And how we can all contribute
Morrowind is a game that all of us here love or, at the least, appreciate for various reasons: the world design, the characters, the lore, the music, the color scheme, the story, all of the above plus more, or maybe just the guars. The game was released in May of 2002; making it 12 years old and yet here we still are, keeping the game vivacious after all these years!
The community has downsized over the years, with players and modders alike migrating to newer games. But new modders still show up from time to time. This is especially true on the Nexus. Now the Nexus has gone through some ups and downs as far as quality is concerned, but I really think the site has shaken out into something worthwhile as many will agree. With the closure of PlanetElderScrolls and the loss of ElricM, our options for sites to download new mods from have been limited. In large part, we have been left with Nexus, Great House Fliggerty Downloads, or TESAlliance. Being part of the largest and most active repository of mods for the latest Elder Scrolls games, the Morrowind section of Nexus often attracts the most new modders, releasing their very first mod. Often they’re coming from Skyrim, experimenting with the Construction Set. They upload their mod and it gets a couple of comments, a few endorsements but several hundred downloads. While the mod they just released for Skyrim got hundreds of endorsements, downloads, and scores of comments. Now you’re thinking to yourself “of course, Skyrim’s player base is much larger because it’s the newest ES game”. And that is true, this isn’t a competition, per se. But the ratio of comments to downloads is often better for mods released for Skyrim than it is for Morrowind. There are plenty of small mods which slip through with not a single comment on Morrowind Nexus while still getting comparatively lots of downloads. That’s a low quality and quantity of feedback.
This lack of feedback is something I think we as a community need to talk about. I realized recently that I have a tendency to reserve all my comments on a mod for its WIP/Rel thread right here on this forum. But if I download a mod from the Nexus, which often doesn’t have a WIP or Rel thread here, I tend to think “that looks cool” and then just move on. Not really thinking much about the individual who made it. But I’ve thought back now, I remember I started modding around the shift from Morrowind Summit to PlanetElderScrolls. I remember the thrill of posting a mod, watching the download count rise, reading and responding to comments, checking the rating; and then checking back on a daily basis to see if there was any new activity. Getting feedback kept me going. Heck, it still does to an extent, but now I’ve shifted from PES to this forum to look for feedback on things that I create. But the fledgling modder at Nexus often doesn’t use this forum, they upload, they wait, and they may or may not get any feedback despite how many downloads they receive. Should we be surprised then when they decide to take their skills to mod newer games where the fan base is more vocal? Where they have the chance to be recognized?
The Morrowind modding community could use some fresh blood, and it’s out there, at the Nexus. But they are not being encouraged to stick around! I believe that we as a community need to step up our game and encourage these new modders by faithfully leaving encouraging remarks, constructive criticism, and detailed reviews. I myself have begun to go back and comment on many of the mods I have downloaded from Nexus, getting many responses back from authors who express an interest in making more mods for Morrowind. And I am not alone in doing this, Darkelfguy is the one who brought the finer points of this issue to my attention recently and he has been doing his part by leaving detailed feedback and reviews in the comments for many mods with active modders on the Nexus and receiving an immensely positive response.
With [a certain Skyrim mod concerning Morrowind] on the horizon, it is difficult to predict what the future of this amazing game holds, but we as its members can do our part to strengthen this community as a whole by commenting, endorsing, and reviewing mods which are still being made. Where are the Quatloos’s!? We’ve kept the game vivacious after all these years, but let us not slip into stagnancy!
Allow me a moment to cheer what I just said.