20th Anniversary - Modern Masterpieces feature - Enderal mod for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2024)

Modern masterpieces are sometimes hard to come by, but not on ModDB - as these twenty mods take user generated content into a new era!

Modern Hits

In June 2002 ModDB began, and every year since we've celebrated the best mods in an annual player voted event. To mark our 20th Anniversary, we've decided to take a walk down memory lane, and look back on all of the mods that finished in the top 5, across five separate categories:

Total Conversions | In-Universe | Multiplayer | Modern Hits | Classics

These are mods that placed in Mod of the Year within the last ten years (2012-2021) that, despite their recent placement, have made a serious impact on modding culture and will one day be the legends themselves.

These two mods also could have happily fit into the Multiplayer category, naturally - but given both placed at first place in MOTY 2013 and 2014 respectively, they've earned their spot in competing against other modern hits on ModDB. Both bringing friendly co-operation or competition to two games that went without, they inspired the developers behind both titles to give players what they wanted and later titles included native multiplayer support - another case of genius modders setting the trend before the rest!

Going Commercial

Black Mesa | DayZ

Mods for Half-Life 2 and ARMA 2: Combined Operations

Many mods achieve widespread popularity as free releases - a fantastic portfolio piece that becomes a stepping stone to industry success later on. For some modders, however, that door opens much earlier due to attaining almost unmatched support. Taking 2004 and 2012, Black Mesa and DayZ both became commercial hits that helped kickstart the careers of many passionate hobbyists - and we can't wait to see what they do next.

A Long Time Coming

Rise of the Reds | Mental Omega

Mods for and

Sometimes the top mods take a while to get recognition, and these two took many years to finally win a place in Mod of the Year. With Rise of the Reds taking 2012 after seven years, and Mental Omega taking 2015 after eleven years, they both kept slugging it out, making regular improvements, updates, and engagement with their community, until their hard work finally paid off.

Cerebral Space Combat

Star Trek: Armada 3 | Star Wars: Thrawn's Revenge II: Ascendancy

Mods for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Both the mods on this list get their namesake from other RTS games - the first as a fan-made sequel, the second as a sequel to a gigantic mod. Though the originals are still fondly loved, all modding eventually hits a barrier, and these two projects rolled with the punches to keep their progress relevant in the modern day. Their similarities don't end there, as both took placements in 2014's MOTY.

Taking Middle-Earth By Storm

Edain Mod | Age of the Ring

Mods for Battle for Middle-earth II: Rise of the Witch King

20th Anniversary - Modern Masterpieces feature - Enderal mod for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (11)

Battle for Middle-Earth II gave players the reins in determining the fate of the Lord of the Rings world and seldom has the franchise revisited the strategy genre since. Thus, modders kept this alive themselves with a healthy spread of remarkable mods for the games in the series. Opening up new stories, these two mods have been chipping away at their own vision of a definitive LOTR experience, and took 2014 and 2017 for satisfying the vision of the fans, too.

Refreshing The Original

Brutal Doom | Ultimate Apocalypse

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl | Empire At War Remake

The Chronicles of Myrtana

Mod for Doom, Dawn of War: Soulstorm, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, and Gothic II - The Night of the Raven

All of the mods above come from games that are already solid experiences for their respective fans - offering plenty of depth and enjoyment. However, even the most diehard fan wants something new after a while, and each of these mods delivers - building upon the foundation of the original game to deliver more of what we all want. Their respect to the original title paid off with wins in 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2021.

New Worlds

Fallout: New California | Enderal

Mods for Fallout: New Vegas and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Some of the biggest worlds in gaming, after all these years, have finally begun to lose their magic. Once every corner and secret has been mapped out and explored, a door closes for many people. However, another door opens for creators - the potential to make a new world to explore. So was the case with these two mods, which built entirely new worlds and narratives out of already formidable foundations and gave players more to explore - whose gratitude won these mods placements in 2013 and 2016.

Fantastical Medieval Warfare

Warsword Conquest | Divide and Conquer

Mods for and Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms

In a scene full of modern or futuristic experiences, there's also a fair few that take you back into history - in this case, fabricated history - to experience society on a different technological level. Sometimes with magic, sometimes with monsters, and always with sword, shield, and spear - these two mods let you wage gigantic medieval battles like the history books talk of, with a little added spice. Players are happy to take this opportunity - as proven by their wins in 2014 and 2016.

Mods of Mods?!

Black Mesa: Blue Shift

Mod for Black Mesa

Here's one to satisfy the old modders among you - those who remember Black Mesa's fledgling beginnings and who stuck with it for its fifteen year journey. The developers behind that runaway success recognised the value in providing tools to continue their own legacy, and that gambit paid off with Black Mesa: Blue Shift in MOTY 2021. Many other projects - like Black Mesa: Azure Sheep, Black Mesa: Candidate Twelve, and Black-mesa Alpha Zero - all build upon this basis too, and for us, it's a great joy to see the cycle of modding continue into a new age.

Have your say in the comments.
Which takes the mantle for the best Modern mod in recent memory?

20th Anniversary - Modern Masterpieces feature - Enderal mod for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2024)


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