Skyrim Workshop Paid Content

So... unless you've been living in a cave or under a rock, you likely know by now that Valve and Bethesda have launched official support to allow modders to charge money for mods. What follows after the jump are my own personal opinions on the matter. I'll also set some misinformation I've seen straight. Oh, and anonymous comments are going to be disabled for this blog post for likely obvious reasons. If you have no interest in this, or in Skyrim modding in general, at least I spared you a front page wall of text! :P

I have been modding Elder Scrolls games now for going on 12 years now. I started off with Morrowind and did some tinkering around for personal use. Two of those mods eventually made it out into the public arena years later. I have numerous Oblivion mods I've made myself, and countless others I've been on project teams or contributed to in some way over the years. I also have several Skyrim mods out there now as well. So I'd like to think I've got some idea of what Elder Scrolls modding is like, and possibly some idea of what the general community thinks.

Let me preface this right now, so it's clear. These are my personal opinions on the matter. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer, my colleagues on various projects, Valve, or Bethesda.

With the amount of time I've invested in modding and the financial situation I've been in for awhile now, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I've been in favor of the idea of making money from mods for a good long time now. It's not something that was possible due to prior legal arrangements, but now it is, and yes, I intend to take advantage of it where possible. I don't think this makes me a bad person. It doesn't make me a greedy <insert racial slur here> as some people are saying - and yes, they're saying it. I'm not a sellout for deciding to take advantage of something I was offered the chance to do. Quite the opposite IMO.

I think modders choosing to be able to get paid for their work is going to be a net positive for modding once the hate machine runs out of gas. People will begin to realize this, and indeed I've noticed some already have. People will buy what they think is worth buying. This is already happening as well. Some authors might even be able to turn this into a full time career opportunity. Publicly available data already suggests at least one person is well on their way to this after just two days of this being available. This will become a successful venture. Of this I have little doubt. People just need time to adjust to this new reality, much like many of us had to adjust to the new reality of Skyrim only being available on Steam to start with.

The system is not without its problems, and I think one of the biggest ones of them all is the monetary split between Valve, Bethesda, and mod authors. It appears to be the thing the overwhelming majority of people are actually angry about. Maybe with good reason. Maybe not. For those who aren't aware, yes, modders take a 25% cut from the sale of their mods. The knee-jerk reaction has basically been "you're ripping off the modders." I'm not so sure this is the case. If you stop to think about the amount of infrastructure involved on the Workshop and Valve's staff commitment to this, their standard 30% cut doesn't look bad at all. Bethesda's 45% cut looks less equitable, but then we don't actually know how much their legal team has had to put up to clear the road for this legally. There's A LOT of stuff that we as modders simply aren't having to deal with. So 25% may not be so bad. Would I like it to be higher? Hell yes. Who wouldn't? As Gabe Newell said somewhere among one of the many threads, the distribution is up to the game developer to decide, so it's entirely possible this could change later. I for one hope it does.

In short, I think this is going to be something good for the community in the end. It's a choice. Modders can choose to participate or not. Users can choose whether to buy mods or not. Let the free market do what it does best and decide this on its own. That's the only data Valve is going to go by when deciding how to proceed from here.

What's not going to be good for the community is to continue ripping each other to shreds over this. The sheer volume of hate filled posts, racial slurs about Jews and money, calling people greedy assholes, and sending death threats to people only tends to make people think there never was a community if we're willing to do this to each other. Oh, and stealing the paid mods to upload them to piracy sites? Not cool. Hypocritical in fact. If we're going to protect the free ones, the paid ones deserve the same.

So what do I plan to do with my own stuff? All of the mods I have published that are currently available for free on Nexus and elsewhere will remain free, now and forever. Nothing will change there. I don't think it's helpful to take existing mods, make updated versions, and lock them behind the paywall. As I'm sure we've seen, Bethesda and Valve were right when they recommended against doing this because the fans would get upset.

I have one mod in the paid content section now. I believe it to be a good quality work that people will find worth the price. It has never been posted for free anywhere at any time. It was developed specifically with the paid content initiative in mind.

I will decide on how to handle NEW mods on a case by case basis. Yes, I will continue to create free mods. Yes, I will also create mods I plan to make money off of. The choice exists, no reason not to use it.

Now. To clear up some misinformation about all this, a Q&A type format follows.

Why did they spring this on us without any kind of notice?
There was notice. ~70 modders with various levels of community involvement were approached for the initiative about 6 weeks ago now and agreed to participate. So it isn't a completely unknown thing that just showed up on some random day in April. It looks that way to the vast majority of people, but as I understand it there were a lot more people asked if they were interested who either didn't respond at all or declined to participate.

Why on Earth would you sign an NDA for this?
We didn't. We were asked, yes ASKED, not to discuss this outside of the pre-launch group. Nobody had to promise their first born or sign away their lives or anything. Just asked not to discuss it. This is a pretty standard thing and they COULD have demanded a legally binding NDA but they didn't. I would have signed one had it been required though. For me, the opportunity was too good to let go over something like that.

How could you sell out for so little money?
I didn't sell out. 25% of something is better than 0% of nothing at all. Yes yes, I know, that line has been done to death already in the gaming press. That said, it was an issue we raised. Several of us in fact. I personally would rather it have been 50/50 but was asking for a 33/33/34 split as a compromise. The extra 1% leftover going to the authors. In the end, they decided to leave it as is at the current split which is 30/45/25 for Valve, Bethesda, and authors.

Keep in mind, I'm broke, I need the money. So maybe they took advantage of me. Maybe they didn't. Either way, it was my choice to continue participating and I felt it was worth doing so to see where this goes eventually. It's also my choice to accept that I'm only getting 25%.

You're getting hosed, they won't pay out until you hit at least $400 and it will be in Steam Wallet dollars!
Folks who say this haven't even done minimal research. Valve's official FAQ already says that there needs to be a minimum of $100 in the modder's coffers to initiate a payout. Not $400. It also quite clearly says that it's real cash, not wallet bucks. We had to provide them with bank routing info to handle the payments and everything. That also includes the IRS, who are arguably the real rip off artists here since THEY do literally nothing for a cut of what the modder gets paid. There's no way I would have agreed to any of this if it had been wallet dollars. I have next to no use for those and it wouldn't help one bit with my financial situation.

Why force people to buy a mod anyway?
Nobody is being forced to do anything. Modders are not forced to offer content for money and users are not forced to buy it either. I'm not sure where this even entered into things since it has no basis in logic.

How long before Valve shuts down Nexus?
Never? Dark0ne has already addressed this in great detail over on Nexus. May as well read his statement directly.

The majority is against you. This will fail.
I'm not convinced. The so-called majority looks like the same set of people posting on the same forums basically going in circles restating the same arguments over and over again in each new thread that pops up somewhere. In reality, even with the 100K or so supposed modders (we have no way to verify this) who signed the petition, it's a small minority of very vocal people. The majority, as usual, is sitting silent. May of them are going to be completely oblivious and have no idea anyone opposes this at all. They'll simply see a new option in the Workshop and rightly be all "oh, just like TF2 and DOTA, ok".

You idiot, they own your content now. Just look what they did to Chesko.
Uh, no, not quite. They don't "own" anything. Proof of that is in the kind of 1099-MISC we're going to get from the IRS. It's classified as "Copyright Royalty". That's a legal thing btw. So their lawyers know full well who owns what and has the final say.

We as authors can withdraw our content at any time, for any reason. Valve put one condition on that though. Anyone who has already paid for a copy will get to keep that copy. The listing will remain visible to all paying customers as well as to the author, Valve, and Bethesda. We knew this throughout the entire pre-launch discussion. This is literally no different from buying a full game from Steam and later having a publisher withdraw it from the Steam Store. This happened with Realms of Arkania and I never lost access to the game I paid for when it did. The same goes for mods on the paid Workshop. Chesko knew this going in and agreed to those conditions. Valve's lawyers were entirely in the right to tell him that they're under no obligation to remove the content unless legally compelled to do so. Which means if Chesko wants it completely removed, he'll have to sue Valve, win, and then have the court order enforced. That's not gonna happen.

As far as the rest of his situation, he brought most of it on himself when he decided it would be useful to begin lighting bridges on fire. Any damage to his reputation is solely his responsibility for how he's handled things.

He DID NOT deserve the death threats directed toward him or his family though. Anyone who did that should get a visit from the cops and set straight about just how serious that is. Nevermind the toxicity it brings to the community.

That said, I'm also not convinced that Fore had the legal standing to bar the dependency on FNIS to get the fishing animation into the game. The Valve team even told him as much after consulting their legal people. They're far more likely to know what they're talking about than random internet posters. The animation file itself was NOT STOLEN, despite the gaming media and the community claiming otherwise. Chesko had someone develop that specifically for Art of the Catch.

Oh yeah, well guess what? The EULA says this is illegal and I'm gonna tell on you! Also Bethesda owns all mods.
Ignoring for one moment that Valve and Bethesda are very clearly aware of this whole thing...

No. Bethesda does not own all mods. Read the EULA more carefully. Not gonna bother quoting it directly as this debate has been done to death now for years and years, but the gist of it is that Bethesda licenses the right to use your content. They cannot appropriate actual ownership of your copyright without you signing a very specific form the government has for that purpose.

Mods are derivative works of the game, which is why they can dictate the terms they do. They were nice enough to let us retain ownership of our works, be they free or otherwise.

Donations are a superior way to handle this. Use those instead.
It's a noble sentiment to be sure. A lot of people have put forth donations as a way to combat what they see as the coming scourge. There's only one problem. Nobody donates. It could very well be that's because, until Friday, the donation buttons on Nexus may as well have been invisible. Thing is, everyone knew they existed and knew where to find them. I don't know for sure how long the system has existed, but I can count the number of donations I've received on one hand [1]. Nexus isn't the only place I've left donation links either. So that can't be the only reason.

[1] Over the last 2 days, incoming donations have exploded. I very much appreciate every last one of them, but I'm going to wait and see if this is a temporary trend or a long term thing before commenting further on this.


If you've made it this far, I salute you! Please do feel free to comment. You're on notice though. I report troll comments as spam via Akismet rather than simply deleting them. Be civil if you have something to say. Remember, this is my turf, not yours :)
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

« Mass Effect
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch [USLEEP] »

Posted on Apr 26, 2015 8:09 pm by Samson in: , | 22 comment(s) [Closed]
Ride out the storm they told us.

Stick with it they told us.

Everything will be fine in a few weeks they told us.

It's just the typical reaction to a change they told us.

What they didn't tell us about was the bus they sent hurtling down the highway that just rolled us:

Way to go. Fracture the community permanently and then piss off the very group of people you're likely to invite back for another attempt. Fat chance. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I am HIGHLY unlikely to accept an invite back under any circumstances unless it's for far more favorable conditions and a written promise not to chicken out over a bunch of trolls on the internet.

Arthmoor, I understand you're upset, and for good reason, but to dismiss the backlash as "a bunch of trolls on the internet" is a gross oversimplification. Many highly respected modders were just as up in arms about the change as mod users, because it's about more than money. Bringing money into modding, at least in the way Valve did, is toxic to the community as a whole in the long run, and I don't think it's fair to trivialize that by deriding the people who objected to it. Many people have articulated their problems with the paid modding system better than I can, but they're much more significant than the clamor of "a bunch of trolls". To quote Emma:

"The spirit of modding is sharing. In order to grow in quality rather than in quantity, modding has to be a labour of love, not a labour for money."

I have nothing but respect for Emma, she laid out her opinions in a thoughtful and respectful way. I even agree - modding IS a labor of love. It's not something we have been silently grumbling about for years in hopes of an opportunity to get rich. I can assure you that those of us who wanted to pursue this were not doing it with greed in our hearts. We wouldn't have been willing to try this if we didn't all love what we were doing. Getting paid for something you love shouldn't be seen as an evil to be wiped out.

The vast majority of what's been said though was not done in a respectful way. It was done with nothing but hate, racism, etc. The very thing most of our friends think of the internet. The very thing those people we associate don't understand about it. There was no call for it, but it opened a lot of eyes since the 23rd. There is no actual community if this is what we're willing to do to each other over a few dollars. There is no justification for people we previously believed to be nice, caring folk to suddenly go from being Mr. Hyde to Jekyl.

Yes, the community has been damaged. It's now factionalized and probably permanently so, but it was NOT Bethesda's fault. It wasn't even Valve's fault. It was the community's fault. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this happening.

The fact that you think it was just about 'a few dollars' makes you sound fairly out of touch with the backlash. If the third-party DLC idea took off, it would conceivably make most Skyrim mod installs not just "a few dollars", but something closer to "a few HUNDRED dollars". I mean, what were you selling the 'Return to Castle [whatever]' for? $6 I think? If every mod maker priced their mods like you and Chesko did, my bank account would be empty before I got even done installing just the graphics tweak mods alone.

Paywalling mods meant I, hell MOST people I imagine, would be completely priced out of their ability to mod their games almost entirely. New Vegas has a pretty short limit on how many mods you can running at once before the game starts to fall apart. I've literally had to sit there and decide for fifteen minutes just which one mod I had to strip, because deciding to remove just one mod sometimes is a hard decision to make, especially if every single one is vital to the gameplay experience you wanted to rebuild.

If I could get my entire 100+ mod Skyrim install running for "a few dollars" that's one thing. But pricing a stupid mod that makes NPCs look chilly at $5, a fishing minigame at $6, that is ludicrous. That isn't "a few dollars". That's my ability to eat for the day. The fact that you seemed unaware that people actually do install more than just one mod is... baffling.

Otherwise, you sound kind of like that SkyUI asshole who said 'it's only money'. That's something someone who has never had to worry about the value of a dollar says.

It was the community's fault. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this happening.

And I assume you include yourself in there? You accepted a Faustian deal. Frankly I can't even be that mad at you - the SkyUI guys are the ones who threw the community under the bus.

Edited by Monkeybonk on Apr 28, 2015 1:43 am
Your entire argument kind of loses any credibility it might have had if you even need to ask if I'm aware that people install more than one mod in their games.

Also the fact that you're not even quoting prices that were anywhere close to what they actually were makes me think you don't know what you're talking about at all.

As for the impact $6 would have, believe me, having no steady income whatsoever means I know quite well what spending $6 means. I hate to be callous, but this marketplace wasn't set up for people like me and you. It was set up for people who think spending $20 on trading cards and other completely worthless bling is a good idea. I guarantee you that there were plenty of people willing to pay, and they were paying, and now they're not because they've been denied that choice by a small minority of the total userbase for the game.

The backlash was nothing but a bunch of trolls who got together to yell and scream as loud as they could about something 90% of them weren't even involved with. Their comments were all proof of that. The rational discussions that existed were few and far between and were drowned out by the noise.

Valve caved to trolls. They clearly don't understand the ramifications of that.

Your entire argument kind of loses any credibility it might have had if you even need to ask if I'm aware that people install more than one mod in their games.

I'm not the one who implied that modding Skyrim would only be "a few dollars", you did. You claim to understand that people utilize tons of mods, but then make a ridiculous statement like that? Then you agree that money has value, right before you call anyone who had an argument with paid mods were just 'trolls'?

Also the fact that you're not even quoting prices that were anywhere close to what they actually were makes me think you don't know what you're talking about at all.

Well forgive me, I didn't exactly have a chance to memorize every single price on the page. But I'm not far off. Wet and Cold was recommended at $5, and I'm reasonably certain that Chesko's 'early access' fishing minigame mod was $2. Purity, the graphics mod, was $3. Assassin's Creed Skeletor armor was $2. Midas Magic was $6.

And Castle Volkihar Rebuilt? $3.50. Found it in a cache. Yeah, cheaper than $6, but that's still basically Horse Armor. Not to mention, if my prices were so far off, you could try not being an asshole and correct me so that I could have the facts.

These are all accurate prices. These are all also obscenely expensive. We were already looking at a 'Debut pack' that cost more than the cost of the damn base game itself, what does that tell you? And that was on sale!.

I guarantee you that there were plenty of people willing to pay, and they were paying, and now they're not because they've been denied that choice by a small minority of the total userbase for the game.

The backlash was nothing but a bunch of trolls who got together to yell and scream as loud as they could about something 90% of them weren't even involved with. Their comments were all proof of that. The rational discussions that existed were few and far between and were drowned out by the noise.

Those statements have absolutely nothing to qualify them with. The vast majority of your modding peers were against the idea. A 'small minority' managed to shift the rating score of Skyrim down like 8% points in four days. That's a 'small minority'? Bethesda estimates that the crowd of people who installed any mods at all to be about 8% of the playerbase, which is over 1.5 million players. Gabe Newell himself confirmed that the backlash cost Valve about $1M in barely 24 hours.

Yeah, their comments were stupid and shitty, but that's what people say when they're angry and upset, just like you are.

I didn't come here to be confrontational. So like the trolls, I'm hoping you're just angry and upset, because the fact that you're dismissing the entirety of the Skyrim modding community - both modders and mod consumers alike - as 'just a bunch of trolls' tells me you have nothing but contempt for all of them. If we're all just assholes, how does it make you trying to sell us down the river any better? Based on your statements, you seriously do sound like everything is everyone else's fault in your world, and you didn't bring any of this on yourself.

Death threats and shit are unacceptable, immature, and stupid, as is spamming giant middle finger ASCII. But Christ is it even possible for you to understand *any* part of the "trolls" point of view on this? I started off by saying you sounded out of touch, and you aren't convincing me otherwise. You basically just said with that last quote there that you prioritized your wallet over the entire Skyrim community, so on top of calling them all a bunch of crying trolls, why are you even apart of the community in the first place? Let's rewind to before you ever heard of this paid DLC scheme - why the hell were you even here in the first place, then?

Edited by Monkeybonk on Apr 28, 2015 2:24 am
The vast majority of your modding peers were against the idea.

No. This is patently false. A handful of people choking Reddit with garbage isn't the majority of anything.

Let's rewind to before you ever heard of this paid DLC scheme - why the hell were you even here in the first place, then?

Damn fine question. Look at what it took for me to asses that the "community" is flooded with toxic asshats. This isn't a community. It's a loosely associated mob. A mob that just went Baltimore on itself and now thinks we should all be happy about it now that the fighting is over.

Gabe is lying his ass off if he thinks we're supposed to believe that 24 hours worth of internet backlash cost anyone $1 million. I've already spoken to some people who say that cost figure isn't even likely to hold up for an entire year's worth of hate mail, let alone a single day.

I am not dismissing the entirety of anyone. That you are speaking in absolutes betrays your ignorance of the entire issue. What 4chan is capable of doing with their bots and scripts doesn't convince me of squat. Once more, you're lacking in credibility. You clearly are not as involved as you say. So why do you care?

I'm not sure how you could seriously even ask how I brought this on myself. It was an opportunity I was presented. I assessed it. I accepted. Why? I was given a choice. One the mob has now robbed EVERYONE of being able to make. If you think Beth is going to try again with Skyrim with a better system, think again. They're likely to just say screw us all and do it again on some other game instead where they can start fresh. Which will be too late for many of those who wanted to take advantage right now.

You, as part of the mob, also had a choice. Conduct yourselves in a rational, civil, and polite manner. This did not happen. We have zero reason to respect the ones conducting themselves as you are. Valve should not have caved to trolls.

JumpsDownStairs said:
Comment #8 Apr 28, 2015 4:37 am
The "Skyrim Modding Community", whatever that means, has no right to dictate whether anyone else buys or sells mods. They have no right to determine why other people mod, or what modding is about. Playing or modding Skyrim doesn't automatically make you part of that community, and shouldn't subject you to their community rules. The workshop, from the very beginning, represented an alternative to the existing community, and I think the community resented that. They think they own TES modding, and that nobody should be allowed to do anything without their approval, and that Bethesda and Valve should have pushed their users towards joining and engaging in the existing community, on the community's terms.

I don't think there's a problem with either the "cathedral" or the "parlor" model, as long as everyone involved chooses to engage in it of their own free will. It's when people attempt to dictate how other people engage that's the problem, not the mode they're attempting to push. I think Valve and Bethesda both had the best of intentions going into this, and the certain existence of a profit motive does nothing to negate that. If the community really didn't want to buy and sell mods, then they could have just ignored the feature, could have carried on like nothing had happened -- if they really believed that the rest of the community held the same philosophy. But no, they couldn't trust their own. If they were certain of their own beliefs, they would have just assumed that there would be no demand, no supply, no sales, that it would have no impact on their community. They chose to make a big deal about it, and attack their own. Nothing justifies the death threats. Valve and Bethesda only drew back the curtain, provided people with an opportunity to show their true colors, and just for that, I think something good came of this whole mess, even though so much else has been damaged, perhaps irreparably, in the process.

I'll start up by saying you had every right to monetize your work. I think most of the people were upset about the way it was implemented, rather than the idea itself. One proof of that was the uproar about the fact that only 25% went back to the modder.

That being said, you should understand that the news DID come out of nowhere for a vast majority of people. I understand ~70 modders were contacted by Bethesda, but for a big number of modders and mod users, paid mods showed up on some random day in April. The hate came from the sense of betrayal when the work of modders you've followed for many years is suddenly hidden behind a paywall. Was the hate acceptable? No. Not at all. I've not participated in the hate train and I don't respect those who called you (and other modders) all kinds of slurs. And from what I've seen, there were more "disappointed, unendorsed and uninstalled" (which is perfectly understandable) than hate comments. But as always, the haters are the most vocal. I think a lot of backlash could have been avoided with better communication from Bethesda or Valve. Hell, Bethesda should have posted yesterday's blog/explanation last Thursday instead of 5 days later.

You rightfully chose to create a new mod for the Steam Workshop. I think a lot of hate came from the fact that mod updates had been posted behind a paywall (mostly speaking about SkyUI and Wet and Cold). Once again, I understand that mods like SkyUI v5 wouldn't even had been a thing without paid mods, but the general public doesn't search Reddit for schlangster's explanation. It only seemed like a cheap way to cash in.

And then there was the general problem with the paywall. In many cases, there was no way of knowing is a mod is worth the money until you've actually spent it. Some modders have a good enough reputation that you know their mods are worth the money, but many mods on the front page were amateur work that wouldn't even get featured if they had been on the Nexus! We are speaking about armor sets made of only 1 piece that need to be cheated in via the console, because there's no way to get it ingame. Or a sword with a hilt so large that the hand clips through. Or a town so devoid of features that most of the NPC can't even be interracted with. A feature of Pay-what-you-want OR pay $0 would have been far better. That incentivizes people to pay for the mod (the $0 could be among the drop-down choices, with the default price set by the mod author) while keeping the option to acquire it for free if you want to test it or if you don't think it's worth the price. It's a shame that Steam downright removed the feature instead of tweaking it to make more people happy.

And lastly, there's the Steam Workshop. That thing is a horrible mess when it comes to managing Bethesda game mods. Even with the best mod in the world, I'd think twice before allowing the Steam Workshop to manage it. But once again, that something that could have been tweaked in the future.

For what it's worth, I hope you haven't been so disgusted by the behavior of some people that you'll stop modding. You're a pillar of the Skyrim mod community (and not even Skyrim, but many Bethesda games) and it would be a shame to lose you. Losing Chesko is already bad enough. I do hope that Bethesda comes with an updated and better Pay-what-you-want system for Fallout 4, but after this weekend I don't really think it will happen.

Day 2: Response from Valve: :cricket:

They're making a bad situation much worse by going radio silent.

A random quote, this was basically this person's sole argument against the Workshop in general:
It autoupdates your mods without a choice. This breaks the game. It sucks and no way I'd pay for that!

This is a flatly bogus argument. This person was clearly willing to support Skyrim by buying it on Steam. Steam as a platform autoupdates every game you buy on it WITHOUT ASKING YOU FIRST. If this is your only reason to hate on the Workshop (paid or otherwise) then why are you freely giving 30% of your money to Valve to suffer the very same thing with the actual game?

Skyrim's own official patches often had to be patched again because they broke something. Skyrim's last patch broke something that's never been fixed.

The fault here is not the system, it's the modders who don't know (or don't care) that it's possible to update mods smoothly without breaking anything. Same goes for the game developers. It's not the system. It's their coding.

Steam as a platform autoupdates every game you buy on it WITHOUT ASKING YOU FIRST. If this is your only reason to hate on the Workshop (paid or otherwise) then why are you freely giving 30% of your money to Valve to suffer the very same thing with the actual game?

Skyrim hasn't been updated in over 2 years and there is no indication that it will be. Mods receive updates all the time and this is all but guaranteed to continue. Your point makes little sense by virtue of Skyrim auto-updating not being a problem whatsoever.

Let's go with the assumption that one purchases Skyrim prior to Legendary Edition (around when the last update came out). Even if you dislike Steam auto-updating, you purchase Skyrim on Steam because it's the only option. You aren't obligated to get mods from the Steam Workshop because it's not the only option. If paid mods on the Steam Workshop become the norm, many mods will only be available on the Steam Workshop, forcing you into the same situation as you were when you purchased Skyrim.

Edited by Foffy123 on Apr 28, 2015 8:23 pm
Actually if you were around in the beginning, like I and all of the participating authors were, you'd know firsthand that Steam's autoupdate feature regularly screwed everyone over all the time because the patches themselves were bad. Sure, after 2 1/2 years they stopped updating. Then they issued a quick succession of CK updates and those STILL screwed some people up because of the same feature.

Same is true of mods. There are very few that undergo substantial enough updates to break anything after that much time has passed. Yes, there is a such thing as a mod that's "done" when the author either has nothing more to add or gets bored and moves on. Careless authors break your game. Not the Workshop.

So the argument is sound.

As for pay mods becoming the norm, we have no way to know now if that was going to be the case because a bunch of angry mobs denied everyone the chance to find out. I'm not sure they would have. Some authors, like me, would have begun putting some stuff up there on a regular basis but still offering free stuff too. Others wouldn't. Free modding was not going to go away, ever, and Bethesda said as much themselves. The point is, Bethesda tried to offer us a choice. A choice we no longer have. At least for now.

Day 3: Still crickets. Do they honestly think ignoring this will help?

Valve have already removed paid mods from steam workshop and refunded all money. What more shall they do?

I don't think they going to contact you and saying they are sorry.

Not asking them to apologize. Merely asking that they tell us when we get the money we rightfully made from it all, however brief it was.

Just because they gave wallet bucks back to people doesn't mean they get to escape their contracts with us.

ok so they didn't refund the real money :/

Nope. Refunds are in Steam wallet dollars. So were the actual mod purchases.

As you may know, the Steam wallet requires you to deposit a minimum of $5 into it when adding it with a credit card. So a lot of people buying stuff actually paid more than it was priced at just so they could get at it.

JumpsDownStairs said:
Comment #19 Apr 30, 2015 5:43 am
I strongly doubt that you'll be receiving any money from them for sales that were refunded. And yes, considering that they didn't actually refund the money, only imaginary wallet dollars (effectively, coupons for their other goods), they've kept all the money they gained during the brief sales period. I imagine it's a drop in the bucket out of their usual daily profits, but they're not going to give it away without some kind of legal obligation to do so. While I haven't read whatever terms you were given, since I don't know where they were stated, or if they were even publicly posted, I doubt they have any such obligation, given the situation.

What other scenarios might they have issued refunds in? On customer request within 24 hours, or if the mod was taken down for legal reasons such as copyright infringement. Would it be logical for the author to receive payment under those circumstances? The first effectively pretends that the customer never bought the mod in the first place, and in the second, the "author" had no right to make the sale. Refunding purchases in the context of taking down the whole system could easily fall under both of those.

Day 4: Radio silence has finally been broken. We're going to get paid, though who knows when it'll actually happen. I'd be pretty pissed off if they paid us in wallet dollars now that the project is dead.

Having used some of your mods, I would like to take a moment to personally thank you for all of your hard work! I can't imagine the hours of tedium that were required to accomplish some of the work that you did. Aside from manipulating the parameters in a few ENB presets, I am in no way a modder. Perhaps that discounts my opinions on the subject, but I'll give them anyway just to get some feedback.

Personally, I believe that this idea was doomed to fail from its conception. There was always going to be push-back against the idea of paying for mods, but Valve and Bethesda set the stage to make the response a lot worse than it had to be. I for one was against the idea, not in that I felt that modders didn't deserve to be compensated for their work, but more so in that I didn't approve of the framework that Valve and Bethesda used to allow it to happen. I'm sure that there were plenty of people crying out against the idea simply because they were "cheap" and didn't want to cough up the money for mods, but there was also a substantial number of us who simply weren't happy with the percentage that modders were getting out of the deal. I for one would have been much happier paying for mods if I at least knew that the majority of my money was going towards helping out the person/persons that created the content that I love so much, and not the corporate figures milking a lucrative revenue stream.

Aside from the "cut" that was offered to the modders, dropping this new idea on the community out of thin our was another poor idea. If Valve and Bethesda had simply taken the time to telegraph this idea well ahead of its launch, I believe that would have helped in smoothing out the transition dramatically. At least it would have offered people time to mull over the concept in a reasonable state of mind, and perhaps reduced the amount of hatred and threats that were launched at people, which are always unwarranted but at the same time unavoidable on the internet. I also don't think that Skyrim's well established mod community which has, for the most part, thrived without the incentive for monetary gain for nearly 4 years was the best platform to launch this new idea from. So many mods have been abandoned, or incorporate other's assets, or require numerous other mods to's just a logistical nightmare. There was simply no way that the community could possibly police the content ownership of so many mods this late in the game's life-cycle. The idea of paying for mods would have been much better served launching alongside a new game where at least the content creators could effectively control the usage of their work.

As to the outcome of it all. My feelings are somewhat torn on how everything turned out. As I said, I was not fan of the idea, at least not this iteration of it, but seeing as Valve and Bethesda had already pulled the trigger on it, I kind of wish that they had stuck it out. I'm curious to know how things would have worked out in time. I still have my reservations as to how this new idea will effect the modding community as a whole. Historically, allowing the potential for monetary gain to the end user has had negative impacts on gaming. Gold/loot farming, ridiculous WOW Ebay sells,etc. but these were uncharted waters, so it is impossible to know what the end effect would have been. I've heard numerous modders commenting that the community had no right to reject this new system sense it was their opportunity not ours, but I don't completely agree with that. The community as a whole has to consist of both the mod creators as well as the people who use those mods, one without the other forms nothing. So to value one side's opinion over the others seems unfair. Sure, this idea created potential profits for content creators, but simultaneously it created potential costs to the people that use them. Just because one side creates the content while the other uses it doesn't negate both sides having the right to their own opinions. The idea of paying for mods was going to impact the entire community, and hopefully both sides of it were equally represented in the decision to remove the feature for the time being.

I look for this avenue to open up again in the future, possibly alongside the next Bethesda game release. If it does, I hope that both Valve and Bethesda incorporate the community's feedback into the next iteration, and at least allow for more of "our" money to go back into improving and growing "our" community. If for some reason this opportunity doesn't resurface, hopefully all of these events have opened up the community's eyes to the glaring disconnect between our use of mods and support that we offer to their creators in return. If nothing else, perhaps people will find themselves pressing the donate button a lot more than they have in the past!

I'll step down from my soapbox now. Thoughts or comments? Am I completely wrong? Constructive responses are always welcome. Thank you again for all your hard work Arthmoor!!

Bit late of a reply, and honestly not very motivated to keep at this anymore. Just keep in mind that the deal we were offered was WAY better than a lot of similar fan based industries operate. A lot of folks need to spend some time doing honest research into the subject.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. They absolutely should try again with Skyrim after they assess the feedback they got, if you could even call it that :P

As for why I'm dredging this back up: Someone asked me to elaborate on who the ~70 or so other modders were and why they refused to sign on. There appears to be a misunderstanding. Those were people who DID sign on. They're the ones we knew about. We don't know whether more people were contacted. We don't know if any of them declined to participate or if they simply didn't respond. There is no "moral majority" who stood against this and told Bethesda to shove it. Don't be absurd. Ask yourself if you'd REALLY decline an offer to make money doing something you already love doing.

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