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Arcanum and Morrowind are still unsurpassed

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by JarlFrank, Jul 5, 2021.

  1. Gilius Thunderhead Learned

    Gilius Thunderhead
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    I've returned to Arcanum recently after nearly 10 years. I didn't finish it at the time, now I want to. Although the game clearly feels unfinished at times, I don't remember any RPG that gave you such a breadth of options for your character.

    Because I'm a compulsive tinkerer, I'm also looking into changing some things that clearly hinder the experience. I've looked at the description of a couple of "rebalancing" mods, but they seem to go into a different direction than I was expecting(longer combat, changing mechanics). This is the reason for this post, as I didn't want to make a second different Arcanum thread on the first General RPG section while I got nothing to show for it. Most importantly, I'd appreciate advice.

    In a couple of hours works, these are the things I've changed so far:

    - Harm costs 2x fatigue, damage range has been reduced and it's now useless against undead and machines.
    - Agility of Fire, Strength of Earth, Vitality of Air, Purity of Water had their effects halved. Purity of water can't be stacked (I didn't even know these could be stacked until I looked into the files).
    - The "identify" spell, Divine Magic, is now the second spell of its school. I think putting it first would be too much.
    - Modified the experience tables for slightly less XP for killing monsters (you shouldn't go up 5 levels for clearing the Tarant Sewers, lol)

    Obviously, guns need to be buffed up. I have little experience with gunslinger characters (and various others), but I think it's logical for them to be strong in the beginning (if not slightly OP), then less comparatively advantageous but still versatile later. That is, if you don't know how to fight, a gun should be better than a sword. If you're an expert, they should be about the same. I haven't begun doing this, but I think it'd be pretty trivial with the right approach. Input would be appreciated.

    I haven't messed around with the World Editor much yet, but I think it'd also be trivial (although time consuming) to remove some of the trash mobs from some areas. I'm looking at a 40% reduction of mobs in the Tarant Sewers and some later areas (that I don't remember anymore). I'm not sure if it's possible to tinker with the random encounter frequency, I'd like that toned down a little, although not removed.

    I'll try to make traps stronger, which should also help rehabilitate Detect Traps a little bit. I'm not sure how to balance Prowling or Backstab, as I think most properties for those are hardcoded. I've never played a backstab character in Arcanum because backstab is already broken in every game that isn't nearly as broken as Arcanum, so why bother?

    Another one of my gripes is the >= 20 stat bonuses for things like Strength which are completely ridiculous, destroy challenge and make you deal more damage with a dagger than with anything else (for the sole reason that it's faster). This is hardcoded and I don't think I can modify it in particular ways, but I've looked up some threads on Terra-Arcanum and I'm fairly sure I can remove it with some hexediting. I'd also remove all the >= 20 stat bonuses for symmetry, but I'm unsure, as some of those are cool from a RP perspective. For reference:

    Strength -- Double damage bonus
    Dexterity -- Speed is 25 (+1 per point over 20)
    Constitution -- Poison Immunity
    Beauty -- Reaction Modifier is +100% (+10% over 20)
    Intelligence -- +10% to the success rate of every Skill
    Perception -- Sense invisible
    Willpower -- Immune to any Spell resisted by Willpower
    Charisma -- 100% loyalty: followers will never flee from your side and will only leave if you ask them to, never on their own accord

    Only ST really breaks the game. CHA too, but in a cool way. I think the problem with DEX is that you can stack it with other bonuses, so you'll have even higher values that shouldn't be possible. So maybe I just remove ST and look for a way to cap DEX?

    I'm not looking into AI, quests and whatnot, I'm a busy man with 10 baby mamas and I want to keep things simple. At least for now. What else needs to be changed?
     
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  2. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    Morrowind is the most overrated RPG of all time (short of Skyrim, but that one don't count).
    For every praise one has for Morrowind, there's a negative that casts a shadow of a doubt on that positive. People talk wonders about many RPGs I haven't played, but when I see them talk wonders about Morrowind I really have to doubt how great those RPGs I haven't played actually are.

    Morrowind's combat is bad, Morrowind's dialogue is awful, Morrowind's exploration is rather mediocre, particularly compared to Gothic. In Gothic, finding a potion lying around was great. In Morrowind, finding a dungeon (with "finding" being a grandiose word for "running into one of those dungeons lying every step of the way") and looting the entirety of it doesn't give off the same feeling of achievement.

    Advancing through a faction in Morrowind was never as satisfying as advancing through a faction in Gothic. Getting better armor? A joke. Getting better weapons? Also a joke. Saying Morrowind does a lot of things "well" is like saying a game featuring pissing and shitting does it "well": just because it's one of the only games that does it, doesn't mean it does it well.

    It's incredible how Gothic pulled the blinds off my eyes. Back when I returned to Morrowind, I couldn't believe the game was SO. SHIT. Gothic really is what Morrowind is described to be, minus the lore aspect (then again, who cares about lore when in Morrowind 95% of the quests have nothing to do with the game's setting itself; just the usual "go here, kill/retrieve this mundane enemy/item").



    Now some may know, or remember, or reading my signature, that I maintain a Morrowind modding guide. And yet, my Morrowind guide is the most latent reminder that Morrowind is not really a good game to begin with. Because as extensive my guide is, and even when I just account for the gameplay mods (removing all visual/audio shit), none of them actually turn Morrowind into a great game. That's because, much like Skyrim, the negative aspects of Morrowind required a complete overhaul of the game.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
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  3. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    And I'm keeping this in a separate post because I'm sure it will trigger a bunch of people, but...

    This is your idea of memorable?
    To me, memorable was finding myself betrayed in the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim, and racing on horse (skipping fast travel) back to the hideout only to find nearly all members had been massacred. The image of the old man nailed to nearby tree by Legion arrows beats nearly everything I've seen in Morrowind.
     
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  4. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    Moving the goalposts doesn't make your appreciation of Morrowind much valid.
    It's not a problem of Morrowind having flaws. Many games have flaws.

    It's a problem of Morrowind's flaws being so massive. I've heard the story before, it goes like this:

    "Morrowind's exploration is really boring."
    - "What are you talking about, it's great!"
    "Caves and tombs are copypasted."
    - "WTF YOU AREN'T EXPECTED TO VISIT THEM ALL, IT'S YOUR FAULT."

    Also "muh Mentor's Ring". And then there's always the strawmanning about people claiming we want every dungeon to be the best shit ever/have the coolest artifact ever. No, we just don't want 300 dungeons of which only 10 or so are truly memorable.
    Show me a Morrowind fan and I'll show you someone who can't argue without resorting to strawmen and hyperboles.
     
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  5. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    I couldn't agree more. Same exact thing happened to me in early 2000s. I haven't played Daggerfall or Arena back then, but I heard all this hype about this AMAZING game (Morrowind) coming out, and bought it on Day 1. Played for about 20 hours, before uninstalling in disgust and not touching it again for 10+ years. I did complete it much later, but did not change my opinion of it at all. Everything just felt like shit, and yeah, there was a lot of shit, but it was still in the end, just shit. And then a little later, I played Gothic 1 and 2, and they showed me what open world RPGs can/should be like.
     
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  6. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    Pretty much. When Morrowind is called shit, inevitably there will be the one retard jumping with "lol FILTERED".
    Also, why are the equipment slots of Morrowind praised so much? The only thing they are good for is to give you more enchantment slots and play dress up simulator...

    For that matter, just make equipment
    • Boots
    • Waist
    • Chest
    • Arms
    • Pauldrons
    • Helmet
    And then fill up the rest with accessory slots (belts, cloaks, rings, etc.). Still extensive but reasonably so. And consistent (why can I choose between left/right gauntlets and pauldrons, but not boots?).
     
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  7. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    I totally get the argument, think some of the points are valid, and logically think it's a good shout too.

    But ignoring the fact that the video is heavily edited from a bias angle to make Morrowind as shit as possible, and Gothic 2 as good as possible, I STILL want to play Morrowind more when watching it.

    Dunno if it's the atmosphere, alien vibe, Gothic's general awkwardness, or what, but I think it says a lot that despite all that bias Morrowind still has that something magic to draw me in.
     
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  8. Seigneur Locklear Savant

    Seigneur Locklear
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    Every one of your points in regards to Morrowind stands, but I think this is one of the things Gothic lacked to be considered a truly perfect game, so long my own preferences are considered at least. There's just so much nice flavor as a consequence of it - imagine fashion Souls but in Gothic. Granted, it's all cosmetic, but there could've been an additional gameplay element to it all, in terms of further customizing your character build. Although I clearly understand that at the time, working out how the different pieces interact with one another, the collision and all would've been a too costly of an investment.
     
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  9. Demo.Graph Learned

    Demo.Graph
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    I do.
    Edit: Actually, for me it's probably the most important thing in an RPG.
     
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  10. Ravielsk Learned

    Ravielsk
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    I have to second this. I played the OG morrowind(without expansions) shortly after finishing Gothic 1 because I heard a lot of good things about it. I still remember how I was reading through the manual while the game was installing and thinking "WoW this game is huge". Then I actually booted it up and oh god it was just crap. After even the first Gothic it felt like I traveled 10 years back in time.
     
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  11. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Yep. All Troika games are great long sellers. Arcanum was actually the best-selling game of theirs at the point of their bankruptcy because it kept doing okay even years after release. And now that their games are out on GoG and Steam too, they keep selling copies to people interested in the genre. Good CRPGs have an extremely long life.
    I just checked and Arcanum has 973 reviews on Steam, with 87% being positive. Checking Steamdb, owner estimations range from 21k on the low end to 700k on the high end. Not bad for a game from 2001.
    On GoG, it has 330 reviews and sits at a solid 4.6/5 stars.

    Bloodlines has 8743 reviews on Steam at 94% positive, and Steamdb estimates its owners to be from 190k to 1.600.000, that's some real good numbers for an old buggy RPG. It has 235 reviews on GoG at 4.8/5 stars.

    ToEE isn't on Steam, but on GoG it has around 160 reviews sitting at 4.1/5 stars. It's the least popular of the three games but that was to be expected as it has always been the most combatfag niche game of them all. Still, if it were on Steam it might have 10k or more owners too.

    Troika's entire catalogue is both profitable and popular on the modern digital storefronts. Had they released their games just ten years later, they would never have gone under but would be a frontrunner in the CRPG genre.
     
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  12. Ravielsk Learned

    Ravielsk
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    Heavily edited? How? On both ends you see early game scenarios mirrored against each other. The only editing here is the cuts between different pieces of footage and maybe the guy using console commands to spawn a bunch of monsters for the sake of comparison. Its as fair and straight forward as it can be.
     
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  13. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    I wouldn't say it's heavily edited at all (I understand what you meant by the way). The truth is Morrowind's "strengths" are hardly something that translates well into video footage. What's more, an edited video of Morrowind dungeons in quick succession would showcase just how copypasted they all feel.

    The more I watch that video, the more I want to play Gothic II (and the more I remember about my crippling FPS issues I haven't been able to troubleshoot).

    There's a context to that comment for a reason: I enjoy lore too, so long as the game uses it instead of keeping it nearly confined to books and Wikipedia-style exposition.
     
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  14. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    Gothic 2's sections are shown when they work and when they work well. But often they can work just as poorly.
     
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  15. Seigneur Locklear Savant

    Seigneur Locklear
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    When you look at it objectively, the only three things Morrowind has going on for itself, when CRPG standards are concerned, are atmosphere (the unique surrealism of the setting itself), the near absolute freedom of the character building system (but then again, some would argue that the lack of limitations to begin with is impairing to the general experience) and the plot - which albeit interesting, is still padded out with some unnecessary segments for additional length.
    Truly, what else is there? Dungeons might as well not exist and the game would've been for the better, honestly. Crafting? It felt ... unnatural and generic, as if you were only playing a numbers game for the sake of memes, like jumping 50 feet into the air or something. Ultimately, I tend to gauge the quality of a CRPG based on how responsive it is to both the existence and actions of the player within its world and Morrowind has an abysmally minimal amount of responsivity. But all of these arguments have been made times and again. All I am trying to say is, if you have the gall to pit it against Gothic 2, it fails miserably in many of the aspects that would define a solid CRPG.
     
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  16. Ravielsk Learned

    Ravielsk
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    No, that is how they work 90% of the time. Just because they can bug out when you strain the systems that govern them does not make it an unfair comparison. The hitboxes in combat can be questionable at times but that is about all that can "work just as poorly" as far as Gothic sections are concerned.
     
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  17. Butter Arcane

    Butter
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    Neither Morrowind nor Gothic 2 is a C RPG.
     
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  18. Seigneur Locklear Savant

    Seigneur Locklear
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    You could likely make a fine argument for this in the case of Gothic, although I at least use the term colloquially to describe the classics of that specific era.
     
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  19. Demo.Graph Learned

    Demo.Graph
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    Morrowind does use it. Daedra and Tribunal obfuscate their goals. You can either complete the game blindly or try to understand what's actually going on. I don't think that cinema cutscenes are necessary for the process of digging through lies.
    And yes, Morrowind obviously was released rushed and unfinished. One has to suspend his disbelief in all games.
    You seem to be more interested in mechanics in RPGs. I'm more interested in plot. I don't see why either of us should be wrong.
     
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  20. Sigourn Futa Lover

    Sigourn
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    I like Morrowind's plot. I simply don't like how the game is too big for its own good. And I don't seem to be the only one, it's just that I'm one of the few that say it.
    As I said earlier, whenever I say the game has 300 copypasted dungeons, there's always that guy who says "well it's your fault for trying to explore them all". Wait, what? Why should I be the one to blame for the devs designing uninspired dungeons?

    Morrowind could have been half the size and become that much better of a game by having more time spent on the parts that counted.
     
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  21. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    If you are more interested in Plot, then games like PST and Disco Elyisum are way better at this than Morrowind, because they don't hide their plot behind 100+ hours of Cliffracers and shitty combat and other crap.
     
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  22. Demo.Graph Learned

    Demo.Graph
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    Disco quite succesfuuly hides behind a logorrhea.
     
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  23. Techno Union Obvious alt Patron Dumbfuck

    Techno Union
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    Morrowind was surpassed a long time ago by Gothic 2, if not 1.
     
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  24. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex
    Keep in mind that Troika was a small company even for mid-2000s standards. Their 2004 team page lists just 17 people and while that isn't the latest version, removing the consultants and the people that didn't work at Troika anymore (those under "additional" in credits) and were most likely replaced by others, you get around 35 people from VtMB's credits (judging from the game's MobyGames page).

    There are small companies nowadays making RPGs who are of similar size. Of course you wont get modern AAA+ quality visuals from such companies - but Troika's games weren't great looking for their time either.
     
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  25. Beans00 Augur

    Beans00
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