How to handle load order

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This article explains what "load order" is, how you can adjust and how it should be.


Importance of Load Order and when you should start adjusting it

Load order can be extremely important, it can be the difference between "playing the game" and "crashing every time you run the game". You probably won't have to adjust the load order often if you run like 2-3 mods but if you've got 5+ mods you may have to adjust it, load order isn't just for people that create mods, it's mostly for people that USE mods.

Tools needed to adjust the load order

Grab Timeslip's Fallout Mod Manager here, not only is this tool vital to adjusting load order but it's also very handy when managing or making mods.

What is Load Order

Load order is like the name suggests the order your mods are loaded into the game in, the mods at the top of the load order will be loaded into the game first, the mods at the bottom will be loaded last.

How does Load Order work

For example, let's say you put a piece of white paper down on the floor, then you put a rock on top of that, if you placed the objects in the "White Paper -> Rock" order you will be able to see both the rock and the paper at the same time.


If you however place the rock down first, THEN the piece of white paper the paper will cover the rock and you won't be able to see the rock. That's basically what load order is, the piece of white paper is Fallout3.esm and the rock is YourPlugin.esp, you've got to adjust the load order so you see all your objects.


Let's say you use a mod that gives Moira Brown of Megaton a blue hat, then you have Fallout3.esm which basically creates Moira and gives her a brown hat, if you load the plugin that gives moira a different hat FIRST then what will happen is:


WRONG Load Order:

  1. YourPlugin.esp: Loads, Moira doesn't exist, she doesn't get the blue hat.
  2. Fallout3.esm : Loads, Creates Moira, Gives Moira a brown Hat.


If you load Fallout3.esm first, then YourPlugin.esp:


RIGHT Load Order:

  1. Fallout3.esm : Loads, Moira is Created, is given a brown hat.
  2. YourPlugin.esp: Loads, overwrites Moira's brown hat, gives her a blue hat.

Example Load orders of a few popular mods / DLC

RIGHT Load Order:

  1. Fallout3.esm :Loads, creates all the vanilla weapons, gameplay options etc.
  2. Fallout Overhaul Kit (FOOK) :Loads, modifies all vanilla weapons, gameplay options etc


WRONG Load Order:

  1. Fallout Overhaul Kit (FOOK) :Loads, tries to modify all vanilla weapons, gameplay options etc
  2. Fallout3.esm :Loads, creates all the vanilla weapons, gameplay options etc, overwrites everything FOOK did.

When SHOULDN'T Fallout3 be first in the load order?

Those are only in extremely rare cases, it should be specified by the author, I'm not sure if there are any mods so far that have to be loaded first.

Mods that require other mods to run

If you've got mods that require other mods to run then the mod required to run should be loaded before the mod that requires that mod to run.


Example:

  1. Fallout3.esm
  2. WeaponModKits.esp
  3. WeaponModKitsADDON.esp


More example load orders:

  1. Fallout3.esm
  2. DLC's.esm
  3. Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch.esp
  4. FOOK.esm
  5. MMM.esm


Well, I think that's all, PM me if you see any errors

References

Load order and you

Load order recommendations

How to install mods for Fallout 3