Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Virtual World of TES

"With the acclamations of the Fellows of the Imperial Society still 
ringing in my ears, I decided to return to Morrowind..."

In anticipation of the opening of The Elder Scrolls Online (TES Online) and spurred on by playing Tweeria, I have been revisiting Morrowind with the assistance of the Morrowind 3.0 Overhaul, a huge upgrade that cures most of the code bugs, upgrades graphics with 1x1024 textures and a pile of integrated mods that make it worth returning to Morrowind. It's several GB so be prepared to be downloading for awhile.

 The Overhaul also contains the monstrous Morrowind Code Patch which fixes most of the bugs in the game that made it aggravating before. Morrowind was released in 2002, so this means 10 years of patches, mods, addons & etc. It really makes a huge difference in the game.

Pretty water with reflections & transparency

If you have played Skyrim, you might be interested in the differences between Morrowind, Oblivion & Skyrim. No doubt that Morrowind looks a lot less slick than Skyrim, but as another gamer said to me, Morrowind is HUGE. It also has over 500 quests (see? I meant HUGE).

Don't worry; you'll still be aggravated getting stuck in some tight places (the Console & tcl are your friends here) but in most cases it will not crash your game, unlike before (I experienced a total of 1 crash in several days of playing, and it was probably my fault; I mashed several keys together in the heat of battle). You'll also miss Map Travel; in Morrowind you cannot just travel to any city you've discovered before, unlike Oblivion & Skyrim. You will miss both Levitate & enchanted items recharging themselves from Morrowind in the succeeding games :(

There's plenty to aggravate you (in a nice way) in Morrowind,
like the huge blight/dust storms and Cliff Racers.

You might also find people just hanging out in their underwear.

The Elder Scrolls has a huge mythology behind it, communicated through inworld books (someone counted the 3 last games and reported that there are over 1000 books to read inside the game world), speech and investigation.The previous (to Morrowind) games in the series, Arena (1994/DOS) and Daggerfall (1996) were eye openers in the  gaming world, with Daggerfall featuring one of the first true 3D worlds on a large scale, a game world claimed to be twice the size of Great Britain. Daggerfall also won the 2003 RPG Game Of The Year. Two in-between games, Battlespire & Redguard, were spinoffs and not very interesting and did not share the incredible backstory available ingame.

The world of TES has a deep and sprawling mythology. As you play the games in the series, you end up realizing you are Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Prophesied One. Each game is set in a mythological period: Elder Days, Dawn Age and First through 3rd Ages and on separate parts of the gameworld Tamriel.

All of this history interlaces throughout the games; for instance, have a look at one of the books in Morrowind:

You might recognize this passage (from 2002) describing the Nords of Skyrim. You can find many books in Morrowind (and probably the first two games of the series) that describe the mythology developed further in Oblivion (2006) & Skyrim (2011). All this mythology will be behind TES Online, which will make the virtual world very rich and far-reaching for role-playing types. If the execution of TES Online is anything close to Oblivion & Skyrim, it should beat the pants off WoW in terms of story and complexity.

The world of The Elder Scrolls is known for its attention to detail, including well-developed lore and back story. If you're used to RPG  games like Final Fantasy, you're in for quite a culture shock. In this game, you actually have to do some independent thinking and not just walk mindlessly from place to place, knowing that some story cut-scene will soon take over. It's a little scary at first, and very much overwhelming,

On the other hand, if you can put up with somewhat dated graphics and game mechanics compared to Oblivion & Skyrim, you might find Morrowind to be an interesting game to play, at least until TES Online opens.

"Ugh! Dead body!"


Annie Brightstar said...

Is the Overhaul easy to install please? I remember how hard it used to be to get all the MODS I installed to work properly together.I would certainly like to give it a go. Thanks for reviewing it.

Miso Susanowa said...

Yes, Annie, that is what makes that overhaul beautiful; it's all load-tested over a long time; I believe the emergence of this whole, integrated thing was last summer or so from the dares.

Esp integrating the Morrowind Code Patches (MCP, MX, MXE) just makes the whole thing painless and great to install :)

sororNishi said...

go get 'em Sis.

ABlogger said...

Only just discovered Morrowind after working my way backwards through the TES series.

I have never played the "vanilla" Morrowind, but the overhaul version looks beautiful. Totally captivated by this game, more so than Skyrim I think!