Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review RPG Codex Retrospective Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Invictusgender: ⚧ Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    I pretty much got back into "modern" PC gaming after almost a decade with my trusty 486x in which I replayed Wizardry 7, Might and Magic 3 and World if Xeen, Darklands, the Goldboxes and the few odd Ultima 7 and oscure games here and there but Morrowind is what prompted me to get a proper modern computer and I like it still to this day, its design choices are still great, fantastic NPCs (hell even Dagoth Ur is very interesting) fantastic setting and inmersion
    Yeah the combat kind of sucks but it isnt too bad but anybody who really wants to "get" the game I would urge them to do the Tribunal pilgrimage quest, the sense of history and background is perhaps the best ever for a videogame and once your immerse yourself in it is it so fantastic.
    Some of the quests are a bit Fedexy but the few standouts make up for any shortcomings
    Easily one of my top 5 games of all times and between Jumaro's Lets Play and this I hope more Codexers give it a try
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
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  2. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Real time combat popamole?
    I'm not interested, at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  3. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    I honestly don't think Morrowind's combat is bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. All of the advanced calculations and stat-based dice-rolls are impressive, and that's a big part of what I love about RPGs. Other than being first-person with minimal pause features it is really not that different than Baldur's Gate combat.

    I really wish a new RPG would come out that is like Morrowind but in a RTWP system. If they balanced the fights to be a bit longer and more meaningful, with all the great magic schools of Morrowind, spell-making, enchanting and on and on, the game would be incredible. I think the thing that really throws people off about Morrowind is that since it's first-person view it tricks them into thinking it is supposed to be a real-time, action combat system. The Quest is sort of a turn-based Morrowind, but I think a RTWP Morrowind could work really well, and it's something that no one has done yet.

    Sigh...I guess I can dream, right? :)
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Stonekeep was a RTwP blobber, by the way. Not sure if any others came out.
     
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  5. thesheeepgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Yeah, you swing and swing in first person, but nothing happens.
    It really does feel off.

    And to make things worse, there is no audio or visual feedback that you missed.
    There's only feedback if you hit.

    More feedback and probably a miss animation for enemies would go a long way.
     
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  6. Fenixgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    For me the problem was map, if there is some mode that allow you to not moving in zigzags to open map, it would be great.
    But bigger problem that has no solution - it is that Morrowind is 3D game, which is much more tiresome than isometric for nervous system, given the scale of Morrowind.
     
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  7. Bohraingender: ⚧ Learned

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    Mind elaborating how Skyrim exactly improved from Oblivion? Apart from the visual stuff I mentioned previously it made the level scaling less obnoxious, but I don't really see it being "a step on the right direction". It's took the series further to the direction that panders to the console gamer who can't read a map, thinks cutscenes are automatically an improvement over text regardless of the quality of the said cutscenes and appreciates low learning curve over replayability.
     
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  8. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    There is a "swish" sound effect for missing, isn't there? Like a "whoosh" of air. :P

    But anyway, I have also said the same about miss animations and more feedback in that sense. Since the idea is that the player is so poorly skilled in the weapon that he or she is flailing wildly with it, not using it well at all or that the enemy is quick at dodging, like an elusive rat, some feedback for that would be good.

    As for the system itself, it's really no different than rolling a Fighter in Baldur's Gate and giving him 5 Strength (or 8, whatever is lowest) and trying to use some weapon you are not proficient in The difference is that Morrowind has a first-person view. If you roll a character "properly" in Morrowind, you won't miss that much.
     
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  9. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    A few more thoughts about Morrowind's combat. Not many people may have explored the spell schools to their deepest depths, and shoot, even I haven't explored spell-making to its farthes reaches, but the variety of tricks and tactics you can use in Morrowind is staggering. The problem is, the battles are usually over so quickly that A) the battle itself is frantic, too frantic, and B) you are often better off just hitting the enemy with a powerful attack spell. But if you look at the various schools like Illusion, Conjuration, Alteration, Restoration and down the line, you can come up with so many creative ways and tactics to create a unique combat style.

    That is why I would love to see Morrowind with a RTWP combat system. Something akin to Baldur's Gate in first-person with one character. You could start a battle against a tough axe-wielding Nord by casting Sanctuary on yourself (which will make you harder to hit), then, hit the Nord with weakness to Fire so your Firebite spell does more damage. When the Nord is swinging for the fences with power attacks, hit him with a Damage Fatigue spell. Maybe there is a generally peaceful animal nearby that you can cast Frenzy Creature on, thus sending it into a rage to attack the Nord, and so on. The battle would have to be a bit slower and less frantic, obviously, perhaps with rounds like the Infinity Engine games had, but if balanced correctly it could lead to excellent combat and a great overall experience.

    I would keep the combat system the same otherwise, including a heavy reliance on stats to be able to connect with attacks (although perhaps add "grazes" in the mix, maybe in the 30-50 range of skill, but anything lower would be Miss City :P) and just expand on all the good stuff that's already in the game. Racial bonuses, class bonuses, stats, skills, spell-making, using magical artifacts and items (which also often goes overlooked since the ones you have to cast on an opponent generally aren't all that worthwhile) and so on. I would also rework the spells a bit to give even more weird ways to create unique play-styles (akin to Baldur's Gate and D&D spells, again).

    Lastly, I'd also put more emphasis on the weird world spells as well. Detect Key, for example, or Clairvoyance from Skyrim. Make these more meaningful by removing map markers (for Clairvoyance) and hiding keys for certain doors that can't be opened otherwise. Example, you are sneaking around Divath Fyr's tower and you see he has a vault that is locked by a special key. You cast Detect Key and you see he has hidden the key in another room, or for a very basic example, under one of his "daughters'" pillows. :) There are lots of cool things that can be done here, IMO.
     
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  10. Falksigender: ⚧ Scholar

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    Spot on. Absolutely loved Morrowind and modern day game devs have forgotten the real purpose of fast travel - to avoid repetition.
    Modern games do it AWFULLY. It was originally implemented so that, once you'd become familiar with an area, say with 4 or 5 trips there, you could skip ahead. But now it kills games as you skip allround the place from the off without really having to take it all in.
     
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  11. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    Not to mention it nullifies or at least scales down considerably the need for careful resource management, such as inventory space management or item management. If you can instantly travel across the map to buy potions, or grab everything in a dungeon until you're at 99.9% of your inventory space then jump to town to sell it all, that pretty much makes those features useless or at the very least much less impactful and meaningful.
     
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  12. Falksigender: ⚧ Scholar

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    Dead on. It's really helped destroy the whole purpose and reason for these games in the first place IMO. RPGs really used to be about either exploration or going on a journey (be that via a story, across a land or both). Now it's often just looting copy-paste items whilst following copy-paste quest lines.
    A lot of elements included in games with no real sense of context as to why or if they should be there in the first place.
     
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  13. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    I think it stems from trying to attract a wider audience. A lot of gamers nowadays want less hassle, and perhaps they don't find limitations and restrictions interesting or haven't been properly introduced to those types of mechanics. Some flat out claim they don't have as much time to invest in the game, thus they want instant gratification in a short time period. Thus they are catered to and given ultimate freedom, not only in the elements we've touched on, but even the design of the open worlds themselves. The old-school RPG elements have been abandoned in favor of attracting a wider crowd, IMO.

    Things like planning for the journey are largely forgotten as well. In Lords of Xulima, a modern example, you have to plan your journey. You have to manage your resources, take care of your characters and generally pay attention to the game more, as every step you took used resources that weren't so easy to replenish on harder difficulties. The issue with doing that on a mainstream scale would mean that those who want instant action and gratification do not want to spend 10/15/30 minutes carefully managing their inventory and party.

    Side note that is related to RPG elements, but I recently wrote an article about open-world design that isn't published yet. I look at games like Gothic as "The Dangerous World" and games like Oblivion/Skyrim "The Go Anywhere, Anytime" world. Quick example, but if an NPC in Gothic gives you a warning about ferociously hungry wolves in the forest, you had to respect it and listen to it. In most RPGs today, that would simply be flavor text. You would walk into the forest, see some wolves and then dispose of them like any other enemy. In Gothic, aka "The Dangerous World" design, it was meaningful, as in those wolves would eat you alive if you stepped into that area too soon.

    This is also why I am pushing for difficulty options in RPGs. At least if in Skyrim, for example, you had the option to tweak some of these things (without mods) in the game modes and options themselves, it would help take care of the more hardcore crowd while the casual crowd would have fun, too. Basic things like making the game playable without quest markers, or making the map system more intricate and meaningful (Gothic/Risen-style), etc. If there were options you could set that changed these aspects then both crowds could tailor the experience to suit their tastes, i.e. the casual crowd could turn on quest markers but those who turned them off would still have a playable game.

    Sounds like the future of RPGs but maybe I'm just a dreamer... :)
     
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  14. Falksigender: ⚧ Scholar

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    Agreed again chap. "meaning" and "purpose" are two key elements. You've touch on another pet hate of mine, danger & value. As you say, there should be some enemies that simply aren't beatable early doors, and you should fear them like in Gothic. Extended this to weapons you aquire too. It feels so much better when Excalibur feels like Excalibur. A rare, powerful, unique item. Not just some common, random stat adjustment amongst a thousand other items. Fluent, do you post on The Escapist btw?
     
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  15. Tigranesgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    okay, okay, fine, so list the mods we should be using to replay this already :dealwithit:

    I love Morrowind, and I even suffered through the fucking crashes every 3 minutes in the release version (not to mention a PC that couldn't handle it). It's tough always to get past the first 5-6 hours on a replay, though, when you feel like you're walking around raping cliffracers and doing nothing in particular in a clunky control scheme. Really picks up when you can start flying around mushroom city or delving into dwemer ruins.
     
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  16. Fenixgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    Same.
     
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  17. fluentgender: ⚧ Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

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    Here's a boring video I made showing a list of mods I used for my Morrowind LP -

    I think I was missing Morrowind Rebirth, which I would also recommend. -

    Edit - If you don't want to watch the first video, a few I'd recommend are:

    Morrowind Rebirth
    Less Generic NPCs
    Tamriel Rebuilt

    Those are the 3 big ones that are going to make the game much different than vanilla. LGNPC adds a ton of NPCs just to chat with, occasionally do a quest for and the like. Rebirth makes the cities and areas much larger and adds a bunch of new things. Tamriel Rebuilt adds the original continental part of Morrowind back in the game, adding lots of areas to explore and what not.

    Those are the 3 big ones and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few others right now. Start with those 3 and then check out the video for smaller mods. The one that fleshes out the water areas, I think it's called Water Life or something, that's also a very good one. BTB's rebalance mods are cool, too, if you want a more challenging game with a tighter balance.
     
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  18. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banvillegender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

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    In my first playthrough of Morrowind, I forgot to patch the game until the playthrough was nearly complete, yet I never encountered any serious bugs or problems with crashing. +M

    As for mods, use MGSO (the Morrowind Graphics Overhaul) to improve the graphics substantially, plus More Better Clothes (some clothes that aren't changed in MGSO), Better Robes (robes aren't changed in MGSO), possibly elements from Better Morrowind Armor (for female variants that are still lacking), Hlaalu Arkitektora (MGSO's Hlaalu buildings look too weathered and crumbly), Weathered Signs, and Waterfall Retexture by Lougian (MGSO's waterfalls are worse than the original).

    Aside from graphics, use a housing mod (there are quite a number), Excuse Me First Time, Talrivian’s State-Based HP Mod, Blood and Gore, the official Bethesda mods released for free (Bitter Coast Sounds, Area Effect Arrows, Le Femm Armor, Adamantium Armor, Helm of Tohan, Master Propylon Index, Fort Firemoth, but not the tavern one), Caverns Overhaul, and Tamriel Rebuilt.
     
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  19. commiegender: ⚧ The Last Marxist Patron

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    Man such a timely review. I hope Deuce Traveler can review this other game I heard about called 'Fallout' next. I hear it's one of the biggest things for 1997!
     
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  20. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    Dude, you think you're being funny but I just honestly finished Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines for the first time, and that game is from 2004. You do know I normally review small indie games and retrospectives of older RPGs, right? You have a whole staff here that normally review the latest AAA and kickstarter RPGs, but that's not my niche. I would probably do a review on FRUA or Magic Candle before I did Fallout. I don't review games I've already beaten, but made an exception for Oblivion and Morrowind since the staff wanted the whole series done through Skyrim. I already beat Fallout, so there's no point in my doing it again. I also beat Fallout 1.5 recently (I recommend this one by the way), and Fallout 2, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas years ago.

    For games I have not beaten that I may review in the future:
    Skyrim (complete the series)
    Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble
    Magic Candle
    FRUA (beat some modules... could play many more)
    Sengoku Rance

    I have never beaten the following games in our 2013 top CRPGs of all time list, so I might do some of these one day too:
    #13 - Jagged Alliance 2
    #20 - Dark Sun: Shattered Lands
    #28 - Realms of Arkania 2: Star Trail
    #36 - Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny (loaded on my laptop right now)
    #38 - Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos
    #50 - Albion

    And here's from the same list of games I haven't beaten, that I'll probably play one day, but am not interested enough in to consider a review.

    #16 - Betrayal at Krondor (reviewed already by Roxor)
    #23 - Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark Savant
    #33 - Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge
    #41 - Dungeon Master
    #42 - Risen
    #44 - Mount & Blade: Warband
    #45 - Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga (plan to beat this one in a few months, actually)
    #46 - Legend of Grimrock
    #47 - Prelude to Darkness
    #48 - King of Dragon Pass
    #49 - The Bard's Tale I : Tales of the Unknown

    And this is the hell no list of games on the Codex list that I tried, and have no interest in playing again and completing:
    #11- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer
    #40 - Dragon Age Origins
    #47 - Drakensang: The River of Time
    #49 - Eye of the Beholder
    #49 - Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
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  21. Fenixgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    Expecting your rewiev on Fallout Nevada.
     
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  22. Make America Great Again ERYFKRADgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

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  23. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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  24. Make America Great Again Blackgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Morrowind is FF7 of the west.
     
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  25. Lord Azlangender: ⚧ Arcane Patron Shitposter

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    Great post.

    I try and revisit Morrowind every two years. I loved it - but a lot of that romantic feelings are obviously tied to the past and how new and different it seemed back then. I have tried original Morrowind and the various enhanced graphical versions - still have never passed Balmora.

    Vivec - a total disgrace and thought so at the time. Some games can't really do complicated constructions where there are many doors to go through. It's different in a strategy game like Invisible Inc where rooms and doors are part of the game but 3D live action games are huge fail in this regard. It breaks the immersion. Can make you dizzy. The loading screens. Even Wasteland 2 and Rail Nomads section was huge fail in this regard with the constant back and forward between locations.

    NPCs - I remember the conversation options in MW became a little mini game where I tried to increase the number of words appearing in the right hand window without ever reading anything anyone was saying. I was trying to hit as many as those highlighted words as possible. There was a lot of text and many people said the same thing. I think in my various experience of RPG conversations is quite an issue where you can go from not having enough interaction, mainly in blobbers, to maybe too much interaction.

    I think I like best the interaction style covered in WL2, PST and PoE. They seem satisfying and sufficient.

    I agree the characters ended up lacking a bit - but one of the greatest accomplishments of MW was in the lore. Some of the most interesting characters were off screen - a part of history.

    Story - Hmmm. It's quite interesting to see how you describe it. 'Standard fantasy rpg gibberish'.

    Hmmm. Maybe it is. It certainly did not feel 'standard' but maybe that was because the setting was a bit alien. Giant crabs and mushroom trees and ash and volcano. The creatures were a bit alien too. Maybe they were able to disguise the 'standard' stuff very well.

    I actually found the main quest quite long and complicated. You mention U4 which is one of my favorite all times. I would suggest the 'bringing the houses togther' stuff is not standard and stands out as of 'avatar' goodness.

    In summary - the greatest games you played does not mean they would be the greatest games if you played them now or even if you played them a second time. MW was so different and new. But won't be new and different second time around.

    Great thread - no one has mentioned the mud crab or that scamp guy merchants where I spent many an hour buying and selling stuff so that I could off load my most expensive items.

    MW was also the first time in my memory that a developer released the engine so self modding became possible and one of the features of Bethesda going forward was that if you did not like the game - you could tweak it according to your preferences.

    And no mention of Golden Saints - what?
     
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