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Oblivion first time modded or vanilla

Play oblivion vanilla or modded as a first time player


  • Total voters
    130

Mastermind

Cognito Elite Material
Patron
Bethestard
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
21,144
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
For me magic in Oblivion was like running backwards shooting 1 dps firebolts all day. Then I went afk and shoved something in my keyboard to shoot my firebolt into the corner of a room. I came back later and I could 1 shot everything.

If you were not a consoletard you could have used the console of the PC version to just adjust your skill.

It always cracks me up when people think of "clever" ways of abusing the game mechanics when there are ways that are so much quicker and easier.
You shouldn't have to move the difficulty slider up and down. Quicker and easier way is to install some other game made by decent devs.

How many companies make 1st person open world rpgs? There's next to no other games that scratch the same itch. borderlands is the closest thing I can think of

Don't know, there are the Gothic games, Risen etc, Two Worlds, Dragon's Dogma, Witchers, Nu Fallouts, Kingdumb Come Deliverance, Mordor, Inquisition, etc. I think most have a first person view. But the best RPG ever made, which also has a first person view, is EverQuest. Although I'll play an RPG with any sort of view if it is a good game with decent combat.

Do you know what 1st person means?
 

DJOGamer PT

Arcane
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,988
Location
Lusitânia
LyGDDw0.jpg
 

anvi

Prophet
Village Idiot
Joined
Oct 12, 2016
Messages
6,805
Location
Kelethin
I've played games with tons of mods and it worked great. Not often but it can happen. With Skyrim I installed 9000 mods and it ended up truly beautiful and improved the UI and stuff, but the gameplay was still retarded. Nothing can fix that. Other Bethesduh games are more or less the same.
 

Duralux for Durabux

Guest
I've played games with tons of mods and it worked great. Not often but it can happen. With Skyrim I installed 9000 mods and it ended up truly beautiful and improved the UI and stuff, but the gameplay,world design,ennemies,physic,Worldbuilding,level design,quests were still retarded. Nothing can fix that. Other Bethesduh games are more or less the same.
 

Duralux for Durabux

Guest
How many were nude mods?
5000
Edit: BY THE WAY, how the fuck he manages to run this game with 9000 mods, normally it crash way before 200 mods installed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

DalekFlay

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
14,118
Location
New Vegas
Oscuro's is probably the only "overhaul" type mod I've ever used. Usually I'd just use unofficial patches, UI mods and widescreen hacks, nothing else. I don't think I've ever even installed a mod manager. For Oblivion though it really requires an overhaul mod due to the batshit insane level scaling.
 

DraQ

Arcane
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
32,828
Location
Chrząszczyżewoszyce, powiat Łękołody
How many were nude mods?
5000
Edit: BY THE WAY, how the fuck he manages to run this game with 9000 mods, normally it crash way before 200 mods installed.
I think the only way would be bashing everything together. The game only has like 1B reserved for identifying the esp/esm file in its IDs, that's up to 256 files including game's own files (base, expansions and update).
 

the mole

Learned
Shitposter
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
833
At least use a mod that gets rid of the level scaling.
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul was pretty good (combo of level and area scaling, + added quests and items), but there may be better options nowadays (other than uninstall.exe, that is).
It also fixed item level scaling and made enchantments more useful from level lists

It also made the buyable uniques at shops better

It also hand placed a ton of loot
 

Rat King

Educated
Joined
May 10, 2020
Messages
154
Location
Netherlands
If you're going to play it then you should definitely mod it. But you need so many mods to counteract the overall shittiness of the game that you may as well play a better game, like Morrowind. :cool:
 

Lutte

Dumbfuck!
Dumbfuck
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
1,929

Funposter

Magister
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
1,678
Location
Australia
How many were nude mods?
5000
Edit: BY THE WAY, how the fuck he manages to run this game with 9000 mods, normally it crash way before 200 mods installed.
I think the only way would be bashing everything together. The game only has like 1B reserved for identifying the esp/esm file in its IDs, that's up to 256 files including game's own files (base, expansions and update).
I think Skyrim SE might allow for more mods beyond the 255 limit. The advent of esl files also mitigates this issue. Many large load orders featured in nexus guides or downloadable via wabbajack would have over 500 mods, not including texture packs/pluginless mesh replacers.
 

BruceVC

Magister
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
3,803
Location
South Africa, Cape Town
I have some good news for everyone, I have decided my next game Im playing is Oblivion. I played it once before with no mods in 2008 but obviously this time my gaming experience will be fully modded

I busy downloading mods that are lore friendly and will enhance my game but not unbalance it like additional and harder monsters and more animals with better AI

Anyway if you have any Mod suggestions let me know

mastroego I know you provided excellent insights around Skyrim mods so I dont know if you can suggest " must have " Oblivion mods ?
 

mastroego

Arcane
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
9,736
Location
Italy
mastroego I know you provided excellent insights around Skyrim mods so I dont know if you can suggest " must have " Oblivion mods ?

Well, it's easier to give advice here, since I used external advice myself.
Be warned that it's a lot of work, but I did manage to get to a build which looked more than nice and played fine too.
I discontinued the game though (for the time being at least) since I preferred to jump into Requiem SSE.

Anyway I started here with Bevilex's modlist for the graphical part.
Then you basically delve into Sinitar's guide for everything else.
I see the modlist have been updated recently, I used the one from 2 or 3 years ago, but I guess it'll be fine still or better.
The base of the gameplay build will be a combined installation of Maskar's + Oscuro Overhauls.
As I said, it'll take some time, be prepared if you go this road ;)

EDIT: if you want I could provide the list of the specific selections I did back then, but it'd take some time as I don't have it ready and ordered. I have a directory with the chosen mods already downloaded.
Besides, you might want to have fun selecting your picks and there are new suggestions in the updated modlist:)
 

BruceVC

Magister
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
3,803
Location
South Africa, Cape Town
mastroego I know you provided excellent insights around Skyrim mods so I dont know if you can suggest " must have " Oblivion mods ?

Well, it's easier to give advice here, since I used external advice myself.
Be warned that it's a lot of work, but I did manage to get to a build which looked more than nice and played fine too.
I discontinued the game though (for the time being at least) since I preferred to jump into Requiem SSE.

Anyway I started here with Bevilex's modlist for the graphical part.
Then you basically delve into Sinitar's guide for everything else.
I see the modlist have been updated recently, I used the one from 2 or 3 years ago, but I guess it'll be fine still or better.
The base of the gameplay build will be a combined installation of Maskar's + Oscuro Overhauls.
As I said, it'll take some time, be prepared if you go this road ;)

EDIT: if you want I could provide the list of the specific selections I did back then, but it'd take some time as I don't have it ready and ordered. I have a directory with the chosen mods already downloaded.
Besides, you might want to have fun selecting your picks and there are new suggestions in the updated modlist:)

This is great, thanks. I am only going to spend today selecting, installing and troubleshooting mods if necessary. I use Nexus Mod Manager and I like its functionality

So no need for that specific selection, I am about 100 mods in and I will definitely look into the mods you posted :salute:
 

monilloman

Educated
Joined
Dec 30, 2021
Messages
53
I used Ascension a few months back, the process was quite simple since everything is in a single page telling you "click this, install this, move on"

Having said that, I spent around 5-10 hours modding it in order to play 20h and ragequit so know what you're getting yourself into :D
 

Funposter

Magister
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
1,678
Location
Australia
Modding Oblivion again (it's been a couple of years and I have a problem) and I'm just going to use this thread as a spot to throw out some thoughts about various mods for anyone interested in doing the same.

First of all, there's a new mod which is only a month old called Remodel of Vanilla Blunt Weaponry. Does what it says on the tin - makes maces, warhammers, axes and battleaxes look less goofy by re-sizing the "pointy" end with optional files for making battleaxes one-headed, as well as fixing the Elven Longsword (paddle) and making Dwarven swords a bit thinner (they're fat). A long overdue addition to Oblivion in the tradition of mods like Skyrim's De-LARPification Project or Better Shaped Weapons by Leanwolf. The longer hammers and axes now have collision to match, too, so they actually feel better to use since you don't need to get right up in the enemy's face. I'm looking at using this in combination with Weapon Types - Redone which switches Blade and Blunt to Light Weaponry and Heavy Weaponry, respectively, moving war axes into the Light category and Claymores into the Heavy category, while also switching all Longswords to two-handed weapons. Essentially this solves one of the vanilla game's biggest balance issues, where Longswords outclass all other weapons due to their damage, swing speed and the general proliferation of them among the unique artifacts. Umbra and Goldbrand now require you to sacrifice your shield, making either Shortswords or Axes a more enticing option due to the extra AR and enchant slot. Heavy users to use Maces, the slowest one-handed weapon, if they want to make use of a shield but get access to all of the "reach" weapons which are more or less the same with the changed collision from the previous mod. The ultimate fix for, or addition to, this would be for maces and hammers to smash heavy armour etc. etc. (LARPer shit) but we still don't have a mod for it. I brought it up to Maskar a couple of years ago as an addition to MOO's 'Slayer' damage system where certain materials do extra damage to certain enemies (Silver vs Undead, Ebony vs Daedra, etc.) but MOO hasn't been updated for three years now.

The other thing I wanted to write about was Unique Landscapes. UL has been around for a while and it's well-known as a performance hog, compatibility nightmare and a compilation of varying quality ranging from great to below-average. I wouldn't say that any of the plugins are outright bad. This is probably a good time to talk about some of the cardinal sins of modding, because a few of the plugins do commit one or two of these sins, and those are the ones that you probably want to avoid if you're interested in UL. So, cardinal sins of TES modding:

  • Visual clutter aka statues everywhere. This is the tell-tale sign of an out of control or idiotic mod author, often both. Visual clustering (not cluttering) of objects is a big part of design, and often what that means is throwing everything in and then doing second, third and even fourth passes to see what can be removed while still maintaining the illusion that a scene is cluttered in a realistic manner.
  • Non-functional doors and activators. In every TES game from Morrowind onwards, if you can see a door you can open it. A big pet-peeve of mine is mods that add buildings which the player can't enter, usually because exterior design is the easy part and designing interiors is intimidating and time consuming. A door in a TES game should never be un-interactable, or worse, something that you get a prompt to interact with which doesn't do anything.
  • Over-use of non-vanilla assets. Custom assets are fine, obviously, but when trying to integrate a location into the vanilla worldspace, you should focus on using vanilla models and textures so that they fit in properly. If a custom mesh is required, use vanilla textures to maintain coherency. This is especially problematic in a game that is well-known for its graphics mods and thousands of texture replacers, which means you can run into the problem of playing game with 1-2K textures and then finding modded content using 256x256 or some shit.
  • Incorrect use of vanilla assets. No, that swamp tree doesn't belong in Chorrol, even if you like how it looks. No, that Bravil shack does not belong on the outskirts of Skingrad, etc. etc.
  • Contradicting established lore whilst describing a mod as "lore-friendly". Don't do this.
  • Being unfinished and not labelled as such.
There's a few other things which are annoying but not deal-breakers such as ignoring naming conventions for NPCs (i.e naming your Breton farmer NPC "Farmer" instead of "Jean Mourtier" or something), overuse of map markers which is a big problem in some UL plugins, and also just contradicting certain vanilla design principles. So, in alphabetical order, here's a quick word on most of the UL plugins along with their mod author (there's a pattern):

  • Ancient Yews (Carel de Winter): A good one to start out with. Overhauls a previously boring area southwest of Cheydinhal which includes the Vaermina Shrine, Arkved's Tower and the Ayleid ruin, Nornal. No extra content, just a more interesting area to wander around if you're travelling cross-country. Includes a new landmark, Longman's Barrow, which seems like it should have a quest attached or something but is just there as set dressing. Recommended.
  • Arrius Creek (Malachit): Overhauls the walk from Cheydinhal up to Lake Arrius by adding a creek. Adds mills along the way to try and simulate an economy to make the world feel less dumb, but they aren't staffed by NPCs, use some custom assets and it also includes an un-interactable door. Bonus points for the ear-piercing custom sound effects. Also includes low-res, custom loading screens. Avoid.
  • Aspen Wood (Apallo): Features a Woodsmen's Lodge and a Legion Outpost which both have taller towers than any other building in Cyrodiil. Also the Legion soldier are in ugly, modded armour. Fuck this plugin.
  • Beaches of Cyrodiil: Lost Coast (Aberneth): Touches up the coast to the north of Anvil. The beaches are quite nice, with some driftwood, shipwrecks and a ruined village with its own history explained by in-game notes. Also features a fairly decent dungeon romp with a unique, unlevelled enemy at the end to serve as a boss. Driftwood is a custom asset. Recommended.
  • Blackwood Forest (roobsi): There's a new Ayleid ruin guarded by a giant Mudcrab. Inside the ruin you are immediately greeted by a room with housing monster enemies in an area with swimmable-depth water, a gas trap and those pillars that move up and down. Fuck off.
  • Bravil Barrowfields (bananasplit): I want to like this one, because it has some good ideas, but it commits too many of the cardinal sins. Turns the area around Bravil into a run down, overgrown forest hinting at a more prosperous era. The problem is that there's a lot of visual clutter (STATUES!!!) which tanks performance, the NPCs added are goofy (one of them is named Pumpkinhead, guess what here farmhouse is full of) and there's an abandoned prison which looks like it should house content but is just...a big bunch of ruined fort meshes plopped down in the forest. It's really too bad, because the aesthetic of the mod is cool and the addition of farmland is always welcome, and the ruined bridge to the West Weald is a nice touch. It just needed a second pass or third pass and I'd have happily recommended it. Avoid.
  • Brena River Ravine (chuck21, AIMTHEEMPEROR, Arthmoor): It features three authors so you can probably guess that it's a cut above the rest. Overhauls the Brena River, north of Anvil, which is normally an out-of-bounds area that the player can just catch a glimpse of as they wander around the edges of the map. Turns the area into an Ayleid-era dam, complete with enormous waterfalls, ruins, dungeons to crawl through and a quest to complete. Visually stunning when you have all of your COOL GRAFIX mods installed. There's even a rudimentary disguise system for dealing with the bandit faction added to the area by the mod. NPCs aren't voiced, but that shouldn't count against it. Highly recommended.
  • Cheydinhal Falls (Meg): Adds more water around the east side of Cheydinhal and then a waterfall down to the Corbolo River. Looks nice but runs poorly due to the amount of rock meshses that it utilizes to hide the ugly vanilla heightmaps. I'd say avoid, but there's nothing offensive about it. I'm on the fence.
  • Chorrol Heartland (Carel de Winter): Adds farms, watchtowers and a mill to the area around Chorrol (mainly the north) along with a secondary wall around the outskirts. Connects to the author's River Ethe module with no module needed. All vanilla or re-worked vanilla assets. The only problem is that it's very densely packed, and so it's quite performance-heavy. Some of the new guards look weird when using OCO v2. Recommended, but reiterating the warning about performance.
  • Cliffs of Anvil (prettyfly): A little smuggler village to the east of Anvil, built into the cliffs along the Sirid River. A nice idea but another case of the performance being awful due to the amount of rock meshes used to get the idea across. Quite a few new NPCs with no voice acting. Avoid.
  • Cloudtop Mountains (bananasplit): A nice window dressing mod, but not much else. Makes the edges of the map more navigable if you want to go rambling or something. The walk up to Cloud Top for the 'Finger of the Mountain' quest is now a bit nicer. There's some added landmarks but they don't feature any content, so it's just stuff to look at while wandering the edges of the map. No custom assets. Give it a go, skippable if you don't want too many mods.
  • Colovian Highlands (malachit): Same deal as Cloudtop Mountains, but with a few differences. It uses custom assets with fairly low res textures for all of the major landscape changes (lots of rock formations) and there's some weird lighting in spots while using the Oblivion Reloaded E3 preset since I think it might use "fake" lighting in spots. Features a fairly involved cave to explore, but it has some traps whcih are poorly designed, don't fit with the aesthetic and also feature ear-piercing custom sound effects just like this author's other module. Avoid.
  • Corbolo River (A0CdT): It's new and it's good. Remodels said river and makes it a bit more of a quest to reach Drakelowe if you're doing the Vampire Cure quest, and also overhauls the area around the cabin to be more Glenmoril-y.
  • The Dark Forest (addiktive): Turns an area south of the Imperial City into a, you guessed it, dark forest. It's reminiscent of something like Darkwood out of Fable, so the change is pretty abrupt and it also hints at quest content that never comes. Avoid.
  • The Eastern Peaks (prettyfly): If it were 2009 and I was 15 years old, modding Oblivion, I would tell you that this is the best mod ever. It's huge! it has quests! It has dungeons! Unfortunately, it's 2022 and I am a manchild with supreme taste in shitty mods, so I can tell you that this one sucks. Visual clutter, non-functional doors, floating rocks, weird shit that doesn't really belong in the game, incorrect naming conventions. Lots of Morrowind nostalgia bait that doesn't work because I'm autistic and instead of getting excited about Saltrice being in shallow water, I'm annoyed because I know it wouldn't grow in the fucking Valus Mountains. Less of a Unique Landscapes plugin and more of a New Lands mod, given how much is outside of the playable borders. Avoid.
  • Entius Gorge (Phitt): Not much to say here. Nice looking window dressing mod that isn't too performance-heavy. Makes the area around Fort Entius a bit more interesting to run around. Recommended, but also skippable if you're trying to keep a small mod list.
  • Fallenleaf Everglade (Aberneth): Adds a colourful swamp southeast of Skingrad. Not a fan of this, as it doesn't fit with the surrounding area and there's no content attached, so it really feels more like a modding showcase - "look how nice my exterior environments are!". Keep your load order clean, avoid.
  • The Heath (Phitt): An area to the north of Kvatch and Anvil becomes a wetland. No extra content. It's a nice way to break up that Gold Coast/Imperial Reserve area for a bit, but I really don't know if it's large enough to warrant what is essentially a change in biome. Not sure about how much sense it makes geographically, either. Take it or leave it.
  • The Great Forest: Ancient Redwoods (Aelius): Lots of trees to the southeast of Chorrol along with some non-aggressive bears that have sleep schedules. Bigger trees. Take it or leave it.
  • The Great Forest: Lush Woodland (Aelius): Lots of trees to the east of Chorrol, minor edits to Ayleid ruin to add a graveyard. Performance impact not that bad. Take it or leave it.
  • Imperial Isle (Gondor Wache): Torn on this one. The best thing it does is add some farms to the northwest of the Imperial Isle, because of course there would be farmland there to supply the enormous city with food. Unfortunately there are other changes which are fairly performance heavy, and it edits the road from the bridge up to the Talos Plaza District, which means any mod changing that pathgrid for any reason (added NPCs etc.) will conflict. Also commits the cardinal sin of STATUES for visual clutter, although it's more appropriate around the IC. I like this one, but I might end up taking it out of my own load order if I can find some alternatives that are more lightweight. Soft recommend?
  • Jerall Glacier (GrandDukeAdense): A big glacier north of Cheydinhal. Custom assets, hints at quest content that never arrives. Avoid.
  • Panther River (Trollf): No fucking around with this one. Just a straight upgrade over the vanilla area, which is boring. More visually interesting, more fun to navigate, little performance hit due to lack of visual clutter. Recommended.
  • River Athe (Carel de Winter): The brother plugin to Chorrol Heartland and probably my personal favourite. A nice, comfy stroll through the woods following a river/stream down to The West Weald that isn't too performance heavy. A beautiful upgrade to my favourite area in the game. Absolutely recommended.
  • Rolling Hills (Malachit): Turns the area around Roland Jenseric's cabin into a farm, complete with a windmill, horses, sheep and hedges to wall things in. Unfortunately, the NPCs are named according to their occupation (Stable boy, Maid etc.) and it sort of contradicts the idea that Roland's cabin is supposed to be an isolated hiding spot. Features those stupid loading screens from Arrius Creek. Another attempt to try and inject real-world logic into Oblivion, which I don't think works. Feels out of place. Avoid unless you really like the comfy feeling (it is comfy, tbf).
  • Silverfish River Valley (DathSloth74): This one is hit-and-miss. It does some nice things like add some extra architecture to Nenalata (it was meant to be a capital, after all) and it adds a graveyard to the back of the Cadlew Chapel which I approve of. Unfortunately, it delves into the silly visual clutter of STATUES~! in order to create landmarks which aren't interesting or needed. Exterior fort without an interior. Avoid, unfortunately.
  • Skingrad Outskirts (GrandDukeAdense, Vorians): Adds some more farms, a manned Imperial fort and an iron mine around Skingrad. A bit visually cluttered (statues, again) and quite performance-heavy. Some of the NPCs have unfitting names. I appreciate what it's trying to do, but Skingrad is one of the few (only) cities in the vanilla game that manages to justify its existence economically with its famous vineyards, so it doesn't need an iron mine. I'd say to avoid this one but give it a shot first and see if it's for you.
  • Snowdale (Verganon): Overhauls all of the area around and to the east of Bruma. Some good ideas, but also some overuse of ruins and statues for visual clutter and to create pathways that just...take you to nowhere. Some custom assets for ice which look bad and have disgusting normal maps. Weird stuff. I'm not a fan, so I'd say to avoid.
  • Stendarr Valley (Rancen): Some good stuff here, especially with the approach to Echo Cave being a lot more menacing, but the bare pine tree mesh looks dumb as shit because the scale is all out of proportion. I'd say avoid, but this is another one that you should try first and see if it's for you.
So there it is. All of these stupid things reviewed. The person using this most often will probably be me in two or three years when I reinstall Oblivion and ask "which of these are worth using, again?"

  • AVOID: Arrius Creek, Aspen Wood, Blackwood Forest, Bravil Barrowfields, Cliffs of Anvil, Colovian Highlands, The Dark Forest, The Eastern Peaks, Fallenleaf Everglade, Jerall Glacier, Silverfish River Valley, Snowdale
  • Soft avoid: Cheydinhal Falls, Rolling Hills, Skingrad Outskirts, Stendarr Valley
  • who cares: Great Forest plugins
  • Soft recommend: Chorrol Heartland (performance), Cloudtop Mountains, Entius Gorge, Imperial Isle
  • Recommended: Ancient Yews, Beaches of Cyrodiil: Lost Coast, Brena River Ravine, Corbolo River, Panther River, River Athe
A final word (as if there haven't been enough already) but I feel like I should make the point that occasionally I complain about content or quests that never come, without addressing the fact that in a game like Oblivion, wandering around locations and sightseeing is actually a large part of the gameplay. Raiding a dungeon for 30 minutes and waltzing around the countryside for the same amount of time are perfectly equivalent. It's just that I'm a driven by content you can actually interact with, more so than being the sort of person who can make their own fun and play out their own stories with these sorts of games. It's also a critique of the fact that so many of these plugins are unfinished despite constantly being downloaded, played and patched by the community. A lot of the plugins in the Avoid category need another design pass, or in the case of a couple, to be scrapped completely and rebuilt from the ground up. Unfortunately it will never happen, because Oblivion is very much the red-headed stepchild of modern TES games. Skyrim still gets hundreds of new mods every month and Morrowind has a hardcore fanbase, but Oblivion gets very little.
 

BruceVC

Magister
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
3,803
Location
South Africa, Cape Town
Modding Oblivion again (it's been a couple of years and I have a problem) and I'm just going to use this thread as a spot to throw out some thoughts about various mods for anyone interested in doing the same.

First of all, there's a new mod which is only a month old called Remodel of Vanilla Blunt Weaponry. Does what it says on the tin - makes maces, warhammers, axes and battleaxes look less goofy by re-sizing the "pointy" end with optional files for making battleaxes one-headed, as well as fixing the Elven Longsword (paddle) and making Dwarven swords a bit thinner (they're fat). A long overdue addition to Oblivion in the tradition of mods like Skyrim's De-LARPification Project or Better Shaped Weapons by Leanwolf. The longer hammers and axes now have collision to match, too, so they actually feel better to use since you don't need to get right up in the enemy's face. I'm looking at using this in combination with Weapon Types - Redone which switches Blade and Blunt to Light Weaponry and Heavy Weaponry, respectively, moving war axes into the Light category and Claymores into the Heavy category, while also switching all Longswords to two-handed weapons. Essentially this solves one of the vanilla game's biggest balance issues, where Longswords outclass all other weapons due to their damage, swing speed and the general proliferation of them among the unique artifacts. Umbra and Goldbrand now require you to sacrifice your shield, making either Shortswords or Axes a more enticing option due to the extra AR and enchant slot. Heavy users to use Maces, the slowest one-handed weapon, if they want to make use of a shield but get access to all of the "reach" weapons which are more or less the same with the changed collision from the previous mod. The ultimate fix for, or addition to, this would be for maces and hammers to smash heavy armour etc. etc. (LARPer shit) but we still don't have a mod for it. I brought it up to Maskar a couple of years ago as an addition to MOO's 'Slayer' damage system where certain materials do extra damage to certain enemies (Silver vs Undead, Ebony vs Daedra, etc.) but MOO hasn't been updated for three years now.

The other thing I wanted to write about was Unique Landscapes. UL has been around for a while and it's well-known as a performance hog, compatibility nightmare and a compilation of varying quality ranging from great to below-average. I wouldn't say that any of the plugins are outright bad. This is probably a good time to talk about some of the cardinal sins of modding, because a few of the plugins do commit one or two of these sins, and those are the ones that you probably want to avoid if you're interested in UL. So, cardinal sins of TES modding:

  • Visual clutter aka statues everywhere. This is the tell-tale sign of an out of control or idiotic mod author, often both. Visual clustering (not cluttering) of objects is a big part of design, and often what that means is throwing everything in and then doing second, third and even fourth passes to see what can be removed while still maintaining the illusion that a scene is cluttered in a realistic manner.
  • Non-functional doors and activators. In every TES game from Morrowind onwards, if you can see a door you can open it. A big pet-peeve of mine is mods that add buildings which the player can't enter, usually because exterior design is the easy part and designing interiors is intimidating and time consuming. A door in a TES game should never be un-interactable, or worse, something that you get a prompt to interact with which doesn't do anything.
  • Over-use of non-vanilla assets. Custom assets are fine, obviously, but when trying to integrate a location into the vanilla worldspace, you should focus on using vanilla models and textures so that they fit in properly. If a custom mesh is required, use vanilla textures to maintain coherency. This is especially problematic in a game that is well-known for its graphics mods and thousands of texture replacers, which means you can run into the problem of playing game with 1-2K textures and then finding modded content using 256x256 or some shit.
  • Incorrect use of vanilla assets. No, that swamp tree doesn't belong in Chorrol, even if you like how it looks. No, that Bravil shack does not belong on the outskirts of Skingrad, etc. etc.
  • Contradicting established lore whilst describing a mod as "lore-friendly". Don't do this.
  • Being unfinished and not labelled as such.
There's a few other things which are annoying but not deal-breakers such as ignoring naming conventions for NPCs (i.e naming your Breton farmer NPC "Farmer" instead of "Jean Mourtier" or something), overuse of map markers which is a big problem in some UL plugins, and also just contradicting certain vanilla design principles. So, in alphabetical order, here's a quick word on most of the UL plugins along with their mod author (there's a pattern):

  • Ancient Yews (Carel de Winter): A good one to start out with. Overhauls a previously boring area southwest of Cheydinhal which includes the Vaermina Shrine, Arkved's Tower and the Ayleid ruin, Nornal. No extra content, just a more interesting area to wander around if you're travelling cross-country. Includes a new landmark, Longman's Barrow, which seems like it should have a quest attached or something but is just there as set dressing. Recommended.
  • Arrius Creek (Malachit): Overhauls the walk from Cheydinhal up to Lake Arrius by adding a creek. Adds mills along the way to try and simulate an economy to make the world feel less dumb, but they aren't staffed by NPCs, use some custom assets and it also includes an un-interactable door. Bonus points for the ear-piercing custom sound effects. Also includes low-res, custom loading screens. Avoid.
  • Aspen Wood (Apallo): Features a Woodsmen's Lodge and a Legion Outpost which both have taller towers than any other building in Cyrodiil. Also the Legion soldier are in ugly, modded armour. Fuck this plugin.
  • Beaches of Cyrodiil: Lost Coast (Aberneth): Touches up the coast to the north of Anvil. The beaches are quite nice, with some driftwood, shipwrecks and a ruined village with its own history explained by in-game notes. Also features a fairly decent dungeon romp with a unique, unlevelled enemy at the end to serve as a boss. Driftwood is a custom asset. Recommended.
  • Blackwood Forest (roobsi): There's a new Ayleid ruin guarded by a giant Mudcrab. Inside the ruin you are immediately greeted by a room with housing monster enemies in an area with swimmable-depth water, a gas trap and those pillars that move up and down. Fuck off.
  • Bravil Barrowfields (bananasplit): I want to like this one, because it has some good ideas, but it commits too many of the cardinal sins. Turns the area around Bravil into a run down, overgrown forest hinting at a more prosperous era. The problem is that there's a lot of visual clutter (STATUES!!!) which tanks performance, the NPCs added are goofy (one of them is named Pumpkinhead, guess what here farmhouse is full of) and there's an abandoned prison which looks like it should house content but is just...a big bunch of ruined fort meshes plopped down in the forest. It's really too bad, because the aesthetic of the mod is cool and the addition of farmland is always welcome, and the ruined bridge to the West Weald is a nice touch. It just needed a second pass or third pass and I'd have happily recommended it. Avoid.
  • Brena River Ravine (chuck21, AIMTHEEMPEROR, Arthmoor): It features three authors so you can probably guess that it's a cut above the rest. Overhauls the Brena River, north of Anvil, which is normally an out-of-bounds area that the player can just catch a glimpse of as they wander around the edges of the map. Turns the area into an Ayleid-era dam, complete with enormous waterfalls, ruins, dungeons to crawl through and a quest to complete. Visually stunning when you have all of your COOL GRAFIX mods installed. There's even a rudimentary disguise system for dealing with the bandit faction added to the area by the mod. NPCs aren't voiced, but that shouldn't count against it. Highly recommended.
  • Cheydinhal Falls (Meg): Adds more water around the east side of Cheydinhal and then a waterfall down to the Corbolo River. Looks nice but runs poorly due to the amount of rock meshses that it utilizes to hide the ugly vanilla heightmaps. I'd say avoid, but there's nothing offensive about it. I'm on the fence.
  • Chorrol Heartland (Carel de Winter): Adds farms, watchtowers and a mill to the area around Chorrol (mainly the north) along with a secondary wall around the outskirts. Connects to the author's River Ethe module with no module needed. All vanilla or re-worked vanilla assets. The only problem is that it's very densely packed, and so it's quite performance-heavy. Some of the new guards look weird when using OCO v2. Recommended, but reiterating the warning about performance.
  • Cliffs of Anvil (prettyfly): A little smuggler village to the east of Anvil, built into the cliffs along the Sirid River. A nice idea but another case of the performance being awful due to the amount of rock meshes used to get the idea across. Quite a few new NPCs with no voice acting. Avoid.
  • Cloudtop Mountains (bananasplit): A nice window dressing mod, but not much else. Makes the edges of the map more navigable if you want to go rambling or something. The walk up to Cloud Top for the 'Finger of the Mountain' quest is now a bit nicer. There's some added landmarks but they don't feature any content, so it's just stuff to look at while wandering the edges of the map. No custom assets. Give it a go, skippable if you don't want too many mods.
  • Colovian Highlands (malachit): Same deal as Cloudtop Mountains, but with a few differences. It uses custom assets with fairly low res textures for all of the major landscape changes (lots of rock formations) and there's some weird lighting in spots while using the Oblivion Reloaded E3 preset since I think it might use "fake" lighting in spots. Features a fairly involved cave to explore, but it has some traps whcih are poorly designed, don't fit with the aesthetic and also feature ear-piercing custom sound effects just like this author's other module. Avoid.
  • Corbolo River (A0CdT): It's new and it's good. Remodels said river and makes it a bit more of a quest to reach Drakelowe if you're doing the Vampire Cure quest, and also overhauls the area around the cabin to be more Glenmoril-y.
  • The Dark Forest (addiktive): Turns an area south of the Imperial City into a, you guessed it, dark forest. It's reminiscent of something like Darkwood out of Fable, so the change is pretty abrupt and it also hints at quest content that never comes. Avoid.
  • The Eastern Peaks (prettyfly): If it were 2009 and I was 15 years old, modding Oblivion, I would tell you that this is the best mod ever. It's huge! it has quests! It has dungeons! Unfortunately, it's 2022 and I am a manchild with supreme taste in shitty mods, so I can tell you that this one sucks. Visual clutter, non-functional doors, floating rocks, weird shit that doesn't really belong in the game, incorrect naming conventions. Lots of Morrowind nostalgia bait that doesn't work because I'm autistic and instead of getting excited about Saltrice being in shallow water, I'm annoyed because I know it wouldn't grow in the fucking Valus Mountains. Less of a Unique Landscapes plugin and more of a New Lands mod, given how much is outside of the playable borders. Avoid.
  • Entius Gorge (Phitt): Not much to say here. Nice looking window dressing mod that isn't too performance-heavy. Makes the area around Fort Entius a bit more interesting to run around. Recommended, but also skippable if you're trying to keep a small mod list.
  • Fallenleaf Everglade (Aberneth): Adds a colourful swamp southeast of Skingrad. Not a fan of this, as it doesn't fit with the surrounding area and there's no content attached, so it really feels more like a modding showcase - "look how nice my exterior environments are!". Keep your load order clean, avoid.
  • The Heath (Phitt): An area to the north of Kvatch and Anvil becomes a wetland. No extra content. It's a nice way to break up that Gold Coast/Imperial Reserve area for a bit, but I really don't know if it's large enough to warrant what is essentially a change in biome. Not sure about how much sense it makes geographically, either. Take it or leave it.
  • The Great Forest: Ancient Redwoods (Aelius): Lots of trees to the southeast of Chorrol along with some non-aggressive bears that have sleep schedules. Bigger trees. Take it or leave it.
  • The Great Forest: Lush Woodland (Aelius): Lots of trees to the east of Chorrol, minor edits to Ayleid ruin to add a graveyard. Performance impact not that bad. Take it or leave it.
  • Imperial Isle (Gondor Wache): Torn on this one. The best thing it does is add some farms to the northwest of the Imperial Isle, because of course there would be farmland there to supply the enormous city with food. Unfortunately there are other changes which are fairly performance heavy, and it edits the road from the bridge up to the Talos Plaza District, which means any mod changing that pathgrid for any reason (added NPCs etc.) will conflict. Also commits the cardinal sin of STATUES for visual clutter, although it's more appropriate around the IC. I like this one, but I might end up taking it out of my own load order if I can find some alternatives that are more lightweight. Soft recommend?
  • Jerall Glacier (GrandDukeAdense): A big glacier north of Cheydinhal. Custom assets, hints at quest content that never arrives. Avoid.
  • Panther River (Trollf): No fucking around with this one. Just a straight upgrade over the vanilla area, which is boring. More visually interesting, more fun to navigate, little performance hit due to lack of visual clutter. Recommended.
  • River Athe (Carel de Winter): The brother plugin to Chorrol Heartland and probably my personal favourite. A nice, comfy stroll through the woods following a river/stream down to The West Weald that isn't too performance heavy. A beautiful upgrade to my favourite area in the game. Absolutely recommended.
  • Rolling Hills (Malachit): Turns the area around Roland Jenseric's cabin into a farm, complete with a windmill, horses, sheep and hedges to wall things in. Unfortunately, the NPCs are named according to their occupation (Stable boy, Maid etc.) and it sort of contradicts the idea that Roland's cabin is supposed to be an isolated hiding spot. Features those stupid loading screens from Arrius Creek. Another attempt to try and inject real-world logic into Oblivion, which I don't think works. Feels out of place. Avoid unless you really like the comfy feeling (it is comfy, tbf).
  • Silverfish River Valley (DathSloth74): This one is hit-and-miss. It does some nice things like add some extra architecture to Nenalata (it was meant to be a capital, after all) and it adds a graveyard to the back of the Cadlew Chapel which I approve of. Unfortunately, it delves into the silly visual clutter of STATUES~! in order to create landmarks which aren't interesting or needed. Exterior fort without an interior. Avoid, unfortunately.
  • Skingrad Outskirts (GrandDukeAdense, Vorians): Adds some more farms, a manned Imperial fort and an iron mine around Skingrad. A bit visually cluttered (statues, again) and quite performance-heavy. Some of the NPCs have unfitting names. I appreciate what it's trying to do, but Skingrad is one of the few (only) cities in the vanilla game that manages to justify its existence economically with its famous vineyards, so it doesn't need an iron mine. I'd say to avoid this one but give it a shot first and see if it's for you.
  • Snowdale (Verganon): Overhauls all of the area around and to the east of Bruma. Some good ideas, but also some overuse of ruins and statues for visual clutter and to create pathways that just...take you to nowhere. Some custom assets for ice which look bad and have disgusting normal maps. Weird stuff. I'm not a fan, so I'd say to avoid.
  • Stendarr Valley (Rancen): Some good stuff here, especially with the approach to Echo Cave being a lot more menacing, but the bare pine tree mesh looks dumb as shit because the scale is all out of proportion. I'd say avoid, but this is another one that you should try first and see if it's for you.
So there it is. All of these stupid things reviewed. The person using this most often will probably be me in two or three years when I reinstall Oblivion and ask "which of these are worth using, again?"

  • AVOID: Arrius Creek, Aspen Wood, Blackwood Forest, Bravil Barrowfields, Cliffs of Anvil, Colovian Highlands, The Dark Forest, The Eastern Peaks, Fallenleaf Everglade, Jerall Glacier, Silverfish River Valley, Snowdale
  • Soft avoid: Cheydinhal Falls, Rolling Hills, Skingrad Outskirts, Stendarr Valley
  • who cares: Great Forest plugins
  • Soft recommend: Chorrol Heartland (performance), Cloudtop Mountains, Entius Gorge, Imperial Isle
  • Recommended: Ancient Yews, Beaches of Cyrodiil: Lost Coast, Brena River Ravine, Corbolo River, Panther River, River Athe
A final word (as if there haven't been enough already) but I feel like I should make the point that occasionally I complain about content or quests that never come, without addressing the fact that in a game like Oblivion, wandering around locations and sightseeing is actually a large part of the gameplay. Raiding a dungeon for 30 minutes and waltzing around the countryside for the same amount of time are perfectly equivalent. It's just that I'm a driven by content you can actually interact with, more so than being the sort of person who can make their own fun and play out their own stories with these sorts of games. It's also a critique of the fact that so many of these plugins are unfinished despite constantly being downloaded, played and patched by the community. A lot of the plugins in the Avoid category need another design pass, or in the case of a couple, to be scrapped completely and rebuilt from the ground up. Unfortunately it will never happen, because Oblivion is very much the red-headed stepchild of modern TES games. Skyrim still gets hundreds of new mods every month and Morrowind has a hardcore fanbase, but Oblivion gets very little.

Great post and very informative and very relevant to me
I just stared playing Oblivion again for the second time but Im using mods now and I battled for about 30 hours to get things consistent because I had the game crashing after leaving the initial dungeon and then in parts of the city like the Eleven sector and then leaving the city. After fixing all that I then started experiencing freezes and this turned about to the mod that consolidates your keys

But its seems stable now, Im on Easter leave now and I will back in Cpt on 2 May and I am very excited about continuing my Oblivion adventure because I have only played about 6 hours

I was using Vortex Mod Manager but I switched to Wyre Bash, OBMM and I used TES4EDIT to clean my mods

What mod manager do you use for Oblivion? I really experimented and tried different mod managers but what I am doing is the following

  • I use LOOT for the load order and to report on mods that need to be cleaned I used TES4EDIT
  • I use Wyre Bash as my main mod manager and I used OBMM to run archive validation checks
But what is your advice around how to manage my Oblivion mod experience and I dont know if you know Wyre Bash but what is the advantage of creating a Bashed Patch? When I did create one and ran the game from within Wyre Bash the game crashed straight away on the Bethesda logo on startup so I stopped trying to use it

mastroego and other Codex members recommended MO2 but that was for Skyrim and Im not sure how applicable it is for Oblivion ?

I am using about 120 mods that include OOO and Martigens Monster Mod, do you suspect any potential conflicts later on? I did loads of research of these mod managers but their is so much information out their its hard to find the best mod manager to troubleshoot mods and which one is the best for Oblivion ?
 

mastroego

Arcane
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
9,736
Location
Italy
Well for Oblivion I actually used Oblivion Mod Manager, I think I followed the guide back then.
You'd definitely want MO2 for Skyrim, though.
 

BruceVC

Magister
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
3,803
Location
South Africa, Cape Town
Well for Oblivion I actually used Oblivion Mod Manager, I think I followed the guide back then.
You'd definitely want MO2 for Skyrim, though.

Absolutely I wont make the same mistake I did with Oblivion and use the wrong mod manager for Skyrim

And I will also make sure before I play Skyrim and use Requiem I get your input again and best practice :cool:
 

mastroego

Arcane
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
9,736
Location
Italy
Whenever you want pal, assuming I remember how to do things :)
I've played a lot with the current run (level 33 ATM) so I almost forgot all about putting mods together :D
 

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