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January 5th, 2008, 16:33
As is clearly evident, opinions differ from person to person. I'm not saying that Morrowind is bad in any way, but the fact of the matter is that even with a handful of mods (though mostly visual enhancement like the better bodies/faces, readable road signs, etc) I burned out after 80-100 hours when playing Morrowind, halfway through the building of my mansion and only about a third way through the main quest. By that time I was godlike. Nothing could touch me and since I was playing before the journal fix, I lost interest when I could no longer figure out where I needed to go, who I needed to see and what I had yet to do.

In Oblivion I sat down and started playing and didn't stop until there were no more quests in my journal and only THEN did I realize that I had spent more than 300 hours on the game. About halfway through I installed an interface enhancement mod (I can't remember the name, but I was one that came highly recommended by Rendelius from the RPGDot site), that reduced the inventory fonts and added an indicator for either arrows or weapon damage on the HUD. I got it on release day and sat down and played from start to finish with almost no interruptions so by the time I was finished, there wasn't really any mods worth mentioning yet, so I guess it was basically the Vanilla version I played.

The thing is that I'm also a bit of a completionist but at the same time the creative part of my brain doesn't work. I'm certain that if you opened up my skull there would be an empty space where the creative portion usually resides and inside you'd find an IOU note. It is therefore essential for me that there is a REASON for me to do things in games. I don't explore for the exploration's sake. I explore because I need to find something/one and that is what Oblivion provided for me but Morrowind failed to do to a certain degree. I often had to stop and wonder: "Where to now?" when I played Morrowind but there was always some kind of incentive in Oblivion. Even before leaving the capital for the first time I had a reason to go to almost every city in Oblivion.

Of course the whole "being towed around like a dog on a leash" debate concerning Oblivion, and many other games for that matter, is one that has been going on ever since the game got released and it all comes down to personal preference. I've never finished an Ultima game because I, to this day, still have absolutely no idea what I'm supposed to accomplish or how I'm to go about doing it. Some people like being given free reigns to do whatever they want, I just stop and ask the question: Why should I? In my opinion, Oblivion was better at providing a common binding thread throughout the entire game than Morrowind was and that is why I was able to finish Oblivion and not Morrowind.

But, to each his own.
"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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