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MO2 and the new .ESL file extension


Please note that this is just a preliminary look at this new file in Fallout 4. I have found one mod on the Nexus that has been converted and have not gotten to the point in the game to really test this.


As it stands now the new .ESl file format is not recognized by MO2 and without any active development on MO2 the new file format will most likely never be implemented in the program. That is not to say that these mods will not work.


The mods can be installed and loaded in MO2 like any other mod and if the mod has any BA2 files the mod will be seen being good upon install. The new plugin will not show up in the right-hand pane though.


You can however get the game to load the plugin with a caveat, which I will mention later.


To enable the mods plugin do the following:

  • Download the mod with a ESL plugin.
  • Install said mod and enable it in the left pane.
  • Start the game from MO2.
  • Wait for the game to load. When you get to the “press any key to continue†do so.
  • At the menu look for the option for Mods and select that feature.
  • At the bottom you will see a list of options. Select the option for “Load Order†or press the “T†button on PC.
  • Scroll through the list and you will see the mod_Name.ESL file, which will be unchecked.
  • Click on it to enable it and any other ones you may have.
  • Press ESC twice and the game will give a popup that the load order has changed. Press OK.

The game will restart and bring you back to the main menu.


Now the game will write a new plugins.txt file to C:\Users\USER_Name\AppData\Local\Fallout4 folder. This is not the same as the MO2 plugins.txt file.


Playing the game from this session the plugin should be loaded.


Now the caveat. Quitting the game and returning to MO2 and relaunching the game will render the ESL file unchecked upon relaunching the game even though the plugins.txt in C:\Users\USER_Name\AppData\Local\Fallout4 folder has not changed. The plugins.txt from the active MO2 profile was given to the game and it now thinks the ESL file was not loaded.


Tested in MO 2.0.7

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Yes this is great news, but do you want a way to get ESL to load in the game while running MO right now? Try this hack.


OK, laugh at me if you want, shun me if you need to, my only purpose in life is to find workarounds for MO2 problems. If I knew how to program I would take a shot at MO2, but I can hardly do equations in an Excel spread sheet. So, I look for hacks to existing problems.


Warning not fully tested and will only work from MO 2.0.7 B3, built by Tannin before his departure, and only tested in portable mode with Fallout 4.


Requires MO 2.0.7 beta 3, portable install. Get it here

Nexus Mod Manager 0.63.17. Get it here. Now supports the ESL file format.


If you have a version of MO2 already installed, you can install 2-0-7 in another location.

  • For testing you can load mods from the Nexus or creation club.
  • If you want to test with your current load order, go into your original MO install and copy your profiles folder to the MO 2.0.7 install. You also must copy ModOrganizer.ini from the original install to the 2.0.7 install. You will not have to start from scratch when you do this.
  • If you want to go back to your original MO install do not remove mods from the 2.0.7 test.

Install NMM.

  • Install NMM to a location on your system. Avoid any UAC controlled locations.
  • Open MO2 and create an executable to NMM 0.63.17.
  • Mod the game in MO2. Install Mods with ESL files from Nexus. If you disabled the creation club menu, enable it and download mods from there if you want.
  • Run NMM from MO2 and select fallout 4 as the game. Optionally tick the “Don’t ask me the next time.†Box if you do not want to select it every time.
  • NMM will open and the ESL files will appear directly under the ESM files. Enable them. In my load order I have a mod from the Creation Club and two mods from the Nexus. All three ESL files are recognized by NMM launched from MO.
  • Press the “Launch F4SE†and play. You will have to do this from now on when you play.

Now the downside, after exiting the game and NMM the games DLC become unchecked in the right pane. The other mods ESPs will show a red triangle for the missing masters, but this can be ignored if all you do is play the game with this configuration. NMM will read the DLC from the vanilla game directory, but tools run from MO will complian. If you cleaned the DLC and have them installed as a mod, then enable them before launching NMM.


The saves in the MO saves tab will not show the ESL files as missing, but if you load a save that had ESLs enabled the game will warn you about missing plugins.


You may be wondering can I create a NMM shortcut to the desktop to launch the game this way? No, the shortcut will not work due to the feature being broken. I just had an infinite loading NMM logo. I had to terminate with Windows Task Manager after about twenty minutes.


Do not install mods from NMM while being run from MO. I have not tested this, and can’t say what will happen. Most likely they will go into the overwrite folder.


My ENB, Load Accelerator and xwize's Dymamic Performance Tuner all run as intended.


At the beginning of this I said this will only work from MO 2.0.7. I could not get NMM to run from any of the other versions of MO2.

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