Than should not have been mods that is....
From the start i will tell you that i am pro original user content for my games BUT certainly NOT to the point that i'm going to install the"rocket_launcher_2.1_beta" mod for my favorite RPG with elves and orcs.
Talking about The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion, and in fact the ES series in general, these are games that go way back to the 486 days when Arena was released, and since then the story and the lore developed into a quite complex and atmospheric affair.
The effort that Bethesda put over the years into creating this world is truly remarkable and anyone who has played any of the games can agree with me that Bethesda is sort of like the Tolkien of classic RPG gaming at least as far as lore and complexity goes.
But still, after more than 3 years in development and all the effort that was put into it, Oblivion still gets you wondering what the hell (oblivion) happened with some stuff. Stuff like the missing jump animations or why can't you get drunk or stoned :) or why is the water more like mercury than water or - leaving the hardcore no-life rpg'er aside - plain design slips like the console oriented user interface that leaves the PC player scrolling through the menus for 25 % of the game.
Well thank Akatosh, they released a Construction Set (crippled but still) and being that the ES series always had a big and loyal fan community, things are getting fixed or added even now.
We will present you with a list of user created mods that we think are THAT good that should have been in the game from the beginning and are more the where_the_heck_are_those_goddamn_birds_i_keep_hearing type than the add_rocket_jumping_abillity type.
We like these mods because they manage to get a lot of stuff back into the game but without messing up the atmosphere and vision of Bethesda (in fact adding to it).
So these are our picks...
1. Natural Environments - by Max Tael (email@example.com)
This mod is just too awsome and was probably the biggest display of modding excelency that the community has seen so far.
It is a successful effort to make the game look more realistic and beautiful (yes it can be done!) and it comes in 4 parts.
Natural Weather - changes the lighting in the game, the wheather system, the sky and the clouds.
Subtle hue and color changes of the lighting will make a sunset look breathtaking and will make the whole game scenery look more vivid and colorful.
Changes to the weather system add seasons and weather types to the game, so winter is cold and snowy, summer is hot and sunny, and you get all the nice weather effects that you wanted like deep misty fog, rainbows, real looking rain, thunderstorms and more. In fact 44 new weather types have been added.
It also changes the default sky and clouds, with much improved versions. The new clouds look amazing !
Natural Vegetation - changes the size of all the plants and trees in the game.
It's subtle, yet very effective and adds greatly to the immersivness of the game. Finaly a big tree looks like a BIG_FREAKING_TREE... plus that now you can really get lost in the woods (you wanted that right ?:)
Natural Habitat - adds birds and insects.
If you ever wondered why the birds and insects that you keep hearing in the woods are nowhere to be found, this is for you. 20 types of birds and insects added.
Natural Water - modifies the water to look like water. Actually we also have on the list another water mod that we think is even better than this one, but it's a matter of taste.
It should be noted that we included in the download package a patch for the Natural Weather module that fixes some bugs in Maxs' version. Credits go to Morbus, and we highly recommend using the patched version.
2. Better Imperfect Water - by Kitna
After going into paranoid mode about the dozen water modifications that try to make the water more realistic, we tried them all, and this was the very best. It makes the water color more murky and adds transparency to it as well as modifying the underwater color. Enjoy.
3. Texians' Window Lighting System - by Texian
Everybody knows that sitting in the dark after the sun goes down is really not that cool.
Then everyone knows that windows are made of glass and glass is transparent, right ?
So how come that all the windows in cities are dark at night even though when you go inside they have candles and lamps and stuff ?
This existential issue was handled in Morrowind, and it is handled in Oblivion by modders.
Actually this is a second attempt to solve the issue and in our opinion the one to go with.
Texian solved the problem simply by modifying the texture of windows all over the game by adding a yellowish tint to them.
While in daytime you can barely notice the difference, at night everything looks like it should.
The first mod - Illumination Within - had a more in depth approach to the matter but unfortunately presented a big performance hit, was not doing it in some places and a new version for it failed to emerge until now.
So Texians' mod is our choice and it comes with no performance loss whatsoever - lean and mean.
DOWNLOAD IT download fix
4. Elven Cartographers Color Map - by Xythen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It's very simple. The original game map is ugly.
This map is nice, colored, and stylish. You will love it.
5. Inebriation - by Lap (email@example.com)
While we are all waiting for the magic shrooms to make an appearance in a RPG it did not happen until now.
This is indeed a very sad thing.
But Lap decided to make the waiting a little easier. You can now get drunk as a f**k in Oblivion.
And we really mean it. You'll get blurry vision, you'll see double and distorted, and if you don't know your limits you'll eventually"reset" and you'll pass out and sleep in a ditch for a night. Or a day.
Not to mention the terrible hangover you will have afterwards.
Alcohool is bad remember ?
Anyway if you really insist on being a smelly bum throughout the game you can now also brew your own stuff !
Sweet. I just hope someone does a shroom mod really soon :)
6. Silence - by me lol
I just had to include this. Let me explain.
Jeremy Soule did a wonderful job with the music in Oblivion. But from time to time it is really nice to just hear the birds or the wind or some stupid NPC approaching without the music.
This simply inserts pauses of 1 minute or 30 seconds in the music playlist of the game, so every now and then you can get a moment of ...er ... clarity :)
7. BTMod - by Tikigod and Beider (http://btmod.beider.org/)
The one User Interface mod to rule them all. No more scrolling through the endless list of clutter in your inventory. The mod resizes the fonts and icons in the UI to make it more suited for the PC player.
It's a great mod with an easy install and many configuration options, but the bottom line is that it's what Bethesda should have done for the PC players. Great mod.
8. wz_Inventory - by wz_Labs (http://www.ni-te.de/wzLabs/content/index.html)
Taking the UI modifications even further, this mod is bringing back the RPGish grid based inventory.
It's an extraordinary piece of work and it can coexist with BTMod, having an ingame toggle button between views. Wonderful.
9. Spell Icon Replacer - by Forsaken32
This simple mod does a great job. It lets you differentiate your spells based on unique icons for every spell.
No more generic"restoration" icons for all restoration school magic. Now you can tell just by looking at the icon if you have prepared a"Fortify magicka" or a"Restore Health".
Again, it's mind numbing how Bethesda did not think of this.
10. Louder Nirnroots - by Dung Beetle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well now ... you have to play the game to entirely understand this mod.
The thing is that there is a quest in Oblivion that will probably be the single one quest you will not finish.
And it's about gathering some plants .. pfff.
Anyway, to make this senseless running around for that nirnroot weed a lot easier, this mod makes them"hummm" a lot louder, so you can spot them easier.
11. Update my statue - by Quarn
This is a bit of a sploiler, but at the end of the main quest, people in the city of Bruma will make a statue for you.
Thats nice isn't it? Too bad you had a bad hair day on that particular day.
This mod is out to fix that. You can update the looks of your statue at any time now.
It's a really nice addition, even if it's a bit narcissistic.
12. Extended Death Camera - by David Moyer (Moyer78@comcast.net)
This is another simple mod that lets you watch yourself dying a gruesome death without interruptions.
Namely, this mod supresses the load screen that comes up the instant you die and lets you invoke it with"ESC".
Now you can watch yourself being punished by that fireball, slinging into the air before tumbling down 1 kilometer on that mountain.
13. Vanity Camera Smoother - by Woodman (email@example.com)
This is more of a fix than a mod but it's important.
It makes the mouse movements smooth out as you rotate the camera around your character and gawking at that armor. Also a mod for the narcissist.
The above being said, we want to thank the modders for doing these in their spare time for free.
Especially when Bethesda sells the horsey meshes for 2 Bucks... ( shame on you, capitalist vultures :)
Also we would like to add to the list 3 little utilities that we think you will find useful :
A. Oblivion Mod Manager - by Timeslip (http://timeslip.chorrol.com/obmm_download.html)
- it's a nice little application that makes mod managing much easier while preventing conflicts.
- it also has a special mod packaging format that some of the mods use.
B. Oblivion Animation Fixer - by Robert K.Guy
- For some reason there's a bug in the game that messes up the animations on games over 200 hours.
- This utility edits the savegame, fixing that.
C. Oblivion Content Validator - by ElChE
- It's a program that scans all your data folder and adds the paths to the files in the ArchiveInvalidation.txt file. This is to fix the purple thinggy that ocasionally happens after some mod installations.