From MOBAs to Minecraft, modding is an intrinsic part of the gaming world. What’s your favourite mod?
When I was younger, young enough to be susceptible to the swear-laden, screaming glory of early 2010s YouTuber lets-players, nothing pleased me more than watching Minecraft modding videos. There was something innately satisfying about being able to create TNT supernovas that crashed the game and destroyed your world, or just the simple thrill in being able to wield a flamethrower, even if I didn’t have a clue on how to download these mods and use them. Since then, mods have become a crucial part of my personal gaming experience, and for the gaming industry, they’ve become borderline essential. With lockdowns bringing people back to games they’ve played several times over, it’s fair to suggest that mods push the gaming experience to the limit, with the ability to give you an entirely new experience of a game.
The history of mods is long, detailed, and essential to many aspects of gaming history, with many mods being the predecessors of popular games and genres. Team Fortress 2 is probably the most notable example of such, with the original Team Fortress initially taking form as a mod for Quake. Mods are also responsible for the existence of MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena games, borne out of the Warcraft III modding communities, and custom player-made maps for the game. While whether or not League of Legends is the peak of modding’s great legacy is another question entirely, it’s fair to say that modding, historically at least, has played a big role in the creation of popular games. Even outside of creation though, modding still plays a pivotal role in the modern gaming experience.
Mods are one of those things that does depend entirely on the person and the game, with a few exceptions here and there – like the Gentleman of the Row Mod for Saint’s Row 2, which is almost entirely necessary to play the game on PC, fixing most of the issues on the PC port of the game while adding extra features. Others make things wildly more convenient, like Factorio’s Management mods, while some, such as the Rebalanced mods of games such as Halo 3, offer an entirely new and varied gaming experience, changing the gameplay and the sandboxes from the ground up. Some are there just to add superfluous fun to the game, like the hundreds upon hundreds of Minecraft mods, and some are just simple aesthetic changes like certain Stardew Valley mods. The likes of Rebalanced for Halo 3 and Skyrim are a particular point of interest, especially given the nature of single-person games during lockdown. We’ve played these games time and time again, and dedicated mods that change the very foundation of the game make for a new experience that keeps players coming back outside of reasons of nostalgia. It allows players to add their own personal twist onto a game, and truly stretch the experience to its absolute limits. Although these are more nuanced, detailed examples of mods than Minecraft with the addition of a diamond-studded flamethrower, that’s not to say the latter can’t be as fun as reworking the entire experience.