Let’s say you’re a dedicated PC gamer. You have a great desktop, a viable gaming laptop, and maybe even a second desktop at the office or something. You’re someone who carries your save files with you on an SD card or on the Steam Cloud. Let’s also say that you just bought Skyrim and are looking at modding the game for a better experience. You install the game on Steam and see the link for the Steam Workshop. In the Steam Workshop, you pick out one collection and about 15 other, random mods totaling 56 add-ons. When you load up Skyrim, Steam takes the wheel and begins to download all 56 of those mods and install them correctly. Then all you do is press play and get your gaming on.
That is how modding needs to be. Nearly care-free and no hassle. Don’t like a mod? Unsubscribe from it. Don’t feel like using a couple particular mods with a new character? De-select it. No matter how many computers you have, Steam will automatically sync your subscribed mods to your game.
Modding games can be a real pain. You may be writing a list of some sweet stuff you saw on a mod website when you come across a really amazing conversion mod (a mod that nearly changes the entire game into something else). You get excited and you’re looking through the pictures with gusto. Then you see the requirements and installation sections. Simply put, most times it is met with a simply “F’ that!” Huge mods like this require so much tinkering that you almost need programming experience to do it.
Take the Morrowind conversion mod for Oblivion. Wouldn’t you like to play an updated Morrowind with almost everything in tact? Of course you would! Have fun getting that to work correctly the first time. The installation method is ridiculous.
With the Steam Workshop, all you have to do is look at the requirements and see if the mod in question requires another mod. Then you subscribe to both of them and move on. No cares in the world, right? The Steam Workshop brings mods to the simpler folk. Don’t take that as an insult, though. Not everyone who plays PC games is a tech wizard or knows their way around a computer. I can install plenty of mods myself with no issue but some of the bigger ones go way beyond me. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert with PC software but I know my way around a program. When it comes to coding and changing files, I get nervous and crack. I don’t want to have to re-install because I placed a .dll file in the folder and screwed something up. I don’t even know if that is possible!
I know I’m not the only one in this boat. I enjoy modding. It makes for great replayability. Skyrim already has tons of it but with mods it could be a completely different game every single time. I just wish everyone had a chance to take part in the modding community. The Steam Workshop gives that ability and I feel like modders are holding it back.
I understand that not all of the blame can be put on the modders. The Steam Workshop isn’t out for every viable game and it has a stupid file size limitation. However, modders are still rampantly linking back to other websites for important required files that have to be installed manually or with mod managers. This is counter productive to what the Steam Workshop is all about.
Look at the Skyrim section for the Steam Workshop. You could go into almost any mod and see links for the Skyrim Nexus website. I used to use the Nexus websites for all of my games. They have a great number of portals to different games with lovely mod communities. Problem is, no everyone is going to be able to install your mod or even see it. Steam helps modders with that greatly. So why am I still heading to Nexus for some updated mod, required file, or script extender? Why is it not on the Steam Workshop?
I see some modders leaving notes in the description like “support the mod community!” followed by a Nexus link. Say what? How is the Steam Workshop not supporting the mod community? Why even say that? In any case, Valve and the Steam Workshop is working towards making modding a common thing and something anyone with a gaming PC and a download of Steam can participate in. That means more eyes see your work, more downloads, quick access to see if any users need help, and less hassle for the users. Isn’t that what you want, modders? Don’t you want your community to grow? Don’t you want more games using your hard work?
If modders stop caring so much for nostalgia and work towards making modding more accessible, you would see an influx of gamers asking for the Steam Workshop on other games. You would also see sites like Nexus work towards bettering their methods of ease of use. That is a win-win for gamers all over.
Mods make games better. Make mods easier to use and you’ll see the community flourish. It is as easy as that.