Since the release of Conan Exiles, mods have followed the same patterns as we have seen in all other games before.
FIRST: The “ALL-IN-ONE” mods get released first. These mods are often built for private servers and work well with that aim. However, these mods do not play well with other mods. Conflicts emerge between mods that make changes to the same game assets, and each mod author that alters TOO MANY assets states that their mod should be loaded at the end of the load order. This is visually the last slot in your load order, which overrides all other mods in your list. Since only one mod can be loaded in the last available slot, many mods leave the average end-user with a “take-it-or-leave-it” alternative to use the least intrusive mod that accomplishes most, but not all, of what they had hoped. At this stage, mods are frought with “dirty edits”, referencing assets for which no changes are made along their journey to the “perfect all-in-one” mod. Then, when this mod is placed last in the line-up, these dirty edits overwrite changes made by mods. When this happens, the dirty edits revert back to the original game assets, and we all wonder why our other mods don’t work anymore.
NEXT: Mod authors, weary of trying to maintain their “ALL-IN-ONE” approach start to collaborate with other authors and identify mods that play well with their own creation. Dirty edits are slowly erased though hundreds of hours of fixes and rework. This separates the end-users into camps that must choose between one set of mods or another. Again, these mod camps may accomplish most, but not all, of what each end-user had hoped for. Solutions abound, but so do the conflicts.
FINALLY: Mod authors, completely exhausted from trying workarounds to maintain the all-in-one approach either quit and abandon their mod, or they get smart and split the mod into separate parts to maximize compatibility. Mods with a core (main) theme maintain core mod, and the “extras” become new mods or “add-ons” for use with the core mod. Authors collaborate even further to develop mods that increase compatibility (utilities) and share “lessons learned” that help new modders succeed.
As an end-user, I humbly request that the modding community move quickly toward this final mode. If your mod truly brings something new to the game, you don’t have to add 499 other things to make it a must have mod. Introduce something useful, clean-as-you-go, and resist the urge to produce yet another all-in-one mod that is almost never a hole-in-one for everyone. Building an all-in-one mod and adding several add-ons that change settings back to default is NOT the same as building a core mod and releasing several add-ons. When your add-ons negate the changes from your mod, the changes to all other mods in the line-up are negated as well. Lastly, don’t forget to clean-as-you-go when building or maintaining mods.
Thanks for your time and attention. Thank you especially for the hundreds and thousands of hours you have provided to this community to make our game truly wonderful!