My anticipation for Skyrim has been fluctuating lately, so in hopes for keeping it high I decided to delve into Morrowind, which, I'm sad to admit, I have never given a real chance until now. A few years ago as I was starting to burn myself out on Oblivion I decided to go out and buy the game of the year edition of Morrowind, especially after reading the ravings of longtime Elder Scrolls fans, who claimed that Oblivion couldn't hold a candle to it. I fell in love with Oblivion as soon as I stepped into it, so I had high hopes for its predecessor. As the game loaded and the main theme kicked in I remember getting some goosebumps because the soundtrack in Morrowind is, in my opinion, far more powerful than Oblivion. Once I started playing, however, I froze from disappointment. Being the idiot I was back then, oblivious to the fact that Morrowind was years older than Oblivion, I shut the game off after playing not more than two hours, finding myself lost, confused, and cringing at how outdated everything was. Disheartened, I put the game back on the shelf and never returned.
That is, until recently. Now that I have a fully functional brain and a taste in games deeper than a rain puddle I started to realize that Oblivion really wasn't all that I used to think it was. Don't get me wrong, I love it, and it still is a great game, it's just not exactly what I'd call a masterpiece. Now as the release of the Elder Scrolls V approaches I'm really starting to question the series's direction, as well as wonder what I missed when I let Morrowind collect dust in the corner. This compelled me to give it another shot, and after about ten hours of playing I'm loving every second of it.
After tinkering with the Morrowind Graphics & Sound Overhaul for a bit I loaded up that lovely opening title sequence, got more goosebumps, and began my journey into the Dark Elf infested land of Vvardenfell. Like Oblivion, the first thing I did was remake my character about a bazillion times. Granted, there ain't exactly a whole lot of customization options in Morrowind, but the presence of minor skills (and more skills in general) made me think through the class process a whole lot more than in its successor. I went for an Argonian, of course, and upon being reminded of the downright goofy movement animations (particularly for the beast races) I felt that no name was appropriate for my new character other than Walks-Like-A-Fool. After naming my lizard friend I left Jiub, raced the guard to the exit of the ship, and filled out my forms that officially said I was a lizardman with fins for hair, specialized majorly in mostly stealth and a few combat skills, and minorly in personality skills that will make people be less afraid of my scaly face (as well as a few more stealth/combat skills), a class I named Prowler after searching Thesaurus.com for a name alternative more creative than "Thief". Now that I was an official outlander of Morrowind my first course of action was to steal the first thing I could, only to have it forcibly taken from me without any repercussions whatsoever. I then completed the immigration process, and was left on the footstep of the customs office with nothing but a lockpick and dagger. Little did they know, that was all I needed, as I immediately broke into their storage facility, stole everything in sight, and bartered away anything I didn't need.
It was at this point in the game that I first realized I just might like Morrowind more than Oblivion. I was dropped into an unknown world without any help, could sell stolen goods to anyone I damn well pleased, actually got useful information out of the much more informative text based conversations, and was surrounded by a world of far more variety and uniqueness than Cyrodiil ever came close to.
After completing a few deeds for the townsfolk of Seyda Neen, including clearing out a nearby cave, I reacquainted myself with what was previously my main turnoff of the game - the combat. Even a lot of hardcore Morrowind fans find little satisfaction in this, but for whatever reason it felt refreshing to me. Perhaps it was because it wasn't as easy as Oblivion, or maybe because the animation and sounds were so hilariously aged, but I was able to really enjoy both melee and ranged combat this time around. Needless to say, I was having a good time, and I was even able to free a few of my lizard friends from a cage within the depths of this cavern. I decided to set free the captive Khajiit as well, despite their general cruelness to me that I was about to discover later in the game.
Like my character in Oblivion, I made up a back story for WLAF to make sense of why he was on that prison ship to begin with. Turns out WLAF was sick and tired of the slaving habits of the Dunmer, so he decided to become a vigilante of sorts to kill off any slavers he caught wandering around the border of Black Marsh and Morrowind, only to be caught and sent to the Imperial Prison after willingly and proudly confessing to the capture, torture, and murder of many, many Dunmer slavers. So goes the story of Walks-Like-A-Fool, and now he finds himself deep into enemy territory. At first he did not care why he was brought to Morrowind, but his curiosity has peaked after having a mysterious dream and contact with a supposed messenger for Dagoth-Ur and the Sixth House. However, he will also continue his ungoverned vigilante ways. WLAF will take cover in the Fighters Guild, because a ranking member of a respected guild is a much better persona to carry than ex-prisoner outlander. He will also infiltrate the Imperial Legion, if not only to search for a way to repay them for imprisoning him in the first place. The Morag Tong, however, has truly intrigued him, and he will join once he makes his first trek to Vivec. Also, being in Morrowind, it's hard to ignore the Houses, and after further researching them WLAF has decided to penetrate the inner workings of House Hlaalu and tear them apart from within, and will assassinate any member of Redoran or Telvanni he sees.
I regret judging Morrowind so poorly some years ago, but it's never too late to correct that. WLAF will continue his adventures throughout the summer, and after finally finishing this game and its expansions I just might recreate Teelius, my character from Oblivion, and give it a more fair assessment as well (especially now that I have had time to refine Teelius's story in my head). Oblivion, obviously, does have its plus sides, such as animate NPCs, which [the lack thereof] is so far my biggest gripe with Morrowind (it makes thievery very tedious, but then again Oblivion's psychic NPCs weren't much better). Hopefully by the time Skyrim is out I'll be fully hyped for a new Elder Scrolls game because I'm already working out my Dragonborn's story. Until then, WLAF will continue his adventure through Morrowind, slaughtering each racist Dunmer one at a time. Those red-eyed bastards.