Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Skyrim and Skyrim mod discussion. No adult content, please.

Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby Jac » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:21 pm

OpenMW is going to be your best bet, Fable.
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Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby Adul » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:37 pm

Undying fans of Bethesda games continue to do amazing things, like releasing a multiplayer mod for Morrowind. Meanwhile, Bethesda continues to disappoint everyone. Apparently the Creation Club for Fallout 4 was released, and it's the train wreck everyone thought it would be.

Here's a great video I've come across discussing the subject:

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Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby fable2 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:20 pm

Quel surprise.
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Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby Adul » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:45 pm

I went on a minor spending spree and bought myself 5500 Bethesda bucks on Steam for 35 Euros. Then I bought all the mods in the Skyrim CC, after which I still have 2700 credits left. I guess that's not terribly expensive for a bunch of semi-official mods, but of course that's still up for judgment, as I haven't played most of them, so I'm not quite sure how good or bad of a deal I got.

I still haven't played Skyrim SE an awful lot, so I haven't really got a character who's ready for all these new adventures. (I'm playing on master difficulty, so I die every time someone looks at me funny.) However, I have managed to get a little taste of at least a few of the CC mods.




Here's what I got for my ~18 Euros:

Arcane Accessories: A mod that adds some fairly useless enchanted robes and a bunch of new spells. So far I've seen some new spell tomes at mage vendors - some new runes, some new damage spells, an invisibility spell that you can cast on others, a spell that can open locks... pretty standard affair, I suppose.

Divine Crusader: I haven't played it, but it apparently adds 2 armor sets, 2 weapons, and a quest. These, along with all the other new weapons and armor in the CC look very... standard. Like weapons and armor from the base game. That is to say, outdated, if you're used to modded content. I'm definitely not impressed. Might be worth for the quest, not sure yet. As I said, I haven't played it.

Lord's Mail: Adds an armor set that looks awful on the screenshots. 1 new quest. What I wrote for Divine Crusader applies here as well.

Dwarven Armored Mudcrab: It was free, so I'm not bothered about it. Contains 1 new companion animal, and a great new meme at the expense of Bethesda's integrity that has the potential to be on par with the legendary horse armor DLC. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Plague of the Dead: This should add zombies to the game, I guess? Says that I should be able to find them at nighttime, but I haven't yet. Not sure why. Also contains a quest. On the screenshots they look like draugr, sans the cool armor.

Arcane Archer Pack: After the tutorial you start out with a bunch of enchanted arrows, and you can buy some more at certain merchants. Also has a Bound Quiver spell you can get. Also contains a quest, which I haven't played yet, though I assume it's a way to get a more consistent source for magic arrows.

Chrysamere: Contains 1 quest, and 1 weapon that looks almost like the mesh and texture were ripped straight from vanilla Morrowind. What I wrote for Divine Crusader applies here as well.

Ruin's Edge: Contains 1 quest, 1 magic bow. Haven't played it.

Staff of Sheogorath: Contains 1 quest, 1 magic staff, 1 fork of Horripilation. Haven't played it.

Stendarr's Hammer: Contains 1 quest, 1 magic hammer. Haven't played it.

Survival Mode: Okay. This is the big one. Survival mode review coming up:




Survival mode is fun*. Fun with an asterisk. Bethesda makes sure there's always an asterisk. But still, I'm enjoying it most of the time. Other times, it annoys the hell out of me.

It has three major components: hunger, tiredness, and cold. Hunger decreases your max stamina, unless you eat regularly. Tiredness decreases your max magicka, unless you sleep regularly. And cold decreases your max health, unless... well, it just does.

Of these three, tiredness is the most basic one, and it also has the least problems. You get tired, you need to rest in a bed, preferably indoors. Each hour of sleep decreases your tiredness bar by a little bit. Other than the magicka penalty, being tired also negatively affects your stamina and magicka regeneration. Sleeping in an owned bed can give you the regular well rested bonuses, but only if you're not still tired when you wake up. The only functionality I'm missing is for me to be able to bring my own sleeping bag and camp in remote locations. Otherwise it's fine.

Next, hunger. Hunger also increases gradually, and you can decrease it by eating food. There's, of course, a caveat. Most food is useless. Most food restores 2 or 18 points of hunger, which about covers the time it takes for me to open and close my inventory. Better foods restore 220 or 380 points, which is more useful, but those foods are also rare. You can buy them at some vendors, but they generally don't replenish very well. So you need to cook your own food, unless you want to run out of food and die of hunger. But there's another caveat. Cooking decent foods usually cost 1 salt pile per meal. Salt piles are not rare, but are also not endlessly available. You can find them a few at a time in sacks and barrels, that is, if the random number generator favors you. Nobody sells salt in any useful quantity. So hunger comes down to finding enough salt to be able to produce your meals. It's kind of ridiculous, and after a while it becomes a chore.

I also don't like how quickly I become "peckish" (first tier hungry) after filling up on food. It takes only 1-5 minutes to progress from full to "peckish", and when you're "peckish" you swing weapons 30% slower. 30%! That makes a world of difference! You basically have to constantly stuff your face if you want to be any sort of effective with any weapon. It's incredibly annoying.

And we've arrived to the worst one, by far: the cold. Oh, I hate the cold. Just thinking about it makes me shiver. Eh? Get it? Shiver? Because it's cold? Anyway. Cold isn't like tiring and hunger, in that it normally doesn't increase automatically. It only increases when you're outside in the more frigid regions, or at night. Different regions have different coldness ratings, and most lands won't kill you, even at night. Some, however, like the area surrounding Winterhold, will absolutely freeze you to death. And there really isn't all that much you can do about it. But you can try anyway.

First off, clothing and armor now have warmth ratings, which you can see in your inventory. Unless you play with SkyUI, like I do, in which case it's a mystery. However, in general, the more fur your outfit has, the better. Modded outfits generally have minimum warmth for their armor class, which sucks, because vanilla outfits just don't do it for me anymore. But, at least, you can wear warm clothes and avoid a freezy death, right? Wrong. All warm clothing does is it makes you get cold slower, it will not prevent dying. Same thing goes for wielding a torch, but that also has the tendency to randomly expire and leave you to die a quick and panicked death.

You can also stand next to a fire. This, unlike warm clothes, actually works, in that it will actually warm you up and prevent death. Well, as long as you stand next to the correct fire. Other fires will do absolutely nothing for you. For example, if you see a brazier somewhere in the world, it's your lucky day. You get to get warm and live another day. But... if you think that your Flame Wall spell will do the trick, think again. You can stand in the middle of your magic flames and freeze to death. In fact, no spell in the game will do anything to warm you up. Not flames, not fireball, not flame cloak, not firewall, not the entire Restoration school, nothing. Except, if an enemy casts a fire spell at you, in which case, you warm up. But, unless you manage to run into an angry pyromancer, you're out of luck. Because casting flame spells at yourself is something that was common fare in 2001, but our modern game engines are too sophisticated to handle.

And if you think your Resist Frost enchanted gear or potions will do anything against the cold, think again. Scratch that. Do not think in the first place. Thinking will not help you, because these rules makes no rational sense.

Oh, and you can prepare and eat hot soups to increase your warmth rating, each of which costs 1 fire salt to make. So you can survive for at least a few minutes against the cold, I suppose, in case you happen to have prepared some meals with one of the rarest ingredients in the game. In which case, good for you?

Survival mode also has some minor changes, like diseases being more of a threat, shrines costing money to use, new debilitating afflictions you can get from being too hungry, tired, or cold, a halved encumbrance limit, more severe encumbrance penalties, etc. In addition, it also makes freezing water cause an almost instant death. So if you want to go for a swim near Winterhold, cast Flame Cloak on yourself. Flame Cloak protects against cold water, but not cold air, because Bethesda.

Overall I think survival mode has/had promise. It's a nice, low-complexity, sleek alternative to the many convoluted survival mods out there. I just wish it was a little less sleek, and maybe introduced a few spells and enchantment effects that helped against cold, tiredness, and hunger. Or, here's an even crazier idea. How about they take some of the countless spells and magic effects that are already in the game, all of which should logically help you against those adversities, and maybe make them work like as if they made sense? No? ... Ok, it was just a suggestion. You do you, Bethesda.




So that's about it. What I've played of these mods so far managed to bring the genuine Bethesda experience: somewhat fun, somewhat disappointing, and full of issues. My enjoyment of the rest of the mods will probably depend on how much substance the accompanying quests possess. As it stands, I don't know anything about them.

I'll be sure to report back once I've played more of the mods.
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Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby Adul » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:31 am

I've played Skyrim SE with the CC mods some more, so here are some updates:

Arcane Accessories: Turns out that the destruction spells added by this mod include some very powerful damage spells, including an expert level spell that costs less magicka than Incinerate, does more than double the damage, does both fire and shock damage, and also explodes in an AoE the same way Fireball does. This makes it the best destruction spell in the game, by far, for most situations. That's not to say I object to that, seeing how destruction really falls behind in damage compared to the weapon skills in late game, but it feels sleazy that they locked the official solution to that problem behind a paid mod.

Plague of the Dead: The "quest" included in this mod barely has substance, all it consists of is the player traveling to a specific area of the world, killing around 10 zombies there, and looting the spell tome to summon zombies off the corpses there. That's it. However, after you complete the quest, you may run into groups of zombies on the roads of Skyrim at night, which is a pretty rare but relatively fun occurrence. Zombies are melee fighters who do decent damage and have a lot of health, and they typically appear in groups of ~8, making them an interesting challenge. There's not a lot to this mod, but I like it regardless.

Ruin's Edge: The "quest" associated with this mod is also very simple. You go to a cave, kill a bandit leader who fights you with this bow, and you loot it off his body. It's otherwise just a regular artifact with a unique enchantment effect. I guess what I'm saying is only buy this if you're interested in the artifact, because the quest isn't worth it.

Stendarr's Hammer: Even flimsier excuse for a quest. Go to Markarth, enter Calcelmo's dwemer museum there, and steal the hammer off one of the shelves.



As for Survival Mode, I've thought of some additional observations and tips that I'd like to share.

First off, in my last post I said that none of the spells can help you get warm if you're dying from cold. That's not true. If you're really desperate for warmth, you can summon a fire atronach, attack it a few times so it becomes hostile, and stand next to it to make it warm you up with its damaging flames while it attacks you. However, it takes a rather long time to warm up this way, and it's just not a fun way to spend your time, especially because you need to do it pretty frequently in colder climates.

Second, if you're building a Hearthfire homestead, I recommend you get a kitchen. The kitchen has an oven that has unique recipes for baking pastries, many of which are useful foods to mass-produce in order to stave off hunger. Most of these recipes use flour, which you can produce at a grain mill (which you can build at Heljarchen Hall), from wheat that you can grow in your garden and greenhouse.

Third, I've come across a bug that makes freezing water no longer cause damage. I'm not sure what causes it, but it seems to be permanently disabled in my recent saves. Not that big of a deal, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Finally, there is a mod on Nexus called Lenient Survival. This mod includes a component that makes the Flame Cloak spell warm you up while it's active. I think this is a great and necessary addition, as that spell already protects you against icy water, so it makes logical sense that it would also stave off cold from air you come into contact with. However, I think that most of the other changes in that mod make Survival Mode a little too lenient, like the component that removes the attack speed penalty from hunger entirely.

So here's what I've done: I've made a personal edit of the Lenient Survival plugin that removes most of the changes, and only keeps the Flame Cloak change and the vampire changes (which seem to make sense to me, even though I've yet to play a vampire in Survival Mode). And while I was at it, I've added a few changes of my own for things that bothered me, things that I found too unrealistic. Most of my changes are aimed at making the penalties for hunger, cold and exhaustion less suddenly drastic, and more gradual.

For example, the first tier hunger penalty, called "peckish", is a debilitating condition that makes your attacks 30% slower, and your blocking and sneaking 30% less effective. This makes no sense to me, because when I'm peckish in real life, it's not some debilitating condition that makes me unable to do things. And even from a gameplay perspective, I don't think peckish should be a huge penalty, because it serves as your first warning for hunger. It's supposed to let you know that you will experience harsher penalties if you don't eat something soon. So in order to fix this, I've removed the attack speed penalty from peckish and lowered the block and sneak penalties from 30% to 10%. Then, I've edited the other hunger tiers and made the penalties, including the attack speed penalty, increase more gradually, so that the jump between the new first tier and the other tiers makes more sense. The final tier remains the same it was. I've also done this for cold and exhaustion, where the first tier is less harsh and serves more as a warning, while the other tiers increase the penalties more gradually.

My other change is that I increased the amount of hunger restored by tiny and small food items, as these foods restored an unrealistically small amount. It shouldn't take 500 carrots or 55 loafs of bread to get you from starvation to being well fed, that's absurd. I've increased the tiny food hunger value from 2 to 8, and the small one from 18 to 62. This way, tiny foods like butter and carrots still remain rather useless, although not completely useless, and small foods like apples and bread will actually put a small dent into your hunger. Medium (220) and large (380) foods remain unchanged. In case you're wondering, the hunger scale goes from 0 (well fed) to 1000 (starving).

If anyone wants to use my version of the Lenient Survival mod, I'll attach it to this post. I've named it AdulsSurvivalTweaks.esp.



So far my favorite CC mods are Survival Mode and Plague of the Dead. Even though they have their issues or may not offer as much as I'd like, they certainly make the game more fun for me, so I do recommend these. I'll also give a lukewarm recommendation for Arcane Accessories and the Arcane Archer Pack, because these may not offer much, but more options for archers and spellcasters are always welcome.

As for the other mods I've played, I can't really recommend those. I guess grab them only if you're interested in the items, or if you're like me and want to have the full Bethesda-approved package.
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Re: Bethesda doesn't learn from mistakes

Postby Jac » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:04 am

:goodjob:
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