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Why does Codex hate Oblivion so much?

Joined
Nov 23, 2017
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TES cities have been always been kinda weak though. Morrowind wasn't as bad but even there they weren't exactly large. Vivec and Imperial City were the size normal cities should have been.

Morrowind was a dangerous frontier area though, which kinda explains the small towns. Imperial City should have encompassed the whole island (which it does in the lore) and was supposed to have slums around the harbor. But yes these sizes should have been the normal town sizes, and then have the capitols be bigger, but then Bethesda would have been forced to make bigger landscapes which would kill consoles due to demanding too much RAM or something.

If they weren't so gung-ho on sticking to their busted fuckin' Gamebryo engine, the novelty of being able to pick up a spoon, and the Radiant AI system that didn't even kind of work like what they originally showed...they could've probably had a huge Imperial City with lots of NPCs walking around. I mean GTA games had cities with people all over the place, and on console; I'm sure five years after GTA3, (which was a PS2 game) if they really wanted, they could have found a way to make the Imperial City larger.

But that would require effort and building a new engine from scratch bro LOL

They do seem to be very lazy. But they could've just paid someone to use their engine like they did with Gamebryo. They could've been using Criterion's RenderWare engine like tons of others were. I do find it a little weird they've owned id for over a decade now and no engine for Bethesda Softworks to make big open world games that aren't giant ugly buggy messes hasn't come out of that.
 

Hag

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Codex Year of the Donut
Since they had trouble compressing textures correctly, choosing and using the correct game engine was probably above their head at the time.
 

Fishy

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Vivec and Imperial City were the size normal cities should have been.

This isn't so much a TES thing as a common element in game worlds where you get to visit multiple cities. It is something you see in other "open world" games too.

I do not remember where i read it since it was years ago but essentially the best way to think those cities is like a theatrical representation: in the theatre you may have just a couple of stands as a representation of a big market instead of an actual big market (which of course isn't possible to do in a theatre). Similarly, in games these small cities are just representations of huge cities and their size is in relation to each other's size instead of in absolute terms.

So Vivec is actually supposed to have several thousands of citizens and each canton is supposed to be like a self-contained city - which actually kinda fits in relation to the other cities since most small villages are spread out into a single cell and each canton is also a single cell but unlike a village, it has several "levels" too, meaning it can house more than a small village.
That does nothing for me. I enjoy cities in games and if they are small they don't feel like cities. Also large cities can pack more city content in them. I haven't ever seen a truly great representation of a city in an RPG.

To me Arena and Daggerfall really had it. sure it could have used some more sophistication for NPCs instead of having them as walking decoration, but the scale and anonymousness was there. It's a massive city and only a tiny portion of it is relevant to you. Tons of redundant taverns? Well, yeah, just like tons of redundant pubs in a real world city. I don't need each square inch of the city to be relevant to gameplay, it's a giant tapestry with a few nuggets of relevance, and imho Daggerfall did this brilliantly, particularly considering its times. A bit in the same genre, CP's Night City or Sleeping Dogs' Hong Kong also do a pretty decent job of using a big-yet-sparse city that does give that feeling of scale imho.

On a smaller scale, I thought Ultima 7 didn't do too bad. Yeah, the downscaling is a bit jarring the second you think about it, but the NPC schedules do a great job at making the towns feel like communities, which is a valid alternative approach. Ultimately we'd want both, but there are obvious computational issues at play.

I have to say I really really love the Daggerfall school of city maps personally and wish it was more in vogue than the massive downscaling that prevails these days.
 

madhouse

Guest
AHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
I HATEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
OBLIVIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MUHCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
 

Bad Sector

Arcane
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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Now the real question is why does some (most?) of the Codex hate it more than Skyrim when Skyrim sucks even more.

Oblivion is the blander of the two (Skyrim as an area is -or was at the time- less common than the generic fantasy in Oblivion and the world is much more varied) and it has a ton of rough elements that were somewhat polished in Skyrim (e.g. NPCs, even though Bethesda's idea of polishing the NPCs was to completely remove the dynamic conversations and replace them with JRPG-like single-quotes instead of improving the system).

In terms of gameplay, if we ignore the combat system entirely, i think Oblivion has some nice elements - e.g. IMO the puzzles in Ayleid ruins were among the best in the series.

But they could've just paid someone to use their engine like they did with Gamebryo. They could've been using Criterion's RenderWare engine like tons of others were.

I think you have a misunderstanding about what Gamebryo and Renderware are. In fact both of those are very similar in what they provide. None of these engines provide anything like what Bethesda's games have, the big streamed world support, the toolset, etc are all things that Bethesda wrote themselves. Gamebryo/Renderware are libraries that provide some foundation for building an engine on top of them, things like a renderer, resource loader, some very simple scene management (though *not* world management), math routines, model and animation exporters for 3ds max, Maya, etc and other stuff like that that could be used by any game made with those engines which included a ton of games that had nothing to do with huge worlds, RPGs or whatever (i mean, Renderware's own developer was mainly known for making racing games). The developers that used these engines built large world support themselves (in the case of Gamebryo, they eventually added support for large worlds which probably ended them getting a focus towards MMOs, but that was years after Bethesda built theirs).

I even remember reading an old comment from some Gamebryo developers about how gamers associate some bug with their engine when their engine didn't even provide the functionality the bug was in and it was all Bethesda's code.

Bethesda choosing Renderware over Gamebryo wouldn't really change much since they'd have to write more or less the same code they wrote with Gamebryo anyway.

I do find it a little weird they've owned id for over a decade now and no engine for Bethesda Softworks to make big open world games

Id's engines (and also Unreal and even Unity to some extent, FWIW) are a bit different to Gamebryo/Renderware in that they're complete packages themselves and they'd need to make a ton of modifications to the engine to make it work like their existing one does. AFAIK Id tech isn't designed with seamless big worlds in mind, but they're made for individual levels (i haven't played Doom Eternal but i think even that is still level-based).

And really, there is a LOT more into an engine than just the rendering/graphics. Bethesda has built a lot of tools and gameplay code over the years that works perfectly fine and that they'd have to rewrite from scratch even if they decided to move to a different engine for basically no benefit. You can't just slap an "open world" plugin in Unreal Engine 4 and call it a day.
 
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I'm not sure I'd say Oblivion is blander than Skyrim. It's older, five years older I think, so Skyrim looks better. But they're both pretty bland from what I remember.

I'd imagine back then they were using 3D Max (which if I remember right was the video game one) and not Maya. Maya was still mainly a movie thing even after Oblivion came out.

I'm pretty sure streaming is one of the reasons RenderWare was used for the GTA games and Crackdown. It ended up getting used in a few open world games, and it sounded like it was really good at streaming things in.

With id, I'm just saying I'm surprised once that had them, they didn't set them to work on an engine specifically for what they do. Like how when Rockstar quit using RenderWare they set up a studio to make their new Rage engine. It just seems odd to me that never happened.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
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I'm not sure I'd say Oblivion is blander than Skyrim. It's older, five years older I think, so Skyrim looks better. But they're both pretty bland from what I remember.
Vikingland isn't the most original of settings, but it is far better than Oblivion's generic medieval fantasy grab-bag, which is simultaneously as bland and as incoherent as possible. Though far short of Morrowind's standard, there is a bit of depth and cohesiveness to the lore in Skyrim, helping establish the setting. Meanwhile, the exterior environments harked back to Morrowind in having distinctive regions with their own flora and other visual aspects to demarcate them, and the graphics are not only more technically advanced but also contain a decent aesthetic sense, something quite lacking in Oblivion.
 

Avarize

Magister
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Being from the north myself Skyrim was the blandest of bland. Oblivion was more interesting and had some fun quests. It's clearly better than Skyrim.
 

Bad Sector

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
I'm not sure I'd say Oblivion is blander than Skyrim. It's older, five years older I think, so Skyrim looks better. But they're both pretty bland from what I remember.

I mean bland in terms of visual style, not in terms of graphical fidelity. I mean, both are more bland than Morrowind and Morrowind's visuals weren't that great even for its time :-P.

I'd imagine back then they were using 3D Max (which if I remember right was the video game one) and not Maya. Maya was still mainly a movie thing even after Oblivion came out.

Maya was used in games too - AFAIK Quake 1's models were even made in Maya (though it was called something different then) running in SGI workstations. 3D Studio (and later Max) was more common since it was available on common PCs, but Maya was also used (as did some other tools like Lightwave). In any case, i wasn't referring to specific tools but just that these engines provided exporters for 3D content authoring tools (though Renderware in particular only supported 3ds max and Maya).

I'm pretty sure streaming is one of the reasons RenderWare was used for the GTA games and Crackdown. It ended up getting used in a few open world games, and it sounded like it was really good at streaming things in.

No, Renderware had no support for streaming at all, its I/O support is a simple abstraction above the underlying filesystem, some basic resource lookup and some simple serialization for its own objects - anything beyond that was built by the developers using the engine.

If you have some programming background you can read the Renderware 3 documentation that EA released at some point to help modders who work on games that used the engine (the early 3D GTAs used Renderware 3 - Renderware 4 was meant to be a big rewrite and support Xbox 360/PS3/etc but after being bought by EA the project was cancelled). It gives a very nice look into what the engine was really about and pretty much all of it is about graphics with only some simple support for collision detection and some system abstraction functionality (do not be confused by a thing it calls "streaming"/"streams" - this is for file abstraction and is like C++ streams, not world streaming like you see in games). It doesn't even maintain a game world state for you (what it calls "world" is really what others call a "scene" and in fact the documentation even says that it is meant to hold a scene).

With id, I'm just saying I'm surprised once that had them, they didn't set them to work on an engine specifically for what they do. Like how when Rockstar quit using RenderWare they set up a studio to make their new Rage engine. It just seems odd to me that never happened.

Rockstar's RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) is actually based on AGE (Angel Game Engine) which was the engine Angel Studios, a company they bought and renamed to Rockstar San Diego worked on. Though i'm pretty sure there is also some of their pre-GTA4 code in there, after all Renderware didn't provide that much aside from graphics.

As for id, i doubt they bought them for their tech and most likely just wanted them to work on their games like any other studio they bought. After all while id is known for its tech (largely thanks to Carmack) they also have artist and designers :-P.

Having said that, after Carmack left, they did hire the ex-Crytek developers as a replacement specifically to work on engine technology - and other Zenimax studios (and perhaps now other Microsoft studios) are using id Tech.
 
Self-Ejected

TheDiceMustRoll

Game Analist
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Apr 18, 2016
Messages
761
One of the funnier things about playing a good solid chunk of all of the TES mainline games is how stupid every complaint about them really is.

Arena is a mostly linear, incredibly shitty version of a zelda game, with a terrible story and no real narrative or roleplaying potential aside from the chaos shit. I played through the ENTIRETY of that terrible game and it fucking sucks. It sucks.

- "Fast travel! nooo!!!" It was in Daggerfall, too. Don't give me that "t-t-t-there was strategy to it!" nonsense. You needed to cover the gold costs and it made traversing the world more useful. The only real difference between DF and Oblivion + was you could kill yourself with diseases if you fast traveled (you were told this exact thing would happen if you did though).

Daggerfall in general featured tons of decline mechanics such as punishment free kicking down doors in a dungeon - seriously, you can break down every door and this never attracts enemies or anything - the purpose of smashing down a door in the tabletop RPGs that TES pretends to take idea from is that it makes a shitload of noise. Noise is fucking bad in old school games because it attracts enemies. In Daggerfall you can smash through any door with a handful of swings or fucking PUNCHES and its much easier than the previous game. Morrowind is even easier and most of the dungeons are console-tier jokes. Don't talk to me about how morrowind had big supacool dungeons - for every big ass dwemer ruin you throw at me I can find you a dozen caves with a single tube with 2-6 generic bandit npcs in them, this goes double and triple for daedric shrines, so many of them are a fucking pointless waste of time, a single room with two guys in it, kill them, grab the item on the altar, kill the dremora lord, recall to the mudcrab merchant. You will literally outpace the difficulty of the game by level 15-20 and be laughing about it. Ya'll lick the nutsacks nonstop and I can easily emulate what RPG codex dipshit posting sounds like.

Those games are all good but you can nitpick and piss and whine about everything.

Anyway what are some good combat rebalance mods? I just want something to unfuck the level scaling.
 

Funposter

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Daggerfall in general featured tons of decline mechanics such as punishment free kicking down doors in a dungeon - seriously, you can break down every door and this never attracts enemies or anything - the purpose of smashing down a door in the tabletop RPGs that TES pretends to take idea from is that it makes a shitload of noise. Noise is fucking bad in old school games because it attracts enemies.
ACKSHUALLY there are some magically sealed doors that you can't bash down. Door bashing also attracts guards in settlements, which is the main detriment, and also decreases weapon condition quite a lot. That's a relatively obscure downside, but it becomes a nuisance when using enchanted gear that you can't repair.

Morrowind is even easier and most of the dungeons are console-tier jokes. Don't talk to me about how morrowind had big supacool dungeons - for every big ass dwemer ruin you throw at me I can find you a dozen caves with a single tube with 2-6 generic bandit npcs in them, this goes double and triple for daedric shrines, so many of them are a fucking pointless waste of time, a single room with two guys in it, kill them, grab the item on the altar, kill the dremora lord, recall to the mudcrab merchant. You will literally outpace the difficulty of the game by level 15-20 and be laughing about it. Ya'll lick the nutsacks nonstop and I can easily emulate what RPG codex dipshit posting sounds like.
Morrowind obviously would have been better served by having a about one third as many bandit caves and making them all 2-3 times as large, which is the same issue that Oblivion and Skyrim have. The world design of Vvardenfell is extremely dense. That being said, quoting the Mudcrab Merchant (or indeed, Creeper) as issues with game balance are like saying the bridge keeper encounter in Fallout 2 fucks up the game balance because it's essentially free Combat Armor. They're easter eggs. Morrowind's economy is broken enough without them, anyway. Furthermore, you don't "outpace" the game difficulty at Level 15-20. Level 20 is explicitly endgame, with only faction leaders and thousand-year-old wizard lords being a higher level, and levelled lists for enemy spawns topping out at Level 22. You outpace the game's difficulty when you find good shit at Level 6.

Anyway what are some good combat rebalance mods? I just want something to unfuck the level scaling.
Maskar's Overhaul (disable excessive shit in the ini) + that Dark Souls combat mod, or maybe that Ascension Overhaul which is basically JSawyer Plus for Oblivion. OOO is meant to be good but it's an old mod and feels like it, even with the updated versions.
 

deadmeme

Learned
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
152
Daggerfall in general featured tons of decline mechanics such as punishment free kicking down doors in a dungeon - seriously, you can break down every door and this never attracts enemies or anything - the purpose of smashing down a door in the tabletop RPGs that TES pretends to take idea from is that it makes a shitload of noise. Noise is fucking bad in old school games because it attracts enemies.
ACKSHUALLY there are some magically sealed doors that you can't bash down. Door bashing also attracts guards in settlements, which is the main detriment, and also decreases weapon condition quite a lot. That's a relatively obscure downside, but it becomes a nuisance when using enchanted gear that you can't repair.

Morrowind is even easier and most of the dungeons are console-tier jokes. Don't talk to me about how morrowind had big supacool dungeons - for every big ass dwemer ruin you throw at me I can find you a dozen caves with a single tube with 2-6 generic bandit npcs in them, this goes double and triple for daedric shrines, so many of them are a fucking pointless waste of time, a single room with two guys in it, kill them, grab the item on the altar, kill the dremora lord, recall to the mudcrab merchant. You will literally outpace the difficulty of the game by level 15-20 and be laughing about it. Ya'll lick the nutsacks nonstop and I can easily emulate what RPG codex dipshit posting sounds like.
Morrowind obviously would have been better served by having a about one third as many bandit caves and making them all 2-3 times as large, which is the same issue that Oblivion and Skyrim have. The world design of Vvardenfell is extremely dense. That being said, quoting the Mudcrab Merchant (or indeed, Creeper) as issues with game balance are like saying the bridge keeper encounter in Fallout 2 fucks up the game balance because it's essentially free Combat Armor. They're easter eggs. Morrowind's economy is broken enough without them, anyway. Furthermore, you don't "outpace" the game difficulty at Level 15-20. Level 20 is explicitly endgame, with only faction leaders and thousand-year-old wizard lords being a higher level, and levelled lists for enemy spawns topping out at Level 22. You outpace the game's difficulty when you find good shit at Level 6.

Anyway what are some good combat rebalance mods? I just want something to unfuck the level scaling.
Maskar's Overhaul (disable excessive shit in the ini) + that Dark Souls combat mod, or maybe that Ascension Overhaul which is basically JSawyer Plus for Oblivion. OOO is meant to be good but it's an old mod and feels like it, even with the updated versions.

In Daggerfall you can avoid damage to your weapons if you have few of them and always switch them. They are always in good condition.
 

Tel Velothi

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Ok, one of the things that baffled me in Oblivion was it's "Radiant AI" plan of the day. I know it was all very simple, scripted, etc. BUT. There are those strange things like this: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Eugal_Belette
This fellow is a Mythic Dawn agent in disquise. Nice little detail (one of MANY)
But here comes a good part. He is getting visited by a guy from Imperial City every 6th day of the month... So his collegue casually takes a hike all the way from Imperial City to Chorrol. For nothing in particualr - just for that little detail.
And there are many little touches along the way like that and some of the NPCs are actuall travellers. Who would have fucking spotted this if it wasn't a wikia fan site? I dunno, but it makes me feel eerie. Kinda like creepypasta fuel.
 

Bad Sector

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
And there are many little touches along the way like that and some of the NPCs are actuall travellers. Who would have fucking spotted this if it wasn't a wikia fan site? I dunno, but it makes me feel eerie. Kinda like creepypasta fuel.

Eh, i think if you are paying attention you can notice those wandering NPCs sometimes (though it is rare. There are two big issues with that, that have been mentioned several times in other contexts: one is again fast travel which disincentivizes you to actually walk the game's roads and notice such things and the other is the quest GPS that disincentivizes you to follow the roads and instead go straight to the arrow, so you miss stuff that happen around the roads.
 

Tel Velothi

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Eh, i think if you are paying attention you can notice those wandering NPCs sometimes (though it is rare. There are two big issues with that, that have been mentioned several times in other contexts: one is again fast travel which disincentivizes you to actually walk the game's roads and notice such things and the other is the quest GPS that disincentivizes you to follow the roads and instead go straight to the arrow, so you miss stuff that happen around the roads.

I know exactly what you mean, man - but nevertheless those "wandering" NPC are an eerie sight.
 

KeighnMcDeath

RPG Codex Boomer
Joined
Nov 23, 2016
Messages
8,967
Eh?
Even though there's a couple of little niggles, ...
68646982878782af05f701293bc9459f.jpg

whachu talkin bout?
 

Azdul

Magister
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Langley, Virginia
And really, there is a LOT more into an engine than just the rendering/graphics. Bethesda has built a lot of tools and gameplay code over the years that works perfectly fine and that they'd have to rewrite from scratch even if they decided to move to a different engine for basically no benefit. You can't just slap an "open world" plugin in Unreal Engine 4 and call it a day.
The open world aspect is not an issue. Here you can see open world and terrain generation slapped on top of Ogre3D engine to create rudimentary prototype of Daggerfall style game. OpenMW implemented world paging first on top of Ogre3D - and then on top of OpenSceneGraph - and each time it was never the biggest source of problems.

Bethesda version of NetImmerse / Gamebryo / Creation Engine is unique in allowing to inject mods during the playthrough. Skyrim even supports removing mods - although it is not 100% reliable. Half of the changes to DF Unity code in recent months is just 'allow mods to inject changes to X'.

It makes performance of Bethesda games (and DF Unity) much worse than competitors - as some optimizations (like pre-baked lightning) are impossible. At the same time - you just don't see equally impressive mods for non-Bethesda games.
 
Unwanted
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50,711
Codex Year of the Donut
Bethesda's engine(Morrowind and after) is the only one I'm really aware of that uses database-style data oriented design for everything top to bottom which is what makes their games so moddable. It's not even an innate feature of NI/Gamebryo AFAIK. It's turtles records all the way down, even save games are effectively just "plugins".
OpenMW is a decent reimplementation of the Morrowind-era design and they also have some support for TES4/TES5-style ESMs for anyone curious as to how it works.
 

BruceVC

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South Africa, Cape Town
Im currently playing Oblivion and I have spent about 200 hours exploring and questing and its worth every minute

I loved Morrowind and I havent played Skyrim yet but Oblivion is definitely in my top 10 RPG of all time, in fact its now moved to number 5

I would strongly recommend certain Mods that include Maskars Overhaul, Ultimate levelling and Alchemy Advanced. These mods make exploring exciting and really rewarding

But Oblivion modded is a very worthwhile RPG and definitely shouldn't be a target of vitriol :salute:
 

Azdul

Magister
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I would strongly recommend certain Mods that include Maskars Overhaul, Ultimate levelling and Alchemy Advanced. These mods make exploring exciting and really rewarding

But Oblivion modded is a very worthwhile RPG and definitely shouldn't be a target of vitriol :salute:
Some things can be fixed by mods - but Codex hive mind will still despise Oblivion because story, characters, choices & consequences and dialogues are on PG-13, morning cartoon level - both in original game and in most adventure / quest mods.

At the same time it completely misses the point why some people still play it in 2022.

Maskar and Oscuro do not try to turn Oblivion into Obsidian / Troika game - but into modern version of Amulets and Armor or Arena - unlearning the lessons of modern, focused game design - and they succeed.
 

BruceVC

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I would strongly recommend certain Mods that include Maskars Overhaul, Ultimate levelling and Alchemy Advanced. These mods make exploring exciting and really rewarding

But Oblivion modded is a very worthwhile RPG and definitely shouldn't be a target of vitriol :salute:
Some things can be fixed by mods - but Codex hive mind will still despise Oblivion because story, characters, choices & consequences and dialogues are on PG-13, morning cartoon level - both in original game and in most adventure / quest mods.

At the same time it completely misses the point why some people still play it in 2022.

Maskar and Oscuro do not try to turn Oblivion into Obsidian / Troika game - but into modern version of Amulets and Armor or Arena - unlearning the lessons of modern, focused game design - and they succeed.

You make good points, I also think much of the Oblivion criticism on Codex and other forums is because of the original problematic gaming mechanics like level scaling which is a very bad design in any game because it destroys the challenge and fun in combat

But nowadays all of that can be fixed with mods so their is no reason to not like Oblivion unless their are other reasons that mods cant address
 

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