Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Watch where you’re walking N’wah….Ay ay ay what did you say bitch N’wah? Morrowind is a great place and I wished I lived there. I’m dead serious. ESIII: Morrowind is regarded as one of the best in the entire Elder Scrolls series. Unlike in Daggerfall, Morrowind takes the handcrafted approach to world building and game design with a significantly smaller but more rich in detail interactive setting compared to previous games in the series. Vvardenfell is not a large island and only makes up a small piece of the region Morrowind. Here, the Dark Elven race resides and though under occupation of the Tiber Septim empire, operates on a self-autonomy structure with different houses ruling over different sections of the Island. The citizens of Morrowind are extremely xenophobic and don’t take kindly to outlanders such as yourself. You start off as a simple prisoner who has been set free by Emperor Tiber Septim in order to do some investigative work for the Blades. Basically your entire goal for this game is to learn about the locals, customs, and legends until (spoiler alert) you realize that you might be the re-incarnation of the Nerevarine. An ancient Dark Elf hero who had been betrayed by a group known as the Tribunal whom obtained God-like powers as a result of this betrayal.
Whether you go through this quest however is entirely up to you. There is no rush or penalty to doing the main quest line. In fact, you are encourage to explore and engage in the many side quests from various NPCs who may or may not always have your best interests. The cool aspect about this particular game is that it sort of kept the vague quest structure from Daggerfall. You aren’t given quest markers like in future Elder Scrolls titles like Oblivion or Skyrim. Instead, you are going to use your investigation skills to figure out how to complete each quest. Some quests will involve some combat (which I might add is rather clunky but if you are familiar with the dice roll style of combat from previous games it sort of works more or less like that), while others will have you interrogating locals for additional clues and hints. If your speech craft is shit, prepare to start making bribes because the locals have no interest in helping a nobody like you. Yep. You starting the bottom from the very beginning. You aren’t going to be a badass warrior, wizard, or stealth archer from the start. The character creation system in this game is very critical to how you’re going to deal with certain aspects of the game from combat, npc interactions, lock picking, etc you get the picture. While having some skill points for a particular skill won’t make you completely useless, it’s not going to work out if you go out of your way to try to achieve something your character is not highly skilled in at all. But with a little know-how, experience, and a bit of exploits, you can become very powerful in the later levels while building your character.
What’s really nice about Morrowind is that you can easily play this game on pretty much anything from Smartphones, Linux, and so forth thanks to a modernized port known as OpenMW. This port provides a few quality of life additions such as modern resolutions and supports most mods from the get-go (though there are some incompatibilities here and there). Frankly, I don’t really see a need to mod this game other than for some improved visuals, maybe a faster walking speed (since the default walking speed is kind of slow) and something to delay that Tribunal Expansion Pack Quest if you don’t want your ass handed to you at an early level by those annoying assassins from the Dark Brotherhood
If you find the ambiguous and somewhat blank slate that is Daggerfall to be too much in the realm of RPGs, Morrowind has a nice blend of role playing elements mixed with a highly developed story and world for your character to interact with in whatever way you see fit. It’s more accessible too especially if you are coming from the later Elder Scrolls games but the dice-roll combat mixed in with the non-linear quest system could take some time to adapt to for some players. Regardless if you go through the main quest or just simply engage in the many side quests which are all carefully crafted (mostly lmao this is still a Bethesda game although I found glitches and bugs to be less severe compared to later games from my experience). It’ll kill your time if that’s something you absolutely need.