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Oblivion Modding FAQ

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OVERCLOCK.NET -- FAQ PART 1
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Modding
by jamenta

Last updated: May 8, 2010




I. Introduction
This FAQ is for Overclock.net Oblivion game players looking for a road map into the Oblivion Modding
scene. Modding Oblivion, Elder Scrolls IV, can significantly enhance your Oblivion game playing
experience, and given the thousands of player created Mods now available for download, answering basic
Modding questions like: Where to Go, How to Mod, and What Mods to Get can be a time consuming
and bewildering task. This FAQ is a distillation of my own Modding efforts and is meant to assist you
in entering the Oblivion Mod world and getting the best it has to offer.

A few comments before I begin:
- This FAQ is my own Oblivion Modding road map with my own preferences. I am not connected in any
official capacity with Bethseda Softworks. Take what you like from it, you don't have to
follow all my suggestions or links.

- The Mod recommendations I make are based on a fairly high-end PC gaming rig (see jamenta system specs
in my sig for an acceptable level, mileage may vary). Oblivion is well-known to be a hardware demanding
game and adding many of the player-mods I recommend in this FAQ will add to that demand. Make sure you
got the rig to run Oblivion, and over-clocking your rig will help.

-This is my first Overclock.net FAQ and suggestions/corrections are welcome. I will make an attempt
to update the FAQ on a regular basis and will post a Last updated time at the top of the
FAQ.


II. Where to Go
Your first challenge to Oblivion Modding is figuring out Where to Go and how to get the information
you need to start Modding. A great starting point that explains Modding basics is:

Oblivion Mod FAQ

I suggest reading the above FAQ to get a good overview of Oblivion Modding. The FAQ also has several
excellent links and covers basic How-to Mod questions well.

Oblivion Configuration & Tweaking:
Oblivion is a highly configurable game and to get the best gameplay I recommend you tweak Oblivion
config files specific to your own Gaming Rig specs (no matter what kind of rig you have). I found the
website below by far the best tweaking/configuring site:

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Tweak Guide

Where you can download Mods:
Next, answering the question of where to go to download Oblivion player Mods numbering in the thousands.
There are two central websites that I think are the best and most up-to-date. I list them below:

1. The Elder Scrolls Nexus
2. Planet, The Elder Scrolls


The links above are free user download sites, although you will have to register yourself to gain access.
In my opinion, the most up-to-date and extensive archive site is The Elder Scrolls Nexus.
But sometimes you can find unique mods unique on Planet, The Elder Scrolls as well, and
it's worth a visit.

The Elder Scrolls Nexus and Planet, The Elder Scrolls both offer two types of download
servers: One is public "free" servers, and the other are subscriber "premium" servers that you do have
to pay for (but in general are faster and you don't have to wait).

Recommended Mod Lists:
Once you have found out where to get your player mods, you'll discover thousands of mods you can choose
from. So what player mods to pick can seriously be upwardly challenging. In addition, there is no
guarantee a player Mod is bug-free or will work as advertised.

Veteran Oblivion Modders to help out, have created their own "Recommended Mod" lists. These are
personal Mod lists that these people believe are the best mods to download and use among the
thousands available. I include my own personal "Recommended Mod" list in part three of this FAQ.

Here though, are links to other "Recommended Mod" sites that I think are pretty good:

1. Arwens Oblivion Journal - Recommended Mods
2. dev/akm mods
3. Oblivion Real Estate
4. A's List of Recommended Mods
5. Red Room Service Mod Listing

Be aware: some of these recommended mod list sites can be dated. Check when the recommended list site
was last revised. Even though the Oblivion player Mod database continues to grow daily with new player
created Mods, Oblivion Modders don't always keep their "Recommended List" current - for lots
of obvious reasons - like less free time, loss of interest, or wanting to play Oblivion or LOTRO
more. Note that my recommended list at the end of this FAQ will be based on the "Last Updated"
date I give at the top of this FAQ

Arwens Oblivion Journal

I just came across this website and thought it was so good decided to add it to this FAQ.
Arwens Oblivion Journal - Trials of a Semi-clueless Wood Elf is a wonderful, remarkably
well written journey of one Wood Elf's experience and perspective with Oblivion.




III. How to Mod
I only include some personal tips and a basic overview in this section since the MOD FAQ listed below
already gives how-to instructions:

Installing Oblivion Mods

Basic Overview:
Player mods are built using the free Elder Scrolls Construction Set. For information on how to actually build an Oblivion player Mod and download the construction set go here:

Elder Scrolls Construction Set

NOTE: You do not need to know how to build a player mod in order to use one for your game.

Using an already constructed player mod *basically* requires you download the mod, decompress
the mod's file contents into the "data" folder in Bethseda's Oblivion directory, and then when
starting Oblivion with the Oblivion Launcher, select "options" and check the box for the player
mod(s) you have added, which the launcher should have already automatically detected.

Now I stress the word *basically* because once you start adding multiple mods - and veteran
modders like myself literally load hundreds of mods (I believe the max limit however is 256)
there are all sorts of caveats and problems you can run into. One problem is Mod loading order.
The Oblivion Launcher automatically loads your player mods based on the time stamp date when
your computer OS added the Mod to your Oblivion "data" folder, and it turns out that Mod load
order can be rather important, since the last loaded mod will always overwrite any conflicting
data from mods before it - so that you always end up with the last time stamped Mod's data -
whether you wanted it or not.

Another problem is installing and uninstalling multiple mods. Not only making sure you track
the right files can be tricky when installing/uninstalling, but sometimes specific instructions
are given by the creator of the Mod that you need to follow whenever you perform an
install/uninstall. There is also the ArchiveInvalidation.txt management problem which I won't
even get into, other than that when you install new player Modd'd Textures, sometimes you have
to directly edit Bethseda's original .bsa texture files in order to make sure your new texture
files load correctly.

So, what it all boils down to is this: If you plan on only adding one or two player Mods to
your Oblivion game playing experience - you are most likely not going to run into any problems
- just download the player mod(s) (and follow any install instructions given) into the Oblivion
"data" folder. However, to really get the best out of Oblivion Modding, you're going to
probably want to install more than just a few Mods as an ongoing process - and this is where
OBMM becomes the defacto software you really ought to get.

OBMM: Oblivion Mod Manager:
If you plan on adding more than just a few player Mods then you must download the Oblivion
ModManager by Timeslip. Although there is a slim possibility you could manage multiple mods
without using this incredible, amazing piece of "free for download" software for Oblivion Mod
Management - to do so would be like trying to survive the North Pole without sled-dogs. OBMM
is indispensable for managing your mods, including easy installation/uninstallation, conflict
reporting, load ordering, version tracking, and .bsa editing. Go here to get information on
OBMM and to download it:

Oblivion Mod Manager

OBMM has a ton of features and is updated by Timeslip fairly regularly. Using OBMM in its
most basic capacity you can do this:

-Create an OBMM omod file for each player mod you would like to keep on hand, whether you
decide to use it or not. You can also have OBMM archive your omods so that you do not use
a lot of disk space if you collect a lot of mods.

-Simply "activate" each omod file that you want to be included in gameplay by selecting that
omod and clicking the activate button. OBMM will install the related files into the Oblivion
"data" folder for you.

-Order all your activated omod files in the left panel of OBMM by simply moving up or down the
related .esp/.esm files. OBMM will automatically reset the mod's physical timestamp so that the
mod is loaded by Oblivion in the order you want.

-Use OBMM Archive Invalidation utility to make sure texture mods get loaded correctly via
direct .bsa edits.

-Launch Oblivion from OBMM or Oblivion Launcher.





IV. What Mods to Get
Here is my favorite part of the FAQ as I get to make my own personal recommendations of
some great player mods available for downloading. All my recommendations are based on
many hours of mod hunting and reviewing other player recommendation lists and websites. I use
all the mods I recommend in my own on-going Oblivion game, and so far all the MODS are running
without problems and perform as advertised. Note that MODS I did have problems with I have
removed from my recommendation list - and a few of these were pretty popular mods. So I'm
pretty careful what I include on my list.

I have installed each player Mod using OBMM, and for some of the mods I use OBSE, The
OblivionScript Extender which is required to run some of the mods recommended (I haved noted
those mods requiring OBSE in my list). Go here to get OBSE:

OBSE: Oblivion Script Extender

If you see any mods that you think are really good and should be included in my list,
let me know. I am currently checking out quite a few - as Oblivion Modding is an on-going
process of inclusion over time. If I like your recommended Mod, I'll add it in, and use it as
well of course.

I have broken down my recommended mod list in groups that I think make the most sense. In each
Mod group I provide direct links for each of the mods and include the name and version number
of the Mod I'm currently using (Let me know if you find a broken link!) Then following each
recommendation list is my summary of the mods in the Group and why I think they are cool
mods to get in the first place.

But first, perhaps the most important mod of all is the official Bethseda Oblivion patch.
If you haven't patched Oblivion yet, do so. Many player mods do depend on the latest Oblivion
patch. Go here for the Bethseda patch:

Official Oblivion Patch v1.2.0416

***Patch 1.2.0416 Warning: For some people this patch has caused problems with repeated
crashing.. Check readme.txt file for possible solutions. Also note that one fix not mentioned in the readme.txt
file is that you may need to reset your Oblivion.ini file to the default version (in the Documents/My Games/Oblivion)
folder if you haven't played Oblivion in a looong time. And then re-edit the .ini file to desired settings.


Also I recommend Bethseda's official plug-in "Knights of the Nine" which include all
previous officially released plug-ins by Bethseda, and the new "Knights of the Nine" quest
content which has received excellent reviews on all the gaming sites. Go here to get Knights
(it does cost money since it is an official Bethseda plug-in but is well worth it):

Knights of the Nine

MOD LOADING ORDER:
The order you load your mods before running Oblivion can make a difference, given
the last mod loaded over-rides any previous mod's conflicting data or functionality.
An excellent link that provides general guidelines on how to order your Mod list, thanks to
dev_akm a uber level contributor to the Oblivion Modding
community. You're the man!

DEV_AKM MOD LOADING ORDER FAQ

I also found Arwen's load ordering webpage extremely helpful and with obvious effort
put into it. So for another load ordering perspective go here:

ARWEN'S LOAD ORDERING PAGE


ONE LAST NOTE: If you decide to download a player mod, read the README file. Trust me on
this one.





==================================================
JAMENTA's
RECOMMENDED MOD LIST
==================================================

Group I: Blockbusters
Banansplit Better Cities 4.5.2b (Install 3 files: 4-5-2b, Resources Part 1, Resources Part 2)
DarkUId DarN 1.6
Dynamic Crosshair 1.1
Elven Map Redux: 2.0
Enhanced Water 2.0
Martigen's Monster Mod 3.7b3p3 (Download 2 files: BSA Resource & Main ESM/ESP)
Natural Environments 2.1.3
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul 1.34b5 (Post 1.33 release with Dev_akm, mad_cat improvements)
Qarl's Texture Pack III (OMOD version use OBMM to install)
Tamriels NPCs Revamped 1.06 (Use WryBash for compatibility)
Unique Landscapes Project (Also recommend Unique Landscapes Compatibility Patches)
Unofficial Oblivion Patch 3.2.0 (If using QTP3 also download QTP3 UOP Compatibility Patch)
Unofficial Official Mod Patch 15.0

Blockbusters Description:
This group I call the "Blockbuster Mods" as they are among the most popular Oblivion mods, and have
the most comprehensive and significant enhancements to your Oblivion gaming experience. The six
Superstar blockbusters in this group are Unofficial Oblivion Patch, Oscuro's Overhaul, Qarl's Texture
Pack III, Martigen's Monster Mod, Unique Landscapes Project and Tamriel's NPCs revamped.


Oscuro's Overhaul recently won GameSpy's 2006 BEST MOD OF THE YEAR. Kudos to Jorge Salgado Oscuro!

GameSpy 2006 Best Mod of the Year: Oscuro's Overhaul

If GameSpy's award doesn't convince you Oscuro's isn't the superstar Oblivion Mod to get,
maybe given Oscuro's Overhaul has been downloaded over 120,000 times on North American servers,
and pretty much overhauls just about everything in Oblivion from monster leveling lists to improved
wine bottles - it just might be enough to convince you not to wait and get it now (right now). Perhaps
the most significant and popularly desired change with Oscuro's Overhaul is it does away
with Bethseda's decision to level monsters dynamically with player levels. Oscuro thoroughly modified
all monster levels and monster generation so when your character finally does reach a level 30 ranger
or level 40 arch-mage, monsters and NPCs will feel the punch and the power, and you'll feel like your
character finally is a force to be reckoned with in Cyrodiil.

In addition, bundled with Oscuro's Overhaul are the impressive realism mods Living Economy,
and Harvest Flora.
I recommend both these player mods be installed when installing Oscuros.

The second superstar blockbuster Unofficial Oblivion Patch is a no-brainer because it
fixes over 1800 - yes, that's right: EIGHTEEN HUNDRED known Oblivion bugs, from fall-thru objects
to levitating trees. Get it, it works really well. As a kind of add-on pack, get the Unofficial Official
Mod Patch
courtesy of the same modders (Quarn and Kivan) who have selflessly donated their time
and efforts to create another Unofficial patch for all the official mods released by Bethseda.

Released in February 2007 and catapulting itself into my Blockbuster recommended Superstar status
is Qarl's Texture Pack III. This comprehensive all-in-one graphics mod by Qarl includes over
4000 files (2.74 Gigs) of astonishing, photo-realistic textures, meshes and normal/specular/parallax
Oblivion maps. Qarls III re-textures just about everything in Oblivion, including Architecture,
Landscape, Rocks, Dungeons, Snowflakes, Butterflies, Blood spatters and Furniture and upgrades Oblivion
graphics through use of Bethseda's in-game Parallax Shader and advanced normal map techniques, and
also some specific mipmap level editing - all leading to some stunning 3D effects. Arguably, if you
want to see the best graphics for a PC game available in the gaming industry today (as I write this in
Feb. 2007) *no exaggeration* and you happen to have 3 gigs of free space on your hard drive, download Qarl's Pack III for Oblivion. No doubt about it, it's an eye opener.

*** Q3 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: QARL'S PACK III is not working with *older* NVidia GForce drivers
on 7900GTX class GPUs. Go here to update your NVidia drivers if you become aware of this
problem: Newest NVidia GeForce Drivers 97.92 modified for GTX class


The fourth Superstar Blockbuster mod (a supernova) is Martigen's Monster Mod.
MMM boasts 150+ brand new creatures added to Oblivion and 1900+ variant creatures. Besides all the
new fangled creatures, MMM boasts new advanced wilderness behavior, advanced fleeing code for NPCs and
advanced combat behavior, and that's just the start. Packaged with MMM are a ton of plug-ins, many that
allow you to tweak monster spawn rates and the type of monsters you will encounter, but in addition, there
is a fully fledged "crafting" plug-in for those of you who enjoy making your own stuff.

The fifth superstar Blockbuster is the Unique Landscapes Project. So massive an
undertaking by remarkably dedicated Oblivion players, the project now has its own Wiki website. Click
on the link: Unique Landscapes Project and you can see for yourself just how far and how much a
modding community can achieve with the right modding tools.

The final (last but not least) sixth superstar blockbuster of a mod: Tamriels NPCs Revamped is
the ambitious result of approximately 1,550 modding hours of hair pulling, eye popping, face drawing,
modifications by Stephane Wuttunee. Stephane managed to modify the facials of exactly 1,623
Oblivion NPCs, while maintaining the racial aspects of each. Other than guards and vampires (which
his mod does not change), you will find that variety is truly the spice of life.

When Oblivion first came out, there was near unanimous agreement that its interface was perhaps its
weakest link. Many player interface mods soon followed, among the most popular were BTMod, Dark UI &
Immersive UI. DarkUId DarN recently overhauled and upgraded (in February 2009) I consider
to be truly the most elegant and polished UI at the moment. DarkUId DarN by Gothic251 is
a pleasure to use and beautiful to behold. Check it out.

Complementing the DarkUId mod is Elven Map Redux & Dynamic Crosshair. Elven Map Redux is a much
improved overland map that stands out among a crowd of mods improving Bethseda's original rather plain
overland map. It is beautifully color rendered with improved map icons and arrows, and provides a distinct
Elven cartographer flavour that will grow on you with use. Dynamic Crosshair is a favorite of
mine because it gets rid that annoying crosshair in the middle of your screen, but still makes the
hand icon appear over objects you may want to activate.


The latest addition to my Blockbuster list is Bananasplit Better Cities and oh my, what
a Blockbuster it is. When you visit the TEX NEXUS download site for Better Cities you will come upon
18 videos, 239 images and 1533 comments, so you already know something is radically up. What
Better Cities does is simply revamp the layout of all the major cities in Tamriel, adding new
districts and gardens, elevating sections and towers, adding new housing, and just creatively expanding
the original vanilla layouts into far more intriguing/immersive ones. And no worries, Bananasplit
Better Cities
is fully compatible with Qarl's Pack III and other texture mods. Check this mod
out for its city-wide details.

Rounding out my Blockbuster list, is environmental mod: Natural Environments. An original Oblivion
modding classic that still proves it's worth in gold with excellent weather tweaks, season modifications,
some new creature habitats and additional natural vegetation.






Group II: World Enhancements/Textures
Alive Waters 0.6
Beautiful Stars 1.0
Better Night Sky 1.2
Better Tiling textures for Qarl pack (BTQ) 1.11
BTQ Landscape LOD 4096x4096 1.11
Clocks of Cyrodiil 1.0
Grape Texture Change 1.0
Improved Trees and Flora 1.0
Improved Trees and Flora 2 1.1
LBM Weathered Directions Signs 1.3
LowPoly Grass 1.5
New Nebular Planet X 1.1
Qarl's Texture Pack III (OMOD version use OBMM to install)
Rainbows in Tamriel 3.0
Really AEVWD 1.7 (Requires TES4LODGen)(Download RAEVWD QTP3 add-on if using QTP3)
Unique Landscapes Project (Also recommend Unique Landscapes Compatibility Patches)
Vaults of Cyrodiil 2.0
Visually Realistic Lava 1.0


World Enhancements Description:
Of all player mods, the World Textures group can lead to the largest performance hit on your
rig. If you do plan on using any of these excellent player mods, I recommend using OBMM so you
can easily install/uninstall if your realize your rig just can't handle it. But on the other-
hand, using these mods will put your Oblivion world visuals into over-drive.

The 40 ton gorilla in this group is Qarl's Texture Pack III.I have already discussed this
incredible mod in my Group I Blockbusters recommendations, see above. Since the original
release of Oblivion, Qarl's texture replacement Packs have evolved remarkably, and Qarl's
latest Pack III takes another gorilla leap forward, containing an amazing set of new stunning
and photo-realistic texturing and imaging, with some amazing new in-game 3D effects via use of
advanced parallax shader technology. Qarl's Pack III is a true jaw dropper - so good, that
Bethseda ought to think about hiring this Qarl gorilla.

But be warned: Qarl's III demands a high-end GPU and I recommend at least 512 megs of onboard
GPU memory. You might get by with less with hours of tweaking, but don't do it - just get
yourself a better GPU and rig that can support it.

*** Q3 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: QARL'S PACK III is not working with *older* NVidia GForce drivers
on 7900GTX class GPUs. Go here to update your NVidia drivers if you become aware of this
problem: Newest NVidia GeForce Drivers 97.92

Now once you've installed Qarls Pack III you then need to follow up with three additional texture
mods to really complete your Oblivion visual overhaul. These completer mods are: Better
Tiling Textures for Qarls Pack (BTQ), BTQ Landscape LOD and Really AEVWD.
What they
do that Qarls doesn't, is greatly improve your mid-range to long-range visuals. (Note: I am aware
of bangsboomstik's combined LOD replacer mod but after review still prefer to recommend these
three mods.)

After you install the base BTQ 1.11 you will see an increase in your mid-range
visual qualities. You can then follow up by installing from the same Elder Scrolls
download site either the 2048x2048 LOD or the 4096x4096 LOD for your longer range visuals.
Of course the 4096x4096 LOD will provide the best quality you can get but if you find your
rig can't handle it, you can lower it to a 2048x2048 LOD package.

Really AEVWD (VWD = Visible When Distant) is a new integration of several Oblivion
legacy mods: the original AEVWD Large, UOMP, Operation Polygon Overhaul, and others (see readme).
This third mod also will improve your long-distance viewing in Oblivion by adding many more
viewable objects from a distance, including major buildings and landmarks, bridges, ruins, docks,
inns, forts and so on. Now VERY IMPORTANT listen up: you cannot just download and install
the textures from this mod alone, or you will be shocked to not see anything at all in the distance.
Once you install Really AEVWD you must then use the following program TES4LODGen which
will generate the LODs needed to populate your game with the buildings provided by AEVWD.

If you are using Qarl's Pack III, make sure to also download RAEVWD QTP3 Addon file
(found at same link on NEXUS) as Brumbeck painstakingly reduced 1,700 of Qarl's textures into lowres
versions for his VWD mod so that the two mods visually work seemlessly together. Amazing work
Brumbeck!

Beautiful Stars, New Nebular Planet X, and Better Night Sky will allow you to experience
some stunningly beautiful night skies - like when you're camping in the Oblivion wilderness or
just looking up through the parapets of the Imperial City. Visually Realistic Lava not only
improves upon vanilla Oblivion's lava, but provides unique heat effects as well. Just don't
get to close. Another must-have mod for those rain lovers out there is Rainbows in
Tamriel
because what would a good rain storm be without an occasional rainbow afterward?

Lowpoly Grass is an invaluable performance mod, that will increase FPS on most rigs. The
mod simply reduces the number of polygons on Oblivion grass. Some even claim LowPoly grass
looks even better than vanilla oblivion grass. I'm recommending the mod because it's so
close to vanilla grass that the trade-off for FPS is well worth it.

And if you still don't think you've got enough, then there is the Unique Landscapes (xul)
player modding project, that amazingly re-works entire land areas in Oblivion, to make the
Oblivion world even more unique and diversified. Not only are entire areas of Cyrodiil re-
worked into diverse visual environments, but the environments include new indigent creatures,
new flora, new buildings unique to the environment, waterfalls, new beaches and deep ravines, and lots more.

END PART 1

LL
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Edited by jamenta - 5/8/10 at 8:47pm
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OVERCLOCK.NET -- FAQ PART 2
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Modding
by jamenta

Last updated: May 8, 2010




Group III: Character Enhancements/Textures
Choices and Consequences 2.02 (Requires COBL)
Common Oblivion (COBL) 1.72 (Requires WryBash)
Cyrodiil Travel Services 1.3
Deadly Reflex 5.0 (Requires OBSE)
More Realistic Encumbrance 2.21 (Requires OBSE)
Parasitex New Vampires 1.52
Persuasion Overhaul OBSE 1.43 (Requires OBSE)
Realistic Leveling 1.13 (Requires OBSE)
Realistic Physics and Force Package 1.0
Reneers Guard Overhaul 2.07
Roleplaying Dialogues 0.72b
Stealth Overhaul 1.3 (Requires OBSE)
Tamriel NPCs Revamped 1.06 (Requires WryBash)
Tamriel's Travelers 1.39c
Unnecessary Violence RC1 (Requires OBSE)
Zumbs Lockpicking Mod OBSE 1.2 (Requires OBSE)

Character Enhancements Description:
Sometimes it can be hard to categorize a mod, so you may find here some mods that do
overlap into other mod categories, but a good part of will fall into what I loosely
deem the "Character" category for Oblivion. (Don't ask me to be too specific though!)
A good example of a hard to categorize mod is Common Oblivion also more popularly
known by its acronym: COBL.

COBL will improve a ton of features in your game, but primarily focuses in the common categories
of food, races, alchemy, books and even character luggage. Even more impressive about COBL is it
acts as a shared library resource integrating itself into other player mods in a seemless fashion.
For further info check out COBL link: COBL.

A mod I recommend that depends on COBL is the excellent Choices and Consequences
by Lingwei. This mod revamps both the Fighter & Mage Guild Hall advancement & skill
requirements, augments the Dark Brotherhood guild with new exclusive quests and even integrates
the mod villages by martinb into a set of new quests.

Based on two excellent recommendations by fellow Oblivion (addicted) modders I have added
two character mods that will improve your combat experience dramatically. Both mods
Unnecessary Violence and Deadly Reflex will work seemlessly together and expand
on such things as dual wielding, 24+ new melee attacks, hand to hand combat while your
weapon is sheathed, location awareness of attacks, crits, expanded NPC combat behavior, dodging,
stunning, impaling and even fumbling. Kudos and mucho karma points have to go to both HeX &
SkyCaptain for authoring these two combat ready mods.

Three mods sharing the keyword "Overhaul" giving you a general idea of what they do to Oblivion are:
Reneers Guard Overhaul recently updated March 2010 upgrades the behavior of the guard/crime
system in Oblivion making it more realistic and detailed. Check out RGO's readme file for more
information. Another worth-while overhaul I recommend is Persuasion Overhaul which
reworks the original Persuasion mini-game to a more involved/interesting one. Stealth Overhaul
is a popular mod given the large number of players who enjoy playing the sneaking/thieving type of toon.
This mod does an excellent overhaul of the original system that was somewhat lacking in polish.

Realistic Leveling provides a more improved and adjustable leveling system from the original
vanilla Oblivion that turned out to not be as popular with players. There has been quite a few
leveling mods created since the original release, and Realistic Leveling borrows and
builds upon many of them to create perhaps the most up-to-date leveling mod available at this time.

Realistic Physics and Force Package provides much more realism (and configurable) to your
in-game physics and force so you get less of the "arcade" like flying of toons and more sense of RPG
realism.

Tamriels NPCs Revamped is the ambitious result of approximately 1,550 modding hours of hair pulling,
eye popping, face drawing, modifications by Stephane Wuttunee. Stephane managed to modify the facials of
exactly 1,623 Oblivion NPCs, while maintaining the racial aspects of each. Supplementing Tamriel's NPCs
Revamped is Tamriel's Travelers, a mod brought to you by the same author. This quite
popular mod adds traveling merchants and traders to the game.

Cyrodiil Travel Services adds heavily armed travel service providers throughout
Oblivion if you wish not to instantaneously transport from one spot to another i.e. more
realism and immersiveness. You can still fast travel however if you absolutely must be delivered
overnight.



Group IV: Item Enhancements/Textures
Apophis: Armory of the Silver Dragon 0.9.3
Better Looking Tools 1.2
Better Staffs Texture 1.0
DB Shadow Armor ELITE 1.0
Fine Weapons & Rusty Items For OOO Omod (OMOD version use OBMM to install)
Hammerfist Shiny Gold 1.1
Imperial Furniture 1.0
Ingredient Storage Shelves 1.0 (Requires OBSE)
Kafei's Armored Circlets 1.1
Kafei's Better Amulet Replacer 1.0
Kafei's Better Rings Replacer 1.0
Mighty Umbra 1.1
Myths and Legends OMOD 2.4.8 (Requires OBMM)
Q More and Moldy Ingredients 1.1
Thieves Arsenal 1.5 (Requires OBSE)
UC Wood Furniture Texture Replacer 1.0

Item Enhancements Description:
There are a gazillion player mods available adding new items and new item textures. Especially
popular are new armor & weapon mods for NPCs and the player. Right now I realize my Item
recommendation group is a bit on the slim side, but note that many of the more popular item
mods are already incorporated into Oscuro's Overhaul. So my item recommendations try not to
overlap what you already get with Oscuros.

Most of the items I recommend are self-explanatory in their titles and you can simply click on
the download link to get more information. But some of them are worth me commenting on: The
Hammerfist Shiny Gold mod is an especially worthwhile small item texture mod that really
improves the look of the gold coins in Oblivion. Both of Kafei's Replacer mods for Amulets &
Rings are a clear improvement over the original textures for those items.

Better Staffs Texture is a must have for mage playing characters, and Myths
and Legends Weapons is a major item mod that not only adds several well crafted
weapons to the game, but includes a quest for each one. Fine Weapons / Rusty Items and
Better Looking Tools add nice touches to the game when you encounter either of these item
categories (not so frequently).

Thieves Arsenal is geared for a thief or assassin playing character, as it not only
introduces an array of thieving weapons to the game , but modifies NPC behavior to provide
more realistic reactions (such as when you're spotted!)

Imperial Furniture allows you to furnish that new home you might purchase or inherit.





Group V: Sound and Light
Cities Alive at Night 1.0
Illumination Within Revived 0.9.2
More Immersive Sound Edited 1.0
Oblivion Stereo Sound Overhaul 0.9
Real Lights 0.7.2
Storms and Sound 3.0 (Also download compatibility patches for other player mods)
Subtle Sunlight 0.1
Symphony of Violence 0.5

Sound and Light Description:
I recommend four sound mods to augment your Oblivion play: Oblivion Stereo Overhaul
adds 42 new unique sounds and tweaks existing sounds. More Immersive Sounds Edited based
on the original More Immersive Sounds I have added to my recommendations because it no longer
conflicts with OSSO and includes a very important LOW-WIND esp that will reduce considerably the
overblown wind effects in Oblivion.

Storm and Sounds is an up-to-date mod adding new lightning and thunder
during thunderstorms and integrating weather sounds that you will hear while inside a building,
depending of course on the weather outside. This mod incorporates the original classic mod
"Weather Inside" and "Better Storms and Weather" and can be used with many different weather
mods including the weather mod I've recommended: Natural Environments.

Symphony of Violence provides more realistic sound to your combat effects:
including a new nice twang to your bow and the more realistic clashing of shield and sword.

In the lighting department: For city window lighting I strongly recommend Illumination Within
Revived by cyDog
. This mod lights up your city windows at night with ambient lighting, there
are other city lighting mods available but the ambient glow that IWR provides really makes a
difference. If you have also installed the Blockbuster Mod Better Cities make sure you install the
compatibility .esp for Illumination (BC .esp replaces original). Cities Alive at Night
supplements AWL by lighting up towns from afar. So with both mods working, you will see lights
to your Tamriel city of choice as you approach, and lights as well once within city limits.

Real Lights is a nice realism mod that modifies indoor lighting to reflect
real lighting conditions and does away with fake lighting sources. Windows also only now
let light in during the day and not the night. Interior light must come from candles or
fireplaces or your wizard's staff in emergency situations. Subtle Sunlight provides
a nice tweak to the Oblivion sunlight by amping up the glare just a bit more (but not to
much) and thus improving on the already famous Oblivion sunsets.


Group VI: Miscellaneous But Still Good
At Home Alchemy 1.1
At Home Alchemy - No Bounty Fix 2.0
Bank of Cyrodiil 1.11
Beast Tongue Evolved 1.0
Days & Months 1.0
Dude, Where's My Horse 100
Fast Exit 2.0 (Requires OBSE)
Improved Ancestor Guardian 1.0
Keychain 5.0
Magic Foci 1.0
Multitude of Magecraft 2.7
Perception 2.1
Phinix Master Summon 2.18
PJs Spell Compendium 2.0
Portable Campsite 2.3
Reduced Backwards Speed Mentalorised 2.01 (Requires OBSE)
SM Plugin Refurbish 1.2

Miscellaneous But Still Good Description:
A quick run-down of my Misc Mod list recommendations: At Home Alchemy is a popular player mod
ported from Morrowind making Alchemy more natural and not inventory intensive (don't forget
to also install the follow-up At Home Alchemy Bounty patch). Bank of Cyrodiil
allows you to not carry around all your gold, and even offers interest per 1000 gold pieces.

Dude, Where's My Horse is a nice little mod to help you find your horse when you
forgot where you parked him. Days & Months kindly provides english translations to
the Tamriel day and month so you won't be kept guessing.Keychain is a nifty little
mod that allows you to consolidate all your keys under one item (your keychain)in your inventory.
Click on the keychain to activate and view your keys.

Magic Foci allows a magic user to focus magic for longer effects using magic foci
items. More Realistic Encumbrance improves the way encumbrance works making it
more realistic. Multitude of Magecraft adds a multitude of new and unique spells (I
won't spoil the surprise here).

Perception is a nice little mod introducing a perception spell allowing you to perceive the level
of your enemies before you have to fight them - can be helpful in avoiding a quick and early death.
Phinix Master Summon completely overhauls the Conjuration system to a more masterful and enhanced
version. PJs Spell Compendium adds over 50 more spells to Oblivion. Portable Campsite is a mod
for allowing you to sleep outside of cities and is really useful if you play with a mod requiring sleep.

Reduced Backwards Speed Mentalorized makes it much harder for your character to back-pedal
unnaturally to escape from combat - note this mode requires use of OBSE. SM Plugin Refurbish is
an excellent modification of the official plugins so they are activated in a more natural manner into
your game (instead of all at once).




Group VII: Books, Paintings & (Doh!) Gardening
Alchemists Reference 1.0
Better Letters 1.1
Book Jackets 1.0
Complete Gardening 1.42
Encyclopedia Cyrodiilica 1.21
New Paintings 1.2
Paintings Galore 1.0
Paintings n Tapestries 1.0
The Essential Book Mod Compilation 1.0
Tombstones Epitaphs 2.5

Books, Paintings & (Doh!) Gardening Description:
One of the more unique qualities of Oblivion and in my opinion, more engaging than
most RPG games of its genre type, is besides the obligatory "hack and slash" adventure
stuff, which is obviously a must-have as you don't want to spend your hours bored to
death, but when you would like to rest a bit and just explore the scenery or organize
your hard won booty, or even open up a few books you have found along the way - well,
Oblivion has some of that for you as well.

So, for all you creative types out there: here are player mods adding more books and
paintings to Oblivion. Some of the books are even informative and can assist you in your
hacking and slashing survival techniques, or provide you with some interesting tidbits on the
history of Cyrodiil. Just click on the links to find out more about each of the book or
painting mods.

Oh yes, and now there is a player mod that allows you to garden in Oblivion. If you don't have
the space for a garden in your real world life, why not create a garden in your non-real world
life? Complete Gardening allows you to cultivate your own garden. It's easy, you collect two
flora parts from any flora in the game, and after planting, a new plant will appear in 5 days.
Collect an array of different flora, and with some careful artistry, you can create your own
bloom'n Garden of Eden.





GROUP VIII: Real Estate
A Better Benirus Manor 4.5 (quest, well, vineyard, training area)
Abandoned Mountain Shack R1.20 (fixup sim, cozy)
Bartholm 7.0 (150+ NPCs, 25+ buildings, 1700+ voice files, 32 quests, arena)
Belda Elysium Manor House 1.5 (quests, black tabby cat)
Bravil Sea Domes 1.1 (underwater homes, purchasable)
Brew House 1.5.1 (Requires original Brew House 1.12) (farming sim)
Castle Domrose 1.2.1 (servants, storage, crypt)
Castle Dunkerlore 1.1.2 (small quest, secret passage, ship, mining village, drawbridge!)
Castle of Night 2.0 (5 mini-dungeons with bosses)
Colovian Heights Mansion 1.2 (fixup sim, quest, true library, small garden)
Crows Nest Cottage Anvil 1.0 (storage, shelving, trophy room)
Divine Watch 1.0 (ownership quest, voice-overs)
Eiganjo Hall 1.0 (dining & sitting room, stairs & landing)
Glenvar Castle 2.10 (elaborate quests + Voice add-on pack 1.1 )
Halcyon Island 1.0 (winner of the Oblivions Real Estate MORE Homes challenge)
Hoarfrost Castle 1.2.2 (7 quests, storage, displays)
House on the Bluff 2.0 (basement, creaking sounds)
Karew Manor 1.1c (faction shrines, storage, displays)
Lenawiln Cottage with Quest 2.11 (ownership quest, scenic)
Mountain Tower 6.0 (library, wine cellar, art gallery, trophy rm, chess & dice games, much more!)
Mystic Archives Expanded 1.1 (15 new books, new artifacts)
Paradise Retreat 1.0 (hidden nature sanctuary)
Princess Anvil Seaside Cabin 2.2 (views of dock and bay, lighthouse nearby)
Shadowcrest Vineyard 1.02 (2 quests, working kitchen & wine cellar, hidden dungeon with prisoners)
Shezrie's Villages 1.0 (Requires COBL) (3 villages + quests: Lakewood, Ravenview & Woodland)
Snow Dragon Temple 1.1 (japanese themed home, secluded with view)
Solace Revisited 2.0a (tree city, 2 quests)
The Abacean Lighthouse 1.1 (Winner of the Oblivion Real Estate Underwater Homes Contest!)
Topal Island 1.7 (ownership quest, lighthouse & quarters, sailing vessel, bridge, alchemy garden)
Valley View Estate 1.1 (ownership quest, working vineyard, farm, wine cellar)
Verona House: Bloodlines 6.0 (massive 11 part quest, Verona Bay town, multi-level dungeons, player home)
White Tower 0.8 (mage tower: library, arboretum, stable, rex arcanum)

Real Estate Description:
OK, so you've downloaded all the player mods that make Oblivion that much better - lots of
tweaking of ragdoll physics and monster & player levels. Lots of fixes like getting rid of that
annoying crosshair in the middle of the screen, or those repeat messages that your horse is at
the stable. You've downloaded new player textures, so now everything seems even more life like
than ever before (if you can believe it). So now what?

Well ... let me tell you, you're just getting started.

Because Oblivion player modders don't just like to fix borders, they like to re-draw the
borders as well. So my final two mod group recommendations bring the Oblivion modding scene
into its own, as these two final groups provide new content: new buildings, new places & new
quests.

And yes, some of the new player content is amazing. In the list I provide above, three include
entire towns and villages. Bartholm is an entire new player town that includes 150+ NPCs, 25+ new
buildings, 1700+ voice files and 32 quests. Solace Revisited adds an entire tree city
including a new player home in the trees and related player quests. Verona House: Bloodlines
adds the well populated town Verona Bay sporting a chapel, graveyard, merchants, hotel and bar,
guards, pets, thieves and fist fights. But it also adds a massive 11 part epic quest line to boot.

But if you're not happy with more towns to explore how about an island? Topal Island located
just South of Topal Bay includes a Lighthouse, a comfortable player house, an Anvil style
sailing vessel with Captain's quarters, a garden with every plant you can think of for alchemy,
a bridge connecting the island to the mainland and a Mermaid statue. There is however a quest
you must go on to have the island all to yourself.

And if you don't like towns or islands - then maybe you might like to try out several player
created castles. Castle Domrose comes with 7 servants: a smith, an alchemist, an administrator,
a warrior, a hired hunter a commoner for the household work, and a knight to lead the castle
guards. Castle Dunkerlore is located on its own island and is fully furnished, including a
treasury room, secret passages, a dock & ship, and a small auxiliary village "Dunkerlore
Mining." Castle of Night comes with 5 mini-dungeons each with its own boss.

If you really are not looking for a large castle or island for your hero, then maybe
you would prefer a more modest sized cottage. Crows Nest Cottage Anvil is a small,
Chorral style built cottage sitting on the causeway leading to the Anvil Bay lighthouse. It
features lots of shelving, well-labelled storage, a modest trophy room, floral displays and a
lovely view of the harbor. Lenawiln Cottage with Quest overlooks the scenic Nibenay Basin.
It is perfect for the book collector, artist or weary traveler looking for a cozy home.

Several manors are also available either for a price or for a quest. Belda Elysium Manor House
has three stories including a basement, balcony, stables, landscaped grounds anda pet cat. It
is located next to the Belda Ayleid ruins. Karew Manor is an extensive Imperial style house
just outside the Imperial City's Talos Plaza. It houses a lab/study in the attic, shrines,
archery targets in the basement and display cases in every roomto show off your hard-won hero items.

Besides villages, islands, cottages, castles and manors, there are some remarkably
unique building mods I recommend: Snow Dragon Temple is a beautifully textured Japanese
style home & temple, including a shop that sells katanas, wakazashis and nodahcis. The temple
is located far north in the snowy mountains of Cyrodiil. Mountain Tower is a true mage's
mountaintop tower living quarters, featuring a tropical pool with exotic fish, a
highly decorated sitting room with fireplace, trophies and polar bear rugs, and a mages
library study room.

Well - you get the idea. Just click on the mod links I haven't mentioned and they'll explain
the rest. And if you still haven't gotten enough, check out ORE Oblivion Real Estate.
An amazing player mod recommendation site dedicated entirely to real estate mods.





GROUP IX: Quests
DEV_AKM has done a stupendous job in recommending Quest mods, it's silly for me to try to come
up with something different. So, just go here:

DEV_AKM Quest Recommendations

However, that being said, I must mention one *must have* quest mod "The Lost Spires". This
unbelievably well done player-mod will easily add 15+ hours to your gameplay with an
awesome engaging questline. Lost Spires website: THE LOST SPIRES


The End!

Edited by jamenta - 5/8/10 at 11:15pm
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post #3 of 786
How about making the texts into links for all the mods.
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post #4 of 786
Thread Starter 
Good idea. Thx.
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post #5 of 786
This is a good idea. It will help alot of people. And links to the texture mods is nice too.
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post #6 of 786
Wow, that's very long lol, anyways, nice job

I need to mod my oblivion now that I think of it...
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post #7 of 786
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Its nice to give something back when you can.
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post #8 of 786
Thread Starter 
New update to FAQ: 01/09/07.
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post #9 of 786
When I read MODs, I thought this FAQ was has to build them. Need tuts on mod building, especially since Bethesda has a very good editor compared to another NOT MENTIONED game...grumble, grumble, grumble.

Either way, thumbs up for being very comprehensive in finding character and texture mods. Good thing about Bethesda, they made it easy to d/l mods, unlike ANOTHER game, too.
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post #10 of 786
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryNite View Post
When I read MODs, I thought this FAQ was has to build them. Need tuts on mod building, especially since Bethesda has a very good editor compared to another NOT MENTIONED game...grumble, grumble, grumble.

Either way, thumbs up for being very comprehensive in finding character and texture mods. Good thing about Bethesda, they made it easy to d/l mods, unlike ANOTHER game, too.
Thx! I do give a link in my FAQ to the construction set and I agree with you,
Bethseda to their credit did a great job on the editor and it sure has
helped promote the game and probably its longevity.

"How to Create a Mod" is a whole 'nuther FAQ but not a bad idea...
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