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MO2 Skyrim SE and Standalones



Ever since I learned about MO and standalone installations for all the mod tools, I have been using standalone versions of everything dropped into the Skyrim folder.




It's where I would normally put: MO, LOOT Dev, TES5Edit, Wrye Bash, and DynDOLOD  - ALL standalones.


With MO2 and Skyrim SE, I am confused. 


I would love to do things the way I have always done them with all standalones in the game folder, but not sure if that's possible anymore.


I watched videos from GamerPoets and Dirty Weasel for MO2 installation, but they both seem to avoid putting MO2 in the Skyrim SE folder. Everything was going smooth with creating a new instance of MO2 in a separate folder at the root of my D drive, LOOT installer version, and SSEEdit clean masters worked okay. I started Wrye Bash to make sure it was working and then closed it. Then I found out it put an empty bashed patch into my Skyrim SE Data folder. Wrye Bash was also not finding any mods from my MO2 folder. I guess it was looking in the Skyrim SE folder?


So now I am not sure where to put anything anymore! :P


Do I need to create an argument for Wrye Bash?


Do I need to use a portable instance instead?

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I have my system structured like this:



F:\GOG Games\Fallout 3 | Fallout New Vegas | Morrowind | Oblivion
F:\Steam\SteamApps\common\Skyrim | Skyrim Special Edition
F:\Games\Fallout 3\ModOrganizer | LOOT | FO3Edit | WryeFlash | etc.
F:\Games\Fallout New Vegas\ModOrganizer | LOOT | FNVEdit | Wrye Flash | etc.


Strictly speaking you only need once instance of LOOT, but I elected to go with one instance of LOOT per game because I'm still using an older version of LOOT with Skyrim. I'll probably update LOOT to the latest version the next time I reinstall the STEP guide. I also hear WrinklyNinja is dropping priority order in favor of mod groups in the next version of LOOT so my current structure gives me a bit more flexibility by allowing me to update LOOT on a game-by-game basis.


I always use Mod Organizer in portable mode because this keeps all of Mod Organizer's data in the same folder so it's easier to copy and move to another PC (and because I'm old, stubborn, and set in my ways). You can use instances if you want and I think the devs generally recommend using instances, but this really is just a personal choice.


Even though you can install Mod Organizer 1.3.11 in the game folder, I never really liked this idea just because I like to keep the Steam and GOG folders as clean as possible just in case I need to reinstall or move them somewhere else. Putting Mod Organizer 2 in the game folder is not recommended because (as I understand it) it has an open issue that may cause it to recurse the Data folder indefinitely.

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The following should be taken into consideration when installing MO2:


The core function of Mod Organizer 2 is to keep the vanilla game directory and Data directory clean from extra files and installed mods. It accomplishes by not allowing any files to be written to the games root directory and by using its Virtual File System or VFS. A technique where the installed mods and any other third-party tool that work on the data directory will see a Virtual data directory which is comprised of the actual game directory and the Mod Organizer’s mods directory. Installing MO2 in the games directory goes against this core fundamental. It also makes it easier to fix things if you ever need to reinstall the game.


Install MO2 in a location where you don't need administrative privileges to write to and don't install MO below "Program Files". MO2 should never be run with administrative rights. It is also advisable to have your game installed outside of the Program Files directory, but not required.


MO2 should not be installed in the games directory and should be installed in its own folder as close to the root as possible, Drive-Letter:\ModOrganizer. Installing MO2 to the games directory has proven to induce odd behavior with some third-party programs and only by moving the MO2 instance out of the games folder the problem went away.


An install of MO2 is now being referenced as an “Instance†and we have the choice of either doing a Global instance or a portable instance. The “Global Instance†should be considered as one instance of MO2 that handles all supported games. Upon install the Downloads, Mods, Caches, Profiles and Overwrite folders will be created in the users “Base Directoryâ€, which is in the C:\Users\User-name\AppData\Local\ModOrganizer\Game-name. MO2 program files should be installed as mentioned above.


In the “Portable Instance†the Downloads, Mods, Caches, Profiles and Overwrite folders will be created in the users “Base Directoryâ€, which is now the selected MO2 install folder.


In either case the user has the option to move the location of these folders from the settings Paths tab.


To get max performance in game you should keep the mods and the overwrite folder on the same drive as the game but in their own folders outside of the game folder. You can copy any existing folders here and point MO2 to them in Settings path tab.


Following these standards will allow the MO2 developers easier troubleshoot problems without having to resort to starting from the beginning each time someone has a problem.


The above is from my research for a missing manual document in development and my time going through the MO2 developers Discord channel.

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Thank you both for your responses.


But what about Wrye Bash? That's where I ran into problems.


I get that the vfs is the reason for installing MO2 outside the game folder, but if my mod tools cannot find my mods...then what?


Do I have to put SSEEdit and Wrye Bash into the MO2 folder so they find my mods?

Edited by ShmooZ
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Tools such as xEdit and Wrye Bash do not "see" the installed mods based on their location or installation folder, they do so by the plugins.txt that defines the installed mods.


MO2 creates a system that passes a copy of that file, that includes all the mods added into the so-called VFS, and tricks the game, and also game tools, into believing it is the one in MyDocs. ie. the one used by a non-managed game.


There currently is an issue, with a solution in the development stage, that involves WB not always working within this so-called VFS.

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