Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – PC
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks/ Ubisoft
Release Date: May 1st, 2002
Rating: 8.8 out of 10
Reviewed by Dovahkyle
I must cover this amazing and seemingly unending game. With over 480 billion character variations and 3,244 NPCs available for the pure joy of interacting with and/or killing, this game is more of an extension of your own life than an RPG. I personally have lost friends whilst being lost in the 10 square mile land mass of Vvardenfell, while the normal activities of eating, sleeping and showering were easily forgotten. This game, created by Bethesda Softworks, undoubtedly changed the way I would see open world RPGs forever, not to mention setting the bar extremely high for any that would dare to compete.
“Good God, it smells like Grandpa Goat’s garlic factory in here!”
The setting is a medieval prison ship docked in a small town called Seyda Neen, in the land of Morrowind, the native homeland to the Dunmer (or Dark Elves). Here the player is released to start a life working for the blades, the imperial protection organization. This being the main story line, which can be put off indefinitely to follow all kinds of side quests or just mucking about, whether that be chasing down mud crabs, smuggling, or becoming a deadly assassin. First thing, the player is asked to pick a race, each race (and gender) having strengths and weaknesses in different skill sets:
- Altmer (High Elf): Considered the most civilized culture of Tamriel, while having an uncanny resistance to disease and a knack for the arcane arts, they suffer from weaknesses to all types of magicka and a generally low strength level.
- Argonian (Lizard): Hailing from the swamps of Black Marsh, they have a high resistance to disease and an immunity to poison, also having the ability to breathe underwater for a time. Generally lacking in skill bonuses, they do start with a +15 to Athletics.
- Bosmer (Wood Elf): Calling themselves “The Tree Sap People” of Valenwood, these small folk have a high resistance to disease and the ability to call upon woodland creatures for assistance in battle. Precision Markmanship and stealth is their strong points, having almost no natural arcane or Strength bonuses.
- Breton: From the home of High Rock, these human-elvish descendants are highly resistant to magicka and have a Dragon Skin power that blesses them with a temporary shield. With high arcane bonuses, Bretons are often powerful sorcerers.
- Dunmer (Dark Elf): The red-eyed, gloomy elves of Morrowind are known for a balance of sword and bow as well as Destruction magic. A high resistance to fire and the ability to call upon an Ancestor Ghost for help, can make up for the overall lack of high skill bonuses.
- Imperial: The well known Cyrodiils, are a well educated people of the province by the same name. Having a knack for Speechcraft and Mercantile, these smooth talkers are well versed in swordplay as well.
- Khajiit (Cat): (My personal favorite in all TES games) The feline humanoids from Elsweyr have a high bonus towards acrobatics and powers that allow seeing in the dark and demoralizing enemies. Short blade, lock picking and stealth are the way of the Khajiit, as most become excellent thieves and assassins.
- Nord: Hailing from Skyrim, these fair-skinned viking like peoples have a high resistance to Shock and an immunity to Frost. With powers that allow Shield and Frost damage, they are fluent in the use of Axe and Blunt weapons and typically wear Medium or Heavy Armors.
- Orsimer (Orc): The “Pariah Folk” of Orisinium are hardy and courageous in battle. A mild resistance to magicka and a Berserk power make them formidable allies, they are also given high bonuses to Block, Armorer, Heavy and Medium Armors.
- Redguard: The dark-skinned warriors of Hammerfell are highly resistant to poison and diseases, and an Adrenaline Rush power that can change the course of a battle. They are highly fluent in Swords and have small skill bonuses towards all kinds of weapons and armors.
After deciding which race will best suit your class (custom or preset) you will pick a specialization that will govern major and minor skills:
- COMBAT – Armorer, Athletics, Axe, Block, Blunt, Heavy Armor, Long Blade, Medium Armor, Spear
- STEALTH – Acrobatics, Hand to Hand, Light Armor, Marksmanship, Mercantile, Security, Short Blade, Sneak, Speechcraft
- MAGIC – Alchemy, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, Illusion, Mysticism, Restoration, Unarmed
You will also choose 2 favorite attributes which will govern an array of in game aspects:
- STRENGTH – Increases damage cause by weapons, and encumbrance, also determines maximum Fatigue and starting Health
- ENDURANCE – Increases starting and maximum Health, and maximum Fatigue, also slows Fatigue loss
- WILLPOWER – Increases maximum Magicka and odds of successful spell casting, also increases Magicka resistance
- AGILITY – Increases chance to hit enemies with weapons and dodge incoming attacks, also reduces chance to get knocked down
- INTELLIGENCE – Increases maximum Magicka, and amount of Magicka replenished while sleeping
- PERSONALITY – Increases how much people like the player and the prices offered by traders
- SPEED – Increases rate of movement
- LUCK – Increases chances for good in all areas
Next the player will either choose a preset class, or pick major and minor skills to create a class, there are countless combinations to create custom classes such as Spell Swords, Assassins, Rangers, Healers, Crusaders, Nightblades, Pilgrims, Scouts, Rogues, Sorcerers, Witchhunters and many more. These early choices will determine what kind of person you can be, but your choices throughout the game will decide what kind of person you will become. There are a great number of join-able factions or guilds in Morrowind, all with their own allotment of side quests and ranking systems, and depending on which ones you join will determine how some people and other factions will treat you.
The only consistent complaint I hear about this game is the lack of realism in combat. I admit there is no recoil when the player is blocking an incoming attack or even from the player’s own weapon when he/she strikes someone. But you have to understand the aspect of combat in this game; it is all based on chance, which is based on your current skill level. If you have relatively low skill level for sword, then you are going to have to swing it allot before you do very much damage (or any at all), same goes with spells. I would take this combat system any day over a “realistic” one, based on the idea that I, as a human-being, couldn’t just pick up a war hammer and start killing successfully with it, it takes time, training and practice. So this combat system seems more realistic to me than most of the others out there.
In addition to the expansive world and numerous quests and side quests, visiting Nexus Mods, you will find almost 3000 mods available for the game, including new land masses, new factions and guilds (with new quests) and many new armors and weapons. There are also some pretty impressive graphics and sound overhauls available that make this game look like it was made recently. I personally have gotten carried away with mods and completely lost myself, nevertheless they are still very cool additions to this already very cool game.
Then, during 3E 426, a prisoner born of uncertain parentage…
The Emperor Uriel Septim VII sends the player to Seyda Neen to fulfill the prophesy of the Nerevarine. Many have claimed to be the reincarnation of Indoril Nerevar, but none have successfully fulfilled the prophecy. With the arch nemesis of the Dunmer religion, The Sixth House (worshippers of Dagoth Ur) trying to stop the reincarnate at every turn, the main quest can get pretty hairy. I will admit that the inability to fast travel will leave the player to the mercy of the wilds, and it is no joke, this is not an easy task. I would highly suggest putting off the main quest until completing at least a couple other factions.
The horrible blight that riddles the land, Corprus Disease, a supernatural weapon devised by Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House will inevitably be contracted as the Nerevarine, and getting cured is pretty important, since it will eventually turn the character into a mindless zombie (or so we’re led to believe). The eventual meeting of the god-hero Vivec and retrieving three magical items will allow the player to “unmake” Dagoth Ur and all his evil minions, forever curing the blight that covered Morrowind in shadow for so long. After (or before) completing the main storyline, the player may choose to complete the DLCs, Bloodmoon and Tribunal, which are included in the Game of the Year edition, these open up two new areas, one of which is the island of Solstheim where the player can join the Nords of Skall and become a werewolf.
The werewolf ability on Morrowind, unlike on Skyrim, is uncontrollable (the change always occurs at 9PM and 9AM) and the strength of this beast is unmatched. The player can actually jump over buildings and run as fast as a spriggan on fire, he/she can terrorize towns and kill numerous amounts of NPCs and guards with just one or two swipes of the deadly claws. This amazing ability was destroyed in the following games and I really miss it. Sure it had its downsides, for example I had to constantly check the time, if I was seen changing by anyone I was instantly hated and feared everywhere. So I suggest if you choose to follow the way of Hercine (the daedric prince that rules the wolves) watch your clocks and run into the woods around 8:30pm because it’s about to get real up in here.
“I don’t recall using teleportation, but there I was: alone, naked.”
The first time I had the pleasure of playing this game was on the Xbox, although never having thoroughly enjoyed it, I did like the controller (yes I actually liked that huge thing). Being that I have played through mostly on the PC, I am able to map the keys however I want, I was also able to map them for my PC controller, this makes it so glorious. I have a system when playing PC games that allow mapping, first I look at the key mapping screen, then I write down every possible thing that can be done, then I go to my gamepad mapper and program it to be like a controller from a game I am already comfortable with, this makes new game control transition a little more bearable.
“Simply find the heart of a lich, combine it with the tongue of a dragon,
and cook it with the flesh of a well-ridden horse.”
I will admit the time I first experienced this gem, I was blown away at the graphics, while still not totally terrible, the mods allow for this game to look almost as good as Oblivion. There are sound and graphics overhauls that really brighten up the game and make it feel a lot more modern. I love that there are enough people out there with the programming prowess and dedication to see that this game never dies, with constantly new releases for overhauls, I can’t wait to build a good gaming PC with one of Malefico‘s builds, and really crank up the graphics on this one.
The blood effects are really just faint red clouds when striking an enemy, and the magic isn’t much better, but I can’t help but be impressed by the sheer size of the world, and the altitudes that the player is allowed to reach, whether by climbing or levitation, and then jump or fall from that height, with high enough acrobatics the player could literally jump from the highest cliffs and take out a cliff racer from the top side, “how’s it feel racer!”.
“I have only met one, but he was afraid of the water”
I may be completely on my own on this opinion, but there is no way I will ever reach a point in my life where I will no longer feel it is necessary to have a run through of Morrowind. I am truly in love with this game and I haven’t even come close to experiencing every aspect of the classes and character builds. This, combined with all the expansion mods, will always have me coming back for more. Just writing about this title makes me want to pop it in and give it another go.
“Walk if you must; run if you are chased!”
Even though this game was released in 2002 I have played it all the way through many times and will definitely continue to play it again and again. If truly amazing graphics and realistic (life like) gameplay are what fuels your gaming desires, then get Skyrim, but if you are all about the true freedom of choice, and consequence, then this game will never get old. Be ye warned, when you start this game you are walking through star gate, you are entering another dimension, the meaning of friends and family will be lost to you, natural life necessities will not be desired. You can pick it up for around $30 from Amazon, and oh it’s worth so much more.
Take precautions: get a case of water bottles, some boxes of trisquets and maybe a bedpan, because you’re not getting up from this one anytime soon, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
*FS Rating System*
Graphics/Sound: 7 (8.5 with mods)
Share This Post