Content of the article: "My slow descent into Madness (or how I destroyed my game)"
This, my friends, is a story of someone who spent far too much time on modding her game and now stands in front of the shambles left, after fucking everything that could probably be fucked. (I should mention the word "Fuck" will be used somewhat inflationary)
First off – this is far from the first time I modded my game, I started back in 2012 on my potato Laptop, continued on my potato PC in 2015 and, after saving money for a looong time, finally had the means to do it on SE (yay, more stability!) and with a pretty ok PC (yay, performance AND eye candy!)
Basically, just for one single time, I really, REALLY wanted to play the whole game. Main Quests, Guilds, DLC, you name it, even added some "Additional Stuff" mods like Darkend. I never finished the game back on PS3 (you probably know why) and didn't even come close to finishing the LE on Pc, usually due to time reasons.
Modding the game itself was rather straight-forward – because I'm an old woman at heart I stuck with Nexus Mod Manager (yes yes, I know, I'm dumb) as that was the manager I used back in LE-days and basically put everything into my game I always wanted. Tons of gameplay-enhancing mods? Check. Tons of new pretty armour and weapon mods? Check. Textures the size of the Holy Roman Empire? Check. Some gorgeous ENB paired with ReShade for my eye candy? Double-check. I went back and forth making sure everything was compatible, merged ESPs to make space for more glory, installed fixes left and right and, once the glorious end (in my mind) was near, I even made a Bashed Patch (VERY advanced for me at that time!). And one day, hallelujah, the game worked without a stutter!
Once I was happy with my game I suddenly realized I wanted a follower for my "perfect playthrough" (I never used followers. ever, dunno why). I had the idea to roleplay as a character from one of my favourite books, needless to say the ideal companion in question was no follower available to download anywhere, as he had never been made by someone. The most logical step? I teached myself how to make followers and spent 3 weeks creating one just for This. Single. Playthrough. Added lines (voiceless) and shit, to make him as ImMeRsIvE as possible.
This is where it started, my beautiful journey began. And you know what? It worked and looked and felt absolutely AMAZING. A few hours in I de-installed a mod (GoToBed) and learned how to use ReSaver, so no bad shit would be stuck in my save file. Also converted a whole bunch of LE Player Houses and added them mid-playthrough, in hindsight probably not the most clever thing to do BUT it worked. So far, so good!
Now is where the problems begin – at around 65 hours I realized I REALLY wanted some of those sweet, sweet LODs so I went forward and did the whole DynDOLOD-ride, just to get even better eye candy. I de-installed Garm (sorry, Husky-lovers!) and Undriel Everlight for that, cleaned everything aand it worked perfectly – or so I thought.
You see, this is where my problems began – I continued my game normally, everything seemed to work well. I was in the wilderness around Riften at that time (when generating LODs) and made my way back to the City. In the meantime I also installed a bunch of esp.-less texture mods (mostly 4k, but in general stuff that's not too dense in the world, like Rudy HQ light for objects and textures from RUSTIC). Once I went back inside Riften the chaos started – first, I had a CTD when entering the Prawn, something that NEVER happened before (in general, I had maybe 4 CTDs in 70 hours of gaming). After reloading I managed to get into the Prawn, but upon leaving I had another CTD.
Next was the Palace in Riften – everything worked well, but when I tried to enter the Jarls Quarters I had another CTD. This one was reproducible, no matter how often I tried, CTD everytime (and I went in there without a problem 30 hours prior, mind you!).
So, I tried myself at trouble-shooting – and this might be where I fucked up quite badly. You see, there is a slight problem with my Nexus Mod Manager. I recently updated it and upon updating (ahem) it seems to have completely obliterated my mod list. Not the Plugins (or anything that was installed), just the list which shows WHAT I have installed. With that in mind, my first attempt at googling the problem led me to SSE Engine fixes and SSE Fixes. I had both already installed for ages but thought, that maybe, a newer version would help. But since the CTD at the Jarls quarters persisted I reverted back to my old files and thought "well, I won't enter this area for a while then". (I also tried de-activating some of my newer textures, didn't help either) Then I left the palace and went to Honeyside – there came the next problem. For the first time in my now 70 hour long save I encountered the "false corrupted save" bug, which made me think "Wait, have I installed a wrong Fix file?", as both Engine Fiyes and SSE Fixes should've prevented that from happening.
I went back, re-installed the files (SSE Engine Fixes and SSE Fixes), started the game with only one of them activated, with both, didn't matter, the bug stayed where it was. Additionally, out of nowhere, the FPS in Riften dropped to 20 at all times, something that never happened before either – up to this point (and I spent a LOT of time in Riften) it was near-consistant at 40-50, even with all my heavy plugins and ENB. I didn't add anything in the meantime (apart from newer fix files?), so I have no clue how that happened. (Again, taking out the SSE Fix stuff didn't help). At that point I left Riften and went via my Carriage Mod to Falkreath – where I was greeted with the lovely Error Message of "OnUnload during arrival, this should never happen!" which is something I've NEVER seen before. Googling shows the error is made by the Carrage mod, but why now?? Realizing how bad everything might be now, I decided to load a save I made before any of this happened (being back in the Pawned Prawn, you remember?) – upon leaving the shop and turning right, towards my bf Balimund, I CTD'd.
I though "Huh?", started my game again, and upon loading my save I CTDd again, before actually entering the game. Again, this has NEVER happened before. This actually shocked me a bit.
I don't know what fucked my game, I don't know HOW I fucked my game but I guess it's, well, fucked. And despite what modding knowledge I've earned myself these past years, I have absolutely no clue how. Is any of this making sense? There must've been a "Point of No Return" where everything suddenly turned against me. It honestly makes no sense either DynDOLOD or the textures (after using both for quite afew hours) should suddenly cause this. My save game isn't bloated (it's 12 MB), there is nothing to clean with ReSaver and my modlist worked perfectly up to this point. (I can post it if anyone cares, though I must warn you, there's quite a bit of merged stuff in there – it was always sorted with LOOT, albeit with some of my personal tweaking, based on recommendations by mod authors). I made sure not to de-install ANY script-heavy mod mid-playthrough, not even light scripts, I only de-installed Garm, GoToBed and Everlight at various points. I added lots of textures, though surely they wouldn't cause such a sudden havoc, hours after being installed?
Maybe you see or know something I don't, I'm at a total loss now.
Apologies for the far too long post, but it's past midnight where I live and I have to really keep myself together, so I'll not bawl my eyes out like a little girl and scream into my pillow out of pure frustration.
I would be forever grateful if anyone knew what to do, but a part of me has accepted my game might be lost at this point. I'll probably see this as the end to my "journey" with Skyrim, the game simply doesn't want to be completed by me and I'm probably too self-destructive with my modding anyways.
(Additional apologies for any grammatical errors and the like, it's late and english isn't my first language)
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