Modding The Witcher 3 with Vortex
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a 2015 action role-playing game developed and published by CD Projekt.
Genre: Action RPG
This guide is designed to help you set up Vortex to install and manage mods for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
- 1 Requirements
- 2 Getting Set Up
- 3 Managing your W3 Load Order
- 4 Troubleshooting
Before we get started, this guide assumes that you have installed The Witcher 3 and Vortex at their default locations. You will also need to be logged in to your Nexus Mods account in Vortex. Other than that, if you are planning to use more than 3-5 mods, it is recommended to set up the Witcher 3 Script Merger.
Getting Set Up
To begin, open up Vortex and navigate to the games section. If you don’t already see Witcher 3 under the “Managed” tab, check the “Discovered” section. Use the “Manage” button on the game tile to add it to your managed games.
xImage Witcher 3 unmanaged
If you can’t see Witcher 3, you can scan for it or define it manually.
Managing your W3 Load Order
|This content applies to Vortex 1.2.0 and above.|
As of Vortex version 1.2.0, you can manage your Witcher 3 load order directly in Vortex via the "Load Order" tab.
- You can drag and drop mods anywhere in the list to create the load order you want.
- For Witcher 3 (this may be different for other games) the topmost mod overrides the other mods (only if there are conflicts). In other words, the mod with the lower index number will override a mod with a higher one (a mod that is further down the list). In Witcher 3 the first mod to load wins the conflict. This is important when deciding on which mod to sort before another if they both do the same or similar things (e.g. texture replacers which affect the same things in the game).
- "Merges" generated by the Witcher 3 Script Merger have to load first and are automatically locked to the first slot in the load order.
- Vortex will only pick up on mods that you have installed via Vortex. If you have manually installed some of your mods, you need to add them by either editing your mods.settings file, or by reinstalling them with Vortex. Both options are explained below.
Adding manually installed mods
If you have previously installed mods manually by unpacking them into the Witcher 3 mods folder, Vortex (or any other mod manager) does not know about them and they will not be loaded by the game.
However, there are two simple ways to add manually installed mods so they show up in the load order tab within Vortex:
Adding mods to the mod settings file
For our example, we will take a look at what your Vortex/mods setup would look like if you had two mods. One installed with Vortex, and one installed manually (by dropping the contents of an archive into the Witcher 3 mods folder).
The above is what the contents of your mods folder would be. However, since only one of these mods is installed with Vortex, only that one would show up in the mod list in Vortex:
Likewise, only this one mod would show up in the "Load Order" tab:
The mod we had installed manually "modManuallyAddedExample" needs to be added to the "mod.settings" file which is a file that can be found in C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\The Witcher 3:
Open that file and insert the exact name of the mod you want to add as it appears in the Witcher 3 mods folder in square brackets. In our example it would look like this:
You DO NOT have to add or worry about "Enabled, Priority, or VK" - Vortex will apply those parameters automatically the next time you deploy.
Now, go back to your Vortex Load Order tab and click "Refresh" as shown in the image:
This should bring up the recently added mod:
Make sure to hit the "Deploy Mods" button once you are done so Vortex can update the mod.settings file to add the needed parameters.
Optional: You can double-check that everything went smoothly by checking your mod.settings file again (after refreshing and deploying). It should have added the Enabled, Priority, and VK parameters for the mod we just added:
Reinstalling mods via Vortex
The other option is to simply zip up the mod/mods you have installed manually and install them again via Vortex.
- Navigate to your Witcher 3 mods folder (typically this would be in: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\The Witcher 3\mods
- zip up the mod you want to reinstall with Vortex
- Important: Make sure to delete the manually installed mod from the Witcher 3 mods folder.
- Drag and drop the zip archive into the Vortex drop zone (at the bottom of the mods tab)
The mod will now be added and can be installed with Vortex:
For older versions of Vortex
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Managing your load order is only supported in Vortex 1.2.0 and above. If you are using an older version of Vortex, please update as you are missing out on the most powerful features of the Witcher 3 game extension.
My mod does not work/is not recognised by the game. Why is that?
If your mod is seemingly ignored by the game, make sure it actually shows up in your load order. A mod that does not show in the load order tab in Vortex will not be loaded by the game. Make sure it is actually installed and enabled. If it is a mod that you have installed manually, you will need to add it to the mod.settings file or reinstall it via Vortex (see above). Don't forget to hit "Refresh" on the Load Order tab in Vortex, and deploy your changes thereafter.
Mod issue Troubleshooting Checklist
- Make sure the mod you are using is for the right version of the game. Witcher 3 mods that were made for older versions or for different versions (Game of the Year Edition vs. Standard edition etc.), may prevent the game from starting, or may cause unintended issues. Often outdated mods have since been superseded by new mods with the same functionality, but designed to work with more recent versions of the game.
- Make sure you have created a script merge using the Witcher 3 Script Merger.
- Ensure that you have correctly installed the Unification Patch which is highly recommended and a prerequisite for many mods. An alternative for the Unification Patch is the Community Patch - Base.
- Ensure that you have also downloaded and installed any requirements for the mods you are using. Some mods may require you to install any of the following: Community Patch - Base, Community Patch - Shared Imports, Community Patch - Bootstrap and Utilities
- If your mod is not preventing the game from starting, but you are missing e.g. special effects or other content, you can try moving it further up (lower index number = higher priority in Witcher 3) in your load order tab in Vortex.
How do I remove a manually added mod?
If you have manually added a mod to the mod.settings file, you will need to delete its entry there to remove it from your game. Changing "Enabled=1" to "Enabled=0" will not disable the mod. To properly remove/disable a manually added mod, navigate to your mod.settings file typicall found in "C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\The Witcher 3". Find the mod you want to remove/disable and delete the entry between brackets for example "[modManuallyInstalledExample]". Go back to Vortex and hit "Refresh" in the Load Order tab. The mod should now disappear from the load order. Don't forget to deploy your changes to ensure the leftover entries in the mod.settings file are removed by Vortex.
No deployment option is available. Why is that?
This typically affects users who 1) were using hardlink deployment and 2) do not have system permission to use symlink deployment. As of 1.2.15, we have added support for mods that add menus. Because these mods require Vortex to deploy files to the My Documents folder, this means in order to continue using hardlinks the game, the mod staging folder, and the My Documents folder would need to be on the same drive. If this is not the case, Vortex will need to switch to symlink deployment. While this is fine for the vast majority of users, some users might not have the correct system permissions to create symlinks and thus use symlink deployment. To fix this, please ensure that your Windows user account has the appropriate permissions for symbolic link creation to become available.