An Ode to Modding
I don’t think there’s anything more likely to pique my interest in a game than hearing it has an active modding scene and/or the company is supportive of a modding community. In my view, it’s always been a win-win for everyone involved. The company that developed and published the game get free advertising and labor out of fans, fixing issues or adding things that some people want but might not be to everyone’s taste. They also get a lot of good will from their community, who see the company as laid back and reasonable, a currency they can cash in for things other companies might catch a lot of flak for every now and then. In return, the community gets a deluge of material to spice up their game and get even more bang for their buck. It’s the reason I have nearly 2000 hours logged into Skyrim, somewhere near that for Fallout: New Vegas, and despite my general dislike for the game, feel myself sometimes puled toward coming back to Fallout 4 when I see an interesting mod that changes something I hated about it.
Not to heap all the praise on Bethesda, modding has improved the lifespan of games like Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Endless Legend, and Tabletop Simulator (whose content is almost 100% mods of varying sorts) for me, but Bethesda has historically been one of the companies with the largest and most active modding scenes around. Skyrim particularly is the only game I own that I follow a specific modder’s work, downloading nearly all of their mods: Enai Siaion, who boasts five mods I use on every single playthrough (Wildcat, Apocalypse, Aurora, Imperious, and of course Ordinator) with a couple I keep installed almost as often (Sacrosanct, which is only traded out when I want to play power fantasy with Brehanin’s Better Vampires or play a Werewolf with Moonlight Tales; no need to bog down my load order with mods I won’t use that game). That is an astounding feat to me at least, given I can’t think of a single other game where I could name a modder I like off the top of my head.
I could bog this post down with much griping about the Creation Club, but I am mostly unbothered by it. It is, make no mistake, microtransactions by any other name and is severely curtailing the production of certain mods since it breaks Script Extenders whenever the Creation Club is updated, but I’m willing to give Bethesda the benefit of the doubt at this point that it’s simply a naive and poorly implemented attempt to give more modders more recognition, and let the poor beleaguered Playstation 3 and 4 players have a taste of how everybody else lives. They’ve earned that much good will from me for aforementioned reasons. For now.
No, I want to thank Bethesda, and by extension any company that allows mods to thrive and appreciates that they are lucky enough to have a community that is passionate about their community enough to start such massive undertakings as creating whole new games in their engines or drastically overhaul how the base game works to suit their preferences. That kind of community effort is a large part of what makes gaming great, and was in a way my favorite part about my time with Team Fortress 2 and what people did with Garry’s Mod and Source film Maker to show their love for the game. Having people that love the game promoting it through their actions and passion projects is the best way to encapsulate what a game is, and what makes it a work of art, and I’m grateful for all those that make it possible on both sides of the counter, as it were.
#An Ode to Modding