Nord Storm: Skyrim Mod Falskaar Is Basically DLC

By Craig Pearson on July 17th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Wow there, Tippy!
Living in Skyrim must be like having Charlie Kaufman as your god. You’d be pottering along, chopping wood, checking the sky for falling dragon poop, just doing your best as a person living in interesting times. You’re not noticing the changes that are happening right under your nose: the flowers look prettier, you can’t speak when you want to, and before you know what’s going on there’s an airship overhead. The hands of mod, reshaping your reality. I expect most of the inhabitants have just woken up to the new neighbouring landmass of Falskaar. The mod adds a remarkable amount of new stuff to base Skyrim, clicking in a new continent of content for you to play. Everyone seems to be talking about it, and with good reason.

Take a bow, Alexander J. Velicky. You certainly corralled a lot of stuff into Bethesda’s wander ‘em up. Expect to sink over 20 hours in if you want to see it all. 9 new story-quests and 17 new side-quests across a world that’s roughly a third of the size of Skyrim. But it’s the incidental touches that most impress: all of the dialogue has been recorded, with over 30 people adding to the accent of the world. From what I’ve heard, they’re at least on par with the main game’s vocals. 40 new minutes of music have been specially recorded just for the mod as well.

This doesn’t have any effect on the rest of Skyrim, so you don’t need to worry about the main game being taken over and filled with new spells or NPCs. Just treat it like DLC and leave it installed, to be visited when you feel like a nice new view.

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62 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Berzee says:

    “Take a bow, Alexander J. Velicky.”

    Take a bow.
    Take a bow.
    Take a bow.

    You are encumbered.

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    Can you transfer 360 saves to PC? Because I’m fed up of missing out on mods.

    • Keyrock says:

      Yes, just make sure your PC version is patched to the same version as your 360 version. Then you use a modding utility called modio. Just google it and and you’ll find plenty of tutorials.

  2. siegarettes says:

    I just want to full heartedly applaud Craig for that opening. Writing like this is why I come to RPS, because even otherwise dry news articles are brilliant (not that this is exactly boring news).

  3. Jumwa says:

    Everyone is always telling me that mod content is as good or better than the base game content for Bethesda’s titles, and it’s always been an exaggeration at best, so it’s effect has worn off on me.

    Afraid to mention this, as I’ve been informed “real gamers/modders” don’t use it, but: I take it this isn’t available on the Steam workshop then?

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      While there is undoubtedly a lot of chaff out there, there are also some spectacular pieces of user-made content for The Elder Scrolls. Check out the Morrowind Overhaul, for one. Or Nehrim.

    • quijote3000 says:

      Compared to Nexus, Steam workshop is clearly inferior. Only allowing most popular mods the last day, or last week, is a huge problem. It needs a be a better way of searching for good mods, and the “top rated of all time” is not very useful.

      Also, I think they don’t allow for “adult” mods, and therefore they lose a big chunk of the audience.

      • Fiatil says:

        I, too, thought that the Nexus would be irrelevant with the fancy Workshop option being available. Buut as you go along you see a lot of the glaring limitations and the scenario reverses itself completely. The silly small file size limit is enough to do it in alone; there are mods out that are 20x larger than Steam will allow. It also takes forever to check for updates; once you have more than 20 mods it’s a slog to start the game up. TESNexus has their own mod manager tool that’s much faster and more convenient than Steam, with no restrictions at all it seems.

      • Jumwa says:

        Well that’s dandy and all, but I don’t have a lot of time for gaming, and every new barrier to getting these sorts of things is just less time for gaming.

        I’ve been a huge ES fan since Morrowind, and I’ve modded them like crazy. But I no longer have time for the tedious process of getting mod managers and fishing out and installing content. Steam Workshop is great for being fast and efficient. And whenever I switch computers I can then just automatically get the mod content I used to have, instead of the tedious process I had to go through without it.

        So these days if it’s not on Steam Workshop, I don’t bother.

        • tnzk says:

          Well then, if time is of the essence for you, then naturally you will be missing out on the all the mods that do things better than the base game.

          While people may exaggerate the flaws of Elder Scrolls vanilla, it’s no exaggeration that mods make any ES game an entirely different beast altogether.

          You can even turn Skyrim into a RPG!

        • Amra says:

          So. . .

          You complain mods are not of quality, but you CHOOSE to restrict yourself to the most limited selection of smaller and less-daring mods, and then complain that you “don’t have time for gaming” when someone calls you on that.

          So don’t game (or post on gaming), then. Or just CHOOSE to buy your ES games on XBox (or worse, PS3) and then cry, cry, cry, when you see how much they suck compared to what your friends w/PCs have.

          Pro tip: the game you are playing is 100% less amazing than the game you COULD be playing. Vastly better textures, meshes, UI, lighting effects (which ABSOLUTELY transform the game), and all the mods Steam censors. . Much better than vanilla unless, ofc, you are also CHOOSING to play in 640×480 resolution, on a beefed-up Pentium 4 machine. .

          P.S. HOW could you POSSIBLY say modded Morrowind was not that far removed from vanilla? The face replacers alone are worth the price of admission. MW also had total conversion mods (Sword of Perithia, Wizard’s Islands), as well as so many unofficial fixes that just made things work RIGHT. . . Seriously, man; unmodded MW was a collection of “Leatherfaces” and some really funky scripting. It also was a great game, but mods knocked it out of the park. Even more so with Snoreblivion; that game was *only* worth playing with mods in full force.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Steam Workshop is a step forward in at least one way, in that it forces modders to stick to a single set of file/installation conventions instead of the free-for-all that is Nexus. I get the importance of readmes, but there are a lot of special snowflakes that create unnecessarily complicated or or different installation procedures just because they can.

        Unfortunately both the Steam client and Nexus’ own mod manager are frankly kinda crappy when it comes to handling heavily modded games and conflicting mods. If only Valve would hire the creators of Wrye Bash to integrate their work into Steam Workshop…

        • Kbcamaster says:

          Wait, what? So mods that can’t be converted to the single file format can’t be done? I’m not sure you know what modding is.

          If a modder makes a mod in some unnecessarily complicated way, it’s his own choice. The polite and educated way is to leave a comment or post in the modpage stating it would be far easier if he did X way than Y and don’t download. Maybe you’ll get back a post explaining why he did it that way, or maybe he’ll correct it, but it’s free content he made out of his spare time.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Consider it a polite and educated comment directed at Valve. I’d rather the restrictions on mod content were relaxed, especially the file size limits (well, maybe not so much the x-rated stuff).

        • Delixe says:

          For Skyrim you really should be using Mod Organizer. It’s a much more useful utility for modding Skyrim and allows you to alter mod file structures as your installing them. You can even set up multiple profiles all with different mod configurations as it uses a virtual file system. Just remember to launch WyreBash from within Mod Organizer and you will be good to go. I’ve uninstalled Nexus Mod Manager now using Mod Organizer for Skyrim and good old Fallout Mod Manager for Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

        • Amra says:

          This one Steam Workshop hosted mod I got for an Imperial helmet replacer. . . Total fail based off of another mod that it either lacked the base meshes for, or screwed up the naming conventions on the files. The file structure was ALL over the place when I looked at it in the CK.

          Nexus. . . NEVER had a problem. I just read the Readmes and put stuff where they say to put ‘em; tends to work just fine, in no time at all! I d/n even bother w/mod managers, as want to make sure of which exact files are getting overwritten, since I have so many replacement textures, meshes, and the like. Steam d/n even offer manual controls.

          Steam also lacks the ability to force-grab mods. Had to keep restarting Skyrim dozens of times before one mod (the name of which did NOT match the description in the Workshop) finally installed.

  4. Chalk says:

    Why the Ef is this not available on Steam Workshop?

    Drives me potty that I’ve gotta jump through all the crappy Nexus hoops. Steam made this easy, so people decide not to use it…

    • cookiemonster16 says:

      Steam Workshop has a file limit of 25 MB.
      The Nexus is 100X better than Steam Workshop.

    • mondomau says:

      I felt this way too, until I got so fed up with the limited selection on steam that I took the plunge and installed the Nexus mod manager – definitely a worthwhile move.

      It’s very easy to use, the UI gives you a much more clear idea of what you have installed and what aspect of the game it affects (very handy for working out compatibility issues), it integrates with the website seamlessly, and allows you to make full use of mods that require the SKSE (skyrim script extender?) plugin without having to faff with the folders, as you can launch the SKSE-enabled executable right from the Manager itself.

  5. Berzee says:

    “Take a bow, Alexander J. Velicky.”

    Take a bow.
    Take a bow.
    Take a bow.

    You are encumbered.

  6. Dayofthedan says:

    i think nexus is crazy bogged down right now

  7. Vegard Pompey says:

    As a Charlie Kaufman fan, I approve of this opening paragraph.

  8. Liudeius says:

    I’m really glad that SkyUI now has a Mod Options menu in the in-game menu. It’s so nice that good mods no longer clutter your inventory and world with immersion breaking menu settings. The more seemlessly a mod blends with the game, the more it feels like part of vanilla.

    On a side note, does anyone know a good guide for writing a timer script (deactivating an ability until the timer expires).
    I’ve been trying to do that for a while, but it just won’t work.
    I don’t know if my script is simply being activated in the wrong place/not at all, or if it has something to do with not tying my variable to an object (Which is entirely nonsensical to me since I can just type /showglobalvars and get the value, so why shouldn’t the game?).

  9. Blackcompany says:

    First, this is amazing bit of work. Made all the more so by the use of Bethesda’s bug ridden, crash-prone tool set. And that’s not me hating on Bethesda; I’m trying to break that habit. That’s just truth.

    I would love to explore this mod…but…I can’t. I’m sure its quite the effort. But the bottom line is, that exploring this mod – or Helgen Rebuilt, or Interesting NPC’s or any number of other equally amazing works, for that matter – means putting up with Skyrim’s terrible gameplay. It doesn’t matter what you add to it, because the thing that kills Skyrim, for me, is the underlying foundation that is the gameplay itself.

    Even modded, combat is lacking. The same two sword strikes, all game long. Magic is hokey, completely ruins the immersion in the world and feels…fake somehow. Also, its far too common, and at higher levels, too stupidly powerful. You can barely jump, float across the navmesh instead of walk on the ground, never see your feet and rarely your hands and just in general feel like a floating camera tied to a sword by a leash wearing a glove.

    So while the modders sure as heck make better content than the developer when they choose to do so, the foundation the developer laid down simply kills this game for me. Which is a shame, cause I love the idea of big, immersion-oriented games like this, and I really wanted to like this one. Someone please make an open world with exciting game play.

    • Liudeius says:

      That’s exactly my gripe with Skyrim.
      There are so many mods which are spectacular, but they just can’t escape the core they are built upon.

    • tnzk says:

      There are some mods which completely pull the wooly rug from under your leather-booted feet. It seems you may not have come across them.

      The most insane overhaul is probably Requiem, which I will link below. Oh my goodness, if it doesn’t make Skyrim one of the most intense experiences ever. It’s like peeling away the plastic wrap of your new Gothic box game all over again.

      Put it this way: remember when you charged at a bear with your sword in Skyrim? No? You’ll remember it with Requiem.

      Or do you remember when several archers had the high ground in the Forsworn encampment?… did you even remember the Forsworn had archers? They’re a right bugger with this mod.

      http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19281/?

      You know you’re in for something good when half the quotes the modders pulled from the community reviews are from people complaining about it.

      • Liudeius says:

        That really just increases the player and enemy damage multiplier to x10.
        Ok, so there are some nifty spells and perks, and it changes stamina consumption (in a highly annoying way which makes moving even SLOWER, which certainly wasn’t needed when trying to avoid fast traveling is already arduous since quests are designed with the assumption you use it.)
        But there are plenty of other mods which change perks and spells.

    • Premium User Badge

      Samuelson says:

      What you said, coupled with the bleak visuals. Couldn’t help but imagine how beautiful some of those scenes in the trailer would look with some increased saturation and less dreary choice of colours. Skyrim is one of my biggest frustrations, it could of been soooo good! It’s depressing.

      Why would I want to mod such a bland base game? Hence, wait for Endereal to release.

    • Bart Stewart says:

      Blackcompany, I won’t dispute your personal reaction to Skyrim (and presumably Bethesda’s other games). But I will object to describing Skyrim as broken for everyone, and I will suggest that going to a Bethesda game for the mechanics is like going to a strip club for the music.

      I’ve happily sunk nearly 500 hours into Skyrim so far because I’m there to explore the big, sprawling, reasonably dynamic, people-and-stuff-filled world. And Skyrim — from its core, which I agree is the important bit — delivers world-exploration in spades.

      I will happily agree that the gameplay mechanics of Bethesda games are not super-realistic, or even semi-realistic. But I don’t think they’re intended to be; I don’t think pure gameplay, which darn near every other game focuses on, is the primary experience that Bethesda games are intended to deliver. Bethesda games are, I think, much more about the experience of exploring a fantastic world. Gameplay mechanics are secondary to that by design — not unimportant, but not the most important thing.

      This isn’t the perspective of a mindless fanboi, knees jerking wildly because someone has dared to criticize a Bethesda game. There are plenty of things I wish I could improve in Skyrim… but they generally aren’t the pure gameplay mechanics (other than the CTDs). I wish Bethsoft had done more to enhance the worldiness of the place so that it feels even more like a dynamic, living, breathing world. That’s why the moddability of Bethesda games is so important. Even if imperfect, it recognizes the special importance of world-building to this particular kind of game. (Speaking of which, Samuelson, the ENB graphics mod directly addresses your visual objections and many, many more.)

      If someone wants to say they don’t personally enjoy the way that active rule-based gameplay elements are implemented in Skyrim, cool. Matters of personal taste aren’t arguable. But I think it’s not correct to assert that Skyrim is fundamentally broken in an objective sense because the gameplay mechanics didn’t get the most developer attention. I don’t think they were supposed to.

      For the gamers who thrill to explore the kinds of large, detailed worlds that are arguably the point of Bethesda games, Skyrim may be relatively shallow but it’s not broken. The play experience of these exploratory gamers also matters when deciding whether Skyrim is a “good” game or not — in fact, I think their reaction is a better measure of quality for a worldy game like Skyrim, because they’re playing the game it was actually designed to be.

      • Blackcompany says:

        That’s a very reasoned and well-worded response. I do not disagree. Where exploration is concerned, I think that, yes, Bethesda pretty much has the market cornered. That’s one thing I loved about Skyrim – exploring. I miss that, in fact, as no other game even comes close, in my opinion, to the sheer scope of Skyrim.

        My only complaint about the game is that so often you are forced into combat. And that combat is extremely underwhelming. As I said, the same two sword strike animations, all game long. This is simply inexcusable in a modern game. As is the clipping, the lack of first person immersion (no hands, no feet, no body) and the manner in which you glide over the world without actually ever touching it.

        All of these are symptoms of the ancient and largely broken gamebryo engine. It was a poor choice then, and its a worse one now. Even if you have layered yet another scripting language on top and rebranded the thing. Which, again, is a shame. I want to love and enjoy Skyrim. I had planned on it pretty much being a hobby for me for the next couple of years, beginning in 2011, and was sad to see it go from my hard drive. Much as I want to explore that world and others the modders add to it, the mechanics turn me off from doing so.

        tl;dr: What the game needs, is a complete combat overhaul. New animations, especially for third person, and new moves, including the ability to quickly stab forward and recover for a block.

        • Faxanadu says:

          Reading the word “gamebryo” made me barf a little in my mouth. I remembered all those countless glitches, crashes and errors, in Fallout, Oblivion, Fallout:New Vegas, reading up on them, and always the word would be there: Gamebryo. What a piece of ****!

          I remember now, that when I first played Skyrim, I was actually AMAZED, that I could PLAY THE GAME, without installing fixes and correcting stuff. That was a new thing, in Bethesda games.

        • newprince says:

          In that case, there are a ton of overhauls and animation mods. SkyRE and Requiem don’t just crank up the difficulty, but introduce balances and changes for the better to make combat more interesting, tactical, and less of a button mash.

        • Bart Stewart says:

          I mostly agree with these criticisms individually, though I wouldn’t go as far as calling the vanilla combat model “inexcusable.” Even I wouldn’t have minded a bit more control over attacks and defenses, though.

          My objection is to saying that Skyrim falls below the “playable” line for most people. It definitely does for some, and I’d be happier if they could be happier — as long as it doesn’t significantly degrade the features I enjoy, of course. ;)

          But that’s why developer-supported moddability for a game like this is a fair response and not just a lame excuse. Skyrim is a very large place compared to most games, and it’s filled not just with lots of random stuff but handcrafted stuff, including simulations of people. You could argue that all those places and things and people could have more variation, and I wouldn’t disagree. But how much longer would it take to complete and ship such a game?

          Intentional moddability is a fair answer to the “not enough X” criticisms because it’s a practical solution to the goal of delivering a vast amount of thematically coherent content to gamers as soon as possible. Looking at Skyrim just by itself, it’s easy to see the gaps: the console-sized, simplistic UI; the limited enemy types; the repetitive NPC barks; the trivial combat; the creaky Gamebryo engine.

          But look at Skyrim compared to other games — it is amazing they crammed as much stuff (and sometimes quite good stuff) into this game as they did. Given that, and given intentional moddability for the PC version, I think it’s fair to cut Bethesda some slack, and definitely not fair to dismiss the PC version as “a bad game” on an absolute scale.

          There’s a fair argument that might be made that it’s not as good as a console game. There, you’re stuck with what they give you. But I’d observe that what they give you is still considerable compared to other games, and reiterate that for those who want detailed combat moves and experiences, there are fighting games and FPSs. A Bethesda game is meant (I would say) to deliver a play experience focused more on exploring a large, unique world than on mastering control skill mechanics.

          Despite its limits, I think it does that — even on the consoles, but much more effectively on the PC. “Effectively enough” is a personal assessment, but I believe it’s got the necessary components for most people to conclude, “yep, I’m having fun.”

          One last note: not everybody likes modding their games. For some of them, their enjoyment will be less than that of an enthusiastic mod user, no argument.

      • Liudeius says:

        Well I would disagree, just because it is not the focus of the game does not mean an inadequate combat system is excusable, especially when the majority of the game revolves around it. (You can not explore without fighting. You can’t really do anything without fighting.)

        However even when it comes to exploring, the game is still quite shallow.

        There are only a few base types of dungeon: Dragur tomb, fortress, cave, Dwemer, and ice cave with only a pittance of (mostly generic) base enemy types (identical mage types, identical bandits/Dragur/Falmer, spiders, three dwemer enemies, a few animals).
        Even when exploring the dungeons, while some have interesting design, there is no real point. It’s linear a-to-b “exploration” with the only reward being the chest at the end and maybe a shout.

        Questing isn’t very good either. It’s not even possible to do quest properly, most don’t give you enough information to not just follow the arrow on screen (absurdly sloppy, shallow, quest design).

        I’ve had my fun with Skyrim too, over a hundred hours of it, but it is not absolved of its terrible gameplay decisions just because it’s not meant to be good.

        If you look at Skyrim’s mechanics, both in comparison to previous Bethesda games and other similar games, I’m sure you can see that their goal was to gain as wide an audience as possible, not make the best game possible.
        They made Skyrim as casual as they could so as to earn as much money as they could.

        • malkav11 says:

          None of the Elder Scrolls games have had good combat. It’s something that breaks up the pace of the game and lends a vestige of challenge and danger to the experience and that’s about it. It’s…window dressing, really. Dismissing them because of that profoundly misses the point, in my opinion. It’s especially tragic for me when folks write off Morrowind because of the very slight improvements made to combat in later games despite some fairly dramatic losses in other gameplay systems at the same time and the really excellent game world Morrowind presents.

          • Amra says:

            MW combat was limited, but you had choices. . fwd attks, backward attks, standing attacks, and lateral attacks, mixed with power attks. It got the most hate for the die roll mechanics; ppl expected it to be a “if it looks like it should hit, it hits” game, when it was actually a % chance based on skill.

            I loved using spears in MW. . run in, STAB! Run back. Run in . .STAB! Run back. Reach weapon plus in/out tactics meant no need for a shield or even good armor, as “knockback” effect from wounds slowed enemies enough that you could just harry/plink them to death.

  10. bleeters says:

    I can’t help but prefer some of the voice acting in that trailer to virtually everything I heard in Skyrim itself.

  11. DamnWookie says:

    Never had a mod make my hair stand up on end.