Top 10 RPG's with the Biggest Modding Communities
Mods can enhance any game, but it's the communities who truly make them shine
With 10,000 GTA:San Andreas mods, 50,000 Skyrim mods, and half a million (500,000) Portal 2 mods there is no end to available content to choose from. After playing hours and hours, even massive games like Skyrim can eventually fall flat, running out of content to explore or loot to collect, but with the addition of mods to your game this will never happen.
Mods can provide minor tweaks to improve games, or fix bugs, but the real fun comes from mods which add content. For instance, with just two Skyrim mods (Immersive Weapons & Immersive Armors) a player can add 55 new armor sets, 396 shields, and 224 weapons, which completely changes the equipment of all NPC’s and enemies in game, crafting the whole game into a fresh experience. Changes like these may seem difficult, but mods are getting easier to use every day, and with the aid of other players in the communities you’ll be modding in no time!
Unturned 3.0 Trailer
A free to play zombie-survival game from the creator of Roblox, Unturned is an instant classic for being $0.00. As with Minecraft, the simplicity in both graphics and coding makes this an incredibly easy to mod game, and thus the community ran wild with that ability. With new maps, weapons, assets, characters, music, items, vehicles, and outfits, this game can be expanded exponentially on a shoestring budget of zero dollars. Some of the best mods here include weapon packs such as “The Gun Box”, or vehicle packs like the “Military Truck Mega Pack” which contains 90 new vehicles. Again, since this is a free game, everyone should at least consider grabbing it.
The Gun Box mod adds several new weapons to Unturned.
9. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTA:SA 10th Anniversary Tribute Trailer
Everyone’s seen the goofy GTA V mods (Seriously modders….don’t stop...but….where do you come up with this stuff?), but the true GTA modding community exists to mod GTA:San Andreas. With almost 10,000 mods to choose from there’s still plenty of wackiness available, but also mods that turn San Andreas into a much cleaner, more polished game than the original. Firstly, a first-person mod. This has long been a feature sought in Grand Theft Auto games, but it was not until GTA V that it was officially included through the entire campaign, and even then only on the remastered next-gen version. With this mod you can once again explore San Andreas, but from an entirely new perspective.
You better bike away...FAST!
Another classic within many modding communities, ENB presets are perhaps the most impressive mods available. ENB presets allow new shader and graphics settings, thus allowing players to completely change how games look, bumping the graphics up to a more modernized level, smoothing textures, altering contrast, bloom, motion blur, and many other options. ENB presets here help re-invigorate what some might see as a game that’s too old to still play, but no one’s ever too old to remember cruising the streets of San Andreas. For some more examples of ENB presets see below.
RAQ Gaming Youtube - WicketX 248 ENB Series:
ENB Presets are some of the most impressive graphics mods available for games.
8. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley 1.1 Launch Trailer
The hit farming simulator Stardew Valley released on Feb 26th, 2016. As I write this on Feb 20th, it has been just less than a year since the official release and there are just shy of 800 mods available for the game. That means that there’s almost two mods a day coming out for Stardew Valley, and after playing a few days as your farmer, it’s easy to see why. Although a fantastic game, there are many frustrating aspects in Stardew, such as how rapidly the days seem to pass. Luckily, however there are fixes for many of these basic problems, such as the “TimeSpeed” mod, which allows you to alter the speed of time progression, or even freeze it when entering a building (No more entering the shop at 5:50 only to reach the counter at 6:00 and be told the shop is closed). Add in the fun that comes from re-texturing the entire game world to Pokemon or Star Wars textures, and Stardew can look and feel unique each time you play.
“Farm or do not, there is no try.” - Wizard Yoda
7. Half-Life 2
The Stanley Parable Launch Trailer
Half-Life 2 is an incredible, incredible game. First and foremost, if you have not played through the Half-Life games, please go do so before modding. Yet again, Valve has put out a fantastic game with plenty of modding capabilities, and HL2 probably has some of the best mod “success stories” around. First up is Garry’s Mod.
Now it’s own standalone game, Garry’s Mod originally began as a sandbox mode mod for HL2, allowing players to spawn objects, and then manipulate them in different ways, such as welding two objects together or sticking a booster on them, thus allowing players infinite creative options. As the game garnered attention and popularity, it expanded exponentially, as the community began to create their own content. Now Garry’s Mod even allows community content through an in-game menu, letting players create and share their works globally.
Suddenly G-Man seems…..less scary.
Half-Life 2 modders didn’t stop there though. Due to the ease of modding Valve’s source code, other success stories exist too such as “The Stanley Parable”, and “Black Mesa” (A re-creation of Half-Life with HL2 graphics and coding.) All three of these games which started originally as mods for HL2 are now available for purchase as standalone games, clearly showing that Valve not only supports the mod community in the creation of assets, but also in making an entirely new game from an existing one.
The official game description reads: “The Stanley Parable is an exploration of story, games, and choice, except the story doesn’t matter, it might not even be a game, and if you ever actually do have a choice, well let me know how you did it.”
Half-Life 2 Mods: Mod DB
6. Portal 2
Portal Stories: Mel - Trailer
Portal 2, the successful sequel to Portal was originally released by Valve on Steam, and received positive reviews instantly. In the game you play as Chell, a test subject trying to escape Aperture Laboratories, by successfully completing a series of puzzles involving physics and teleportation. Valve loves to allow mods, originally with source code availability (CS:Source, HL2:Source, etc.), and now even hosting the Steam Community Workshops for hundreds of games. The Steam Workshop for Portal 2 however, is one of the most impressive. With an astounding 502,000 mods listed, there’s definitely plenty to choose from, including mods such as “Thinking with Time Machine”, a mod which forces you to play co-operatively with another version of yourself from the “past”.
Work with yourself in the “Thinking with Time Machine” mod.
Portal 2 has way too many mods to go in depth here, but the reason they work so well is because Valve wanted them to. Valve wanted Steam users to play Portal 2 and then utilize the available tools and assets to make more content, and given the opportunity, the community took it and ran! Try searching some of the following for the best Portal 2 mods; “Portal Stories: Mel”, “Gelocity”, “Above Aperture”, and “Dilapidation”. Many available Portal 2 mods go much further than simple game changes, and instead create entirely new stories and content for the player, crafting an entirely new experience.
Travel outside the testing facility and see the sky again in “Above Aperture”
“Portal” Minecraft Mod Trailer
Minecraft is incredibly easy to pick up and play, but has advanced elements that will take most players a long time to learn and master. Add in the thousands of mods available, mostly from Minecraft specific mod hosting sites, and including resource packs, textures, and graphics changes, and there are many ways Minecraft can be played. Some of the best of the best here are yet again graphics mods, but even low-end PC’s can easily add features to their gameplay with relatively few mods.
Check out these graphics mods from Candyland’s YouTube:
(And this isn’t even the most intense graphics mod out there…)
For a perfect example of the breadth of Minecraft’s modding capabilities, look no further than Pam’s HarvestCraft, a mod which adds 1,100 new foods and items, 60 new crops, 17 new fish, vegetarian and vegan options for food, and 36 new trees. Initially this doesn’t seem like much, after all it’s just adding food and food elements, but to craft the textures, models, and coding for this amount of modding is INSANE! There are plenty of Minecraft mods that act on this same scale, adding ridiculous amounts of content for players. Another example, “Biomes O’Plenty” adds 80 new biomes to the Minecraft world. That’s up from about 5 biomes in the base game. That’s a 1,600% increase in the number of Biomes to explore, so get out there and get to it!
Biomes O’Plenty in action with a cherry blossom grove.
Pam’s HarvestCraft added items.
4, 3, 2, and 1: Bethesda Games (FO4, FO:NV, TES5, TES4)
The next four games could have their own separate article with how long one could go on about them.Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and New Vegas have massive mod communities, with certainly the most impressive content, tools, and assistance available. It may seem redundant to include two games from each series, but with the amount of specific mods available, they truly each deserve their own spot. In part, this is due to the wonderful tools provided to the modding community by Bethesda. For all of these games Bethesda released some sort of content creation tool, be it G.E.C.K (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) for the Fallout games, or the Skyrim and Oblivion Creation Kits.
The G.E.C.K Kit as it appears in game.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Trailer
Although it preceded Skyrim, many of the mods from Oblivion were simply re-crafted and adapted up to Skyrim, and thus although there are about half the number of mods (26,000 on Nexus Mods) available, many of them are identical in every way. Some examples include KS Hairdos, script extenders (OBSE and SKSE), Immersive Weapons, or Midas’ Spells (290 new spells!). Although both Skyrim and Oblivion are Elder Scrolls games, after installing mods to both they play completely differently, and totally re-invigorate the games, allowing players to play them again and again, with each playthrough being slightly altered from the last.
Oblivion Mods: Nexus Mods
New spells can be a blast!
3. Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout the Frontier Official “Onwards” Trailer
Part of the triumph of Fallout: New Vegas’ mod community was the desire from players to play a more classic Fallout experience, rather than the fresh take given in the Mojave wasteland. Luckily, this brought to fruition two of the most expansive FO:NV mods to date, “Project Nevada” and “Project Brazil”. Both of these provide a complete game overhaul, adding new storylines, quests, items, gameplay mechanics, and more.
An entirely new wasteland to explore!
Project Nevada adds content such as a cybernetics facility to the wasteland, allowing the player to purchase augmented upgrades such as stealth nanobots, nanobionic weave, or AR scanners. Project Brazil goes even further, spawning the player in a new beginning vault, with a different intro story, different questlines, and a different world outside the vault. Yes, you heard correctly, this mod is an ENTIRELY NEW GAME WORLD. Now if that doesn’t add new content and replay value, then I don’t know what does.
Fallout: New Vegas Mods: Nexus Mods
Enderal Mod - Launch Trailer
The number of mods (51,000 on Nexus Mods), and how many things they alter in Skyrim is ridiculous. You can add clothing and armor (Immersive Armors-definitely one of the best armor mods), alter the physics of characters bodies with HDT Physics mod, and customize body parts and shapes with CBBE body mods. The list of mod capabilities goes on and on.
CBBE Mod allows you to change all the nitty gritty inappropriate stuff and really customize your character.
The Skyrim community also does an amazing job of working together. As one mod comes into existence, others will alter their coding and execution to allow them to work together. The community has even created custom mod tools that run and organize all your mods for you across games, as well as tools for checking incompatibilities between mods, saving a lot of time and effort for casual mod users. What’s more, despite being released in late 2011 new mods are still appearing online every day, keeping Skyrim extremely relevant and playable.
Skyrim Mods: Nexus Mods
Adding the mod RaceMenu will give you more options than you should ever need for character creation.
1. Fallout 4
Moribound World Mod Trailer.
There’s a specific reason that Fallout 4 is last on this list, and that’s so I can congratulate Bethesda once more on being so FANTASTIC to their modding community. Although Fallout 4 is the second console game with modding capabilities (Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3 was the first in 2007), it is the first to do it successfully. The real success here is what this could mean in the future for modders. Fallout 4 introduced the first era of mods where a PC mod could be adapted, and then later released for consoles, but if this trend continues, then hopefully in the future most games will have a mods section in their menu for players. It may seem far-fetched now, especially since mods are generally free content and there has been an ever-constant rise of “Freemium” or premium game content, but if this becomes a recurring trend, then in the future modding Far Cry 5, GTA 6, or Fallout 5 (if any of these happen) will become a breeze, and the community of players and modders will certainly expand and grow.
The Xbox One FO4 mod menu.
Many classic Bethesda game mods re-appear for Fallout 4 as well. CBBE is the top rated mod of all time on the FO4 Nexus Mods page, and other familiar mods like KS Hairdos, and LooksMenu (An adaptation of RaceMenu) make a reappearance too. One of the most appealing factors to modding Bethesda games is that once you find a set of modifications that works for you in one game, it is often simple to find comparable mods for other Bethesda games, and install them across the board. This will allow you to have similar options, abilities, and tweaks in all four games, making them so much more fun to play through just another once or twice.
Fallout 4 Mods: Nexus Mods
Star Wars seems to somehow worm its way into mods for almost EVERY game.
Although modding exists for hundreds of games, only some have modding communities that aid newbies, simplify things for those without technical expertise, or provide content that most players would almost certainly pay for, for free. These are the communities which truly shine, helping each other, and pushing each other to see what crazy addition they can come up with next. If you’ve got any of these games I encourage you to open Google and search for some mods (If you paid attention, Nexus Mods is one of the BEST resources, and is listed multiple times within this article) or click the links provided. See how simple it is, and throw some into a game. You’ll be surprised how re-invigorated the game feels, suddenly fun to play again, despite having already played or beaten it.
Some other articles you may be interested in:
1. 10 Best Skyrim Mods in 2015