Today in this little mini-guide I will be covering the basic tweaks of file “UserSettings.txt” for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Hopefully, some of you will see increased performance or have a better experience while playing ESO!
Changes to guide:
6/29/2016 – Edited numbers as Dark Brotherhood DLC added in a line that pushed all the numbers down.
6/29/2016 – Added in some notes from DCN community member Coolio_Wolfus. Thanks for the extra tips!
3/9/2016 – Edited image format suggestion for Line #16, Added new Line #41, Added new Line #121
3/8/2016 – Initial Release
The first thing you will want to do is head over to your UserSettings.txt file. It is located in “C:\YOURUSERNAME\Documents\Elder Scrolls Online\live“, replace “YOURUSERNAME” with your windows profile name. Once in that folder you will want to create a backup of your UserSettings.txt, easiest way to do this is to right click on it and click “Copy” and then right click on an empty space and click “Paste” and you will create a new file called “UserSettings – Copy.txt“. Bam! A backup! I also recommend doing these settings ONE at a time and logging in the game and seeing if you like it or not.
Ok, now that the backup is created lets delve into the this file.
UserSettings.txt contains all the settings you are using to run ESO as well as some hidden options as well. Also if the line numbers do match up to your UserSettings file then just do a “search” for the line text posted. Lets take a look at the first tweak to do.
SET ScreenshotFormat.2 “BMP”
This line sets the image of type of the screen shot you are creating when clicking the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. However you can change it to create screenshots in different qualities. Here are a couple options. “JPG” and “PNG“.
BMP is a fine format, in fact its about the same quality as PNG, however the files are generally larger than PNG and JPG. PNG is a lossless quality capture, meaning you shouldn’t loose any image quality and is usually a higher quality image than JPG. There is a lot of discussion on the best quality file format for capturing images in games. I would recommend doing a bit of research if you are a real stickler for image quality.
If you want to use the PNG settings then change it to look like this:
SET ScreenshotFormat.2 “PNG”
Done! Now your screenshots will be in the PNG format and look very good.
SET HIGH_RESOLUTION_SHADOWS “1”
This line will enable High Resolution Shadows. This setting is NOT the same as Shadow Quality. High Resolution Shadows is a bit of a “hidden” setting. The difference between this being enabled or disabled is not that huge a difference to me personally. And if you are suffering from higher VRAM Usage or lower than normal FPS you can turn this off and see how it affects you. If you would like to turn off High Resolution Shadows then change it to the following:
SET HIGH_RESOLUTION_SHADOWS “0”
As always check ingame and if you don’t like the difference in quality or if doesn’t affect your FPS then by all means change it back. The main benefit of turning this off is lower VRAM (video card memory) usage.
SET GPUSmoothingFrames “10”
This settings is a tad more tricky to understand. Ok lets take a look at V-Sync, V-Sync will double buffer the frames you see on your screen making the FPS lock and possibly be stable at 60 FPS. By having GPUSmoothingFrames set to 10 causes more frame buffering top of the V-Sync buffering you may also be using. What this setting does is cause not so drastic FPS swings, instead of going from 60 FPS to 10, you may from from 60 to 50 to 40 to 30 and so on and it will gradually lower and not be as jarring when your FPS tanks. Now on the surface this seems like a great option to keep this set to “10”, however there is a cost. The cost of keeping this at “10” will causing extra input lag (some people may not notice at all) while playing the game.
If you want to have less drastic FPS swings and more input lag then leave this settings alone. If you want to have drastic FPS swings (when it does drop, not all the time) and a lot less input lag then set it to “0”.
To turn it off make sure your line looks like this:
SET GPUSmoothingFrames “0”
This setting does have its benefits and drawbacks and I highly recommend people play with this and see what it does for them.
SET MIP_LOAD_SKIP_LEVELS “0”
Here we go, this is the setting you graphics junkies will love. This settings FORCES the game to render all textures in the highest quality. There will be a lot less or NO muddy textures at all. However the cost is a big pretty substantial FPS loss. To be honest, at the time of writing this, I have an i7-4770k and a GTA 980 Ti and I loose around 10-15 FPS when I force this on. If you have a keen eye, the game will look crisper and probably a bit clearer at the cost of FPS. You can set this to a few different levels, “-1“, “-2“, and “-3“. If you want to go all out I would recommend “-3” being the highest setting. One quirk I noticed with this setting is when set to “-3” it took a lot longer for players to actually load out of the black silhouette whenever I zoned in somewhere with a lot of players.
To force high resolution textures all the time, set it to this:
SET MIP_LOAD_SKIP_LEVELS “-3”
A very important note about this setting. When you log in game your “Texture Quality” setting will appear to be blank or empty, this is fine. If you adjust this setting then you will be disabling the tweak you just did. LEAVE IT BLANK if you want to have the tweak work. If you would like to turn the tweak off then simply adjust the “Texture Quality” setting.
Images courtesy of Reddit user: LemonKing
Notice the more detailed clothing!
SET CHARACTER_LIGHTING “1”
This setting will enable exaggerated lighting effects on your character and NPC’s. This is more of a personal preference. I am still debating if I like this on or off! If you would like to turn this off then set it to:
SET CHARACTER_LIGHTING “0”
For a better idea of how it looks check out these comparison images courtesy of Reddit user Tierney11290
Exaggerated Lighting ON
Exaggerated Lighting OFF
SET LuaMemoryLimitMB “64”
This line is for people who use a lot of addons. What this line does is tell the game how much memory to allocate to addons. If you use Master Merchant or a good amount of addons then I highly suggest adjusting this settings. You can set it to “128“, “256” or “512“. Oddly enough I set it to “256” and when I logged in game it told me that it was not enough memory and to increase it to “512“. If you have the ram (memory) to spare then I would recommend settings this to AT MINIMUM “256“. Here is how to do so:
SET LuaMemoryLimitMB “256”
This setting SHOULD only help your game and will not have any adverse affects, as long as you have enough memory in your PC.
SET GraphicsDriver.7 “D3D9“
Ok this is more of a bug fix. If you have previously edited your UserSettings.txt file maybe a year ago and just forgot about, its very possible you forced the game to run in DirectX 9 mode for whatever reason. The game NO LONGER supports DirectX 9. If you have this line set to D3D9 you will have massive issues playing the game, if it will run at all! This setting only needs to be changed if it says “D3D9“. Change it to DirectX 11, if it says “D3D11” then LEAVE IT ALONE. You want it to look like this:
SET GraphicsDriver.7 “D3D11”
SET SkipPregameVideos “0”
You’ve been playing ESO for years…are you tired of seeing the…same…damn…intro movies…EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU LOG IN?!?! Well I was and this how to turn them off:
SET SkipPregameVideos “1”
And viola, now more intro videos! Enjoy!
And these are the most basic tweaks you can apply to Elder Scrolls Online that will hopefully make you have a better gaming experience. I hope this has helped anyone who may want some extra performance or better visuals! If anyone has any issues then please comment on this post. If I have any information wrong also please correct me!
Special Notes from Coolio_Wolfus
Also a big crash inducer/code booster for CPU processing are:
#138 SET MaxCoresToUse “6”
#139 SET RequestedNumJobThreads “-1”
#140 SET RequestedNumWorkerThreads “-1”
Especially #138, on a 4 core or lower machine this can sometimes cause issues, however for those with over 6 cores they are being capped short by this.
#139’s and #140’s “-1” is unlimited subject to the max Core limit and capacity, these can be fine tuned for a restrictive system 😀
#91 SET PlayerStandInsMaxPerFrame “8”
#92 SET PlayerStandInsEnabled.2 “1”
Increasing #91 may help older systems by displaying more black silhouettes when entering a new area allowing the scenery graphics to load first, note that it is a per frame setting so too high and it will have an adverse effect.
#92 However can disable the black immersion breaking silhouettes when zoning, should improve immersion but increases graphics load since it’s trying to load visuals for those characters instead of the usual delay.