What is a Mod? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

What is a Mod? Personalization!

There are a large handful of games out on the market nowadays that give permission to the player to take advantage of customizing in game features to their liking. Not only that, but players can also throw in additional features that initially weren’t available and share their works with those in that respective community. This is what’s known as modding, or simply mod, a term often used to describe a feature within a game that provides players tools that developers use to create a more personalized experience. Modding has been around for quite a long time now, well before it became quite mainstream in the gaming world. Many tech heads would often modify specific programs on their computer in order to allow better functionality, or simply just to fool around and test their computer skills. Whatever their purpose modding added a whole new element to the world of gaming, and truly puts the player in the driver’s seat to create a uniquely rewarding experience. We’ll take a closer look at just what mod means, and also throw in some very popular examples of games that use mods quite predominantly.

Tools at Your Disposal

When players mod a game it’s mainly because there was something in the game they felt was missing, or perhaps they wanted to enhance specific features so that everyone could enjoy the experience much more. These tools are granted to players by the developers or sometimes players create their own tools and use them to go nuts in the lab. With tools at your disposal, the world is pretty much yours when it comes to creating a totally immersive experience. One game that truly stands out as one of the more predominantly modded over the recent years is none other than Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The game has seen so many types of modifications that Bethesda even started creating contests so that players could take advantage of their skills and see their hard work be implemented permanently into the game.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Release Date: November 11, 2011

Skyrim is perhaps one of the games with the most mods, and it’s amazing considering how dated the game is by current gen standards. Passionate fans of the game simply don’t care because as more and more players engage in creating unique mods for the game, Skyrim feels more and more fresh by the day. New elements are added such as new weapon upgrades, the popular SkyUI which cleans up a lot of the cumbersome inventory issues the game suffered from, or adding more depth to the very shallow NPC character roster with Interesting NPCs. Whatever your mod fetish all of the options are right there at your fingertips, all ready to take advantage of. One of the major reasons why Skyrim ended up becoming such a modified game was because, in its vanilla state Skyrim was an eyesore to look at and didn’t really provide players with a lot of ways to truly immerse themselves.

In such a wide and lifelike world, the amount of things you could do were so limited and felt rigid. It didn’t really feel like an open world survival game but more like a wide and spacious jail cell, where you could travel around and do things but you still somehow felt confined in this box. With all of these mods thrown into the mix Skyrim feels ten times better than before, allowing not only players to escape that solitary confinement but now go far beyond what existed and venture into a totally new environment. From breast augmentations on your female characters to doing a complete makeover of the entire game using Skyrim Redone by T3ndo, the Skyrim that we once knew is totally gone.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Trailer


That Fresh Feeling

One major plus of having the ability to mod games is that it provides a game with a fresh feeling, something that not many games can do especially after clearing them the first time. Sometimes you want to dive back into a game because you had such a spectacular time with it, but due to certain limitations you’re left with a game that perhaps had more potential than you initially thought. So with the ability to mod, you get to really get your money’s worth out of the title and really dive deep into the game without feeling left out in some areas. Given the changing landscape of the gaming industry a lot of developers are starting to take notice of the trend, and are now allowing passionate fans of their series use special tools to squeeze more juice out of their games and allow for a more interactive experience in the long run. Another very popular game that many avid fans love modifying is Bethesda’s other more notable franchise, Fallout 4, which uses a wide array of tools that players can go wild with so let’s take a closer look.

Fallout 4

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Release Date: November 10, 2015

The Fallout series has always been a very lucrative franchise for Bethesda Softworks, and since it’s debut many die hard fans have been dying for a game they could finally tinker with and explore a lot deeper. That game is Fallout 4, Bethesda’s latest title in the series, which throws players into a post-apocalyptic world where you and your trained canine must scour the world for answers, and survive at all costs. The main campaign is truly a blast to play and we highly recommend this game to anyone who hasn’t dipped their hands into the series. However the major selling point of Fallout 4 as with other open world Bethesda titles is that, the devs have allowed you to take control of the steering wheel and take your adventures to the next level in modding. You can take to the official Bethesda Mod Page to track down some of the very best out there, or if you’re looking for more variety the Fallout 4 Nexus page is where you can go to find some interesting creations.

Just as a reminder, all of these mods can only be tinkered with on PC only and that goes for Skyrim as well. If you’re just starting out in the modding scene then Fallout 4 Nexus is the way to go, and one of the primary tools you’ll need is the Fallout 4 Script Extender which allows for more versatility pertaining to alteration, allowing for more complex modification. Another delectable choice is the Fallout Seasons graphics mod, which allows you to tailor the game to your favorite season. So if you’re not a fan of the wet and humid summers, then you could always opt for the nice and cool Spring season instead. To add onto the seasons mod, you could spruce things up a little bit by throwing some leaves on those dead trees you often come across in the game with the Leaves on Trees mod. With so much at your disposal in terms of unique selections, Fallout 4 has so much in store for not only the veteran players but curious ones as well.

Fallout 4 - Official Trailer


That Competitive Edge

Major developers try their best to release their products out well before their competition, but often times forget several features that becomes a hard pill to swallow for them over the long term. We’ve seen many games ride on the hype train before launch, only to derail because so much of that potential was either under promised or simply didn’t reach the final cut. Whatever the reason for the blunder is unknown to us, but what we do know is that now companies see the potential in allowing mods to throw in added features to give players a more personal experience. We all want to have that competitive edge not only on the television screen in front of us, but also on the main stage of a tournament where all eyes are on the competitors themselves all working hard for that illustrious trophy and chunky paycheck. Not only does the game get all the attention from passersby and passionate followers, but the companies themselves can pat themselves on the back for their mod well done. If you haven’t already guessed the game, we’re talking about Dota, one of the leading MOBA games in the competitive scene and is a game that came directly from modding.


Dota 2

  • System/Platform: Windows, Mac OS
  • Publisher: Valve Corporation
  • Developer: Valve Corporation
  • Release Date: July 9, 2013

Before there was Dota 2 there was Blizzard’s Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, a crowd favorite among Warcraft fans and is still widely regarded as one of the better RTS games out there. Dota, also known as Defense of the Ancients, is a community created mod that made superb use of Blizzard’s Frozen Throne expansion. As you can see by the numbers alone, Valve certainly scored a huge hit by implementing ideas from the community and turned it into a worldwide phenomenon watched by millions daily on Twitch and other social platforms. Dota 2 takes MOBA gaming to an entirely new level, and while Riot Games’ League of Legends has gone on to surpass it you simply can’t throw salt at the one who made it all happen. Dota 2 has helped to redefine the team based competitive scene and now it’s become this glorious eSports venture that sponsors are dying to be a part of, and Valve is sitting back watching as the checks roll in.

Say what you will about Dota 2, it’s still a very solid title and while many have flocked over to the competitor, the numbers are still incredibly large which should be taken into account. When you have ideas and a supportive community to back you up on that idea, just about anything is possible in the game industry. Perhaps that’s what’s so inspiring about this industry is that, there’s support just about everywhere you turn and if the game is worth playing then players will invest their manpower into it to make it more satisfying for others. You don’t have to follow the Dota 2 eSports scene let alone play it competitively to truly enjoy it, but we assure you that if you tune into some of the major tournaments out there (some of which shower players with six figure payouts), you’ll be impressed to see just how far modding has progressed and where it may head next.

Dota 2 Gamescom Trailer


Final Thoughts

PC users can stand tall with their heads high because most of these modding capabilities are only exclusive to the powerful hardware. It would be interesting if consoles allowed for that very same modding capability but with how the gaming scene is constantly evolving, things are certainly possible and may happen sooner than you think. In the meantime, we’d like to share with you some honorable mentions of popular modded titles that still see tons of play not only casually but competitively as well. CSGO, DayZ, Half-Life 2, XCOM: The Long War (Enemy Within), Minecraft, Doom among a plethora of others. Which mod title do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments section down below, and be sure to share your favorite articles on social media to help keep the community growing!

As always for all things sweet, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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