The biggest plus about gaming on the PC isn’t the LAN capabilities, nor is it the interface or the power of a souped-up gaming rig. Without a doubt, the biggest plus is the modding community. Lately, a lot of developers (Bethesda in particular) have been providing fans with the means to create new expansions and addons for their games. Naturally the lack of such tools doesn’t stop intrepid modders from creating their own designs with a particular game engine- but that’s besides the point.
A lot of these mods look downright awesome. Some of them are full-length games in their own right. Why wouldn’t one download them?
Of course, one definitely needs to exercise caution about what they download, and where they’re getting it from. There’s plenty of illegitimate sites out there, and plenty of infected files- go to the wrong place, and you could well end up losing your account, or wind up with your whole system infected….you know the drill. Here’s a few tips on how to avoid a compromised system:
Examine the Community
What game are you downloading an add-on for? Rather than just bumbling about Google until you find a site with the mods you’re looking for, it’s far better to have a look around that game’s community (and believe me, a community exists for virtually every game out there). Find out the best, most reputable sites to download from. Places such as Curse Gaming and The Elder Scrolls Nexus are two examples of such websites, and are two of the chief download sources for their respective communities.
Read the Reviews
Most sites have some sort of review process which they hold submitted mods up to. Still, it’s possible for a few to slip through the cracks- it’s always a great idea to read the reviews, as even if an add-on isn’t explicitly malware, there’s no guarantee it won’t bork up your game.
I don’t think this really merits much of an explanation. As a general rule, you should scan everything you download, just to be safe.
The Installation Process
Most of the time, there’s a very specific process involved with installing add-ons and mods. Usually, the read-me included with a mod will tell you exactly what needs to be installed, where it needs to be installed, and in what order you should install it. Follow the instructions to a T- and keep in mind that the more mods you download, the greater the likelihood of there being a conflict between two of them. It might be worth getting a management platform for your game’s add-ons, as a result.
Either way, the process is rarely terribly complicated, though in the case of Steam games, you’re going to need to find the location of the Steam folder.
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