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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.

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