I’ve been playing lots of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind lately. It’s an older role-playing game for PC and classic Xbox, but I play it on PC. I got it back in 2005, but I still play it from, time to time. It’s my favorite game of all time.
I remember the day I bought this game like it happened yesterday. I was on a class trip back in elementary school. It was true hell and I hated almost every single moment of it. But during the trip back home, we stopped by in some city for two hours. After having a hamburger at the local Hesburger I went to look through stores etc. I thought I wasn’t gonna buy anything but then I spotted the cheap games section at some store.. And there it was, Morrowind, just for 5€.
I looked at the back of the case and there were a few intriguing screenshots and praises how it’s one of the best first person RPGs and whatnot. The key words were “first person” because I love FPS games.
This may sound a bit weird, but back then I had to ask a permission from my parents to buy games. I have no idea what it was about, I just remember them not really wanting games on the family PC, because they “slow down the computer.” I’m sure some of you have had something similar. Well, I called my mom and asked “Can I buy this game it’s only 5€????” and luckily she let me buy it.
Back home I then unpacked my bags and went to install Morrowind right away. Aand..
I had no idea what I was doing! My English skills weren’t so good back in the day, I had no idea what people were saying to me, I had no idea what skills did what and so on. I learned lots of things by simple trial and error. “Oh, I can’t pick that up without everyone hating me. Oh, that button fires spells,” etc.
Slowly but surely I grasped the main gameplay aspects of the game: How to fight, rest, gain levels, talk (even I didn’t understand almost anything) and how to use spells.
There was a second problem however: I was too scared to play. I was 12 at the time, so traveling from Seyda Neen to Balmora while a swarm of cliffracers chase you was quite scary. The worst was when I got lost in a tomb full of skeletons and heard them rattle while they were chasing me, eventually meeting my demise because of the Morrowind’s infamous combat system.
|Welcome to (modded) Morrowind. No idea who made the gif. Original video [here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4rXsrZRchQ)|
And thirdly: Our computer was really, really slow. I can’t remember anything else than it had only 256 Mb RAM. It played some games like a champ, I played Counter-Strike: Source a lot with it, but Morrowind had very long loading times, so me rapidly dying + reloading the game for long times wasn’t very fun.
I then borrowed the game to my friend. He was much better in English than me and he never was scared of any enemies in games, for some reason. He loved the game and I loved to watch him play. His family had a way better PC so it ran Morrowind really well, loading times were really quick and so on.
I was his friend for long time, I visited him often and had a sleepover there for quite a many times. Almost every time we played Morrowind. He played the game, did quests, translated me some of the text if I didn’t understand and I gave suggestions for things to do. Those were some golden times in my life, I miss all of that a lot. So hey dude, if you are reading this, contact me and come visit, let’s play some Morrowind together!
I also found a forum about TES games and luckily for me it was in Finnish. I still remember my first post there: “What is the plot of Morrowind?” I got quite hilarious replies, such as “you got to kil dagot ur (sic.) and build a pillow fortress.” Anyway, the folk there explained things for me and after some time I was the one helping others. I also spent a lot of time there talking about other things than games, made some good friends who unfortunately later disappeared from my life for some reason.. Or it was vice versa, I can’t remember.
Morrowind Construction Set was my first game modding experience, that ignited the spark of gamedev in me. I made a campfire in Morrowind, surrounded by the characters of people from the TES:Finland forum. They sent me screenshots of their characters and their outfits, and I made some custom dialogue for them. It was a fun experience, so I made myself a house mod, too. Unfortunately I lost all those mods ages ago..
Later on I got my own computer and played Oblivion on it. I also installed Morrowind and I’ve been playing it ever since, every year, almost every month. I always go back to Vvardenfell, to relive old memories and find new ones.
And next, about the game!
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is roleplaying game about you, a prisoner who has been released for some mysterious reason, arriving in the tiny coast town of Seyda Neen in Vvardenfell, an island in the Morrowind province. You are given some papers you must deliver to Caius Cosades in Balmora, but you can toss those papers in the nearest lake and do whatever you wish. Don’t do that though if you want to finish the main quest!
Please note that the screenshots I’ve taken are from modded version of Morrowind, the original game looks more, well, older.
In the beginning of Morrowind, you get to choose from 10 races:
|Races of Morrowind. [Source](http://imgur.com/REK7WN5)|
Imperial, Nord, Redguard, Breton, Altmer (High Elf), Dunmer (Dark Elf), Bosmer (Wood Elf), Khajiit, Argonian and Orc.
Imperials, Nords, Redguards and Bretons are the basic human races. Altmer, Dunmer and Bosmer, as you may have guessed already, are the elven races. Khajiit and Argonian are the so called beast races, and Orcs are.. Well, Orcs. Every race has their own racial bonuses and skills, for example Argonians have a skill for breathing underwater and Dunmers resist fire spells. If you’re interested, more reading here: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Races By the way, if you ever do any reading about lore or other TES games, use UESP, it’s the most reliable Wiki for Elder Scrolls games, and it has been around for quite a long time and is still active.
After choosing your race, you choose a class or make your own. There are quite a many skills in the game, so I’m not gonna list them all here. To put it simply, almost anything you can do in the game, has a skill. Skills improve by training with other NPC’s, or simply doing what the skill implies. For example, to get marksman skill higher, you just have to use bow/darts/throwing stars actively.
Now, meet Hun-Tra, a character I have remade for at least thousand times during all these years I’ve played Morrowind!
I’ve been adventuring as him for many hours now and he is becoming quite formidable adventurer! I am planning to get all his skills to 100, eventually.
Now, let’s talk about the combat: It can suck, and many people who have been interested in Morrowind have dropped it because of the combat. By default, Morrowind combat is all about the dice rolls and comparing skill levels etc. in the background, even if you see your sword, spell or arrow hit the enemy on the screen. This can be really frustrating. Thankfully, modders are here to rescue us. I wish they didn’t have to, but I’m not complaining either way. I have a mod that makes the combat more about actually hitting the enemy and then rolling dices, so it feels much more better. I will list all mods I use later. On later levels though, combat gets really easy, even in vanilla (non-modded) version. One hit kills left and right. Considering the main quest, it kinda makes sense, but I’m not gonna spoil anything. The combat is either done in first person or in third person, however Morrowind in third person is barely playable.
Spells in the game work like normal combat, but you can do either ranged spells like fireballs or touch spells like paralyzing touch. There’s also self healing spells etc. One of the coolest spells in Morrowind is levitation. Yes, you can fly! There’s also Mark and Recall spells, that let you set a place to teleport to. Mark marks the teleport spot, Recall brings you there. Those are really useful when you have lots of loot and just want to quickly get home.
|Have you seen any mudcrabs lately? Filthy creatures!|
|They really don't like me, but I don't like bandits either.|
The world of Morrowind, Vvardenfell, is full of things to explore. I’ve spent so many hours playing this game and there are still new things to be found. I find the size of the map and the fact that everything is hand crafted really impressive. There’s no procedural generation in the game at all. There’s also Solstheim and Mournhold. Solstheim comes with the Bloodmoon expansion and Mournhold comes with the Tribunal expansion.
|The base game map that comes with the game case. [Source](http://www.uesp.net/wiki/File:MW-Map-Vvardenfell.jpg)|
Solstheim is a smaller island near Vvardenfell, full of Nords, werewolves and snow. Fun fact: You can swim from Vvardenfell to Solstheim if you’re brave enough.
|Solstheim, Bloodmoon expansion. [Source](https://www.imperial-library.info/content/solstheim-map-official)|
Mournhold is the capital city of Morrowind, where you meet Almalexia, one of the gods of the Tribunal. This map doesn’t show the complex sewer network under Mournhold, which is quite large aswell.
|Mournhold city, Tribunal expansion. [Source](https://www.imperial-library.info/content/maps-morrowind)|
So yes, there are lots of things to explore, many things to find and many quests to do!
Morrowind has many creatures, but most of them are not the usual fantasy creatures you see in other games. For example, I’ve never seen anything like netches, guars or silt striders outside of TES games.
|Betty Netch, calm creatures unless you attack them.|
|A peaceful Guar, many of them attack on sight but this guy didn't care.|
|This guy was less peaceful however.|
|AAAHH WHAT IS THAT?!|
You can travel by foot, boat or silt strider. Foot and boat are self explanatory, but silt striders are another oddity of Morrowind. They’re huge insects that can carry loads of cargo and people in Morrowind use them to travel around. Unfortunately in the game you can’t see them walking around, but there are mods that change that.
|Silt Strider, the Taxi service of Morrowind. Bull Netch floating in the background.|
|Coasts of Vvardenfell can be really beautiful and athmospheric.|
Even buildings in Morrowind can get really weird. There are huge mushrooms pretty much everywhere, and people in Morrowind use them as buildings. There are also mushroom buildings around castles. Almost every city has an unique look to them, but depending who owns the city, the buildings change too. Usually imperials have very basic brick houses and castles and dunmers have their weird mushroom towers or bug shell houses.
|Tel Vos, a castle with a twist.|
|Ald'Ruhn and Ghostfence in the background|
|City of Vivec. And yes, that's a moon.|
Leveling up in Morrowind works by resting in a bed, so you need to rest in the game. As players resting places go, they can rent a room in a tavern and sleep there, sleep outside the city on ground, kill a resident of a house and live there (grim, I know!) or if they complete a questline for one of the great houses, they get their own manor!
|A tavern in Pelagiad|
Morrowind also has lots of books to read. You can read them all in the game and my goal for long time has been to collect every book in the game and place them somewhere and then read them all. You can even read magical scrolls, if you can decipher them that is.
|Can you read it?|
Speaking of reading, most of the Morrowind dialogue is text. NPC’s grunt and talk if you bump into them, but if you want to ask them questions, you have to read a lot. There’s no voice acting for the dialogue. You press the blue links to jump around topics.
|Morrowind Dialogue system. Don't mind the "...Commands" option, that's a mod just for commands like "Follow me" etc.|
Morrowind tracks quests in your personal journal, which you can open by pressing J. Your character automatically writes there if there’s something to write about, and you can find all the quests you have active there. I kinda miss this kind of system in modern games, before arrows pointing you in the right direction. In Morrowind, you have to read what the people say. To find some place, they usually tell you “go north until you see X and then go east” and so on. I think it’s a really cool way to do quests.
I would like also to share a short story I shared on my TES Discord server, which describes well how athmospheric and immersive Morrowind can get:
“Okay that was cool: I found a cave with a boat that had a corpse on it, like it was a Nord burial site. I then noticed something glimmering above my head and levitated there. There was a daedric battlehammer and a daedric helm. Well I was overencumbered so I couldnt move after picking those up, but I had a recall and mark spell. Since I had already marked my home I could teleport there, so I spent over two days of ingame time trying to recall myself home, because my mysticism skill is very low so the chance for recalling was only like 18% per try, and it always ate lots of magicka. I just imagine my character eating and sleeping for six hours, then trying to recall, then be weary again and having to rest another six hours. And who said greedy can’t survive?”
Here’s a list of a few mods I recommend. Some of them can be found here: http://wiki.step-project.com/Guide:Morrowind and others can be found here: http://mw.modhistory.com/home But as always, first try the game without mods!
Morrowind Code Patch
MGEXE (Adds widescreen support and MWSE, which is needed for some mods)
Morrowind Patch 1.6.6
Texture Fix Blood Moon
Poorly Placed Object Fix
Telvanni Exterior UV Fix
Improved Imperial fort UV
Correct UV Rocks
Correct UV Trees
Correct UV Mudcrabs
Better Heads for Better Bodies
Hold It - Replacer
The regulars - Sitting NPC’s
LGNPC_Merged_Lt (Adds more background stories to characters, very optional but fun mod)
Apoapse’s Attack (Makes Morrowind combat much more modern, essential if the vanilla combat makes you angry)
I may edit this list later if I forgot something
I think that’s the basics covered. I could go on and on about the game, covering every simple minimal aspect of it, or babble about TES lore, so it’s hard to stop typing this. I love this game to bits, it’s the game I always install first on any computer I get. I think I will keep playing it forever.
If you want to buy Morrowind, I recommend getting the GOG version, since it’s DRM free and comes with all the official addons and expansions. It works the best with most mods, better than the Steam version in some cases since Steam overlay can bug out with MGEXE. You can disable the Steam overlay of course, but just sayin’.
Thank you for reading! I hope it was fun to read this or atleast it was fun to oogle at the pictures! :)
I think I’ll go back to play Morrowind now..