traditional RPG’s are not exactly Role-Playing Games. There is a
set story line that cannot be broken and only a miniscule amount of
real choices to be made. More often than not, modern RPG’s become
more of interactive movies instead of players assuming a character
and interacting with the world. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
breaks from that trend in a major way. The entire attitude can be
summed up by a quote from the introduction in the manual:
of the first questions people usually ask us is, "What do I
do in this game?" The answer we give is inevitably
"Well, what do you want to do?"
takes pride in allowing players to do almost anything they can think
of. Bethesda Softworks breaks the traditional RPG mold and delivers
a completely free action game that gives players immense freedom to
adventure how they want.
graphics in this game look good for the most part. Characters look great and the
massive environments look tremendous. Weather storms tear through
the game world showing off rain and dust storm effects. Each section
of the continent has a different architecture to it. No buildings
are cosmetic either. If there is a door, there is a way in (be it by
picking a lock or just opening it). The biggest question: Since
there is so much going on in the world, are there graphical
slowdowns? Well, I’d be lying if I said there were no slowdowns. I’ll
explain the slowdowns as well as the other problems I’ve
experienced later on in the review.
major selling point is the gameplay. The game provides hundreds of
faction and side quests to perform as well as the main quest.
Needless to say, Morrowind will give the player many a long
nights. Quests can be as simple as "go next door and kill this
guy" or as complex as "find out why the dwarves
disappeared." There are no shortages of quest-givers as most
people see you as some sort of Fed-Ex delivery-man/killer for hire.
The best parts about quests are some of them have multiple
solutions. If someone assigns you an unethical quest, you can often just
lie and say you did it.
are a necessity in the world of Morrowind. There is a long list of
groups you can join, ranging from the Imperial sanctioned guilds
(fighter and mage), the thieves guild, one of the two religious
groups, the local military guard, or one of the great houses.
Joining a great house should be a high priority on a newcomer’s
list of things to do. Not only do they offer quests, they usually
give better rewards and loot. Plus, you gain a stronghold after you
reach a certain level in the House. House Hlaalu is a good choice
for thieving characters since most of their quests involve
espionage. House Redoran is good for fighters. They hold the
traditional fighter codes of honor. House Telvanni is a house for
wizards. The downside about great houses that should make joining
one a major decision is "once you join one, the other two are
closed to you." Personally, I chose House Hlaalu because I
played a thieving character. One of the major things that makes it
worth joining House Hlaalu is you get to interact with the great
character "Uncle" Crassius Curio. It is worth advancing in
House Hlaalu so you can experience his horrible attempts to come on
to you [Ed: Everyone loves Crassius, pudding].
how exactly do you start out in this game? First, you pick your race
from a list of standard fantasy races. Many diehard fantasy fans
will complain that there are no dwarves in this game (except for the
upper torso of one). Get over it. The fact that the dwarves were
mysteriously wiped from existence adds a mystery for you to solve.
Besides, if you want dwarves in a game, make your own. Character
classes are a whole different experience. You can pick a character
class from a list of pre-made sets, answer a quiz and have one
assigned to you or make a custom class. I would highly recommend
making a custom character just because the pre-set classes are
usually too weak in areas that one direly needs in the game. Making
a custom class will take a few tries, but once mastered it provides
an even more user-defined world.
what is the main quest like? You start off in the dark and slowly
gain more information on your purpose. To put it in a nutshell, you
are to fulfill the local prophecies and defeat an evil god that is
causing all the problems on the continent. However, unlike most
games, you do not even have to take the set main quest paths. It is
entirely possible to sever a link in the main quest and stomp your
way into the end game. Sure, it’s insanely hard to find a back way
into the ending, but it is possible and does further provide player
freedom to do whatever is wanted.
leveling system is different from most RPG’s out there. Each class
has five major skills and five minor skills. Skill points are gained
each time one of these major or minor skills are used. After 100
points, the skill levels up. After you level up major and minor
skills 10 times, you gain a level. When you gain a level, you get
points to add into your base attributes (Strength, Speed, Agility,
Luck, Endurance, Intelligence and Personality). All of the
specialized skills draw on a combination of the main attributes. If
you level up more skills that use agility and speed than anything
else, you will get modifiers (X2, X3, X4) to add to that skill. It
takes a little bit of getting used to, but it makes sense after a
few level ups. This level up method does make it important to chose
or create the proper class. It would make no sense to make a magic
heavy class and run around wielding heavy armor and long swords
while ignoring spell casting. Sure, you’ll level up those skills,
but your major and minor skills will never increase and you will not
level up. There is a solution to those who don’t want to earn
skills through practice. You can buy training from some characters.
This automatically increases the skill’s level. This does get
expensive once you get in the higher skill levels and you also need
to find a master trainer to advance a skill past a certain point.
my FAQ for more on creating a custom class.
combat system is not turn based. It is more like an adventure game
where you basically run around and hack (or cast) at enemies. Spell
casting is awkward at first since it takes too long to get off
spells, but once you become used to the system, spell casting is a
breeze. Melee combat is simple. All you have to do is run up to the
enemy and slash away. There is no manual block button, so blocking
is pretty much random based on your block skill. It should be known that once you start
enchanting equipment, the battles become easier.
Yes. The process of enchanting weapons and armor allows players to
make a sword that deals out tons of fire damage with each hit or
make some clothing with stealth enchantments. There are two ways to
enchant items. You can either pay someone a lot of money to do it
for you or do it yourself. While self-enchanting saves money, it
does require an insanely high enchant skill, making it almost
impossible to do until many hours into the game. See
my FAQ for more on Enchanting.
music is a typical fantasy score that constantly repeats. It sets
the mood, but since it is only one track the theme can get annoying.
Sound effects are another story. Most magic sound effects sound
decent, but the melee attack sound effects sounds like they’re
from the 1960’s Batman TV show. Lots of "THWACKS" and
similar sounds make the melee combat sound almost like it is in a
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