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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Game of the Year Edition
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the YearChange
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318 of 320 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
This game will redefine the computer role-playing game genre forever. If you have any interest in CRPGs then this is the game for you. I picked up the original two years ago and still play it to this day. The replay value is astounding. What Morrowind has that no other CRPG comes close to is open-endedness. You literally can wander anywhere your heart desires on the island (which is massive to say the least). The graphics are fantastic, the experience system is very realistic - you learn by doing - the more you do something (successfully), the better you get. The world created is so atmospherically saturating and immersive that you literally feel like you are walking through a swamp (or wherever). Almost every single shortcoming of this game has been overcome through the massive modding community that supports Morrowind. Thus the potential universe for you to explore is quite literally limitless. The original game promises over 200+ hours of gameplay to cover each and every possible quest (I honestly think this is conservative given that you cannot possibly do a all the quests with any particular PC). Each expansion adds at least 100+ hours of gameplay each. Then there is the mod community. Morrowind ships with a construction set that allows even the most novice of us to learn to create whatever worlds one desires. Some more clever people in the modding community have gone well beyond the initial scope of the construction set to enhance various aspects of the gameplay experience. Quite frankly, as you are playing the game, if their is something you think that should be improved, it has probably already been thought of and their probably is a mod out there that can do it. If not, pull up the construction set and go onto the chat bullentin boards to get some help. The mod community for Morrowind is second to none and supports people at all levels.
That being said, what kind of game is Morrowind? As I said before, it is extremely immersive, extremely detailed, extremely open-ended. What are the weak points?
Although it is possible to gun through the primary quests in much less time than the entire game encompasses, but why? If you want a game that can give you a fast fix (say 30 minutes of action) then this is NOT the game for you. The biggest hurdle most people face is getting familiar with the game. When I first played the game, I initially became quickly frustrated at the lethargic pace of progress my character was making. For people who like fast action-oriented games, they will likely abandon this game after 30 minutes because the pace is too slow and their character is too weak to even handle a rat. It will likely take hours of gameplay before your character has enough fortitude to wander through the wilderness at night and not get killed by even the most benign of critters. However, once you get past this initial hurdle, you will most likely be hooked for life.
The other limitation of the game is combat. Despite whatever weapon used, there are really only three different moves a character can make: chop, slash, and thrust. For fighter oriented characters, this gets quite boring after a couple of hundreds of hours. However, this also offers up a new opportunity. If you max out your fighting skills (say 100% with long swords) then why not take up a little bit of magic with the same character? Unlike other games, you are not restricted in any way in which skills you can pursue. Another limitation this game has is the repetitiveness of dialogue, voice acting and character graphics (I must remind you that what becomes boringly repetitive for Morrowind is not on the same scale of most other games as you will likely play the game several orders of magnitude longer, as a result even the most creative aspects of the game will seem a bit boring after, say 500+ hours of gameplay). However, as I mentioned before, there are mods out there that add a great deal of diversity to all of these constantly keeping the game fresh.
The other significant limitation to the game is a lack of multiplayer. The game was never designed with multiplayer in mind. Although some people have tried modding it to be multiplayer, none have been successfull. What makes Morrowind great: a completely immersive single-player experience, is what keeps it from becoming multiplayer.
All in all, a fantastic, unparalleled, single-player CRPG. A game that will redefine the genre. For people who are willing to become immersed in a limitless, unique world for hundreds of hours at a time. Not a game for people looking for quick, fast action. This game truly takes time and dedication to enjoy. It is addictive at some level, but you can also leave it for months, come back to it and enjoy it anew. Any when you finally think you have seen everything there is to see or would like to change something to your liking, just hop onto the bulletin boards and start downloading some mods. Quite limitless gameplay and probably the most entertainment bang for your buck in gaming. Morrowind will likely have replay value for years to come, since the mod community is still growing strong.
On a side note: picking up the strategy guide is a must for most fans of this game. If for nothing else than the maps that show exactly where certain quest tidbits can be found. It is far too easy to spend hours looking for the precise location of something in several acres of terrain. After spending 6 gameplay hours looking for a specific person in the vast city of Vivec, I gave up and bought the strategy guide and found them in 10 minutes. Plus the fact that there is SO much detail in the game that you can quite easily miss 90% of it just by rushing through certain areas. I have revisited some areas 10 times and found something completely new (to me) each time.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
Morrowind is quite simply one of the best RPGs of all time. For those who haven't played it, this collection is an insanely good deal, and you shouldn't even think twice about getting it.
The minute you start Morrowind you know that this is a game unlike any other. Your character can be one of ten races, each distinct in appearance and abilities. You can create your own classes, emphasizing any of 26 skills and eight attributes. As you enter the vast fully-3D world you advance your character by practicing and improving chosen skills. This makes it practically impossible to create the exact same character more than once.
The game world is simply gigantic- Morrowind has a huge landmass that takes you upwards of a half hour to run from one end to the other. The expansions Tribunal and Bloodmoon (included in this edition) add the additional Mournhold city and Solstheim island. All of the areas are chock full of enemies, caverns, tombs, ruins, and non-player characters. Many of these give you quests, which have rewards varying from gold to unique items. There are hundreds of quests, weapons, items, objects, and distinct locations in the game. I've played Morrowind for hundreds of hours and still occasionally come across something I have never seen!
The main story of Morrowind is well done and quite involved, and Tribunal and Bloodmoon add additional main quests to the plot. However, unlike every other RPG I've played, it's not at all compulsory to complete them. In fact, you can simply go gallivanting about Vvardenfell doing whatever you see fit- and have a good time at it too. There's plenty of towns and people to talk to (and, naturally, to kill) and side quests to complete. You can join one of three Great Houses and build a stronghold for yourself, or join any of a half dozen other factions- all with unique missions and rewards.
Morrowind's graphics are awesome- the detail in the objects has to be seen to be believed. There isn't a single sprite in the entire game, and both characters and terrain are all extremely well done. The game world is thickly populated with all manner of persons and objects, and you can explore in either first or third person. This can be a problem, however, if your system isn't up to it. If you can't see all the pretty graphics, the game isn't so fun, so be sure you exceed the recommended system specifications. Morrowind needs everything your PC has- there really is no such thing as too much power with this game. In particular, the game looks a lot better if your graphics card can run full-screen antialiasing with it.
Admittedly, combat in Morrowind is rather straightforward and can get a bit dull. You can shoot, hack, or nuke things up at will, and the ability to create customized weapons and spells makes this fun in a Diablo-esque way. Fighting isn't really the best part of the game, though. Rather, the freedom is. You can go anywhere and do anything you want in any order- a rather intoxicating degree of control that I've not seen in any other game. In fact, I should warn new players that after playing Morrowind other games- especially other RPGs- will seem extremely constricting due to the lack of freedom.
That said, there's another 'best' part of the game. That is the customizability of Morrowind and the jaw-dropping amount of fan content already available for download. With the editor you can change almost anything in the game. With that and 3D Studio MAX you CAN change everything in the game- and people have done so. Everything from total conversions to monster additions, new items, new objects, new quests and areas, and even new races and appearances are available for download. Due to the very intuitive plugin system, addition of this content is simple (the only problem being potential conflicts in plugins). If you take the time to learn a bit about it, you can make your own items and locations with the editor. Another warning here- this is more addictive than most narcotics, and once you start you'll always see something else that 'needs improvement.' It is not unheard of for 'players' to spend more time editing Morrowind than actually playing it.
Last of all, the soundtrack is definitely worth mentioning. Jeremy Soule (Icewind Dale, Total Annihilation, Neverwinter Nights) has composed one to remember. Best of all, it's all there in mp3 format, and you can customize it as well.
Even if you're not that much into RPGs, Morrowind is sure to hold your attention for a very good, long time. While it's initially not much of a challenge to play and there are a few sub-optimal features, these problems can (and have been) addressed with the editor. Though it lacks multiplayer mode, the game will almost certainly have you hooked for as long as any game with multiplay, and then some. There's a good reason there's no 'hours of play' figure on the box- this, like almost everything else with Morrowind, is completely up to you.
Morrowind is probably the best PC game ever released, in terms of sheer entertainment value. It's almost certainly one of the top ten RPGs of all time. If your computer can handle it, you should definitely pick up a copy.
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165 of 184 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
I recently discovered the Morrowind Game of the Year strategy guide and thought that players would like to know that it exists and is worth looking into if you are becoming perplexed by the challenges of what is probably the world's most detailed RPG.
This is the first guidebook that can cause sudden-game-depression. You start out in one city on the continent of Vvardenfell play for 20 or so hours and you begin to realize that you have covered exact four tiny squares on the map. And the more you wander, the more you find. Eventually you decide you want to get on with it, but it gradually becomes clear that you aren't quite sure what 'it' is. You break down, by the guide, and you finally realize that Morrowind and its subgames are inconceivably huge.
There are hundreds of cities, dungeons, fortresses, monsters, and NPCs. All with individual stories. And the only way you have any hope of finding all of them is to wander forever or buy the guide. The guide provides heavily annotated maps, and descriptions of all the major and minor quests. Various hints, and even discussions about what to do in Morrowind between tasks (go out and kill a few diseased crabs). Even with all 400 pages, I doubt that the guide covers much more than half the possibilities. The scouring of Vvardenfell could take years of play.
Even with everything that is in the guide, there is yet more that I would like to have seen. In particular, indexes and where found guides. I guess the publishers decided that anything more than 400 pages would scare away the average buyer. Seriously, though, a guide is almost a necessity if you want to get full values from the game without dedicating your life to it. It is well written and organized. I would have preferred better quality printing but not at the price it likely would have cost. If you get a chance pick it up, it will greatly increase your appreciation of the game.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2005
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
Absolutely. I, personally, loved this game. From the 100's of possible quests, to the 1000's of styles of weapons, to the practically infinite variations of skills, to the unnaturally real looking surroundings, to all the possible variations that result from interaction... For a while, this game was my life.

One day, I was walking through a tech. con, browsing through the anime, the video cards, the moniters. I came to the games section and perused through the mix of the Zork Zero complete sets, the Unreal Tournaments, the Dungeon Keepers, when I found it. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Game of the Year Edition. I had heard good things. The reviews I had read had all said basically the "enter this living, breathing world" type of thing that came so often with MMORPG's and basic Rpg's. I decided to buy it, and went home with the nice, shiny, gold box.

At first, when I installed the game itself, I was intimidated by the drawings of skeletons and wierd looking monsters. However, I used to love Diablo II, (I got bored by the hack-and-slash thing. It was just too repetitive.) and had seen things mortals shouldn't have to see, so I wasn't easily scared away by the strange depictions. Still, it was slightly foreboding, and I started playing the game with a slight sense of apprehension.

Now, to the real part of the review. As soon as I started out, and went through the whole class picking/introduction type thing, I fell in love with the game. This might be my favorite game of all time.

First - Graphics
This game has some of the widest and most varied animations I have ever seen. Most NPCs are completely different looking, exceptions including the Legion troops and the monsters, who look like their brethren (as they should). The graphics are actually breathtaking in most areas. The mountains are incredibly detailed. The cities are really, incredibly astounding. I love the elvish cities. There are some areas that I spent hours in, just roaming and exploring. The underwater graphics, while not perfect, are some of the best I've seen. The Dungeon and below-ground areas are perfectly sculpted, and made to look axactly as they should, based on where you are. When I would look up, whilst outside, I would see moving clouds. Weather was amazing. There were many times, early in the morning, where I would look around, and it would actually be foggy. This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. The graphics get a 5.0, nothing less.

The music and sounds in this game are really some of the I have ever heard. The music is mainly orchestral, and is so vivid, you'll feel like your at a concert, basking in the beauty of this amazing game.I can only imagine having surround sound speakers; I, unfortunatley, was using headphones at the time. I only wish that I could hear more varied sounds from the people and monsters, though, for a game this big, they are adequate.
Score = 4.7

For fighting melee or ranged, there is like, no learning curve. For magic, It's a bit harder getting used to, but in the the term, remains fulfilling. The left-click hit is simple and basic, but works perfectly with the pace of the game. What I love is seeing a weapon on the floor or in a shop, taking it, holding it, and suddenly it's, like, I'm holding a different weapon! I know that sounds kind of stupid, but I love getting an axe and using it, and suddenly I have this gigantic Great-axe that's half the size of my body.
Weapons = 5.0

Have you ever fallen in love with somebody, and when your first dating and you know that person, he/she is the most amazing person in the world? And, sadly, sometimes people get more used to each other, and they seem sort of old, as though that other person is nothing new, seeming as if they have just fallen into an abyss, and the exciting person just doesn't want to come out?

Morrowind is like that, except that there isn't ever any falling-out, there isn't any big abyss, and this doesn't have anything to do with people. Every day I played it, I would fall in love again, and again, and again... The reason for this being, of course, that I have never played in a bigger, vaster, more infinite-seeming universe. There is a certain spell in the game that I discovered called something like "levitation". This allows you to, basically, fly. There were a couple of times that I would go far out into the wilderness, night or day, I didn't care, and I would levitate upwards look in a circle, and see absolutely nothing that I recognized for miles. This, hopefully, gives you some sort of sense of how vastly, gigantically, incomprehensibly huge this game is.

The story is, to say the least, amazing, (I'm sorry I've been repeating words about how good this game is, I don't have an entire dictionary right at my hand- DOH!!!) with the main plot splitting out into hundreds of tiny subplots that really aren't that tiny when compared to other games. The aspect's of the guilds, the character, and the expansions make this game perfect for replayability. In fact, each guild has it's own story lines and quests, which, in themselves, could make up an entire game.

I am sad to say that I have to resort back to that to often used statement: Morrowind makes up an living, breathing, thriving, building world that is so awe-inspiring that it can actually steal your breath from you.

10 out of 5, 100 out 20, 1000 out of 50, This is, in my unbiased opinion, one of the best games ever created. Amen.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2003
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
If you're looking for an action-thriller, shoot-em up FPS crossover, hit back and keep looking.
If you're looking for an intelligent, detailed, intriguing RPG operating system, this is it!
The original Morrowind with its expansions Tribunal and Morrowind are absolutely phenomonal and will keep you in their world for literally hundreds and hundreds of hours. It is possible to play the game for hours a day for months and still not have done everything.
The best part is the Construction Set that comes with the game. This allows amateurs to build new areas, sculpt and decorate terrain, create new weapons, buildings, quests, NPCs, and absolutely everything you could ever think of. Theoretically, the game never ends. It's not just the best RPG you'll ever play, it is truly a gaming operating system.
I can't tell you anything that the editorial review doesn't already mention, but I can recommend this game if you've ever been into gaming where your thoughts involve more than "which gun should I use to blow the next guy's head off...?" Prepare to be immersed in the world of The Elder Scrolls III!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2004
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
Reviewing the other reviews, it sums things up pretty well I think for this game. It's definately not a game for everyone, which is true for just about any game. If you expect it to be the same as other RPGs out there you've played, that's probably going to set you up for disappointment. It's not like other RPGs out there. Most RPGs are heavily story oriented and as a result, are very linear. Morrowind also has story, and the story is quite linear as well, however where Morrowind really shines is I think is when you get away from that. It's also an extremely open-ended game. You can just ignore the main story-line and go wondering off to do your own thing. The game becomes more of a fantasy world simulation then, and this is what tends to appeal to the gamers who love this game. If that doesn't really appeal you, then you may want to pass on this game. In other words, this game is for you if you want to be in control, rather than the story-line. Maybe the best way to decide this is to consider how important the story is to games you play. If you think story is very important, you're probably a story oriented gamer. For myself personally, I prefer to watch a movie when I want story, and play games to have more control over things. Hope that helps you decide if this game is a good match for you.
I also wanted to point out the huge mod community that exist around this game. People often complain about aspects of this game (NPCs look terrible, gets too easy later on, going up in levels occurs too quickly, etc). Some of these people do something about it too, though, so mods are available to address these complains. So that's something to factor into your decision as well. The amount of mods out there are very impressive, and the mod community is still going very strong.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2004
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
I purchased Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind (GOTY Edition) in early May of 2004, looking for an adventure game to provide me with some escapism, and also wanting to have a game to test drive a brand new, high-end lap top on. It is now October, and I have been playing the same game ever since. I have only recently completed the last of "the major" quests in the game, and even now I am enjoying the process of finishing up the minor quests... and I'm finding little things I've missed along the way.

From the beginning, I was captivated with the 3-D universe of the game, the graphics, and gameplay. The size of the navigable world presented in this game is titanic. I still have not traversed every path in this game, and I am absolutely certain that I will find new tombs, ruins, and more before I move on to a new game.

There are mountainous regions to explore, wastelands, forested plains, coastal regions, underwater expanses, large cities, small towns, hamlets. And there alot of animals and creatures, from mudcrabs to vampires to Golden Saints, who don't like you roaming around on their turf!

The storyline behind the main quest, which I will not give away, was simply great theatre. I was genuinely surprised by some of the extraordinarily creative twists and turns.

The character creation process was very inventive, enjoyable, and gave me several options. The begining of the game contained a very informative, interactive tutorial, which was just right in size and explanation. The booklet that came with the game was great; it didn't answer all my questions, but then again, I'm glad it didn't. Things I discovered about the game on my own were revelations!

Little things: The ability to create my own potions and magical objects was a lot of fun, and something unexpected going into the gameplay experience. When I figured out how to make an enchanted object, for example, I did what just about any RPG warrior would do: I created swords with terrible powers, and clothing that boosted my character's strength to Godlike status. But the best objects I created were those that helped me levitate over large mountains and navigate underwater without drowning. The abilities to create potions and magical objects might seem trivial, but what it does to the experience is magnificent... it gives a character freedom. It isn't scripted by a writer... the writers and programmers have given the person playing the game the ability to go where they want, do what they want, and make things they want. It's not always an A, B, or C choice. Often, the player creates the rest of the alphabet to choose from.

Very very few downfalls to speak of, and perhaps they are only matters of taste. I wish there were a wider variety of creatures to battle against... and stronger ones toward the latter stages of the game. And there perhaps could have been a better melee combat interface... most of the time, I hacked and slashed using just one button and the mouse.

But these things are truly minor. Compared to other games I've played in the past, this game is galactic in realm. Fun. Challenging, deep, beautiful.

I have yet to attempt anything with the accompanying scenario creator, which I am anxious to try. Evidently, I have the ability to create my own world if I want to, and give it to others who have the game to try. I look forward to investigating it... as soon as I feel I am done with the Morrowind I am fet to complete, I will!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
I have been a fan of The Elder Scrolls series since Morrowind. I never played the earlier games such as Daggerfall or Arena. So Morrowind was my first introduction into Tamriel. Since then, I have played Oblivion and Skyrim. As such, there may be a tendency to brush off my very positive review as nostalgia...since we often fondly remember our first foray into a beloved gaming world. However, I will try, as much as possible, to separate any nostalgia I feel from this review. I want it to cogently and logically explain why I feel Morrowind is the best of the TES series and the best CRPG game ever. I want this review to explain why, if you are on this page thinking of buying the game, you should...even if you have already played and enjoyed the more modern sequels Oblivion and Skyrim.

It should be noted, in particular, that I am reviewing the game out of the box. There are many MANY mods for the game if you play it on PC that update literally everything. I have not played these mods and so I am reviewing the vanilla game...which is the only way you can play it on the Xbox.

First though, the things that Morrowind is not and the items it falls short on. I want to present the negatives first so that you know the downsides of the game:

1. The game is dated graphically. How could it not be? Of a certain, Oblivion is better graphically than Morrowind, and Skyrim is better than both. But this is not to say Morrowind is a slouch in this department. The graphics and sound of Morrowind were groundbreaking for its time, and that means aspects of it still hold up today. I have, on my 1080p HD 52 inch flat screen LED just booted up the game simply to my character take a walk around the game world and enjoy the sights. Some vistas and sunsets in the game are actually breathtaking, even by today's standards. That said, you will of course note the lack of intense textures and lighting tricks you find in Skyrim. The NPCs, in particular, do look dated. Nevertheless, the graphics are not off putting by a long shot! Play the game and expect to be wowed by the vision and detail that were put into those now dated graphics.

2. Combat is a little weird. Yes...this is one of the biggest complaints about Morrowind. Many people, used to FPS and action RPGs find it appalling. But if you are a paper and pencil roleplayer...not so much. In Morrowind, your weapon skill determines whether you hit or miss your foe. That means not only do you have to point your weapon or bow at a foe, but even if you do there is a miss chance. And when you are a starting character at first level, that miss chance is pretty high. That's why newer gamers get frustrated. Their character is aiming right at that giant rat but keeps missing! What you have to realize is that in Morrowind aiming your weapon is merely an indication of who you wish to target. Actually hitting is done by a hidden die roll based on your skill. Once you realize and accept this fact, which is frankly the way all pen and paper RPGs work, you should be able to deal with it. Because Morrowind tests whether you hit or not, weapon damage does not increase with skill. So a steel longsword being wielded by a 25 Strength warrior with a Longsword skill of 35 will do as much damage as a steel longsword being wielded by a 25 strength warrior with a Longsword skill of 75. But the latter will connect his blows far more often. I actually prefer the Morrowind method because it makes the game more an RPG and less a twitch shooter. I want my character's accuracy in combat determined by HIS skill, not my real life skill!

3. It does not hold your hand. Modern RPGs provide an immense number of ways to guide you by the nose to your objectives. Skyrim has a map that marks your objectives and an arrow that always shows you which way to go. Others, like Fable, even have a sparkly little path to show you precisely what route to take. Morrowind eschewed such things (or more properly, such things had not yet been popularized) and instead operates more like real life. When you get a quest in Morrowind, you have to pay attention to the directions the quest giver gives you. And then you have to (shudder) follow those directions to the dungeon. Sometime the quest giver doesn't know where an objective is precisely. He might instead give a vague reference like "to the southwest of city X". In that case you have to...wait for it...actually get off your arse and explore! Might it take you a while to find your original objective? Yep. Might you also stumble across who knows what in doing so? Most definitely! And that makes this game special. It is the unexpected things that crop up while you are looking for you main objective that give this game much of its charm.

Additionally, the game does not hold your hand with regard to the main quest. The game plops you, as a stranger to the land, right into the territory and doesn't spoon feed you the main quest right from the get go, as both Oblivion and Skyrim do. As such, many people become frustrated because they just want to get everything done and move on. Morrowind is not that type of game. It is a game to take slowly. Don't worry about the main will come to you when it comes to you. You won't miss it...I promise! Morrowind is about doing whatever it is you want to do or, more appropriately, whatever it is your character would want to do.

Finally, the game does not hold your hand regarding crime. In Oblivion and Skyrim, a big red alert is seen if you try to steal something. In Morrowind that does not happen. You have to use common sense. If an item is sitting in someone's house or shop, you can assume it is theirs and taking it will be viewed as a crime. Just use some common sense!

So, having listed the main issues with the game (and there are other minor ones incorporated into my RULES OF MORROWIND below), here's what makes the game special. I am only listing those things that are above and beyond what Oblivion and Skyrim bring to the table.

1. The setting is awesome! Oblivion's setting is amazingly bland and boring. Standard Tolkien medieval Europe setting, including terrain, architecture, and archtypical monsters. Ogres...minotaurs....orcs....will o wisps....etc. Almost every creature in Oblivion can be found in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. Skyrim is only slightly better. Like in Oblivion, humans dominate, and the architecture is still medieval Europe, albeit somewhat more Scandinavian. And the foes are still right out of the D&D Monster Manual....dragons, giant spiders, bears, wolves, smilodons, skeletons, zombies, vampires, werewolves.

But Morrowind...will blow your mind. Yes, there are a few humans. And yes those humans' settlements look European. But in Morrowind, humans are the far. Instead you will see a city like looks a bit like Mos Eisley Spaceport in Star Wars, and another made entirely out of giant beetle carapaces, and another comprised of giant pyramids floating on the ocean, and another made out of tree-like mushrooms. And the terrain in Morrowind is also alien. There are few if any trees. Instead giant mushrooms arch overhead and deserts of ash scour the countryside. And the creatures...almost none are standard fantasy tropes. Beyond the giant rats. You have cliff racers and alips and scribs and kagourtis and netches and all sorts of bizarre creatures, some with amazingly intricate and well-devised life cycles. For example, Morrowind has no normal domesticated animals. No horses or cows. Instead, netches (which resemble flying giant jellyfish with hard leather carapaces and electric tentacles) are domesticated, and you can find herds of the strangely beautiful and graceful creatures floating across the landscape. Take that Skyrim!

In Morrowind you will explore a world that is guaranteed to be unlike any other fantasy world you have wandered. That, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission!

2. Little or no voice over dialogue. are thinking...that's a good thing? me it is. When you have heard that NPC in the marketplace in Skyrim say the same saying for the 500th time, you will appreciate the fact that Morrowind uses text instead of dialogue. Aside from the annoyance factor, Morrowind's reliance on text accomplishes something allows the authors freedom to include as much "dialogue" as they like. And there is a ton of it if you enjoy speaking to NPCs and learning the lore of the land. You see...actual voice acting is expensive and time it imposes a limit on newer games like Skyrim and Oblivion. They can only afford so much of it and the sound files take up memory as well. But Morrowind's text based dialogue is virtually unlimited. And that allows the NPCs to fully enrich the Morrowind RPG experience.

3. Morrowind is bigger. Well...actually it isn't...not in terms of actual world size. Oblivion and Skyrim span more virtual space. However, Morrowind feels bigger. Why? First, because the fast travel system in Morrowind is not ubiquitous. Fast travel in Morrowind is represented by actual things...such as silt striders (giant fleas that hop from city to city) and ferry boats. Later, some magic spells also allow for long distance teleportation. But you cannot fast travel from a dungeon to a city or vice versa. This means in Morrowind you walk to a lot of places, and that lets you experience the size of Morrowind directly.

Furthermore, Morrowind simply has more to do. More dungeons and caves and definitely more random stuff....little finds that are off the beaten path and bring character to the game.

4. Morrowind is a 3 dimensional game. This is where Morrowind wins hands down. Bar none. You see, in Morrowind, you not only go north, south, east , west, left, or right. You also go up and down. Down meaning into bodies of water. Yes, in Oblivion and Skyrim you can swim. But for the most part there is nothing particularly appealing to do once you are underwater. Maybe find and loot a chest or open a clam....big deal. In Morrowind, the oceans are full of creatures. And not just slaughterfish. Try intelligent creatures. And the underwater is teeming with out of the way discoveries, from shipwrecks to entire complex dungeons underwater.

But it is the UP that is the most amazing thing about Morrowind. You Morrowind you can fly. And I don't mean the sort of lame on the rails flying you can do if you tame a dragon in the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim. I mean you can fly...anywhere you want. This opens up an entirely new vista to RPGing and exploring that every single other game lacks. In Morrowind, you can't just look around in a creepy cave you are have to look UP as well. That tiny little back spot 50 ft up near the roof of the cavern you are that just a shadowy trick of your torchlight? Or is it a ledge that might hold something of value? Or is it a hole in the wall that leads to an cave opening that goes into an entirely new and hidden dungeon complex? Only one way to find up there and see! And yes, you can fight while flying. Rain spells or arrows down on foes from the air! No CRPG I have ever played has allowed me to fly around a vast world as openly and freely as Morrowind. No, you don't get to fly from the start. But soon enough you will have access to levitation and then the fun begins! Flying in Morrowind is an experience not to be missed.

5. Freedom. Morrowind provides immense freedom. You can custom design your own spells. You can custom design your own magic items. Spell design is far more customizable than Oblivion. Magic item design is far more customizable than Skyrim.

6. Immersion. The world of Morrowind is far more immersable than either Oblivion or Skyrim. Much of this stems from reasons already given. But also the main storyline of Morrowind is excellent, complex, and well crafted. Compared to the rather straightforward stories of Oblivion and Skyrim, Morrowind's main storyline will knock your socks off.

And the politics of the land are far more intricate and interesting as well. In addition to professional guilds that oppose each other, you have houses that intrigue, and the Imperials, and several churches, not to mention shadier organizations. The relationships between these entities is well thought out and presented in major detail.

7. No scaling. None. Oblivion was horrible in that the entire game world scaled up around you. This meant at best you could complete the entire game at 1st level and at worst you never felt like you were actually getting more powerful. In Skyrim they limited scaling, but still one can see the world getting stronger around one (mostly in the dungeons). In Morrowind there is no scaling. This has two neat effects. First, it means as you get higher level in Morrowind you feel it. You become mightier.

It also means that if you are low level in Morrowing you better be very careful and cautious. This gets your adrenaline going. When you character enters a dungeon in Oblivion...who cares? You know for a fact the dungeon will be set to your precise character level. So you can just blindly go in and start hacking. Same in Skyrim. Not so in Morrowind. What resides in this dungeon? Is it a bunch of low level bandits or high level demons? You best proceed carefully until you know. Or, better yet, maybe you should find a nearby town and order some drinks from the barkeep and try to pry his tongue loose about the dungeon for some needed information?


All of the above said, Morrowind's game rules have been improved and refined in Oblivion and Skyrim. I mean this in the sense that some reforms to rules abuses in Morrowind were implemented. Additionally, some abuses were NOT fixed in Oblivion or Skyrim, but should have been. I recommend that players of Morrowind voluntarily adopt the following rules to get the most out of the game (with explanations why):

A. You can only switch weapons and shield in combat. Morrowind allows characters to switch out magic items like rings and necklaces by pausing in combat. This is completely unrealistic and while you can also do so in Skyrim, for example, the nature of the way magic items work in Morrowind makes switching items in combat more useful. Implementing this rule will better regulate power and make the game more realistic and exciting.

B. You can only drink 4 potions during any 10 second interval. This was a rule adopted for Oblivion and then dropped in Skyrim. Not sure why. Without it, in both Morrowind and Skyrim you can pause combat and drink a hundred potions to always fully heal yourself and rejuve your Stamina and Magicka. What's the point of playing if you can do this at any time?

C. You can only pay for skill training 5 times per level. This is a limit Skyrim adopted and it is a good one. Otherwise you just locate the best trainers, steal a lot of money, and train yourself into herodom.

D. You can only join 1 professional guild, 1 house, and 1 other group. This is a recommended rule mainly because unlike Oblivion and Skyrim, where running through a guild's full questline is a matter of doing a few quests and tada you are Morrowind advancing to the top of a guild or house is a major major undertaking. As such, attempting to be an anal compulsive completionist and heading all of the guilds, houses, and religious groups with a single character is an exercise in painful insanity. Morrowind was released before Xbox achievements. The game does not want you to do everything the first time you play through it. So don't try. Instead, Morrowind asks you to roleplay a character. Figure out who you are playing and what his desires and motivations are and play him that way! If he is a thief, don't have him join the mage's guild just so you can get phat loot. If he joins House Hlaalu, he doesn't need to also join House Telvanni. If you even remotely try to do every quest and join every group in Morrowind, not only will it take forever, but you will be so high level that the main quest will become a boring piece of cake. Avoid the temptation to do everything and instead just do what comes your way.

E. You cannot stack effects. This is a big one. One of the biggest abuses in Morrowind is because effects stack. If you drink 2 potions that give you +10% to a skill, you end up with +20% to a skill. Doesn't sound too bad? Well try drinking 100 of them in quick succession. Now you have +2000% to a skill. This unbalances the game. Don't do it. Don't stack effects. It is easy not to and the game will be better for it.

That about does it.

I hope I have cogently explained why Morrowind is an awesome game and why any fan of TES should play it. Happy hunting and don't be an n'wah!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2011
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
There seems to be a lot of inconsistency out there in Internet Land whether or not Morrowind works easily with 64-bit operating systems. Some people claim they need to download workarounds and alter settings in the developer menus. The Game of the Year Edition works perfectly on my Windows 7 64-bit laptop, and without the need to download or alter anything at all. I'm running it on a very basic PC with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4 GB RAM, and a plain-Jane Intel Graphics processor integrated into the motherboard. Even with these measly specs, I can run the game with the settings maxed, and I only get very occasional frame rate stutters, usually when a new section of the map is streamed in. Make sure when you launch the game, right-click the Morrowind launcher and select "Run as administrator" and you should be golden.

As far as the game itself is concerned, I will echo most other reviewers here and say this is one of the absolute best RPGs ever made. In many ways, I even prefer this over its follow-up, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. While Oblivion has prettier graphics and more spoken dialog, the world of Morrowind is more satisfying and enveloping. It has a much stronger fantasy feeling to it, while Oblivion feels more like the real world. To me, Morrowind is a prettier place on an aesthetic design level, with a more interesting color pallet and ecosystem. I also love the underwater grotto "dungeons," and missed those greatly in Oblivion. The only thing Oblivion has I wish Morrowind did is the fancy Havok physics engine, but Morrowind came out right before the video game "physics revolution" began with technologies such as Havok and PhysX. The music in Morrowind is also better. Oblivion's score is very similar to Morrowind's, but Morrowind's has prettier melodies and, like the visual design, elicits a more "fantasy-realm" theme than does Oblivion's more straightforward orchestral score.

If you have never played Morrowind, you won't find a better value for your money than the Game of the Year Edition. Even if you're new to RPGs, and want to get your feet wet, Morrowind is as deep or as straightforward as you want it to be. It was the game I began my RPG fixation with, and was a perfect choice as it really helps you understand how to play it in the early hours of the story. In many ways it's a better RPG experience than Oblivion, even though Oblivion is a bit more advanced, technically. If you are a Morrowind veteran, go ahead and play it again to pass the time before Skyrim!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2006
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Game of the Year
I purchased a copy of the Game of the Year Edition at the end of May, 2006. It is now almost September. I have been playing Morrowind for three months most week day evenings for about 4 hours and most weekends for about 12 hours.

The game has great graphics, the character interaction is fairly intricate though at times repetitive, the game AI for the monsters and non-player characters is fairly advanced, the game manipulation was fairly easy to learn, the layers of complexity can be somewhat challenging though not overwhelming, and most importantly the one or two puzzles I have come across thus far were straightforward to resolve. Most of the various quests are not terribly intricate and difficult to do so they lend themselves to jumping on for a few hours and then taking a break.

I wanted a game that would be visually appealing, with simple game manipulation mechanics, interesting but easy puzzles, mysteries, and above all to provide an immersive virtual world to explore. And I wanted an inexpensive game and that would run on an older 900Mhz AMD Thunderbird with an NVIDIA FX5200 128MB video card and 1 GB of RAM. Morrowind fits the bill nicely.

I have ignored all of the FAQs and manuals about how to play the game as most of those provide spoilers and instructions as to the most opportune or expedient path. I have discussed the game with some of my students who have moved on to Oblivien, the fourth game in the series.

All in all, this was the best 20 bucks I have ever spent on a game. Previous to this I have played Call of Duty and Civilization II extensively and some other strategy games a bit. I did play Dungeons and Dragons with a group of friends in college some 20 years ago so the fantasy ideas embedded in the game are familiar.
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