Skyrim DLCs: Everything You Need to Know

DLC, or downloadable content, is the term for additional content developed for an already-released game.

What Are Skyrim DLCs?

Whether you want to be a vampire hunter to keep Tamriel safe, or you’re simply tired of coming home to an empty house—these expansion add-ons breathe life back into Skyrim with a wealth of new adventure. In the six years since Skyrim’s release, Bethesda has released three DLC add-ons—Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. DLC (downloadable content), is additional content that has been developed for an already-released game. After being remastered for current-gen consoles, Skyrim Special Edition was released—containing all three DLC, and the ability to modify your gameplay.

1) Dawnguard

Released in summer of 2012, Dawnguard was the first of Skyrim’s expansions. Players with the expansion are given a choice between joining a guild of warriors sworn against vampires, or allying themselves with the nocturnal undead. Dawnguard featured new content including (but not limited to):

  • A new transformation known as the Vampire Lord. Vampire Lords unlock an exclusive skill tree that upgrades their abilities. Dawnguard features an upgrade to lycans as well, bestowing werewolves a skill tree that unlocks special abilities—such as summoning other werewolves to aid you in battle.
  • Along with a higher level cap, Dawnguard comes with over 20 new locations, 30+ new quests, and 80+ new characters! Players also gain access to new and varied weapons and armor sets—including the exclusive crossbow.
  • 2 new factions: The Dawnguard and the Volkihar Clan. Ally yourself with the ancient clan of vampires, or take up arms against them in the name of humanity.
  • Envy trolls of their beauty? A new character located in the Ratway can help you win the battle against unfortunate genetics by giving you the option to reset your face.

Dawnguard is a valuable add-on. In addition to the new undead transformation, the DLC introduced mounted combat, and a reliable follower in the essential NPC: Serana. Along with the surplus of new content, this expansion is well worth the investment.

2) Hearthfire

Later that same year, Hearthfire was released, offering a more personal touch to Skyrim’s harsh terrain. Content featured in this DLC include:

  • Homesteads. Build your medieval-fantasy dream house from the ground up in three new locations—on the lands of Falkreath, Hjaalmarch, and The Pale.
  • Furnish your house as you see fit. Build rooms for your new adopted children, or sacrifice their comfort for the luxury of having an enchanting table in home. With miscellaneous animal parts looted from corpses around Skyrim, you can fulfil your dreams of being a taxidermist and display your slain foes as trophies.
  • Grown attached to a follower? Hearthfire grants players the ability to invite a wide range of followers to stay in, and protect, their home as a personal steward.

Hearthfire added a nice, sentimental quality to the game. Though tedious to some, building homesteads can be quite rewarding—seeing a handsome manor standing where there was once only undeveloped land. Strongly recommended to players who enjoy the role-playing aspect of RPGs.

3) Dragonborn

Bethesda kicked off 2013 with the release of it’s third and final DLC, Dragonborn, pitting legend against legend with the return of your hero’s predecessor. In addition to the new land of Solstheim, this expansion featured:

  • 30+ new quests and over 90 new characters and locations, including Solstheim—the land of dark elves. Explore the new map and the new creatures that inhabit it.
  • New weapons, armor, shouts, spells, and abilities—including Black Market, which summons a daedric merchant for you to trade with, and Dragon Aspect, which grants you the strength of the flying legends.

Display your dominance over the dragon race as you force each dragon who appears before you to submit to your will. Gaze over the entirety of Skyrim from it’s back as you fly over mountains as the creatures below flee from your shadow. The Dragonborn expansion brings much to the table—including battles with golems made of ash and perilous journeys through shadowy, wraith-infested libraries. Along with a decent-sized new map, and the ability to fly atop dragons, this must-have DLC offers a whole new world to explore.

4) Skyrim: Special Edition - $40

Last but not least we have Skyrim Special Edition, a remaster of the Game of the Year winning RPG:

  • Being a remaster, Skyrim Special Edition contains each of the three DLC (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn), and their respective features: Vampire Lords, homesteads, and new skill trees, quests, characters, locations, and Shouts.
  • 4k support and updated graphics—including art and effects, depth of field, and reflective surfaces.
  • Mods, or modifications, are user-developed add-ons that players can download to customize Tamriel however they see fit. Available for both Sony and Microsoft players, though Microsoft users have greater freedom in the creation of mods

For players like me, who initially experienced Skyrim on a last-gen console, mods were a foreign concept. Players on PCs would laugh at my vanilla, un-modded game as they ran around dressed as Kakashi, slicing through enemies with an overlarge keyblade. Skyrim Special Edition gives console players the greatest gift—the gift of creativity—with hundreds of different mods for PS4. Microsoft players have an even larger selection of mods, due to their preferred brand offering more leniency than Sony. Though stuffed to the brim with content and possibility, like all games Skyrim will eventually lose some of its appeal. Fortunately, expansions like the Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn DLCs, keep that day from coming any time soon. Along with the mods that accompany Skyrim Special Edition, it’s likely that Skyrim will remain atop my list of favorites for another six years.

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In my journeys through life I've acquired several titles, including but not limited to: Arch Mage of the College of Winterhold, Witcher, Conduit, and Keyblade Master.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Devil May Cry DMC, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine
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