibrancy, but reduces brightness a lot and throws off tint a bit. tweaking brightness and tint in imaginator compensates for this)

Installation
Use your mod management program, or put the .esp file in your Skyrim/data folder and activate it in the mod tab from the main menu.
Place it near the bottom of your load order, below any mods that also edit detection settings.
Do not clean this mod with SSEEdit.


Uninstalling
Just uninstall it using your mod manager, or delete the mod's .esp file in Skyrim/data
It is 100% safe to uninstall or re-install during a serious playthrough.


Compatibility with other mods
This mod must be loaded after any mods that also edit detection settings (like Immersive Citizens, Combat Evolved, Thief Skills Rebalance for Ordinator, and NAT). That way it will overwrite any conflicting detection settings while leaving everything else from the other mod perfectly untouched and functional.

Also:
Some users have reported that the hardcore sneaking component of "Ultimate Combat" conflicts with RAID.
Mods that add extra enemies to dungeons may sometimes cause problems when used with this mod.
Mods that change detection settings via scripts (like Skytweak) may produce unexpected results if used in combination with this mod.
"Imaginator" is compatible, but its "sun" setting also affects detection at night. This is not always a problem, but just be aware.
"Relationship Dialogue Overhaul" is compatible, but it has a bug that prevents civilian NPCs from commenting on dead bodies they find.
"Improved Traps" is compatible, but RAID will reduce the range enemies can hear traps by about 30-40%.
"Face Light" may cause problems if used with this mod.
And, as explained further up, some darker ENBs and lighting/weather mods may cause detection to become unbalanced.


FAQ
Q1: Can you please tell me what version of this mod to use with my specific mod setup.
A: Look at the 2nd picture above that lists most lighting mods and suggests a RAID version to go with them. If you are still unsure, sorry, I can't help you. There are hundreds of mod setups out there, and detection balance is very subjective anyway. If in doubt, just use RAID "Lite".
You can always try another version later. It is 100% safe to uninstall or reinstall another version during a serious playthrough.


Q2: Do I need to use the "High" version if my mods make the game much darker?
A: Not necessarily. Darker lighting mods do not always affect detection the way you would expect. See "A note about balance" above.

Q3: I tried the "Lite" version but it still feels too difficult. Help?
A: Obviously sneaking will be a bit harder with this mod, but you should be fine if you use common sense, and follow the tips listed below:
   1. Make sure your other mods are not messing up detection (like dark ENBs as explained further up).
   2. Avoid enemy line-of-sight, no matter how high your sneak skill/perk level is.
   3. Don't equip any light source, including spells that light up your hand.
   4. Invest in the "stealth" and "muffled movement" sneak perks.
   5. The invisibility potion or spell will be essential in some situations.
   6. Stay in the shadows, where it is dark. (the ELFX Enhancer mod makes sneaking easier because it makes dungeons darker, the correct way)
   7. Keep the weight of your equipped weapon and armor low (But anything not equipped has no effect on sneaking).
   8. Sometimes it is best to not move, or move slowly (use the walk button on keyboard) when an enemy is near.
   9. Get creative and devise new tactics like this - Using inigo's teleport ability to stealth one-shot a bandit chief

Q4: Sometimes NPCs are very slow to detect me or other NPCs, even when not sneaking (they may walk right past me). Is it caused by this mod?
A: Possibly, but only to a limited extent. If you are using RAID "lite", it may mean your lighting setup requires a more powerful version of RAID like "medium" or "high". Also note that very mild forms of this problem are simply a side effect of RAID reducing NPC field-of-view and forcing them to legitimately search for you rather than just bypassing the search stage as often happens in vanilla. However, if you have a severe form of this, then you have a different problem not caused by RAID (check load orders, mod conflicts, etc).


Q5: Can I make this mod into an ESL flagged ESP? Can I compact the Form IDs?
A: I am not familiar enough with this topic, so would advise against it. Only do this if you really know what you are doing.

Q6: I want to play a sneaky mage, but enemies keep spotting me when I have a glowing spell in my hands. What can be done about this?
A: After extensive testing, I have found that looking slightly down from horizontal strongly increases the effect spell glow has on detection. This is a quirk of how Skyrim's detection works, it has nothing to do with RAID. Looking up by just 5deg from horizontal will minimise how much NPCs can detect spell glow. It sounds silly, but its true! Try this with the "player.gll" console command if you don't believe me.
Also, there is a mod called "Lights Out" that disables spell glow when equipped in your hand. It has compatibility patches for many magic mods.

Q7: Enemies and/or followers are sometimes unresponsive in my game, as if they are brain dead. Is it caused by this mod?
A: No. Check your other mods. Some people even experience this problem in vanilla Skyrim. Also, if your setup has script lag or generally poor performance, detection responsiveness may suffer as a result.
Also note, the "Immersive Citizens" mod will stop civilians and named NPCs from retaliating when you attack, if you are a much higher level than them (they are not brain dead, but controlled by an "avoid combat" AI package).

Q8: Does this mod affect NPCs, mod added NPCs, followers, animals, dragons, falmer etc? Does it affect how NPCs can detect other NPCs?
A: Yes. It affects the detection of everything. This is the case with all detection mods, not just mine.

Q9: Falmer can see me if I use this mod. Aren't Falmer supposed to be blind?
A: Falmer are NOT 100% blind. They are actually 80% blind according to the game files. In vanilla this may seem like 100% because normal NPC vision is already very weak. In RAID, all enemies can see much better, including Falmer, but their sight is still 80% worse than that of a normal enemy.

Q10: Does this mod work in the old non-Special Edition Skyrim? Does it work in Enderal?
A: Yes, but not the files on this nexus page, there is a nexus page here for the old Skyrim. There are no detection changes between these versions.

Q11: Did Bethesda change how detection behaves in Special Edition, compared to Legendary Edition.
A: Yes and no. There are no major changes, and the detection formula is identical. However, Bethesda did make small changes to lighting, particularly the weather at night. Special Edition nights have even more light than Legendary Edition nights.

Technical information
This mod edits 45 game settings (GMST), and deliberately includes an additional 13 ITM edits (aka dirty edits). The ITMs are safe and ensure this mod functions correctly when loaded after a mod that also edits detection GMSTs.
If you want to know more about what these GMSTs do, download the "GMST Datasheet" on the download page.

(format: GMST name, vanilla value, RAID2 medium/medium value)

formula core
fSneakBaseValue                                                  -15   -4.0
fSneakDistanceAttenuationExponent                        2    5
visual
fDetectionViewCone                                             190    160
fDetectionSneakLightMod                                      15    8.5
fSneakLightMult                                                 0.33    0.6
fSneakLightExteriorMult                                       0.5    1.0
fSneakLightMoveMult                                         0.01    0.02
fSneakLightRunMult                                             0.2    0.7
iLightLevelInteriorMod                                          25    13
iLightLevelExteriorMod                                           0    8
iLightLevelMax                                                   300    200
audio
fSneakSoundsMult                                                   1   .64
fSneakSoundLosMult                                            0.3    0.28
fSneakEquippedWeightBase                                   12    3
fSneakEquippedWeightMult                                    .5    0.3
fSneakActionMult                                                    2    1
fSneakRunningMult                                                 2    2.5
distances
fSneakMaxDistance                                            2500    6500
fSneakExteriorDistanceMult                                  2.1    1.0
fDetectProjectileDistanceNPC                               512    ITM
fDetectProjectileDistancePlayer                          1024    ITM
fDetectEventDistanceNPC                                    512    ITM
fDetectEventDistancePlayer                                1536    ITM
iCrimeAlarmLowRecDistance                              2000    1500
iCrimeAlarmRecDistance                                    4000    3000
fDeadReactionDistance                                        400    800
timers
fCombatStealthPointRegenAlertWaitTime               10    15
fCombatStealthPointRegenDetectedEventWaitTime 10    30
fCombatStealthPointRegenAttackedWaitTime         15    50
fCombatStealthPointRegenLostWaitTime                10    20
fCombatDetectionLostTimeLimit                            10   15
fCombatDetectionNoticedTimeLimit                       10    5
fActorAlertSoundTimer                                            5    2
fDetectionEventExpireTime                                     5    2
contextual modifiers
fSneakAlertMod                                                     0    1
fSneakCombatMod                                             -0.4    -2
fSneakSleepBonus                                                  0    -0.3
skill system
fSneakSkillMult                                                   0.5    0.07
fPlayerDetectionSneakMult                                  0.4    0.8
fPlayerDetectionSneakBase                                   10    5
fSneakPerceptionSkillMax                                    100    ITM
fSneakPerceptionSkillMin                                        0    ITM
stealth point system
fCombatStealthPointDrainMult                                3    ITM
fCombatStealthPointRegenMult                            0.2    0.08
fCombatStealthPointRegenMin                               5    2.5
iCombatStealthPointDetectionThreshold                25    50
iCombatStealthPointSneakDetectionThreshold        70    ITM
fCombatStealthPointAttackedMaxValue                  50    ITM
fCombatStealthPointDetectedEventMaxValue          75    ITM
fCombatStealthPointMax                                     100    ITM
search system
fCombatSearchExteriorRadiusMax                     2048    2560
fCombatSearchExteriorRadiusMin                     1280    1536
fCombatSearchInteriorRadiusMax                     1280    1536
fCombatSearchInteriorRadiusMin                        768    1024
fCombatSearchSightRadius                               1536    1024
fCombatSearchInvestigateTime                           2.5    4
fCombatSearchLookTime                                       1    ITM
fCombatSearchStartWaitTime                                1    ITM


Permissions
Mod by Olivier Doorenbos.
You may distribute this mod in a "mod pack", as long as it is non-commercial, you mention my name, and provide a link back to this page.
If you want to do anything else that goes beyond personal use, please contact me first (here on Nexus).
And hey Bethesda Studios, I would be happy to properly calibrate the detection formula of your next Elder Scrolls game. You could do with my help!


Disclaimer
Not suitable for casual gamers and console peasants. No liability will be accepted if these risk groups experience severe stress and feelings of inadequacy as a result of using this mod.
Approved for the glorious PCMR.

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(Off Topic):

List of Rated Quest/Dungeon Mods:
Here's a list of Skyrim quest mods I have played, and rated, as objectively as possible (just my opinion).
I hope this helps you find some good quest mods you may not have tried before (and I hope it helps you avoid wasting time on the bad ones).

Note: this is based on my longer Non-Special Edition list, but only includes the mods that have been ported to Skyrim Special Edition.
Note: well known mods in bold
Note: "#" indicates a mod unsuitable for a non-dragonborn player character
Mod Name                     Rating    Size      Stability/bugs  Combat       Notes 
mediEvil H.o.G.             10/10    fair         excellent      medium+     excellent custom music and annimations. great humor. epic final boss fight
beyond skyrim: bruma   9/10     HUGE      good             medium+    on par with official DLC like dawnguard/dragonborn. extremely lore-friendly
interesting NPCs            9/10     HUGE      mediocre      medium+     excellent quests, followers, writing, and humor. very lore friendly. some bugs
***DAWNGUARD***          *9/10*    HUGE      ok               medium      for comparison, this DLC would get a "9/10" if it was a mod (less as paid DLC)
inigo                              9/10     fair        excellent        -               great follower with very good voicing. good short quest. quite lore friendly
lucien
                            9/10     fair        mediocre      medium       follower with excellent writing and voicing. good quest. very lore friendly
clockwork          
           9/10     Large     good             medium+     beautiful mansion. epic dungeon. good quests and voicing. creepy
# unslaad                       8/10     Large      good             hard+         fairy tale with a sad *studio ghibli* vibe. the feels. mostly unvoiced. nice OP loot
the cheese of ages          8/10     fair         mediocre      medium      very funny but still lore-friendly, good dungeons, custom music. some minor bugs
***DRAGONBORN***         *7/10*   HUGE      mediocre      medium       for comparison, this DLC would get a "7/10" if it was a mod (less as paid DLC)
# wyrmstooth                 7/10     HUGE     mediocre      medium+      beautiful DLC sized island. excellent music and voicing. but some glitchy quests
# dreamborne isles          7/10     Large      mediocre     very hard     wonderful environments and music. lots of platforming. but unbalanced combat
carved brink                  7/10     Large     poor             medium       best environments ever. well voiced (but some too loud). confusing dialog. CTDs
the shire                         7/10    HUGE      poor             hard            huge beautiful hobbit land. branching story. but patronising quests/dialog. lvl 30+
# rigmor of bruma          7/10     Large     poor             very hard     great adventure, nice places. but forced romance, flawed lore, OP weapons
the fire within                 7/10    fair        mediocre       medium+     good dungeon, puzzles, and follower (xp32 not needed for vanilla clothing install)
hel rising                        7/10     fair        good             medium       high quality dungeon quest with decent puzzles

the forgotten city           7/10     Large     poor             medium+     good story. custom music. but some flawed dialogue, fake skill checks, and CTDs
# moon and star             7/10     fair        ok                 hard           great voicing, puzzles, village, and custom boss fight. minor quest order flaws
falskaar                         7/10     HUGE      ok                hard            new land with good dungeons. some restrictive quests, navmesh bugs. lvl50+
project AHO                   7/10     Large     bad               hard            great visuals, music, and voicing. but awkward plot, some fetch quests, and bugs
helgen reborn                7/10     Large     ok                 hard           good variety, great dungeon, but some "meh" content too, and unconvincing plot
# m'rissi's tails of trouble 7/10     fair        bad               hard           nice follower. very well voiced. but harsh restrictive quest scenes. random CTDs
# moonpath to elsweyr   6/10     Large     mediocre       medium      nice environments and voicing. bring "Lucien" (follower mod with moonpath patch)
# midwood isle                6/10     Large     bad              medium+     new land. well voiced. some restrictive scenes and bad NPC spawns. many CTDs
darkend                         6/10     Large     good             very hard+   dark souls inspired mod. impressive level design. custom enemies. no quests
undeath
                         6/10     fair        poor              medium      good lore, atmosphere and custom music. needs patches. not follower friendly
fortune's tradehouse        6/10     small      good             easy           a set of decent short quests. excellent voicing. slightly OP loot
a feathered friend           6/10     tiny        good             easy           nice short quest, well voiced
immersive idiots             6/10     fair        mediocre       EXTREME     [crude adult humor] good funny voice acting. for lvl 70+. some bugs
# the shadow of meresis 6/10     fair        ok                 hard           good puzzles and voice acting, but some translation errors and other flaws
# the island                    6/10     Large     poor              easy           beautiful. exploration focus. but tedious "find item" puzzles, backtracking, low fps

# the hanging gardens     6/10     fair        mediocre       very hard    beautiful dwemer temple/island, but low fps and not follower friendly
conan hyborian age          6/10    small      ok                 hard           decent dungeon quest, with custom music and voiced conan, hard boss
#easierrider's dungeon pk 6/10    Large     mediocre       medium      a set of high quality dungeons. but minor fps dips and not follower friendly
#konahriks accoutrement 6/10    fair       ok                 hard           decent dungeon with some neat features. lore friendly
the mcmiller chronicles    6/10     small      good             medium+    some amusing parts, but also a bit tedious - slow pacing, and slow voice acting

temple of phynaster         6/10    small      ok                 medium+    nice snow-elf themed dungeon (SSE only)
ogmund's tomb                6/10     fair       good              medium      decent conventional draugr dungeon. no bugs. follower friendly
middle earth redone        6/10     Large     poor              easy           good and bad LOTR levels. has some enemies, but no quests. low fps, CTDs

# vominheim                   5/10    Large      ok                very hard    decent dungeon crawl island. follower friendly. no quests or voicing. lvl 50+

the haven                       5/10     fair        bad               -                beautiful island (no quests), but low fps, and dirty edits that mess up your game
# dwemertech                5/10     fair        poor              very hard    hi-tech themed quest. OP weapons/spells. not so lore friendly
dwemer colosseum          5/10     fair        mediocre       hard           arena with crowd effects, but has some rough edges. not lore friendly
# insanity clause             5/10     fair        bad              *mixed*       funny xmas themed mod, great voicing, but has very glitchy quest mechanics
# ambriel                       5/10     fair       bad               normal+      story taken from star wars. poor writing, not so lore friendly, very buggy quests
# mirai                           5/10    fair        poor              hard           teen "waifu" follower. mix of good and annoying voicing. flawed story. CTDs
akaviri ruins of savirien   5/10    small      mediocre       medium      decent open air akaviri themed dungeon (SSE only)
# fight the thalmor 1      5/10    small      bad                hard           nice environment and dungeon, but weak story, not follower friendly
# song of parkin-san        5/10    fair        mediocre        easy          good story, but also annoying and tedious. lovely ending. ties in daedric quests

teldryn serious                5/10     fair        mediocre       hard           some neat features, but badly written messy plot. not follower friendly

shadows of the past         5/10    fair         ok                hard           moderately decent fetch/kill quests in varied locations, some poor voice acting
path of the revenant        5/10    small       ok                hard           necromancy themed small dungeon and player home. good unique loot
agent of righteous might 5/10    Large     poor              hard           great story, but many bugs, some very tedious and glitchy quests, mixed writing
hammet dungeon pack     5/10     HUGE     ok                hard           decent big dungeon pack. follower friendly. slightly OP loot. unleveled. lvl 40+

mharphin v2                   5/10     fair        poor             very hard     sometimes funny and wonderful. also weird, buggy, and tedious. not lore friendly
jurgholm                        5/10     fair        good             very hard    large dremora dungeon with some neat features. for lvl 60+ players
gothic orpheus project     4/10    Large      bad              very hard    new land with nice environments but low fps. bad fetch quests with bad engrish
skjolga's basin                4/10     small      ok                easy            half decent dungeon with a story told through journals
#anna npcs                     4/10     fair        mediocre      -                 like "interesting NPCs", but lower quality and less lore friendly. a few good bits
pit fighter                     4/10    fair        good             medium+      ok but repetitive, no difficulty scaling, lacks some excitement
# fight the thalmor 2-4   4/10    fair        bad               hard            weak story, many enemies in tight spaces, not lore friendly, not follower friendly
sword of sigdan               4/10    fair        mediocre       EXTREME     large dungeon with very hard boss fights for lvl 70+ players. not follower friendly

solemn keep                    4/10    small      DANGER        hard            nice looking bandit dungeon, but may cause severe script lag* (tested on Oldrim)
it beats for her                4/10    tiny       good               -                subtle storytelling, but very basic, not voiced
# the abandoned temple   4/10     fair       poor              hard            badly placed entrance, dull corridors and repetitive puzzles. not follower friendly
immersive dungeons        4/10     Large    bad               very hard     huge dungeons with many enemies and too many traps. no followers. some CTDs

temple of black rock        4/10    fair        poor              very hard+   half decent draugr dungeon with backtracking. get shouted at a lot. OP final boss
# spectraverse               3/10     Large     bad               EXTREME     well voiced. some neat puzzles. but ruined by confusing overly-harsh mechanics
# wheels of lull               3/10    Large     BROKEN         hard           
great potential, but ruined by very tedious parts, and many CTDs
ravengate                       3/10     fair        bad              EXTREME     had potential, but poorly balanced, trolls the player, backtracking, bad dialogue etc

doubtsuspended quest pk 3/10     fair        poor              easy           well voiced but otherwise dull quests. not ideal for paragon characters

forgotten dungeons        3/10     Large     ok                medium      a mix of average and bad dungeons. slight copy-paste feel

skyrim sewers                3/10     fair       mediocre       medium      dull level design. very under-scaled relative to overworld distances

the sinister seven           3/10     fair        poor             EXTREME     nice concept, but poorly balanced and not lore friendly. OP oversized bosses etc
lost wonders of mzark
    3/10    fair        poor              very hard     painfuly loud sound effects, tedious gameplay, low frame rates
#gray cowl of nocturnal
3/10     Large     good             hard+         tedious puzzles, running, backtracking, bad level design, and bad writing. OP loot
windcaller pass                2/10    small     poor               medium+    large but dull caves with a copy-paste feel. over-powered loot
secret of dragonhead       2/10    fair       ok                  hard           low quality dungeon with lots of running. has not aged well since 2012
the master's trial             2/10    fair        poor              medium      bland fetch quests, bad writing, mixed voicing, some bugs. ~5 hours...wasted


Also take a look at my Concise Skyrim Modding Guide 2020,
              which includes a well curated mod list.