Skyrim Load Order changes (2024)

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With the recent beta release of Skyrim version 1.4.26 on Steam, Bethesda and Valve have decided to change the way in which Skyrim handles the load ordering of mod files. Originally load orders were decided by the timestamps of files on your file system, but the Steam Workshop integration for Skyrim has caused numerous issues (most notably the issue where updating your load order using NMM/Wrye Bash/other managers would cause those files to be re-downloaded by the Workshop), and so Bethesda and Valve have had to change this system.

This isn't a problem per-se. A change to the load order methods is probably a good thing, as Bethesda's system is quite out-dated now. However, it does mean that any mod managers using the old method of ordering mods are not going to work without changes once the changes from patch 1.4.26 are committed in earnest.

With this in mind, WrinklyNinja of BOSS fame has written a comprehensive thread both here and on the official forums that helps to explain what load ordering is, what's changing and what this means for all of us.

Perhaps most pertinent is the following information:

The solution agreed on by Lojack (Wrye Bash), Kaburke (Nexus Mod Manager), WrinklyNinja (BOSS) and Dark0ne (owner of the Nexus sites) was that total load order would be stored in a "loadorder.txt" file, itself stored in the same location as "plugins.txt". "plugins.txt" would be kept in synchronisation with "loadorder.txt" so that the order of plugins that the game loaded was the same for both files, but the latter would allow the load ordering of inactive plugins.

Modding utilities would then perform their changes on "loadorder.txt", updating "plugins.txt" to reflect any changes to active plugin load order as required. This provides a common store for the total load order in lieu of the plugin timestamps used by the other games.

...

The bad news: Any utilities that you use to manage load order may stop having any effect. This is because nothing currently released knows about the change in load order system. In time, utilities may be updated to handle the new system as their programmers become aware of it. Until then, Skyrim's launcher is the only way to change load order.

One very important thing is that if you have a utility that can handle the new system, do not use Skyrim's launcher to set load order. This is because it doesn't know about the total load order, so if you change the load order through it, only the active load order changes and synchronisation between the two is lost. The only way for a utility to re-sync the two load orders is to undo the changes you made in the launcher.

With many thanks to WrinklyNinja for all the hard (and extremely fast) work coding the new load order system, the plan is for NMM and Wrye Bash to use the BOSS API to handle load ordering. This will naturally mean that NMM will have the added bonus of having some of BOSS's great functionality and best known load orders implemented straight in to the program as well.

We do not know when the beta patch from Bethesda will go live (one assumes it will be this week at some point), but I highly recommend you go and read WrinklyNinja's thread for the full scoop. Similarly, you will want to keep an eye out for Nexus Mod Manager updates and download them as and when they become available, because once the new beta update goes live the current versions of NMM will not be able to manage load orders at all. Which is bad.

Many thanks for WrinklyNinja for not only his hard work coding the BOSS API, but also his hard work documenting it all as well. Be sure to thank him yourself as well. Probably best to do it in the comments rather than PMing him; I don't want to be responsible for filling his PM box!

Pass the word on folks, because I'm sure we'll be getting many reports of NMM being "broken" because of this change until everyone is updated to the latest version.

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    1. None of my mods work. Using NMM makes me wanna blow my brains out. It sucks really, i install the mods using NMM and i activate it. I launch skyrim from NMM and none of my mods work. Been trying for hours, and all i can say is WHAT THE F**K and not FUS RO DAH!

      • LuthienTinuviel20

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          I cannot find my plugin or loadorder .txt files to fix my load order. If I run the most up to date verson of BOSS am I fine?

          • meatwad2021

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              I've never used Steam Workshop, and have Steam offline until the utilities are all finalised, and I have had no problems.I never use the game launcher to start the game, i use the SKSE loader linked to TESVSGM.

              Pretty much same here although I have a retail, non-steam install using a shortcut to the SKSE launcher to start. As much as I like Steam for games like TF2, BF3, etc I shudder at the thought of letting Steam anywhere near an RPG like Skyrim.

              Haven't updated from 1.4.21, haven't updated NMM from 0.14.2, haven't upgraded BOSS, haven't upgraded any mods where the changelog indicates compatibility fixes for skyrim 1.4.27

              All is well. I'm an HVAC engineer and there is a golden rule in the trades: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Conversely, if it IS broke, don't touch it until you can blame someone else <verybiggrin>

              • ginnyfizz

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                  I've never used Steam Workshop, and have Steam offline until the utilities are all finalised, and I have had no problems.I never use the game launcher to start the game, i use the SKSE loader linked to TESVSGM.

                  • izon87604

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                      @Jonas. im guessing its cos you have either not opened the launcher since the update or have been using the same consistent method for loading the game. when i updated when the patch was beta i was only using the launcher to load skyrim due to workshop mods (naivety is bliss), and i had no issues. i then recently decided to use NMM as its better. This is when i started to get problems as the load order selected in NMM didn't change the load order for skyrim as the launcher had already taken control of the plugin file. so ordering in NMM selected the esps but they remained alphabetically listed in the plugin.txt file. so obviously didnt load right. if you didnt change load order since the update everything should run ok using NMM then SKSE.

                      • jonasl2004

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                          After reading the last three posts, I wonder if me never using SteamWorkshop is why mine is ok now. Could be wrong.....but its strange reading these with so many people having the exact (or really similar at least) types of issues. But after the SKSE and NMM updates I did, I'm fine.

                          Why will it work for one person (again 30+mods with HD textures and all of the "SEXY" cities and towns running) and so many others are having issues.....strange....

                          • Alakan

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                              Just updated the NMM. It worked the first few times I opened and closed it. Then I opened the Skyrim Launcher just to sync the Steam Workshop mods. Then I tried to reopen NMM and I get this error: BOSS_API_ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND: "...Data" cannot be found!

                              Take all the time you need to fix these things though. I am a patient man. Skyrim Load Order changes (8)

                              • billygoat654

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                                  wish theyd left it alone i was fine... Skyrim Load Order changes (10) still once everything is updated ill be happy again

                                  edit: for those having issues the nmm is not updated with the latest patch at this time so it wont work quite right may even cause some crashes

                                  • gohanf22

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                                      I'm having issues with this new patch and load orders. Was never using Steam Workshop at all. Was always using NMM and SKSE and was working fine. Now I'm getting crashes due to the patch cause of the Load Order implementation. I have no idea what is going on now. Was doing fine til this problem with Steam.

                                      But, thank you for the clarification.

                                      • jonasl2004

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                                          This is weird. I have had not problem one since the patch went in. I thought I would, but I just downloaded/installed the new SKSE and updated NMM and I'm running just fine with like 30+ active mods. I do notice a slight performance hit that wasn't there before. I get just the slightest studder and every once in a while in a major town I'll get the briefest bit of lag coming out of buildings to world. Very strange as I never had this before.

                                          But I did nothing to my load order, changed absolutely nothing at all. Just updated SKSE and NMM and away I playing. Ran for 6+ hours lastnight no major issues at all.

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                                          Skyrim Load Order changes (2024)

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