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Another Blog I Didn't Write.

Another Blog I Didn't Write.

  10:16:46 pm, by Cactus   , 1270 words  
Viewed 10664 times since 04/04/10
Categories: Welcome

I seem incapable of writing for myself, it seems. *sigh* I'll try and change that as soon as I can. In the mean time, yet another guest blog, this time by newcomer Tom10320. Oh and guess what! It's NOT Morrowind-focused this time!! Enjoy.
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I’ve spent today in anticipation of writing this entry playing Morrowind, getting some experience on the prequel to Oblivion that I feel has gathered much more dust on my shelf than it deserves. And you know what? I couldn’t. In fact, I spent more time fiddling around with the Morrowind Graphics Extender trying to get HDR, SM 3.0 water and infinite view distance to work than actually playing the game. I succeeded of course, but that’s not the point. Morrowind just doesn’t feel right when I play it. I’m pretty sure that that’s because Oblivion has been getting in my way.

I first rejected Oblivion in December of 2006, dismissing it as ‘too much like Baldur’s Gate’. What I had seen from my brief glance at the back of the tattered-looking case was an RPG with too much colour and smarminess that would never run on my PC. And what the hell was that on the front? I replaced the box and went to try HMV. I was perfectly happy in my own little world for the next year after that. I never gave the game a second thought, patiently playing Unreal and Age of Empires on my (then) year-old PC.

So in December of 2007 I was rather disappointed to find that tattered-looking box in amongst my pile of loot. Still, better not make a scene, I thought. And I can’t argue – it’s on PS3. So after lunch, where I was stuffed with turkey, along with what felt like Georgia and most of Russia on the side, I snuck upstairs while the adults were moaning about next year’s Christmas and slipped the disk into the drive.

I was not prepared for the role-playing experience that befell me.

I spent the first three hours of my Oblivion career in shock, wandering about the City Isle (as I had not yet discovered fast-travel, which, while widely despised, was to become my best friend) and marvelling at the graphics, at how no two people were the same, at the rippling water, and at the Imperial Palace. All the while my TV sat making a beeping noise that for some reason only occurred while playing Oblivion. I was to listen to it for another 1200 hours, not that I knew it yet. I went on a killing spree in the Market District, looted the guards for their armour, wondered why ‘Methredhel’ could not be killed with my iron warhammer. A feeling, one that I’ve always wanted to explain but couldn’t, came over me during my first few hours of Oblivion, one that I have never had since. It was enjoyment, the knowledge that I was playing a damn good game.

Over time, I became used to things. The fast-travel, the levelling. I enjoyed hunting bandits and marauders for their high-level armour; I didn’t care that level-scaling was kicking in one bit. The moment I found my first Orcish cuirass was one of my best ever – I was to wear it for hours and hours, through the entire Main Quest. I was almost in tears when I sold it.

In August 2008, I noticed that Oblivion was the fourth in the series, so I went on the internet and found the first three. Great, I thought, more fun! I couldn’t find the first two for love nor money, so I went hunting for the enigmatic ‘Morrowind’. After 600 Oblivion hours, I had become well aware of ES lore, and wished to explore further.

Mistake.

Morrowind was nothing that I expected in any way. The visuals were dated. No fast-travel. My weapon never hit anything. The movement, dear Lord, was so painfully SLOW. And strangely enough, I missed level-scaling. Well, it was embarrassing getting owned by a Khajiit with an iron dagger while I stood in a full suit of steel armour. It went back on the shelf and I concentrated on Shivering Isles for a while. I forgot about anything except the shiny, easy-to-pick-up glory of Oblivion.

I soon realised that something was lacking in my experience. At first I thought that the giant mushrooms of the Shivering Isles were inciting some kind of random emotional response within me, as the last place I visited in Morrowind happened to be Sadrith Mora. But then I realised my problem. I was bored. I didn’t care for retrieval/dungeon crawl/assassination quests any longer. It was time I turned to one of the great loves of my Unreal world: mods.

I thought vanilla Oblivion was a good game. After finding a PC copy of Oblivion on eBay for about £10 and installing a select few mods onto my ageing, creaking computer, I discovered that it just couldn’t get any better. Texture packs, weapons and creatures to name but a few ran straight off the Nexus and into my Data folder with such speed that I forgot where I was going for a while. The mods alone added another 100-200 hours of playtime onto my already bloated Oblivion career. But yet something was still missing, and I began to think again about that nagging number ‘4’ on the title screen of Oblivion. Why did people love Morrowind so much when it was, for want of a better word, awful?

I considered digging back in to the Ashlands for a while, but a quick glance at the fog that prevented me from seeing my iron sabre in front of my tower shield quashed any thought of that. The brainwashing put upon me by Oblivion’s eye-burning HDR saw to that. I continued to believe that Oblivion was superior just because it had reflective water.

And so I lived in my own quiet little world for another year or so. I got a new PC, and Oblivion came back with a vengeance after a brief spate of Fallout-mania resulting in my admittance to the ‘UESP School of magic’. I never glanced twice at the weird star/moon icon. That is, until I wrote this.

Getting the chance to think about Oblivion made me realise something. I was doing it in the wrong order, wasn’t I? Through no fault of my own, I became a console gamer, attracted to large buttons, quest markers, 10-minute tutorials and simple combat, simply because that was what I saw first. But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t have the patience for Morrowind, hence my love of fast travel. I like my swords to hit when I swing. I like the simplicity that masks Oblivion’s huge and complex world.

This perhaps highlights why I just could not bring myself to even try to get to Balmora without a 13-cell view distance, animated grass and blurred distant statics. I couldn’t accept the gameplay without the visuals, and now that I have those, I’m beginning to understand the infatuation. But I won’t be joining those legions of fans, simply because I’ve had Oblivion around me for so long that I can’t imagine life without it.

I guess I’m just different, at least at the UESP. But I love Oblivion over Morrowind: a brainwashed, console-driven love, fuelled by HDR, temptation of instant transport and easy loot, but a love nonetheless. And something like that can’t be taken away.

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7 comments

Comment from: Boethiah's Hunger [Visitor]  
Boethiah's Hunger

I love it, Tom.

I’m honestly choking up. I am different than you, though. I did get Oblivion first, after going to a friend’s house and falling in love with it. I then bought Morrowind, out of the same mindset as you. I didn’t like it at first, and got mad at the same things you did. But I learned to love it, to look past its HDR-less lighting and at times amusingly bad animations. I played it for a whole summer, and then added mods for the next school year. And when I went back to Oblivion, I fell in love once more. The pretty graphics were a godsend, and it was (dare I say) easy! And I bought the GOTY to get Shivering Isles (only 20$ at the time, with box). Shivering Isles was so amazing that I have never left with my favorite character. I purposely avoid playing on that account, with the save picture being me sitting on the throne. And I don’t know how to end this, so BAI.

-Boethiah’s Hunger, forum-goer.

04/04/10 @ 10:48 pm
Comment from: mptrj [Visitor]
mptrj

Wow, I felt like I was writitng that post! With every Bethesda game that I’ve played, I picked it up, played for a day, and put it down for a few months. Then, when I manage to pick up the game again, I’m absolutely stunned. I think you’ve inspired me to pick up Morrowind again.

04/04/10 @ 11:07 pm
Comment from: Mark [Visitor]
Mark

You nailed it for me as well. I too have Marrowind and just can’t get into it.

05/04/10 @ 09:41 am
Comment from: Daveh [Member]
Daveh

Well said! I was lucky enough to start at the beginning (Arena) but for someone just being introduced to the ES series with Oblivion it would be hard to go back. I think Morrowind might even be the hardest game to go back to as it is the most similar to Oblivion in game play but the original game lacks many things, the least of which being graphics. Daggerfall, and particularly Arena, are so different games that they might be easier to play after Oblivion.

Part of Morrowind’s success might have been that fans were so starved for the next ES role-playing game at the time that we might have accepted just about anything.

05/04/10 @ 09:55 pm
Comment from: [Member]
tom10320

I suppose the irony is that since writing this, I’ve become a Morrowind player. At least on the side. I gave the gameplay a chance, after sorting out the visuals, and I think I’ve discovered the hugeness of the world underneath. It’s got everything I love about RPGs, most of all the incredible amount of items to sell for cash.

But I can’t play it religiously, as I’ve said above. After Oblivion, and probably also an extensive Unreal career, I just don’t have the patience for it.

I’ll continue to play, but it’ll never be the game for me. Oh, I can play Daggerfall, but like Daveh, our lord and master, says, Morrownd is just too similar yet too lacking for an Oblivion player to accept.

06/04/10 @ 05:35 am
Comment from: Cactus [Member]
Cactus

I must be completely unique in that aspect as I prefer Morrowind religiously, yet I started with Oblivion. I’m glad it worked that way though because unlike most who despise Oblivion because it isn’t Morrowind 2, I still love and play Oblivion because it introduced me to the series.

09/04/10 @ 11:43 pm
Comment from: Corey [Visitor]
Corey

i too had started with oblivion and i have played arena, daggerfall, and morrowind. i think i played arena for an hour or so re-creating my character about 10 times just to survive lol before getting completely lost til rage quit. the same with daggerfall really but i had some patience with morrowind although I’m just to attached to my x box to play morrowind on pc and i havent had any luck trying to find a xbox copy.

21/02/11 @ 01:23 pm


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