"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" (2011): Vilja vs. Sofia
Sofia and Vilja are too very popular custom follower mods for Skyrim. They are wildly different from each other in that they offer different things. Vilja is more about cheesiness and romance (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), while Sofia is more about laughter and hilarity.
After I wrote a long rant about how much I love Vilja, it probably surprises people to see that I love Sofia more. Well, I'm not exactly blind to Vilja's faults. In fact, when I played an Argonian mage character, I hated her. She treated my mage very differently than she had previously treated my khajiit warrior and it was a little shocking.
Likewise, I didn't always love Sofia, but I'd choose her over Vilja easily.
I think what people don't "get" about Sofia is that she's supposed to be a joke. She is the mod author's way of trolling other more serious custom follower mods. She constantly makes fun of herself, Skyrim, everyone in Skyrim, and even the Dragonborn. We are not laughing with her, we are laughing at her.
She is a pitiful child who strips naked when she gets drunk and stumbles into walls. She's a gag, there to be dumb and entertaining. People who take her too seriously will hate her. And I admit, after using more in-depth followers like Inigo, I was annoyed by Sofia's shallow childishness. I mainly installed her because I wanted fan service, a pretty pixel wife to follow me around and dote on me—yes, I'll admit it.
Female Dragonborns don't get much in the way of fan service in Skyrim, while males are flirted with by every woman and even get a romance in the form of Serana. Back in 2017, I recall suddenly feeling very bitter about that. It was part of the reason I started using custom followers.
2017 was the year I "meet" Sofia. It was the year I finally broke down and decided—out of one part curiosity, one part boredom—that I wanted to try out some custom follower mods. I tried Inigo and Vilja first. Both were fantastic but both had their flaws (yes, even Inigo!) and I quickly decided I wanted someone more easygoing and fun.
When I stumbled across Sofia, it was like a breath of fresh air.
Allow me to list all the ways I find Sofia superior to Vilja.
She's a Better Fighter
Sofia is really well-rounded, which allows her to change based on the type of character you're playing. I usually play a lot of warrior characters, so I make Sofia an archer or a mage. She's a pretty decent mage and hasn't hit me with a fireball yet. I love that.
Meanwhile, Vilja is pretty bad at magic. It's supposed to be something of a running joke in her mod that Nords "can't" do magic well. It's the reason why she's so envious toward a Dragonborn who is a mage. She even sneers at you when you become Archmage with a shocking amount of hate!
On top of that, I feel Vilja's battle banter is dumb and loud, often drowning out Inigo. Nothing she says during a fight is witty or even funny, just odd and annoying. The only cute thing about her battle banter is when you start taking damage and she starts to cry. I don't know why, but it's so cute how upset she gets—especially when you die.
When Vilja is used as a melee fighter, she gets in the way and steals my kills. But she's only useful with melee. She sucks as an archer and a mage.
Again, Sofia is well-rounded and ultimately more useful.
Her Songs Are Better
I ranted about how much I loved Vilja's voice, but to be honest, I don't like all of Vilja's songs. The only song I really love is the one about the blacksmith. The others are way too long and I always quickly wish I hadn't asked her to start singing in the first place.
Sofia, on the other hand, has some hilarious little songs that don't take that long to sing. What's more, if she's drunk, she makes up lyrics because she can't remember.
It's just all-around hilarious.
She's a Party Girl
Speaking of which, it's incredibly easy to get Sofia drunk.
With Vilja, you have to be in a tavern and you have to keep scrolling through her (endless amounts of) dialogue just to give her one drink. And after you've given her the first drink, she won't get drunk until around four or five. This kinda sucks when all you want to do is put her into drunk mode so that you can laugh at her.
Sofia, on the other hand, is a lightweight. Give her one bottle of ale and she is stumbling around saying funny things. If you click on her again, she eagerly hopes you're giving her more booze. Or else she has something else hilarious to say.
One time after giving her ale, she asked if I was trying to get her drunk so I could I sleep with her. I cracked up laughing and had to stop in the middle of a dungeon.
Simpler Dialogue Menu
That's another thing. I mentioned Vilja's endless and unnecessarily complicated dialogue menu. Sofia's is pretty straightforward. You can give her a present, trade items with her, dump loot into her inventory, or tell her to get lost. It's all pretty simple. No completely unnecessary "quick chat horns" or other nonsense.
Vilja, meanwhile, keeps interrupting you when you first recruit her so that she can explain her mechanics to you. She is also incredibly over-complicated and has a shitload of unnecessary features, such as changing clothing while swimming, making torches for you—as if there weren't a shitton in the game—and constantly offering you drinks.
There's nothing so annoying as trying to dump some loot into Vilja's storage, only to have her force you to listen about how she got her horse, Bruse. Sometimes I find myself in a hurry, trying to send her off to sell my loot at the store, but the store closes while we're standing there because she wants to talk about how fat she looks in her armor.
Granted, you aren't forced to listen to Vilja ramble. You can tell her to shut up and then open her inventory. But this makes her affection go down, and you don't want that to happen if you're trying to romance her. So you're basically just forced to grin and bear it.
With Sofia, the conversations never feel forced. I'm never aggravated or frustrated when I click on Sofia. Nine times out of ten, she says something that makes me crack up laughing.
Somehow, I'm always glad I clicked on her.
As in, no bullshit.
Vilja has a lot of long and ridiculous quests that are supposed to lead up to ultimately befriending her or marrying her. I know I said I didn't mind the fetch quests, but they are actually fucking annoying.
The unfortunate thing about mods is that they rely on fetch quests to transition from one stage to the next. In a game like Skyrim where there are no cut scenes, there's no other way.
The Inigo mod does it too, but because Inigo only has one quest (so far), people aren't really bothered by it. When you bring Inigo to Langley, Langley sends you to gather bird eggs so that he can talk with Inigo, allowing the passage of time so that the story can progress to the next stage. Again, this is a workaround method in a game where cut scenes aren't an option.
Unfortunately, because Vilja has so many long-ass quests requiring stage transitions, there are waaaaaay too many fetch quests. I recently finished the Donkey Tail quest just to get Leifur and I recall gritting my teeth when Heneri sent me to collect alto wine and honey nut treats—again!
Sofia has only got the marriage quest (which I've never done) and never asks me to fetch shit. So far, it is bliss.
Sofia's romance is pretty straight-forward—she has a huge crush on the Dragonborn and initially follows them around because of it. By comparison, Vilja wants you to continuously serve her, a complete stranger, putting aside your quest to save the fucking planet so you can pick flowers and gather giant toes.
Yes, I know Vilja's story is supposed to be about unconditional love. The Dragonborn is supposed to help Vilja without expecting anything return because they love her. But to be honest, I never felt it was well executed.
Also, Vilja thinks very little of the Dragonborn as a hero. She repeatedly says she finds it difficult to believe that you stopped Alduin—which is so annoying after everything you did to stop him and save her ass! Meanwhile, Sofia recognizes you as a hero and adores you, even if she tries to hide it.
I'm currently playing a khajiit warrior who is Vilja's girlfriend (completed the wolf cry armor quest), and I am seriously thinking about dumping Vilja for Sofia.
While I think Vilja's romance is cute, and while I love Vilja's family and her wedding ceremony, Vilja herself is just too corny.
Once you officially start dating Vilja, she is constantly in your face offering to cook you meals or give you drinks, when all you want to do is unload your loot on her. She is always so lovely-dovey, it makes me a bit sick. I hate hearing her call my character "dear" and "love" over and over . . . and over. It would be fine if she did it every once in a while but damn. When she asked me for the thousandth time if I wanted something to drink, I ran from my house, installed Sofia, and never looked back.
On top of that, marrying Vilja—actually proposing to her—isn't very ideal. Once the romance has progressed to a certain point, she will bully you into proposing. From there on out, you are getting married whether you like it or not and must perform quests to impress her family—as if killing Alduin wasn't enough!
That Vilja—this big aggressive Nord woman—bullies the Dragonborn into marriage is supposed to be funny, and it is. But I'd still rather my character had some agency in this situation, rather than being bullied or pressured into continuing a series of quests she may not want to unlock just yet.
I never did get very far into Sofia's romance—in fact, I never even started her marriage quest—but I have a feeling I would enjoy being married to her ten times more. As I said, I'm at a point where I'm seriously thinking about dumping Vilja and marrying Sofia instead.
Whenever I get to her marriage quest, I'll be sure to write a full review on the mod. I know that I loved Sofia back in 2017, even if she sometimes got on my nerves, and I still enjoy her now.
All that being said, I won't pretend Sofia doesn't have her downsides.
She's repetitive and needs more lines.
She can't talk to Inigo. She sometimes talks to my Dovahkiin like she's male—an annoying glitch that was never really worked out of the mod. And sometimes her jokes are a bit juvenile. But hey—still less aggravating than Vilja.
Also, she's not blonde. I like blondes.
I guess this mod will have to do.
Back to say I don't know how people can play with Sofia long enough to marry her. I don't hate her or anything. It's just that her immature jokes get tedious after a while. She . . . bored me.
After I visited the Grey Beards, she made a crack about Jurgen Windcaller being "horny," then apologized for it, saying it was a bad joke, even for her. The mod is hilariously self-aware of how immature it is. Again, it's supposed to be a joke. But it's a joke that only lasts for so long.
Now I remember why I uninstalled Sofia two years ago.
So no Sofia or Vilja. I suppose I'll go back to my vanilla Skyrim babes: Aela, Mjoll, Janessa, Frea, and Serana.
© 2019 Ash