A Step Back Into Morrowind

Posted by Hobbies (975 posts) -

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Oblivion, I shut the game off after playing not more than two hours, finding myself lost, confused, and cringing at how outdated everything was.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.

#1 Edited by Hobbies (975 posts) -

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.

#2 Edited by Twitchey (865 posts) -

After reading this I should really buy Morrowind. The first and last time I played it was in fifth grade and the graphics gave me a headache. I was playing on the Xbox so there was nothing I could do about them.
 
Nice read BTW, I hope to hear more from Walks-Like-A-Fool.

#3 Edited by Aishan (1003 posts) -

Nice read. 
 
Morrowind will always have a place in my heart, despite it's overall "jankiness." At the core, it's a really engaging and interesting world. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts once you delve a little deeper into the intricacies that Vvardenfell hides.

#4 Posted by kashif1 (1428 posts) -

I'm tempted to play it but why the hell does it have accuracy rolls?  Thats always my biggest problem with rpgs.
@Hobbies
By the way have you played the shivering isles?

#5 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

I'm exactly the same as you, though my reason for disliking Morrowind is different, i found it difficult to get into Morrowind for only one reason. Having no f***ing clue what to do, got a quest to kill some dark elf nobles, i think, walked into the tavern where they were at (took me an hour to find out their location) started a fight and they kicked my ass. Its that  type of thing where you have no idea what level you should be before you go to a certain location or try to complete a quest (which is why i think they implemented the level scaling thing in Oblivion, for the worse though). But i really want to play and enjoy Morrowind. Can anyone give me any tips?

#6 Posted by FreakAche (2938 posts) -
@Hobbies said:
...began my journey into the Dark Elf infested land of Vvardenfell....
Oh, so we're an infestation now? YOU ARGONIANS ARE ALL RACIST!
#7 Edited by Hobbies (975 posts) -

@kashif1

: I have Shivering Isles, but never did get into it because by the time I had bought it I was fairly tired of Oblivion. If I do get around to playing Oblivion before Skyrim gets out I'll make it a point to play, though. As for the rolls, that's the main reason I didn't like Morrowind to begin with, but for some reason I'm totally fine with them now. I guess after how easy Oblivion was it's nice to have something like the rolls to get in your way.

@TheDudeOfGaming

: The reason I was able to get into it is because my taste in games has changed over the years. I got tired of my hand being held in Oblivion, so if you want to enjoy Morrowind after already having played Oblivion you should go into it knowing you're not going to get much help. Don't go into it expecting everything to be hand-fed to you. It's a much deeper game than Oblivion, and some people, like me at first, are overwhelmed by it, but if you just take it easy, take things a little slowly at first, you should be able to ease into it. Talk to people, try to understand at least the basic lore, and have fun exploring the world! Oh, and save a lot...Morrowind is a lot less friendly in the autosave department than Oblivion is, so I learned the hard way.

@FreakAche

: Says the Dunmer, and therefore slavery-lover!

Thanks everyone for reading!

#8 Posted by jorbear (2517 posts) -

I have Morrowind installed and play it every one or two weeks. It is one of my favorite games of all time.

#9 Posted by kashif1 (1428 posts) -
@Hobbies said:
@kashif1: I have Shivering Isles, but never did get into it because by the time I had bought it I was fairly tired of Oblivion. If I do get around to playing Oblivion before Skyrim gets out I'll make it a point to play, though. As for the rolls, that's the main reason I didn't like Morrowind to begin with, but for some reason I'm totally fine with them now. I guess after how easy Oblivion was it's nice to have something like the rolls to get in your way.
 

Play it right now, it is one of the strangest setting i've ever been in and sheogorath is hilarious.  Well anyway I guess i shouldn't knock morrowind until i try it but i'll probably install a mod to get around the rolls.
#10 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4237 posts) -

When you find yourself coming up with reasons behind some of the events in the game, roleplaying like you're doing, that's a really good sign.
 
I tend to be a rather aggressive freer of slaves whenever I play, too. 
 
Here's hoping that Skyrim has some of the rough edges that made Morrowind charming, and doesn't let you complete everything and have everything handed to you.
 
Saving should be a skill you can level in Morrowind, given how much of a pain in the butt a forgotten save can be.

#11 Edited by Unchained (1080 posts) -

God I loved Morrowind. I remember downloading this incredible mod for better orc faces (They were warcraft 3 inspired, but they looked thoroughly unique and awesome!) and being obsessed with my badass Orc warrior. Guess which race I'm rolling for my first character in Skyrim?

I remember wandering around in a random area, finding this out-of-the-way dungeon that I had no quest to go to, just wandering and then fighting this insanely tough guy who would kick my ass again and again. Then, after reloading about 20 times and with some luck, I killed him. He had this artifact sword that I looted and made my character feel so powerful. Outside the game, that was a rough time in my life. Morrowind really was a great escape and a positive force for me back then.

Good times, good times. I'm tempted to go back, but I don't want to taint any of the good memories.

#12 Posted by Habast (90 posts) -

I had played Morrowind first and when I first played Oblivion I was like "wow, this is way better!" After time though, the excitement died down and I came to realize that Oblivion, despite it's improvements, cannot outshine its predecessor. I still love Oblivion, but Morrowind more. 
 
In fact, I did just start a new game on Oblivion as Habast the Khajjit, whom previously had on Morrowind (yes, my character is my namesake). Habast basically goes around, does whatever he wants, and doesn't take crap from anyone. He's one tough kitty. And on Morrowind, a violent abolitionist as well. Though, he isn't against all Dunmer, just the ones that approve of slavery. The Khajiit are my favorite race to play as, followed by the Argonians. Woot, beast races. Even though it suffered armor penalties and looked a little goofy, I miss how they walked in Morrowind. 
 
I'm looking forward to Skyrim. I doubt it'll match Morrowind, but I hope it blows it out of the water. I have high hopes for it, regardless. 
 
Anyways, good read.

#13 Posted by joshth (489 posts) -

Just got Morrowind on Steam about a week ago, and am absolutley loving it.  Can't wait for Skyrim!

#14 Posted by yakov456 (1873 posts) -

Love Oblivion and picked up Morrowind a couple of weeks back when it was on sale on Steam. Played a little before though. It's a very deep game but I still can't stand the journal and the conversation sidebar. I lose all track of what name I'm looking for in what location and what phrase to click to move the quest along. Ugh. Still a great time though.

#15 Posted by Bulby33 (521 posts) -

I tried playing Morrowind a bit last year after I bought it for like, $5, but I couldn't get into it. I think it was mainly because of the combat. I would literally swing at an enemy 20 times and only hit them twice. Twice? Yeah, two times.

#16 Posted by Storms (341 posts) -

I do a playthrough a couple times a year. This time I downloaded Better Heads, Better Bodies, Morrowind Comes Alive, Less Generic NPCs and a bunch of quest mods (Twin Lamps Anti-Slavery questline, etc.) and started playing a Redguard with gold tattoos. One of the best games ever.

#17 Edited by Hobbies (975 posts) -

Thank you everyone for reading!

My laptop's hard drive died on me the other day, and so I've lost my save file, sadly. Might try to recreate my character, though I doubt I'll have enough time to thoroughly play through Morrowind before Skyrim comes out.

#18 Posted by Mikemcn (6875 posts) -

I need to try it, the only elder scrolls game i've played is Daggerfall, and I only tried it very recently. I figure I can work my way up to Skyrim. Could you point me to the graphics overhauls you mentioned?

#19 Posted by Hobbies (975 posts) -
#20 Posted by Keith_Games (26 posts) -

I loaded my save game after I built a new pc and transferred stuff over. I have not tried the graphic overhauls simply because I want to enjoy it for what it was. However that journal is so aged at this point...I'm spoiled with the quest guide in oblivion and other newer games. However after about twenty minutes of reading old entries and finding out where I was in the main quest, I realized I'm not too far from the end. (spoilers?)

I have to be named the head of three or four houses now that I have been named the Nevarine...and then I gotta meet a God, attacking a few of Daguth Ur's side mates and then take him out lastly.

It's a great game. I bought it back in 2006 on PC and had a very similar impression to yours. I struggled through it trying to grasp what to do, how to comprehend it and function and after putting it aside for a year I came back and made progress...stopped....started over a year and a half ago and now with new pc I'm hopefully going to finish it.

Thanks for the link on the Graphics overhaul. I may do that for a second playthrough one day...

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