After more than a month of inaction on Bethesda’s part, the owner of the largest site for Skyrim and Fallout mods has taken matters into their own hands to prevent people stealing user creations.
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In an impassioned blog post on Friday, Nexus Mods owner Robin “Dark0ne” Scott called out Bethesda for their lackadaisical reaction to people stealing his users’ mods and uploading them to the publisher’s own site.
Bethesda.net and the Creation Kit were released by the Skyrim and Fallout developer at the end of April to allow modders access to a set of tools that make user-created content easier to implement.
A month later, mods uploaded to the browser on Bethesda.net were now capable of being installed on Xbox One, creating an ecosystem outside of the existing PC mod community Scott had been overseeing for 14 years.
“There is no reason consoles should not be allowed to have mods, provided the PC modding community is appropriately protected and not dumbed down or negatively affected in any way,” Scott wrote in a 5,100-word epic. “However, in order for the mods to be available on consoles, PC mod authors would need to upload their mods, as a separate entry, to Bethesda.net’s system.”
This lead, unsurprisingly, to people taking the best mods from Nexus and ripping them wholesale onto Bethesda’s system with no attribution, often taunting the original creator in the description.
This is soul crushing for mod authors. To see their hard work being taken, without their permission, often times by people actually openly goading, trolling and mocking the mod authors about the theft and that nothing was being done about it,” Scott says. “It became clear, early on, that Bethesda had not planned for the eventuality of mods being stolen. They had no clear moderation system in place. No way of quickly dealing with the issue or indeed any sort of decent reporting system so that users could report stolen mods in detail to the (seemingly non-existent) moderation team.”
Despite an active moderation team and the history of the largest PC modding community, Scott claims Bethesda has never consulted Nexus on how to approach moderation. The only contact Scott has had with Bethesda community manager Matt Grandstaff was consulting during the Skyrim paid mods fiasco, and once when a Nexus Mods submission leaked an official DLC.
The Nexus Mods moderation team removed a “mod” which included the entirety of Fallout 4’s latest DLC Far Harbor more than a week before its official release, and according to Scott this was done at 3AM on a weekend morning, eight hours before Grandstaff contacted him.
Rather than wait for Bethesda to improve their response times to reporting mods stolen or implement an effective moderation strategy, Scott has decided to add an extra permissions system to his own site so stolen mods are easier to see.
“We already have an extensive permissions system for mods, but today we’ve released an addition to that system for console modding,” he says. “You can now choose from a set of options in our Fallout 4 section to express your wishes. These are:
- I have uploaded my mods to Bethesda.net and they are available for console users.
- I have not uploaded my mods to Bethesda.net for console users yet, but I will at some point.
- My mods will not be available on Bethesda.net for console users.
- My mods won’t work on consoles or would not be acceptable on Bethesda.net according to their rules.
- I give my permission for someone else to port my mods to console and for it to be uploaded to Bethesda.net by someone else. Please credit me, however.”
This system also allows console players to search the Nexus system for mods they can find via their console’s Bethesda.net browser if they like the look of them.
“Ultimately, I think the thing that disappoints me the most is that Bethesda’s influence within the community after largely staying out of it these past 14 years has had such a polarising effect,” Scott concluded. “It should not be the case that the official developer of the games you’re modding has such a negative effect right from the start with their new modding endeavour.”