Modding TES: Oblivion - Neo's Journey

Hello all. I'm starting this thread to capture my journey into modding Oblivion. I've played Oblivion with mods for perhaps over 10 years, but this time around I want to go all in and have the best experience I can have with it. I will be sharing what mods I am using, any issues I run into, and my overall experience with playing a heavily modded version of Oblivion. This thread is also open for discussion for all things Oblivion/mod related.

Oblivion has always remained my favorite Elder Scrolls game since I first played it circa ~ 2008. It was my first Elder Scrolls game and perhaps my first true open-world game. The feeling I got when I first stepped out of the underground prison tunnels and into the world will forever be one of my greatest gaming moments. I love how colorful the world is, how it feels much more "high-fantasy" than other Elder Scrolls games, the magic system is fun and you get to make your own spells, sometimes the quests got goofy and outright fun to do which helped vary your players story, and most of all I love how immersive the game feels. Personally, it is one of the most immersive games, in terms of making me feel like I'm actually in this fantasy world.

We often look back at our most memorable gaming moments with rose-tinted glasses, idealizing the games better in our memories than how it really is. Oblivion is an old game with a lot broken with it, so through this modding journey I want to recapture those feelings the way my memory serves me. I want to include mods that help boost the immersion of the game, improve the visuals without making it too different from the vanilla graphics, introduce some QoL enhancements, and overall make the experience fun to play in 2023. Once again, this is just how I want to play the game, the mods I'm using aren't curated for public taste; this is how I want to play it. I will also be using Vortex primarily for mod managing, I know a lot of people swear by Wyre Bash for Oblivion but again this is just what is easiest for me and it's worked perfectly so far.

I started by downloading a user-made Nexus mod collection, titled Through The Valleys. I thought it would be a good starting place for an enhanced vanilla Oblivion experience without being a total conversion. The creator gives good instructions on how to configure Vortex with a new profile for this collection, I followed it thoroughly. My first problem I ran into was having to download each mod individually. I was under the impression that with a collection, I could click one button and it will automatically download and install all of the mods inside it. Perhaps I did something wrong, or maybe it's a feature exclusive to the monthly subscription, but every single mod had a popup within Vortex which directed me to the mod's page on Nexus in which I had to manually download each one. Yeah, I should consider the subscription really.

The mods I really enjoyed from this collection are: Far Cry Inspired Grass (this is how I remember the grass looking in my old memories of this game and it looks fantastic!), Animated Window Lighting System, County Gates, Imperial City Canal Overhaul, Lights of Oblivion - Road Lamps, Teleportation Services, and Simple Horse Utilities. These mods all add to the overall immersion effect and add welcome additions without breaking the feel of the game.

I removed a fair chunk of the mods in the collection, mostly the stuff that changed how the characters looked. It doesn't include anything adult however I don't want to stray far from how the vanilla character models are. This would be the Oblivion Character Overhaul (OCO) mods and any associated patches. It also includes a mod that tries to make characters faces look better, which for the most part helped with skin color shading, but overall made everyone's faces way too slender with excessive cheekbones and eyes. I got rid of those and anything relating to eyes or hair changes too.

With those mods out of the way, and the rest of the collection installed, I tested it as is before making any new changes. It took a few tries to fully get rid of any conflicted patches and mods related to OCO. Once I got it working and able to load into the game, now was time to add the mods I really wanted.

I started by adding lots of immersive mods. I found a treasure trove of immersion mods created by Nexus user Guinefort1. They have created a ton of mods that add slightly to the world but come together beautifully. Things like more settlements peppered throughout the world, minotaur camps, extra Skooma dealers, mods that place flowers around graveyards and more lore accurate religious statues in peoples homes. The new settlements, Legion occupied forts, witch huts and minotaur camps are so great and are implemented perfectly. The first time I ran into a minotaur encampment, I truly felt they overpowered me and had me running for the trees. One bug I noticed though is that they chased me down for an unusually long amount of time and ended up killing my horse because two of them were aggro'd directed to the horse. Huh.

Overall, this is a great place to start. Everything is working properly and smoothly. Something is causing my FPS to dip in major cities, so that is something I will have to figure out later. The game is coming closer to the vision I have of this game in my head and it's making me very happy. Last night I was riding my horse around The Green Road and stopped by The Inn of Ill Omen and sat down to have a drink. I got up and explored the forest in the surrounding areas, riding my horse slowly through the lush grass, taking in the beautiful scenes of the evergreen forest. It felt magical and gave me this strong sense of immersion that other games don't give me.

This is going to be a long process, but I enjoy documenting it this way. I will add more links, screenshots and more in the future. Thank you for reading!
One of the mods included in the collection I used called Let There Be Darkness is pretty good but it does get very dark very often, sometimes a little too dark. I find myself using Starlight over and over especially when I’m in dungeons. I may need to find a different mod where I can tweak the darkness some more, or just upgrade Starlight to be a lot brighter :ROFLMAO:

Looking back at these screenshots now, I'm starting to realize maybe my monitors settings are just turned up and not my games. I need to tweak that later haha. These pictures are WAY too dark.

Anyways, here’s some moody screenshots I got while playing last night.




Yeah... need to do some configuring with my monitor and game settings tonight haha.