I’ve Spent More Time Modding Skyrim Than Playing It
You may think you’ve finally finished modding, but then you decide you don’t like the way the leaves fall…
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I didn’t get into Skyrim when it first launched way back in 2011. Even though I loved Fallout 3 – the best Fallout game – I had no interest in the swords and dragons of Tamriel – I liked guns and power armour, not shouting at fancy lizards. That all changed in 2013 when my girlfriend physically sat me down and forced me to play through it on her PS3. I picked the cool cat dude, grabbed a couple of axes, and windmilled my way through a few hours of the campaign. I liked it, but I wasn’t hooked until I saw her modded PC version. She linked her Steam account to mine, and taught me the basics of how to instal mods, joking that I’d spend more time modding than actually playing – eight years later, it turns out she was right.
When I first started modding Skyrim, I installed about 150 of the buggers and my game promptly crashed. My girlfriend scolded me and taught me about load order – I am truly abysmal when it comes to tech stuff. I spent hours watching Brodual’s mod roundups, searching forums for the best Thieves Guild add-ons, and testing to make sure all my mods were compatible. What I spent very little time doing, however, was actually playing Skyrim.
The problem with the near limitless potential modding Skyrim offers is that things can always be tweaked, you’re always chasing perfection – something that doesn’t really exist. On PC, every time I finalised my load order and began a new game, within a few hours I’d spot something I wanted to change. Even if I was happy for a while, new mods were coming out every week, and I just had to try them all. However, I took a break from Skyrim when my gaming laptop finally died a couple of years ago. My machine now is a little laptop that I just use for writing and playing less demanding 2D games, not something that can handle the heft of my old load order.
While the PS4 and Xbox One both allow mods on Skyrim and Fallout 4, revolutionary at the time this was announced, there are limitations, obviously. The PS4’s are far more restrictive. Script changing mods aren’t allowed on Sony’s console, but Microsoft is fine with them. I only used to have a PS4, so I just didn’t bother, as all the best mods are script changing. For anyone unsure of what that means, a script changing mod is one that alters some command in the game. That could be a bespoke quest, a change to follower or enemy AI, or a perk system overhaul. On PS4, I could only get mods that changed textures or added different player homes. Because of this, I didn’t see disabling Trophies – a consequence of mods – as a worthwhile tradeoff if all I got was a slightly prettier game.
Fast forward to now, eight years after I first chased that Thomas the Tank Engine modded dragon. My relationship with my girlfriend is over, my relationship with Skyrim is not. My housemates and I recently split the cost of an Xbox Series S, and thanks to Game Pass, we have Skyrim, the game that just keeps on getting released. I promised myself I wouldn’t relapse into my old modding habits, but… well, you know that saying about how old habits die. I searched for some of my favourite mods from back in the day, but many of them haven’t been ported over to the Xbox version of Skyrim. Fortunately, I did find a complete load order on Reddit – which has since been deleted – so I went through it and oh my God it takes so long to search for mods using a controller.
The list I found on Reddit has over 100 mods on it, ranging from big perk and race overhauls to little graphical improvements and performance optimisations. There’s one in there called Crash Preventer which stops the game crashing as frequently by removing the sound of your footsteps – wild stuff. I skipped the section that added very niche and specific textures, like the Lockpick Interface Texture Pack or the Scary Atronachs mod. The list also didn’t include any Thieves guild mods, and I need my Thieves Guild content.
Three hours after downloading Skyrim onto the Series S and I still hadn’t even made my character. What my girlfriend had told me all those years ago was still true. Modding Skyrim is an activity in and of itself. It’s like browsing Netflix or Prime for ages without watching anything.
I spent an hour playing the night I went through the Reddit list, but the next time I played I realised there were some big mods missing: JK’s Skyrim, a mod that makes all the cities way more intricate and detailed, and Khajiit Speak, which is essential for me as I always play as one of the furry critters. Now, I think I’ve finally perfected my load order and can just sit back and play the game. There’s a slightly weird graphical bug I keep getting, and I’m really not sure what mod is causing it, but I can let it go. That’s growth, that is.
Link Source : https://www.thegamer.com/skyrim-console-modding/