Megawind: TES3′s Ultro-Mod Pack

By Alec Meer on January 4th, 2011 at 12:14 pm.

While we all settle in for the torturous wait for Skyrim, why not return to Bethesda’s finest hour, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind? I spent a good chunk of 2009 knee-deep in its bleak, strange, often crazed world for the Fool In Morrowind diary series – something I dearly wish I could have continued, but the need to make a real-life living rather got in the way. The news that there’s an updated compendium of graphically mondernising mods for this deep’n'dark RPG threatens to bring me back, however.

The Morrowind 2011 Graphical Project more builds upon established mod-highlights rather than introduces anything new, but it aims to be very much the definitive pack. Perhaps even more usefully, its compiler has come up with a complete guide to get everything working, in both retail and Steam versions of the game. As I discovered when modding Morrowind to the hilt for the diary, there’s an awful lot of scope to get things wrong.

(Update – So some mod-makers are apparently unhappy about their work appearing in this pack. More details on the politics involved here. Your call, of course, whether that affects your decision to download it or not.)

Details and downloads for this wunderpack are available here, but do use the torrent if you can. 1.08GB download, though I believe it expands to about 4GB on your hardened drives.

Here’s what it looks like, by the way – but c’mon, be a love and show us your own screenshots, won’t you?

(Darkness and juddering are FRAPS’ fault rather than the mod’s, apparently.)

And here’s Morrowind’s original 2002 trailer, for a little compar-o-nostalgia:

Important update! As noted by August in comments below, the below is a far superior mod collection. A wonderful video, too…

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80 Comments »

  1. kikito says:

    Flyyyin’… flyyin’ so high … in the skyyyy … cliff racer flys… so high … flyinnnn

  2. Navagon says:

    That looks like a pretty major improvement. I bet it’s not very stable though. I never had much luck with that game and stability.

    Does anyone know if it includes the GCD or is compatible with it?

  3. futage says:

    Trouble with these things tends to be while, yeah, the technical fidelity is upped, the new textures etc. tend to be completely unsympathetic and badly designed shit. No subtlety, no sensitivity, just a jarring, loud mess. Balmora looks like a fucking joke.

    Look what they did to my Morrowind :’S

    • Wulf says:

      This is exactly why I don’t do texture packs in mod lists, I’ve been wondering if I’m perhaps one of the sole gamers in the world with any aesthetic appreciation, and not only that, but some of the mods for Morrowind do incredibly stupid things: like adding temperate zone trees to a swamp. I remember Alec running a series of articles about his Moddedwind Adventures, and I could not stop twitching at the damn trees.

      I mean, I’m all for wild fantasy, I can happily accept a wizard falling out of the sky to almost land on my head, thus bestowing me with a super jump scroll, I can handle talking deathclaws, and I have no troubles with an organisation of mind traversing secret agents, but visual cohesion means something to me. It’s the setting, and it really does matter. If the setting was an idyllic field or forest, then I could understand. Improve those trees in that case! I know I did so in Oblivion. But that’s a swamp. What annoys me is that it just shows–much like you said–callous disregard for the setting.

      I like visual cohesion and art direction, I enjoy immersing myself in the sort of world a group of artists wanted to show me, and I usually find that many texture mods, and even some environment mods are highly detrimental to this. That’s why I pick such mods very carefully. The only reason Electro-City made it into my New Vegas mod list is because the guy worked really hard to make it fit the visual aesthetic of the world. It didn’t feel glaringly out of place.

      The thing is, if I want to witness a mish-mash of things that have no visual cohesion whatsoever, pure chaos that has no regard for setting a scene or portraying a storied location, then I’ll just play Second Life.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Yes, it’s funny how ugly it all is in it’s high-resolution, photorealistic glory. Reminds me of that “high-res” texture pack for Oblivion a while back that just ran all textures through a filter or two, not improving the visuals at all.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Wulf: “adding temperate zone trees to a swamp”

      Temperate = between the tropics and polar regions. Temperate swamp forests do exist (eg Georgia and British Colombia were the first two examples google found for me).

      Also to quote the WWF:

      “Temperate Floodplain Rivers and Wetland Complexes are freshwater ecoregions that are dominated by a single mid-latitude large river system, including the main stem river drainage and associated sub-basins, which are either currently or were historically characterized by a cyclically flooded, fringing floodplain. These ecoregions may also contain wetland complexes composed of internal deltas, marshes, and/or swamps, associated with the main river system. Examples include the Mississippi and Middle Missouri Rivers.”

      Are you in fact objecting to adding non-swampland trees to swamps? Or maybe this is about the fictional Morrowind ecosystem, rather than real-life ecology? I don’t really understand your objection to ‘temperate trees in swamps’ as they do exist in real life.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      First thing that came to mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Biesbosch (or the entire country of the Netherlands, really)

    • TheOldFirm says:

      As a resident of British Columbia, I can confirm all manner of swamps and temperate-zone flora, though I believe the technical term is Temperate Rainforest. I heartily submit this as evidence. Though in these here parts there’s no such things as Lumberjacks, but there are Loggers.

    • futage says:

      Now that is fucking awesome.

    • Magrippinho says:

      Four days in 2011, is it too early to label this “the greatest thing you’ll see this year”?

      I say NO!

      (Yes, even though the vid is actually from 2010)

    • Navagon says:

      Whoa! Now that’s what I call a mod pack!

    • PUKED says:

      Clearly all that’s left to do now is combine the hundreds of weird fetish mods into one superpack, results be damned.

      Unless that was it, it’s hard to tell.

  4. pwolffe says:

    I agree to some degree with futage, but like with Minecraft texture packs it doesn’t take too long to get used to a new set-up. Morrowind came bundled with the video card of my first PC and it led to up to 41 hours of no sleep on several occasions. I have such good memories from that game, I don’t particularly care about updated graphics. Galsiah’s Character Development, however, is important, as my default inclination is to min-max to distraction.

  5. WJonathan says:

    It’s certainly stunning from a technical standpoint, and I like that the original character proportions were retained. But I wish the drooping, sickly look of the original game’s trees could have been retained, but with better foliage. It helped give an alien, otherworldly feel to the game.

  6. WJonathan says:

    I see this leans hevily on MGE, which is great program, but really eats resources. As a warning, you’ll likely need a lot of processing power, like even more than necessary to get Oblivion running smoothly, to duplicate what you see in the video.

    • august says:

      Seeing as how some of the effects are significantly beyond what Oblivion has out of the box, I would expect so.

  7. DeanLearner says:

    I have a core 2 duo 1.7ghz thinkpad with the intel integrated graphics.

    Will morrowind in its original form run ok?

    Ta!

  8. Zwebbie says:

    It’s an odd thing, mods. I don’t like ‘m. You don’t read a modded version of books, you don’t listen to modded versions of music and you don’t watch modded versions of movies. Even if it’s not perfect, I prefer to get the author’s own version of things. The Mona Lisa isn’t a meter high, but you don’t go upscaling that either, do you?

    • Urael says:

      Yes you do. I’ve seen many paintings reproduced on people’s walls, often larger than the originals. And we’re not just talking about posters on the walls of student dorms, either. And “you don’t listen to modded versions of music”? Are you kidding? Tell that to all the artists releasing remix albums.

      It really depends on the Mod and the subjective viewpoint of the person using it. You do have to be careful with a game like Morrowind that the mods you use enhance the game and don’t run into silly territory (although that can be fun too) but many of the the ones Alec chose for his ‘Postcards’ piece added genuine value to the game without detracting from the overall intention of the developers. Or do you think that if CPU/GPU horsepower hadn’t been an issue at time of release they’d have resisted the chance to upgrade the NPCs because they prefer low-poly models?

      In other games Mods can transform the original game into something better. This is rare, granted, but it does happen.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Actually, remix music isn’t a really good example. Because remixes are often shit. Here we’d be talking more likely of HD version of old films. Unless of course you go nuts on stupid mods, but that’s your choice.

      Anybody interested in “just playing morrowind” should go for the graphically updated vanilla, no more, no less (and maybe a thing or two to alter character progression / audio environment).

    • Basilicus says:

      Just to be Devil’s Advocate, people listen to friends’ mixes all the time. That’s personal modification of an album. Not to mention individual songs being covered or remixed.

      Mmmm, can’t think of a corollary for books. You win.

      EDIT: Beaten to the punch; teaches me to not refresh the page.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      This is the “Mods in general: Good or bad?”-discussion, yes? I just wanted to say this, because it’s a silly thing to argue about.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Welcome to The Internet, Malawi.

    • Basilicus says:

      I should add that I think one should play through a game completely in its original state before modding.

    • Qazi says:

      Hmm, I think you could use the concept of fanfiction as an example of people modding books.

    • Fumarole says:

      You don’t read a modded version of books[...]

      So no Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for you then?

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Zwebbie

      I understand that you prefer “originals” as done by the initial artist, however books are often edited, translated, re-interpreted etc. and stories generally are forever being reinterpreted and reinvented and have been for thousands of years. Songs are re-recorded by others, have their tunes and lyrics changed, are cut down or rearraged – this goes for ever genre – classical, folk, pop, rock. (some classical examples: http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/classical%20music/forum?cdThread=Tx3K8VYJEZRQF18 ) That movies are not so often re-edited into a redux or director’s cut (more commonly simply remade eg in English with famous actors) is more due to the difficulty of “remixing” – needing access to raw footage and copyright.

    • TeeJay says:

      —repeated post deleted—

    • Zwebbie says:

      And yet, I’ve never been recommended a mod that fills the gaps in the Aeneid or the Canterbury Tales, and those are unfinished, which is way worse than Morrowind is. If most of you really believe there’s as little appreciation for the author in art forms as Alec displays here, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

      This RPS article is as if an art critic recommended that instead of going to the Louvre, you ought to go to another museum, where the Mona Lisa is twice as big and has a prettier haircut.

    • TeeJay says:

      …so someone reading a translation of the Canterbury Tales isn’t reading a ‘modded version’?

      examples: http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/chaucer/translation/

      You seem to be holding the connection between artist, object and viewer above everything else, whereas the overall experience is just as important. Some people specialise in recreating early music – fair enough – but modern orchestras have more powerful instruments and modern conductors and audiences have their own musical tastes. “Authentic” and “as the artist wanted” are not always more important or profound than newer intepretations … or ‘modifications’.

    • JackShandy says:

      Original authors intent aside, what about the mods that just fix the game? I’m sure no-one could be against things like wesp’s fix-pack for fallout 2, or the mods that patched Vampire: the masquerade-bloodlines back together into a playable state.

    • Fathom says:

      Games are not movies, paintings, or books. They’re games.

  9. Stevostin says:

    The vanilla version looks way better and way more atmospheric than this mod collection, both in the video and from my recollection. And I hate how the modders feels like it’s ok to just change the lore, the art direction, etc. Trees in Balmora in a collection that is supposed to enhance the original game ? What are those guy thinking ?

  10. The Great Wayne says:

    Hum. Awful graphic pack imho. Too many trees, weird textures, weird faces, fuzzy colors and they haven’t updated some of the character meshes. You can achieve far better aspect, more faithful to the original and more immersive with a handful of chosen mods.

    Packs anyway defeat the point of TES mods. Especially considering the discutable tastes of many players. Go to the official forums, there are plenty of explained lists and FAQs which will let you *choose* what mods *you* want, and not force horrible graphics looking like they’ve been designed by a tripping LSD user on your beloved game.

    • Basilicus says:

      Agreed – perhaps the advantage of the pack is in not having to fuss over the individual mods. I was initially tempted, for instance, because I tried modding my Morrowind and couldn’t get a single thing to work as it should. This after modding Oblivion, FO3, and Dragon Age all quite successfully. Spent hours at Morrowind, but no dice.

      So, a ready-made pack is awfully tempting for me…except this one looks all wrong in places. I like the face and model improvements, the textures aren’t bad, but it looks like the gamma’s turned to microwave levels indoors and I don’t know what the hell all those trees are doing in my swamp.

    • Wulf says:

      A lot of the problem I think is–as I’ve said–that some simply don’t have any kind of knack for world building, they don’t understand visual cohesion, the feel of a game eludes them, and that’s how you end up with something that looks like a chaotic mess. I think that it’s a process that requires artistic sense, you have to know what art direction and visual cohesion are if you’re going to do it right. And if not? You get this horrible mess. You have to keep things consistent and cohesive.

      One example of this is in my New Vegas mod list: the Midwestern Power Armour and the Advanced Power Armour. One of the few texture changes I have is that I included a texture that made the APA a darker colour, so it looks almost identical to the one in Fallout 2. This is great, because that then riffed off the Midwestern Power Armour I included, which not online has similarities to the APA, but it was textured with a similar shade of black.

      I also wrote some backstory in-game for the Midwestern Power Armour inclusion (yep, I do actual modding work for my list), and explained the link between the APA and the MPA, and why they have visual similarities. The end result of this works really well, and it means that the MPA looks like something that would’ve actually been in New Vegas vanilla. And I do a lot of this. I work to make sure that all of my mods work well together. I won’t stand for inconsistencies, I won’t stand for a lack of cohesion, it all has to be one tidy, neat compilation that never overrides the feel or look of a Fallout game.

      I actually think I’m pretty good at it, too. This is one of the few things I do well, and it’s because I do have a bit of an artistic sense. I know what works and what doesn’t. But not everyone is going to be able to do that. Some people shouldn’t quit their day job.

  11. Jinnigan says:

    While I’m very glad to see the textures and general graphical improvement of Morrowind, does anyone know if there are any solid mods for better polygon and animations? That, way more than any textures, are what’s lacking in Morrowind (and Bethesda in general, it seems…)

    • Petethegoat says:

      There are a couple of mods to improve the meshes; Better Bodies, Better Clothes, Better Heads, Mesh Improvements – all recommended.
      There’s also a few animation mods, but at the moment I only use one, which fixes the horrible, horrible walking and running animations.

  12. Plopsworth says:

    I was always was a stickler for Morrowinds lore and fluff since I read the Redguard game’s manual, which came with a “Pocket Guide to the Empire”. I love the stylized, somewhat asymmetric and sharp-angled look of the marker-pen artwork presented in it, I thought Morrowind had a similar style. I disliked the doughy uncanny valley look of oblivion (even though face-customization is always cool). The game world was also far better constructed in Morrowind, with castles, settlements and fortifications that seemed to make sense (only bettered by Mount & Blade since then, in my opinion) and the fact that you could tell the race which constructed it (demon, dwarf, dark-elf, imperial) by its architecture alone.

  13. Conor says:

    *ahem* I do believe I posted this in the chatroom last night, and so you obviously stole it from me and disguised it as your own foul research.

    I DEMAND COMPENSATION, SIRS.

    It is veeeerrrryyyyy pretty, I’ll try it out and try to throw up some screenies once it’s all installed and stuff.

  14. roBurky says:

    Are all these mod collections just for graphical stuff? Or are there any features/gameplay mods considered essential?

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Past the graphical and audio mods, I’d recommend the obvious bugs fixing mods/patch and galsiah character development, which modifies the traditionnal character progression of TES (skill points count for attributes which you can increase at lvl up) to a more fluid mechanic (skills still increase by using them, but so do attributes) ala Ultima Online.

      It’s light, well implemented and I find that it makes the game more immersive by favoring playing the game as you want instead of playing with numbers. And to top it all, it’s more newbie-friendly, as you’re less likely to gimp your character.

  15. Petethegoat says:

    No! No no no no!

    This isn’t modded Morrowind!

    It doesn’t have to look like that- it shouldn’t.
    Oh god this is atrocious. Please don’t make up your minds about Morrowind (or Morrowind modding) based on this.

    I’ll link to a thread detailing my Morrowind, to demonstrate how much better it can get, for anyone who might otherwise doubt me.

    http://forums.datarealms.com/viewtopic.php?f=82&t=20774

    I’ve since tweaked a fair few things (and I also have shadows now <3) but there you go.

    And yeah, this isn't good.
    Why do people insist on bloom? :(

    • Ridye says:

      @Petethegoat

      Just read your thread. While you give some suggestions here and there, it would be great if you could mash a -single- list of suggestions. In my mind, my own modded Morrowind also looks better (and closer to the original colors/textures) than the one presented here.

      Unfortunately, a large portion of cities/towns texture sets were lost from internet in the past 4 years. – All created at lower resolutions, but less “shiny/new/modern/WoW fantasy” and well.. more akin to what the original designers created. I scavenged some, but so much was lost.

      But there is no deny that these kinds of Packs are a blessing for newcomers.
      Even if it does not fully portrait the fully old, disproportionated, “alien” feeling of the original. (which in a sense, it’s sad).

      ._

    • Wulf says:

      Oh, don’t worry, I know it can look better. I’ve had modded Morrowind looking pretty great myself.

      It’s just that generally many people don’t care about what mods change, there’s this attitude that ‘If it’s in a mod, it must be better’, but that’s not necessarily true, in fact, there are cases where the original authors knew so much better than the modders in regards to visual style, flair, direction, and finesse; thus creating a beautiful world that can be enjoyed as one entity.

      So modders recognise the worth of that, and this is why there are mods that keep the original feel of the game. In my opinion, the feel is more important than any of the minute details. This is why I always felt that, for example, Fallout Tactics was more of a Fallout game than Fallout 3 was. It’s because somehow Fallout 3 lost a lot of the irreverence, and the humour was very off key, it all felt wrong, compared to Tactics which knew when to be serious, when to be silly, and how to put a very interesting world together. The Brotherhood and so many things in Fallout 3 felt … off. That’s why Fallout 3 felt so much less Fallout to me. Not a bad game! But I disagree with purists quite often, I think it’s the feel of a game that’s important, and this is something that coalesces in your mind when you play the game.

      In order to create a mod list that captures the feel of a game, you have to have played the vanilla version for quite some time before you play it modded. I played New Vegas even before it was available on Steam, and then on Steam I played it vanilla for a little after. I got quite a ways into it. I wanted to get an understanding for how the game is supposed to feel, what the developers wanted it to be like, what they were trying to convey. And then over that I wanted to overlay what I personally believe a Fallout game feels like. That’s how I came by the end result that is my current New Vegas mod list (which can be found on the forums).

      I think that’s important, but a lot of mod list creators just toss the feel of a game out of the window and go with what’s cool for the sake of it being cool. So because temperate zone trees look nice, they’ll toss them in next to giant mushrooms in a swamp, and that completely destroys the feel of Morrowind for me. But that’s the thing with mods: You shouldn’t use every mod out there, only those which agree with the feel of the game that you’ve built up inside your head.

      When I add mods to my mod list, I compare them against New Vegas, and my memories of Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics (which are quite recently refreshed, since I’ve replayed both games recently), I weigh up how they feel against those memories, and if it seems compatible, again, if it feels right, then it goes in. It’s a very intuitive process, almost an artistic process. It’s not unlike creating a painting, I suppose. If you create something that goes against the rest of the painting and detracts from it, thus lowering the quality of the painting overall, you strike it off the canvas.

      There is definitely an art to this. And I think that some people just don’t have the knack, they don’t have the art because they’re not artistic in any way (something that I am, even if I’m too bloody shy to share it). I think that tinkering around with another person’s world building must involve art on a very intuitive level, in order to understand what feels correct and what doesn’t. Even then you might still get something wrong, but you can correct it later. Art is a very iterative process. Still, I won’t say that mod lists are art, they’re not, far from it. I just think that there’s an art there, and you have to have the sense of it, the knack of the art behind world building in order to get them right.

      The mod pack in this article is a bit of an atrocity. :p The person who put this together doesn’t have the knack. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that do. There are plenty of people working on Morrowind mod lists and projects that understand what it takes to do this right.

    • Petethegoat says:

      I’ve been meaning to make a proper mod list/pack/whatever for a while. But yeah, hopefully I’ll be able to get round to that at some point.

      Wulf: I agree with the point you’re making.
      I like to think I have that knack as well, certainly I don’t settle for textures which don’t fit perfectly.

    • Wulf says:

      @Pete

      Yeah, I know how that is. You do need to be finnicky and trust your intuition as to what fits and what doesn’t, it’s an iterative process – you introduce something, you play around with it, and if it doesn’t look/feel right, then you have to pull it. Sometimes I think I’m too harsh, that I’m dismissing things too easily, but then I realise that I’m not. I play through everything I consider, to test it out thoroughly, and if I don’t think it fits then I pull it out.

      Some things are awesome, but they just contradict the feel/look of the game far too much, and I don’t want to turn any game into Second Life, where things look jarringly out of place. Every once in a while I’ll find the reasoning to slip something in, I might even do some modding to give it more meaning myself, but all the time I’m keeping to my own experiences. I think you need to be innately familiar with the resource material and ready to make some tough choices about what can and can’t get in. I’ve seen some awesome stuff out there, but it just doesn’t work for Fallout.

      I’m not a purist, I actually don’t like purists much because they operate on tiny details, and even the smallest of clerical errors can set them off, everything has to be according to the lore, nothing can ever change. Of course, this would make any Universe stagnate – fictional or not. With any given world, one has to recognise that it’s a growing, changing place, but to do that you have to look at the roots, then you have to understand, picture in your mind how the tree would grow from those roots. It’s not purism, but more respect for the source material.

      There are extremes here, purism is one and it’s definitely an evil as far as I’m concerned, because I don’t think any IP should be treated like gospel, but the other end, the other extreme is people who absolutely couldn’t care less about the IP and just toss any old thing in, even where it makes absolutely no sense in that world and contradicts everything about it. For example – I can accept a comedy sub-faction of the Brotherhood of Steel, gone completely luddite, trying to destroy technology with very basic means. (They’d all be completely insane, driven mad by varying forms of trauma they’d experienced on the field as BoS soldiers, leaving them trembling bags of neuroses.) I’d dig that and it’d be even better if they had frothingly mad rambling dialogue. …

      “And what are you lovely people doing?”
      “We’re building a ballista…”
      “Isn’t that still technology?”
      “W-what? NO! It’s… old, old world, really old… really old world… stuff of the ancients… this… this is old.”
      “It’s ancient all right, but it’s still technology, it’s just the medieval version of a howitzer. The Science of the time, old Science but still Science.”
      “I–what? It… we… that… … SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP. SHUT YOUR VOCABULARY EMITTER NOW!”

      I could put up with that, that’d even be entertaining to me. Now, what would bother me is, say, bringing the Metroid suit and a very animé version of Samus into the Fallout world, unless it was as a very speedily disposed of Easter Egg (like the Doctor Who one in Fallout 1), it’d drive me nuts. It’s something that’s just completely contrary to the source material, to the feel of it, it’s pretty nifty, sure, but it’s still contrary.

      So there are a lot of choices to be made. And it’s good to be respectful. It’s all things in moderation, I suppose. Don’t be a purist, but learn about and care about the game you’re modding, do it artistically in that you’re trying to enhance a painting without destroying it, do it tastefully, and do it well. I think that’s how the best mod lists are built.

  16. Unaco says:

    “the tortorous[sic] wait for Skyrim”. Really? You aren’t entirely disillusioned by Bethesda? Or have you been sniffing glue today? If you think it’s going to be more (or even equally) RPGy than Oblivion, you are delusional.

    As for the mod, doesn’t look too bad to me. Definitely looks to have improved lighting and some of the atmosphere. Seyda Neen looks good… like the dank, sweaty village in an exotic swamp/bog like it should be. As for Balmora, the little you see of it looks pretty good.

    If I still knew where all of my Morrowind + Expansions discs where, and I could remember (and be motivated to find and install) all of the gameplay mods I used to use, and I didn’t have a life… I’d be happy to play the game again.

    • Alec Meer says:

      What a lot of insults crammed into one short paragraph!

    • Unaco says:

      I didn’t mean to be insulting… more cynical, caustic. I have just lost all faith in Bethesda with Oblivion… then had the tiny, hopeful little spark which I still held onto, urinated upon with Fallout3. I can’t see Skyrim being anything other than a watered down (or, in PR speak, “streamlined”) Oblivion, with fancy graphics, epic music, a hollow story, scaling enemies that are at most 1 or 2 levels above or below you, empty gameplay and maybe 1 or 2 scripted sequences or cut scenes involving dragons. But it will still get 95% on review… and if someone tries to be honest about it… well, we remember the fallout from the New Vegas WIT.

    • Wulf says:

      Speaking of urination, I’m just angry that they’ve pissed on their own lore. The thing is, Oblivion wasn’t a great game, not by a long shot, but the lore was still quite interesting. The books in the game – like with The Dragon Knight Saga – were actually worth reading. This has been true of all Bethesda games in regards to books. They can write lore, I’ll give them that, and more than that, they can actually write compelling, interesting lore which breaks from the norm. Daggerfall, for example, whilst visually similar to other RPGs of the time – definitely broke away from that once you began to learn about the world.

      I want to be wrong about Skyrim, because lore was one thing that Bethesda could do, it was the thing about the Elder Scrolls that I still liked. But this latest entry seems to be tossing all that was interesting and unique about Elder Scrolls out of the window in favour of what would be ‘kewl’ and ‘popular’. Fallout 3 sort of did the same thing to the Fallout Universe in some regards (something that New Vegas repaired, though it could’ve used some more of the old Black Isle humour), so I can’t help but be worried. I can understand the urge to sell games because most people like ‘kewl’ and ‘popular’ over ‘good’, ‘inventive’, ‘hasn’t been done a lot’, and ‘interesting’. But still, doesn’t mean I can’t be despondent about it.

    • PUKED says:

      Meh, I’ve seen better vitriol about extremely early trailers that don’t even show any gameplay from the rpgcodex.

      You’re bit players in a crowded marker.

    • Fathom says:

      If you’ve lost faith then why don’t you stop posting about it? Do you expect people to care that you don’t care?

    • Nameless1 says:

      After Oblivion and Fallout 3, I wonder how anyone can still have hope or respect on Bethesda making decent RPGs.

      @fathom: If you’ve faith then why don’t you stop posting about it? Do you expect people to care that you care? :)

  17. Twilightx says:

    Oh my God – 36 comments on this story and 35 of them are complaining from people who didn’t even give it a chance O_o
    Morrowind is my favourite game, I put hundreds of hours into it, I read probably everything there is about its lore, but this intrigues me. For example, I was using the Balmora with trees mod for a long time and it adds amazing atmosphere. If you didn’t try, please shut up. Video is not gameplay.
    Also, I don’t get all the insults on Skyrim, when all we’ve seen was one promo video. Damn, people, think positive at least a bit.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Indeed. While I’m not full of excitement after Oblivion, Morrowind was a fantastic game and Skyrim could be brilliant.

      There seems to be a lot of hate for Fallout 3 in these comments too, which I think is weird. It was a little soulless but I still had a good time with it. The first Fallouts are not as good as we remember, they were great games, but people act like they are some kind of holy book that must not be tampered with.

    • Eric says:

      2011: The Internet Hates Everything.

      Got it. Carry on. ;)

    • Wulf says:

      Actually, I don’t see a lot of hate, but more people expressing artistic disdain for a chaotic mish-mash of things. Morrowind was something of a treasure in that it carried the exotic aura of life in a swamp with it, and a very alien swamp at that, with bizarre creatures, and some truly strange sights. I remember the first time I looked up and saw a strider. Astounding stuff.

      However, some mod lists tend to stampede all over that, trampling over what the original game was trying to convey, and making inclusions that–whilst they may be cool–don’t really at all mesh well with what the game is trying to show you. Some mods perform the rather heinous act of painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. A metaphor, yes, but sometimes a game can show you something breathtaking, and sometimes a bad mod or combination of mods can be an act of vandalism.

      I loved vanilla Morrowind, just as I loved Morrowind with the right mods. But certain groupings of mods tend to spit on the Morrowind I knew, as though what the game wanted to show me wasn’t important. Apparently the notion of a swamp is too challenging for some people, so it has to be made to look like Oblivion – all pretty and floral. In fact, Morrowind was perhaps one of the rare exceptions where I didn’t complain about a palette of browns, because it fit the visuals so well. I admit that Bethesda might have crap animators, but the artists who worked on Morrowind knew what they were doing.

      Not all mod list compilers know what they’re doing as much, they lack the knack of world building, as I did my best to describe above. So what you end up with is less Morrowind and more Second Life.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Basing your reflection on the assumption that people who criticize it have no clue is the way to a deeply flawed appreciation of our comments. This doesn’t look right, and very un-morrowind. As a morrowind player and a mod user, I had to comment to make people acknowledge that modded morrowind could look better and more immersive than this.

      Past that, you’re free to install whatever mod you want and enjoy them. Not here to judge. But as far as the public discussion goes, you’ll always want to use the most common denominator as reference, and that’s vanilla morrowind.

  18. Jetsetlemming says:

    Modded morrowind can look amazing. IMO my game looks even better than the video in the OP:

    http://i.imgur.com/x2Kjm.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/IUv1B.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/06w6T.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/b9YqT.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/iqKVB.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/Vcv6k.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/dZgh0.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/dUDdI.jpg

    The primary differences in graphics are from Vality’s various plant/foilage mods from Planet Elder Scrolls, the latest version of Morrowind Graphics Extender, and four shaders: HDR, SSAO, Sunshafts, and Caustic Water. There’s also some various popular texture and model updates, but imo they aren’t a major difference.
    Solthseim runs TERRIBLE and looks AMAZING like this, imo.

  19. mcnubbins says:

    Sorry for a bit OT, but are there larger mod projects or perhaps mod compilations out there that enhance the game gameplay- and content-wise rather than graphically?

    • mwoody says:

      You should totally go find and play that Cult of the Clouds Morrowind mod. It’s awesome and the guy who made it is smart and sexy and a snappy dresser.

  20. airtekh says:

    Interesting.

    I intend to have a first-time playthrough of Morrowind at some point this year, so I need all the help with mods I can get.

    • Basilicus says:

      I would highly recommend doing a first-time playthrough using vanilla. If you absolutely hate it, then mod it up, but at least try vanilla. Many of the visual mods that are out there change up Bethesda’s artistic intentions a hell of a lot. I’ll admit Morrowind is downright ugly these days, but it was still a tremendous artistic accomplishment for when it came out, and some of that is lost in mods.

    • airtekh says:

      Thanks for the tip Basilicus.

      Graphics aren’t something that usually bothers me anyway. I just had the impression – from listening to people talk about Morrowind – that the game was annoyingly ugly. I’ll give it a try vanilla and see how it goes.

    • malkav11 says:

      Eh. As far as I’m concerned, Morrowind has never been ugly, and very possibly never will be. But its technology has certainly fallen well behind the curve, and mods can help address that. Unfortunately, whether they address that while preserving the original aesthetics that made Morrowind truly beautiful and not just shiny and technologically fancy…only you can judge for yourself, I suppose. But it’s a definite issue.

  21. Thirith says:

    Are there any texture replacements for Morrowind that don’t change the overall design but are simply higher-res versions of the originals?

  22. Fwiffo says:

    Does it stop people from walking like they’re made of balsa wood too?

  23. Tunips says:

    Are there any mods that make it look more like the concept art?
    I got the collectors edition just recently, and the art book it comes with is astounding – heavily Moebius-inspired, full of mystery and dynamism.
    The art book in question:
    http://www.imperial-library.info/content/art-morrowind

    It’s clear that the engine technology of the day let them down in three ways. Texture resolution and detail budget, Cliffs and non-smooth heightmaps, and the inability to layer clothing.

    Mods that make it look less photorealistic, but more like it was originally imagined is what I want.

  24. Jakkar says:

    Wulf: I love your posts. You talk altogether too much, really, but you’re one of the few voices of reason, and I just read in one of your monologues that you understand why Fallout: Tactics really was a decent game. I had only spoken lightly that feeling that it is more ‘Fallout’ than 3 with friends, it’s nice to see it publically stated online.

    … Well, that’s it. You talk sense. You talk a lot, but keep talking. Keep compiling, and modding. You are approved of.

    *thumbish motions of goodness*

  25. JackShandy says:

    Well, you’ve done it, RPS. I’m going to play morrowind.

  26. Hogni Gylfason says:

    I find this section of the hiveminds obsession with TESIII depressing.

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  28. MuscleHorse says:

    Does anyone have the instructions on the installation of this still?

  29. Conor says:

    There is a new site:
    http://morrowind2011.ultimaaiera.com/

    Apparently he’s redid everything from the start.