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Default Morrowind - Retrospective @ Edge Online

August 21st, 2012, 02:26
Edge Online looks back at Morrowind in their latest Time Extend feature:
Morrowind, however, remains the least constrained of the two. Plot-dependent characters canít be killed in Oblivion; in Morrowind, the quest line can be broken Ė a small text box alerts you to the fact Ė and youíre still free to remain an adventurer. Towns arenít separated from the outside world by a loading screen. Aspects that could never be held up as sleek game design are nonetheless powerful: character dialogue Ė apart from passer-by soundbites Ė is never spoken, instead metered out via rich clumps of text, and conversation strands are far more profuse than those of Oblivion. Walking is the only way to conserve fatigue, forcing you to stroll the land; fast travel isnít available, but silt strider creatures, boat rides and Magesí Guilds offer a shortcut between major settlements. Such aspects may be dissuasive to the received gaming mentality but, while itís likely that the average Oblivion player spends more time in the game before walking away, itís just as likely that those who managed to submerge themselves in Morrowind felt connected and invested all the deeper.
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August 21st, 2012, 02:26
For me, Morrowind remains the highlight of the Elder Scrolls series precisely because of the hyperlinked conversation and journal systems (not to mention a story that doesn't beat you over the head with itself - Skyrim is a slight improvement in this regard, at least). Although imperfectly implemented, they made the world that much more immersive because you could drill down in to the geography or lore if you wanted, or track back along a half-forgotten quest to see who gave it you and why, and where you had to go to progress (without dumb quest markers).

The atrophied abominations that followed with Oblivion and Skyrim made those games that much poorer. Giving us fully voiced characters who repeated phrases and echoed each other's accents the length and breadth of Cyrodil and Skyrim (with not even an attempt to have internally consistent regional accents) just added insult to injury.

As far as I'm concerned all self-respecting RPGs of any depth should come with an integrated wiki-like journal and conversation-record system. Can't think of a single other one that does though. Come to think of it, Wolf Mittag's Teudogar did at least have a local set of HTML files with historical background. And I just remembered Unreal World has an internal hypertext help system as well.

And just to see where the author of this piece is coming from, how about this quote:

Play Gradius V for 100 hours, and it could be argued to be akin to a religious experience of high skill and furious elegance, honed to the point of inimitable, zero-ping connection between gamer and game. Play Morrowind for 100 hours, and it’s just as arguable you’ll feel like nothing more than a cog in a vast but plodding machine, one whose quest is now one more of compulsion rather than any true care for the fate of the land; a job, of sorts, now reduced to nothing but activity-crunching and data processing. This is, of course, just an extreme example of the vapid nature of RPG longevity, where commitment can be mistaken for involvement. It’s perfectly possible – if very unlikely – that you’ll still be as concerned and invested in Vvardenfell as a world, and not a gameworld.
A sandbox roleplaying game on the PC compared to twitch space shooter on the PS2? As the kids are wont to say these days, WTF?
Last edited by Foreigner; August 21st, 2012 at 02:44.
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August 21st, 2012, 07:14
No fast travel? There were spells for that. This person doesn't know Morrowind.
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August 21st, 2012, 07:24
I'm sure he's aware of the Mark and Recall spells.

He's referring to fast travel as it's generally known today where you simply click on the map and instantly move there without the player-character actually doing something.
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August 21st, 2012, 07:32
Well, who knows? It's the most convenient mode of travel and he didn't mention it.
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August 21st, 2012, 10:50
I never used Mark/Recall all that much. I primarily used boats, silt riders and mage guilds, in addition to running around.

Anyhow, Morrowind was great, but not without flaws. The barren wasteland in the north filled with nothing but annoying birds pecking at you every now and then was beyond boring. Generally, anything related to those birds was annoying. In fact, Morrowind is the only game I know of where modding out a specific monster is almost mandatory.
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August 21st, 2012, 11:11
There will be a excuse to boot Morrowind again once The Titans of Ether-Ultima IX Redemption submerges.
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August 21st, 2012, 12:16
Ahh.. the last great Bethesda game. and a great one it was.

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August 21st, 2012, 15:22
I feel like the writer didnt emphasize my three favorite points enough - he did mention lack of voice acting, but not the depth of the experimentation allowed by spell/item crafting, and he barely mentioned the world's breathtaking beauty and intrigue.

For the first, I think it really falls into "better to be silent and thought a fool then open your mouth and remove all doubt". The writing is a little better in MW but it's hardly groundbreaking. What it does allow you to do, though, is create your own characters and voices in your head that DON'T sound awful. Bethesda's voice acting remains some of the worst in the business but even great teams rarely nail it all the time - and their lines are invariably quite truncated.

The world of Elder Scrolls is only marginally interesting when compared to other fantasy titles. The genre is so devoid of creativity that the Elder Scrolls world sems fascinatingly detailed by comparison. But if you boiled the intrigue of Tamriel down to two locations, they'd probably be the Black Marsh and Morrowind (and maybe the cat land which always sounds like they lifted wholesale from Hero's Quest 2). Sadly, we have yet to see the other two, but MW really didn't disappoint. The fog was of course functional and occasionally quite tiring, but it was also really gorgeous at times. And the architecture! It remains the only time that ES really stood apart, making a true culture out of nothing.

Finally, and most importantly, the game itself is less coggy than ever before or since. You're always wondering how to make the game more fun, and almost always have that option. It's not a perfect spellcrafting system from a number of balance aspects, but it's FUN and it's single player, so how is being able to FLY ever a bad thing? And you the player are absolutely necessary in these processes. Combat can actually be hard, if you don't minmax. Quests don't hold your hand so you need to figure things out yourself. A number of things constantly beg your interaction, and I love this about MW.
Last edited by qpqpqp; August 21st, 2012 at 15:35. Reason: whoops bad copy n paste!
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August 21st, 2012, 15:50
Having recently completed a complete play through of Morrowind + expansions I can appreciate the love for the game. I really got into the lore and read every book about the gods and the history of various rulers etc. The game sure had atmosphere. I don't really think Oblivion is inferior though. They all have their pros and cons.

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August 21st, 2012, 17:47
Darn, the one article i want to read and it isnt working on my phone. Im mired in about 96 hours of my latest MW excursion, a Dunmer assassin-like class of my own making. Id like to say im like halfway, but who knows. I could perpetually play the game for all time, who can really put a timeframe on Morrowind?

I'll have to say that ive gotten more bang for my buck from MW than any other game. Nwn, oblivion, lots of other 'toolset' games have given me a lot of additional stuff to work with, but MW rules above all. In fact MW is the only game i get defensive about - you dont talk shit about it around me, or else!
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August 21st, 2012, 21:22
A very well written article. Made me realize, once again, how much (and why) I really loved Morrowind. As someone said above, I actually liked Wikipedia-like dialogue system too, it had its own charm, even though it wasn't particularly "deep" as such. Journal could have been better implemented though..even with the Tribunal patch, it was too messy to be of much practical help.
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August 21st, 2012, 21:27
I found the wiki style journal invaluable for a complex open world game like this. I wish more games were like this.
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August 21st, 2012, 21:40
I really enjoyed Morrowind even though I never "finished" it. I spent over 200 hours exploring Vvardenfell without even touching the expansion areas.

I'm looking forward to playing again. I've got my eye on version 3.0 of the MSGO mod which should be released soon. I just need to upgrade my system for it.
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August 22nd, 2012, 02:01
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I really enjoyed Morrowind even though I never "finished" it. I spent over 200 hours exploring Vvardenfell without even touching the expansion areas.

I'm looking forward to playing again. I've got my eye on version 3.0 of the MSGO mod which should be released soon. I just need to upgrade my system for it.
You need to finish the main quest, bro. Youre missing out.

I have the game fully modded graphically to make it look like a modern game, and it makes all the difference in the world in a new playthru. And to think, i thought this game looked awesome before, way back when…
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August 22nd, 2012, 03:16
The world look amazing with the graphics overhaul. Someone needs to do something with the animations however. It's a blight on the game.

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August 22nd, 2012, 11:54
One of my fondest memoories is of the bandits in the cave outside Balmora (close to the silt strider) - a dunmer sorcerer came charging out threatening me with death and destruction (and calling me a filthy s'wit - the cheek!) , and I one-shotted him with a spell. hah! Not so high and mighty now, are we????

I agree with ToddMc above - the animations are still rather bad. I suppose that's intrinsic to the engine though, so not really moddable?
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August 22nd, 2012, 15:48
To this day, whenever I see Venus close to a crescent moon, I always have to think of Morrowind.
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August 22nd, 2012, 21:23
Also never finished it or the wonderful expansions but spent over 100 hours in that world and love that game very much, flaws and all.

Keep meaning to reinstall but have too much of a backlog, but not a month goes by where I don't think of that game. It wasn't perfect but it had that MAGIC quality that most of my favorite games have, those games that fully captivate and enthrall and you can't stop thinking about when not playing them.

I think it means a lot to me too because it really is the last of the "OLD SCHOOL" type PC RPGs (along with Wizardry 7 which came out shortly before) - they just don't make them like that anymore.

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August 23rd, 2012, 04:05
Great game but very dated now, though MorrOblivion is really helping with that. The original Morrowind's world felt like it was frozen in time. People just stood there doing nothing. The Radiant AI was such a great addition in Oblivion, monster fighting each other, people going about there daily lives that really adds to the sense I was in a real world.

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