Mods have become so ubiquitous nowadays that they have turned into metaverses on their own. However, do we realize how much they contribute to the overall experience of a gamer?

One does not have to look far for examples of mods changing the way games are played: Try looking at the top ten lists of the most played games on Steam on a given day; while it is true that some games breakthrough from tie to tie; however, the top ones usually are more or less the same – and share features with each other: They are competitive titles with a massive esports base, or they are games that have – guess what? – a metric ton of mods!

The top ten titles are as follows at the time of writing:

● With Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) at the top
● Dota 2
● Apex Legends
● Grand Theft Auto V
● Source SDK Base 2013 Multiplayer
● Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
● Team Fortress 2, Path of Exile
● and Rust

are all part of this list. Out of these ten games, eight of them have mods or have the available software for it. Grand Theft Auto V and Source SDK Base 2013 Multiplayer are basically the same game (the latter is where people have their roleplay mods), so one can safely say that modded games dominate the Steam charts in a very resounding way.
As we know, some of the long-standing games on this list (and which are also considered to be among the top electronic sports in the world at the same time) started as mods back in the day. For instance, Defense of the Ancients (also known as DotA, spawned a direct successor in 2013 - and is the title that defined the genre of “multiplayer online battle arena” games) was a product of modding. Dota 2 today has even a mode called “Custom Games,” where players just play whatever they want and create maps in their own image, which is a nod to the origins of DotA itself. Even the game developers of Dota 2 include mods in official events such as Diretide, Frostivus, and Lunar Bloom: They all contain different maps and mechanics on top of the existing ones – and they are really fun to play!


There are even cases when "the mod of a mod is the mod of a mod" and “the mod of the genre” phenomenon happens in these games. For instance, although CS: GO is a sequel of the Counter-Strike series that came out as a mod of Half-Life (which in itself is a mod from Quake), players still do nostalgic mods of the previous versions as a part of CS: GO - Counter-Strike: Classic Offensive (CS: GO) is one huge example of this trend, as it copies not just the textures and cosmetics of the old version, but also tries to approximate the map mechanics and spray patterns of the previous version. Yes, you heard it right: Someone just modded the old versions of the game on the newest version of the series, thus ensuring that they get an afterlife of their own. CS: GO became ridiculously popular that WarOwl, one of CS: GO’s most famous YouTubers, has included it in his reviews (he actually covers a lot of the mods that are used in CS: GO on a regular basis).

In another twist of modding, everyone has included Dust 2, which is the quintessential Counter-strike map, in games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. They were either officially made by the game developers or by modders themselves. Another example is the inclusion of the Valorant maps as a mod on CS:GO – thus giving the game’s players a taste of Valorant’s map design and mobility mechanics, as well as the numerous competitive clients used by professional players to play the game – they are considered mods as they contain features that the original game does not have. All of these do not even yet cover the other mods played in CS:GO – surfing, zombie mode, and practice maps are widely played in the game.

Going on to Team Fortress 2 and GTA V, I think it’s safe to say that you can just play anything and everything that you want. Want 24/7 fights? You got them! Want racing? You can do it too! The possibilities are just endless that it’s no surprise that they occupy their respective positions in the top 10.

The mods presented in this list do not necessarily improve the game at a base level (though the competitive clients of CS;GO clearly do so, as they offer 128-tick servers and robust anti-cheat systems, among other features that are clearly not in the base game itself. These mods are intended to give the players completely different experiences, and based on the fact that a lot of gamers play these games on Steam every single day, one can easily deduce the extent of their popularity in the gaming community.

No mod is perfect. As a matter of fact, they can be laden with bugs (thus the need for constant updates), and even in the best situations, they are unable to really become totally perfect and polished by themselves – well, to be fair, no mod was intended to be super polished in the first place. For instance, WarOwl points out in his video for CS:GO that although the sounds, cosmetics, map design, and, the shooting and movement feels like it is just a slightly modified version of CS:GO; in other words, the mod wasn’t able to replicate the old version of Counter-Strike in its entirety. However, he also mentioned that the mod is as perfect as it could be, given the limitations of the Source engine when it comes to rendering the features of the older versions of Counter-Strike.

In short, mods provide an extension to the gaming experience. They allow players to do different things and experiment new approaches that do not exist in the original game, and they do add a lot of ways for everyone to enjoy and view the game from a different light!

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Author's Bio: 

Mike working as a guest author.