[Updated] Fallout 4 Creation Club Files Auto Downloaded, Breaks Free Mods

Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 19:36 | By: Kenny Himpe

Not too long ago, Bethesda's Creation Club went into Beta, getting ready to launch across all platforms for Fallout 4 and even expand onto Skyrim later on. At any rate however, the feature certainly comes from a place of controversy. Paid Mods have failed before, years ago. It almost risked dividing the modding scene in its entirety, if cooler heads hadn't eventually prevailed. The Creation Club needed every opportunity to create a positive reputation if it was going to work and give creators a chance to perhaps earn a small sum for their work. Something that in the past was difficult to achieve, even when Nexusmods facilitated a whole system just for modders to enable donations on their mod pages. But it seems the Creation Club will first have to wade through another controversy.

Three new issues have arisen since the launch of the Creation Club that are feeding the controversy, beyond the concept of 'paid mods'.

First off, all the resources associated with the mods for sale on the Creation Club, are already present on your hard drive if you opted in for the Beta. As shown below, the .ba2 files are archive files that possess all the required resources for the mods to function. All that's needed is a .esp file to have them function or placed within the game world. However, as some of you may know, creating a .esp file is par for the course in regards to creating a mod. In other words, any modder with the know-how can easily create a functional .esp file that will place all this content in your game, without you ever needing to buy them with credits. It doesn't fall under piracy, as there is no law preventing you from creating a file that facilitates further usage of a file put on your system.

Fallout 4 Creation Club Files Auto Downloaded Breaks Free Mods mod files
All the files, already downloaded!


But the problems don't end there. As if it wasn't bad enough that Bethesda will place extra (and likely unneeded) files on your computer without prompting you or asking permission, reports have been surfacing that your load order (which facilitates the order in which mods get loaded first) is now forced to load your mods in alphabetical order. This is potentially destructive for existing save files, as mod dependencies require that some mods be loaded first. Failure to respect a proper dependency order can in the best case simply cause the game to crash. But in the worst case scenario, it can permanently damage a game save if it is overwritten after this bug has gone rampant.

Finally, what may be the last nail in this coffin is the fact that there is a report going around where some of the Creation Club mods are having conflicts with regular 'free' mods. There isn't much info on this yet besides the one report, but it would appear that the Pipboy Skins on the Creation Club seem to refuse to work when any other 'free' mod is installed. Once removed, the skin works fine.

It is also worth noting that none of these bugs are related to the 'Fallout 4 Script Extender'. F4SE is an .exe that allows new scripts to be added to the game, and always requires an update whenever the game itself updates. Being a staple program associated with some of Bethesda's oldest game, the team behind F4SE and similar platforms have stated in the past that they work as quick as they can to update their Script Extenders with every game update, but that patience must be exercised. This limitation is put in place for security purposes.

Going by the various reports, it has been made clear that all these issues are not platform-specific. PC, XBox, and PS4 all suffer from these bugs, leaving little else to point the finger at than Bethesda themselves.

Update: It appears Bethesda is aware of the issues mentioned. A staff member going by the name of Cartogriffi has responded in a forum topic, addressing the issue and adding the answer to the FAQ.

I’ve downloaded a Creation and my Mod Load Order list has been re-sorted. We have a fix rolling into test for this issue and will release as an update soon.
Additionally, they put a bit on the downloading of all creations under Known Issues
We’re working on solutions that would not require Creation Club archives to be part of the game’s patch.


Quick Take

I struggle to come up with the right words for this. From a Beta point of view, I can understand having the resources placed already. Esp files are very light and easily downloaded while still testing the downloading framework that facilitates installing these mods. My optimistic side expects this to change when the Creation Club properly launches.

What I am far less okay with are the latter two points. Creation Club mods not working with free mods sounds like a serious bug that I doubt was intentional, as doing so on purpose would certainly gain the ire of many within the fanbase. But screwing up the way the load order functions is both infuriating and not new. It has happened before in previous games where a slight overhaul of the system caused the load order system to function differently. Years ago, it started out simply by letting the mod manager change the date on the mods, which forced them to load in a particular order as the user desired. If I recall correctly, this got broken in Fallout 3, Skyrim and now Fallout 4. If not in previous games as well.

It strengthens this idea that whoever is responsible for this endeavor hardly has a grasp of what they are doing. Or something catastrophic happened. I couldn't tell you. I certainly hope whichever team is handling this, urgently takes a lesson from these chaotic events and make adjustments post-haste. Because making changes like these with no heads-up can lead to catastrophic losses of saves and even the integrity of highly complex mod setups. Thankfully, the modding community has come together yet again to gather as much information as possible and spread PSA's that help prevent more people suffering the corruption of their saves. And for that, I feel a certain need to salute them. Or something like that.

If you'd like to see for yourself if there's anything worth of value in the Creation Club, we've got you covered in this piece.

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