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Why do people hate Oblivion so much?

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
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Morrowind gives argonians a reason to exist. Not only as chattel slaves, but as pearl divers and plunderers of sunken grottos and shipwrecks. There's nothing like that in oblivion.
Why would you want to play through the game as farm equipment?
Feels bad, warmblood.

4RNzgu8.jpg
 

monilloman

Educated
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Dec 30, 2021
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53
yeah of course I'd pick ash elves who cannot handle oblivion gates over tree-piss empowered lizards :D
 
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Messages
333
Oblivion's total transience is now paradoxically its most enduring quality.

A massively hyped title released to overwhelming praise and yet it's fucking forgotten about. This thing still has a top 20 all-time critic metascore on PC and mainstream gaming culture remembers nothing about it beyond dank memes. Not one of the other entries on that list has suffered a similar fate irrespective of its individual merits or lack thereof.

It’s self evident now that it was always bsb slop with neither the magic of its predecessor's much loved setting nor its sequel's easy mass market appeal and subsequent eternal life through porn modding but I still can't fathom the frenzied reception Oblivion got at release. Did the publishers really have that tight a leash on the reviewers back then? Surely critics can’t have actually thought it was one of the best games ever made? Wild to think about in retrospect.

Perhaps an early gaming equivalent of crappy prestige Oscar bait forgotten within 3 years of release? Not sure that analogy is entirely fitting.
 

notpl

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Yes, publishers really did have that tight of a leash on reviewers back then. They still do, of course, but back then things like reviewers being given a mandatory list of buzzwords to include in their articles and a numerical minimum score allowed to each game were still a secret, so they could be more blatant in the end result. Nowadays these things are still done, but gamers are at least cynically aware of it and the writers have a small amount of shame tethering them to reality as a result.

Also, a lot of us had played morrowind for hundreds of hours and were still young enough to believe that Oblivion was going to be the greatest game ever made. It took a few days for that illusion to wear thin.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Yes, publishers really did have that tight of a leash on reviewers back then. They still do, of course, but back then things like reviewers being given a mandatory list of buzzwords to include in their articles and a numerical minimum score allowed to each game were still a secret, so they could be more blatant in the end result. Nowadays these things are still done, but gamers are at least cynically aware of it and the writers have a small amount of shame tethering them to reality as a result.
To be honest I'm asking the question rhetorically. I remember well enough how things were. Still get the old jolt of disbelief at just how blatant it all was in Oblivion's case and how my initial impression of it (i.e. what the fuck is this shit) has been largely vindicated by the passage of time. Real moment of damascene conversion for a younger me re supposedly expert opnions or authorities on a particular matter potentially being wrong and/or lying outright. Hadn't really considered developing a critical sensibility prior.

Sad thing is the publishers probably don't even have to bribe game reviewers anymore. The threat of losing access or being blacklisted for not toeing the party line would be enough.

Judging by the threads here people do still play Oblivion every so often. Are there any good parts or things it does quite well?
 

Poseidon00

Arcane
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Dec 11, 2018
Messages
1,814
Oblivion blew me away in the graphics department when I first saw it. Lmao in retrospect. In fairness it was the first game of that gen I had ever saw and I was used to the SNES/Ps1 era more than anything
 

Lemming42

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Judging by the threads here people do still play Oblivion every so often. Are there any good parts or things it does quite well?
Having replayed it last year for the first time in a long time, I'd have to say no. The quests tend to be much better than Morrowind's in terms of structure and variety, and there's a couple of genuinely imaginative scenarios but that's about it. The good parts aren't very good because everything's hampered by awful writing and the infamous all-encompassing jankiness that makes nothing work properly, and almost everything devolves into violence, which wouldn't be as much of a problem if the combat wasn't so floaty and tedious.

Other than that, the moment-to-moment gameplay mostly just consists of pointless busywork like the other post-Daggerfall TES games*, but the core gameplay systems are worse than Skyrim's and the setting is infinitely more dull than Morrowind's, with outright retarded writing to boot. Oblivion's overworld is also much worse and more empty and boring than the other two games. Playing it ultimately just invokes a feeling of hollow sadness, and you're constantly asking yourself why you're wasting your time with it.

It's not really worth replaying, even heavily modded. I'm saying this as someone who has a pretty high tolerance for this stuff and could probably just about force myself to play through modded Fallout 3 again if I really had nothing else to do. Oblivion's just a boring failure with nothing really to redeem it, same sort of affair as Fallout 4. People will tell you that the Shivering Isles DLC is worthwhile but this is a trick, it's better than the base game but it's still deeply boring and pointless. Same for the Dark Brotherhood quests - they are a step up in quality from the rest of the game, but they still really just amount to a couple hours of walking around empty fields and barren "cities" (aka five houses) in order to reach a quest marker and activate some scripted event that ends up not working properly, glitching out, and killing the nearest man with a physics glitch that makes him go "OUUUGH".

I remember being wowed by Oblivion's graphics and the scale of its world at the time it came out, but like all Bethesda games, it generates goodwill through what it could be rather than what it is. In 2006 it was easy to go "wow! i can go anywhere and do anything! wow! games are going in a great direction! imagine what games will be like in 5 years!" but with hindsight this mindset is obviously all torn to ribbons. I don't think time has been kind to any of the TES games.

*Daggerfall is, of course, the king of pointless busywork, but I'm talking about the specific kind that Morrowind introduced, where you spend most of the game running back and forth through a small and featureless worldspace that feels totally lifeless and static
 
Last edited:

NecroLord

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Quest markers bro...
In the older Elder Scrolls games you had to actually think a little,take some notes in a journal and could even use the "Mark" and "Recall" spells to teleport around. First spell sets a mark(an anchor,if you will) and the second one brought you back to where you set the mark.
Hate to say it,but the franchise got dumber and more shallow ever since Morrowind(while a great game,it does show some of the future Bethesda design choices and tendencies that would come after it).
 
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
333
but the franchise got dumber and more shallow ever since Morrowind(while a great game,it does show some of the future Bethesda design choices and tendencies that would come after it).
Correct. I still dig Morrowind but I'm much more aware of its significant problems and the augurs of future decline than when I first fell in love with it. Bit like Blade Runner for movies - some things are done as well or better than anywhere else but the flaws become apparent as your tastes broaden.
 

NecroLord

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but the franchise got dumber and more shallow ever since Morrowind(while a great game,it does show some of the future Bethesda design choices and tendencies that would come after it).
Correct. I still dig Morrowind but I'm much more aware of its significant problems and the augurs of future decline than when I first fell in love with it. Bit like Blade Runner for movies - some things are done as well or better than anywhere else but the flaws become apparent as your tastes broaden.
What I really liked about Morrowind was the setting. It was no generic forests,mountains and castles,but swamps,volcanoes and sandstorms. You can have so much fun in the game by creating and shaping your own build in almost any way you want. You can create outrageously powerful spells that annihilate everyone in a mile radius. You can fly. You can levitate. You can boost your speed to literally turn into The Flash. That's what makes Morrowind special to me. It is not perfect though,and still does have issues.
Morrowind: Bloodmon,one of its expansions,is also really good.
 

Not.AI

Learned
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Dec 21, 2019
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I think people played it mostly for the graphics when it came out. Morrowind but with better graphics was basically the pitch?

They stopped playing it because it felt very generic fantasy in style overall when actually played. Unlike Morrowind.

Also some things were nice like the arena when it came out.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
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Oct 3, 2015
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I think people played it mostly for the graphics when it came out. Morrowind but with better graphics was basically the pitch?

They stopped playing it because it felt very generic fantasy in style overall when actually played. Unlike Morrowind.
Oblivion reached a far larger audience than Morrowind, due to being aggressively casualized and dumbed-down:
  • Comprehensive creature-leveling such that all monsters and NPCs are set at the same level as the PC, with weaker types of monsters disappearing after the character gains enough levels, and stronger types of monsters not appearing when the character is low-level
  • Comprehensive item-leveling whereby a high-level PC will not only encounter similarly high-level bandits but said bandits will have random pieces of extremely expensive armor and weapons, while a low-level PC will never find weapons/armor of such powerful material; or a weapon on display in a glass case in a castle will be a worthless replica if the PC is low-level but the real thing after the PC gains enough levels
  • A clunky interface, which was clearly designed for consoles, in sharp contrast to Morrowind's sleek menus.
  • Reduction in the number of joinable guilds/factions offering many quests from 10 in Morrowind to 4 in Oblivion, keeping the more generic ones (Fighters/Mages/Thieves guilds)
  • Factions now centered around quest lines, with 2 of the 4 (Fighters Guild and Mages Guild) being poorly written and boring
  • Both in-game and out-of-game world maps that offer far less information than their Morrowind equivalents
  • Automatic fast-travel to any location that's already been visited
  • A quest compass that points to your next destination, the use of which is made necessary by the combination of uninformative journal entries and an inability to ask directions
  • Full voice-acting for dialogue, which necessitated a drastic reduction in the amount of dialogue per NPC, most of whom have one comment about themselves or their city to offer and nothing else
  • Poor writing in general, with dialogue and books less interesting than in Morrowind
  • Minigames for speechcraft and lockpicking (and poorly-done minigames, at that)
  • Elimination of certain kinds of items, such as thrown weapons, crossbows, and spears
  • Reduction in the number of skills to the point where axes are considered blunt weapons
  • Regenerating magicka, which effectively means that all health can be easily regained after each combat, thus removing much of the logistics that existed previously
  • Elimination of different physiques (and animations) for Argonians and Khajiits
  • 3D face modelling was a technical improvement but horribly implemented so that the end result was substantially worse
  • HDR lighting was a technical improvement but in practice was overpowering and made the graphics worse (though at least HDR was optional)
  • A physics model was a technical improvement, but its implementation was so wonky that bumping into a table would send objects flying around a room
  • Lack of aesthetics, especially compared to Morrowind's brilliant art direction
  • A generic, medieval fantasy grab-bag setting, without even the coherence offered by Daggerfall's Iliac Bay region much less the spectacular sui generis setting of Morrowind
  • A dull, poorly-plotted main quest, with the only plane of Oblivion featured in the base game (except at the very end) being a generic hellscape with little variation
  • A half-baked action-oriented combat system so that success in combat depends greatly on the player's physical skill, yet is boring and tedious

Anyone who enjoyed Oblivion would also enjoy Skyrim, released five-and-half years later, at which point Oblivion began to fade from popular memory due to being overshadowed by its more popular successor, whereas Morrowind, as with Daggerfall before it, continues to be appreciated by CRPG connoisseurs. +M
 

Desiderius

Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard
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Insert Title Here Pathfinder: Wrath
I just remember being blown away by the muderhoboing realism right off the bat, but maybe that's just because I don't play FPS otherwise and like the Bow mechanics in TES games. Seemed pretty good until Vaporware Gates (Oblivion indeed) and oppressive level-scaling kicked in.
 

wishbonetail

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Oct 18, 2021
Messages
625
I played Morrowind not long ago and loved it once again. Decided to give Oblivion one more chance and was blown away by how infantile it felt. This game is literally made for 7 year olds. Writing, plot, world, everything. No amount of mods will fix that.
 

Tyrion8338

Novice
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
Messages
26
I enjoyed oblivion quite a lot but after doing main story and some guild quests I just couldn`t stand another generic and same looking dungeon that I had to clear for every other quest so I just unistalled. Skyrim imrpoved on this aspect so, so much.
 

Gromlintroid

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Jun 7, 2019
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109
Location
UK
I enjoyed oblivion quite a lot but after doing main story and some guild quests I just couldn`t stand another generic and same looking dungeon that I had to clear for every other quest so I just unistalled. Skyrim imrpoved on this aspect so, so much.
Did it? All I can remember about Skyrim dungeons was Dwemer ruins or Draugr ruins
 

Machocruz

Arcane
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Jul 7, 2011
Messages
3,954
Location
Hyperborea
Oblivion reached a far larger audience than Morrowind, due to being aggressively casualized and dumbed-down:
  • Comprehensive creature-leveling such that all monsters and NPCs are set at the same level as the PC, with weaker types of monsters disappearing after the character gains enough levels, and stronger types of monsters not appearing when the character is low-level
  • Comprehensive item-leveling whereby a high-level PC will not only encounter similarly high-level bandits but said bandits will have random pieces of extremely expensive armor and weapons, while a low-level PC will never find weapons/armor of such powerful material; or a weapon on display in a glass case in a castle will be a worthless replica if the PC is low-level but the real thing after the PC gains enough levels
  • A clunky interface, which was clearly designed for consoles, in sharp contrast to Morrowind's sleek menus.
  • Reduction in the number of joinable guilds/factions offering many quests from 10 in Morrowind to 4 in Oblivion, keeping the more generic ones (Fighters/Mages/Thieves guilds)
  • Factions now centered around quest lines, with 2 of the 4 (Fighters Guild and Mages Guild) being poorly written and boring
  • Both in-game and out-of-game world maps that offer far less information than their Morrowind equivalents
  • Automatic fast-travel to any location that's already been visited
  • A quest compass that points to your next destination, the use of which is made necessary by the combination of uninformative journal entries and an inability to ask directions
  • Full voice-acting for dialogue, which necessitated a drastic reduction in the amount of dialogue per NPC, most of whom have one comment about themselves or their city to offer and nothing else
  • Poor writing in general, with dialogue and books less interesting than in Morrowind
  • Minigames for speechcraft and lockpicking (and poorly-done minigames, at that)
  • Elimination of certain kinds of items, such as thrown weapons, crossbows, and spears
  • Reduction in the number of skills to the point where axes are considered blunt weapons
  • Regenerating magicka, which effectively means that all health can be easily regained after each combat, thus removing much of the logistics that existed previously
  • Elimination of different physiques (and animations) for Argonians and Khajiits
  • 3D face modelling was a technical improvement but horribly implemented so that the end result was substantially worse
  • HDR lighting was a technical improvement but in practice was overpowering and made the graphics worse (though at least HDR was optional)
  • A physics model was a technical improvement, but its implementation was so wonky that bumping into a table would send objects flying around a room
  • Lack of aesthetics, especially compared to Morrowind's brilliant art direction
  • A generic, medieval fantasy grab-bag setting, without even the coherence offered by Daggerfall's Iliac Bay region much less the spectacular sui generis setting of Morrowind
  • A dull, poorly-plotted main quest, with the only plane of Oblivion featured in the base game (except at the very end) being a generic hellscape with little variation
  • A half-baked action-oriented combat system so that success in combat depends greatly on the player's physical skill, yet is boring and tedious

Anyone who enjoyed Oblivion would also enjoy Skyrim, released five-and-half years later, at which point Oblivion began to fade from popular memory due to being overshadowed by its more popular successor, whereas Morrowind, as with Daggerfall before it, continues to be appreciated by CRPG connoisseurs. +M
You really nailed the same problems I had, and then some. I didn't even know that weapons in display cases did that, and the handling of items was already the main thing that killed the game for me. Hey, did you like being a thief or treasure hunter in Morrowind, unlocking high level chests for their high level goods as soon as possible, being able to try to steal a store's best while not being noticed by the shopkeeper or guard, raiding Vivec vaults, finding powerful uniques scattered around the word? Did ya? Well sucks to be you kiddo, none of that is in Oblivion. Might as well have been a JRPG with how limited you were as a thief.

Lack of variety overall in compared to Morrowind was probably next. Less armors, weapons, spells/potions, skills, monsters, factions, dungeon types (although I think Ayleid ruins had superior size and layouts to Morrowind dungeons). In games like these, breadth is a virtue that can make up for lack of depth.

If the praise wasn't so overblown, and if it wasn't a sign of the Age of Decline to come, people wouldn't "hate" it. It's thoroughly basic, average, inoffensive, kind of dumb when compared to other games. The reviews were dishonest, making claims about the game that weren't true. And they did it again with Skyrim. I even read one that said Skyrim was the first video game to offer the tabletop experience in a video game. Objectively false.

I installed Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, to fix itemization and level scaling, and Martigan's Monster Mod to fix NPC/monster variety (OOO added some of its own). THEN the game became almost as good as the praise suggested.
 

Tyrion8338

Novice
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
Messages
26
I enjoyed oblivion quite a lot but after doing main story and some guild quests I just couldn`t stand another generic and same looking dungeon that I had to clear for every other quest so I just unistalled. Skyrim imrpoved on this aspect so, so much.
Did it? All I can remember about Skyrim dungeons was Dwemer ruins or Draugr ruins
Try playing oblivion and you will see after few hours that dungeons lack any character, they are just a bounch of corridors and open rooms connected together in radom way, without any interesting story, envireoment storytelling or unique lore pieces.

Skyrim was huge improvement becasue each dungeon was hand crafted, they are just so much more varied and a lot more story rich.
 

NecroLord

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Southeastern Yurop
Oblivion just seems so bland and generic. To be honest,you would think Cyrodiil was made only of forests. Not to mention its dungeons and general quest design.
Daggerfall had variety when it came to geography and environments. You had forests but also mountains(Wrothgarian Mountains and other northern provinces of High Rock) and even deserts(in Hammerfell). Hell,Skyrim had tundras,autumnal forests(Riften),mountains("See that mountain? You can climb it!"),and glaciers.
Morrowind had swamps,volcanoes,sandstorms...
Oblivion is still a decent game,no hate here,but it just isn't really high on my list.
 
Last edited:

notpl

Learned
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
Messages
846
Skyrim didn't improve any of the things a typical Codexer would care about but it's inarguably better than oblivion at action-RPG fundamentals: character controls/actions, level scaling, world and dungeon design, itemization and many other important building blocks. Really the only thing that continued to get worse from oblivion to skyrim was the writing, but it's hard to taste a difference between cat shit and dog shit.
 

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