Skyrim Patched… For The Worse

Now my mountains don't look as nice :(

See this hat I’m wearing? The one with the dark tuft at the top? You should be afraid when I wear this hat. Very afraid. Because this hat means I’m grumpy. But it’s okay, I’m not grumpy at you. I’m grumpy at unidentified tech sorts at Bethesda Softworks who last night released the first patch for Skyrim. A patch whose only effects was to limit what we can do with the game. It was released without fanfare or explanation, but forums swiftly figured out its purpose.

The 18MB downloadette is essentially there to stop the game from running without Steam: the main executable is now tied thoroughly into Valve’s security, unreliable offline mode et al. Nothing remarkable there, save for the surprising fact that it was at all unbound at release, but one of the upshots of this is that we’re now limited from faffing about with said executable. Most particularly, the large address aware third-party patch that enabled Skyrim to use more than 2GB of system RAM.

Update: a new LAA workaround that apparently does the job without altering the exectuable! Phew. Now can we have official support for all our lovely RAM please, Bethsoft?

Activating this made the game more stable, and meant it could support more mods and tweaks – including the fabled uGrids .ini file tinker that made the game’s icy landscapes look significantly more gorgeous. Once Steam auto-updates Skyrim, that opportunity is dead. And we once again have a game that, for many of us, ignores most of our PCs’ memory. What a waste. The loss of LAA support is, of course, just a side-effect of Bethesda trying to increase security: they’re not trying to stop us from tweaking. But if only they’d officially add support for more than 2GB of RAM: this is 2011, for heaven’s sake.

It’s particularly galling that the game will be coolly patched in this way, so Bethesda’s tech-folk are clearly beavering away on the game, but we have not – and very possibly will not – see official memory and uGrids updates to make the game run and look better. They never came along for Oblivion or the Fallouts, so I’m guessing we won’t get ’em this time too. Hopefully tweakers will find a way to salvage Skyrim’s memory usage nonetheless, because great things lie on the other side of it.

Meantime, I’m very lucky in that my review build of the game has dodged the patch, so I’ll switch back to that for uGrids 11 loveliness. Sorry.


  1. Premium User Badge

    colinmarc says:

    Seriously! I have 24gb of ram, people. What’s the point of being excessive if I can’t even be excessive?!

  2. Megadyptes says:

    Lots of crying over spilt milk in this comments feed.

    • Shooop says:

      I for one panicked at the idea of mod-busting updates. Then I later realized that wasn’t the case.

      My bad.

  3. mmalove says:

    This game sounds like it will be amazing to play once development is finished and the price is down around 20 bucks. Can’t wait. Oh wait, yes I can.

  4. Reikon says:

    Auto updates without the ability to go back to an older version is a big reason why I don’t like Steam that much. Patches sometimes break mods, saves, or other things, and I would like the ability to play an older version.

  5. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Jesus Christ, it’s that time of the month around here again I see. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine the people who write and post on this site without placing them hyperventilating into a brown paper-bag.

  6. Unaco says:

    Seems that Pete Hines wants us to use more than 2GB… He tweeted the thread on the Official Forums about the new Skyrim4GB Launcher.

    link to

    Doesn’t seem like Beth want to restrict us PC users, I just don’t think they want to be supporting it and any problems it may cause, or as others have pointed out, may be causing with code outside their reach.

  7. Everyone says:

    Oh fuck you very much Bethesda … you broke the “run in borderless window” mod … now I task swap out and Skyrim crashes.

  8. Tally says:

    Window’s ‘Restore to Previous Version’ thing saved me. Didn’t even know I had it on. Now all the crashing and missing textures are re-fixed.

  9. Redsplinter says:

    I have some things to say…
    1- I build my gaming computer with 16GB of ram for a reason D4MM1T
    2 – I had to wait for WSGF to hack active memory for 5760×1080 resolution! WTF? (
    3 – FU Bethesda, this is GORRAM 2011!
    4 – Sorry for the short post… gotta go kill some dragons…..

  10. Pointless Puppies says:

    Hey Beth, how about release the damn mod tools already so that we don’t have to mess with your PRECIOUSSS EXE?

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      It’s a wonder they release tools at all considering the number of people like you that lack patience and any semblance of common decency. Maybe you should try being grateful towards Bethesda due to the fact that they construct a game intended to be modded when so many games don’t allow any modding at all, let alone near the level that Elder Scrolls games provide, rather than a petulant ass.

  11. gaidin6 says:

    Okay, I’ve been making noise about it for some time but I now think I’m done with video games in general. From the time I was 15 (that’s 30 years for anyone who cares), I’ve been spending money on video games.

    It seems that no matter what *I* do as a legitimate gamer, I will have to suffer for what other people do. Well I won’t do it any more.

    I’m moving on. I’ve fought the good fight for too many years. To you new folks… good luck but the industry has ground me down to the point that I will go and find another hobby that won’t start by assuming I’m a pirate.

    The whole “license” concept for software is crap. There is no other industry where I am expected to give an organization money to “license” the product where I don’t have full control of the item I give my money for. For example, if I buy a CD or DVD, I can play it whenever I want, wherever (in private) I want. There is an implied contract that says (1) don’t make money directly from it. (2) don’t resell it (3) don’t play/show it publicly. After that, I’m free to do with it as I see fit.

    The new game rules don’t say that at all. For example, if I take Civ 5 or Skyrim to my cottage, where I do NOT have Internet access, I will eventually not be able to play those games. Is that fair? I paid full price for both games. So, WTF?

    Another example, I bought Dawn of War 2. I bought in a GameStop and took to the original disc to the cottage, while trying to install it, I found I couldn’t instal OR play it because I needed an Internet connection to “register” it. Is that fair? Fair or not, I have no choice but to accept it or not to play.
    From now on, I’m not playing. My money can go elsewhere. Congrats games industry. You’ve finally managed to alienate the demographic you have been courting all this time. For the record, that’s the geeky 40-somethings who have liquid cash, the time to play and the stroke to tell their friends to play.
    Let me know how that’s working out for you in the next years to come.

    Actually, don’t bother because as I said, I’m done.

  12. FatPanduh says:

    It seems to me that game companies should stop wasting their budget, and sometimes precious time, on useless DRM technologies. They should just remove it all together. Cracking groups always figure out a way to bypass DRM on popular titles anyways. These non-wasted funds could be used towards game development and polish. It is a lost cause to try and stop pirating when really anyone who plans on pirating a game knows the cracking groups will have it ready for them to download, while people who don’t and will not be pirating would still buy it if they wanted to play it anyways. Most pirated games cannot be played online either, because normally a CD-key/serial check is in place, so pirates usually end up buying it to play it online anyways. I know Skyrim is not a multiplayer game, but companies need to stop wasting effort on “no point” DRM technologies that end up failing in the long run. But hey, I guess it would be natural for game companies to want to pay for making it a little more challenging for the cracking scene, so they can get better at what they do.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The thing you have to remember about DRM is that it is not to stop piracy, though that is the official excuse. In fact, it is a method to control how you use a product. In the case of Skyrim, the Steam DRM allows Bethesda, through Steam, to collect any amount of information about you, such as what type of machine you are on, how long you play, and whatever other information Steam collects. From there, if they wanted, Steam could do a WHOLE LOT MORE, and the end user wouldn’t even be aware of it. Nice target for hackers, eh?

      Further to that, it allows Steam to throw ads at the end user because most people have a thing for Steam and so they want those people to spend their money.

      Now that the game is ramrodded into Steam, should Steam go bankrupt, guess who can’t play Skyrim any longer? Or, if Bethesda decides people need to buy an upgrade in order to keep playing, guess what you’ve got to do now if you are a legal player? Maybe Bethesda wants you to play Elder Scrolls VI and stop playing V. Guess what? They can do that now whereas if you still have a store bought copy of Oblivion or Morrowind, you can still play them.

      This is what DRM was created for — total control. For years, Hollywood and PC game makers have dreamed of fleecing their customer base and thus have a constant revenue stream. Big Entertainment has been thwarted for years, starting with their loss against Sony back in the early VCR days (and how ironic is it that Sony has now switched sides?). They’ve gotten smart though and though they can easily get Progressive politicians to go along with them (since that’s what they support), they also have managed to get Conservative politicians to go along with them as well. Thus, we get hideous copyright laws that get worse and worse because no one is looking out for the end user.

      Ever wonder about DVD and Blu-ray region encoding? Control. Ever wonder why even though making a backup is legal, it is illegal to defeat the DVD/BD encryption process in order to make said backup? Control. And with DRM, it is still about control. They get to decide what the end user should and should not get and that’s that.

      Its all evil, but sadly, our society has become too accustomed to allowing a giant government pass laws placing more and more controls on our lives. Freedom is just a fleeting word. :-(

  13. Nightsilver says:

    i registered just so i could comment on this story. I’m a pirate. There’s no sugar coating it or defending it these days, you either are or you aren’t. Everyone has thier own opinion on pirates, and everyone is more or less on thier own on how they feel about what they do is wrong or right. But this is about skyrim.

    I dont buy games often, for this very reason. I play PC games because they are usually unique, they allow you to do more, they have better patches, support and allow mods that you cant do/find on consoles. (i say all this in general terms, plenty of exceptions to this rule)

    I have/had 100’s of PC games over the years, never once have i had to install steam, or any other service in the background, no extra hoops i had to run to get a game to work, and all these “online” only games dont even affect me. There is always cracks or ways to get around them.

    Starcraft II for example. I BOUGHT the game, full installed it, even after reading it say needed internet, i installed it, went to play it, and couldn’t play single player without at least connecting 1 time online…so yes folks i can see where some say they got burned and that’s why they pirate, when people aucutally choose to buy the game, and yet cant even play it, but downloading a simple crack/loader, and play the game fully offline, without thier gimmic service, is the way to go these days (at least for me)

    I can give tons of other examples of online only or steam only games, that had lots of issues, where i simply downloaded the game, cracked it, played it, unisntalled it, and moved on, skyrim is just the current game to do this for me, i love the game, it runs great, never had to install steam, patches work fine, modding works fine, why would i go and pay 50$ to be forced for one thing to connect online, and then force patches that i dont want? AND have to run the steam client, and all that. I prefer just to play the damn game.

    The fact that you cant even INSTALL the game without steam/internet connection, that is just silly in my opinion, the lengths games go to protect themselves from piracy, but at the same time it punishes those who buy the game.

    I dont have internet at home, i work part time, i scrape enough to pay my rent and bills, how easy it is to download anything these days, and games often aren’t worth the money invested, even the AAA titles, that you may play a month, and incidents like DRM and Steam trying to force you to comply to play their game…just isn’t cool

    If the release groups worked for the “good guys” those of us who pirate stuff would have a challenge, since release groups are always 1 step ahead of game developers, if the tables were ever turned….

  14. alundra says:

    You guys might want to try this tweak:
    Experimental Memory Tweak for system memory
    In SkyrimPrefs (mydocuments/mygames/Skyrim)
    iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=1800000000 – I set mine to 3800000000 (3.8GB)

    to try and bring stability to the game itself and the ugrid setting.

    On other news, AMD users can try catalyst 11.11a or the 11.11b released today.

    To comment on the issue at hand, Gabe’s words come to mind, what version is giving the best service to the legit user?? the legit or the pirated one? Some people will never learn.