What’s the deal with this Morrowind Game?

Newcomers to Fessic’s Blog, especially those unfamiliar with video games and computer Role Playing Games, may look around for a bit and find themselves wondering…

Just what is it about this Morrowind game anyway.  My favorite game of all time perhaps?  Was I once affiliated with the developer or the publisher?  None of these actually.  Maybe we should start with the basics to give you a better idea of what it’s all about…

Back in 2002 Bethesda Softworks released the third installment in a series – The Elder Scrolls, called Morrowind.  It’s a fantasy themed Role-Playing Game which came out for the PC (then later for the XBox).  In or around 2005 I discovered this game and was immediately hooked.  Now, if you don’t already know I’m an avid ‘gamer’ who grew up playing, and still very much enjoy playing video games. And as you’ll easily discover I enjoy quite a wide range of games.  But there was something about this particular game that had great appeal for me.  Actually, it was two things.  First, Morrowind was designed as an open-ended world meant to give the Player Character virtually unlimited freedom to explore, engage NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and follow (or not follow) the main storyline.  Furthermore, the game world is populated with a broad range of factions, each with their own agendas.  The disposition of faction members shifts relative to your character’s relationship with each guild – and it isn’t always obvious to which faction a given NPC belongs…which makes for an interesting dynamic.  The second, and probably most significant thing about Morrowind is that the creators included a built-in Construction Set, enabling players to create their own content for the game.  It was around this feature that a vibrant and active community quickly evolved into something quite remarkable.  Modders, as they were called, were able to upload their creations to a central repository where they would remain freely available to other players – who could then download and add the new content to their own game.  This model opened up immense possibilities for virtually limitless variations (and expansion) of the already expansive core game.  Given the previously mentioned non-linear way in which your character is engaged with the game world this made for an amazing degree of potential customization.  And that, for me, was the true appeal of the game.

In a way it became a kind of exercise in crafting (through the work of so many talented modders) my own idealized version of what the Morrowind world should be; the result being a near fully realized virtual fantasy world.  As it turned out I spent far more time browsing through, downloading and testing user-created mods than actually playing the game.  All along the way I kept thinking that once I’d assembled just the right combination of mods the game would be ‘complete’ and I could finally embark upon the main quest.  But in reality it was the process itself that held the greatest appeal.

And so my own version of the game continued taking shape.  Along the way I had spent many enjoyable hours cataloging various well made user-created mods, quests and other custom content that I soon felt compelled to share it with others.   The “Morrowind” folders you see here are the fruits of that energy – and hopefully a small but worthwhile contribution to the community spirit of fellow gamers who have enjoyed the same fascinating game world.

While it may seem so when you first arrive at this blog Morrowind isn’t actually my favorite game – or a significant part of my life. In fact, I haven’t played it in some time and probably wouldn’t even recommend it for most gamers.  But it was, for its part, a special game that for a brief period became a whole hobby unto itself, and one example of what makes video games such an enjoyable pastime for those wishing to escape to another world (for a time).

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A Special Note to Parents and Casual Gamers:

While Morrowind does, in my view, deserve a place among the more innovative titles in video game history I am reluctant to recommend it to newcomers for the following reasons.

1) The game is technically challenging, even for those accustomed to tweaking a computer game installation.  For this reason many have recommended the Xbox version of the game, but for me this defeats the purpose entirely as it is the player-created content of the PC version that so sets this game apart.  By ‘technically challenging’ I mean that to play a fairly stable version of the game requires much more than the usual download > patch > play routine of most modern PC games.  And to get the user mods working properly and in relative harmony requires a great deal of study, trial & error (something best left to the geekiest RPG aficionados among us – yours truly included)

2) Morrowind bears a “Teen” ESRB rating for mild violence, a common aspect of Fantasy Adventure games.  The manner in which it’s implemented is acceptable (in my opinion) for sufficiently mature gamers.  What I would draw your attention to are some other aspects of the game that I personally try to avoid.  These include things like deliberately pursuing a path of evil or engaging in vampirism (which was introduced in the Bloodmoon expansion).  Being a fan of Fantasy Fiction it can sometimes be difficult to discern the point at which a game, novel or movie crosses over a certain line in terms of content or emphasis.  In these cases I’m usually left to follow my gut.  With Morrowind, it comes down the core of the game itself.  Being ‘open-ended’ means a player can choose how to engage this fictional world given certain constraints, and opportunities…as in real life.  With the Moral Imperative shifted to the player one must then try to discern the intent of the game’s producers, to see if they have focused primarily on elements that are ‘fantasy by nature’ or whether they’ve chosen to promote things that are morally objectionable such as obscenity, extreme violence or occultism.  In my view Morrowind passes this test.  Though sadly, one can still find plenty of this with some of the user-created mods out there.  Cautious parents needn’t be shy about passing on Morrowind, if only to avoid some of the third-party content floating around – or even the game’s core content if it doesn’t pass muster.

3) In reference to the above mentioned rating for Morrowind, Bethesda made the unfortunate decision to release the sequel (Oblivion) with content that earned it an “M” rating for heavy violence and hidden nudity.  Given that I do not believe any game ever needs to contain M-rated content, I cannot endorse The Elder Scrolls canon beyond the specific installment that is Morrowind – and only then for experienced and mature gamers.  Consequently, if your kids are playing any M-rated games (Bioshock, Mass Effect, Bully, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Fallout 3, Fable II, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War) they really shouldn’t be.  And you might consider paying closer attention to their hobby.

I hope this post answers the question about this Morrowind game (and why it occupies such a large space on this blog).  If you have further questions or comments please don’t hesitate to post them below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 11:35 am  Comments (1)  
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A Morrowind Web Comic

Back in 2005 I was spending a lot of time with a PC Roleplaying Game called Morrowind. To me it wasn’t as much a video game as it was a ‘sandbox’ for creating and exploring, thanks in large part to the game’s native support of user-created mods. I spent a lot of time downloading these mods from the extremely talented individuals producing them, then seeing how they could blend together, transforming the game world along the way. Due to the nature of the game’s design, the ability to customize and control so much of the characters and surroundings, some people had started putting out web comics based on their characters. Many of them were such good fun that I was almost immediately inspired to try one of these myself. So I set about drafting a small story for my first ever Morrowind character, a Wood Elf thief named Fenius Longfellow. Now that I’m in the process of migrating many of my projects over to this site I thought I’d re-post it here for those who might enjoy a brief jaunt into a comical fantasy world.

Link to the slideshow

Published in: on July 6, 2008 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Morrowind Stuff

What you’ll find here: Downloadable Maps & PDF Guides for the PC Roleplaying game Morrowind, including a list of Recommended Mods, a Beginner’s Guide to Console Commands, links to other Morrowind Resources, recommended External Utilities and a personal collection of Tips & Troubleshooting help.

“Morrowind isn’t just a game; it’s an entire hobby unto itself”

– Fessic

Special Note: If this is your first time hearing about the game Morrowind please pause for a moment to read my post titled ‘What’s the deal with this Morrowind game.’  For those of us who played it back in the day, it was more than just your typical CRPG.

If none of the entries are visible down below click HERE.

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Morrowind Mod Screenshots

During its day I had more fun collecting and playtesting user- created mods than actually playing through the game, evidenced by the fact that my character never did get very far along the main storyline.  Still, those brief and sporadic play sessions (which typically involved wandering the countryside and otherwise exploring places my lowly character had no business investigating) …were a lot of fun too.

Special Note: If this is your first time hearing about the game Morrowind please pause for a moment before you continue and read my post titled What’s the deal with this Morrowind game.  This post was written just for you, especially the brief section toward the end, A Special Note to Parents and Casual Gamers.

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…I tend to fall into the category of people who would rather see a screenshot before they download a mod. Sure it’s fun to discover things for the first time in-game, but you’ve got to go through a lot to get to that point. Personally it just doesn’t make sense to download, clean, install, recreate merged lists, update save files, then try to go find whatever it is the mod added…only to discover that it’s not what you hoped for in the first place. Maybe you feel the same way? If so this folder was made for you.

The main purpose of this collection is to highlight the mods featured in Fessic’s Mod List.  Believe me, it just wouldn’t be practical to try to do screenshots for every Morrowind Mod – I’d never get to play the game! Even so, there’s a good chance you’ll find something here you probably haven’t seen before.

You’ll notice right away that the mods have been sorted alphabetically; but if you already know which one you’re looking for try plugging its name into the search bar in the upper right column, above the “Feed Reader Topics” line.  Some of the screenshots hosted here were originally taken by the mod creator, and in these cases hopefully I’ve remembered to give them credit.  Lastly, not all mods are conducive to screenshots, such as the many excellent gameplay enhancements (or tweak mods).

Let me emphasize that the real credit for what you see here belongs to Bethesda & all the Modders and Artists out there whose talent and dedication have given us all an open-ended fantasy world to explore & enjoy for a long time to come.  Thanks everyone – especially those of you who’ve worked to keep Morrowind free from unnecessary immature content.

Click HERE if you don’t see the screenshots below

For maps, guides and other stuff click HERE

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cait’s Squirrels

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ecology of Morrowind

Some of these were taken by mod author Sabregirl

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fireflies Invade Morrowind

Note: Screenshots by mod author Thaedyn Vyr.

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gladiator

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Homes to Let, Part 1

A truly amazing mod from one of the most talented modders in the Morrowind community.

Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Necessities of Morrowind

I cannot imagine the world of Morrowind without this one.  Food, hunger, sleep deprivation and so much more.  Thanks guys.

Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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