Many gamers are getting psyched for the new Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim. They have every right to be, The Elder Scrolls series is one of the greatest out there. Be it that you’re a 360, PS3 or a PC fan we all have something to look forward too.
A lot of people I have talked to locally remember Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion very well, but when I talk about Morrowind they usually give me a confused look. If you don’t know, Morrowind was Elder Scrolls III released for the PC and Xbox. I personally think that Morrowind surpasses Oblivion in every conceivable way, except for graphics. I will point out briefly why I think this way and back up my reasoning of course. Skyrim for me has a void to fill and that void is Morrowind.
Morrowind didn’t hold your hand as much as Oblivion, but I don’t think this is a downfall just something I have to point out. Oblivion wanted to cater to a new audience and attract new gamers. This does take some fundamental things away from the core of the game. There are a couple of things that stand out right away when you load both games side by side and play through a couple of hours.
Fast Traveling: Oblivion has the canny ability to point to a place on your map and warp there. Morrowind had no such method (in a sense). If
you were wandering out in the wild getting lost or being beaten by numerous higher level monsters or bandits, you couldn’t escape by just going into your menu once you found a safe place to hide. Morrowind did make use of scrolls like Divine intervention to get you out of a bind, or Mark and Recall spells, which I miss greatly. Something about being stuck out in the wilderness without an easy way to leave made it feel like you were more part of the world. Also you get awesome transports to get you from point A to B called Silt Striders.
Skills: There are 27 different skills to choose from when you start off in Morrowind. You also get to determine if they are going to be Major or Minor skills. Oblivion went away from this method and condensed the amount of skills to 21. This is a hit or miss for some people, they lumped things together like short blade and long blade are now instead of separate. Spears, hammers, and blunt weapons were under one category. It took away from some of the variety but made it less daunting starting off.
No opening dungeon: Oblivion you get to traverse through an optional beginning dungeon (thank you for being able to skip though it or else a second play through would be horrendous) to give you a feel for the game. Morrowind just throws you into the tide with nothing more than a pat on the back. You truly feel like a stranger to the world.
Now I’m not saying that Oblivion is a bad game. I just believe it never surpassed its predecessor. The options in Morrowind were greater.
Guilds able to join in Oblivion: Fighters, Thieves, Mages, The Dark Brotherhood and The Arena. I thought the Arena was a sweet addition that Morrowind didn’t have, but Oblivion lacks in variety where Morrowind shines in it.
Guilds able to join in Morrowind: They have all the above (excluding the Arena) and additionally: The Temple, Morag Tong, Imperial Legion, Imperial Cult, The Blades and Ashlanders (Joined in main quest).
There are also three Houses you can join: House of Redoran, Telvanni and Hlaalu. Each other house will despise you when you join one of the selected three, choose wisely! But do not fret there are ways to join the others in one play through if you find the secrets.
There are three Vampire clans to join: Clan Aundae, Berne, and Quarra.
This list doesn’t even include the two expansions Tribunal and Blood moon.
Another big thing for me was art variety within the landscape of the game. Oblivion was pretty, but lacked a sense of atmosphere that I was looking for. Once Shivering Isles expansion came to Oblivion I remembered how much I missed the scenery of Morrowind.
There is even more variation when you jump into the expansions. I know it isn’t as detailed as Oblivion or as polished, but it brings out the atmosphere of the world so much better than Oblivion. And you may think this next tidbit is so minor, but really it makes it feel more like a complete world rather than separate segments. Every town you can walk in and out of without having to click and load it to enter. They’re not separateinstances which means creatures can come into the town if they’re chasing you. That piece right there is what really made Morrowind shine over Oblivion for me. Yes it is small and nit picky, but I’m big on the environment of my gaming worlds of my open-world game types.
There are no auto-scaling items or enemies in this game either. I was just talking to a guy a fellow gamer about Skyrim and how I enjoyed Morrowind so much more than Oblivion because of the no auto-scaling. He said well then there is always a challenge with every mission. There’s my problem right there. My super awesome character who has the best armor and best weapons doesn’t feel as elite anymore, because every creature just leveled up with me! I want to feel superior to my enemies for the hard work of questing and finding my legendary items. Also the problem with scaling items is later in the game items you find will be better than in the beginning of the game. That puts a damper on searching the wild for items knowing they’re going to become better in a couple more hours I sink into the game.
All and all I would say to give this game a try. Yes it’s an older game and most people have already played through Oblivion, but honestly if you haven’t checked this out you’re really missing a key ingredient in the Elder Scrolls series. The entire map is hand placed, no auto generating landscape, so the artists worked hard to make each area different. It really paid off in the end. If you’re a stickler for graphics, get it for the PC and get the mods for better graphics to make it look like Oblivion. There are always options even for a graphic fan. Also the music is fantastic, sets the mood from that first beginning score. Give it a try, because we have to wait until November anyways to check out the next installment.
I leave you with one of my favorite pieces of the game. The world map, ah nothing better than a nice big map full of secrets to discover.