It has been exactly one year since Skyrim was released, and we have seen some amazing mods popping up since then, and 8 game updates have been released by Bethesda, which is quite a lot compared to their previous games - whether it is because they want us to have the best game possible or just because the game had so many problems to start with doesn't really matter, we got the updates. Two DLCs; Dawnguard and Hearthfire, and another DLC on the horizon; Dragonborn. We have gotten quite a lot already, and it doesn't look like Bethesda is stopping there either.
So, what are your thoughts on the game now, compared to back then? Has it been improved? Do you still find it entertaining to play? Are you satisfied with the DLCs they give us?
- Personally, I still find it entertaining, but I can't seem to play it in great lengths like I could and still can with Morrowind, which might be because Skyrim is a bit too realistic... But add a few mods, and the great experience is back again! So, what mods do you find to be essential to your game, and if you had to choose one mod, which mod is the best in your opinion?
We’ve officially designated this week “fix the sites and make them work properly week” among the Nexus developers. We’ve not been happy with the status of either NMM or the Nexus recently, and we know you haven't been either, but thankfully you guys are pretty understanding, which means we've been able to get on with fixing it without worrying about a full-blown riot.
The first step in fixing the problem (past knowing there’s a problem) is finding out what the problem is. We think we can safely point our fingers at NMM for most of the performance issues at this point. Turns out we’ve made a pretty good home-brew tool to DDoS our own servers. Go us. Over the past year more and more people have been downloading and using NMM. We’re at over 1.2 million unique users at the moment, which means we’re getting about 100,000 new NMM users each month. To begin with this wasn’t a big issue, but now it kind of is, and we’ve been so busy trying to fix bugs and implement new functionality that the fact NMM is affecting the performance of the servers has kind of slipped by. Not our proudest moment. But this is exactly why NMM is still considered a Beta program. We know it’s not ready to be considered a “stable” release and until it is, it won’t get my seal of approval and we won’t bring it out of beta.
Having NMM in Beta, and you remembering that it’s a Beta program is still very important. I understand that lots of you now rely on NMM as your mod manager and if it doesn’t work then your gaming gets affected, so when we make changes we try to prevent disrupting things as much as possible. However, many of you are treating it like it’s a stable release and you’ll roll-back to older versions if it’s not working rather than actually helping us debug and troubleshoot the problems with the latest versions. That’s kind of counter to everything you’re meant to be doing as a beta tester. If no one reported bugs to us then NMM would never get any better (and no, “it’s broken, I’m rolling back until you fix it” doesn’t help!).
NMM version 0.33.1 is the beginning (and maybe even the end, if we've done a good enough job!) of our optimisations to get things back on track and with it come a couple of minor, but really important changes to the way NMM uses the web services:
The first is in the NMM version checker, the little screen that pops up for a split second when you first start NMM that checks if there’s a new NMM version available. In past versions NMM would check for new versions on every start-up of the program. We’ve changed that so it will only check, by default, every 3 days. You can change the amount of days between each check yourself within your NMM options from 1 to 7 days, or turn this off completely (as you could before). This will help to cut down on requests to our web services considerably.
The second is in the file version checker itself. As you know, NMM will query all the mods you have installed from the Nexus and let you know if the author has uploaded any new versions. Originally NMM would do this every time you started it. We’ve now changed this to only check once every three days, but we’ve added a button within NMM for you to ask NMM to check again whenever you want and once again you can change your preferences to change how often NMM will automatically check for new versions. We’ve done this because if you have 100 mods installed, and you open NMM 10 times a day to install mods or because you use NMM as your game launcher, you’re going to be making big calls to our web services 10 times a day when you might not always be using NMM to check for new file versions. That’s a lot of wasted calls to our web services when you split that across 1.2 million other people. It's important to note that the first time you use the update button NMM might become slow or unresponsive for a little while; don't worry, it hasn't crashed and it will come back. Subsequent uses of the button will not have the same problem and will normally update all your latest versions within a couple of seconds.
It's important to note that due to these changes NMM might be slow to start or become unresponsive the first time you start NMM. Leave it to work away and it should finally come back. This should only happen the first time you run NMM after installing the latest update and should not happen again afterwards.
On the downloading front we’ve added some pretty cool (I think they're cool, anyway) options to ensure you’re downloading from the fastest servers at all times. You can find these options in the Settings section of NMM under the “Download options” tab. From here you can choose your nearest download location so that when you go to download a file via NMM, NMM will always try to use the servers in those locations first. This should really help to ensure that you’re getting the fastest download speeds possible at all times. If NMM can’t use those locations nearest to you for any reason it will just default to the least overloaded server. Similarly NMM will now tell you what file server location you’re downloading from. If you’re in the UK and the only file server available is in San Jose, you’ll understand why your download speed is going a bit slower. Please note that NMM doesn’t know where your nearest location is, so if you want to use this feature you’ll have to change the options yourself. Otherwise NMM defaults to using the least used file server at the time of downloading.
For Premium Members, in the same section you’ll find two new download options. The “Premium only” option will force NMM to always attempt to try and download from the Premium Only file servers, which should give you better speeds as there are far less people downloading from them. There are also options to change the number of connections/threads each download starts. Most people will want to keep this on 4 threads, but if you’re on a slow PC or if your ISP connection is a bit dodgy it might not like you making lots of connections at once, so this option is for you.
In other good news we’ve found the cause of the constant log-out issue, which is also the reason why some of you have been unable to upload large files recently (because the site logged you out half-way through uploading), and this has also been fixed. Thank the heavens, because that one was really annoying.
We’re turning off our old web services that past NMM versions have used (any before this latest one); not because we want to force you to use the latest versions but because as we release new versions and fix vulnerabilities or improve the performance of our servers we want to drop support for the older, inefficient versions as soon as possible to protect the integrity of the sites. That means if you want to stay using the older versions of NMM then NMM won’t be able to find new versions of your mods, and you also won’t be able to download through NMM either.
I'm pretty excited about this release of NMM because it's what I wanted the new download system to be like, and how I wanted it to work from the start. It works perfectly for me, and for us, in our internal testing, so my fingers are crossed tight that there aren't any major issues and that you guys are getting the same sort of performance I am out of it. However, should you run in to any problems (once again, touch wood you don't), as always please use the bug tracker for posting any bugs. And in other good news, we'll be putting online our two new file servers, one in Amsterdam and one in San Jose at some point a little later tonight.
This new version of NMM, along with our file servers, have had a number of efficiency tweaks applied to them and we’ll be monitoring the sites over the next 24 hours to see how much the changes have helped. If we think it needs more, we’ll do more, but we’re pretty confident that these pretty small changes are going to make a really big difference to everything and that we can get on with the new functionality we’ve been working on recently, which includes the ability to endorse files within NMM and the long awaited ability to make and sort your mods into categories. On the site side, we’re working on our much needed brand spanking new moderation suite for our staff to use, a new Nexus site and not one, not two, but three announcements of Nexus collaboration with three separate game developers, for games currently in development, along with a new type of Nexus site that will focus on pre-release information for these games.
Not quite sold on The Elder Scrolls Online? Unsure if you are going to buy it or not? Well, this video might help you decide one way or the other. And this can not be stressed enough: ESO is NOT developed by Bethesda Game Studios, but by Zenimax Online Studios.QUOTEThe first video of The Elder Scrolls Online—a documentary-style introduction to the game, presented by members of The Elder Scrolls Online Development Team. This video covers the basics of ESO, including a first look at the game's Elder Scrolls-style combat system, massive PvP battles, Megaserver technology, exploration-based content, and much more.
This video is the first in a series of regular content and video updates on ElderScrollsOnline.com. Check the site regularly for more!
- Personally, I find ESO very interesting! I am actually quite tired of MMOs in general, but I am hoping that this game will change that, and hopefully draw in enough players to be successful. The combat looks pretty cool, the world looks astonishing with all the Elder Scrolls details in it, so those aspects of the game looks pretty solid so far. I guess we can only wait and see how things develop further along the path to release. We will do our best to keep you updated on the game.
Earlier today, the trailer for the new Skyrim DLC was released on YouTube. I won't bore you with the details, take a look for yourself instead:
The DLC is about the first Dragonborn, a dragon priest who devoured dragons, and who ruled Solstheim back in the days - and now he seeks to return. So, what can we expect to see in this DLC? Well, there are a few things:
The island of Solstheim, dragon riding, new creatures (Riekling, Scrib, Netch, Boar, Benthic Lurker, Ballista Centurion), new armor (Bear Armor, Bonemold, Chitin, Nordic and Stalhrim), an Arena, Spears, a Telvanni tower, and of course; giant mushrooms!
The island of Solstheim is according to the lore, primarily inhabited by Nords and Dunmer (who fled Vvardenfell), so those races will most likely be the essential races of this DLC. The village seen in the trailer seem to be a mix of Nord and Dunmer Redoran culture, which might suggest the Redoran have most presence of the (former) great houses of Vvardenfell, though this is all simply speculation at this moment. To those who are thinking "but I have already been to Solstheim, why should I go there again?" (who thinks that anyway?), remember that this is 200+ years after the events of Morrowind, so a lot have likely changed.
The DLC also seem to include a lot of new models, which will come in handy for any modding projects, like the Beyond Skyrim project, who aims to create the whole world of Tamriel in the Skyrim engine.
Dragonborn will be available for download for 1600 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE on December 4. Any release date for PlayStation 3 or PC has not been announced, but since Bethesda Softworks' Xbox exclusivity deal with Microsoft should be ended by now, it should be around the same date (unless a new deal is in motion).
The Bethblog has a wall paper of what looks like a guy in a Dragon Priest mask. The blog post says that a trailer will be released "Monday", meaning that it should be released in a few hours.
A post on the Bethesda forums suggests that the DLC will be called Dragonborn and will be set on the island of Solstheim.QUOTEhe next DLC will be called Dragonborn and it will be set on the island of Solstheim.
The main locations you will be able to visit are Raven Rock, Miraak Temple, Castle Karstaag and a Telvanni tower (N.B.: Not the Telvanni Tower seen in Morrowind in Vivec, but one like this).
There will be some new armor types, Bonemold, Chitin, Nordic and Stalhrim each having heavy and light classifications.
Out of these new materials, you will be able to craft new types items out of two of them, namely Stalhrim and Nordic.
Spears will be added along with an array of new creatures/automotons, Riekling, Scrib, Netch, Boar, Benthic Lurker, Ballista Centurion, and something with an internal name ofHMDaedra, quite possibly referring to Hermaeus Mora since it lists his plane of oblivion, Apocrypha. You will also be able to ride dragons and be in combat while mounted on one.
This is what the quest header for Dragonborn Quests will look like, and this is what the compass markers look like for the new locations.
From the top, clockwise: Telvanni Tower, To Solstheim, Raven Rock, Castle Karstaag, Standing Stones, To Skyrim, Miraak Temple.
There will be at least two new tracked stats: Dragonborn Quests Completed, and Stalhrim Items Crafted
You will travel to Solstheim via a boat, much like you did in Bloodmoon, although this time, it looks like you may at least get a partial visual boat ride.
The Telvanni tower has float up and down animations, so no levitation it seems.
Dragon riding will take place in its own world space
Mounted combat looks like it's getting an improvement with the ability to cast spells while mounted, tihs isn't necessarily a Dragonborn only thing though!
We are aware of the issues currently occurring with some Nexus sites being slow and downloads being hard to start and are working hard to fix them. You do not need to file bug reports for these issues as we are well aware of them and just as frustrated as you are with it.
If you are a Premium Member we will look to add on some extra free days to all current memberships once we've got a fix rolled out.
It’s been almost a year (15th November 2011) since we announced the open beta of the Nexus Mod Manager. Since then the software has been installed on over 1.1 million PCs and counting. Back in March we hired on our first full-time programmer to keep NMM updated and improve on the program and now we’re looking for another programmer to join our team and help us push NMM in to a full release candidate.
Applicants need to be experienced in .NET and C#. It will be the duty of the .NET developer to continue improving and expanding the scope of the Nexus Mod Manager while working on fixing bugs and stability issues with the current code alongside DuskDweller, our current resident NMM programmer.
If you are an experienced .NET programmer with at least 3 years of experience and are looking for a job, please head over to the job page for more information. Be sure to send in a CV and previous examples of your work to the email address provided.
Modders are not the only people getting creative with Bethesda games. I thought you guys might enjoy this song about Khajiit by a musician Known as MiracleOfSound. He makes music and songs inspired by popular games. Hope you enjoy.
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