The lights are on
"Greetings, outlander." I've probably heard that phrase a few thousand times, partially because The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind didn't have an army of voice actors. Mostly, however, it's because it's the game I've sunk the most time into.
I missed out on the first Elder Scrolls game, Arena, but I’d played Daggerfall on PC years before Morrowind came out. Daggerfall’s open world was overwhelming to me at the time, and I spent a few days aimlessly exploring the game’s vast (and incredibly dull) world before I went back to playing Duke Nukem 3D with my friends.
In my eyes, Morrowind delivered on the promise of its predecessor – expansive character-creation tools and a big ol’ fantasy world – by making its features accessible. Vvardenfell may not have had the square footage of Daggerfall’s in-game world, but it was an interesting place to explore. And boy, did I explore it.
I’d never experienced an in-game world that felt as alive as Morrowind’s. For one, quests relied on more than simply shuffling from one mannequin to another and transferring inventory items. Take an early example. After entering the starting town of Seyda Neen and visiting a pub, you learn that one of the characters has been having problems with his extortion racket. Hrisskar Flat-Foot suspects that a Bosmer named Fargoth has been holding out on him (yes, this is a fantasy game), and he wants you to keep an eye on him. You run up to a lighthouse and wait until dark, where you see Fargoth sneak around. I remember being amazed by this particular moment – it was the closest I’d ever been to being on a stakeout, and it was unlike anything I’d ever done in a game before. Fargoth eventually betrayed his tree-stump hiding spot’s location, and I looted the hell out of it. Depending on my character, I’d then either keep the loot for myself or cash it in for an inferior reward. And then I’d head out.
The world itself was varied and full of little detours. Level scaling wasn’t a thing at the time, either, so you could easily find yourself in places where you didn’t belong. Some of my favorite memories of the game center on that feeling of being outclassed and knowing it, sneaking through remote cave systems with the hopes of finding a powerful item. My adventures took me to wild places, like Sadrith Mora, a town built in and around giant mushrooms, and the desolate wastes of the ashlands. The game’s fast-travel system was a network of giant bugs, for crying out loud!
When I played, I’d try to remain in character as best I could (nerd alert!). By the time I finished the final quests in other Elder Scrolls games, I’d typically managed to have led every possible guild and contracted a few optional diseases in the process. Not so in Morrowind. My magic user wasn’t going to set foot into the fighter’s guild, darn it, even if it meant missing out on some cool loot or a convenient place to crash.
That flexibility remains one of the reasons why I spent so much time with Morrowind. Rather than reload a save and see where alternate paths led, I’d play through the game and start over again to see. It’s no coincidence that Morrowind came out before I was married and had children. I must have put at least 100 hours into Morrowind and its expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon. It remains my favorite Elder Scrolls game, even though I know it’s not the best by most measurements.
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This game is actually what started my character min/max issues. I would pour over the spells/abilities and try to come up with the ultimate kick butt.
Incidentally, "giant network of bugs" also describes the state of most Elder Scrolls games at launch. ZING!
No, but really, Morrowind was amazing for its time.
One of the greatest RPGs/games ever created. Oblivion and Skyrim certainly made technological improvements, but Morrowind was the standard. This is still easily my favorite game to date and really opened my eyes to what was truly possible in a game.
Love my RPG time too Jeff. Nice pick.
The last good Morrowind game right here. Sure the graphics got better but the game play just went down to *** and just simpler and simpler all the time. The next TeS game (not counting the MMO here because it just is so meh) will probably just have 2buttons to hit which say "Win" and "Win faster"
Morrowind was my first Elder Scrolls game, and I was immediately entranced. I got it for $9.99 from Best Buy, perhaps the best deal I've ever received. The Replay episode was enjoyable, but I couldn't play it today for several reasons.
This may be the only Elder Scrolls game that I ever got into and I put a lot of time into it....also punishingly learned my first lesson in RPG games, possibly the biggest one, multiple saves....
This one was my favorite of all the TES games I've played,those being the third , fourth, and fifth. Morrowind was just so much more in depth. It had tons more weapons (spears and medium armor anyone?) the environment was exotic, the creatures didn't face level restrictions as stated in the article, there were tons of unique weapons such as the Daedric Crescent, and large amount of creatures of all shapes and sizes. My most fond moment of the game is when I found a glitch online that would let you permanently summon creatures. I made the spell and conjured up and army (the game could hardly run because there were so many on screen) of bone walkers, ghosts, daedroths, and dremora, and stormed the red mountain with my army. It was a blast. I keep praying that the series will return to the in depth gameplay of Morrowind. While Oblivion and Skyrim are both great, and my Argonian can finally wear full helms, I had the best time playing Morrowind out of any of Bethesda's games.
I share your Morrowind-passion, Jeff. The daedric Sheogorath quest where you had to kill a netch with a fork (!) still stands out as one the most ridiculous and hilarious quests I've ever done.
I had no idea this was available on Steam. Trying to buy it now, but Steam keeps throwing me errors. This was my favorite TES game by a long shot. So much to do!
Still play a modded version to this day. Most robust and deepest RPG Ive ever been through. A classic that Bethesda has yet to top (imho, I cannot stand the 'streamlining' of the ES games since Morrowind. They have gotten easier and shallower with each release.)
The image you posted with your article is actually from a mod, Jeff. I like how Morrowind has been modded so much that many people can't tell what's from the original game and what isn't.
Great pick, awesome that 2 elder scrolls games made it on the list!
Only 100? Lol
Morrowind seems like a great TES game, but i haven't tried it unfortunately. I am currently playing the hell out of oblivion though.
loved this back when on my original xbox , one of the only games i didn't trade in at the start of this gen ( i was an idiot obviously) . it could be the nostalgia but i think its the best in the series ( i've only played 3-5) thus far..... i miss wearing skirts and robes over cloths n armor
Should consider going back to this and obilvion,I sure did love my time in skyrim..theres another time sink for me actually..
I recently picked it up and will have to check it out sometime soonish.