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Okay, so mod support is now official for Fallout 4 as of 1.05.

The game placed load order in alphabetic order

Now while it is possible to reorder the order manually, this shakeup has generated a host of bugs.

I won't bother posting an exhaustive list of the mods being used or the bugs being experienced as you get on some forums as there are too many variables at play. Instead my question in relation to the 1.05 update is

  • Are there universal principles that can be adhered to when considering the load order of one's mods that is most likely to reduce in-game bugs.

That is to say, should alterations in relation to AI, keywords, gameplay changes, texture alteration, etc. be subject to any particular order, or is it inherently trial-and-error?

3

You should definitely be using LOOT on PC as it takes 99% of the guess work out of load orders.

The previous version of LOOT (known as BOSS) worked on a masterlist system where it could order every single mod it knew into an order it knew worked, based on community feedback. However, it had the problem of not knowing what to with mods that it didn't recognise. LOOT is a lot smarter. LOOT can look at each mods metadata and determine if it has any dependencies on other mods or overwrites any other mods, and what it overwrites. It then builds a load order based on a masterlist for mods it does know and the metadata for those it doesn't.

The remaining 1% is in the event that LOOT recognises two mods as affecting the same resources but can't put one above the other. LOOT will then fall back on an arbitrary method of ordering them, which may result in some functionality being lost. However, this an extreme fringe case.

  • I'd been meaning to update this question since I discovered LOOT. While LOOT is a work in progress for FO4, I think that this is the single catch-all long-term solution for compatibility – Stumbler Jun 22 '16 at 8:06
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In general as GeneralMike said, use a 3rd party tool on PC. When running a fairly to heavily modded game, the built-in version from Bethesda sometime crashes as it forgets to activate DLCs.

As a general rule for organization:

  • official esm (normal as they have to be on top)
  • Unofficial Patches should be the first esms after the official files
  • other esm

esps in following scheme

  • non-conflicting texture changes
  • item additions
  • new locations
  • new stuff/effect etc
  • overhauls to game mechanics
  • compatibility patches between mods

Consider using LOOT, a tool to sort load order, and using a mod organizer like Nexus Mod Manager (IMHO at the moment the only viable solution as long as Mod Organizer has no stable version for Fallout4)

  • NMM is essential. Fought a bit with Fallout after mods were 'officially' added to Fallout, but many of those wrinkles have apparently been ironed out – Stumbler Jun 22 '16 at 8:08
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First off, you will probably want to use a separate mod organizer program of some kind. FO4 has some build-in mod support OOTB, but there are a lot of tools out there on the internets that make modding much easier, especially if you want to run a heavily modded game. Depending on which one you use, there will be prompts or features that help you work with mod conflicts and load priorities. Check out their documentation for how that all works. I use Nexus Mod Manager, and that's what I've based my answer on - if you use another tool, YMMV.

So, with that said, I can think of 3 major things to consider when trying to determine load order:

  1. Do what the mod author says. Most mod creators will include some form of "Installation Instructions" text (either in a description on the site/service you download the mod from, or as a separate .txt file that comes with the mod files, etc.) - heed their advice above all else.

If the mod author doesn't include any instructions, or they don't help with your particular mod combination, then consider:

  1. Mod requirements. Some mods will require other mods to be active, or they don't work. If Mod B requires Mod A, typically (but not always, see 1. above) you want to load Mod A first, then Mod B after.

  2. Mod conflicts. Sometimes you will find multiple mods that make the same or overlapping changes. For example, Mod A may add new textures for water and clouds, and Mod B may add new textures for grass and water. Since both mods will affect the water textures, these mods will conflict. Whichever mod is loaded LAST will be the one that you will see the effects of in game - so if you want the water textures from Mod A, load Mod B first, then Mod A after.

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