A Fool In Morrowind: Précis

By Alec Meer on June 17th, 2009 at 3:49 pm.

Gaming diaries: all the rage, eh? Buoyed by the splendidosity of the likes of Roburky’s Sims 3 chronicles and Tom Francis’ Galactic Civilizations II bible, I’m embarking on something I’ve had brewing for a while – a diary of my (mis)adventures in Morrowind. I’ve always maintained it’s a far better game than its sequel Oblivion (which was also pretty good), and now’s my chance to prove it. I’ll commence with the diaries proper in a few days, but ahead of that I thought I’d share the setup.

I’m running the Morrowind: Game of the Year edition, which includes the two expansions Tribunal and Bloodmoon. This means I should bump into a werewolf at some point, excitingly. On top of that, I’ve installed a bunch of mods, mostly for the sake of prettiness – I don’t want to change the eventual experience too much, but I have zero problems with messing with the lore.

They are:

Better Bodies – which, primarily, adds joints to the game’s otherwise rigid torsos, and some nicer textures for people whose clothes you’ve nicked. There’s a choice of whether to leave them totally nude or with some tasteful underwear. I’ve gone for the latter, because I’m afraid of sex.

Better Heads – Those blurry porridge-faces get a bit of sprucing up. Also applies to the player models, not that you get to see your own face outside of the tutorial (I don’t think?)

Morrowind Comes Alive – This is a good’un. It throws in a crapton of wandering NPCs into the world, so it’s not the underpopulated robo-land it is out of the box.

The Wilderness Mod – Similar to the above, but with angry animals. This means I’m probably going to get attacked by a tiger eventually.

Giants Ultimate – Introduces a load of mythic-esque foes to Morrowind, including dragons, golems and, er, mechanical wasps. More stuff to hit, basically.

Real Signposts – Crisp signpost textures get me hard.

And the Morrowind Visual Pack, an omni-mod of high resolution textures that smarten things up no end. I remember trying this (or something like it) a few years ago, and my poor PC fell over in panic. It’s entirely untroubled now, bless it.

So, before I get going on this in earnest, any others you lot reckon are a must-have?

Oh, and my character is a Water Nymph (a new race one of the mods seems to have thrown in) with, for some reason, the face of a flea. He is called Loaf, and is stabby and a bit thiefy. He can also walk on water.

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205 Comments »

  1. Bob says:

    Just seeing that picture makes me want to reinstall it! Great game. The goty edition is now on Steam for people who don’t know

  2. Theoban says:

    If you’re going to use Giants you may want to use the optional mod that allows you to remove some creatures. The flying face ones in particular are so rubbishly textured that they’re a screaming eyesore in the middle of Vvardenfell

    Dragons are good though, and that it adds bandits and such.

  3. Waste_Manager says:

    I agree, Morrowind is better than oblivion, apart from those pesky cliff racers. Is there a mod to take them out because they are annoying as…umm…pencils that keep snapping when you try to sharpen them.

  4. rigley says:

    I’ve heard that the Morrowind Graphics Extender is a must: http://sourceforge.net/projects/morrgraphext/

    It allows for infinite draw distance, widescreen resolutions and things of that nature.

    But I couldn’t get it to agree with Windows 7 RC when I tried to install it last night, which makes me a sad panda.

  5. Bob says:

    @Waste_Manager Yeah there is one, I remember using it ages back
    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=5266

    Not sure if thast the one I used through

  6. AndrewC says:

    Does this include the ‘infinite draw distance’ mod? That made my mouth water just a little bit, whatever its exact name. Actually just hearing the music would tempt me into another few hundred hours.

    Stop Alec! Stop before it’s too late!

  7. Brulleks says:

    I’ve just recently started replaying with the Morrowind merged mods megapack. Some people aren’t keen on it as it adds some very non-canon content but, get this – I’d been playing as a Dremora for a few days, then stumbled upon the aoption to abandon the central Blades missions entirely, and go and work for Dagoth Ur and the sixth House Cult instead. Now that’s role-playing.

    For me the joy of Morrowind was all about getting lost in a huge alien world, so not knowing what this mystery compilation of mods is going to throw at me next is a bonus rather than a detriment.

    Also using the Graphics Extender to get some lovely new visuals and decent view distance. Recommend that wholeheartedly, though it can take a bit of waiting for it to process everything.

  8. AndrewC says:

    Ah, there we go: Rigley’s ‘graphic extender’.

  9. Brulleks says:

    Gah – where’s the edit function gone. I should clarify that I meant the initial joy of Morrowind was that sense of anticipation for what was round the next corner, and that would have been lost on a second play-through, so the megapack resurrects that sense, despite its sometimes jarring inconsistencies within the gameworld.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m glad to find I’m not alone in thinking Morrowind was the better game… it just seemed far more involving, more like a unique world with its own creatures (silt striders, flying jellyfish, etc) and very different cultures (I still love the sand village place, with the crab-shell shaped houses) rather than Oblivion’s pretty generic fantasy world… Oblivion was far better technically, but I think the story, world and art direction in Morrowind was far superior… remake anyone?

  11. robrob says:

    Looking forward to this. Gosh I love Morrowind.

  12. Fragman says:

    Yeah, the MGE is great.

    Reinstalled Morrowind a while ago, found an epic web page for mods n stuff.
    The thing that screams “better then Oblivion” happened to me within 5 minutes of playing.

    Was walking around, heard a huge scream.
    Then a wizard dropped out of the sky and died in front of me. Took a good minute to collect my thoughts, the first of which was “AWESOME”

  13. Smileyfax says:

    There’s a Red Skies mod on one of the big mod sites (Planet Elder Scrolls? Elder Scrolls Nexus?) It turns the daytime sky into a nice shade of red, really amping up the alien feel of Vvardenfell island.

    (I was really disappointed when Oblivion had a bunch of generic fantasy crap and plain ol’ Earth style animals).

  14. Petethegoat says:

    Yes, definitely need the graphics extender if you want to see more than 5 yards.
    The book jackets mods are very handy if you have a large collection of books and want to be able to see the titles easily, and it just looks pretty.

    Also worth a shout is The Lighting Mod which improves the lighting a lot, and last, but by no means least, the Tamriel Rebuilt mod, which adds much of the Morrowind mainland, very cool if you get bored of Vvardenfell.

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=608 – The Lighting Mod

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=mods.Detail&id=5133 – Tamriel Rebuilt Map 1

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=7040 – Tamriel Rebuilt Map 2

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=4054 – Book Jackets Morrowind

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=4055 – Book Jackets Tribunal

    http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=4056 – Book Jackets Bloodmoon

    All come highly recommended! I am looking forward to this!

  15. Rinox says:

    Have fun Alec. I don’t necessarily believe Morrowind to be a better game than Oblivion, but it is most definitely a better RPG.

    I remember being awed at the red sand storms within the Veil. And how you character would shield his or her eyes from it in 3rd person view.

    Oh and Bloodmoon is a wonderful expansion. The outdoors areas are so convincingly unforgiving that you’ll feel genuinely at ease inside a warm Barbarian hall lined with hunting trophies and smelling of mead.

  16. Ian says:

    If you’re wanting to prove it’s better than Oblivion would you not be better served keeping it in vanilla form?

    Not that I much care, I’ve barely played Morrowind and so have no real opinion about it in comparison to Oblivion, and I’m a sucker for these diary things so I’ll undoubtedly enjoy it a lot anyway. Especially after the blast that was your Worst Ninja series. :)

  17. Waste_Manager says:

    I need to re-buy this I think. Had it on the xbox originally (I know, I know) and only got the crappy mastertronic re-release on PC that doesn’t have the expansions.

    It was practically the only game I played for a good 2 years and haven’t touched it since I ended up wandering around aimlessly looking for something to do because I had done everything else.

    Looks to be around £6.75 everywhere but has anyone seen it cheaper?

  18. kalidanthepalidan says:

    I thought Morrowind was far superior. I’ve played through it twice and loved every minute of it. I started Oblivion and quit after about 10 hours. The world in Oblivion is far too generic a fantasy land for my tastes. Morrowind’s world was truly unique and a joy to explore.

  19. Nelson says:

    Hey Alec,

    Could you post lots o’ screenies with your diary? I’m really interested in seeing how purty you made Morrowind.

    p.s. There aren’t enough reviews of post-patch, post-mod games. I’m glad you’re doing this!

  20. Vinraith says:

    It’s criminal not to run “Morrowind Advanced,” an “extra critters and quests” mod written by one of the originol developers that adds some nice higher level nasties, some loot to go with them, and a couple of BIG new dungeons all quite seamlessly. Creature Pack 1.1 is another nice subtle critter pack, to ensure you’ve got lots of variety in your killables.

    Other than that you’ve done pretty well (though I’m not a fan of Giants, personally, too many rubbish critters). However, You really need a balance mod in there. I always used to run “Super Adventurer’s Mod” but that might be a little… drastic for what you’re trying to do. Maybe Wakim’s Game Improvements? Some of the default rules in Morrowind are… less than optimal and need a tweak.

    That should about do it. I adore Morrowind, it’s eaten more of my life than any other RPG I’ve ever played, so I look forward to following this. Hell, it may inspire me to start a new play-through of my own, I never have made it to the end of Tribunal and Bloodmoon…

  21. jalf says:

    I don’t necessarily believe Morrowind to be a better game than Oblivion

    I don’t necessarily believe Oblivion was a game at all. Some kind of “look what a big world we can make”-masturbation from Bethesda, but unfortunately, they forgot to put the game bits in.

  22. Freudian Trip says:

    Could people link some of these mods? I never played Morrowind but dug Oblivion and Fallout so I’m working my way backwards.

  23. rei says:

    The inclusion of dragons is highly controversial from a lore point of view!

  24. Babs says:

    I’m about 90% certain you can see your face by holding down a key (Tab?) and rotating the camera.

  25. Vinraith says:

    @Freudian

    A Google search will get you where you need to go. Most of my old TES links are dead because my favorite old MW mod archives appear to have disappeared.

  26. Meat Circus says:

    I foresee substantial usage of “AND IN THE GAME”-style retortery.

    Can’t wait.

  27. Rinox says:

    @ Jalf

    Wasn’t Morrowind bigger than Oblivion? ;-)

    Still, I dunno. I had fun in Oblivion. I had fun in Morrowind. It was just a different kind of fun. Once I’d gotten over the initial disappointment at the watered down character development system compared to Morrowind’s (which in its turn was a watered down version of Daggerfall’s), I enjoyed myself a lot. But it was more because of the action than of the depth of the game.

    I wish someone would make an Elder Scrolls game with Daggerfall’s character creation tool. That thing was Godlike. “Takes damage on holy ground” must be one of the coolest disadvantages ever…and pretty rough if you were dragging yourself half-dead into a temple to get cured of some freaky disease. :-D

  28. cullnean says:

    sorry fellas,

    But the dark brotherhood quests win it for me.

    and my evil steed Doris, which i kept a spare change of clothes and weapons in!

  29. Pags says:

    Weirdly, I also started replaying Morrowind recently; I am a herbalist Breton named Yurt who, despite his otherwise good-nature, is on the run from the law for letting his inner kleptomaniac out. He was simply too weak to go adventuring and earn himself any money, but couldn’t resist his desire for alchemy, so was forced to steal. Only he’s such a big, bumbling oaf that it’s impossible not to notice him attempting to creep around unseen, and naturally attracted the attention of the owner of the mortar & pestle. Soon he was fleeing the city.

  30. oceanclub says:

    “Looks to be around £6.75 everywhere but has anyone seen it cheaper?”

    Well, the Game of the Year edition is on Steam at the moment; it’s €22 along with Oblivion and _all_ its DLC. If I didn’t have both already, I’d definitely get them, and I’m _still_ tempted to buy the package just for Steamy convenience sake.

    P.

  31. Captain Bland says:

    I think Better Heads suffers from being too shiny and smooth for the game’s art style. I think the original (ugly) heads are far more characterful. And I think the current version of Morrowind Comes Alive is bundled with a ‘Harder Baddies’ mod, which ruined game balance for me. Other than that, I’m looking forward to this. Morrowind was my first fantasy RPG, and I re-visit it often.

  32. Alec Meer says:

    Just a note for anyone planning on linking to a whole bunch of mods: our spam filter eats posts containing more than 2 or 3 links. We can recover ‘em, but probably best to split ‘em across multiple posts or something.

  33. AndrewC says:

    Oh noes! Can we all just get along with the Oblivion Vs Morrowind thing? Let’s just say they had very different focuses within the ‘sandbox RPG’ genre, and contained their own joys. Please?

    Alec, you are such a stirrer.

  34. Alec Meer says:

    Unintentional stupidity on my part, I assure you. Yes, please let’s leave ye olde Oblivion-bashing alone folks.

  35. Moorkh says:

    If I may use this opportunity to pimp the Tamriel Rebuilt mod, which extends the game by the huge rest of the Province of Morrowind.

    http://www.tamriel-rebuilt.org/

  36. Castle says:

    “Harder Baddies” mod, eh? I think that’s something that would have really enhanced my first playthrough several years back. I remember my character was heavily into weapon crafting, and eventually made a sword that was capable of absolutely demolishing everything in the game (I don’t remember there being a very high cap in terms of the power of crafted weapons). Anyway, it sort of ruined the last third or fourth of the game for me, with everything dying after a whack or two..

  37. Real Horrorshow says:

    When I didn’t have an internet connection for 8 months, I played Morrowind so much that part of my left hand went numb. It was kind of scary.

  38. Vinraith says:

    @Castle

    Morrowind’s relatively flat difficulty curve ensures that no matter what you do, the late game is a complete push-over. Fortunately, about 40% of the mods out there are designed specifically around making the game harder. Some rebalance the rules and reduce the power of spells and skills (or at least slow their progression), some add new enemies that are more powerful, some add new areas balanced against a high level character’s capabilities. The expansions are a little better about difficulty, but to get the most out of the game (well, to get the most out of ANY Bethesday RPG really) you need to have a look at the mod community and customize a bit. It’s the principle strength of these titles.

  39. jonfitt says:

    My gripe with both games is to do with their infinite expandability!
    The annoying thing is that the games both do really benefit from/need mods to make them prettier or better or often to fix flaws in the original, but because by definition they’re all produced by people with different ideas and desires there’s never a definite set.

    I could experiment, but I rarely have time to play long RPGs more than once. What I want is someone with a “grand design” (like the game creators) to say install these mods and the game will be the best it can be.

    Perhaps I’ll use Alec’s set. He’s quite grand.

  40. Uglycat says:

    I’ve been reading, but can anyone definitely say whether general modding will knacker the steam version? I hear that some mods alter the .exe but nobody seems to actually confirm or refute this and it will make a big difference whether I buy it (for the second time:E) on steam or not.
    That’s for Morrowind but I’ll take Oblivion as well.

  41. Azradesh says:

    Has any one else noticed that Morrowind and Oblivion are entirely devoid of children, toilets bath rooms/bath houses?

  42. CakeAddict says:

    A morrowind.. I might have spend more time into that game then any MMO.
    The game itself is amazing and then the overwhelming amounts of mods, dear god.

    I can’t really recommend any mod besides perhaps a fancy house (there are some really amazing ones out there).
    And yes morrowind is better then Oblivion imo there is just much more to do in morrowind.

    Anyway, looking forward to it.

  43. Alec Meer says:

    Uglycat – all the mods I mention above work with my Steam version just fine (bar manually having to change the install path when they ask me where to stick themselves)

  44. Serondal says:

    There are pretty good mods out there that add REALLY well done children to the game.

  45. Jayteh says:

    @ Azradesh

    Thats pretty obvious, no toilets because its a video game (what would have them add?) and kids because of the sand-box type game play where kids could be killed etc. Fallout 3 did this a bit differently by just making the kids invulnerable.

    I have never played Morrowind with all these mods, might give it a go. Looking forward to the diaries as well.

  46. Driadan says:

    There seemed to be some coop/multiplayer mod for morrowind but I can find it anywhere. Does anyone know where can it be found?

  47. RLacey says:

    I was just about to reinstall this game, since I’m messing around with stuff on my Eee PC. Of course, that means that I’m about to start downgrading all the textures…

  48. Turin Turambar says:

    Try to search the OO morrowind dvd 2.0

    OO = Octopus Overlords, the pc forum

  49. Azradesh says:

    @ Jayteh

    Sure toilets would have no use in the game, but it’s a game that tries to be a fully realised world, so it’s a little odd. Does no one in the Elder Scrolls games crap? Do they all appear fully formed as adults? It’s just something that I’ve always found odd. Also most rpgs have these things.

  50. Vinraith says:

    @Azradesh

    “Also most rpgs have these things.”

    Really? Name a few fantasy RPG’s that include bathrooms, I can’t think of any.