Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

When Bethesda announced paid mods in 2015, the internet exploded in anger. A week later, everything got cancelled. Last weekend, Bethesda revealed the “Creation Club,” another stab at the concept of premium mods, and fans are wary that history is going to repeat itself.

Granted, Creation Club is not the same exact idea as the uncurated paid mods scheme that pissed so many people off. As Bethesda describes it, modders who participate in the new program will get official support from the developer, such as “the full internal dev cycle; including localisation, polishing, and testing.”

With Bethesda’s help, modders who are approved for the program will be able to publish their wares in a storefront, though the studio notes some creations will be made in-house. Bethesda will also pay modders in the Creation Club. All of this, theoretically, will help increase the quality of mods available for Skyrim and Fallout 4, because anything made for the Creation Club must be up-to-snuff and compatible with other offerings.

What sets off people’s alarms is something Bethesda quickly mentions during its video pitch for the Creation Club: players will use “credits” to purchase mods:

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

“Credits are available for purchase on PSN, Xbox Live, and Steam,” Bethesda wrote in the Creation Club FAQ. “Your Credits are transferable and can be used in both games on the same platform.”

Technically, players won’t pay for mods directly, but everything is still worth money. Despite this, Bethesda maintains this is not paid mods, because players will still be able to make mods outside of the program.

“Mods will remain a free and open system where anyone can create and share what they’d like,” the FAQ reads. “Also, we won’t allow any existing mods to be retrofitted into Creation Club, it must all be original content.”

While the new program does have its advantages, many fans are interpreting the announcement as a dressed-up version of paid mods. After all, money is still on the line, isn’t it?

The trailer is getting slammed with dislikes:

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

The comments are largely a negative trash fire:

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

On Steam, things aren’t much better:

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

On Reddit, threads have titles like “Paid mods are returning 🙁, or say things like “R.I.P Bethesda’s audience LUL,” “Did they not learn the first time they tried to fuck with the modding community?” and “After the immense negative reception to them the first time around, they think they can do it again by making mods worth “credits” instead of real money?

While some of this is undoubtedly knee-jerk, the reaction highlights a core tension between the modding community and Bethesda. If the intention is to work more closely with modders, springing something like this on them doesn’t feel like an olive branch, based on reactions I’ve seen online.

If a modder releases something for free and Bethesda makes another version of it with a pricetag on it, it’s a whole can of worms. Who gets to own an idea? If a modder isn’t acknowledged in the paid version, will it feel like a snub if they did it first, for free? If the paid version isn’t as good as the free version, what is the point?

During the Creation Club trailer, we saw some footage of Chinese Stealth Suit…

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

…that, as it turns out, is already a free offering. Upon seeing this, one of the co-creators, unoctium, rushed to tell people that the mod in question wasn’t theirs.

“Don’t know the functionality of this new armour, however I noticed a paid Pip-Boy mod with only five repaints – as opposed to the dozens and dozens of repaints that is available in the free version,” unoctium wrote.

The worry over who owns the content can cut both ways. If someone is putting the time and effort into making something for the Creation Club, but a similar free mod is available, will it feel like people are cutting into their profits?

Depending on who you ask, the mere prospect of getting paid for mods is still a tricky proposition, no matter how Bethesda frames it. Some modders believe their work should be free, done out of passion.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t want to get paid for what I do,” modder KristyBanalia wrote on Reddit. “If I wanted to get paid, I’d be trying to find a job in the industry. Getting paid adds a certain pressure and responsibility that I really don’t want to take on, but I’m perfectly happy to pick and choose projects I’m passionate about to contribute my skills and work to.”

Others feel differently, of course. Popular modders such as Chesko have set up Patreons for their modding work, where hundreds of dollars are raised monthly, and it’s not uncommon for people to get one-time donations as well. The difference is that players can opt in and pay for something only if they want to, a distinction that builds goodwill.

Skyrim And Fallout Fans Are Sceptical Of Bethesda’s New Modding Plans

Another concern that players are bringing up is whether or not the Bethesda team is big enough to support the community. Bethesda is a small studio compared to other triple-A developers, after all, and Creation Club requires the studio to put a rubber stamp on everything. Beyond the initial “paid mods” debacle, infamously, Bethesda mods got stolen left and right when they were introduced to consoles. In some ways, the modding world seems too huge for Bethesda to successfully tame.

Perhaps the most extreme worry is that premium mods will detract from future games. “How long before the best items in game are on the store instead of in the game at release,” one modder asked on Reddit.

Despite all the online hate, modders themselves don’t necessarily dislike the idea of Creation Club. Some folks do want to get paid for their hard work, or they see benefits to what Bethesda promises.

“I think this latest program is the best of all worlds,” unoctium told Kotaku, citing appreciation for the idea of Bethesda mentorship. Even so, there’s some hesitation based on how official modding efforts have gone in the past.

“While there is definitely a minority that hates the idea of mod authors earning money and feel all their mods should be free — for the broader majority, it was more being burned badly by the last time this was attempted — as not only did Bethesda advance their paid mod system without any kind of warning (much like now) but they initially only offered mods that weren’t worth the prices they were asking for,” unoctium told Kotaku.

In the Creation Club footage, Bethesda showed off stuff like new armour, weapons, and objects, which may look paltry next to the massive fan efforts to build giant Skyrim/Fallout mods for free.

“I have a feeling these two things: shoving a system on the public without warning, and offering frivolous mods at cynical prices are the two things which infuriate the public, and what I’m afraid is history repeating.”

Still, there’s hope that monetary support will enable modders to make stuff with greater ambition.

“That the prospect of making money will allow mod authors to start creating DLC-sized mods, stories or technical feats they couldn’t possibly do when they either had a job, or a lack of motivation that money can bring.”

In time, we may look back on this and feel that fans overreacted, because the Creation Club blossomed into a boon for mods. For now, one thing is clear: Bethesda has a lot to prove to their modding community.


  • They really should have just waited till their next big release and implemented this with it. It’s FAR easier to take to a new system if it comes with a fresh new game that was actually designed to accommodate it rather than attaching said system to an old game that already has a massive library of free high quality mods.

  • Possible benefit: Increased mod availability/variety on PS4. Sony’s pure bullshit rules are that mods can’t inject content. But if it’s Bethesda-run, and available for credits, it’s possibly technically ‘DLC’. Which means available on PS4.

    Pretty slim silver lining on a ruin-yo-fucking-shit superstorm, though.

  • The concept of Third party DLC is interesting. Not calling it paid mods.

    The terms and conditions are pretty strict… serious developers must submit proposals and cant be existing mods or items that they already developed. Seriously there is nothing stopping another studio coming to them and submiting a plan. As long as they keep control over it and not end up with content flooding or plagerusm I see it working okay.

  • So modders fix Bethesda’s games for them and they monetise it?

    This is genius.

  • God forbid someone who puts in potentially tens to hundreds of hours of work into their mods want to make money off it.

    As long as it doesn’t kill the free community too.

    • for what it’s worth, Nexus lets you donate to mod authors.
      Otherwise mod authors seeking payment without permission of the game dev risk copyright and trademark issues.

  • the big issue is have with this new system is how it will effect Artmoor and his Unoffical Patches, he and his team have been doing bethesda job for them when it comes to bug fixes and not just minor things like a apple not sitting on a desk, but actual fixes for broken quests and balance changes that bethesda eventually adds into to offical patches.

    Does this mean that now if you use the USP and UFOP that you will now have to get all the Club addons, or Does it mean that UFOP and USP wont work with the new semi offical stuff, or does it mean we now have pay for Offical Patches?

  • I’m looking forward to the Creation Club. I’m quite happy to pay for professional content and I prefer it to mods as I know it’s been through a comprehensive development process and will work with all of my saves etc. Although there are some extremely good mods out there, there are many that are not lore-friendly or that are poorly made.

    • Poorly made like Bethesda’s games eh? Moding is a mixed bag sure, But it’s the moding community that keeps Bethesda’s games alive, Bethesda’s Far Harbour basically stole it’s best quest from a New Vegas mod, I believe in giving credit where it’s due, Bethesda have shown they just don’t care, Your willingness to openly embrace this scheme scares me to be honest .

      • I haven’t had many problems with Bethesda’s games to be honest. The occasional glitch, yes, but given the scope of the games, that’s to be expected. I believe in paying a fair price for quality work, whether it’s made by Bethesda, a partner agency or a modder using Creation Club. I won’t download mods outside of this because I’ve had them cause issues with my game before. At least the Creation Club content is tested and goes through a development process – and the content will likely be far more lore-friendly than some of the mods out there.

        The entitlement of some of the modding community is amusing, considering Bethesda don’t have to allow people to mod their IP. They understand it adds to people’s enjoyment of the series and the ‘richness’ of the universe.

        At the end of the day, the fact they’re now offering a product that people can purchase if they choose is good news for those of us who want it. For the rest, I’m sure free mods will continue well into the future.

  • I can only imagine Bethesda were prepared for the shitstorm this time, so I find it incredibly unlikely this will go away. The ‘third party dlc’ slant it has been given it is especially amusing to me.

    I also think we’re absolutely in a situation where a great many of the people complaining about it, will be among the first people to buy in.

    Let’s just all boycott MW2 gang!

    • Hey now, I actually did boycott MW2, infact i havent picked up any CoD game since the MW debarcle

  • As someone who only continues playing these games because of mods, this is both a good and a bad thing (but mostly bad).

    On one hand, having someone do all the dirty work to make sure all the mods I pick up “just work” sounds incredibly handy considering I’ve previously spent entire weekends sorting out new sets of mods I want to try together. If I can spend $5 and get back all that time I could otherwise use to just play the damn game, that’s great.

    On the other hand, I’m almost certain it’s going to cost a lot more than $5 every time I want to try out a new set of mods. There’s also the concerns mods I consider essential (SkyUI or unofficial patches for example) ending up locked behind a paywall.

    The other OTHER issue I see is if this really does take off, what’s going to stop Bethesda from eventually trying to kill off the “free” modding community all together to gain full control (and more profits)? We already know Bethesda’s lawyers can be complete dicks.

      • Those are just examples of what I consider an essential mod; I’m thinking more in the context of their next game where every mod is new and there’s a whole new set of problems the community needs to fix.

        That said, Sky UI could still pass as “new” for Skyrim SE whenever it eventually sees daylight.

  • I’m hoping those images are just mock-ups.

    I’d pay $5 for a new 5-10 hour quest chain.

    As long as it fits my $1 an hour budget I’m happy.

    But paying for furniture, pass.

    Would also pay a couple of dollars for a timer-based autosave.

    • As a modder, I’ve heard this sentiment a lot: “I’d pay for X”. Unfortunately, the vast of players simply download a mod (from Nexus or wherever) and never come back to that download page ever again.

      If someone gets more than 10% of downloaders providing a “commendation” or “thumbs up” or whatever is the minimum bar of simply clicking a button to say “I liked this content”, then they’re doing well above average.

      I’ve invested hundreds and thousands of hours of effort modding for a number of RPGs – developing entirely new adventures and quest chains. I’ve enjoyed the time, but I’ve reached the point where I feel it’s a past-time that I can’t commit to because if you fall short of the expectations of a AAA title (which even the game developers themselves do), you can be bombarded with (sometimes vitriolic) criticism, yet many people never receive a cent for their efforts.

      The last mod I did was for Dragon Age: Origins – with probably around 15 hours of more of gameplay for people – and included a vast amount of voice acting (nearly 3800 lines of dialogue) from a large number of people, a number of whom have voice acted for commercial releases. Those voice actors volunteered their time to work on the project and I haven’t been able to pay them, because I’ll likely never see even a single dollar from all the effort I put into that.

      I think mods are fantastic, and many modders deserve more for their dedication and tireless efforts to produce content effectively for nothing.

  • I’d pay a reasonable amount for mods, provided their quality is high and the price is reasonable (based on what the mod adds). I’m not going to hand over $10 for a pack of reskinned bows, for example.

    But this is going to be shit for one reason: Bethesda Credits. This bullshit system of making us purchase credits or points or whatever instead of letting us just directly pay for the content is going to end up being a mess. No doubt we’ll be buying credits in bulk lots, and things will be priced in odd ways to minimise the value of each bulk purchase. No way am I paying for 1000 Credits only for things to be 350 or 375 credits to encourage me to purchase more of their artificial currency – leaving some left over, wasted, money I’ve thrown at them for no reason.

  • the same thing happens in other games.. cities skyline and hearts of iron 3 both have a free modding community as well as certain modders work being recognised as official dlc.

  • People shouldn’t be so up in arms, this is for new mods that will receive a more professional polish (hopefully). Vast majority of mods will still be free, and I don’t think they are going to take any off nexus to put onto this service so really, its fair IMO.

    Seems allot of gamers think modders survive on thumbs up or posts of appreciation or something, LOL, common guys everyone needs money to survive!

    PS. We have lost ALLOT of modders over the years because they have no way to recoup’ the huge loss in money (time) they spend on their mods, hopefully some will return because of this.

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