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Why Morrowind Was Better [Guest Blog]

Why Morrowind Was Better [Guest Blog]

  04:48:19 am, by Cactus   , 1453 words  
Viewed 41024 times since 29/12/09
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Hobbies

Gosh, it's beginning to look like I can't write for myself. And that I'm bias towards Morrowind. Well, wrong on both accounts. Personally I love both games. Truth is no one has come forth yet for Oblivion. I may have to write one myself. Anyway, it's time for a new guest blog, this time by UESPer Kestral.


The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind for many was and is the epitome of the Elder Scrolls series. Morrowind came before Oblivion, 4 years to be exact, and does lack some things that Oblivion had. I seek to delve into what is missing on Morrowind’s part, but why Oblivion is still the lesser of the two.

I remember the first glimpses that I saw of Morrowind. A foggy view of the Temple Canton of Vivec, thinking of it as a high and mystical place. I researched into Morrowind very much, and did find it to be interesting. I discovered that to me, Morrowind would be a difficult fit.

There not being Fast Travel, no map markers, and a varied level of gameplay intimidated me. I did not care for the graphics, I accepted Morrowind for what it was and not what it looked like.

I went ahead and picked up an Xbox GOTY version of Morrowind, picked my stats, and went on. I met Jiub, surfaced from the underbelly of the ship, into a strange new land. Seyda Neen, passed the pleasant Redguard, and went into the Offices. I was greeted by the lovely man who asked me what my background was. I filled the forms out myself, and was a tad concerned on what to pick.

I chose for a magic character with a bit of combat in. I went though the offices and I was done with the Char Gen portion. I went through Seyda Neen, passed by the nice little Wood Elf who misplaced his ring; I paid no mind and went on with his ring in my pocket.

Vvardenfell was truly an alien land to me. I knew none of the cities, methods of transportation, skills, people to know, what comes first, and what doesn’t. I followed up on what I was told with and went to Balmora. Not noticing the large bug that I later found that could take me to Balmora easily, I walked to Balmora.

I thought how frustrating it was to walk across a seemingly wide expanse of land before me. And I thought that how difficult it would be to get from here to there in later portions of the game. Needless to say, I continued on and was startled by a loud yell.

‘YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!’

A Bosmer mage had fallen out of the sky... certainly not something in Oblivion. I checked his body and took his loot. I figured that I should save and did. I was intrigued by his scroll of Icarian Flight. Unknowingly, I used the scroll jumped, I soon fell to my death somewhere near Balmora.

I reloaded myself, and cursed myself for using the scrolls and told myself to never use them again. I soon discovered a scrib. I had an extensive fight and thought to myself ‘Why can’t I hit him!?’ I killed the thing and went on with my journey. I later discovered that I needed to use a weapon with a favored skill, and a have a better agility skill.

When I reached Balmora, I saved the game and stopped.

For a month.

I thought Morrowind was good and all, but not my thing. I had put it on hold, and kept it tucked away in my room somewhere. I soon was bored one day, and researched further into Morrowind. I learned of what I should’ve done. The early quests, the ring, exploits, and such.

I made a new character and did the aforementioned. I had more fun doing the quests, and traveled to Balmora by the newly discovered Silt Strider. I then gave up at Balmora because I got bored.

It wasn’t for some time- and several instances of playing the game and stopping, and even getting the PC version- until I appreciated Morrowind to its fullest.

I was inspired one day to make a new character, inspired by our resident Cactus. I made my new character, a Dunmer battlemage of sorts, Darvinum, and loved the game from thereon. I played the game, only used exploits for things like speechcraft, and left the rest to pure gameplay.

I went from place to place. I cannot remember which guilds I did, but I remember at least 2 guilds that I went through, I also remember going through the Imperial Cult. I loved that Cult.

I went from here and there and no longer minded the no fast travel. But what I did mind were the directions. ‘Go north from this road until you reach a specific tree, then head east.’ I frequently got lost and had distaste for the Ashlands. I plundered the Vaults of Vivec later on with my full chameleon outfit, and made large amounts of money. I went around, training, and just doing quests. I became Nerevarine, and was known throughout Vvardenfell.

Darvinum must have been my most favorite character I ever made in any Elder Scrolls game. I did so much with him, and remember doing so much in a little amount of time.

Now, this play through let me examine Oblivion to Morrowind in their fullest. Oblivion looked much nicer, I’ll give it that, and Oblivion had a much more similar mechanic, but there was something bland about it. To begin with, the voice actors. Morrowind had fine voice acting, everyone was different from each other. The Nords were Nords, and not Orcs too. The Elves were their own race, and not their own. The Dunmer especially, had a better voice than any other race.

Another was the items. In Oblivion, you’ll merely find a wide variety of the same type of items. In Morrowind, there were many items. Not merely Iron, Steel, Glass, Daedric, Leather, etc. There was Netch leather, Nordic armor, Ice armor, Ordinator armor, guard armor, Chitin, and some more. The same goes for Weapons and clothing. Oblivion had a limited wardrobe, while Morrowind had a large one. The weights and prices were realistic considering. Daedric armor and weapons were to be precious, and not found in every single dungeon. They were to be sprinkled out through the whole land, and not in the hand of every Marauder aspirant fresh from the cutting block.

The quests also were better. Even though Oblivion was larger in landscape, Morrowind was surely more refined and detailed. Almost everyone in town had a quest affiliated with them, and there were a lot of people needing some assistance. That isn’t enough? Join a guild! And not just the Mage’s, Fighter’s, Dark Brotherhood, and the Thieves Guild like in Oblivion; how about the Imperial Cult, or a Great House, or the Legion, or the East Empire Company. Oblivion had a lot do, but Morrowind had even more.

Almost everything Oblivion had, Morrowind had and more. It’s been well over a year since I’ve been playing Morrowind, and I still play with it then and again. Whilst I have played Oblivion more in total in hours, and it still is easier to get more engrossed in Oblivion (my new character already has 20 hours knocked on), Morrowind was still better.

Morrowind takes a different kind of person. Not someone who is more in touch with classic RPG roots, but someone who prefers a more action adventure RPG. Someone who enjoys a richness of an environment, the realism, and the uniqueness of it. If they are a DND’er, perhaps Daggerfall, another fine title, would be more of their choosing, but for me, Morrowind is.

But Morrowind is not everybody’s game. A more ‘modern’ gamer, who is more interested in games with nice graphics, and a more shooter spin on things, would not like Morrowind. I know several people who like RPGs, but who do not like Morrowind. It’s a strange thing, and I find it difficult to think why they dislike it just accept for what it is, and go on.

Morrowind truly is a gem, and I wish to hold onto my copy until the day something unfortunate happens and it is destroyed. Even then, I will still carry on the memories of Morrowind. For those who refuse to try Morrowind, please do; and for those who have, and didn’t like it, so be it. Morrowind truly was the greatest Elder Scrolls title. The series which- as of late -the series is in need of another one.

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13 comments

Comment from: Fargoth47 [Visitor]
Fargoth47

Hey Cactus I agree with you about the unique aspects of Morrowind that made it so immersing and like no other game I have ever played. Morrowind is one of those games that I will pick up about once every six months because I just want to experience it again. I will say though, that Oblivion is truly an amazing game that I’ve put a lot of time into and will always be one of my favorites, but if Bethesda does make another Elders scrolls, I would like to see a lot more emphasis on the Morrowind theme/style that made it so great.

23/01/10 @ 07:40 pm
Comment from: Arcadium [Visitor]
Arcadium

I played Fable II and loved it. In a forum where I went for information, I found a ton of people compared Fable II to Oblivion and found it lacking in so many ways. This intrigued me and I found a very inexpensive GOTY edition and jumped in.

OMG, I lost 8 months in Cyrodiil, only lately really getting into the Shivering Isles expansion. I did the Main Quest too quickly and there was still a ton to do. I created over 20 characters and did things differently for each (exploit free housing, get 100% chameleon early and steal everything…) Couldn’t have been happier unless TES V came out.

Again, in a forum for more knowledge, I found numerous people saying how Morrowind was better than Oblivion. Really? Off to Gamestop.

The graphics looked horrendous on my 360 and I almost couldn’t look at it, but gave it my usual 3-day trial. Finally I dusted off my old xbox and tried that. What a difference, I still couldn’t hit a cliff racer with the best weapon I had at level 5, but wow, the places, the story, all the stuff you could find/buy/steal.

My 17-yearold can’t believe I can stand the old graphics and iffy playstyle (I can fail to do alchemy and armorer?) but I am really enjoying discovering everything. How many times have I ran for like 2 days to find I could come by boat?
I really think people with rich imaginations will like Morrowind better than Oblivion. Oblivion was scenery porn and I really love it, but the story seemed short and I was just “reporting to the commandant” the whole time, since apparently after the Emporer’s murder, the Blades weren’t allowed to do anything any more. When I was the Champion of Cyrodiil I felt like I got a gold star and then nothing. Don’t tell me the end of Morrowind, I can’t wait!

25/01/10 @ 04:44 pm
Comment from: Pnyx [Visitor]  
Pnyx

I played MW When I bought a new video card (nVidia 5600 I believe) and the game was included. After a week of playing, I went and purchased both expansions. It seems like a lifetime ago. When I bought and played Oblivion it felt that I wasted a ton of money hoping to revive that Morrowind feeling. I got to like Oblivion more later but not half as much as Morrowind. Morrowind was like entering an actual book and becoming the main character.
I started playing Morrowind again a couple of weeks ago and it’s a brand new game for me! I have vague recollections that bring back memories and “fuzzy feelings.” The graphics and animations were a little weird in the beginning but they are no longer noticable. My mind is too occupied with other things and does not pay attention to graphics. I can gawk at the pretty scenery as much as the next person but when it’s all said and done, I prefer to be challenged by the task on hand.
I treasure my Morrowind disks and I hope for early Alzeimers so that I can play the game again with a clear mind. Heh. My Oblivion package is… misplased? Lost? Who knows but I don’t plan to look for it. Ive played many good games that I don’t plan to play again and that includes Oblivion.

08/02/10 @ 06:44 pm
Comment from: User [Visitor]
User

The problem with this entry is that you use too many subjective points,
often fail to provide evidence, and quote your personal experience too frequently (you used “I” <70 times).

Here are some examples:

“Daedric armor and weapons were to be precious, and not found in every single dungeon. They were to be sprinkled out through the whole land, and not in the hand of every Marauder aspirant fresh from the cutting block.”

How is this a flaw?
What if you don’t like not being able to get the armor you should have at your level?
Subjective point.

“The quests also were better. Even though Oblivion was larger in landscape, Morrowind was surely more refined and detailed. Almost everyone in town had a quest affiliated with them, and there were a lot of people needing some assistance. That isn’t enough? Join a guild! And not just the Mage’s, Fighter’s, Dark Brotherhood, and the Thieves Guild like in Oblivion; how about the Imperial Cult, or a Great House, or the Legion, or the East Empire Company. Oblivion had a lot do, but Morrowind had even more.”

Are these quests boring fetch quests without twists,
or do the developers put effort into making each one unique?
A bit of research shows that most of these quests only last for 2-5 stages.
That would have been nice to point out.

“I thought how frustrating it was to walk across a seemingly wide expanse of land before me. And I thought that how difficult it would be to get from here to there in later portions of the game. Needless to say, I continued on and was startled by a loud yell.

‘YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!’

A Bosmer mage had fallen out of the sky… certainly not something in Oblivion. I checked his body and took his loot. I figured that I should save and did. I was intrigued by his scroll of Icarian Flight. Unknowingly, I used the scroll jumped, I soon fell to my death somewhere near Balmora.”

What in the world does this have to do with the title?

18/02/10 @ 03:23 pm
Comment from: eric [Visitor]
eric

I have oblivion, but i really want to get morrowind, but i am not sure if my compture can run it.

23/02/10 @ 10:34 pm
Comment from: m [Visitor]
m

I have to agree with you, Morrowind was great compared to Oblivion although the graphics of the time were still being mastered, but. Other than that yea everything was good,

28/03/10 @ 03:51 am
Comment from: Fergster45 [Visitor]  
Fergster45

Eric, morrowind runs far faster on my computor then oblivion does on my laptop, and my computor won’t run oblivion. It will run if Oblivion will.

Also, I agree with you cactus, oblivion doesnt have enough cities, quests and items, and I havnt been able to find a mod maker for oblivion-my TES con set doesnt work. Morrowind is far more intricate then oblivion, and although the quests may be short, at least there are a wide variety of them.

Both Oblivion and Morrowind are great games, but i hope they do come out with an Elder Scrolls V, focused on Morrowind gameplay and Oblivion graphics? Also, i would like to point out that Oblivion lags MASSIVELY in certain areas, like in mages guilds etc., where Morrowind has smooth gameplay throughout. Also, I would prefer it to have a construction set, like Morrowind does, so i can make my own mods.

Some good points about Oblivion are: the quick travel, the horses, the creatures-wild animals, huntable deer, goblins etc. I also LOVE the dark brotherhood and thieves guild to bits, but the fences? Not the best idea. How would a merchant know whether something was stolen or not? I’ve stolen things in Anvil and merchants in Chorral and Bruma suddenly all knew about the robbery. And when you murder someone, everyone suddenly knows no matter where they are. Wierd. Also, the way there are several options in somer places, and the random events e.g. conversing between NPC’s make Oblivion slightly better then Morrowind in that area.

11/04/10 @ 10:32 am
Comment from: Naetharu [Visitor]
Naetharu

I’m really not sure which of the two games, Morrowind or Oblivion, is better. I think in their comparative ‘vanilla’ forms I would agree that Morrowind wins out. The greater quantity of content certainly helps but the major issue for me is the near broken mechanics and ‘levelled item / npc’ system in Oblivion. In Morrowind I found I was able to pick the class I wanted to play and then just get into character and explore. I never had to worry about how I was dealing with the meta-game aspects of levelling my character; just normal playing produced the desired results. Sadly, for Oblivion the same cannot be said. It more often felt like the player had to fight the games mechanics in order to make it playable (for example by NOT taking the skills you wanted to use in order to maintain a steady levelling pace) than it felt like the mechanics were there to enable the player. How Oblivion ever made it through BETA in the state it is I have no idea. Despite the dreadful mechanics the rest of the game is actually very good.

I play Oblivion on the PC and use the wonderful Oblivion-XP mod (which makes levelling up work much like it does in Fallout-3) along with some custom mods to change the levelled items / stat lists to something akin to Morrowind and the game is wonderful. If anything, the fact that Oblivion has become such a classic even with the flawed mechanics is testament to the brilliant quality of the game. While no one thing it does is amazing (by which I mean the voice acting is ok, the combat is functional, the graphics are nice but not special…) it manages to put together a package that makes me loose myself in it. I’ve never played a game that has truly captured me more than Oblivion; I play because I feel part of the world. I speak to the characters because I care what they say. I quest because I want to make the land a better (or worse) place.

As such, I think for me Oblivion is the better game; despite its flaws it just provides an experience unlike anything else I have ever come across. Morrowind did that to a point but Oblivion has so much more life in it. The NPCs have daily routines, cares and concerns that are bigger than the player - Oblivion makes you believe you are in a real world and for that it cannot be topped.

S

12/09/10 @ 06:51 pm
Comment from: Prx [Visitor]
Prx

Very insightful article. It seems fair to say that Morrowind was limited by the constraints of hardware but it became solid as something greater to the people who played it. The developers had to deal with a bunch feedback by frustrated people that hated the cliff racers and other stuff like that. After all, we are playing someone else’s vision here. We are not peers reviewing eachother’s books. I think that Oblivion was rushed more, but that is just the nature of things. The more technological capabilities there are then the less likely to get what we all want - which is just some sort of understanding about things, some sort of tradition. After all, we are creating machines and worlds now, not just games. Who are we creating them for, us? Or those who seek to profit by it beyond the software shop that happens to develop games. This sort of stuff is what is ruining society and traditional social constructs.

30/09/10 @ 05:55 pm
Comment from: Xan [Visitor]
Xan

(almost) NO LEVELING!

Leveling is the single reason I never enjoyed Oblivion at all. Who cares about character progression if getting bigger means foes getting bigger ?

I want to die horribly for a skeleton at level 1 and being unable to raid tomb so that I can enjoy the satisfaction of beating that skeleton with a single hit at level 10. Game leveling ruins everything.

Anyway: I never found Morrowind graphics to be that bad. And now there are tons of mods to improve the graphics quality (specially big textures).

11/10/10 @ 06:06 am
Comment from: Tman [Visitor]  
Tman

i totally agree but a friend of mine broke my Xbox copy so I am looking into getting the PC version and expansion packs can any one tell me how it differs from the Xbox

11/07/11 @ 05:48 am
Comment from: Riggle8854 [Visitor]
Riggle8854

Very good read, I always enjoy a well-written article. I hope to read more like it soon!

01/12/12 @ 12:49 pm
Comment from: Girl [Visitor]  
Girl

morrowind is better because:
1. house hlaalu, telvanni and redoran.
2. not a arrow that helping to complete questions.
3. better quest
4. in morrowind you cant travel around the world on the map. you must walk or ride or take a boat. its better. 5. better music on morrowind.
6. Levitate on morrowind
7. you always cast spells right on oblivion.(it is too easy)
8. better enemies on morrowind.
9. in morrowind you cant jump 2m if you have 5 in acrobatics. more real in morrowind
10. much MUCH MUCH BETTER VOICES IN MORROWIND
11. better tuorial
i like morrowind better but oblivion is better in 2 ways: the clothes and that you can join dark brotherhood.
I dont say that oblivion is bad. oblivion is very funny but i like morrowing more. i have played morrowind in six years!

30/12/12 @ 06:06 pm


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