I bought Morrowind & both expansions a while back to test a theory. I played it last year for a little while, min/maxing like a good little munchkin, and found that the game wasn’t fun at all. My theory was that maybe min/maxing is a vicous cycle that takes all the fun out of gaming; if I don’t really pay attention and just kind of amble around, will it be more fun? Don’t pay cash to upgrade skills, don’t obsessively open every chest, and so on; don’t take it seriously.
Was that ever a fucking mistake. Morrowind is a half-assed game trapped between genres, unable to fully commit to any of them. As a result, it’s far less than the sum of its parts, providing a mediocre, massively time-wasting stretch of entertainment.
Is it a good classical combat RPG? Hell no; no matter what you do, you’ll be able to easily slaughter everything in the game. There’s little in the way of rewards to Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord-style planning. Don’t think about what your character should look like over his life; just slap long sword, heavy armor, and security into the major skills and you’re set.
As a character development Final Fantasy-style RPG, it’s a complete waste of time. I can’t remember the names of more than one or two NPCs, and what I know about those is strictly of the “name, job” variety. Does Crassius Curio have anything interesting to say? Beats me, the fucker’s a two-dimensional quest machine.
Worst of all, it’s not even a good “adventurery” PS:T-style RPG. The dialogue interface stinks; why do the same 1000 questions show up on every person in town? Would it kill them to differentiate the stuff I’ve already asked people, seeing how there’s so goddamn many duplicate answers? Why is the journal and quest system so useless? Even with the Tribunal upgrade, it still misses quests.
The dialogue is mediocre, through and through, and good luck making sense of the fucking plot; it wouldn’t fill a chapter of a B-grade fantasy novel. Maybe the dozens of books in the game have excellent writing, but I’ll never fucking know; they’re replicated FiringSquad.com’s business plan of sticking 5 words on a page, and I feel like I’ve wasted enough of my life on this game.
Is there a big market out there for exploring extremely droll, low-variety, no-goal virtual worlds? I certainly don’t want to buy any more of them.