It’s a sad reality of the gaming industry that we’ve come to expect that new games will be released half-finished. Whether it’s game-breaking bugs or cosmetics locked due to anti-piracy measures and loot boxes, it’s no wonder people have taken to breaking the game’s code.
That is, in essence, what gaming mods are, after all. They go into the game’s code and make alterations. What are the best benefits of gaming mods these days? We’ve compiled the top seven.
1. Mods Can Fix Critical Errors in the Game’s Code
One of the most common uses for gaming mods is to fix broken or non-functioning code. EA’s The Sims 3 was an incredibly ambitious project at release, opening the entire neighborhood for your sims to explore. However, that ambition did not necessarily translate into functionality.
All the new systems could lag out or even break on older computers due to inefficiencies in the game’s code. So, players turned to an entire suite of mods to debug, manage, and run the game more smoothly.
2. Breathe New Life into Outdated Games
Have you ever wondered why Bethesda’s Skyrim remains so popular over a decade after its late 2011 release? It’s not because it’s re-released onto almost every platform known to man. Rather, it’s because of the incredibly active modding community for its PC port.
While many of these gaming mods alter the game past the point of recognition, the most popular tend to be texture upgrades. Packs of lighting adjustments, texture resolution upgrades, and similar effects make the game look much newer and more realistic than it actually is.
3. Increase Accessibility
If there’s one complaint that resonates about video games to this day, it’s that they can be inaccessible to people with disabilities. The colors and fonts chosen for UI, high difficulty curves, and tight reaction times can make it impossible for disabled people to play.
When disabled gamers call for devs to improve the accessibility of their games, they often get met with backlash from the community as a whole. Claims that they “don’t get to play” or should just “get good instead of expecting the devs to dumb it down” resound in toxic comments sections.
So, those with a mind for coding offer solutions of their own. From assistive mods to reduce the window for death to UI and text adjustments, gamers must make their own accessibility solutions.
4. New Storylines and Gameplay Modes
When gaming mods combine with story-based games, the result is often new characters and side stories. Skyrim in particular is infamous for companion mods and mod-based storylines. The quality of these can range from dubious to incredible.
However, the innovation doesn’t stop there. Many mods incorporate new gameplay difficulties or modes. Hard Modes for those that felt the game was too easy, and Easy Modes for those who wanted a more forgiving experience. One of the coolest Starbound mods, called Dungeoneer Dungeons, gives a randomized, harder dungeon experience for players who’ve been with the game for a while.
Award-winning MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn also gets in on the fun. Programs like CMTools and Anamnesis use the in-game Gpose system to their advantage. However, they turn what’s otherwise a fairly standard camera mode into a robust 3D modeling and posing program that can create works of art.
5. Tedium Removal and Automation
Another massive chunk of gaming mods exists to remove tedious tasks or help players automate them so that they can get to the parts of the game that they enjoy. Take for instance the Perennial Crops from this list of the best Starbound mods. This mod speeds up the crop-growing process and cuts out the micro-management aspects of it that more dungeon-focused players despised.
If there’s a task that gamers feel is tedious or not worth the rewards, chances are, they’ll find a way to remove it entirely or automate it through the use of macros.
6. Add New Cosmetics and Aesthetics
Another common use for gaming mods is to add special cosmetics into the game. One Starbound mod that does this adds blood to your strikes against enemies, making the game feel darker and more realistic. Many games designed for younger audiences or with cuter aesthetics will have grim and dark mods available for them to make them more realistic.
And one need only look at the Sims community to see how popular realistic textures and hairstyles are with players. Of course, this can also be used to get around paywalls modern devs use for skins and other cosmetics if they don’t close their backdoors properly.
On that note…
7. Patch Features That Were Removed
Gaming mods often get used to patch in features once removed by the devs. The reasoning behind these removals can vary.
For instance, in the famous Atlus game Persona 4, there was a planned romance between Yosuke and the male main character. One that got cut from the game due to the risk of audience backlash in the 2000s. Modders have managed to restore the data for it that the devs dummied out.
In other cases, chapters of the game, skins, or music got sliced out of the game despite being coded into it in order to sell the content back to players at a premium. Gamers caught on to this greed-inspired ruse and now turn to modders to remove the locks from this content.
Let’s Review the Benefits of Gaming Mods
Gaming mods can accomplish amazing things. They can make old games feel new again and restore data that would otherwise be lost. They can make the games you play easier or add new ways to enjoy playing.
That’s why gamers love mods and will continue to use them no matter how hard devs try to crack down on them. If you’d like to learn more about modding, gaming, or other techy subjects, check out the Technology section of our blog for more.