Skyrim opens Creation Club DLC store, offers Survival Mode free for a few days

Bethesda’s new ‘Creation Club’ DLC microtransaction store has launched for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition [official site], following a beta last week and its debut in Fallout 4 in August. It stocks mostly packs of weapons, armour, and bits for a couple of quid each – nothing exciting. Perhaps the biggest bit is Survival Mode, which adds hunger and cold and all those survival things you find in survival mods. To lure people into the Creation Club, Survival Mode is free if you grab it right now.

The Creation Club, to refresh your memory, is a microtransaction store selling little mod-like bits. Unlike Skyrim’s disastrous free-for-all attempt at paid mods (which was lead by Valve through Steam), all of this content is purpose-made through a regular development pipeline. It’s commissioned, it’s tested, it’s localised, and it should all work just fine without problems or fiddling. Most of the Creation Club content is made internally at Bethesda, though they are also drafting some outside help (they haven’t said who, but I’d imagine some modders?).

The Skyrim launch lineup includes sets of weapons, armour, and magicbits, and a plague of zombies roaming the land. They’re a couple of quid each and don’t seem that exciting.

Survival Mode is the most game-changing and most expensive of the initial offering. It makes simply being in Skyrim a challenge by adding hunger, fatigue, cold, and warmth, while disabling fast travel, making diseases stronger, reducing the amount you can carry, and so on. It is more complex than the basic survival modes patched into Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4, but those were free. Grab it for free by October 10th and it’s yours for keepsies. After that, it’ll run you $8-ish. Or you could get similar effects by combining the free mods Frostfall and iNeed.

As a microtransaction store, the Creation Club of course sells items not for cash but for a paid microtransaction currency – which naturally is sold in quantities that don’t neatly cover prices so you’ll have some left over. It’s nice that, after years of players complaining about how irritating this is, companies are still pricing virtuacash awkwardly because it suits them. If anything, it seems to be becoming more common.

I do reject calling the Creation Club “paid mods”, as I’ve seen some do. Skyrim’s paid mods were such a mess — a bad idea executed poorly — that conflating it with a bland microtransaction store obscures problems with them both.

I’ve no interest in what the Creation Club is currently selling, I know many mods offer similar (or better!) things free, I’m somewhat put off by Bethesda patching microtransaction stores into games long after launch, I am wary of Bethesda’s potential plans for mods in future games, and I think Bethesda were fools for not thinking that players would be irritated by Fallout 4’s initial Creation Club content being downloaded whether you bought and could use it or not (a problem fixed for future Club content). But the Creation Club is clearly a professionally-run DLC microtransaction doodad which differs in vital ways. Pretending this is the same wipes out so many mistakes of the paid mods fiasco.

Anyway! The Creation Club is now in Skyrim Special Edition, the launch lineup is a bit drab, and free mods still work for Skryim SE.

Actually, we’ll likely soon see more decent mods coming to Skyrim Special Edition. The wildly helpful Skyrim modding tool Skyrim Script Extender, which many Skyrim mods rely upon, is making good progress on a version supporting Skyrim SE. It’s still in alpha and so shouldn’t be relied upon but some mods, including the popular SkyUI, are already trying Skyrim SE releases. It’ll be a while before this is properly ready but it’s encouraging.

31 Comments

  1. upupup says:

    Reposting my post again since it keeps being relevant:
    “This is just another attempt to ease in the idea of paid mods which, in any shape or form, is still a terrible idea that isn’t in anyone’s interest bar the big companies pushing it. All the guarantees they give mean absolutely nothing when the other party consists of thousands of tiny players who won’t be able to hold them to their word. There’s lots of reasons for this:

    – The foundation of modding is freely sharing one’s work and ideas. Mod interdependence is a good thing that should not be discouraged by giving people a stake in screwing each other over on who owns what and harassing others over wanting compensation. There’s enough modding drama already without adding money as a factor. Just look at the list of mods involved in any big mod and imagine the nightmare of giving every person in every team for every mod their ‘due’, or even figuring out who legally owns what to begin with.

    – For those that want make money there have always been options anyway, from it being a good way to find employment in the industry or serve as a staging ground for their own projects. This nothing new. There is also no need to use the hypothetical of a handful of modders who might have genuinely profited from this change when their skills would translate to well-paying positions anyway, especially when the community as a whole would suffer for it.

    – One of the reasons modding projects haven’t been systemically stamped out already through C&D’s is that it hasn’t been profitable to do so. Once you give companies incentive to either pressure people into turning their free mod into a paid mod (from which the company will get a cut, of course) or halt their project to make room for someone who will with the threat of legal action, you’ll this change very quickly. It won’t matter if these projects are legally in the clear, because all these small projects won’t have the financial clout or legal knowledge to defend themselves.

    – Bethesda doesn’t need to profit from all the work of others tangentially related to theirs but not made by them now and forever until the end of all, which is the real purpose of this. This is a perversion of copyright, not its intent.

    – Adding money as a ‘motivator’ is no guarantee for quality or good support, so it is not as if we’ll suddenly see an increase in modding quality. Modders already put unreasonable amounts of effort into their projects because it is their passion and adding money won’t somehow allow them to put in 110%. Besides, what tends to get more support: paid for games or the projects maintained by fans?

    – Most importantly however, and something which tends to get severely underappreciated, is that we should not be encouraging people to see every aspect of their lives as something to be monetised. People should have room to have hobbies that are valuable for their own sake and without any pressure to at some point turn it into a source of income. Just let people enjoy what they do without whispering to them not being paid for it means it’s not being appreciated.

    All of this still applies. This plan fits in the usual pattern of introducing a major change that people will get upset about in an extreme form to test people’s reaction. If it’s accepted straight away, great, if they don’t, keep reintroducing it in a scaled down manner until they do. This gives the impression of a compromise even though they’re the ones pushing for it and are the only ones benefiting from it.

    And no, the guarantees given by Bethesda are worthless and always will be, because they’re in a position to change the rules once they’ve established a market and modders are not. They are hollow promises that are already easy to circumvent in ways such as ‘motivating’ a popular in-progress projects to launch on the Creation Club with a C&D. That’s the logical next step from the current way a C&D is used with an added financial incentive to go after as many projects as possible, both to shut down competition and popularize their platform.

    I don’t think a lot of people get how the people making these decisions think: any opportunity to monetise something to the absolute limit that isn’t followed through on is considered to be them not being paid the money that they’re owed. The only reason they’ve left modders alone is because there was no profit in bothering them, which this changes. Expect this to get as bad as it can possibly get if allowed to continue. Again, this benefits no-one but Bethesda and sets a terrible precedent if people were to try and downplay it. ”

    It’s bog-standard rebranding, nothing more. Trying to downplay this is idiotic.

    • Devan says:

      Well said. As someone who’s been part of the industry for over 10 years I share those concerns. People in suits are the ones making the big decisions, and they don’t always understand or care about the things that players care about.

    • SaintAn says:

      It’s sad that commenters have to say this because the gaming media is too spineless to. This writer even says they reject calling them paid mods, which is exactly what they are.

    • Moonracer says:

      Well said. I’ve been thinking too much about this stuff lately and trying to put it into perspective. I don’t think you missed anything here.

    • Faxanadu says:

      It just boggles my mind they’re willing to try this.

      You have this God given gift, a MASSIVE modding community, forged over a DECADE, making your mediocre sandbox fantasy game into a great, long lasting fantasy game.

      And what do you do? You RISK IT ALL for microtransactions.

      For realsies, Bethesda?

    • Czrly says:

      There’s only really one point one could add to that excellent synopsys and it’s this: building stuff is pretty easy; having a good idea is pretty hard; having the motivation to follow through with the project is truly rare. When there’s money involved, however, building stuff is not just pretty easy, it’s dead easy, and the motivation isn’t a problem if you’re good enough to pull of a success.

      What does this mean? It means that, as a creator, you’d be pretty stupid to give your good idea to the crowd by making an unpaid mod. Instead of having slim chances of success, you’d have just-as-slim chances and certain knowledge that there will be some team (professional or just fast and well organised) who will descend like vultures upon your idea and make a paid version as soon as your popularity shows that the idea is gold.

      They will invariably have more time, more money and more assets than you. Their modders will not grow bored or get distracted by other things, unlike your hobbyist mates who are heping on your project.

      • dashausdiefrau says:

        So you are basically arguing that better quality mods are expected if people can earn some money with that.

        • Czrly says:

          No. I’m saying that a lot of modders will walk away because they don’t want to play by these rules. Why would anyone play in a sand-pit in which money is a factor if they’re only doing it for fun? Why bother? It’s not like there aren’t other sand-pits in which to play — Bethesda do not make the only games with modding communities. Hell, they don’t even make very good ones, at that.

  2. Samudaya says:

    So we have this really successful game. Our most successful game ever. But how can we keep making money from it? I know! Let’s retroactively turn this into a Live Service thing or something. That’s the new thing. Low effort, lots of money. Let’s do that.

  3. Dogshevik says:

    “It won´t hurt mods or modders” people said.

    As long as Bethesda doesn´t guarantee it won´t sue modders in order to eliminate competition for their creation stuff I won´t even give this whole idea a fair consideration. And we all know they would never do so, no matter what they say.
    Now that there is the creation thing there is money in sueing modders. Consequently it will happen.

    Literally the first thing Bethesda does with it is trying to make the Frostfall mod obsolete. I don´t pretend to know the details, but I know there was drama with its creator and threats of legal action.

    I find it difficult to express how low and petty I think this is.

    And I find it even more difficult to express how revolting the thought is that despite everything this will most likely work out for them because the casual crowd is too uninformed and lazy to care if they are fleeced.

    • aepervius says:

      such guarantee would as worthless as any guarantee they give in EULA, for the simple reason they could unilaterally at any moment without prior notice, withdraw it.

  4. something says:

    Every asset a business has must be monetized. So sayeth the MBAs. Bethesda had a significant stockpile of goodwill, which it has slowly been converting into cash. How will this affect sales of its next RPG? Who knows? That’s mid-to-long-term planning. We don’t do that.

  5. TotallyUseless says:

    No problem with this,

    the bigger problem here is if the Nexus Modders starts joining Bethesda’s paid modding scene then that would be the end of modding as we know it.

    • Moonracer says:

      That’s not going to happen. At best less than a percent of modders will ever be paid by Bethesda to create content. And so far it looks like they are picking out celebrity modders just so they can say “maybe you can get paid too!”
      What might happen is a lot more drama between the popular modders. People bitter because they weren’t selected. People leaving the scene.

      • Dogshevik says:

        People reusing work/scripts they made together with others, who happennot to be in the Circleof the Chosen…

        Well, that means job security for Bethesda´s legal team for the next couple of years. A good time willbe had by all.

        • dashausdiefrau says:

          They are smarter than that. They will push responsibility to the users. Youtube was able to avoid any responsibility for years, while having vastly more serious issues.

          • Dogshevik says:

            If with users you mean the creation club contributors, then maybe they´ll try. But even if third party content would provide protection from copyright infringement fees in the jurisdiction responsible for Bethesda(Lala-Land?) the simple act of finding that out in individual cases will be wasteful and painful to watch, is what I am saying.
            If you mean users like in customers I fear I don´t follow.

            The youtube comparison is misleading in any case. The question there was if the middleman bears responsibility for an illegal offer since he doesn´t sell it, but only provides the platform. The question was not if anything was legally wrong with the thing offered or who owns it, which is the case here.

            Analogy:
            Youtube – How responsible is the landlord of the warehouse where renters cook drugs?
            Bethesda – Are those drugs on sale legally and who of the two chemists owns the formula?

  6. geldonyetich says:

    The survival mode might be enough to get me to take a run at Alduin again. Though, having spent around 600 hours in Skyrim, I’d say I’ve pretty thoroughly exhausted the content.

    It’s interesting to consider that the inclusion of needing to eat might actually put a time limit on your adventures in Skyrim. While the content designers were generally quite good about putting copious amounts of food into just about every single location I visited, sooner or later our aspiring Dovahkiin will have eaten literally everything, in which case their adventures will rapidly draw to a close. These are the kinds of players whose worlds are largely ghost towns because everyone but the children have managed to get themselves killed somehow.

    As for the objections about the Creation Club, they’re largely irrelevant at this point. The time for speculation is over. It’s happening now. We’ll see how it turns out.

    • Horg says:

      ”As for the objections about the Creation Club, they’re largely irrelevant at this point. The time for speculation is over. It’s happening now. We’ll see how it turns out.”

      You could have said the same thing about Steam mods. People didn’t give up fighting that mess after it launched and it was killed off in days. If people don’t like Creation Club, they are well within their right to keep saying so.

    • oliseo says:

      “As for the objections about the Creation Club, they’re largely irrelevant at this point. The time for speculation is over. It’s happening now. We’ll see how it turns out.”

      FYI, time for speculation being over and seeing how it turns out are mutually exclusive.

      The objections for paid mods don’t end because you say they do.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Sure they can, but they ability to do something alone doesn’t make it particularly relevant.

        For that matter, I have to wonder just how many people are still playing Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Fallout 4 is over 2 years released now, and Skyrim is courting about 5. We’re quibbling a small change to ancient history, as far as computer technology goes.

  7. Ghostwise says:

    I’d much rather support, say, Chesko (Frostfall’s author). Guy has been part of the Skyrim modding community for years, kept his stuff evolving, answered players’ queries (and this often gets real unpleasant), debugged, etc. and it’s all free.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    *sensible chuckle gif*

  9. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    A caveat not covered by the main article: Survival mode costs about $8USD, but it is, of course, priced in such a way that you have to buy $15USD worth of BethesdaBucks to get it, the scrip is not bundled in smaller packages.

  10. Sin Vega says:

    Oh well. I don’t expect the next elder scroll game to be all that interesting, so when they inevitably launch it with this transparent paid mods system, it’ll only be even easier to just consider the series dead.

  11. oliseo says:

    I suppose Bethesda has to put the milking machine on each of it’s customers because some director needs to justify is bonus.

    Naturally if we refuse to go into the milking shed like good little animals it will be the fault of someone down the pecking order that takes the blame for their incompetence and idiocy.

  12. wombat191 says:

    One video I saw showed someone using the soul taker arrows from the arcane archery pack and the Ruins edge bow that together seemed to instantly kill any single human in the game haha

  13. KraiZor says:

    Creation Club has yet to justify itself. If they had come out with big content packs (stuff on the level of Maxwell’s World or Falskaar) I would have been excited about it. Those big mods are hard to do, their creators deserve some recognition for them, and they are impressive. So far we have new weapons and armors, and some minor gameplay elements; all of which have been done already by the modding community. Seriously the minor content packs from Knights of the Nine were more impressive, and that was the expansion that gave us the infamous horse armor.

    The creation club needs to justify itself as being above the average mod. So far we have exactly what the average mod is new weapons and armors. Maybe it’s unfair to say it needs to be better than the big content ones like Falskaar but there needs to be something on par with the bigger mods. Otherwise it feels like they are just doing paid mods, and worse their doing lazy paid mods.

  14. Ham Solo says:

    Yay, paid mods are back. Maybe people will accept this filth on the second try.

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