Morrowind: An Antiquated Masterpiece

1 : Anonymous2021/03/07 17:45 ID: lzvm5k

Morrowind - a game that we've all heard about in one way or another. A game that some consider to be the absolute pinnacle of western RPGs and vastly superior to anything that Bethesda has put out since then, and a game that some consider to be excessively obtuse and outdated. As someone who really enjoyed both Skyrim and Oblivion, I was both excited and hesitant to delve into it, and what I got out of it was hands down my favorite Elder Scrolls game and one of the best games I've played in general.

If you've heard anything about Morrowind, it would probably be the game mechanics and what it expects of the player: no quest markers, no fast travel, dice-roll combat, slow movement speed, extensive reading, etc. It's definitely a game that you have to put thought and effort into while playing, and while it's definitely a handful at first, it all comes together into forming the game's greatest strengths: the atmosphere and the sense of progression.

When you start the game, you're a complete wimp that will struggle a lot early on. You're an outlander in a foreign and strange land, filled with alien-like creatures and landscapes, a land embroiled in turmoil, whose citizens aren't particularly eager to assist you. The further you progress in the main story (which I found to be the most compelling of the games), the more you learn about the land, the lore, and the conflicts that have been brewing, as well as the role that you must play in resolving them, building up to an epic climax. At the end of the game, you become a living legend, able to slay the most powerful of foes and gaining the respect of everyone and all the people who doubted you before.

While the game definitely feels a bit clunky and tedious at times, through some excessive dialogue and lore dumps, the slow pace at which the game moves (especially in the beginning), the clunky combat system, the frequent traveling between distant locations, etc., I found the immersion and rewarding feeling the game offered to vastly outweigh the annoyances I had.

Morrowind is definitely intimidating to get into at first, but if you take the time to look through some guides and understand what the game really expects of you, you will experience an RPG in the truest sense, one that respects your intelligence and leads you into a wonderful world where you can be whoever you want, do whatever you want, and go wherever you want - so long as those Cliffracers don't get in the way.

2 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:01 ID: gq4i58o

Morrowind still is (and I suspect will always be) my favourite game of all time. I played it when it was fairly new and have replayed it probably 5-6 times since, but it’s been a few years since my last play-through.

Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t provide the same experience but it was fun to romp around Vardenfall and see all the old sites at least.

ID: gq5n07l

I've always been a huge fan of Dune and when Morrowind came out, I absolutely loved the strange world. I'm fine with a traditional "medieval setting", but it was a treat figuring out such an alien landscape. The beginning is always rough but it gets so good once you get moderate levels.

ID: gq4wsy4

Hard for me not to put Morrowind on my personal Mount Rushmore of games. The only reason it loses any points is because of how Bethesda followed it up with successively watered-down versions that were less RPG and more Action-oriented arcade-ified versions of the format...which isn't really Morrowind's fault I guess so shouldn't count against it...the cliff racers though, fuck those guys

Not that I hated Oblivion or Skyrim by any stretch of the imagination, I played the hell out of them, but it felt like I was chasing that horse, it just wasn't the same...

3 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:49 ID: gq56a1z

no fast travel

Not quite. Morrowind has multiple, interlocking fast travel options that players can master to get around Vvardenfell quickly. What Morrowind lacks is the "just click on the POI on the map from anywhere" type of fast travel. It does have Silt Striders, boats, Mage Guild teleportation, Mark and Recall spells (and items), two different "town portal" (well, temple portal/Intervention) spells, Propylon Chambers that must be unlocked, and even Speed as an attribute that can be rather easily abused.

I would argue that Morrowind's approach to fast travel is arguably superior to latter installments as a game mechanic -and it helps immersion, too.

ID: gq5hwo9

Morrowind's ability to teleport around at will means that you can cross the continent and back often quicker than opening the map interface using prepared spells. Between the two different types of Interventions and Mark/Recall and things like Scrolls of Windform, you can travel to be almost anywhere on the map in seconds.

Pair that with the existing fast travel connections like boats/Striders etc, and... Well, I love it. I much prefer it to Oblivion & Skyrim's fast travel interface.

ID: gq5wxkk

Levitate + enhanced speed is also a super effective way to get around

ID: gq5zh29

For those who like to live very dangerously, there's also the Scroll of Icarian Flight.

ID: gq6elpn

Don't forget that with fortify acrobatics and/or jump spells, preferably paired with a slowfall effect, can let you cross the island in a small number of huge leaps.

ID: gq6kun5

Full agreement with you, and it was always fun to jump to the nearest fort or temple without looking where you were going as a bug fix or to escape some enemy. Suddenly you are totally lost in the middle of nowhere because you jumped to the nearest fort and have to find your way home.

ID: gq6mx7z

The complex way attributes were calculated is one of the main reasons Morrowind is such a great game.

It came from a time when gaming really was for nerds. You had to bother to read up on how things worked and understand the mechanics behind everything. I loved that you could manipulate enchantments to basically make yourself a god if you wanted to. Or at least make silly spells that let you jump across the map in a single leap.

ID: gq6untz

totally. while it's not the same as the press M and click type of fast travel, once you have an OP character, or just the swing of things, moving across the map takes only a few minutes rather than the single loading screen's time.

ID: gq7aqbe

I personally perfer Abot's Silt Strider mods for literal slow travel. Abot also has some boat mods too. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

ID: gq7b085

I would argue that Morrowind's approach to fast travel is arguably superior to latter installments as a game mechanic -and it helps immersion, too.

The biggest thing I'd like is multiple mark and recall spells, I always kept one by the talking mud crab, but I would have liked to have one either just outside the dungeon or in the town where I need to return to to finish my quest

Playing Morrowblivion I did love having fast travel by clicking and pointing instead of just retracing my steps to the previous town to turn in my quest. I would always explore new land, but just back tracking isn't fun, saved a lot of time

4 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:52 ID: gq4gvbh

Boots of Blinding Speed!

ID: gq4inbw

Is this a reference to the bug where if you enchanted boots with (I think) zero speed, it could cost nothing, but actually give them one speed.

My memory of this is hazy, but I remember figuring out some sort of bug where you could enchant boots with a small amount of speed but you could do so infinitely. The biggest thing I remember is being able to run through the game so fast my computer had a hard time keeping up with loading the new assets.

It was super fucking fun. But it also sorta ruined the game for me because, as a little teenaged asshole, I abused the shit out of this and ran around everywhere to feel like a god.

But that made the game feel way less immersive to me. I remember it as one of the biggest regrets in my 35 year gaming history.

Amazing game. I just wish I hadn't ruined it.

ID: gq65dl9

5 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:23 ID: gq5b658

Still to this day, the benchmark of how to write a story for an open world sandbox game. There's no ludonarrative dissonance in Morrowind, because the story begs you to go out of your way and explore, do quests, craft stuff, etc... Anything you do in this game works in accordance with the narrative, without you even noticing. And the lore is so intertwined with the story that by the end of it you'll feel like you've become intimately familiar with the world.

I've been playing it on and off since release and it's hard to quantify how many hours I put into it since back then there were no launchers with playtime tracking, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were in the ballpark of 2000 hours!

6 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:11 ID: gq50yf9

Morrowind's world design is so unique and immersive, even if other parts of the game are dated.

Mushrooms the size of trees. Ride giant insects to fast travel. Its so distinctive and unusual, I wish more video games pushed the possibilities of fantasy like Morrowind does.

ID: gq5wl66

I agree! Feels like everything is so safe and boxed in these days.

ID: gq6l6ef

Silt striders were one of the first things I saw when I booted up this game knowing nothing. They set the fantasy tone in the most beautiful way, and it grossed me out that we sat in the hollowed out chitin of a giant bug to get around. The creature was so tall that it could walk over enemies without there being any issues, and the armor stopped it from being attacked by bigger creatures. It made so much sense. That bug convinced me, right there in Seyda Neen, that this was a real world within the game that I could explore and that would hold up to my imagination. I was a young child so I couldn't express it at the time, but it really made me go wild!

ID: gq6ywfn

It's not just the fantastical weird stuff, but the influences of eastern cultures rather than the medieval european settings you usually see. It would be great if more fantasy games embraced non-western settings but they almost seem afraid of being too foreign. I feel even future ES games set in other parts of Tamriel will probably play it safe.

7 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:12 ID: gq511t6

To this day, nothing absorbed me and fascinated me like Morrowind. It changed everything.

8 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:55 ID: gq5f784

I played it on OG Xbox when it came out. It was one of my first RPG experiences and the soundtrack still gives me goosebumps today. Absolute top notch game.

ID: gq6l8i1

The soundtrack is such a joy.

9 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:19 ID: gq4bx44

did you mod it or play vanilla

ID: gq4z5nf

I added a few mods to fix bugs, increase render distance, make the game look a bit better, etc.

ID: gq4ii3t

Aside from some QoL fixes like enhanced draw distance, widescreen support and maybe better starting speed I would not recommend a modded game for a first playthrough. The game is old, get down with it good and bad.

ID: gq6k67u

imo it's worth at least getting some graphical mods. The game is pretty good looking in its own right, but a lot of things didn't age well visually. This is especially the case with character models. MGSO is pretty good and helps new players get into it better. The game can be downright beautiful with those graphics mods.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:18 ID: gq5uxey


11 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:53 ID: gq5lq2u

I have a tip for first time morrowind players that isn't related to getting over the ancient interface and combat mechanics. Don't turn your view distance up to 11, game looks and feels better at a more moderate view distance setting.

ID: gq6kn1c

Yeah, long render distance really breaks the illusion and shows how small the world is.

ID: gq64myw

Turn the view distance as high as it goes and the AI distance as low. Nobody loves until you get close

12 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:26 ID: gq4ugoq

Every time Morrowind gets brought up here it makes me want to try it. It would sure be nice if they could port it to modern consoles instead of giving us Skyrim again for the 100th time.

ID: gq588vj

It would sure be nice if they could port it to modern consoles instead of giving us Skyrim again for the 100th time.

Problem is that Morrowind is the last TES game truly designed for PC: It still has the best UI on PC out of all TES/Fallout games since then - but this also means that it does not work well for controllers.

ID: gq5j10o

I would recommend some mods. The /

subreddit links to a YouTube video as their guide, but conveniently the description contains a copy of links & descriptions if you don't want to watch the guide.

They list the following mods as essential (and I largely agree):

Holy Trinity:


Patch Project -

Game Mechanic Mods:

Talrivian's State-Based HP -

Natural Magicka Regeneration -
Delayed DB Attack V2 -
Illys Solstheim Rumour Fix - EDIT:

Graphical Mods:

Better Dialogue Font -

Pluginless NoGlow -
Jas Crosshairs -
HD Concept-art splash screen & main menu -
XE Sky Variations - (comes with MGE XE)

Other Mods:

Morrowind Acoustic Overhaul -

Better Chargen -

I amended the link to the Illys mod, as their link was broken, and also to an older mod.

ID: gq4xasd

Although I played Morrowind first and I prefer it to Oblivion and Skyrim, no way would I play it without mods. Even the game of the year edition wasn't really a finished game.

ID: gq5nubn

FYI it is backwards compatible on Xbox if you are on that platform.

ID: gq6ed4s

Seriously. How many times have they made skyrim again? And they can't do a single remake of morrowind or oblivion? It's like they just don't want money.

ID: gq6kfb3

It's super worth it even today if you have a PC. Don't even need a good PC to run it. My views aren't clouded by nostalgia either as I only played it for the first time a couple years ago.

ID: gq6m11e

Try OpenMW for modern systems:

It's a ground-up rewrite of the game engine, and it's superior to the original engine in many ways. Many "must-have" mods for the original are not necessary because the new engine includes those bugfixes or improvements. The view distance possible is huge. It takes advantage of modern quantities of RAM to do improved caching and make many load times pretty much zero.

I've been playing Morrowind every few years since it was released, and I'll never use the default engine again.

13 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:41 ID: gq5r1cq

Morrowind was my favourite simply because of everything you said. The difficulty was fantastically hard at the start but it made you explore.

Hell, I didn't even know you had to join the Blades guild to actually complete the damn game - I just loved walking around, it wasn't until I realised that there had to be an end point that I bothered.

Ah! Those Boots of the Apostle, how I loved thee so much!! Levitating all over the place.

One of the most amazing features that still sticks out for me is how little loading was needed for towns. You could just walk straight in to most of them which added much more immersion instead of having to go through a door like in Oblivion and onwards.

ID: gq65ue8

One of the most amazing features that still sticks out for me is how little loading was needed for towns. You could just walk straight in to most of them which added much more immersion instead of having to go through a door like in Oblivion and onwards.

Yes, even though Morrowind was a generation before "open-world" became virtually the default format for RPGs, its world was more open than the ones we have now. You could wander into dungeons that are way beyond your level and steal immensely powerful weapons to get a head start. You could even murder the characters in the main plot and the worst that would happen is a scary message saying you should load a saved game because it's impossible to win now - which wasn't actually true. Total freedom. Mind-boggling in 2002, and perhaps even a little uncomfortable in 2021 to gamers who expect to be guided all the way through.

14 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:48 ID: gq6gu29

My friend and I bought this when it first came out. We were in high school. I think it was summer time and we were working at the grocery store with our first ever jobs.

We'd work our shift, then bike home and watch each other play morrowind all day. It might even be the first real rpg I've ever played.

The crazy thing is the if I played it again, I'm fairly certain I would still know where to go for all the quests. That stuff is burned into the core of my consciousness.

You never knew what was going to be behind each door. Maybe he's a lot level trash dungeon. Maybe it holds entirely unique legendary items. Maybe it starts a massive quest.

I remember spending hours upon hours managing my inventory to make trades with the scamp merchant and the talking mud crab.

What an experience.

ID: gq6m10f

The mud crap was great, but he was too far out. It was so easy to get to the scamp that it was worth the extra hassle. Selling him all your gear was just so nice. Plus, after you sell him a few of the expensive, but comparatively cheap items, your trades become easier in the future. There were a couple daedric daggers and such that I would go out of my way to pick up just to be able to level out the scamp trades by buying them back and forth from him.

15 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:24 ID: gq4cp2f

Tried to play this so many times as I love both Oblivion and Skyrim and I've heard the Morrowind story is the best of the 3, but it's just too outdated and clunky to enjoy for me. Really wish i could get over it.

ID: gq5hi9v

it's just too outdated and clunky to enjoy for me. Really wish i could get over it.

The main thing it doesn't tell you is that fatigue directly impacts everything, so new players run everywhere, and then wonder why they don't hit anything (0 Fatigue = near-0 hit chance). It impacts spell casting too. When you see an enemy approaching, you need to catch your breath (or drink restore fatigue potions).

Every quest is recorded in the Journal. With the expansions, you can now sort quests alphabetically, however tips for quests are in the journal. Make sure to talk to everybody mentioned - because people will often end up with lots of conversation options, and can give you plenty of tips on completing quests that you are struggling with.

Mods can also help bring the game up to modern standards - e.g. the Morrowind Code Patch includes "Swift Casting" a la Oblivion, where you can now hit a button to cast your spell, without needing to sheathe your weapon, or MGE XC can add distant lands, shaders, better water & fog (etc).

I know it's not for everybody, but I think that some people bounce off of it because it does not go far to explain these mechanics, and they are really punishing when you don't know about them.

Finally - the Mage's Guild has the best fast travel by far, but is very limited. In the early game, The Mages Guild is the cheapest way to travel across the continent, and the various Guilds give their members fast travel scrolls to further make their lives easier.

ID: gq4g8jd

I'm still holding out hope that eventually Skywind will get finished. What they've been able to put together so far looks amazing!

ID: gq4k8hy

Same. I can respect it, but I'm just never going to play it until it's remade.

ID: gq4rlxj

Same here, everything felt clunky and anticlimactic.

ID: gq68vhr

The character creation screen intimidated me so much the first time that I quit. Second time I played for a couple of hours and everything seemed so clunky that I couldn’t have fun.

It’s a shame because I fell in love with Oblivion when it came out and have played it more hours than I can count.

ID: gq62ver

Yeah same, wish I played it back in the day.

16 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:46 ID: gq55vb2

I really wish Bethesda would remaster Morrison’s and oblivion. Goddamn they would make so much money

17 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:05 ID: gq6ibsd

The thing that makes Morrowind stand out as one of the best rpgs every made is the lore and history of it. There is just a mass of info about the world and the people that occupy it that anchors you in the world. There's a rich history there in not only in just the writing but the main quest itself. I mean the first part of the game is literally about seeking out notes and books. As fantastical as it is the game has a feeling of reality to it. The other Elder Scrolls games don't come close to this. Oblivion is generic fantasy with a end of the world story that you aren't even the main character of. Skyrim is better but it becomes all about dragons from the get go and the civil war quest line is a joke.

ID: gq6m9lv

Have you noticed that all the skill books are worth more and are genuinely entertaining stories? Or that silt striders are piloted by what could be nerve endings sticking out of their backs that were cut open for passengers? Or that wealthy places have wealthy people and their wealth actually exists in the world instead of being this nebulous attitude that you can never take advantage of? It's so much better than those that came after because it forsakes perfect balance to instead use all the immersion techniques it can. This is a world that feels real.

18 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:52 ID: gq6m6xh

One thing I really really love with Morrowind is the constant use of the "false narrator". By the end of the game you are doubting Azura, Vivec, the Emperor, the Imperials, the Ashlanders... everyone. You have to form your own belief as to the situation that unfolded to your Nerevarine yourself. At the end of the day you can only trust and believe yourself, as everyone is looking out for their own self-interests and propaganda.

Here, unlike in Skyrim and Oblivion, you really aren't sure who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Heck, you don't even know if what you did was correct (especially putting into consideration what happened during the Oblivion crisis).

Religions, beliefs, and ideologies are clashing against each other, and you are almost always tasked to read on the books provided by each faction, so you can make up your mind on your own.

This theme of "false narrator" makes the world so believable, as the same can apply in our real world--both religion and geo-politics.

19 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:02 ID: gq5g3wf

The last good RPG from Bethesda before they sold out for that casual $$$.

ID: gq5otzu


ID: gq5yu80

If you are using a computer to play RPGs at all, you are casual gaming. And there's nothing wrong with that.

20 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:00 ID: gq57wtb

Grew up dirt poor so I didn't get to play top shelf games, but morrowind on kazaa was the first game I ever pirated.

I never heard of it, name sounded cool so I downloaded it and it finished Christmas Eve at 10 pm. Instead of sleeping before the family gathering on Christmas day I caught up on sleep after an all night gaming marathon. Set the tone for a significant portion if my life lol... Sleep deprived but we'll entertained.

21 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:53 ID: gq4yauj

Man I only hope they actually finish Skywind

22 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:43 ID: gq5kn48

On a playthrough right now. Wood elf assassin. Probably 25 hours deep and still feel like I’m only starting. Playing in Xbox now, grew up playing in PC. Loving it vanilla just the same. Load times are legit on Xbox one. Immersion is second to none. A very relaxing game and easy to blow 5 hours in one sit down while it feels like 2 hours have passed.

23 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:24 ID: gq6jzlq

To those who've played it and Gothic, how comparable are the maps in size? I'd imagine Morrowind is quite a bit larger.

ID: gq6xjaa

Yes the map of Morrowind is a lot bigger. It also has a lot more lore. As an example: Morrowind has multiple cities, several of which are bigger than Khorinis, and they're relatively far apart.

Don't get me wrong, Gothic is my favourite RPG and I think it's better than Morrowind in many regards. But in sheer size Morrowind certainly has it beat.

24 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:03 ID: gq6n1et

I loved Oblivion and Skyrim, but I was kind of wary of Morrowind due to all the comments about it being clunky, bad combat, outdated, etc.
This gives me encouragement to finally play it.

25 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:14 ID: gq6nto3

Morrowind TECHNICALLY has a fast travel system, it's just horribly convoluted. The Mages Guilds have mages that will teleport you to another MG location, theres the boats on the coast that will take you to other coastal towns, the silt striders, and the Propylons.

26 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:19 ID: gq6o73q

I still remember early in the game, making multiple trips to a cave outside a city to mine and sell... Ebony?

I also remember playing it first on xbox and losing my mind when I lost my 20+ hour save some how.

27 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:24 ID: gq6ol2z

I can quite easily tolerate old games with all their drawbacks, design flaws, limitations etc., but I grew up with Gothic 1 and 2 + NotR with their believable NPCs, living worlds with a lot of soul, strong immersion which makes you feel like you're actually there and a seamless progression with having to run away from a small pack of monsters at the start all the way up to easily annihilating packs in seconds once your character has grown enough, and compared to that every TES title is just sterile, soulless and static with a massive landscape just for the sake of having a massive landscape.

28 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:35 ID: gq6ter3

This is my only GoG purchase and everytime I install it I get overhelmed with the mod guides and end up not playing more than 1 hour.

29 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:42 ID: gq6tw1t

I recommend you start with a combat rework mod otherwise there is like 75% chance that you will be bounced off at the first enemy. I mean you literally have to stab a tiny slug on the road like a thousand times

30 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:47 ID: gq6u7jk

Morrowind is great, except for the skill system. I wish there was a revamp mod that makes constitution hp growth and attribute points per level constant. Otherwise it pushes you into a shitty but more optimal playstyle (and no, "it's your own fault if you play optimally" doesn't count. Skill systems are about getting stronger and the devs should have thought about the implications of their system)

31 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:48 ID: gq6u8fi

Thanks for this post, it might be the take that finally motivates me to play a game I've eyed for ages!

32 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:22 ID: gq6we0k

Just don't play a mage without any mods. It will be a miserable experience.

1) Magic does not regenerate, unlike in pretty much all other games.
2) Magic is extremely weak early on. Its entirely possible to exhaust your entire magic supply, and not even kill 1 enemy, as long as its something tougher than a mudcrab or a lowest squib. And then you're fucked.

33 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:29 ID: gq6wuyg

Morrowind also had great expansions.
I liked Tribunal a lot.

34 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:31 ID: gq6x04a

Maybe i was too young when morrowind came out, idk, but i found it really hard to get into Morrowind at the time. It just wasnt very beginne

friendly. I never got much farther than the first town. A lot of the systems in the game were just so bizarre. Of course i was mostly a console gamer at the time so maybe that has something to do with it, although i did play a lot of RTS games and also diablo at the time.

35 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:27 ID: gq5it1j

What mods are you using

36 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:51 ID: gq5yklp

I tried morrowind for a few hours but I bounced off of it for the same reason I gave up on Oblivion: The labor-intensive use-it skill system and the weird, wonky combat engine just didn't feel satisfying.

37 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:31 ID: gq698cv

Oblivion was my first ES game... and I LOVED it... Skyrim I liked...

I tried morrowind recently... I could handle the graphics... but I really missed some QoL and mechanical improvements from the later games.


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