And I'll be playing it 100% UNMODDED! Not even a graphics mod, this is vanilla Morrowind in its purest form. Click the pics for a super huge version. Well, 1280x960... slightly huge.
To be honest the graphics really aren't really impressing me. It's a hell of a lot better looking than the other Elder Scrolls games, but did games really look this bad as late as 2002?
Right now it's extremely linear though, I can't do anything. Can't open boxes, can't escape, can't jump. I can't even switch to third person view, though that might be because I haven't set my face yet. A chat with the guard sorts that out.
Instead of messing around with numbers and stats like in the earlier Elder Scolls, in this I just pick the skills I want. Though the questionnaire's still there if I want to let the game choose for me.
I still have the same problem with this as I did with the other games though, I don't have a clue what I should pick! I only just walked into this world off a boat, I don't know anything about anything yet. Well I do know I'll be doing a lot of fighting so my first instinct is to go with a tough fighter, with a huge sword and the heaviest armour. The most boring of all possible options, but less boring than constantly being killed, so whatever.
Apparently I'm a free man... to a point. I have to report to a guy called Caius Cosades and do whatever he asks me to do. Or else.
Trouble is, this guy doesn't exactly know where Caius Cosades is, but he gives me vague directions to a place where someone might be able to point me in the direction of where he lives. To be honest, I think this is awesome. Even vague directions are still a thousand times better than what I had to work with in the earlier Elder Scrolls games.
After leaping onto the roof of a nearby building, just because I can, I decide to find a shop and empty my pockets of the stuff I liberated from the Census Office. I buy a sword and some armour, but keep hold of enough cash to buy a ride to Balmora on a silt strider (the giant insect looking thing standing on the right of the screen as I left the boat).
The directions said go ask around at the 'South Wall Cornerclub'. Well, I'm on the south wall already, so I guess I'll just go walking along looking at building signs until I find it.
Apparently I'm a secret agent too now, so I'll need my own cover identity. He tells me to pretend to be a freelance adventurer, I have got him covered 100%. The main quest line REQUIRES me to go around and do whatever the fuck I want to do. I'm not sure, but I think I'm starting to like this game.
Oh by the way, there are no voices in conversation. But there are voices whenever I walk past someone. They each turn around and say something like 'Yes, what is it? I'm busy so make it quick', as if I just interrupted them. Like they assume the only reason I'm walking down that street is to talk to them personally.
I'd decided to join the Fighter's Guild, seeing as I'm a fighter with a big sword, and they sent me off on my first job... clearing out rats from a store room. So far, so cliché, except for the fact that the malevolent little rodents are stripping the flesh from my legs.
I need to get the hell out of here. Fortunately enemies can't travel through map transition doors, so I'll be safe once I'm outside. Then I'll be able to run back to the Fighter's Guild and sleep my wounds away in a free bed. But I'll be back. For revenge.
My character seriously needs some more practice with this sword, she's getting humiliated here. The first enemies I've fought in the whole game and I can barely even get my attacks to connect.
Which is a shame because I bet my new sword would have done some real damage to them. It's a nice one handed magic flame sword which I found lying around in a box in town. Apparently the boxes in the street don't belong to anyone, no one knows or cares why they're there, and no one's bothered when I steal the contents.
So off I walk then. Well, jump. No point walking when I can hop everywhere instead and build up my acrobatics skill.
Arena and Daggerfall there's no fast travel in this, even to places I've visited before. I can travel from town to town using silt striders, boats or Mages Guild teleporters, but that doesn't do me much good when I'm out here in the wilderness.
Maybe I should look into getting myself some of those teleport spells for myself.
The task is simple, all I have to do is go chat to a guy and get some information. But before he'll talk, I have to do something for him. He wants me to go climb up the side of a volcano to an ancient crumbling ruin and search through the catacombs within for a rare artifact. As long as there's no rats in there I'm pretty sure I'll be fine!
Though I feel like I'm forgetting something somehow...
Actually these things aren't hard to kill, they're just annoying. I'm going to run off and find these ruins before more show up.
I'm doing fine now in combat, now that my attacks are actually connecting. Though I'm still not sure who these guys are supposed to be. They don't seem to have been collecting any of the treasure lying around in the open, and they attack me on sight even though I'm friendly and loveable.
Which seems like it could be fair enough, except that any bonuses I leave unselected will be lost. So if I go with 3 points to Strength, 2 points to Agility and 2 to Endurance, then those 2 points of Speed are gone forever.
Also it kind of encourages me to avoid sleeping and levelling up until I've raised my skills enough to get three x5 bonuses. Definitely room for improvement with this system I reckon.
It seems that Caius has sent me to the city of Vivec, so I'll need to find transportation there (or walk the whole damn way). Fortunately the Mages Guild has a teleportation service that'll take me right there instantly.
In fact it would be fair to say that I really fucking hate this place.
On the plus side, this game really does has some nice weather. The thunder scared the shit out of me first time I was in a storm.
You can check out this ridiculous map on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls wiki to see where I've travelled, or just get an aerial view of how absurd the city of Vivec is.
Also, the paper map (external link) that comes in the box is the probably best I've ever seen for a game. It's amazingly detailed.
Eventually though I find the people I was sent to meet camped out in tents near the coast. They ask me for a gift to show my respect for then. And by 'gift' they mean 'bribe'. After handing around some coin, they agree to talk to me. Some more coin gets them to actually say something useful. Apparently my job here is to go to their ancestral tomb and get an old bow for them. Sounds simple enough.
To be honest I haven't really explored the intricacies of the battle system. I just run up to things and hit them until they fall over. Or run around until they use up all their magic trying to blow me up, then hit them. I am but a simple warrior with a big sword.
And this place definitely has some nice gear around. I found a glass shield worth 20,000 coin, which is so expensive that no shop keeper in the game can afford to buy it. I'm gonna have to trade them for some cheaper stuff first and work up to it.
Time to find a way to sell this shield and use the cash to retire I reckon... or maybe I could equip it and go do one more mission for Caius. Or two.
I loved this game first time around, and I still think it's great. It takes what Arena and Daggerfall were trying to do, and finally makes it work. The game is huge, but it doesn't abandon you to find the story by yourself. The combat can be complex with endless spell effects, conjured weapons, enchantments, summoned creatures... or you can just grab a sword and hit things. Sure it's got a lot of bad points too, but I'm hopelessly addicted to it again, and that wins it shiny awards.
Other Elder Scrolls posts:
Elder Scrolls: Arena
Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall
An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion