So, firstly understand that this is an opinion piece, you can choose to agree with me or not. Secondly, I have strong feelings on this subject and it will be in depth.I will be speaking very candidly and to some, may seem disrespectful of the authors who make what I call “Waifu followers” or “vanity followers” because I don’t believe that they provide enough quality broad appeal (no pun intended) for the amount of focus they garner.
First and foremost I am neither a prude nor a follower hater. True I prefer to not use followers due to Skyrim’s goofy mechanical issues with them but I don’t hate them. The issue I have is that what qualifies as a “follower” on Nexus is nothing short of astounding (and certainly not in a good way). They are eye candy and nothing more. Sure they “follow” you in a sense and they carry your crap for you, but what I consider a “follower” is someone who blends in with the world, someone who looks and SOUNDS the part of being in the game of Skyrim, not some vogue magazine looking plastic and silicon model wearing an outfit that will result in her freezing to death in about 20 minutes. For me it’s an issue of immersion why I, as a player, hate them. Yes, to each their own. If you want to pollute your game with flying Thomas the tank engine dragons and physiologically impossible front heavy women, you go for it, just keep it the hell away from my Skyrim please.
The bigger problem in all this is the hot files. Nexus owner and admin Robin has repeatedly defended the Nexus hot file system, stating to the effect that the hot files are based purely on statistics and if a certain type of file gets the downloads it needs, it will make it onto the list and it’s working as intended. I totally understand that and it makes sense, but the issue I see here is that the community has a sub culture who eats this stuff up(and a surprisingly large one at that) which is dominating the rest of the community by exposing us constantly to their garbage because of their downloading history. Very few of these Waifu eye candy mods get many endorsements, but they get a lot of downloads pretty quickly at first and then they die off and are forgotten, but not before they have been replaced with yet another one and maintained their control over the hot file listings.
Now I don’t like to condemn or knock anybody’s work really, but the people who put out these followers do so in such a brazenly assembly line, half-assed fashion, that quality control becomes a real concern. They set up a follower ONCE and then use it as a template for releasing a new follower every week or two which basically consists of a new face (usually loli in nature), new outfit (skimpy for sure), and an assortment of accessories and appearance features that are different from the one they released the week before. All of this would be fine, but the stuff is thrown front and center at us all the time because of the hot file system and the fact that they release ANOTHER one just as interest in the previous one is dying out. Every damned day we show up and find 3-5 cookie cutter followers hogging the spotlight. How do they get there? Sex sells. The typical Waifu fan finds a handful of authors they like and every time they pump something out, they download it, and BAM, hot file list. All in an effort to get their jollies. they wanna see the latest body slide/hair style/boob revamp with a practically non-existent outfit and their latest animation packs for exploiting them to the max. They basically reduce their Skyrim game to a soft core porn mag. Now, again, I’m only judging them within the context of how it affects the rest of us, like I said I’m no prude. By doing their daily downloading of the follower they will play with for a few hours until the next one is released, they are condemning the rest of us to watch it constantly. The issue does not lie specifically in the fact that they are getting the downloads to qualify for hot file status, it more lies in the production line model mentioned before. By the time one is on it’s way out, they have another released to replace it.
Not only does it make it impossible to find quality followers (you know, the ones that have CUSTOM voices and took more than a afternoon to write and create), but it also makes it impossible to find other amazing mods because they are constantly being swamped by this crap.
Now there are methods that help but they too have their down sides. first and foremost you can block the follower tag, which has the obvious down side of no longer getting to see the REAL follower mods which you may be interested in trying. There is however an additional concern that it’s blocking other mods as well because blocking the follower tag will block ALL mods which have that tag, like Legacy. I recently removed the follower tag entirely because even though Legacy does have NPC’s who can be followers, it would get blocked by anyone blocking the follower flag.
Additionally you can block nudity, 18+ AND even block the authors of these abominations. But really, we shouldn’t have to go through all these hoops and go to this much effort just to see the kind of content we would like, or even just see a more diverse assortment of content.
This week I released Thane Weapons Reborn and it shot up to the #1 hot file spot and mod of the month standing with 100 endorsements in just over 2 days despite the Waifu invasion! That is a BIG rarity and only happened because it’s a mod that has been a long time in the wanting for a lot of people, so it’s getting a lot of attention right now (which is awesome by the way, so thank you!). There are many other mods that would be deserving of spotlighting which never make it because of the Waifu waves that come non stop.
Ironically though the Waifu authors seem to think that they aren’t getting a fair shake. One of them in fact posted a comment on my Sunday Discussion article indicating they were getting overlooked (bear in mind mine was only the second interview feature Nexus did). Immediately they got set upon by several people arguing against them and what they do, and eventually the Waifu author backed down (very graciously though I might add). This individual has 33 follower mods currently and a release schedule of about every 10 days. With release time frames like that it’s no wonder we get swamped in this stuff.
So… How do we fix it? Really we can’t, best thing we can do is ignore it, block the tags and authors as mentioned previously and move on, but I can’t help but still hope that something else could be done like setting up a “vanity follower” category or splitting followers into “custom voices” and “non-custom voiced”, but that relies too much on these authors being honest first of all, as well as thorough in their representation of their mod, both points are in short supply among many of them. Some of the descriptions just make me groan, and someone who can’t take the time to write a good follower, set up story, get a voice actor to voice them and represent their product well, certainly won’t even go to the trouble of categorizing it properly. So ultimately those possibilities just go right out the window. Short of building a little box that they specifically go in, the only other solution is a scorched earth policy and frankly, I would rather see no hot file section at all than to allow it to be continually occupied by this garbage.
Anyways, thanks for reading my rant. I know I am by far not alone in this frustration and I have actually been discussing things with Paul (BlindJudge) at the Nexus and he’s indicated that the issue will be brought up during planning meetings for the new site roll out and they’ll work to refining how content can be filtered, blocked or categorized better. So hopefully time will tell what solution they have for us, and hopefully it will mean better user control over content highlighting.