Mar 03 2014
Mods are one of the huge perks of playing in the PC. One of the factors that influenced me to build my own PC was the fact that I could mod some of my favorite games. When you’re playing on a console, you’re simply playing the game the way it was intended by the developers. The way I see it, mods are like the equivalent of a fan fiction since fans can expand on something that already existed. Sometimes it adds substantial content to a video game, but there are times when you simply have Thomas the Train’s skin used for Skyrim’s dragons.
There are also mods that actually improve a game by adding more features or fixing bugs that developers have ignored. I imagine that some developers support the idea of mods because it makes people enjoy their game more. At the same time, I could definitely see others who would object to it because it alters a game’s creative vision. It’s not a stretch to imagine that someone’s ego would be bruised if people wanted to “alter” their work.
Read on for my take on mods and why I have a love-hate relationship with it.
To be honest, the only game I use mods for is The Sims. From time to time, I like getting clothes and skins online but not too much. The ones I use actually use improve the gameplay a lot. For example, I really love The Story Progression feature wherein the whole world is dynamic and sims outside your household have lives on your own. Previously, the only family that ages, gets married, and experiences all the life events is the one you primarily control. SP was a great addition, but it still had so much inherent flaws like the fact it takes so long for a married couple to have a baby or they rarely have one so everyone in the neighborhood just grows old. Someone actually made a mod that altered the likelihood of life events so that it was more realistic and you would have a balanced town.
Two other excellent examples would have to be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodlines (I am a huge fan of both). These two are arguably considered flawed gems since both cultivated a cult following in spite of frustrating bugs and cut content. What did fans do? Well, they created mods that added more content and actually fixed the bugs. It’s actually impressive and it goes to show that mods can be constructive to the game technically speaking.
Mods not only improve a game, but they can also extend it. Developers have a limit to what they can produce for a video game because DLCs don’t just grow from trees. This is bad news especially when you’re totally in love with a game and you’re not ready to let go of it. I know I wept when Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 came out. Like fan fic writers, mods are a way to experience and a video game world through a fresh perspective after you’ve done all the quests out there.
The DLC mod Falskaar for Skyrim was made by a high school student and featured new quests for players. Other games like Dragon Age have mods for new quests as well. The developers behind these games obviously know about how gamers use their products, so it makes sense that they would release creation kits to help it grow. I guess they find it helpful too because gamers would fix their game’s problems for free and won’t complain about it. In addition, they can also extend its longevity if they make awesome mods that gets featured on numerous websites.
So, I’ve been talking a lot about the good side of mods. Where’s the hate in the relationship? Well, I was actually opposed to the whole idea of mods before. Mods could make your game crash and if there was a new update sometimes things are going to be screwed up unless the mod creator released a patch that was compatible with the latest updates. This doesn’t happen as often now, but it still is a problem for me at times. I like the convenience of Origin or Steam automatically downloading things for me so I don’t have to worry.
While there awesome mods out there, you would have to wade through a bunch of mediocre ones to find stuff you actually like. It can become a time consuming task especially when it’s a popular video game community. However, I guess the biggest bulk of my “hate” would have to be the fact that it alters the game’s original vision.
People are free to do whatever they want. Users can create mods if they wish, and I have the right to choose not to. I actually have never used a mod for Skyrim, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Grand Theft Auto games on the PC. I guess it’s just the “artist” in me that feels this way. When I experience a movie, video game, or any piece of art, I want to understand what the creator is trying to convey not what gamers interpret. It could also come from a purist angle wherein I prefer to experience it “untouched” if that makes any sense.
I’ve been more receptive to mods quite recently just to try it out, but I keep it minimal and remove them right away after I’m done with it. How about you? How do you feel about mods?
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