What is Load Order?

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Understanding Fallout 4's Sorting Order

Fallout 4 reads game mods in an indexed list from top to bottom with the bottom-most mods having priority over the top. They do not merge at runtime, which is why having a load order, knowing which mods conflict, and which of those conflicts are incompatibilities or overrides is important.

Load order determination becomes easier with practice. There are two basic concepts to understand before downloading mods of the same type or even those that have mod dependencies or are the dependencies of other mods.

The first of the concepts is Install Order. That is where load order determination before downloading comes into play. By picking up good installing habits, you can avoid serious conflicts regarding scripting or textures, especially if you are a console player and are planning to transition eventually to modding on PC.

The second of the concepts is the Rule of One. A record or asset of a Data File can only be modified by another record or asset once. That is where the Framework and its categories come into play. You will have an overview of your mods so that you can install in load order.

Only choose one of any type of mod to add to your load order until you've tested two of the same type together. Console players do not have the advantage of using xEdit for Conflict Resolution.

Master Mods and Dependencies

A master mod is a mod whose records must be read by the game first before any other changes to those records. They can be actual master plugins or simply contain the first record to be read by another mod (a patch or addon).

Master Mod

A mod that contains the records that will be modded by an addon or patch. These may or may not jump to the top of the load order but they must go above any patches or addons. Ports of master mods must be named the same as their PC versions and must contain the same record IDs in order for ported patches or addons to work properly.

Addon Mod

A mod that adds additional records that can be modded by other addons or patches. It is generally part of a suite of mods by the same author but may be an addon by another author. Some may or may not communicate with their masters via scripting. Some may or may not provide bug fixes to their master. Some addons won't be installed with their masters due to the need to resolve conflicts with other mods, while others can be placed directly after their masters.

Patch Mod

A mod that “patches” or modifies the records or assets of another mod. It will have required dependencies that may or may not be more than one mod. It may or may not provide new or updated assets and may or may not communicate via scripting. It may or may not be by the same mod author as the master. Patches will be placed directly below the last plugin they touch.

Required Dependencies

On the Bethesda.net website, many mod authors have made use of the Required Dependencies tab. You will find it at the bottom of a mod page on PC or you can select it on your handheld device.

When downloading from the in-game mods manager, if you encounter Mod cannot be downloaded because it requires files not present, check the date. When the Bethesda.net site first launched there were issues adding Required Dependencies for anything other than the Season Pass DLC. If the mod is a port, check dependencies on the original mod page.

If the mod is a Console Port, check dependencies on the original mod page from where it was ported. Ported mods that do not have the same editor IDs or names as mods that require them will not be able to be used with their original patches. This can be especially problematic if one mod requires a normal Plugin, but the port is a Light Master conversion (ESL-flagged ESP) or if the port is a merged plugin of many different mods (generally called ‘bundles’ by those who also port Skyrim mods).

PC Considerations: It’s generally easier to create your own patch rather than rely on others so that you can have a patch for your specific mod list rather than a hodge-podge of things that may or may not work/conflict. It will give you better control over your load order and your game. Do not be afraid of xEdit or the Creation Kit. They are fren.


Fallout4.esm (Fallout base game) is the master plugin for all game records for the Commonwealth and some records within the DLCs.

Settlement Menu Manager is a master plugin for all settlement menu script assets of mods that are dependent on it. (Such as Creative Clutter)

More Complex Example

Armor Keywords Community Resource is a master plugin for all vanilla weapons and armors. Armorsmith is a plugin dependent on it that contains overwrites to the updates of Armor Keywords and contains new records and assets. It loads after Armor Keywords.

Unified Clothing Overhaul is a plugin dependent on Armor Keywords but not on Armorsmith that makes its own updates to the vanilla armors. Armorsmith on Xbox is very dated and causes crashes in the workbenches with certain mods and does not have the keywords for Creation Club.  UCO does have the keywords on vanilla weapons and armors for Creation Club as well as its own new records so must overwrite Armorsmith on Xbox.

Armor and weapons mods that are dependent upon Armor Keywords and Armorsmith are plugin dependents and must load lower than Unified Clothing Overhaul.

Any vanilla armors changes must have a compatibility patch for use with Armor Keywords or the record changes for Armor Keywords will not show up when you play. Because of the complexity of weapons and armors, this could lead to crashes in the workbench if the armor or weapon is not implemented properly.

Scripts vs Hard Edits

Mods that touch the base game records (or the records of other mods) without using scripting are called Hard Edits. Mods that use a text file written in FO4's native Papyrus scripting language are Scripted Edits. Mods that Script-Inject add new records.

Script-injected mods have a special placement within your load order when used with mods that make Hard Edit changes to the same records – a weapon or armor script-injected to the leveled item lists, for example. Hard Edits are considered masters and script-injected are considered dependents. The Hard Edits must come first to make the initial record changes and then followed by the script-injected mod.

Reading a mod page's description is vital in understanding the placement of mods. If there is not enough information to make a decision, you may well be better off passing on the mod and finding one with a better description so you don't have to waste time fighting with your load order.

Regardless of the above, there is a character limit on the Bethesda.net website. A mod author or porter may not have had enough room to give you all the information necessary for load order determination. Be sure to follow any links to other pages for additional information.

Installing in the wrong order may either result in some items not showing up or outright crashes when the mod's script attempts to communicate. The primary worry is that objects aren't showing up rather than crashing.

In the case of the wrong order placement for Settlement Menu Manager, you will lose workshop menus. In the case of the wrong order for leveled items, enemies that are supposed to have weapons will only be able to melee with their fists. In both cases, a restart of the game is necessary after you've re-ordered. Because we cannot see what's under the hood on Xbox, we must operate on the assumption that the scripting is only set to run once at game start – that is, when you select NEW in the Main Menu.

What is a Scripted Mod?
Fallout 4 Load Order Survival: Learn what a scripted mod is and best practices when downloading one.
Scripts: how they affect load orders and why you should not uninstall and continue on the same save

Conflict Resolution and Conflict Winners

The whole point of Load Order is conflict resolution. You can only change a record once. This is known as the Rule of One. There are five options to resolve conflicts for PC players but only four options are available for console players.

  • Remove one or both mods causing conflict - If they do not play nice together, especially if the conflict is causing crashes, one or both need the boot.
  • Resolve conflict with a compatibility patch - Console players, unless they own two copies of the game and are willing to make their own, must rely on the community to make compatibility patches for them. Some PC players prefer to rely on community-made patches and fixes.
  • Create your own compatibility patch - Resolve conflicts by adding records to a patch using either the official editor or xEdit.
  • Change the Load Order - Oftentimes simply moving a mod below another will resolve the conflict by overriding the records of choice.
  • Don't do a thing - Some conflicts are not harmful and may not be something important enough to care about.

Understanding Conflicts and Overrides

Like Mods with Like Mods

Keeping like mods with like mods and grouping mods into categories keeps you organized and helps you to see what could possibly be a Rule of One Conflict or a simple record override. Read the mod description to determine the best starting placement.


Some mods can be used together to override changes one has made. Mods themselves override the original records of Fallout 4 to impart changes a mod author wants.

Types of Overrides

  • Compatibility patches
  • Addons - some mod authors have additional plugins for their mods that override previous changes
  • Unofficial patches to other mods - some mod authors like only part of another's mod but have ideas for other things and so add their own overrides
Keep in mind that you will need to install compatibility patches below the lowest mod the patch is created to override.


There are several different types of conflict but the basics is that conflict occurs when two mods modify the same record. This record can be in the form of a base game record, a script, or another asset. Always keep in mind the Rule of One when selecting mods.

Types of Conflicts

  • If two weapons mods edit the same base gun or any of its keywords, they will conflict and need a compatibility patch to work together.
  • If a mod that disables the precombines and then rebuilds them to suit their mod to add their items or settlement to the world and another mod rebuilds the base game precombines, those two mods will need a compatibility patch.
  • If two scrap mods edit the same base game scrap lists, those two mods will be incompatible. While a compatibility patch would work, the general rule for scrap mods is to choose only one for purposes of stability.
  • If two weather mods modify the same sound record or cloud record, those two mods will conflict. In this instance this is an incompatibility.


Some mods do not work together at all. These types of mods will be editing the same record. Whatever is lowest will have priority over the top. Some incompatibility will cause issues for the game or other mods in your load order.

Types of Incompatibilities

ModA modifies the vanilla texture of a road as part of a graphical overhaul. ModB also modifies the vanilla textures of a road as part of a different graphical overhaul. These two cannot be used together because 1) it would be a waste of space to keep the conflict loser and 2) there is no way to resolve an asset conflict of this nature.

Some conflicts are more dangerous, such as two different scripts attempting to do the same thing to the same record, but by using different methods. This type of script conflict could lead to your game not loading or the game not functioning optimally or CTD after a while.

Further Reading

Load Order Framework
Survive Load Order Disorder by sorting your mods using these categories defined below. Learn how to load order.
Build your Framework by grouping like mods with like mods

Load Order Framework Basic Template
Fallout 4 Load Order Framework Basic Template gives you more control over your planning before you ever download a single mod.
Calculator, all-in-one organizer worksheet for all platforms

Planning a Modded Play-Through
Fallout 4 Load Order Tips: Survive Load Order Disorder by planning your play through as you build your LO Framework.
Planning Guide

Fallout 4 Load Order Divide and Conquer
Survive Load Order Disorder by learning to Divide and Conquer your list in this advanced troubleshooting tutorial. #Fallout4 #Fallout4Mods #LoadOrderSurvival #LoadOrder
How to find conflicts

Modding and Load Order FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about LO and Mod installation Xbox PS4 PC
But what about...


Quality of life mods that make sense.



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