Older Elder Scrolls Freer

Bethesda have announced that their second Elder Scrolls game, Daggerfall, is now freeware. The classic RPG is notable for its enormity – being large and ambitious even by standards of the later games, even if it’s visually clunky today. You can pick it up here, and it’s under 150mb. You’ll also need DOSBox to get it working, as it’s quite literally that old. This announcement – made to celebrate fifteen years of the series – means that the first two Elder Scrolls games are both now free to play. You can pick up Arena at the same location.


  1. now wait just a sec says:

    WONDERFUL, we’ve been waiting for that to happen since Arena became free!

  2. Yougiedeggs says:

    Yaaay, now my copy is legal! JK
    Love this game. Except the main quest dungeons. If you don’t have a walkthrough, just forget about it.

  3. cmd says:

    Oh yesyesyes, this is sooo classic ^_^

  4. Lobotomist says:

    Great news

  5. Bob says:

    5 more years and Morrowind might be free! :D

    I wish Rockstar would put out GTA 3 as free, like they have done with GTA 1 & 2

  6. pauleyc says:

    Good news, at least it will save me the hassle of attaching an external drive to my Eee.

    One of my favourite games, buggy as hell (I hope this downloadable version comes at least with the latest patch) but a great experience nevertheless.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    One day anyone complaining about oblivion will be told to shut up because its free… One day.

  8. Bear says:

    Great, now I can witness the great f- up of continuity shattering scale.

    How I love that they made ALL the endings canon.

  9. WidowFactory says:

    Am i the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get out of the dungeon place you start in? :( Couldn’t get the combat at all when I first played it about 8 years ago, always would be killed by a wayward rat or bat. Time to give it another go!

  10. Heliocentric says:

    Is there a stack of daggerfall mods that would improve my experience?

  11. Bananaphone says:

    According to Wikipedia…

    Daggerfall is the largest Elder Scrolls game to date, featuring a game world estimated as being 161,600 square kilometres (62,394 square miles or 40,400,000 acres) with over 15,000 towns, cities, villages, and dungeons for the player’s character to explore.

    That’s a big fuckin’ game.

  12. Stromko says:

    Of course it has thousands of everything, it’s all random and all the same. A lot of the randomized dungeons from what I recall couldn’t be completed, they didn’t link up properly half the time in my experience. And, if you didn’t like Oblivion’s level scaling … Daggerfall was their first try at that kind of all-encompassing level scaled world.

    What this means is if you don’t make a perfect build or you level up using the wrong skills, you’re absolutely toast against eveything once you level up some.

    But I should shut up, because it’s free now. ;) (That would mean something if I didn’t still own Daggerfall)

  13. Lobotomist says:

    I love randomised (big roguelike fan here) but Oblivion scaling is just plain wrong. I thought Dagerfall is old school – non scaling game :(

  14. Gothnak says:

    I remember doing a huge quest for a legendary artifact in this. First get the quest from one of the Knights Guild. Go to huge far away dungeon, search it for an old lady (Takes hours). Old Lady is a witch, tells me to kidnap boy from town. Go to town, kidnap boy, kill guards. Go back to Dungeon, it has randomised itself including location of witch. Search for witch (takes hours).. Give her boy, she gives me an awesome magic shield, i’m a rogue, can’t wield shields…cry…

  15. Dominus says:

    the best of the series!

  16. Rinox says:

    @ Lobotomist:

    Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as ridiculous as in Oblivion. In fact I never even really noticed it in Daggerfall and my builds weren’t perfect by any means (though it’s not like I invested heavily in the languages, climbing or etiquette and other pretty pointless skills either).

    One thing’s for sure: the city guards always stay the same! Dangerous at first, a joke later on. “Halt Halt Halt Halt Halt (ad infinitum)”

  17. Dan (WR) says:

    I loved Daggerfall when it came out and hold it in much higher regard than Morrowind and Oblivion. It’s almost certainly nostalgia speaking, but it just seemed much more atmospheric than the later games. Just wandering around city streets at night was oppressive and scary. It was an amazing experience for its day but I’m guessing it probably won’t hold up to players coming to it for the first time after playing Oblivion.

    Also, it was bugged up the whazoo. I can’t count the number of times I got stuck in its random dungeons. I had to give up in the end. ;_;

  18. Tei says:

    I supppose with a good tutorial and maybe some cheat/patch/mods all the problems with leveling could be fixed (patched? (cheated?)).

  19. mirdza says:

    Wish they put out Battlespire for free.

  20. Pidesco says:

    Now I just wish Bethesda would improve on Daggerfall’s freeform design. It’s a long time coming, I’d say. I’m getting tired of watered down sequels.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    I just probed an faq on daggerfall as its a good way to guage the limitations of the game and avoid old school pitfalls. The begining reads, you’ll get a letter telling you to go to a random tavern in a random town.

    I find it funny that you can get arena and daggerfall from the same place as that will never be the case in the game.

  22. Trite says:

    Any mirrors? Downloading at 5 kB/s. And I think it timed out now, not progressing at all.

  23. Trite says:

    Disregard that, Gamershell got it.

    link to gamershell.com

  24. alastair jack says:

    wow this is downloading incredibly slow.. 4kb a second?!

  25. alastair jack says:

    oh cheers Trite

  26. H says:

    This was a fantastic game and I’m over the moon it’s free. It had fantastic depth and replayability and a lot of surprises. Become a vampire just to find out what happens, it took me by surprise.

  27. Morningoil says:

    I don’t really have anything of use or interest to contribute. In fact this is almost going to amount to trolling. But am I not the only person to feel that Daggerfall is an ambitious and in some ways admirable but also a monstrously bad game? I mean just like nigh-unplayably terrible?

  28. Carra says:

    Those are some hot pixels!

    But I still have Oblivion to play through…

  29. Erlend M says:

    I have many good memories of playing Daggerfall, but at the same time, I have to admit that the game is deeply flawed.

    The worst part of the game is the dungeons. They’re absolutely huge, sprawling, unplanned (computer-generated instead of hand-placed like in later TES games), and tedious. It’s a step down from its predecessor Arena, which also had computer-generated dungeons, but of a more manageable size.

    Daggerfall was also, as many have mentioned before me here, was really bugged. One exploit we found was to break into a jeweller’s at night to steal his stock. If you then exited the building, you could reenter it right away and find the shelves restocked, ripe for more stealing. That way, the sky (or more likely, the capacity of your pockets or cart) was the limit for how much you could steal from one shop alone. I could go on about the bugs, but a lot has been said before here.

    Still, the game was ridiculously ambitious. There were literally thousands of settlements and dungeons to explore, and different parts of the world had entirely different environments, from the desert cities of Sentinel to trudging through the snow in Daggerfall province at winter. (By the way, the weather system was brilliantly atmospheric – something I missed in the later TES games.) Also, the gameworld was so huge that walking from one edge of the map to the other without fast travel would take you two weeks in real time – I believe Bethesda timed it.

    Daggerfall can be seen as a flawed masterpiece, similar to many games that have come out of Eastern Europe in later years. Ridiculously ambitious, but far from sufficiently polished.

    Oh, and…


  30. Rinox says:

    :-D that howling at night in Daggerfall city freaked me out!

    Another easy way to steal was to go into a store right before closing time, then waste a few in-game minutes until it was past closing time, save and reload the game. The merchant would be gone and you could just help yourself to everything without even picking a single lock, haha.

  31. leederkrenon says:

    i will have to play this just to hear the snow music again. so amazing.

  32. Adrian says:

    For everyone who has problems with dosbox:

    First Create a folder called “OLDGAMES” on c

    –> c:\OLDGAMES

    then make a new folder for example called ELDER in that folder


    put all your Elder Scolls Daggerfall files into that folder

    then start dosbox and type

    now OLDGAMES folder is mounted as c: (dont ask why you do this)
    2. type: “c:”
    your command line should say c:\ instead of z:\ now

    3. type: “CD ELDER”

    now you have to select the executable of the game. it could be called “elder.exe”
    for this just type the name of the executable

    now your game should start.

  33. Adrian says:

    Some old games need a setup first. for this just do the steps above but select the seup executable at the end. install the game preferably in the OLDGAMES folder. then do the above steps again but this time select your game executable at the end

  34. Trite says:

    Adrian, There are instructions in PDF format on the Elder Scrolls site, in case you didn’t notice.

    I died to the first giant rat there was. No matter how I mapped the controls, my character just didn’t swing the damn weapon. Oh well, I just don’t like Bethesda games, so no big loss here.

  35. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    \o/ Daggerfall \o/

    Probably the best Elder Scrolls title ever. Perhaps unsurprisingly, made by a very different team and built around a different design phylosophy.

    If only the download wasn’t so slow. But the precious will be mine one day…

  36. Colthor says:

    There’s a faster mirror on FileShack for anyone failing to get the game from Bethesda’s struggling server:

    link to fileshack.com

  37. Moriarty70 says:

    The funny thing is, rummaging through my discs this week, I saw Daggerfall in the mix, right between two for Civ4

  38. Admiral Frosty says:

    I’m surprised no ones mentioned that nudity. I played it years ago and found that there’s actually quite a lot, from undressing your paper doll, to finding random nude women in tavern rooms.

    There was a mode to turn it off, but it also disabled blood. Bah, go figure.

  39. Forscythe says:

    File this one under “Games that made me”. It’s the boundless, staggering ambition of Daggerfall that still impresses today. It has the all-inclusive mentality of the game design you scribble out at school with your friends.

    Thus was Daggerfall delivered, late, buggy and incomplete, but what we got was impressive enough. The world of High Rock, and its cities, forests, deserts, oceans, isolated dungeons, great castles, forgotten cemeteries, is varied and remarkably atmospheric. The weather system (tied in with excellent music cues), day-night cycles, and calendar complete with seasons, holidays, and summoning dates were hugely innovative. These along with the well-developed principle characters, political situations, factions, systems of worship, and copious amounts of lore are backdrop to an intricate and intriguing main storyline. The character creation system was revolutionary.

    The amount of choice you have in the game was even more so – choice of who your player is, at every level, and in every detail of your career (with a tremendous variety of different guilds and organizations to join, and sides to take), your reputation, your finances, your home, the ultimate resolution of the story, and even your clothes through an excellent paper doll system. Freedom pervades every aspect of the game: you even design your own potions, spells, and enchantments.

    All of this perhaps overlooks the fact that actually playing Daggerfall too often consisted of epic, tedious crawls through its gigantic dungeons. Still, there was nothing like it then or now. Unmatched by its smoother, better-behaved descendants, Daggerfall is a glimpse — a flawed, imperfect glimpse — into what games could be without all of the compromises we’ve accepted and grown used to. It’s my favorite game of all time.

  40. Waste_Manager says:

    I just don’t know if I can be bothered to play it. Re-visiting Morrowind at the minute anyway.

  41. Syneval says:

    About the gigantic random dungeons …

    A useful exploit is to cast a long-duration levitation spell on yourself, find a section of the corridor that opens up to a lower level, and use the jump exploit to fall between the polygon seams.

    Now you’re floating outside the corridors, but ennemies will still aggro. It’s a great way to complete kill quests, as you can easily find your prey, aggro it, then re-enter the corridor through the same exploit and kill !

  42. Pidesco says:

    always keep to the right was my dungeon navigating method.

  43. Heliocentric says:

    Sounds like windows maze screen saver.

  44. Phlebas says:

    Is this version patched at all? Or is there a helpful patch out there somewhere? I loved the game to bits but I don’t think I could face it again with the bugs it had before. Timed quests plus broken randomness making a fair percentage of them impossible plus penalties for any you fail to complete equals a lot of frustration.

  45. Colthor says:

    A “DAG213” patch is included in the download.

    Oh, if anyone else gets stuck with it complaining about the lack of a CD run it with “FALL Z.CFG” rather than “DAGGER”.

  46. TDM says:

    I keep running into “insert the CD” type errors with DOS Box. I got that even after following Adrian’s instructions. Any ideas?

  47. TDM says:

    Well, uh, Colthor got it – my bad (I never refreshed the page?)

  48. Dave says:

    My memory of Daggerfall involves a lot of crashing, and being arrested by magic guards because I arrived in a town at nighttime and didn’t get to an inn within 15 seconds. That game had the quickest time-to-uninstall of anything I’ve ever purchased.

    Morrowind was where it was at.

  49. dhex says:

    daggerfall was a hideous mess and i loved it to death. never been able to get my disc copy running in 2k or xp; i’m going to try this version again. it’s been ages…

  50. TDM says:

    Except now…I can’t get any mouse input and can’t select my “home province.”

    It has been far too long since I’ve used DOS.