The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Retro Reflections

When I started playing Morrowind I was impressed by the magnitude of its world. However, several problems prevented it from being a fully satisfying experience.

First, there is no direct connection between completed quests or killed monsters and character advancement. To level up you must raise your skills and to do that you have to use them. However, it is possible to fulfill missions with little benefit for your skills, which makes progressing through the rest of the game difficult. As a result, you resort to trainers, whom you pay to improve your abilities. Second, the game is harder if you play as a mage or a thief in relation to playing as a fighter, especially at the beginning.

For example, a thief is often noticed by an enemy before he has a chance to backstab him and a mage consumes a lot of mana to cast a spell or even fails to cast it and still spends mana. In addition, after some time your character may excel at everything -combat, magic and thievery- and the distinction of classes loses its importance. Fourth, non-player characters say the same things, resembling replicas instead of real persons. Fifth, you walk slowly, so, navigating places such as the maze-like city of Vivec becomes tedious. Sixth, most models look ugly.

Despite all that Elder Scrolls 3 is an interesting role playing game. The main quest is not very long but you can play for months if you decide to search everywhere and accept all side-quests. The game’s world is big and detailed. For example, when you enter a house you can pick up the plates from a table or steal precious stones from a box on a shelf. The wilderness is strewn with giant mushrooms, ruins and hidden dungeons, where strange creatures attack the careless traveler∙ the dwarven ruins and their mechanical guardians are among the most memorable.

The story holds some mystery since you have forgotten your past and weird dreams trouble your sleep. There are settlements with varying architecture and original, well designed types of armor. The idea of answering questions to create your character is smart and there are various spells to try. You can build your own items, e.g. a ring of flight, and the combat system allows you to block or dodge attacks and swing a weapon in different ways. Lastly, the subtle music contributes to an atmosphere of loneliness.

The designers of Morrowind tried to offer something unique by changing the traditional rules of role playing. Though I prefer other games of the genre, it is more than a decent effort and a lot of hard work was put into it.

Article by Dimitris

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