Anyone else get burnt out before you're even done installing mods? (Skyrim/SE/AE)

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
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I've been trying to push myself to finally play through Skyrim, but I remember the vanilla game was so dumbed-down that I kept telling myself that I'd give it about four months and come back with all the main Oblivion mods (mainly the DarnifiedUI), but as we can plainly see - that never happened. So I decided a few days ago that I'd start browsing around, finding mods that I want to throw into Skyrim SE, and then finally give it a proper play-through. However, as I was recently browsing the Nexus today, I saw that Skyrim Anniversary Edition is going to be released in less than a week which will come with an anniversary patch to SE which in-turn will completely break the Skyrim Script Extender which is required for most of the popular mods. And here I thought they were done with re-releasing Skyrim...

I think my main problem is that I keep recalling back to modding Oblivion with FCOM which would take almost an entire weekend simply because of how massive the overhaul mod is and how complicated the installation process can be. Even when I find a handful of mods that look really fun, reading through the files I keep seeing "Requires X utility to run" or "Not compatible with Y mod but requires Z mod to function properly but if using X mod, then go over here to download this completely different mod". I'm usually not even started with downloading and I'm already completely over it.

Guess I'll just go back to playing indie games for another few weeks until all the mod authors update their mods for the re-re-release. In the meantime, if you have any favorite/must-have mods for Skyrim, post them here and I'll check them out when Bethesda finally stops beating this dead horse.
 

sactoking

Diamond Member
Sep 24, 2007
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I bought Skyrim at full price on Steam not long after release because of the people raving about it. It wasn't really for me so I didn't play more than 10 hours or so.

Fast forward several years and I decided to give it another try. I went online to Nexus to look at mods and learned that Bethesda re-released the game in the interim. The re-release essentially bricked the original for mods. You had a window to email them to get a free upgrade but the window was long closed so now I'm stuck with a full-priced, 'AAA' title that the developers intentionally made to have little to no value.

So, yup, got burned out before I finished loading mods.

Also never buying an Elder Scrolls game again. Burned twice by that franchise (Daggerfall, enough said).
 

Dranoche

Senior member
Jul 6, 2009
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Years ago I went through the trouble of getting a lot of mods set up, got about 40 hours in and was playing regularly, then updated my GPU drivers for some some new game and something in Skyrim or the mods broke hard and my save file was completely unusable. I recall reading that some people were able to roll back their drivers to restore functionality but I had no idea what version I had been on. I wasn't going to try a dozen different drivers and couldn't find any other solution at the time so I uninstalled everything.

Three or four times since, I've gotten interested in playing again. Each time I spend a couple hours browsing mods and making a list. Then I remember my large backlog and decide I don't want to risk the same issue again.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
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This is one big problem with all of these re-releases, or patches in general. I remember the Steam auto-patches used to break various mods for the Fallout games, or needed a new script extender (but a new one was not available yet). In a few cases I prefer to just play the original versions of games that I already set up with mods long ago, instead of getting a re-release and having to configure it again or finding that some mods don't work.
 

Fallen Kell

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Oct 9, 1999
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With STEAM and mods, you just need to always remember to configure the game to not auto-update. Really isn't that hard to do, just a couple clicks of the mouse.

I got burned out when I was applying/attempting to apply mods for my second playthrough. This was way back just a year or two after the original release, and I was modding becuase I finally upgraded my video card at that time, and wanted to take advantage of all the "HD" texture packs and mods for trees/grass/water that were coming out making use of the new/more powerful graphics cards that were available.

After I spent an entire weekend dealing with incompatibilities, I gave up for a while. Didn't really bother with modded play until the STEPS website/project was keeping track of the mods that worked well together, but I was disappointed that they patched out some of the loops of infinite power from the game (which were there by design, otherwise they would have been patched in the many re-releases and they had not been). I eventually figured out which mods G.E.M.S. was stating to use which removed the potions/enchanting/forging loops and played through again, this time with the various DLC that had come out, and enjoyed the game some more.

I could probably playthough again at this point as it has been years since I did.
 
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CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
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With STEAM and mods, you just need to always remember to configure the game to not auto-update. Really isn't that hard to do, just a couple clicks of the mouse.
It won't let you start the game without the update though. I recall I could run the script extender directly and bypassed this, but if I accidentally opened the game through Steam then it would update and break everything.
 

Zenoth

Diamond Member
Jan 29, 2005
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This could be grounds for a novel out of me.

I delved in Skyrim modding a lot back around 2015 or so (and a lot in Oblivion before that, and Fallout 3 as well). The 'best' I managed in terms of stability / mods compatibility / load order (part of stability) and amount of 'things' changed in the game by said mods was a total of about 65 mods. To have all of them installed, and figuring out how to configure _many_ of them individually, how to use and configure the modding tools used separately to start up the game (didn't start the game from Steam, had to use another tool separately) and how in the end I could start it up without the neighborhood exploding as a result took me a solid full week of reading, searching, posting, and watching videos and tutorials for many of those mods (not to mention that I had to clean up the base game files before doing any of the modding, which is another procedure in and of itself). At this point in time as I type this ALL of my mods have long been deleted, and my Skyrim (was the Legendary / Special 64-bit Edition when I played my modded playthrough) itself has been uninstalled for years.

But what I do recall was that I basically came up with two ways to play the game modded.

1) Play it with just a few select 'basic' mods just to have a slightly-better-than-vanilla experience, keep it simple and stable.
2) Play it with your true 'intended' mods but obviously take days, up to a week or more to understand everything and configure it all first before you arrive at the famous "start the game up modded for the first time after the past week of doing all of these things" and crossing your fingers it doesn't crash straight back to the Desktop without a single error window or error Log to check things out (which itself means a VERY long process of elimination in your attempt to troubleshoot what exactly might have caused a would-be crash on your first start up after modding for 5, 6 or 7 days straight).

Just going by heart here, and I know I'll miss a few mods; but the most "basic" way to play the game with a slight effort on your part to mod it (at a base level) and not spend a week or more modding it so you can start to play the darn thing involved just using the following mods:

- Unofficial Patch (100% required)
- SSE Engine Fixes (not required, needs manual adjustments in its own .INI file from what I recall, goes in hand well with the Unofficial Patch, one of the things it fixed that I found interesting is a 'detail' like water flow speed in rivers which normally is in sync with the actual in-game speed of time flow; so basically the day / night duration affects by default the speed of the water in how it flows... it's a weird engine-related issue that this mod can fix, among other things like that)
- SkyUI (couldn't stand the vanilla interface after using SkyUI, a major improvement)
- Quality World Map (adds a lot of details to the overview world map, especially for roads)
- Static Mesh Improvement Mod (significantly improves the various game world mesh models / higher polygon count on a lot of things, making the game look a bit less jarringly old)
- Immersive Citizens AI Overhaul (does what it says, it greatly improves the day / night 24h citizenry schedules of a lot of the NPCs in the game, actually making them do specific tasks at specific hours and reducing some useless flags and tasks in their scheduler, that's things I delved into myself back when I modded Oblivion on my own; in my opinion this mod is about as essential as the others I mentioned so far)
- Ordinator Perks (overhaul of the Perks system of the game from what I recall)
- Realistic Water (one of the only 'for appearance' visual changer mod I always came back to)

And that's about it. I might be forgetting like 2 or 3, maybe. But I do remember my "minimal" modded Skyrim having around 6 or 7 pluggins active in my load order.

Now, the IMPORTANT part for me at the time (when it came to making a basic modded Skyrim work well) was to make sure that I did not have more than just ONE mod doing one particular thing to the game at the same time. So, example would be... if I had Realistic Water (and I pretty much always had it) then I would NOT use any single other mod that would modify _anything_ ever about Water anywhere in the game. If I had a mod that changed the UI (and yes I did, always, with SkyUI) then I would NOT _ever_ use another mod that would directly change _anything_ anywhere on the screen with the interface windows (be it another overhaul of game systems or not). I also remember using a mod about Animations, although I don't recall the name, but it would allow more and new animations to be added to the game, especially with combat animations (it was something about finisher moves after a fight, like impaling your enemy with the sword in a cinematic way, it would require a mod for such animations to be possible); and if I did, I would make sure that no other mods would ever change animations in any way, shape or form.

All of that to ensure maximum stability and compatibility and to avoid mod conflicts.

AND, finally, BEFORE doing any of that I had to 'clean' the base game files because some mods were known (when used in high numbers mostly) to potentially create conflicts with "IDs" of... things... in the vanilla game, and to avoid that from potentially happening you'd have to remove unused / redundant ID entries from the base game files first and THEN you would use your modified (cleaned) versions of those base game files in sync with the rest of your mods and plugins.

I can point at this old but still very relevant video about this "cleaning" process just in case (it's the one I used myself all those years ago):


Side note: Gopher was known (still is I assume) at the time for making VERY well explained tutorial style videos like this for modding.

So anyway...

I'd recommend you just do something like this first, just play Skyrim with a basic level (and number) of mods for a start. There's tools that allow you to have two separate Skyrim mod installations at once, and the tool will 'switch' between essentially your Skyrim "builds" when starting up the game, etc. You can customize many things. Or just don't try to do 2 things like that at once and just have one main installation and just install like 5 or 6 mods and call it a night, play your game that way and it should be just fine. It does still require some configuration work on your part, but it won't take a week, maybe just one night at it and you'll be good to go.

And finally, THE #1 most important thing to do is to BACKUP your Master files AND your base .INI files as well, put those in a different location on your drive, you never know. And also, BEFORE you mod, and before you even clean up the Master files, right after you download and install the game, START it up ONE time, that's it. Just start the game "as is" after installing it, in order for the game to generate your basic .INI settings files one time. Then exit the game, and back up those .INI files along with your Master files. And THEN, after that is done, start up the steps to mod; and once all done, start up the game (which would be your 2nd startup only then).

Hope it helps (might be missing 1 or 2 things here, going by memory... it's been just about 5 or 6 years since I played modded Skyrim).

EDIT: Oh and, kinda forgot the main thread's question: can we get 'burnt' out by modding these games alone? (Skyrim and Co.), the answer is 500% yes.

I actually never finished Oblivion because of modding the game too much (I.E. spending way too much time on the whole modding thing). You can get burnt by it if you want to delve into it too much, because it's also addictive in a way. Once you realize you can get that one thing you don't like "as is" modified in a way that you'll like... you'll start doing just that for about everything. You have to force yourself to stop at some point and think "Ok it's enough, I'd like more mods but these will be alright".
 
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Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
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It won't let you start the game without the update though. I recall I could run the script extender directly and bypassed this, but if I accidentally opened the game through Steam then it would update and break everything.
You have to play the game offline in Steam. This is the only way, or else Steam automatically updates the game on every start.
 

Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
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I was really into the mod scene. But, it was just becoming a hassle. Many of the old mods like frostfall aren't updated anymore by the original creator. It would take me quite a long while to update my 100 plus mods. I soon got tired of fixing the mods and moved onto other games. Maybe I'll go back, but the new Skyrim should be out in a few years.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
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That's another one of the issues I had forgotten about. With Oblivion, I was pushing 100 mods and after introducing FCOM into the mix, it was basically just playing for a few hours, then spending the rest of the night trying to figure out which mod was breaking my game/corrupting my save/causing crashes. That wasn't fun but I also understand it's been a while so I fully expect things to be far more optimized than before.

Still, with the Anniversary Edition and AE Patch being released tomorrow, it's still going to take a few weeks or months before I can settle on a proper mod list simply because the new patch is going to break all of the existing ones. I could always go offline or prevent Skyrim from updating, but once the mod makers start updating their mods, it could completely break functionality which would result with me having to wait a few weeks anyways. At this point I think I'd rather just play through Fallout 4 again just to scratch that Bethesda itch. I contemplated firing up Morrowind again since it's been so long, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for that kind of time investment right now.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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eh ..

after playing Enderal https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/skyrim-nerds-go-play-enderal.2597274/#post-40598038
i decided to give SE a go and the first thing i gotta say is that i average 1 total system lockup per day, and another 1/2 crashes per couple hours. Way more unstable than OG Skyrim, which i played on a worse-spec pc.

same char as last time, argonian heavy armor stealth archer, level 62 now. still tons to go on main quest.

without using the +restoration bug, but simply using as-intended, ingame mechanics my dragon bow does 808 base damage.
i 1-shot dragons and i ain't even trying.

1 arrow = 1 dead dragon = 3 dragon bone = 72 new dragon arrows. Something something something Todd Howard.

i really cannot be bothered to spend more than 10 IRL minutes to mod a game, unless we are talking total conversion mods, or in those rare instances where 1 mod radically alters the way the game behaves.
 
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BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
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I never install content, UI or overhaul mods. Any mod I do install is the very simple text file variety that is a few KB in size at most. Bug fixes, quality of life improvements, and/or changes to vanilla gameplay I don't like.

If I need multiple mods I merge them myself into one. This solves the problem of conflicts or clashes. Also their simplicity means they don't break with engine updates. My SE XP mod is working fine on AE because it literally just twiddles a bunch of engine values.

As an example for Oblivion, the only mod I install is +5 level up, because the vanilla leveling system requires terrible grinding and awful gameplay impediment to get optimal level-ups.

You have to play the game offline in Steam. This is the only way, or else Steam automatically updates the game on every start.
That doesn't work. When Steam is "offline" it isn't really offline as it still checks if game updates are available, and refuses to launch them if they are. The only way to truly stop forced updates is to disable your internet connection, but you can't do that indefinitely.
 

Stg-Flame

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Mar 10, 2007
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i really cannot be bothered to spend more than 10 IRL minutes to mod a game, unless we are talking total conversion mods, or in those rare instances where 1 mod radically alters the way the game behaves.
This is essentially what I was going for and I was mainly looking into QoL improvements like a better UI. I've never been into massive conversions except with Oblivion, but that was only because there were three other major conversion mods that mainly fixed what Bethesda failed to fix, but they also added a ton of lore-friendly content. Still, looking at some of the smaller QoL mods, they require script extenders or something else and then it turns into a headache.

I've never been into the texture replacements or adding quests or things like that. The vast majority of the mods I've ever used have been smaller ones and I think that's because I tried to use some of the bigger overhauls in the past with Morrowind and Oblivion, and they were just a nightmare to work with. I do remember wanting Dark Brotherhood and Thieve's Guild overhauls because those were the only two guilds I ever joined in vanilla and I absolutely hated their quests (mainly the DB quests). But I think even with Skyrim, I'm going to do what I did with Oblivion and that is to just get an overhaul for the UI and then play the game. If I find something I'd like fixed, I'll look for it after I've already started.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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about ten years ago, i remember jumping through hoops because Minecraft had a total conversion mod called IndustrialCraft which was amazing, but installing it was a nightmare.
once done, i got about 200 hours of fun out of it, which is reasonable.
with FTL, which is *really* mod-friendly, i would try a mod, and at the first minor glitch i would uninstall it. despite me getting the mod for free, i think the responsibility of making the mod easy to access is on the mod creator; also considering my less than stellar opinion of Skyrim, i would expect to need half a dozen mods to make it less of a complete suck.
obviously you may disagree, but i have issue with the poor AI, bad balance, and a game design with almost no opportunity for failure.
so yeah, i would not spend time trying to make 30+ mods work, debug scripts, jump between supported versions, figure out outdated install notes, and so on.
i did that with NWN, but no more.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I'm considering another run through Skyrim, and lately I've been hearing about certain mods resulting in significant graphics upgrades for the game.

I thought I'd take the recommended list that some YouTube guy was recommending, and it took a little while to get SkyUI / SKSE working (it's been a few years since I attempted this), and then the pain started.

For example, YouTube guy recommended a mod called 'Lux' for improved lighting. I attempt to install that mod, and I'm warned that it needs another mod. Ok, go to install that mod, get warned that it needs another mod. Ok, go to install that mod, which takes me to a website that berates my use of an ad blocker ("Danger, Will Robinson!", says brain), so I disabled UBO and the site loads to show three funky download links to install not what I was looking for...
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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@mikeymikec

I installed about 30 of the highest rated and most popular from the Steam Workshop - https://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/workshop/

Looks better than the new version of the game in some ways.

More specifically, I picked from the all time list, and chose from categories for stuff like - animals, animations, foliage, audio, environmental, graphics, clothes.
 
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GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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Played through OG Skyrim totally vanilla, 0 mods.

I believe that qualifies me for the title "God Amongst Men" or "Living Saint" or somesuch...
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Played through OG Skyrim totally vanilla, 0 mods.

I believe that qualifies me for the title "God Amongst Men" or "Living Saint" or somesuch...
In future, I think the maximum effort I'm willing to spend is to install SKSE and the SkyUI mod and leave it there. I have a couple of Lux mods installed but I honestly can't tell if they're doing anything.

@DAPUNISHER the Skyrim workshop isn't available for =>SkyrimSE :)
 
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Elfear

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May 30, 2004
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I'm considering another run through Skyrim, and lately I've been hearing about certain mods resulting in significant graphics upgrades for the game.

I thought I'd take the recommended list that some YouTube guy was recommending, and it took a little while to get SkyUI / SKSE working (it's been a few years since I attempted this), and then the pain started.

For example, YouTube guy recommended a mod called 'Lux' for improved lighting. I attempt to install that mod, and I'm warned that it needs another mod. Ok, go to install that mod, get warned that it needs another mod. Ok, go to install that mod, which takes me to a website that berates my use of an ad blocker ("Danger, Will Robinson!", says brain), so I disabled UBO and the site loads to show three funky download links to install not what I was looking for...
As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, Wabbajack makes modding SO easy. I have 400-500hrs into Skyrim, most of that with with mods. I can't remember how many times I've replayed the game and each restart it's taken me hours and hours...and hours to research the right mods, download them, and get everything running right. After so long it really took the joy out of Skyrim for me. Enter Wabbajack. It took me 1-2hrs total and everything runs perfect. Probably have 15-20hrs in the latest playthrough and zero crashes.

There are quite a few vetted mod lists that are compatible with Wabbajack. The one I'm using currently is The Phoenix Flavour and the visual mods are gorgeous. Plays great at 3440x1440 with my Ryzen 3600 and Radeon 6700XT (dips to 45fps occasionally but generally in the 50-60fps range).
 
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Dannar26

Senior member
Mar 13, 2012
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I am quite interested in this Wabbajack thing.

One of the really cool things that was available were player made "expansions." I remember two of them being Moonpath to Elsewhyr, and Falskaar. The latter of the two was lauded as professional quality work, despite being developed by a high schooler or somesuch.

Anyway, I'd love to play a mod list in SE that includes those extras, as well as better combat AI (hell, better AI in general), and better visuals.

I played through the stormcloak campaign in a pure vanilla run, and got a few of the shouts, but that was it really. I always felt the true beauty of Skyrim lied in what you do with it, vs just straight up playing it.
 

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