Morrowind: And You Will Know Me by My Trail of Corprusmeat

Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

I had made a goal for myself: to enter the unenterable Cavern of the Incarnate, which I found during my wanderings throughout Vvardenfell. I found, through UESP, which was sometimes an unfortunately necessary resource when the game refused to tell me what it was thinking, that despite a voice telling me a clue to opening the thing, I had to go through a rigmarole in the main quest to get it to open.
 
It was just about here that, in hindsight, I heard a grinding of gears. Morrowind is two, two, two games in one: an open world, exploration fantasy action game, and a quest based, medium-depth story-driven fantasy action game. At times in my wanderings I would see where the paths crossed when I killed a certain slaver, say, and the game would tell me I'd killed a character vital to completing the main quest, and that I'd doomed the world. As immersion breaking as that might be, I still appreciated it. In King's Quest V I could make a mistake that would ruin my game; and Arbitrary Water in the comments on the previous posting pointed out an example from Zork involving a very special onion, but both of those games can be recovered from the start without TOO much effort. I could probably go back to King's Quest V now and play it without notes.  Morrowind is too big a beast for that, though.  There's too much to it to allow for simple replay without changing your experience drastically, or going through a lot of annoying quests that aren't so fun the second time around.
 
The loss of a character will give you that error message, but because items always exist in the game they never thought to check to see if vital items disappeared from the game world. A bug, which seems to be native to the XBox version of the game, made it possible for items to be permanently lost. While my item may not have been, I couldn't think of where I might have sold it, so I started over from the last point where I had it, many real days and many real hours of gameplay ago.
 
I deliberately did things differently in places, as I often do. I skipped the Fighters Guild stuff that took so much of my time and finished the final quests for the Mages Guild, achieving top rank without bloodshed. I did some Thieves Guild quests for the first time, since it might make the Fighters Guild quest line end a bit less bloodily.  But at a certain point, I decided I was a bit tired of playing in this universe, and I wanted to just beat the thing, something I rarely ever considered before when playing either this or Daggerfall.  Arena was the first Elder Scrolls game that I wanted to beat, in part because the main quest dungeons were more interesting than the procedurally generated ones, and I realized that this was part of what I was missing in Elder Scrolls games since I tended to do the wandering thing all but exclusively.
 
At one point, I went to the places I would need to go in the future and piled up the needed loot on the table of the guy who would later ask for them, even putting some corprus weepings on his plate. Then I slogged through to a point where I entered the Cavern of the Incarnate and set the endgame in motion.  Now I'm running around the island trying to please everyone. I know none of this is necessary, but I want to see what the game will offer me, even though I'm less eager to read the plot than I was before the bug killed my chances.
 
What I find interesting about all of this is that this is one of the first times I've ever gone back so far on a save game tree to continue playing. I was going back in time, in a sense, back before I'd made the very useful magical shoulderpads, which I called A Water Pouch (eased fatigue) and A Flashslight (Night Eye for a few seconds), before I'd slaughtered a bunch of Fighters Guild folks, before I'd accidentally murdered Redoran troopers who had stormed a Telvanni stronghold. I experimented, found new propylon indices/indexes I'd overlooked before, went straight to places that it took me a long time to find the first time through.
 
Some of the magic seems dead to me. That's probably why I give up games in disgust when this sort of thing happens; in part because I want to preserve the chance that the game will wow me again. The wow factor is smaller for me now, but I'm going to end this thing, one way or another. If I hadn't found so much to love in the game, I don't think I would have gone through this, but as Skyrim marches its way from the icy north down to us, I can't help but wonder if Bethesda may not learn its lessons.  First buyers in November, be sure to let us know, honestly, how the game is going. You'll save the rest of us some pain.
 
Back to what I was saying toward the beginning (the theme of reloading is thick in this article), I think if I were asked which I preferred, the wandering or the questing, I would be forced to say both. The wandering, if it was just the tiny Daedric and Dwemer ruins without much special in them but a few baubles, I would be pretty disappointed. If it was just the quests, without the ability to wander, I would enjoy the story well enough, but hate that I couldn't individualize my character more in conversations, since even a morally simplistic version of this was in old Baldur's Gate. If they're combined, if I can wander into places I shouldn't be and loot stuff like in the famous picture at the end of this article, if the only way to go there was through official quests, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it nearly as much as I do. The best moments I had in Morrowind was where I stumbled across something new that I had never seen in all the times I had played it. I would not treat it like a series of chests to be searched, but I would pause, look around, consider possible traps, the consequences of taking that glowing shield from the wall like a sword-and-sorcery version of Indiana Jones.
 
Since it feels like these two philosophies are in conflict at times in this game, I think the thing that's more interesting to me than dragons or graphics or music is how Skyrim, as a game environment, functions.  It's not the questions many fans ask, since it's harder to put into words without sounding like an academic buried in jargon. Put as straightforward as I can manage: how will Skyrim cater to these two extremes?
 

 What lovely eyes you have, Mr. Statue--  *yoink*
#1 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

I had made a goal for myself: to enter the unenterable Cavern of the Incarnate, which I found during my wanderings throughout Vvardenfell. I found, through UESP, which was sometimes an unfortunately necessary resource when the game refused to tell me what it was thinking, that despite a voice telling me a clue to opening the thing, I had to go through a rigmarole in the main quest to get it to open.
 
It was just about here that, in hindsight, I heard a grinding of gears. Morrowind is two, two, two games in one: an open world, exploration fantasy action game, and a quest based, medium-depth story-driven fantasy action game. At times in my wanderings I would see where the paths crossed when I killed a certain slaver, say, and the game would tell me I'd killed a character vital to completing the main quest, and that I'd doomed the world. As immersion breaking as that might be, I still appreciated it. In King's Quest V I could make a mistake that would ruin my game; and Arbitrary Water in the comments on the previous posting pointed out an example from Zork involving a very special onion, but both of those games can be recovered from the start without TOO much effort. I could probably go back to King's Quest V now and play it without notes.  Morrowind is too big a beast for that, though.  There's too much to it to allow for simple replay without changing your experience drastically, or going through a lot of annoying quests that aren't so fun the second time around.
 
The loss of a character will give you that error message, but because items always exist in the game they never thought to check to see if vital items disappeared from the game world. A bug, which seems to be native to the XBox version of the game, made it possible for items to be permanently lost. While my item may not have been, I couldn't think of where I might have sold it, so I started over from the last point where I had it, many real days and many real hours of gameplay ago.
 
I deliberately did things differently in places, as I often do. I skipped the Fighters Guild stuff that took so much of my time and finished the final quests for the Mages Guild, achieving top rank without bloodshed. I did some Thieves Guild quests for the first time, since it might make the Fighters Guild quest line end a bit less bloodily.  But at a certain point, I decided I was a bit tired of playing in this universe, and I wanted to just beat the thing, something I rarely ever considered before when playing either this or Daggerfall.  Arena was the first Elder Scrolls game that I wanted to beat, in part because the main quest dungeons were more interesting than the procedurally generated ones, and I realized that this was part of what I was missing in Elder Scrolls games since I tended to do the wandering thing all but exclusively.
 
At one point, I went to the places I would need to go in the future and piled up the needed loot on the table of the guy who would later ask for them, even putting some corprus weepings on his plate. Then I slogged through to a point where I entered the Cavern of the Incarnate and set the endgame in motion.  Now I'm running around the island trying to please everyone. I know none of this is necessary, but I want to see what the game will offer me, even though I'm less eager to read the plot than I was before the bug killed my chances.
 
What I find interesting about all of this is that this is one of the first times I've ever gone back so far on a save game tree to continue playing. I was going back in time, in a sense, back before I'd made the very useful magical shoulderpads, which I called A Water Pouch (eased fatigue) and A Flashslight (Night Eye for a few seconds), before I'd slaughtered a bunch of Fighters Guild folks, before I'd accidentally murdered Redoran troopers who had stormed a Telvanni stronghold. I experimented, found new propylon indices/indexes I'd overlooked before, went straight to places that it took me a long time to find the first time through.
 
Some of the magic seems dead to me. That's probably why I give up games in disgust when this sort of thing happens; in part because I want to preserve the chance that the game will wow me again. The wow factor is smaller for me now, but I'm going to end this thing, one way or another. If I hadn't found so much to love in the game, I don't think I would have gone through this, but as Skyrim marches its way from the icy north down to us, I can't help but wonder if Bethesda may not learn its lessons.  First buyers in November, be sure to let us know, honestly, how the game is going. You'll save the rest of us some pain.
 
Back to what I was saying toward the beginning (the theme of reloading is thick in this article), I think if I were asked which I preferred, the wandering or the questing, I would be forced to say both. The wandering, if it was just the tiny Daedric and Dwemer ruins without much special in them but a few baubles, I would be pretty disappointed. If it was just the quests, without the ability to wander, I would enjoy the story well enough, but hate that I couldn't individualize my character more in conversations, since even a morally simplistic version of this was in old Baldur's Gate. If they're combined, if I can wander into places I shouldn't be and loot stuff like in the famous picture at the end of this article, if the only way to go there was through official quests, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it nearly as much as I do. The best moments I had in Morrowind was where I stumbled across something new that I had never seen in all the times I had played it. I would not treat it like a series of chests to be searched, but I would pause, look around, consider possible traps, the consequences of taking that glowing shield from the wall like a sword-and-sorcery version of Indiana Jones.
 
Since it feels like these two philosophies are in conflict at times in this game, I think the thing that's more interesting to me than dragons or graphics or music is how Skyrim, as a game environment, functions.  It's not the questions many fans ask, since it's harder to put into words without sounding like an academic buried in jargon. Put as straightforward as I can manage: how will Skyrim cater to these two extremes?
 

 What lovely eyes you have, Mr. Statue--  *yoink*

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