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Elder Scrolls Why Morrowind is a bad RPG

Discussion in 'Bethesda Game Studios' started by Sigourn, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. DavidBVal 4 Dimension Games Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I'm intrigued about such "proper RPGs".

    In those can you kill gods and trap their souls for the mere convenience of enchanting your stuff?

    Or maybe we don't do such things anymore, I don't know.
     
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  2. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Morrowind was considered the Codex's #4 RPG of the 2000s, but you should have realized by now that a sizeable contingent of Codexers have decided that CYOA is the new RPG and therefore only games in the CYOA&C subgenre of RPGs are deserving of praise. Such trivial gameplay elements as exploration and combat are considered extraneous.


    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Funposter Arbiter

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    which is where all the important shit is you fucking lunatic. tell me that it's not quicker to just leap from the top of tel branora down to the docks, or to levitate/waterwalk from the council chambers over to the sadrith mora boat. fuck me, try doing anything in tel vos where your primary quest giver is without any of this stuff. yeah you can buy potions, but that's also inconvenient.
     
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  4. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

    DalekFlay
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    I still remember the first time I ventured into the sewers beneath Vivec. I really felt like I was descending into the seedy underbelly of the city, and I found bandits, thieves and cult worshipers for my trouble. The world was so well designed, it felt so organic and mysterious, the thrill of seeing what was there. Bethesda still do this particular aspect better than most, but nowhere near as well as Morrowind did.
     
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  5. ValeVelKal Arcane

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    Well, for anyone saying Morrowind feels great because of nostalgia googles, I played it some 7 or 8 years ago, after playing Gothic I-II (and 3), or after playing Oblivion, and it was still awesome.

    Yeah it is clunky sometimes But awesome in terms of universe, exploration, everything that triggers my endorfine.
     
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  6. xuerebx Augur

    xuerebx
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    Damn, that evoked some good memories! I actually remember the cult beneath Vivec that you're talking about, and I played Morrowind around 14 years ago.
     
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  7. MWaser Savant

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    Actually, why would that even be a complaint that Mages' Guild does not require any active spellcasting?

    It's a professional association for mages and magic scholars / researchers, enchanters and alchemists as well. They take anyone in because they're an imperial organization and funded by it and would probably be fined for not accepting imperial citizens within their ranks.
    What really is the complaint to make here, really? That you can join their guild just to rob their resource chest?
     
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  8. DavidBVal 4 Dimension Games Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
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    Not only that, but also people wishing to learn magic would logically join before they know any of it. As far as we know magic is based on skills, therefore must be learned and practiced, not born into.
     
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  9. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    Sure, many great RPGs are not perfect. But the problem with Morrowind is that when it comes to dialogue, you barely have any of your own. It's usually just spam persuasion/intimidation/bribery. Your skills in general are very rarely taken into account when talking to NPCs, unlike New Vegas. For instance, having a very high Alchemy skill doesn't let you feed Ajira the information she needs to complete her reports. I think Morrowind, of all RPGs I've played, would greatly benefit from a "lore" skill which increases as you talk to NPCs and learn new things about Vvardenfell, so you can put it to use in dialogue.
     
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  10. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

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    Some basic requirement would make more sense, but think about real life sports organizations. Many people are involved who can't actually play sports, but offer some other benefit to the group.
     
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  11. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    Tell me that it's not just quicker to jump across cantons and levitate all around Vivec. So? That doesn't mean shit. You've only got a point about Tel Vos, but then again Tel Vos =/= Vos. In Vos you don't really need Levitation to get any shit done because all outfitters are easily accessible through stairs. The other towns only require Levitation when dealing with the Wizards.

    And you still haven't explained how does any of this invalidate my criticism aimed at the Mages Guild.

    Because as the quests are structured you are just a glorified mercenary.
    Why? Because even though the guild requires you to have high magic skills these are never required in the quests you are given.

    This doesn't make Morrowind a good RPG, it just means it has soultrapping and enchanting mechanics. Does Morrowind have a Hardcore mode or a Survival skill? Does it allow you to mod your weapons? Or craft equipment? No? Then it sounds like a pretty bad RPG. :?

    Sadly it's the truth. Morrowind is a LARPer's dream come true. For those with lots of imagination and self-restraint, it's a great RPG. For those that don't enjoy simply spamming Persuasion on an NPC, instead of using genuine logical arguments as seen in Fallout, it's a very boring experience.
     
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  12. wwsd Arcane

    wwsd
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    Yeah, it's pretty obvious that most of the factions are not really supposed to be super-exclusive. I'm a bit rusty on the lore surrounding the Mages Guild, but all factions have lower ranks like Associate, Apprentice, Journeyman, Recruit, Hireling, Retainer, etc. Seems pretty clear that the idea is that anyone can join for some benefits or to do some minor work. A "guild" of mages is not some super-elite institution, but simply the organisation that anyone even remotely associated with any magical discipline would gravitate towards because of the benefits and opportunities.

    Just like how Fighters Guild members don't have to be great fighters, any two-bit mercenary can join and that's basically how they use you for the first few ranks. Being able to swing a sword around helps, but theoretically you could be a member and kill all your enemies with Destruction magic. It's just that anyone who can swing a sword would probably join just to get access to mercenary work, hammers and potions. Even in the Thieves Guild there are some quests where you're not skulking, lockpicking or stealing, although most quests are closer to their core business.

    For most players the first Mages Guild quests will just be gathering flowers and mushrooms. The only thing that's a bit less congruous when you can get promoted up to three ranks for doing a series of quests just to help Ajira rank up one level, but that seems to be more a shortcoming in the writing of these quests. Also the fact that after that, Ajira suddenly has knowledge about rare artifacts only available to the top ranks.

    The Mages Guild not involving much casting seems to have much to do with the more negative connotations of it being a "guild", as Sharn puts it:

    So like many guilds in real life, what's required to get ahead is shit like petty politics and theoretical research that doesn't actually benefit people (maybe more like IRL universities). Politics, like Ranis's quests which mainly involve pointless "guild" business like making sure people pay their dues, recruiting from competitors (Telvanni), enforcing the guild's monopoly, etc. Sharn herself probably uses the guild as a cover for her necromantic interests. Then with Edwinna you're basically just used as her research assistant for her Dwemer interests. Similar with Skink for his interest in vampirism, although he also has you trap a soul. This is not a failing in the writing but just emphasising the point that many guilds are far from meritocratic, that advancement rarely depends on being the best mage or doing a lot of casting, although you do need to develop those skills to meet the requirements.

    Other than that, even the Telvanni "information leaflet" (written by Aryon's bodyguard, I only just realised this after looking it up) says that even people of middling magic skills can join up, even people of beast races. Again, same thing: they are happy to send any common thug to help occupy Velothi towers and ruins. They're disposable and if they get killed by the Hlaalu or something, it's no skin off the Council's back. To get any further with Aryon, you do have to know how to recall, cast fireballs, and be able to fly, which is hardly top-shelf magic. He's probably more interested in your ability to force issues, to slaughter caves full of Hlaalu and Redoran, and getting you to "network" with guys like Baladas and Divayth Fyr. To get you into a position to get Gothren to take a long dirt nap. The spells are just a baseline.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
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  13. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    My personal issue with the Mages Guild is that a good amount of quests have nothing to do with magic or magical things. The Fighters Guild is basically a mercenary guild, and to that effect it's great. But the Mages Guild is very lackluster, e.g. "go kill this guy", "go kill this girl", "go retrieve these guild dues", it's very boring.

    I think the Ald'Ruhn Mages Guild is a great example of what the Mages Guild's quests should have been like. It actually has you go to obscure places and ruins to retrieve info used in magical research. Of course, these could have easily been absorbed into the Fighter's Guild ("A local mage requires a mercenary to retrieve some items at a dungeon"). But at least it felt like you were part of the faction you are in.
     
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  14. rusty_shackleford Arcane

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    They asked me how well I understood theoretical magic, I told them I have a theoretical degree in it. They said welcome aboard.
     
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  15. wwsd Arcane

    wwsd
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    I mean it's not my favourite quest line either. Too many escort quests and assassinations. But my point is that there is an in-universe reason for why this is the case. Same for Telvanni which is perhaps not exactly the native equivalent of the Mages Guild, but is certainly run entirely by mages and focussed on magic.
     
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  16. MWaser Savant

    MWaser
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    To be honest, I actually enjoyed Ranis' quest line from a writing perspective because it was just so down to earth "getting shit done" and you could definitely understand why things could be this way. Especially since she is so ruthless as to even say "screw the actual escort, if you can get the research without bothering to escort him then do it, I'm only interested in the research."

    There's another thing regarding her questline that is particularly entertaining and always adds a few points to Morrowind's overall quality in my perspective: During her quest to go catch the Telvanni spy within the Mages' Guild, if you meet certain requirements (not killing the escort guy or the necromancer in the respective quests) you can report Ranis herself as the Telvanni spy to Trebonius and he will believe it and get her expelled. Details like these which are an optional thing and not mandatory to see are always really appreciated.
     
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  17. Stendhal Literate

    Stendhal
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    I agree.
    Not really. I can't think of a single quest you can't forget about and return 20 in game years later and to drop off whatever you were asked to fetch or do with any repercussions. 90% quests are like what I described unforutnately. You have a couple of good ones like that naked barbarian one and the quest to find out what happened to the Dwemer. But Oblivion, while being an inferior game in some ways, but not as much as most people would like to pretend, had better quests. Not much of an option to change the course of them either, but at least most people who have played Oblivion will be able to recall what quests they did, while in Morrowind you barely have anybody praising any quests, even the better ones. It speaks for itself even though Oblivion had ten times less interesting setting or lore it still managed to have more memorable quests. Which, by the way, I think is more important than whatever amphetamine fueled dreams and fantasies you could implement in exchange of actually engaging gameplay. Biggest travestry is that the main quest has a lot of logical alternatives than the one you are forced to play, but it still follows through that path with no player agency or choice, as with rest of the series really. You can't role play in a role playing game.
    No it doesn't. You could want a game that isn't a broken on release and with actual content that makes it worthwhile replaying. When somebody said it's only really possible to play through it once with genuine interest I fully agree. Most of the game is too much of a slog, it's too easy to dominate everything, most of the time spent exploring is desperately trying to find interesting stuff in Daedra tomb No.17 or another generic bumfuck cave. Morrowind like all TES game is loads of mindless and repetitive content. Everything is static, world barely reacts to you besides a bar on the same static NPC's showing their disposition depending on your guild choice and career path, and there's hardly anything you can do, short of trying to nuke every single town and NPC, that would give you drastic consequences. But hey, at least you got 300 fetch quests versus 50 fetch quests.
    Ah, you can do one interesting thing in a game full of boring, uninteresting shit. Really, really disproves what criticism this game receives.
    It still doesn't disprove the fact that most of the guilds and factions don't require you to use any of the skills they require for their quests. Telvanni tower is one exception, but even then you will have to go to them sooner or later to finish the main quest. Does it mean you have to be a fucking mage to finish the main quest? If almost everything is bad, one good doesn't disprove the former. I find it boring you can do everything, everywhere and at the same time. OCD autism approach versus making a choice to be a specific thing, compromising and having trade-offs for interesting outcomes in builds and gameplay experiences.
    You can become a master in the house of Telvanni while being a follower of Imperial legion and also part of the Imperial temple while being a grandmaster in Fighter's guild. For retards spouting muh realism very little thought goes into thinking through how much work it actually takes to be part of an organisation beyond an entry level position. All of this can be achieved by speccing as an Orcish thief and having no major or minor skill in magic or fighting and merely spamming trainers until you meet the criteria required while doing quests that are basically a factory for fetch quests. But muh realism! while being a leader of 4 different highly complex and influential organizations.
     
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  18. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    Morrowind felt natural. I wasn't a mage, fighter, or whatever, I was an adventurer. Things just evolved organically, and to me the factions quest-lines fell in with that.
     
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  19. Stendhal Literate

    Stendhal
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    By the way pussy shouldn't smell. Stop paying crack whores in Aldi car park fiver a piece for a fuck and applying weird analogies that don't apply.
     
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  20. Falksi Arcane

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    I'd disagree with that, mainly due to the way the world as a whole is put together.

    Yeah there's a million different tombs & shit with little of note, but they still feel like part of a handcrafted world with a purpose, even if that purpose is very little.

    Because of the handcraft, the world, and the fact that some of these places & quests reward you with some real unique stuff, the repetitive content still feels interesting & as if it might go somewhere.
     
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  21. Stendhal Literate

    Stendhal
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    The lore is nicely put together, it really is so good it makes some people forget that most of what you can do is actually quite boring and uninspired. You can look at funny trees and understand you're in a strange land and even read about it in a book, but does it really make that much of a different if everybody ( save a few ) is a walking Wikipedia article and the game only really allows you to do extremely boring quests for the majority of game and your choices don't really matter at all? Worst of all is that the actual gameplay is shitty. Games for me are still primarily to be played and not gawked at and put on a high pedestal. Most of the enjoyment in this game comes from anything but the game itself, rather it is the possibilities of story and setting and the crude realization that it will never really be anything more than a few in game book pages.

    EDIT:
    Basically Morrowind and TES for me is always going to be the biggest "What if...?".
     
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  22. wwsd Arcane

    wwsd
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    This is a fair criticism to make, all the more because there is little to do once you're the head of a faction. Others I can kind of understand in the sense that the native Houses are not going to block your advancement forever just because you hold a low-level membership in an Imperial guild. Being grandmaster of all of them is pretty retarded though, I must agree.

    Clearly there was some thought put into this, what with being unable to join the Thieves Guild if you took the code book. But apparently this was not really worked out for other factions besides the Great Houses. I never understood why the Temple and Imperial Cult are not mutually exclusive for example, considering they have similar skillsets.

    The one "defence" I would offer about becoming grandmaster of most or all factions is that it's not obviously "easy" from the beginning, it just becomes easy because the player is armed with all the time in the world, meta-knowledge from multiple playthroughs and GameFAQs/wiki, having money for training, having meta-knowledge of where the best trainers are, being able to keep reloading if you're doing a quest that you're really too weak for until you get lucky, etc.

    You could argue it's a LARP to not spam training until the cows come home, but I don't really agree with that. Personally I've always used it sparingly, not through any conscious effort, but because it's never really my play style, for the same reason I don't grind much in games that have exp instead of raising skills through usage. In any case you still need to raise attributes as well, can't train a skill above its governing attribute. You could mod it to make training more expensive and requirements for faction advancement higher, but a player with time and autism enough could still eventually jump through all those hoops and become highly proficient in all skills and attributes, just for the hell of it.

    So for me the ability to become leader of all factions is not a huge disaster in itself, it's more a symptom of several other problems with MW compounding:
    - No "post-game" once you're faction leader, so the only thing there is to do is finish another faction's questline.
    - No mutual exclusivities besides the aforementioned, not even for multiple leadership positions.
    - Broken economy with loads of gold and little to spend it on besides training.
     
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  23. Nifft Batuff Arbiter

    Nifft Batuff
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    If you want to understand what are the good aspects of Morrowind, you don't have to play Morrowind. You have to play Oblivion.
     
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  24. Kainan Educated

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    Also the Fighters guild sends you on a couple assasination missions but someone tells you how they are enforcers of the Thieves guilds rival gang and are removing competition.
    Basically there is widespread corruption everywhere. Yeah its flimsy justification but it is there.
     
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  25. Falksi Arcane

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