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Why does Codex hate Oblivion so much?

Padzi

Arbiter
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
804
Location
Auschwitz-Birkenau
I like Oblivion but I like sand boxes games in general. Besides it was my first TES game.
Back then, when Skyrim was realead for the first time (yes, the holy FIRST time) my computer was shit so I bought Oblivion.
I don't hate it, I don't think it was the best game I played. It was nice. Probably nostalgia glasses.
 

Prime Junta

Guest
So, why does Codex hate such an universally loved game??

Can't speak for the Codex but I hate it because it was such a disappointment after Morrowind.

Morrowind has one of the most original, coolest settings in any fantasy cRPG ever, character building is actually challenging, there are mutually exclusive paths, every location is unique, and items are just right -- there's just enough genuinely epic stuff in it that finding something is truly memorable. There's a genuine sense of exploration and achievement as you hunt for things based on things people have told you rather than mindlessly following an arrow on a compass, and it feels like there's an endless wealth of things to delve into at the peril of your life. Oblivion OTOH is one level-scaled cookie-cutter dungeon after another, one fetch quest after another, in one generic fantasyland quest hub after another.

It is much improved in a whole number of areas -- graphics, combat, and so on -- but for me at least that just highlights the regression in the areas that really count.

Oh and you kids might be too young to remember it, but it was also MASSIVELY HYPED. "Radiant AI" is still a byword for dishonest marketing fluff. That didn't exactly help with the disappointment.
 
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
"character building in Morrowind is challenging"

What? HOW? It's slightly more complicated than Oblivion, but with even a little metaknowledge you can break a Morrowind character even harder than you can break an Oblivion character.
 

Varnaan

Augur
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
Messages
249
Location
Yes
It's bland, generic and boring. Somewhere on the road from Morrowind the Bethesda discarded everything that was original, bizarre and fresh.

And faces of characters look like sacks of potatos.
Taking Morrowind as the standard for TES when Arena, Daggerfall, Oblivion and Skyrim are the same quasi European-allegory fantasy is silly.
If anything Morrowind is the odd man out in TES, along with Battlespire.
 

Funposter

Magister
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
1,678
Location
Australia
It's bland, generic and boring. Somewhere on the road from Morrowind the Bethesda discarded everything that was original, bizarre and fresh.

And faces of characters look like sacks of potatos.
Taking Morrowind as the standard for TES when Arena, Daggerfall, Oblivion and Skyrim are the same quasi European-allegory fantasy is silly.
If anything Morrowind is the odd man out in TES, along with Battlespire.

Arena and Daggerfall may as well be a different series, if we're perfectly honest. The problem with Oblivion's setting isn't even that it's "generic", although that is emblematic of all of the setting's problems coming after Morrowind. The problem is that it's a fairytale world, devoid of any sort of political intrigue or struggle, general hardship or internal conflicts. Skyrim's aesthetic is as equally "generic" but the worldbuilding manages to take several steps forward in terms of quality, simply because there actually are cultural, religious and political conflicts which manage to get in the way of everybody cooperating and co-existing peacefully. There's civil war, ethnic/racial disputes between displaced peoples, infighting between noble families etc. None of it is presented in a particularly intelligent way, and a lot of it falls apart under any amount of scrutiny, but an attempt was at least made.

What about Oblivion, in comparison? The Emperor has just been assassinated and...no power grabs? No secession? No conflicts between the Colovian and Nibanese ethno-cultural groups that make up the Empire, with a contrast between the hard-nosed frontiersman of the West and the merchant-nobility and battlemage-aristocracy of the East? There's some lip service paid to the ideas in dialogue, but it never leads anywhere or actually shows up in gameplay. There's no differences in styles of dress or speech, or even who gets to rule over whom. It's all just braindead shit. "Cheydinhal has silly architecture because Dark Elves live there", 1. that's fucking retarded, 2. that's not what Dark Elf architecture looks like, I played Morrowind, 3. Surely the Imperials would be exporting their own culture and architecture to colonial provinces rather than importing it wholesale (like in Morrowind!)? That's usually what empires do.

The problem is that it's a world designed by dummies, for dummies. That it features oak trees, fly amantia toadstools and Tudor architecture is broadly irrelevant.
 
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
It's bland, generic and boring. Somewhere on the road from Morrowind the Bethesda discarded everything that was original, bizarre and fresh.

And faces of characters look like sacks of potatos.
Taking Morrowind as the standard for TES when Arena, Daggerfall, Oblivion and Skyrim are the same quasi European-allegory fantasy is silly.
If anything Morrowind is the odd man out in TES, along with Battlespire.

Arena and Daggerfall may as well be a different series, if we're perfectly honest. The problem with Oblivion's setting isn't even that it's "generic", although that is emblematic of all of the setting's problems coming after Morrowind. The problem is that it's a fairytale world, devoid of any sort of political intrigue or struggle, general hardship or internal conflicts. Skyrim's aesthetic is as equally "generic" but the worldbuilding manages to take several steps forward in terms of quality, simply because there actually are cultural, religious and political conflicts which manage to get in the way of everybody cooperating and co-existing peacefully. There's civil war, ethnic/racial disputes between displaced peoples, infighting between noble families etc. None of it is presented in a particularly intelligent way, and a lot of it falls apart under any amount of scrutiny, but an attempt was at least made.

What about Oblivion, in comparison? The Emperor has just been assassinated and...no power grabs? No secession? No conflicts between the Colovian and Nibanese ethno-cultural groups that make up the Empire, with a contrast between the hard-nosed frontiersman of the West and the merchant-nobility and battlemage-aristocracy of the East? There's some lip service paid to the ideas in dialogue, but it never leads anywhere or actually shows up in gameplay. There's no differences in styles of dress or speech, or even who gets to rule over whom. It's all just braindead shit. "Cheydinhal has silly architecture because Dark Elves live there", 1. that's fucking retarded, 2. that's not what Dark Elf architecture looks like, I played Morrowind, 3. Surely the Imperials would be exporting their own culture and architecture to colonial provinces rather than importing it wholesale (like in Morrowind!)? That's usually what empires do.

The problem is that it's a world designed by dummies, for dummies. That it features oak trees, fly amantia toadstools and Tudor architecture is broadly irrelevant.
The dumbest thing about Oblibimans' obsequious generic high-fantasy crap is that it's a fucking RETCON. "DRAGON BREAK" is Bethesda's get-out-of-being-fucking-consistent-about-anything-ever card.
 

Funposter

Magister
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
1,678
Location
Australia
The dumbest thing about Oblibimans' obsequious generic high-fantasy crap is that it's a fucking RETCON. "DRAGON BREAK" is Bethesda's get-out-of-being-fucking-consistent-about-anything-ever card.
True, but again, it's irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to draw anything interesting out of their "new" setting. Maybe they decided to cash in on LOTR's box office success. Maybe they just decided that the weirdness of the First Pocket Guide was too difficult to portray for creative or technical reasons. Maybe it's some other reason that forced the change. Regardless, the fact that Cyrodiil turned into medieval Europe instead of a weird Roman-Oriental jungle province is irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to portray a world where people behave realistically and have realistic/logical motivations. That's why I describe it as a fairytale. Maybe even dream-like would be a good descriptor. Daggerfall is about as generic as it gets, aesthetically, but it still manages to have a cast of characters with conflicting, logical and understandable aims and motivations. Oblivion is devoid of this, which is what really makes it so dreadful.
 
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
The dumbest thing about Oblibimans' obsequious generic high-fantasy crap is that it's a fucking RETCON. "DRAGON BREAK" is Bethesda's get-out-of-being-fucking-consistent-about-anything-ever card.
True, but again, it's irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to draw anything interesting out of their "new" setting. Maybe they decided to cash in on LOTR's box office success. Maybe they just decided that the weirdness of the First Pocket Guide was too difficult to portray for creative or technical reasons. Maybe it's some other reason that forced the change. Regardless, the fact that Cyrodiil turned into medieval Europe instead of a weird Roman-Oriental jungle province is irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to portray a world where people behave realistically and have realistic/logical motivations. That's why I describe it as a fairytale. Maybe even dream-like would be a good descriptor. Daggerfall is about as generic as it gets, aesthetically, but it still manages to have a cast of characters with conflicting, logical and understandable aims and motivations. Oblivion is devoid of this, which is what really makes it so dreadful.
the answer I'm inclined to go with is that there wasn't a single actual human being involved with writing Oblivion, seeing as how most of the writing and in-world dialogue feels suspiciously like interacting with a developed Markov chain bot
 

Funposter

Magister
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
1,678
Location
Australia
The dumbest thing about Oblibimans' obsequious generic high-fantasy crap is that it's a fucking RETCON. "DRAGON BREAK" is Bethesda's get-out-of-being-fucking-consistent-about-anything-ever card.
True, but again, it's irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to draw anything interesting out of their "new" setting. Maybe they decided to cash in on LOTR's box office success. Maybe they just decided that the weirdness of the First Pocket Guide was too difficult to portray for creative or technical reasons. Maybe it's some other reason that forced the change. Regardless, the fact that Cyrodiil turned into medieval Europe instead of a weird Roman-Oriental jungle province is irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to portray a world where people behave realistically and have realistic/logical motivations. That's why I describe it as a fairytale. Maybe even dream-like would be a good descriptor. Daggerfall is about as generic as it gets, aesthetically, but it still manages to have a cast of characters with conflicting, logical and understandable aims and motivations. Oblivion is devoid of this, which is what really makes it so dreadful.
the answer I'm inclined to go with is that there wasn't a single actual human being involved with writing Oblivion, seeing as how most of the writing and in-world dialogue feels suspiciously like interacting with a developed Markov chain bot
I suspect that Oblivion is where Bethesda introduced their current development pipeline for quests, which basically involves everyone on the development team being involved in writing quest ideas down on a slip of paper, and then throwing it into a suggestion box or just designing the quest themselves. This is why even Oblivion's side quests (oft-touted as the best part of the game) can be summarised in a single sentence.

"You get locked in a mansion with 5 other people and need to kill everyone without arousing suspicion."
"A village has been turned invisible by a nearby Wizard."
"An artist has been transported into his own painting and you need to rescue him.", etc.

This trend remains true in every Bethesda game since, although later games manage to be less creative with most of the quest premises. This also applies to entire questlines, and even the main quest. Emil Pagliarulo has admitted in his own words that modern Bethesda doesn't have writers, as such, which is why everything feels so clumsy, directionless and insipid. It wouldn't surprise me if the same design process was true for Oblivion.
 
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
The dumbest thing about Oblibimans' obsequious generic high-fantasy crap is that it's a fucking RETCON. "DRAGON BREAK" is Bethesda's get-out-of-being-fucking-consistent-about-anything-ever card.
True, but again, it's irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to draw anything interesting out of their "new" setting. Maybe they decided to cash in on LOTR's box office success. Maybe they just decided that the weirdness of the First Pocket Guide was too difficult to portray for creative or technical reasons. Maybe it's some other reason that forced the change. Regardless, the fact that Cyrodiil turned into medieval Europe instead of a weird Roman-Oriental jungle province is irrelevant to Bethesda's inability to portray a world where people behave realistically and have realistic/logical motivations. That's why I describe it as a fairytale. Maybe even dream-like would be a good descriptor. Daggerfall is about as generic as it gets, aesthetically, but it still manages to have a cast of characters with conflicting, logical and understandable aims and motivations. Oblivion is devoid of this, which is what really makes it so dreadful.
the answer I'm inclined to go with is that there wasn't a single actual human being involved with writing Oblivion, seeing as how most of the writing and in-world dialogue feels suspiciously like interacting with a developed Markov chain bot
I suspect that Oblivion is where Bethesda introduced their current development pipeline for quests, which basically involves everyone on the development team being involved in writing quest ideas down on a slip of paper, and then throwing it into a suggestion box or just designing the quest themselves. This is why even Oblivion's side quests (oft-touted as the best part of the game) can be summarised in a single sentence.

"You get locked in a mansion with 5 other people and need to kill everyone without arousing suspicion."
"A village has been turned invisible by a nearby Wizard."
"An artist has been transported into his own painting and you need to rescue him.", etc.

This trend remains true in every Bethesda game since, although later games manage to be less creative with most of the quest premises. This also applies to entire questlines, and even the main quest. Emil Pagliarulo has admitted in his own words that modern Bethesda doesn't have writers, as such, which is why everything feels so clumsy, directionless and insipid. It wouldn't surprise me if the same design process was true for Oblivion.
the fabled "Bethesda Theme Park" school of game design
 

Jack Of Owls

Prophet
Joined
May 23, 2014
Messages
3,615
Location
Massachusettes
You can polish a turd... with mods. The trick is not to expect some intricate character building/progression or magnificent quest design. I was perfectly content to just do random dungeon diving with a few mods that added extra monsters, deadlier traps, deadlier AI, deadlier magic, etc. For a little while at least, it was fun. Still can't forget that seven-meter tall six-eyed yeti that chased me in the snowy mountains where before there was just empty snow patch with a few rocks to break up the monotony.
 

purupuru

Learned
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
400
To me Oblivion is not even "tolkien". LOTR had hobbit villages, dwarven underground cities, elves living on big trees, and a giant talking tree race, while Oblivion is medieval Europe scattered with Greek-style ruins. DAO is generic-tolkien, Oblivion is almost all European.
I do like it though, since I am not a westerner something being European doen't mean it's automatically boring, mundane goblin-slaying adventures can be fun. Now, the blades, they are sooo boring...
 

Falksi

Arcane
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
9,412
Location
Nottingham
So, why does Codex hate such an universally loved game??

Can't speak for the Codex but I hate it because it was such a disappointment after Morrowind.

Morrowind has one of the most original, coolest settings in any fantasy cRPG ever, character building is actually challenging, there are mutually exclusive paths, every location is unique, and items are just right -- there's just enough genuinely epic stuff in it that finding something is truly memorable. There's a genuine sense of exploration and achievement as you hunt for things based on things people have told you rather than mindlessly following an arrow on a compass, and it feels like there's an endless wealth of things to delve into at the peril of your life. Oblivion OTOH is one level-scaled cookie-cutter dungeon after another, one fetch quest after another, in one generic fantasyland quest hub after another.

It is much improved in a whole number of areas -- graphics, combat, and so on -- but for me at least that just highlights the regression in the areas that really count.

Oh and you kids might be too young to remember it, but it was also MASSIVELY HYPED. "Radiant AI" is still a byword for dishonest marketing fluff. That didn't exactly help with the disappointment.

This in droves.

It took me fucking AGES to lose the feeling of discovery in Morrowind. It was literally hundreds of hours of something new/fresh/unique around every corner, and in every nook & cranny.

I'd seen most of what Oblivion had to offer within 10 hours.
 

madhouse

Guest
You can polish a turd... with mods.
This is part of the reason why they'll release broken and half-arsed games. You'll have a bunch of unpaid retards who'll fix the bugs and polish the game for free. Not that I don't support modding, I think this is a shitty attitude to have.

Just release cars that don't have functional brakes, owners will just fix them bro.
Just release pills that need added chemicals, sick will find a way.
Just sell shitty rope, any real climber will add their own twine to it and ace it bro.
Just sell a book missing whole paragraphs, your imagination will do the rest breh.
Etc.....
 

Jack Of Owls

Prophet
Joined
May 23, 2014
Messages
3,615
Location
Massachusettes
Oblivion introduced me to my first hardcore quest mod which was specifically designed to cut out and remove the dumbed down hand-holding quest design of the original Bethesda game(s). You had to really pay attention and follow the clues and hints that led to a successful conclusion. Unfortunately, it was still designed by a total amateur in basic 101 game design and had the typical frustrations that came with that. I remember just walking into a simple alchemist's shop and the modder had so many bottles and placables there that my framerates tanked and I was barely able to walk out of there alive without crashing my fucking game. I did like the heavy german (scandinavian?) VO accents of some of the custom NPCs, particularly the females. Gave it a somewhat exotic ambience befitting a fantasy venue. But it's an example of what could possibly be done with Oblivion modding to improve it.
 
Self-Ejected

Kazuki

Self-Ejected
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
850
Location
Indofood
The thing is, what killed me the most playing Oblivion is the potato face.

Goddam that potato face.

It killed my will for playing the game.
 
Last edited:
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
The thing is, what most killed me playing Oblivion is the potato face.

Goddam that potato face.

It killed my will for playing the game.
Anything human or elven looked bad enough but the Khajiit and Argonians were :prosper:-tier
 

Machocruz

Arcane
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
3,954
Location
Hyperborea
To really understand the pits of Oblivion, play a thief/treasure hunter in Morrowind and then Oblivion. How the latter handled item placement and accessibility in its world in one of the most egregious sins committed in the history of game design. It's like receiving 20 cool gifts one Christmas, and just a pair of socks the next.
 
Self-Ejected

Shitty Kitty

Self-Ejected
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
556
To really understand the pits of Oblivion, play a thief/treasure hunter in Morrowind and then Oblivion. How the latter handled item placement and accessibility in its world in one of the most egregious sins committed in the history of game design. It's like receiving 20 cool gifts one Christmas, and just a pair of socks the next.
I am mildly pissed that they nerfed the Robe of St. Roris that hard, it was OP as fuck but it wasn't THAT easy to get super-fast unless you won the outlander-hobo lottery with the random potions in crates around towns
 
Self-Ejected

RNGsus

Self-Ejected
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
8,106
Emil Pagliarulo has admitted in his own words that modern Bethesda doesn't have writers, as such, which is why everything feels so clumsy, directionless and insipid. It wouldn't surprise me if the same design process was true for Oblivion.
Hire no writers, and hire renowned actors for blurbs and combat barks. It just werks.
 

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