“Modding starts as a hobby and mods are passion projects for most people when they get started,” modder Emmi Junkkari, whom you may know by the handle Elianora, tells me.
“I doubt most people started making content for these games thinking they’ll make mad bucks with Patreon. When Oblivion and Morrowind modding started (and earlier Fallouts), we didn’t have PayPals or Patreons and Ko-Fi wasn’t a thing. I believe people got used to everything being free, and people made content because they wanted to make it, and when new ways for content creators to get compensated for their work have popped up, the Bethesda modding hivemind didn’t quite catch up.”
If you were on social media last week there’s a good chance you saw plenty of examples of the sentiment Junkkari references, likely in posts containing the phrase that, for better or worse, has come to define the controversial topic it’s part of. Paid mods. Unsurprisingly, with the launch of Creations for Skyrim by Bethesda Game Studios on December 5, the debate that’s been raging on-and-off in the communities around the company’s RPGs for years now came to the fore once again.