There’s no denying that Elder Scrolls has quickly become a staple in the gaming industry for the hardcore gamers and the casual gamers alike. Just look at all the internet memes about Skyrim! I mean seriously, how many girl friends have been replaced by Lydia at this point? It’s a massive game with gorgeous scenery and diverse quests, so yeah. It could take up quite a bit of time.
Oblivion also got a lot of raving reviews when it first came out. I can still remember trolling Game Informer for any info it would leak about it before and after release. It was a game that even those who had considered themselves non-gamer’s enjoyed. The world was beautiful, crisp. But still – it was less popular than Skyrim.
Before Skyrim and before Oblivion, there was a gem, rare and beautiful, that paved the way for these games to flourish and develop. Morrowind.
Morrowind, the unsung hero, is most definitely my favorite of the Elder Scrolls series. I will never forget getting off the ship and seeing the beautiful, enchanting land for the first time. And the architecture? So splendid and diverse. There are so many facets of the game that set it apart from the ones that followed, and, even though some things did need to change, the new games lost some of what made Morrowind so amazing.
One? Morrowind was much, much harder than Oblivion or Skyrim. There wasn’t a pointer guiding you in the proper direction, and sometimes it was not even obvious that you achieved a quest objective. It made the game harder, which provided an even bigger sense of accomplishment for completing quests. On that note, it also made the game less task-oriented. You had to interact with the beautiful world around you. Instead of simply walking from point A to point B, you explored, unraveling quest after quest and discovering the rich story and history of the world.
In the world of Morrowind, you truly have to carve your place into it. You are an Outlander and are treated as such. No one trusts you. No one wants you around. It is not clear that you are set for greatness, and people most certainly do not treat you like you are. The world itself, not just the quests or the people, was also much harsher than the future Elder Scrolls games. Instead of skewing creatures and enemies to your might, like old RPGs, you had to work your way up to be able to overcome obstacles… Or die 100 times trying. In this, the game was more about the world and the people in it rather than just your character.
The quest, the main quest, was to become the Nerevarine – the Hero of Morrowind. And, by the end of the game, after having to rise above circumstance, you truly feel as though you are connected with each city, having performed all their tasks and earning the heart of the people. You learn their cultures and history. You feel as though you accomplished something great, unique to your own self because you figured it all out on your own.
These are the things that made Morrowind great – superior even. So why didn’t it get sensationalized like Oblivion or Skyrim? One likely answer is the Internet. When Morrowind was released, social media was still in its early phases. Things rarely went viral and were not spread like wild fire through forums and Myspace (because it was the era of Myspace). Morrowind never got a fair shot to compete with it’s prettier, more polished brothers, but it led the way.