The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Retrospective

Woken from a dream, in a distant land far from home, you find yourself in a dark, creaky ship with an unfamiliar face. You are a prisoner sent by Uriel Septim VII to see if what is said is true, for it is rumored that you are the Nerevarine. The true incarnate of Indoril Nerevarine, Champion of Azura and of the people of Morrowind. The emperor of course, has plans for you there. Though I am uncertain what their reasons were at the time of this writing, but I can imagine it to have been for political reasons that benefit the empire, but no matter, this is where your journey begins in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

Morrowind being an open-play styled rpg, you’re not stuck doing the blades bidding, so you can do what you want and be who you want to be. There are several races to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to keep that in mind when creating your character. There are many guilds to join and rise in the ranks, so you can join whichever ones that suits your play-style.  You can become the Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild or become a noble of one of the great houses. This aspect alone is where I spent the majority of my playthrough. Rising in the ranks of these guilds requires more than just doing a quest line. You are actually required to meet certain criteria before you are granted a higher rank. Unlike in the most recent installment, Skyrim- which has been dumbed down in comparison. So expect to actually have to work hard on making any kind of progress, but if you want to jump right into the main quest, go right ahead. It’s actually quite an interesting tale. As the Nerevarine, you are asked to seek out the head of the Blades chapter in Morrowind. He tasks you with investigating the Nerevarine Cult, the Sixth House and to gather information about the prophecy. As you probe around, you learn about what it means to be the Nerevarine and the role you’ll play in the region.

You’ll also find yourself spending a large sum of your time wandering through the vastly beautiful, yet harshly unforgiving landscapes of Morrowind. Peppered throughout the lands are hidden goodies for you to discover on your journey. So if exploring caverns or ruins is your thing, well, let’s just say there is plenty of that for you to do. Exploring these ruins is very rewarding, but be warned, you’ll have to fight your way through. Here lies one of my major gripes with this game. The combat is lacking to say the least. There’s no sense of satisfaction with each swing of the sword. Even if you planned your character accordingly. I found that my character often missed his attacks. With the exception of using magic in combat. Instead your spell fails to cast, though it is a lot easier to level up your magic, not to mention less frustrating.

Now, I’m aware that the combat is heavily stat based and depends on dice-rolls that happen off-screen. Which is how most rpgs worked at some point in time, but that doesn’t make it any less aggravating. You can have your main weapon stat above 70 and still miss a backstab, even if you’re standing directly behind the enemy. The combat is archaic plain and simple, and to me it just doesn’t fit too well in a game that is played in a first person perspective, let alone third person. If you decide to play this on a PC, be aware that there are combat overhaul mods out there that aim to fix these issues. Which should certainly help newcomers who may be deterred by the combat, especially if they decided to play Morrowind after Skyrim. If that doesn’t turn them away, the cliff racers might. That or some of the escort quests you’ll run into inevitably.

Many widely regard Morrowind as one of the best in the series, and for good reason. In my opinion, it still stands the test of time after all these years, ever since it first launched on May, 1, 2002 for the PC. Even better is the fact that there are many mods out there that further improve the game. I’d highly recommend playing it with the Morrowind Overhaul mod. It makes a world of difference for new players and old. It comes with a wide array of changes and fixes that should make for a smoother experience, not to mention breathes new life into this already spectacular game with stunning visuals. I would strongly recommend buying the game of the year edition at this point since it’s only 10 bucks almost everywhere you look. I can’t begin tell you how many hours I spent wandering around Morrowind, discovering something new around every corner. It was also fun messing around with the magic in the game. There’s just so much you can do that is sadly non-existent in Skyrim, and this alone makes me worry about where the series is going. Seems that with each new installment, some of the games systems are further casualized. Not only that, but even dungeon designs seem to be getting linear by comparison. Maybe The Elder Scrolls VI will change that, or at least one can hope. Anyway, if you don’t mind being set back by ten dollars, do pick this game up on Steam to experience this beauty. The game that has fans of the series so divisive about whether or not it is the best Elder Scrolls game. Why not decide for yourself.