For the most part, this list consists of mods that I would recommend to the New Vegas newcomer, mods that mostly just enhance and/or build upon what's already in the game, or which add new content which fits in quite well with the rest of the game itself, and doesn't distract or detract from vanilla content or quests.
I'm also assuming that anyone using this list either has the Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition, or otherwise possesses all of the DLCS as well as the preorder packs/Courier's Stash. The latter isn't essential (I actually find those rather annoying), but I'm not pruning mods that might ask for them, so be aware.
Furthermore, I play on Hardcore mode (which is rather...mislabeled, it's more like roleplaying mode with a slight difficulty increase), and have put this list together with that kind of game in mind, IE, a game in which survival is tougher than vanilla, but not pull my hair out stupidly terrible. Hardcore mode isn't required, but this list assumes that's you're using it.
For the record, this shouldn't be installed on a game in progress. While it may work just fine, it may also go completely insane, leap through your computer screen, and devour you, as installing mods mid-game with Bethesda products tends to. Always start a new game when installing new mods, especially large overhauls or compilations that will be making huge changes to your game world.
A Note About Mod Limits: While in theory New Vegas's limit for number of esps that it can handle is your standard 255, in practice there tends to be a very noticeable threshold where any esp beyond it will cause the game to behave as though it's possessed by the devil, or simply crash. This limit tends to be between 130 - 140 mods, and varies depending on machine. For that reason, especially since a number of these mods come with multiple ESPs, you need to be careful about what you add to the game simply because you don't want to hit that limit, and this mod guide will bring you rather close. You'll still have a few more esp slots that you can add onto at the very least, but be aware of this limit when customizing your mod choices.
If you start noticing missing meshes (marked with giant red and white exclamation marks), missing textures, or textures that seem to be swapping around at random, that's a sign that you've hit the limit and need to cut back. If your game suddenly becomes unstable when you add a new mod, it may actually be because of this and not due to the mod at all.
Crashes at or before the startup menu screen are usually due to missing masters or inappropriately ordered mods; make sure you re-run BOSS and that all esps that depend on other files are loaded after said files. In addition, these crashes can also be the result of conflicting files in the menu/ folder.
( Essential UtilitiesCollapse )
( Visual ModsCollapse )
( All the other ModsCollapse )
( CustomizationCollapse )