In general, Vortex will sort your plugin list based on LOOT automatically. LOOT (which is short for Load Order Optimisation Tool) is a load order management tool that is curated by the community, and it is designed to automatically sort your plugin list based on ever-evolving rules. The goal of LOOT is to provide you with an easy way to avoid conflicts between mods. As such it will notify you of issues such as incompatibilities between mods, missing requirements, or available patches. Vortex comes with LOOT integrated into it and will automatically sort your load order in a sensible fashion to avoid conflicts and achieve a stable setup.
That being said, with Vortex you are still able to define your own rules for both plugins as well as groups of plugins for more granular control of your load order. At times, you will need to specify rules yourself for plugins that are not covered by LOOT.
In this document we will go over what plugins and mods are, and why load orders and install orders are important. We will also take a look at how to resolve conflicts on the mod level, and at how Vortex automatic sorting will help you establish a stable load order for your plugins.
Enabled plugins (plugins that you "turn on") are loaded by the game engine according to a specified sequence commonly referred to as "load order". The order in which your plugins are loaded is important because some plugins might depend on others, in which case they need to load after whichever plugin they depend on.
In other cases several mods (i.e. mods consisting of plugins and assets, or "pluginless mods", which consist of e.g. just a texture pack) might reference the same game files, in which case whichever mod is last in the "install order" will "win" the conflict and override the previous mod's changes.
The goal of sorting your plugin and mod lists is to keep changes to the minimum needed to have a working, stable game. Vortex can help you resolve these types of conflicts by allowing you to set rules affecting your load order for your plugins and your install order for your mods.
This plugin load order would not be functional and leave an inexperienced modder guessing as to what is wrong. The reason this load order would crash the game on startup is because Hunterborn-Skytest Patch.esp depends on the other two plugins. In other words, the other two plugins are "masters" of Hunterborn-Skytest Patch.esp and if the patch cannot find them in the load order, you will end up with a "missing masters" error.
This is because the patch modifies some of Hunterborn's scripts to make them compatible with SkyTEST. As they contain the same files, the two mods are in conflict with each other. When it comes to Bethesda games and install orders, the last mod to load "wins" a given conflict, as it will override the changes made by the mod loaded before. In our case we want the patch to win the conflict, as it contains the updated script files that are edited to work with SkyTEST.
In the following, we will take a look at how to achieve this plugin load order, at how to resolve the mod conflict between Hunterborn and the Hunterborn SkyTEST Patch, and at the ways Vortex assists you in achieving your goal of a stable setup.
As we established above, when it comes to the three plugins of our example mods, all that matters is that the patch loads last, as it depends on the other two mods' plugin files. Therefore either of these example load orders would be functional.
If you have auto sorting disabled (indicated by the leftmost button in the top bar) you will need to click the "Sort now" button to prompt Vortex to arrange your plugins in the right order. After that is done, your plugin load order in our example should look like this:
Depending on the amount of other plugins you have, the numbers in the load order column might be different for you. However, as far as our three example plugins are concerned, all that matters is that Hunterborn-Skytest Patch.esp loads after both Hunterborn.esp and SkyTEST-RealisticAnimals&Predators.esp. Note that if you add more plugins, it also does not matter whether these go in between e.g. Hunterborn.esp and the Hunterborn-SkyTEST Patch.esp or not. They do not have to directly follow each other as long as the patch loads last relative to the two plugins it depends on.
The following covers in great detail the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions regarding Vortex: why we chose to forsake the established plugin drag and drop approach in favour of what we are convinced to be a more hassle-free solution to load order management.
Dragging and dropping plugins freely is one way of achieving a stable load order and likely the main way many veteran modders of Bethesda Games (The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series) will have employed in the past. The downside of this approach, however, is that it requires knowledge of mods, plugins, the way they interact, and ultimately: the mod content itself.
Further, mod authors will often be overly cautious in their recommendations regarding where their plugin needs to go in the load order and simply opt to tell users that it needs to load last. However, there is generally no need for a plugin to load dead last in the load order. All that matters is that it loads before/after other plugins that conflict, or otherwise interact with it - which to determine requires knowledge about both plugins in question.
Lastly, it is also possible that information provided by a mod author or someone compiling a working load order at one point is simply outdated and no longer accounts for the most recent versions of plugins by the time you read about it.
With Vortex, on the other hand, you are delegating load order management to a powerful tool: LOOT - the Load Order Optimisation Tool - designed to automatically sort your plugins in a sensible way. Not only that, but LOOT will also alert you to issues in your load order such as missing patches (patch plugins) that you need in order to make two or more mods compatible with each other.
Without LOOT, you are relying on your own knowledge of mods and plugins in order to determine, which mods need patches in order to be made compatible, which mods need to load before one other, but after yet another mod etc.
In essence, LOOT is a curated masterlist that is constantly being updated by mod authors and knowledgeable users alike. You can think of it as a load order management tool powered by the combined load order related knowledge of thousands of users.
Manually tinkering with your load order should be the absolute exception, not the rule. It also makes it a lot harder for people to help you troubleshoot any potential issues you might experience, as a load order that has been manually created via drag and drop is more prone to errors.
To sum it up, given our years of first-hand experience with not only modding various games, but with actual development of mod managers and mod management tools, we have arrived at the conclusion that the best way to reliably create a stable load order is a combination of automation and the rare, exceptional custom rule, rather than the previously established drag and drop system as a base for load order management.
Ultimately, we want to move towards a future where load order optimisation is entirely automated and constantly enhanced/maintained by our community of millions of modders, rather than taking a step back to the previously established drag and drop system. If you are in doubt, please consider giving the automatic load order sorting Vortex provides a shot and you might discover that it takes a huge load of work off your shoulders.
If you do encounter an actual technical issue with the automatic load order sorting, please, consider contributing to LOOT directly and do not hesitate to inform us providing concrete examples of plugins that are being sorted in the wrong order via our Vortex support forums.
This will bring up the group screen where all plugin "groups" are managed. The group nodes and the links between them with the arrow in the middle are visual representations of plugins assigned to the same groups, their relative positions in the load order, and the load order sequence.
Your two group nodes should now look like in the picture above. As far as the load order is considered, the rule that is set now dictates that every plugin assigned to the "My Mods A/B/C" group will now load before any plugin in the "Example Mod 1 and 2" group.
The creators of the Vortex have centred their approach. They aim to make all the complex tasks such as the vortex load order, the management of vortex mods, and automating the process, assisting you to achieve so much more by being less challenging for the user.
The functions that are required to load the game are put on certain locations in the vortex file system. You can change these functions by altering the vortex load order. The Vortex Load Order is a game changer!
The function that loads first in a vortex file system is called VortexLoader, which loads all other functions with it. This means that if you want to add a new function or change an existing one, you first need to alter their position in their folder and then run main_vortex_loader again. Keep reading to find out, vortex how to change the load order.
The load order is determined by priority. The lower number is always at the top and gets loaded first, followed by higher numbers in a descending order. This tool is great for modders because they can easily organize and change their vortex load order without having to manually change every single file. 2b1af7f3a8