Skyrim’s Creation Club enters beta, offers Survival Mode free for starters

Skyrim Survival

After a less-than-successful initial foray into the realm of monetising Skyrim mods, Bethesda are presently rolling out a public beta of their Creation Club – their DLC-esque, more corporate alternative – to the revamped Skyrim Special Edition [official site]. To sweeten the pot, they’re offering early adopters the option to claim a free copy of Survival Mode, a major gameplay modification adding the management of simulated hunger, tiredness and cold to the already-hazardous environment.

Detailed here, Survival Mode seems a fairly comprehensive package and integrated better than most regular Skyrim mods. While nothing too surprising for a survival-type add-on, it covers all the expected threats of tiredness, hunger and exposure. Don’t eat and you’ll become hungry, reducing your maximum stamina and slowing your attacks with most standard weapons. Don’t sleep and you become fatigued, slowing regeneration of stamina and magicka, as well as reducing the effect of potions. Most notable of the new features is cold; each area of Skyrim has its own climate, and the colder the environment, the faster it chips away at your character’s internal temperature. As it falls, your maximum health is impacted, as well as movement speed and your ability to pick pockets and locks.

Skyrim has received no shortage of survival mods over the years, and parts of the official Survival Mode are remarkably similar to popular free mod Frostfall. While it is only common sense to give the audience what they want, it seems dangerous for Bethesda to debut the Creation Club as direct competition to their existing community.

Creation Club DLC is content commissioned specifically for the store. While Bethesda are currently making much of it themselves, the process starts with submitting pitches then follows a professional process with payment at development milestones. It’s a stark contrast to the ‘paid mods’ setup, where anyone could sell anything.

While there is no specific end date for the Creation Club beta, plans are for it to launch properly sometime in October, and for Survival Mode to return to its intended price of 800 Creation Club points (equivalent to about $8) a week after its debut.

57 Comments

  1. Ich Will says:

    Well, it’s not as good as the already free mod alternatives, so er… Go Home Bethesda, you’re Drunk?

    • Michael Anson says:

      How do you know it’s not as good? Did you already do a comprehensive review of all of the survival mode for Skyrim, giving equal time to the Creation Club version? Or is your response based off of advertising material that may or may not represent the final product?

      • Ich Will says:

        Yeah, that’s true, you’re right. It may not live up to it’s sales pitch – which would still make it worse than the free alternatives, so my point stands.

      • CloneWarrior85 says:

        By simply looking into Frostfall mod content vs the ‘paid’ mod from Beths, we can figure out which one is better.

        Besides, every bag of turd thrown against beths paid mods is welcome. They’re trying to not only kill the idea of modding, they’re also trying to profit out of it, without lifting a finger, and that’s just low, if they want to profit, they should make the content themselfs, and not gain money from other people work (like valve ‘market’).

        Suppport money should go 100% to the modders, and if modders want to get paid regardless for their work, they should open a company and pay taxes from the ‘job’, like everyone else.

        • Michael Anson says:

          Citation needed. I haven’t seen Bethesda do a single thing to kill modding. I have seen them offer amateur coders a stepping stone into working for a developer without leaning on the code and assets of other people, something that still has modding as a requirement.

          And your final paragraph is essentially “what ungrateful people, not wanting to give me stuff for free.” Which kinda invalidates any arguments you may have made.

          • Dogshevik says:

            “…I haven’t seen Bethesda do a single thing to kill modding….”
            “…and parts of the official Survival Mode are remarkably similar to popular free mod Frostfall. ”

            Sounds like they are targetting at least individual modders. Besides, wasn´t there some heartache and threats of legal action regarding the Frostfall guy and monetization? That would we add petty revenge to the list.

          • Zerpherion says:

            Creation club is the first step to kill modding.

            The fact that they haven’t helped modders, especially the team behind the script extender, shows further lack of support by Bethesda.

        • Imperialist says:

          While i think modding and developing should inspire each other, i think when Bethesda releases things that conflict with long-standing mod projects (and borrows their ideas) its not exactly constructive. On one hand, developed mods may be better optimized and less script-heavy or requiring a boatload of other mods/tools. On the other hand, we have a situation where Bethesda literally rips off community projects to make a profit. Case in point: F04s settlement stuff is literally the Real Time Settler mod from Fallout 3.

  2. DodoSandvich says:

    Well, it made my day.

    That the most popular tag for it on Steam is “Psychological horror”

  3. Seafoam says:

    Of course theyre going to give survival mode free only on the first week.
    That assures that all the people invested in skyrim, all the hardcore fans and journalists (the most vocal part of the playerbase) will get a positive impression.

    But the casual gamers, the vast majority of people who actually pay for microtransactions, will pay for that overpriced crap like suckers and be none the wiser.

    Also survival mode is 800 credits, the smallest credits pack has 750 credits, meaning that if you want to play survival mode you need to pay 15$!
    Thats 1/4 the price of a full game for a hunger meter! (and like 1 sword, if you spend the credits youre forced to have left over)
    How do people defend this crap?

    • GenialityOfEvil says:

      And there are already more feature-rich survival mods available. Have been for years.

    • mpk says:

      Also survival mode is 800 credits, the smallest credits pack has 750 credits, meaning that if you want to play survival mode you need to pay 15$!

      That seems to be standard micro-transaction practice, across so many games that I’ve seen, and has been since the mobile boom. The psuedo-currency price for any given item never matches what you’ll get from any of the available currency exchange packs. It’s to make you spend more real money, obviously, but it’s also yet another Skinner mechanism to keep you playing.

      Utterly cynical cash grabbing, but hey, us folks have let them get away with it from the beginning, so no use complaining now.

      • Seafoam says:

        Horrid practises are sadly the norm yes, but that’s still ridiculously overpriced by any standards!

        Dragonborn DLC cost 20$ at launch, and that added an entire island, huge quests items and all!
        Unapologetic cash grab at gullible consumers expense. No matter how they try to weasel out of this its the worst thing Bethesda has done in my opinion.

  4. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Not sure if I’ll be switching to their “awesome” paid mod service as there is already Frostfall and several hunger mods.
    And don’t know about others but I’m 10 times over Skyrim these days. Played best mods, plus Enderal plus all achieves on 32 and 64 bit. :p
    Next Elder Scrolls please and sensible VR this time.

  5. HoboDragon says:

    Is this PC only? Bec. for PS4 I could understand having this system because of the limited number of mods – AND – if you use unofficial mods you don’t get achievements. For new Skyrim gamers perhaps a dealbreaker to use unofficial and thus will accept the official payed survival one?
    On PC it doesn’t matter – Frostfall and the “turn back on achievements” or whatver it is called will do the trick….

    • clocknova says:

      Maybe it’s just my age showing but. . . what the hell does anyone need “achievements” for in a single-player RPG?!

      • Rosveen says:

        To track progress. To encourage replays. To accomplish interesting goals you wouldn’t think of on your own. To collect trophies. Some people collect fridge magnets from all the places they’ve been to, others collect Platinums of all the games they’ve played.

        It’s been years, can we finally stop discussing this like it’s something new and shocking? Some people don’t care about achievements, but many others do. This fact isn’t going away.

      • ludde says:

        That’s what I thought. Guess there’s a whole new generation now that don’t even know what it was like without them.

      • alms says:

        To expand what Rosveen already said, Achievements can also provide goals and incentives to change your playstyle and have new experiences or enjoy parts of the game you may have missed.

        Hence, achievements can add value to a game, if done properly.

    • Michael Anson says:

      It’s not just for the players. The Creation Club offers a step between mod making and employment by a developer for mod makers. With standard mods, you can’t be certain whether someone made all the content for the mod, and you certainly can’t monetize it for that reason. Instead, modders are forced to offer donation options for interested parties, that are easily ignored and are rarely worth the work they put out, but also do not offer guarantees to those donating that the modders are responsible for 100% of the content.

      The Creation Club requires that mod makers produce 100% of the content and provides a pathway for them to get paid for it. They likely also get early access to tools, access to the internal code of the game, and access to assets and voice actors for their work. In return, Bethesda can evaluate their skill based on the final results, knowing exactly how much work went into it and how popular the ideas were. People that do well are likely to get hired to make content for future games.

      Also, given that the Creation Club DLC is officially supported by Bethesda, it’s unlikely to be broken by other DLC or by patches, and will likely continue to have support, while there’s no guarantee of support in standard modding communities (as support drops from lack of interest or conflicts of interest, such as work or other life interference).

      All that people see is “mods, but we charge you for them” and flip out. It’s getting tiresome.

      • Ich Will says:

        I this were truly what Creaion Club was, then why are they ignoring some of the finest mod makers in the community who tried to get involved? Why are 90%+ of all the microtransactions in the club made by Bethesda employees? Why are they making microtransaction content that is just existing mods, despite making a statement saying they wouldn’t do this?

        No, you’ve clearly swallowed their nonsense hook line and sinker, but I challenge you to make a simple piece of content and get it into the creation club store. You’ll fail precisely because this is not, nor was it ever intended to be a career step for mod makers.

        • Michael Anson says:

          You do realize that large, complicated mods take time to make, right? The Creation Club is still new and requires everyone to work from scratch, so what we’re seeing now is the equivalent of what was available from amateur modders when the games first came out. You need to give things time to get going.

          • Ich Will says:

            Then why are they ignoring some of the finest modders in the community who have tried to get involved?

            Come on, answer the questions I asked, your avoidance of them screams Bethesda Employee

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        “Also, given that the Creation Club DLC is officially supported by Bethesda, it’s unlikely to be broken by other DLC or by patches”

        After all we all know how much Bethesda care about releasing a polished product and fixing any bugs that might slip through their extensive QA as soon as they’re discovered.

  6. woodsey says:

    “To sweeten the pot, they’re offering early adopters the option to claim a free copy of Survival Mode, a major gameplay modification adding the management of simulated hunger, tiredness and cold to the already-hazardous environment.”

    … Which was a totally free forever and ever update for FO4 not too long ago.

    Who on Earth is actually falling for this stuff?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Many people who only play a few big-name games have little information on this stuff.

      For much the same reasons as I don’t know shit about cars, or East Asian butterflies, or woodworking.

      • April March says:

        I’d say that I wouldn’t spend $15 dollars willy-nilly on woodworking tools, but given that I spent about that much on notebooks lately for stupid reasons, I can’t say anything.

  7. Blowfeld81 says:

    Bethesda should stop milking people with Skyrim and work on a new Elder Scrolls title with a new and very mod- able engine.
    They can still release a ton of paid expansions, but should leave the modding to the fans or even release a few mods themselves, for free.

    Cashing in with a mod that copies a well known mod? No. Just no.

    I really liked Bethesda for their Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, but lately this company has become a second EA.

    And pls: Give us some proper VR Elder Scrolls, from what I have read the performance of Skyrim VR is horrible and I really do not want to go back to the game. Again. And again. I have had enough Skyrim in my life. But hey: Cheap way for Bethesda to cash in more before christmas and send signal to other companies, that it is totally ok to rush the VR market with half assed titles that are re-coded a little.

    If you want to kill VR: Go on. If you want to invest in VR to cash more in in the future: Release unique great IPs that are made for VR from the start. ( Oh, and ditch that horrible Skyrim engine, for all that is true and just!!!)

  8. Mr.Snowy says:

    I should like to say, and I think I speak for the majority here, that Bethesda can eat a bag of dicks.

    • int says:

      I don’t think you do–well perhaps the majority of F1 & 2 players, and I’d count myself belonging to that particular demographic. While I hate how Beth makes each new RPG less RPG-y at least we get more Fallout, be it watered down, dumbed down and pretty much everything down. But hey, we can build buildings in Fallout now!

  9. kuertee says:

    If Bethesda was really serious in supporting the modding community, and not in getting an quick buck out of the community, they should simply promote and acknowledge the many years of free work that Buddha (who was responsible for the earliest known catalogue of Oblivion mods), DarkOne and co. (Nexus mods), the many authors of modding tools (OBSE/SKSE team), the many authors of modding guides, and of course, the many mod authors.

    AND Bethesda should encourage mod users to donate to their favourite mod authors. Donations to mod authors are available now, of course, but an official Bethesda endorsement would not only draw more attention to its availability, but also to make the practice “more acceptable” or “more agreeable” to avid mod users who do not donate.

    • kuertee says:

      (Disclaimer: I’m a mod author.)

    • James says:

      When SKSE 64 does eventually come out it will be interesting to see what effect it will have when the community has arguably better tools than Bethesda (which is already the case in some areas, as someone who likes making environments TESEdit works miracles for LOD generation, whereas the CK will literally destroy your work).

  10. James says:

    One thing to note is that when it stops being free it will be 50 more CC points than you can buy with $8 so you will need to buy the $14 CC point pack bollocks to get it. If you just want Survival Mode, you’ll be paying $14 for it.

    $14 for a gamemode in a 2 year old version of a 6 year old game.

    I really hope the CC crashes and burns. It’s a nice idea but the implementation could only be worse if the mods came in lootboxes.

  11. clocknova says:

    Horse. Armor. That is all.

  12. CountVlad says:

    Just came across this on Nexus Mods: link to nexusmods.com?

    I love the description! :D

    “Craft the Creation Club by using a cooking pot to convert your Gold Septims into Broken Souls.
    Then you can use 3 Broken Souls at any forge to craft the Creation Club.”

    “You can make a batch of 2 Broken Souls for 799 Gold Septims at a cooking pot.
    You will need 3 Broken Souls to forge the Creation Club this means you will have to craft the Broken Soul item twice.
    So, the Creation Club will cost you a total of 1598 Gold Septims and you will have a leftover Broken Soul for future use.”

  13. Stevostin says:

    First it’s amazing to see how many ppl think “Bethesda doesn’t support mod”, while one will be hard pressed to find someone who supported it as much, especially back in the days of Skyrim. Since then Mod support has become more of a rule, and sorry to break it to you but if you don’t realise you actually have to thank Bethesda and Steam for that (amongst other), you’re high.

    Second, mod support is never ideal by nature, because matching modders imagination, overall poor coding ressources (even when they have a good dev, which is really not often, there’s no way she or he can access the game the core devs can) and security concern (varying /w games), so yes you can always whine about things missing. There will always be.

    Third, MODs are both cool and a PITA. As a proud Frostbite user from day one, I would skip it for the “publisher” version anytime of the day /w equal features, just because it guarantees support as long as the one of the game.

    Fourth, as long as MODS are supported (and I don’t see how it would stop as they sorta need it for this, would it only be to tell them what to clone) and as long as original moders can be hired for the pay version, it’s clearly win win.

    TBH I have a hard time to see what in this creation club can be seriously framed as “not for the better”. Enlight me someone ?

    • Ich Will says:

      It doesn’t matter how good or bad the idea is, the implementation is terrible – therefore as someone who thinks it’s a good idea, you should be fuming at how they’ve mucked it up, surely? That alone is enough to say that this is for the worse – the idea is in the hands of people who saw that all the content is automatically downloaded to your computer, and said, “Yep, that’s perfect for the launch of this controversial idea, go gold!”

      “Oh, and make a statement along the lines of this is all going to be origional content, nothing is going to be already avaliable as a mod”

      “But haven’t you got a survival mod for skyrim”

      “Yep”

      “and aren’t there a few mods doing that on the nexus”

      “Yep”

      “So, we’re lying to the public”

      “Yep”

      “I’m OK with that, one statement coming up”

    • poliovaccine says:

      My opinion was pretty much verbatim yours the whole time when the Creation Club had been announced, and I defended its possibilities exactly the same way. I mean, I still remember the sense of wonder and genuine gratitude my fledgling-modder self felt in, like, 6th grade, when I finally saved up and bought my own copy of Morrowind for PC, after envying friends’ copies for ages, and found it came with a whole extra disc: The Elder Scrolls Construction Set. After reverse-engineering proprietary code written by native Czech speakers and manipulating item positions via fucking *hex editor* all for the sake of modding Mafia, I was elated at that unprecedented degree of mod support.

      But that was a long time ago, and this is now. The mod support they once pioneered could have continued on in that noble old way, with all the possibilities you list, and which I certainly believed in. I thought this meant we would see modders like Chesko of Frostfall being made essentially independent contractors for Bethesda, being able to quit their day jobs and continue making more and more awesome mods for us, for their living.

      That seemed like such an awesome idea. And they had a perfect opportunity to do it that way. But they just didnt. Instead, they released a mod in direct competition with Frostfall, which is already an everlasting essential in almost any Skyrim modder’s list. It may be high quality, but so is Frostfall. So is Campfire, which integrates functionality with Frostfall, and adds a bucketload of other features which add up to a more thorough “survival mode” than plenty of early access games devoted entirely to the concept.

      Point is, if they were going to start hiring high-profile, pro-quality modders to do stuff for the Creation Club, this was a pretty prime opportunity, but that clearly isnt where their priorities were at. It’s just the same tone deafness as the whole tongue-in-cheek, but-is-it-really-a-joke-if-you-actually-do-it? crab armor thing. I was even willing to carry on hope after *that* sour moment, but this is just too clear to be giving the benefit of the doubt anymore. I’m sure some of what they say will manifest in some form or another over time, some modder will get hired to do something for them. But clearly the spirit of the thing is focused on getting Bethesda into this whole marketplace of ephemeral addiction that is microtransactions, and in a big way. I don’t think this means free mods will stop existing or any crap like that, hardly. This Creation Club stuff doesnt hold a candle to Nexusmods – hell, it doesnt hold a candle to some bombed-out old geocities fansite url still left half-dangling somehow out there in the wide web, even those tend to have more selection and imagination in the selection.

      I don’t mean to sound vitriolic, because I think I remember Bethesda’s good points more than most who chime in on the topic, but I just mean to say, if this is how they lead off, I dont see any indication of these lofty hopes I had in common with you until just lately. This is really what decided me, but the crab armor thing primed the pump. This wouldnt have been enough on its own to sway my optimism, cus buddy let me tell you, it is a practiced optimism.. but anyway, it’s more that it seems like a pattern is emerging and the pattern is exactly what you’d expect a nice idea like the Creation Club might be cannibalized into once it got caught downwind of a wild roving board room, still writhing in sexual frenzy for the lucrative numbers they’ve just seen in a Powerpoint about Blizzard’s microtransactions. I frankly think that’s what happened here: the Creation Club started as a gift to modders, but to people who see games as commodities worth sums of money, mods are kind of indistinguishable from “free content we should be getting paid for somehow.” I think somewhere along the line, that ink got in the drink. I guess it still has time to turn around – it always does, some junkies get clean when they’re 50 – but why give it credit where it’s no longer due?

      Credit is due for what they *did* for modding. I’ll be the first to voice up about that.
      But now, what they are *doing* is just cheap, and so much moreso for betraying those great ideas I believed in, and which it seems you still do. And for both our sakes, I hope your view prevails, and I’m proven wrong. But at this point, I’m a former hopeful who’s said Fuck, I really do see what people mean.

  14. DatrixTHLK says:

    I’ll just ignore the CC. I don’t want it, nor need it. Thanks anyways Bethesda, CC is never going to be a thing for me, no matter how much chocolate syrup you put on crap it will still taste horrid.

  15. Tonycubed2 says:

    There are benefits that are being missed. One is that the game engine itself is being enhanced. Several new papyrus commands were added to skyrim to support survival mode. The commands can be used in our own mods now. That is a welcome development.

    The other is a belief more than a proven fact. Since they are going to commission mods based on proposals, we will get more support from them and hopefully game engine fixes as time goes on.

    • Michael Anson says:

      Yeah, people are generally ignoring the benefits of the Creation Club because they don’t like the idea of paying for “mods” (actually third party DLC).

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Well, *that* is awesome. Additions to the scripting engine were always an extremely rare commodity from Bethesda, and they stopped with the last official expansion. If this additional inflow of cash means actual scripting features being added on a regular basis without being reversed-engineered into the game, I’m looking forward to it.

      On the other hand, what I’ve always wanted is to be able to install a modpack of all the greatest mods for Skyrim and just play, but due to modders’ selfishness and over-inflated egos that never happened, unlike in other modding communities (S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Civ IV …). Now with money being involved, that’s even less likely to happen. Unless Beth literally want to guarantee that all mods on their platform will be compatible with each other… good luck with that ha ha, if you want to go beyond armor mods.

      • Kittim says:

        Pft, get a load of you MellowKrogoth.
        All those “selfish” modders that give up their free time for nothing in order to make a game you enjoy better.
        Those nasty people, they haven’t made a uber mod you can “just play”
        God forbid you should have to download those mods separately!
        How dare they make you download something like LOOT, made and maintained for free. And that you have to install it and learn how to press what, TWO buttons to sort out the load orders of hundreds of mods?
        You could float a tanker with that much entitlement.

      • Rosveen says:

        There is no one-click install Greatest Skyrim Mods Pack, but there is STEP (guide to visual enhancement) and GEMS (guide to gameplay enhancement, now sadly largely outdated). There are also tools such as LOOT, Mod Manager, NMM or Wrye Bash, which help with mod management and load order. If that is not enough for you and you still demand that someone else spends hundreds of hours troubleshooting hundreds of mods just for you, well, I hate to say it, but you’re an entitled asshole.

  16. SaintAn says:

    Cool, they’re still stealing other peoples mods, just like they did with some of the Losers Club content.

    Grow a spine RPS and stand up for the people instead of pushing corporate propaganda.

  17. Lokarn says:

    Implement a deeply unpopular cash grab on a product at the end of its very successful life cycle. Then by the time the new Elder Scrolls is announced with Creation Club from day one, bank on the outrage having petered out into acceptance.

    • Dogshevik says:

      The sad truth is that you will always do well when you use good timing and bet on the majority of customers being uninformed and/or uncaring about what you actually do.

  18. Cederic says:

    I eat on a Monday and then don’t eat again until a Friday. No impact on my stamina, and if anything makes me a little faster with weapons as hunger induces a level of aggression to anything that might lead to food.

    If you’re going to make eating food an essential part of a game then at least make its absence realistic. Over a week without food, sure, there are effects; you’ll suffer mentally rather than physically, although you’ll also be more susceptible to illness.

    Losing attack speed because you haven’t eaten for a few hours is however complete nonsense. Even in a game.

    Maybe this is why I don’t play survival games. People survive rather well.

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