Morrowind: Ten years later and it's still an amazing game

I just started back into Morrowind which was released back in 2002. I remember when it came out and we were all like “Ooh the water! My computer can’t run it! It crashes all the time!”

Well now it’s ten years later and the water still looks pretty, my fully-modded install still only gets 30-40 fps and it crashes regularly on exit. Oh well.

So here’s my setup for the game and the mods I’m using. It’s generally a flawless experience so far, though I’ve only played for about 6-8 hours.

  1. Morrowind Overhaul 3.0. This is a mega-mod that includes most of the really great graphic enhancement mods. It’s set up to be installed easily. Really easy. I almost squeed in relief at how simple it was compared to messing with load orders, Wrye Bash, etc. Get it.

  2. Galsiah’s Character Development is a cool mod. It abandons the clunky Morrowind levelling system in favor of a seamless and less artifical method. Your skills improve as you use them and your attributes automatically improve as the associated skills advance. No more level-up screen. No more having to make sure to maximize your strength or hit points. You just play the game rather than try to game the system to make a good character. It also includes a very balanced magicka regeneration. I love it.

  3. Better Dialogue Font. Gives the text in the game (especially the books) a crisper, higher resolution which makes reading much easier.

  4. Tamriel Rebuilt is a long-developed mod to create the mainland around the isle. They’ve released 3 maps and the link I provided will give you all three. It’s a massive amount of content and is extremely well done. I haven’t even scratched the surface of this yet.

  5. The White Wolf of the Lokken Mountain is a major quest/adventure. I haven’t played it yet but it’s extremely well-reviewed.

  6. Cozy House. I like this housing mod. It’s in Pelagiad so it’s near where you start the game. It gives you lots of places to store your stuff and has a teleportation crystal you can take with you that lets you quick-travel to any location. I don’t use the teleportation much as I’d rather walk but it’s really nice to have as an option because generally the walking speed in Morrowind sucks.

  7. Morrowind Better Running. Fixes the sucking walking speed. It lets you adjust how fast you walk (up to speed +100) plus adds dash-style running that gives you an even quicker burst of speed that quickly fatigues you. I can’t imagine playing without this.

And finally two companions, because travelling through Morrowind can be lonely.

  1. Julan, Ashlander Companion. This dude is fun. Once you rescue him he will follow you intelligently (read: does not get lost/stuck) and aids you in combat. Also he apparently has quite a story/quest of his own that you help him with. We got drunk last night in a bar in Ebonheart. Good times.

  2. Wolf Companion. Because I missed my dog from Fallout 3.

So far these are all compatible with each other and the only bug I’ve seen was a slight problem in Ghostgate where there was a weird amber texture in the temple.

I think these are the only mods I have installed. I didn’t get rid of the cliff racers as I kinda like the little critters!

So if you’re still playing (or just installing mods), what’s your setup?

Does anything address the combat? I really wanted to love Morrowind at the time but I hated the combat. It’s the only main Elder Scrolls game I haven’t been able to get interested in playing.

I don’t mean to be too negative. Some of those mods sound pretty cool. The Tamriel Rebuild mod in particular has always looked like a great idea.

This is a great thread. Thank you so much - I’ve been looking for an excuse to reinstall Morrowind (always my favourite) and I think I’ve found it.

Yeah, I saw a pretty impressive image gallery posted earlier today on Reddit.

I’m not crazy about the combat but I play Morrowind more for the exploration than the fighting. You could always try something like Accurate Attack.

Not exactly what I wanted but not a big deal. You’ve got me contemplating repurchasing it on steam now anyway. Some of those changes might help.

Spent a few hours in the game with the overhaul.

It tries. If you’re a big fan of the Elder Scrolls worlds, it’s definitely worth a look. For everyone else though? I’d have a tough time recommending it. Just too many seams and cracks in the plaster.

I also don’t like it because of the combat. I haven’t tried the latest changes, but I tried about 3 years ago modded up to the gills, and it looked amazing and controlled better, but I still wouldn’t recommend it. The basic gameplay, the combat, still feels pretty weak. So as long as I walking around exploring, I was fine, but when I got in a fight, I was reminded why I stopped playing 10 years ago.

My biggest hope in revisiting Morrowind lies in the Skywind mod, which aims to port Morrowind into Skyrim. Take a look at the video, it looks really nice, but more importantly, it will have Skyrim’s improved systems in place.

Skywind’s FAQ says they’re aiming for a March 2013 release for a beta, but even if that gets pushed back, maybe by this time next year we can revisit Morrowind in the Skyrim engine.

Of course, I don’t mean to be negative in the current thread about the original game, which gave me A LOT of enjoyment back in the day. It is a beautiful game, and for anyone visiting it for the first time with these mods, I’d encourage you to print out a copy of this map that came with the game originally. It is a map like no other. Just looking at that map made me want to explore that land. Even now when I look at that map, it makes me want to go back. They don’t make maps like that anymore. The map that came with Skyrim’s Limited Edition was very poor in comparison. Just look at the detail on that Morrowind map. Isn’t it amazing?

I’m also interested in the Skywind mod. Be very interested to see if they can pull it off.

Just tried again, and man. As clunky as the character animation/movement can be in Oblivion and Skyrim, you can tell those games have fully-animated skeletons in the characters. In Morrowind? Yuck. It’s as if every model has knee and ankle joints and that’s it. Also the textures…I guess there’s no way to hang really, really hi-res textures onto character models in the game.

I just don’t feel like the combat has evolved meaningfully in the series. Yes, it’s bad in Morrowind. It’s bad in Oblivion and Skyrim too. Not quite as bad, but bad enough. What the latter games bring to the table are improvements in basic technology like physics, skeletal animation, etc, and in Skyrim’s case a significantly less shitty advancement system. Unfortunately they’ve done so at a significant cost in game system flexibility and granularity.

I am still “only” 140 hours into Syrim so I will not be playing Morrowwind any time soon. I didn’t mind any of the “play” of Oblivion, only the constant appearance and repition of the Oblivion Gates themselves.

About the time Oblivion launched I was on a quest to build a perfect version of Morrowind, there are probably traces of that task on this forum, somewhere.

Though I dislike the mods that alter the graphic, like those that add all the vegetation. Morrowind has that unique look, if you alter that then you alter one of its qualities. Though there were plenty of other subtler mods that enhanced the game.

Is there one that actually increases the visual range? All the old ones I tried had the flaw that, since Morrowind is load in “chunks”, had scenery popping out after a new chunk was loaded.

Thanks for the thread and the links.

I istalled the Morrowind Overhaul mod last night and it does look pretty good.

I was a bit optimistic about my PC, though, and am getting 30fps in outdoor areas, which is decent but feels slightly stuttery. Now, I need to go and sort out how to change my overhaul settings without going through the rather lengthy installation process all over again.

The chunks are called “cells” by the games, and the later ones work exactly the same way. The later games got around the limitation of cells by using a lower detail 3D model of the gamespace and placing it in such a way that the camera can’t see the seam between the cells and the LoD model. Fairly soon after, a group of Morrowind modders figured out how to do the same in Morrowind.

The graphical overhaul people have been talking about here will generate a “distand lands” LoD model for Morrowind (based on what’s in the game folder, so if you use mods that add structures, they won’t be mysteriously absent from the LoD model). The most notable difference between the later games and Morrowind is that Morrowind’s art direction assumed a very limited range of vision, so while you can mod Morrowind with the 30-40ish cells worth of visual distance the later games use, more than 6-14 (depending on taste) kind of wrecks Morrowind’s aesthetic.

The mod you were referring to, FPS Optimizer v1.96, increased the visual range in a very literal, but not very useful, kind of way. It made the obscuring fog draw further away from the camera, but it didn’t give you anything more to look at.

FPS Optimizer v1.96 remains a potentially very useful tool, however. It can do a bunch of nifty like forcing the game not to render small objects until they’re close enough to be visible, switching gamma and shadow settings between interior and exterior cells, accelerating the mouse in menus, and much more.
It also has two major pitfalls.
The first is that there’s a fake newer version floating about that’s allegedly full of malware.
The second is that while it can increase the AI distance, it unfortunately lets you increase the AI distance to the point that fully AI’ed critters can end up outside the currently loaded cells (into the fog or LoD model), which crashes the game (it’s not a useless feature, just use it with care).

I was contemplating writing up a how-to on how I’ve modded my current Morrowind install, but having taken a couple of looks at it I don’t think it would be to most people’s tastes and it would probably take 50 pages worth of instructions or something… So… A much better idea, I think, would be for you guys to head on over to the official forums and read the newbie sticky in the Morrowind Mods section. It has links to a small pile of good to outstanding guides to mods, and to all the info you need to use mods without breaking your game.

Happy New Year everyone & may you only kiss nice people tonight (and not so deeply you get in trouble;) )

+1 to everything Disconnected said.

There is also this thread, amongst which you will find many wondrous things about playing modded Morrowind today, including a link to a thread in which i take you into the nitty-gritty of running a stable(ish) +250 modded Morrowind build(which i’ve been playing for years). It’s so deep nothing else comes close to being able to lift me out of it in terms of crpg fun.


Mission accomplished, OP. You have reignited that old Morrowind flame that fizzled out in about '05.

Those mods sound great! I truly don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to dredge through years of opinions on builds/mods, so any more suggestions would be great. Preferably, post your top few mods that are tried and true, not just ones that you think sound cool but haven’t used.

By the way, the background music to the original game is fantastic. It perfectly suits the game world and is just amazing. One of my fave soundtracks of all time.

Hey Zak, I have been looking for the link you mention but seem blind and can’t find it. Would be very interested in preparing my return to morrowind.

The thread was on another site (that i no longer visit, not enough time!), but if you google ‘massively modded morrowind’ it should be a top listing.

It’s not a perfect build, but it avoids much of the recent ‘lush visual’ stuff (and weird tree popping visual effect) that really took off post the ‘Morrowind Graphics Expander’. I didn’t like the massively extended view thing, preferring the FPS Optimizer v1.96 that Disconnected mentioned above.

The main issue with that exact build is that it may be very difficult to find many of the mods i’ve used now ElricM’s is down for good. It isn’t a click to download solution, but it takes you through the basic steps on how to build a large modded morrowind and what to look out for, and as with many of these type of guides you’ll be on your own as you experiment (as i was when working it all out for myself).

So. One question, and it’s an important one. I get the sense there’s SO MANY PLACES all around me to explore, but it seems that I don’t get an indicator if I’m near them, a la Skyrim or Oblivion. Do I just have to stumble right up to their doors? Or am I missing something? Please help.