Play it your way, #Skyrim Edition
Skyrim, the 5th game in the highly successful “The Elder Scrolls” franchise by Bethesda Softworks, was launched in 2011, and today is it’s 3rd Birthday (or Anniversary, if you rather). Although there are other versions available, for example Elder Scrolls Online, which launched in April of this year, I’m still making my way through all of the downloadable content available for Skyrim.
I love to mod my games. For those not familiar with “modding,” it is a term for the art of modifying program code of a video game in order to make it operate in a manner different from its original version. Mods come in a variety of options:
- Total Conversions which may create a new game by replacing all game related assets,
- Total Overhauls which redefine gameplay styles, yet stay within the set universe and honor the original plot lines. Overhauls replace models, textures, dialogs, the style in which you play and so on. Often content is not replaced but added, and a modular approach is offered.
- Add-Ons are usually smaller packs that add to the original content. It can be a weapon pack, more options for your hero’s hair, extra guilds/factions, or “Winter is Coming” style cloaks. Add-ons are mods that do not change anything in the original game.
- Unofficial Patches deserve special attention. They fix bugs as well as open up content that is hidden in the released game because it didn’t get finished or the developers had decided to not follow through with an option.
- Art mods are rare and often border on total conversions or total overhaul.
A lot of PC games are mod-able, and many game companies support the art of modding. Skyrim is one of the games that can be modded using Bethesda Softworks’ Creation Kit. This kit permits a player to build entirely new lands, new quests, new plot lines, and complete customization of every character involved.
The sheer amount of mods available will pretty much guarantee that each player can shape the game world at his/her pleasure. The mods I have enabled maybe use 1% of the capacity of this kit — it is breathtaking what can be done with it! For those who think this process sounds overwhelming: you don’t have to make mods yourself. It is fairly easy to find mod packs, modding tutorials, and tools for organizing your mods to make them play nicely with each other.
Here are a few resource sites that I have found really helpful, particularly for beginners or people who are a bit rusty with the art of modding:
- Gopher: Modder, gamer, and a fantastic source of tutorials and reviews. Gopher has a very systematic approach to things, his videos aren’t rushed but thorough. Start with his Beginners Guide series. After watching it you will be ready to download and install mods the correct way.
- Brodual: Provides categorized mod reviews – constantly updated. Brodual packs lots of information in his videos, so he covers a lot of ground in a short time. His comparison videos are excellent, as are his “Top 10 … “ videos.
- G.E.M.S.: A good overview over Skyrim mods, and the content is sorted into Categories. It is basically a list of all mods the G.E.M.S. team has liked, with links to their download location.
I would post my own mod list, but it is 159 mods long and growing. However, if you like playing cat races (I do, always!): Khajiit Speak is a must have! So are Better Claws and Moonpath to Elsweyr. And if Kharjo isn’t enough to keep you warm at night, get Inigo.
Enjoy the Khajiit’s Meow!