Skyrim Modding: Thoughts for Next Time

I am 118 hours into my most recent play through of Skyrim. While I’ve enjoyed it overall – I still have a LOT left to do – I’m learning that modding Skyrim the way that I have may, MAY, have pushed things too far.  I say that because I’m finding that a lot of things that I thought I “couldn’t live without”, I really could.  I’ll sum that up in a few paragraphs:

IMMERSION: I’ve always craved immersion – making the fantasy world believable.  Things like realistic armors, weapons and actions all draw me into the game.  The problem is I took the whole immersion thing too far.  Needing 7 steps to “process” a hunting kill or constantly needing to stop to eat, drink or sleep and probably the worst of them all, protecting my virtual self from freezing to death.  These ideas are covered by Hunterborn, iNeed and Frostfall respectively.  While I’m not downing the mods – they work just as intended – I’m just trying to justify me need for them. Why? All that they really do is prolong the game.  None of these mods add anything particularly fantastic to the game except the false idea of hunting and camping.  They do bring that idea to the game, but after 100 hours, I really just wanted to ditch them altogether.  I haven’t, but I’m really looking forward to the time when my character becomes a vampire so I don’t have to worry about them anymore.

SKILL OVERHAUL: I’m looking at you Skyrim Redone (SkyRe).  Again, there’s nothing wrong with the mod.  It’s just that it changed the game so much that I can’t even have fun playing the way I wanted to play.  No matter what I tried, I ended up being a sneaky archer because the skills and perks I needed were always out of reach for the foes that I faced.  The only way I could keep up was to rely on smithing, enchanting and alchemy.  In my mind sneaking is broken – it’s broken in vanilla Skyrim, but at least at some point it became a viable tool.  With SkyRe, at level 89 sneak and a massive investment in perk points, there are foes that can find me…because I’m breathing. There should come a time where I can sneak around even the best of foes…I’m still not there.  This fact alone has basically taken me out of the sneaky dagger-wielding assassin I wanted to play and made me a sneaky archer.

TEXTURE OVERLOAD: It’s been so long since I’ve created this setup that I can’t remember exactly which texture mods were installed at what resolution.  But I know that next time I’ll be toning them down a notch (or two).  Why? Stutters.  I’ve got what I would call a (more than) adequate system to play this game.  But it never fails that I can turn the camera and the game stutters while it loads textures from the hard drive.  Part of that is the ENB, part of it is the high resolution textures I chose and the last part is my video card only having 3GB of video ram.  Simply put, the next mod setup I have will strive for no stutters and a solid frame rate.  I love the way my Skyrim looks, but I can’t stand it not being smooth.  Unlike a lot of people modding this game I simply can not afford to have 2 Titan X’s in SLI.  I’ve got, you know, real life to pay for.

So sum it all up, I love my setup as it is.  It accomplishes everything I’ve wanted it to (assuming that I can actually finish my full run with it). But next time.  I’m going to go lighter, smoother and faster.  Maybe starting with something like this.

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