Collections - Preview and Tester Sign Up

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Collections - a project we've been working on aiming to make modding easier for everyone is reaching a testing stage in which we want to invite 100+ users to help us test. Anyone who is interested can apply to become a tester via the Google form linked below. We're now, for the first time, sharing more information and (alpha) footage of how the system will work. This should, hopefully, answer and address a lot of questions that have been raised, but if you feel there is more you'd like to know you can send in a question (details below) and we'll be responding to the most requested questions in one of the live events on our Discord server.


What are Collections? 
A while ago we started working on a project - now referred to as “collections” - with the aim of making modding easier for everyone. The Collections feature will allow you to download a complete list of curated mods - along with other important metadata - and replicate an entire mod setup, all while ensuring that mod authors still get the downloads for their mods and still earn mod rewards if they’ve opted into our DP programme.

It's important to understand that a collection does not redistribute the included mods packaged as a single archive. Rather, you can think of it as a mod list, say a list of "Top Mods" for a given game, curated by someone else. The difference being that a collection is designed to then be read and interpreted by a mod manager, rather than a human, and in doing so the download and installation process is streamlined. That way it is ensured that you end up with the same mod setup the creator of that mod list (the curator) has installed on their PC, complete with conflict resolution data.

We are convinced that the Collections system will lower the barrier for entry so that more people can enjoy our joint hobby of modding, but we don't believe it will completely replace "traditional" modding - rather it will complement it. Imagine you're new to a game and want to try modding it: you might start out trying a few collections to get a feel for how the game can be changed. Then you begin to customise the mods you've installed and learn more about how modding works to build your own setup. This progression into the modding scene can lead to you sharing your own curated collections or even creating your own mods. 


How will downloading a collection work? 
When you're looking for a collection to download, you'll be directed to our new "micro-site" called Nexus Mods Next. This is a sandbox area where you will be able to try out upcoming features ahead of the full release on the main website - think of it as a place to see what's next on Nexus Mods - clever, right? You may notice Nexus Mods Next uses some different fonts, colours and design themes compared to the current site - as a showcase of how we plan to evolve the UI in future iterations of the main Nexus Mods website. 

A picture can say a thousand words, so that’s why we have recorded three videos and uploaded them to YouTube, demonstrating various aspects of the new collections feature.

DISCLAIMER: ALL CONTENT DISCUSSED AND SHOWCASED HERE IS STILL UNDER ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT. THE DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY ARE BOTH SUBJECT TO CHANGE BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM TESTERS.



Downloading a collection will be similar to adding a mod to Vortex. A prominent button on the collection page will instruct Vortex to pull the collection metadata and start downloading the mods. The Collections feature will not require a Premium membership, but - just like a Premium membership uncaps your download speed - it will be faster and more convenient if you do choose to support our community.

For Premium users, a carousel at the top of the page will start showcasing the mods included in the collection while the downloading and installation process happens automatically in the background. Each slide will include links to the mod page and the author's profile so you can learn more about the content that is being installed (this is not fully implemented yet, so it does not feature in the videos). 

For free users (and Supporters), a pop-up window will appear with information about the mod you're about to install and it will direct you to the mod page for each file download. This step is required so that free users don't bypass our entire revenue stream by not seeing any adverts. Once you have started downloading the file, the pop-up will automatically refresh to the next mod in the queue. This process will repeat for each mod, but the installation happens automatically. The free user experience is therefore going to be a bit like downloading mods in a traditional mod list, with the added convenience of being directed to the exact file, as well as still getting all the automatic conflict resolution benefits through Vortex.

While this is not shown in the videos, depending on the collection, there may be prompts throughout the installation to download external requirements (such as SKSE for Skyrim) or to select options in mod installers. 

Overall the Collections feature will provide a much more convenient way of downloading and installing a curated list of mods than doing so manually by referring to a text-based list.


How will creating a collection work?
In essence, a collection is a bundle of metadata including a list of mods to download, file conflict rules, game settings and load order information. The exact structure of the data will vary from one game to another. 



To create a collection you will need to build a working mod setup in Vortex, then use the new Collections section to compile all the relevant information for sharing. Everyone - Premium and free users alike - will be able to create collections and there are no differences in the flow regardless of your membership status.

Once you have everything ready to go, you will be able to create a collection page on the website. This will be where other users can view and interact with your collection. After adding a category, description and images you will be able to publish your collection page to share it with the world. The page will showcase both the mods it contains and the mod authors who created them.

During the testing releases, we won't be allowing any collections to be published (i.e. downloadable by other users) without first being vetted by our team. This will allow us to closely monitor how the feature is being used and pick up on any potential mistakes made by curators before their lists are made public.

Mod Versioning
When adding mods to a collection, you will be able to specify which file version Vortex should be using. You can choose to always use the latest version of a given file, use the latest non-archived version or require exactly the one you currently have installed. If you require a version of the mod which has since been archived by the mod author, users who download that version will be presented with a warning that the content is no longer supported. The default will be to always use the latest non-archived version.

External Resources
You will be able to provide instructions for users as part of a collection to help users install mods that aren't currently available on Nexus Mods. We also plan to allow community developers to integrate APIs from non-Nexus Mods sources using extensions should they wish to provide added convenience to Vortex users. 

Bundled Content
Some types of content (such as dynamically generated or configuration files) may also be bundled as part of the collection for added convenience. Bundled content will be thoroughly virus scanned before it is available to download and moderation action will be taken against Collections that directly include content without permission to do so. 

Mod Installers (FOMODs) 
Some mods come with mod installers providing the user with options (for example, choosing a red/blue texture for an armour). A collection curator can specify whether their choice will be incorporated into the collection, or whether they want the user to run through the mod installer themselves, choosing whichever option they prefer.


What can collections be used for? 
Collections can allow you to share anything from a complete overhaul of your game to just a handful of themed mods that you like to use together. It is possible to install multiple collections at the same time too, meaning you can mix and match from different themed lists to create your preferred experience. 

Perhaps you just want to keep a private record of all the mods you currently have installed for the next time you play the game? Or you're playing on a Valheim server and want a convenient way of sharing a list of requirements for new players? There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the collections feature, but we'll only truly know how they'll get used once we open the floodgates and everyone gets a chance to play with the new toys! 


Testing Roadmap - How can I join?
From today, you can apply to become a tester of our Collections feature by filling out this application form. Each application will be reviewed by our staff and if we feel you are a good fit we'll send you instructions on how to get started via private message or Discord DM. 

Don't worry if you don't hear back though, you'll still be able to join the testing at a later phase. 

In the coming weeks, we're also going to start showing a special banner to a random sample of long-time users of the website who will be invited to take part in this Closed Alpha stage. 

We are looking for 100+ users to participate in this phase and we’ll be gradually opening more and more slots for additional testers as the project progresses. 

During the Closed Alpha, we'll be making any vital changes based on the feedback from these users before we move to an Open Alpha which will allow anyone to try out collections themselves.

We will be setting specific milestones which we will need to hit before the collections project graduates from alpha status and will become a fully-fledged feature on the site. This won't be the end of the road though. We'll continue to monitor feedback after the full release to further evolve the feature based on the needs of the community. 

Please note that what you have seen here today may still be subject to change based on the feedback during testing, but we're excited to finally be able to put this shiny new feature into the hands of our users. 


Quick FAQ
Do collections bundle all listed mods into a single "modpack" download?
No. All mod files are downloaded from the original mod pages and the mod author will still be receiving downloads and mod rewards, if they've opted into our DP programme.

Can I opt-out of collections? 
As mentioned earlier in the article, a collection is just a list of mods that is interpreted by a mod manager. Just like you would not expect to be able to opt out of someone mentioning your mod in their “Top 10 Mods” list, we do not feel it’s reasonable to expect the same of collections.

When are collections releasing?
The testing phases will allow us to capture vital community feedback to allow us to properly understand both bugs and desired features we can map into our future development. At this point, we’re entering a “closed alpha” so still a relatively early testing stage. Depending on the feedback and bug reports, we will then be looking at opening collections up for what could be considered an open alpha stage relatively soon. 

As a mod author, will I still get downloads/endorsements/Donation Points when my mod is downloaded as part of a collection?
Yes. As a collection is just a list of instructions to be interpreted by Vortex, the download still comes from your mod page so your stats will be incremented appropriately. Users are also still able to endorse your file from inside Vortex or on the website. 

Will collection curators earn Donation Points for their collections?
No. Earning Donation Points is currently a feature exclusive to mod authors. 

What about direct donations?
You can currently donate to any user by visiting their profile page and we have no plans to change this. We will not be displaying donation prompts for the curator on the collection page for the time being, but we may explore donation options as part of a larger discussion with the community in the future. That being said, we think that mod list/collection curators are and will be adding value to the community, so we do not believe we should be stopping people from donating to them, if they happen to like what they do. 

Can I "own" a collection?
In the interest of keeping things simple and fair, no single user can have exclusive ownership of a particular combination or list of mods. This means if I share a collection, you're welcome to copy it, tweak it and reshare it without issue. The mods themselves remain protected by the permissions posted on the mod page by the author.

Can I allow others to update my collection page? 
Not currently. Unlike mod pages, a collection will only have a single owner. While you may still collaborate with others, a singular user account must be used in order to publish updated revisions. This is something we will be exploring in the future if there is demand for it. 

Do I need Vortex to use collections?
We are launching the Collections system with Vortex - our official mod manager - so it will be required. However, as with everything else we build, we'll be providing the source code for Vortex and an open GraphQL API which can be used by third-party tools to take advantage of this feature. Documentation will be made available sometime after the full 1.0.0 release of Collections. 


Still have questions?
If you have a question you'd like us to answer, please send it in using this form. We'll comb through the responses and collate the most requested questions to answer during the Q&A sessions. A transcript of each session will be posted on the forums and a link will be added to this article.  

You can join us on Discord at the following times:


We do hope this article - along with our Q&A sessions - will go a long way to reassure the minority of users who might've had some concerns or reservations about the collection feature. 

Thank you for being a part of our community and for joining us on this exciting journey!

244 comments

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  1. Pickysaurus
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    Thank you all for your feedback. 

    We are no longer monitoring this comment thread so it has been locked to prevent spam. 
  2. Pickysaurus
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  3. Zzyxzz
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    "Earning Donation Points is >>currently<< a feature exclusive to mod authors."

    That means you are thinking about changing that one?
    1. mkr1977
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      Hopefully Nexus will allow DP to go to curators of mod collections. After all, it can be hours of work. Depending on the scope, it might require tens of hours of debugging.
    2. Idolmir
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      I think about a eighth the amount a mod author would get would be acceptable.
      To be more specific, a collections pot of points that is an eighth of the size that the modders pot.
  4. lefttounge
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    I'll be brutally honest here, money has been extremely tight for me. Let's just say the Pandemic kinda shortened my income and negated my job expenses.
    I have to say, for a completed no hinderence version of the Collections, can you consider making monthly payments as low as $1 USD?

    Honestly, I have no money to give over that, not even 5 bucks, and sadly if the drawback to download mods effeciently with this new set up is far too tedious without being a premium member, it's going to gravely hurt my ability to mod and download mods.
    1. DarkDominion
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      You can still download all the mod one at the time. Mod Collections are an extra.
      But yes, it's waaaay more easier to download Collections if you are a premium member
    2. a1racer
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      This is why I’m glad I bought my lifetime a while back COVID really screwed stuff month to month is different for my job some are bad some normal. People who missed out on lifetime are stuck with the new higher prices. And I understand costs are higher on everything but there should be a like $0.99 cent one day thing so people can make a fast dollar donation and get a mod pack downloaded. 

      but the free version won’t stop anything just makes it take a lot longer specially on large packs. 
  5. tyfighter
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    All of this looks excellent. Thank you so much for the work you have done to drag modding these games into the 21st century, kicking and screaming if necessary. 
    1. mkr1977
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      Agreed. Its about time.
  6. JimboUK
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    It'll be interesting to see if people abuse that success rating, as we know from the old 1-10 mod rating and thumbs up/down comments rating if you give people a chance to be negative a number with take that chance. 
    1. DarkDominion
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      Hey Jimbo, long time no see man

      And yes, that will be something that needs to be addressed.
      "MuH GaMe CrAsHed, ImMa gOnnA doWn VotE tHiS"
    2. mulderitsme
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      In response to post #99279018. #99280768 is also a reply to the same post.


      Spoiler:  
      Show

      Even more people will completely disregard any special installation instructions, and you know you're going to have a million complaints because collections authors will not update their collections, and will include conflicting files.  Who will deal with that?  The mod authors.  Y'all have zero idea how many complaints we deal with because someone couldn't scroll down and read a couple steps, and now those people will be making collections for everyone.  Nightmares lol

      People already never read the instructions even if you bold it, underline it, and make it giant, can't wait to get rude messages because a collections author put minimal effort into a list and dipped without checking for updates.  People pretty much only say something if it's negative, with some lovely exceptions.  Most just download and don't interact.  I even occasionally get people who don't download anything complaining.

      I get what the intent is but I'm just not sure how it's going to do in practice.  Seems like making it slightly more user friendly for users who do not actually like modding, but 1000% more inconvenient for the people who actually make mods.  But we'll see, maybe I'll end up not hating it.  My actual issue was with the archive system.
    3. JimboUK
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      I think it'll bring in more people, I wonder how many new users mod their game for the first time, end up with an unholy mess and give up? hopefully some of them catch the bug, stick around and start producing content. 
    4. EX0stasis
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      Low effort mode Collections that don't get updated will just fade into obscurity behind better Collections that get updates regularly. There my be a temporary rise in annoying complaints that mod authors have to deal with, but once there is a decent library of quality Collections up, after a while, lazy/rude users will have their pick of the cream of the crop of mod Collections, where they don't feel the need to annoy anyone about issues.
    5. Ellimist000
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      mulderitsme, er, maybe say you won't support collections and then simply don't acknowledge complaints that don't show a modlist proving they aren't using one? I really struggle to understand why that is so difficult for authors?
    6. mkr1977
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      The curators do not have to update their collections because any given collection will be stable at the time it was created. I don't see how this will impact mod authors at all.
    7. tesnexus8
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      How about "Because most authors are generous caring people", as evidenced by them sharing their mods in the first place. We already see this problem CONSTANTLY, with crap like "I installed your Mod X and it broke Mod Y! Fix your s***!" when the two mods do nothing even remotely related - and most authors will STILL try to help the a**hole who's blaming them for something that they have absolutely nothing to do with.

      How about "Because most assholes will ignore the message about not supporting collections" anyway, the same way they ignore install guides, lists of incompatible mods, and so on, even if in 40pt red text. Instead, they'll keep spamming the mod with "Fixed yet?" etc posts - and you know what their response will be when the modder tells them, for the 20th time that day, that they don't support collections? It'll be "I really struggle to understand why it is so difficult for you to do so".

      While you're entitled - "to your opinion", I mean - how about you leave the "voice" of the modders to people who actually mod? I'm pretty sure they have a far better understanding of what the "community experience" is like than you do. You "struggle to understand" what any modder's position would be on almost any subject, or why, because you understand literally NOTHING about actually being one in the first place.

      I'm not saying I'm against collections or for them - but I am saying that it's not for YOU to try to tell OTHER PEOPLE what to think or how to act, or to pretend to speak for ANY of us.
  7. TheCoolest7248
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    As a mod author who had recently come back from a long hiatus and not kept up on Nexus Mods news, seeing this post was a huge surprise. I have seen several post from mod authors announcing them leaving because of this, and I can see their points, and agree on some of them.

    This type of modding will introduce a huge host of problems with possible mod conflicts and just users not fully understanding what they are downloading. Some mods added may have specific installation instructions, or special hoops to jump through to set it up in game once installed (such as using a MCM to set it up or change settings) will not be fully catered to, leading to people just downloading those mods and not even using them, or worse, using them in a way that's causing bugs to occur. Another problem is if someone using the collection encounters a bug, chances are they won't be able to pin it down to the correct mod, leading to the mod authors having no knowledge there is a problem.

    Mod authors should have an option to opt out of this for these specific problems, as well as being able to keep track of the problems reported. But other than that, I see no problem with making modding easier for new users.

    Edit: I was just thinking about it over dinner and just came up with something in my head that may go a long way for a compromise between not wanting opting out being a feature and concerns for mod authors wanting to make sure people know what they are downloading: Make it so that mod authors have a option to create a short pop up message for when people download their mod through a collection that people have to manually click and say they have read so that mod authors can put install instructions or important info that may be required to know when downloading the mod. This will give mod authors the assurances they need to know that people know what they are putting in their game and how to use and install it correctly, as well as any conflicts that may occur through people making a collection of mods without checking if any of them conflict with each other. By making it so that you have to click "Yes, I have read this", people cannot say that they didn't know these problems would happen with it or that the mods in the collection may conflict, as well as giving an extra layer of awareness to the mod users of what the mods do so if they find a problem, they can correctly deduce which mod is causing it.
    1. mkr1977
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      Mod collections, which should be properly understood as a mod configuration file, are designed to overcome the issues of difficulty of installation. A mod configuration file that fails to correctly install the mods that it is configured to install is not fit for purpose. Its unlikely that an annoying popup will help anyone troubleshoot anything. A mod configuration file that doesn't work as advertised will be discarded for the ones that do work.
    2. Fatsacktony2
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      With all due respect, I think implementing collections will do exactly the opposite of this.  The more advanced mod users, like myself, will be able to assemble, fine tune, patch, and resolve conflicts between mods into a complete, ready to use, modlist.  We will then be able to share all this problem solving and headache with other more novice users, where they can play with the click of a button.  The poorly constructed and maintained modlists (collections) will be surpassed by more popular, less buggy, better maintained ones.  The actual mod authors will have their mods used by more people, integrated with other mods, while also receiving their mod author points and downloads and whatever monetization and recognition comes with that.
  8. Skinjack
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    So do these collections you download "speak" to each other so they know how to order a mod from one collection with mods from another? Or are you still going to have to solve any potential conflicts between collections?
    1. a1racer
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      i would guess that the mod packs are meant to be used as is and not with other mod packs , not to say there wont be people who make a mod pack to go with another mod pack but basically all conflicts and load ordering are done on a pack by pack basis so loading two of them would require you to figure some stuff out for your self.   
    2. Skinjack
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      OK, thanks. One of the packs they showed did contain a lot of the mods I use. I don't suppose you could Trade out a mod, like Nethers Followers Frameworks from AFT, in a collection? Well, I guess you could, but then it would be a new collection you could technically upload. If I'm understanding how its done correctly.
    3. Tannin42
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      I very much hope that curators will also create smaller, themed, collections, that can be mixed&matched - not just huge overhauls.
      But yes: Collections include the load order rules for the mods in that collection, conflicts between mods from different collections would still have to be solved by the user. As usual with Vortex you can always go back and change those rules if you made a mistake, nothing is set in stone purely based on the installation order.

      I guess we could look at ways of bundling or distributing separate sets of rules that then resolve conflicts between specific pairs of collections.
    4. DarkDominion
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      These patches will automatically pop up over time, just as patches do now.
      Users can "make a living" from all these patches that are needed to hook up different collections
    5. a1racer
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      honestly im hoping it goes something like this mod pack 
      1 texture overhaul 
      2 landscape plants trees stuff like that 
      3 city pack 
      4 npc pack 
      5 patch pack for different mod packs that allow pack 1 and 3 to work together or works with packs provided by specific mod pack authors. 

      honestly though I'm just hoping that people don't upload game breaking garbage day 1 and that it will be something that people take advantage of. id love to see some huge 1000 mod size packs that are functional and only take like 6 hours to download and set up rather then the 3 days it took to get my 400 mods up and running on Skyrim se a couple months ago.     
    6. mkr1977
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      I very much hope that curators will also create smaller, themed, collections, that can be mixed&matched - not just huge overhauls.
      ?
      I am certain that not only will this happen (after all, you an I can be curators too), but there will be 'mod collections' patches specifically to 'bridge' different mod collections.
  9. EX0stasis
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    Will Nexus Collections have a way to resolve mod conflicts on an individual file level? For example, rather than just deciding which mod's loose files win over the other, can a Collection author decide to remove individual files such as textures and/or meshes of a mod? I recall this being a very common technique described in Lexy's LOTD modding guide.
    1. FLambda
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      Vortex can indeed do file-specific overrides, in addition to general mod ordering. These file overrides would almost certainly be saved as part of the collection's settings.

      Here's an example from my FF12: The Zodiac Age setup:
      ?
  10. SpiderBob12
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    Hello Pickysaurus, I have a question.
    Will the mods that are on Nexus still be left as single mods after you have put collection packs together so people who choose to do their own unique build still can? I am all for you guys putting this together for new people modding, but a lot of us still like to do our own picking of single mods to do our own unique setup.
    1. lefttounge
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      this is a VERY good question I would like to know as well.
      If not pickasaurus, anybody that knows the answer can answer please
    2. DarkDominion
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      Mod Collections offer a nice way to get the game modded for people who aren't yet skilled in modding their game.
      For those that are, single downloads will still be available, don't worry

      Cheers
      -=DD=-
    3. SpiderBob12
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      DarkDominion Thank you for your reply, I am glad that experienced modders can still hand pick mods for unique builds, as I thought say you D/L a pack to find  example: White run wall textures do no match the mountain texture that the stone was quarried from. So this is great news.

      I enjoyed the video presentation of how it all works, and did indeed think that is a great system for newcomers to the world of modding, to easily say I want a dark and somber build and then one click said mod pack that vortex finds mods for pack, installs them and deploys mods with conflict resolution is great.

      Looks like a win for all then and many thanks for your reply.

      Kind regards,

      SpiderBob12
  11. MrShersh
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    I wonder if I'm really 1 out of 100 testers or is it just a headline :D
    Whatever it was, I don't mind)
    1. GhastlyGamer13
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      I'm wondering that too. I can't get to discord atm, so I saved the link just in case.
    2. MrShersh
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      No, it's just a banner)
      They take everyone there in a row
      I was check it
    3. lefttounge
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      If that's the case, then why do they say Im one of 100 chosen testers?
      Why doesnt it say, join the many other beta testers?
  12. Shardori
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    I kind of like this idea of collections, more towards the "theme" angles of, say, orc shaman build collection, dark brotherhood assassin collection, mad scientist collection...you get my point.  As someone who constantly starts her game over and over as another mod peaks her interest (LOL), it would be nice to have a "one-stop shopping" experience.  On the other hand, I know I would probably be stressing out whether I'm missing out on another mod not in the collection.  As you can see, I'm totally not decided.  Also, I'm not a fan of Vortex, which I don't use anymore.   Anyways, I'm rambling on and not saying a whole lot :D  Think I'll go play.