Oblivion vs. Morrowwind.

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 21, 2006

Filed under: Game Reviews 28 comments

Will over at Criminally Weird has a post about going back to Morrowwind after playing Oblivion. I noticed the exact same thing: Oblivion didn’t wow me. I did not fall in love with it. But it did ruin my relationship with Morrowwind.

When playing Oblivion, I longed for the greater depth of plot and characters that Morrowwind offered, but going back I miss the many interface and gameplay improvements. Maybe I’m just hard to please.

Ah well. I’m sure the next game will have both. I just have to wait. Until the next one. In four or five years.


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28 thoughts on “Oblivion vs. Morrowwind.

  1. Will says:

    Not hard to please at all. I’m the same way, and I suspect Bethesda knew it was going to happen to lot of people.

    I miss the scale of Morrowind. It just felt bigger. Oblivion has lots details packed into a smaller area, but I loved the amount of space afforded in Morrowind. Maybe it was just a twist of perception by having all that water on all sides (and the occasional sunken city to explore).

    I haven’t heard anything at all about a continuation. Where would they go next? I’ve never played the first two Elder Scrolls installments, but I know at least one is set in Hammerfell.

    If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just wait till the team working on a Wheel of Time mod for Oblivion finish up their project.

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    Newer games seem to lack, and I’m not sure if the decreasing content is really why.

    I’ve never gotten into any FPS the way I did Quake, Quake II, Doom, Doom II & Duke Nukem 3D. Since then, blah. Ditto for oldstyle EverQuest vs. newer games (including EQ with all the expansions). The graphics and gameplay are so much better now. Why is the game so much worse? I spent weeks making up levels for Doom II & DN3D. “Good grief, does every idiot out there think a ‘great level’ is the biggest room possible, stuffed full of enough monsters to instakill anyone not in god mode? I could eat electrons for breakfast and puke a better level than this!” So I did.

    I was never tempted to design a level for any game after Duke Nukem 3D, nor play any after Half-Life.

  3. hank says:

    I had the same reaction to Oblivion and Morrowind. Now I’m in a sort of limbo waiting for Gothic III to come out and make things better again.

  4. HC says:

    The Hammerfell one – Redguard – is very different from other entries in the series. It’s Bethesda’s attempt to make a straight-up action game. You play a named and defined character, who has come to town looking for his sister. It still has a lot of the Bethesda feel, and is worth your time, if you’re willing to trade freedom for plot.

  5. Old Man Matt says:

    Daggerfall is one of the games I miss. It was enormously, humongusly bigger than Morrowind, but there was a lot of generic filler. It may have even had Morrowind in some corner of the map with no specific reason to go there.

    It had an actual character creation system instead of just choosing a race and birthsign. The female NPCs were actually looked good, not just the topless dancers in temples and mage guilds. The huge number of random women wandering around town all looked hot.

    In Morrowind everyone looks horrendously ugly without mods like Astarsis Basic Replace. That person is a saint, whoever he is, for making Morrowing playable.

    Oblivion is even worse in that regard, these people were deliberately made ugly. Have you noticed their teeth yet?

  6. Will says:

    Daggerfall! That’s the name I couldn’t remember.

    The Better Bodies mod was a godsend for Morrowind. Good looking characters are possible in Oblivion, it just takes a lot of fiddling with the various sliders to make it happen. Unfortunately, any attempt to make an actual human looking character means dealing with those evil skin textures that make every human look like a leper.

    As for the dwindling returns on FPS games… I think the problem is there are only so many shades of lipstick to put on that particular pig. New weapons are just a slightly different way of turning your target into digital gibs. I loved the first Unreal, and I liked Unreal 2. I’ve never been a fan of “tournament” games. UT, Q3, and the like drive me nuts. I don’t need to been pwned by some 13 year old brat with too much time on his hands.

    Legend tried experimenting with a differnt formula when they created the Wheel of Time PC game. Could a FPS with nearly forty different command options work? The answer was a resounding maybe in my opinion. The multiplayer was plagued by high pings brought on by the complexity of the weapons they offered up, and the single player was uninspired to make substantial use of variety they had available. When the designers keep giving you fireballs, you’re going to keep using fireballs.

    Deus Ex and the Thief series were also novel approaches to getting around the general carnage of a FPS. Give the option (or force the player) to do something other than point and spray.

  7. swk says:

    I think that Oblivion completely blows Morrowind out of the water. Morrowind was a great game dont get me wrong, but the ambeiance and detail in Oblivion is just breathtaking, also a better storyline. People also have to remember hat the scale of Oblivion is 16 square miles compared to Morrowind’s…..I honestly dont know . But Morrowind had a diverse landscape and open plains, Oblivion has pretty much forests and grassy knolls. Bottom line I personall rate oblivion 10 out of 10 and Morrowind gets 9 out of 10!!

  8. Liquidus says:

    When will oblivion V be released???

    (by the way i own oblivion 4 xbox 360 and by the sounds of it i’m missing out)

  9. Whistler says:

    Oblivion V? oblivion isnt the name of all the games the elder scrolls is all the names they just get names for each time you idiot.

  10. David Z. says:

    Dude I love oblivion and I agree with the person who says oblivion 10/10 and morrowind 9/10 because of the graphics now a days but i must admit i severly miss levitation and the such :P. As for the release of The Elder Scrolls V:???????? I can’t wait but we shall have to wait a few more years or so I think(1-3 tops i say). My main reasoning is we have not heard anything yet and i have not read anywhere about certain teams or if Beth. was hiring people for a new un-named job or anything of the sort. So I think we will just have to keep hoping and dreaming.

  11. AquaMan says:

    Morrowind was great, alot of what is in oblivion was first done in morrowind as far as the feeling and the freedom, and the interaction with the world around you. Although I think there was a large improvement in the gameplay with oblivion so that gets my vote. I believe morrowind may have given me a greater impression though, because it came first, even if oblivion is a better overall game.

  12. Jdub says:

    I did enjoy the depth of morrowind, when you go off to do somthing else you still find your-self thinking about it. Also the lack of leveled characters was a good thing. keeps you away from caves and shrines that werent ment to been seen that soon in the game. but really, after playing oblivion and going up on a hill on a clear day and being able to look over all the land of tamrel is awsome. plus that chacter system is better in the sence that when you first start out in the game and try to attack an enemy you will acualy hit him, while the first time I got into morrowind it took me 20 tries just to hit one of those grub things, if you guys who are into morrowind would start out with no stats from the beginning and play both games side by side I bet that oblivion will annoy you less, trust me I tried.

  13. S.Q says:

    haha i wasted $50 on morrowind and it sux. so boring, nothing to do, and the fighting is crap. Also no fast travel pisses me off so bad, it takes 50 years to walk from the first town to balamora. it is easy to say that oblivion is so so much better then morrowind “could” have been.


  14. MikeSSJ says:

    But Morrowind HAD the option for fast travel – it’s called “Teleportation” and “Silk Striders”. There are very few towns (if any) that can’t be reached that way.

  15. David says:

    Oblivion has less in due to the amount of sound files you get to make the game feel more real. One of the things about morrowind people complained about, was the dialogue. The dialogue in Oblivion is perfect, everyone speaks and you dont have to spend minutes at a time going through the million options of things you can ask to read some text. the speaking makes noisier, people have jobs now, they do their own thing and not stand outside or in the house all day stuck to one spot. Also with Oblivion the monsters level up as you do, Morrowind was WAY too easy, you start playing oblivion and you try to go through it like you do morrowind and its only a matter of time before you bump in to a dread zombie and die horribly after a long fight and chase. And then another fight. And then hiding on a rock for a bit, exploiting the fact oblivion characters dont jump much, if ever.

    Oblivion overall is better to explore, things are spread out more, in morrowind there was a cave or ancestral tomb every 30 footsteps or so. In Oblivion there is not much “pop up” scenery, apart from the people, you can see people much further away on morrowind but not towns.

    Oblivion has more flow to it also. Because of the levelling up monsters, mostly. And thank god they got rid of those god damn cliff racers.

    Anyone who doesn’t like Oblivion, or puts morrowind as the better game truly didnt appreciate what bethesda have done and expect too much. Oblivion has PHYSICS too..

    Physics, speech, no pop up scenery, every character has a voice? Give Bethesda a break.

    Its perfect in comparison with older games like Fallout, which i’ll be looking forward to buying this autumn.

  16. RPGguy says:

    Responding to a year old comment… well, it’s 5AM, it’s not like I’m spending my time wisely anyways.

    David said: “you start playing oblivion and you try to go through it like you do morrowind and its only a matter of time before you bump in to a dread zombie and die horribly after a long fight and chase.”

    Did we play the same games? Because I completed the main quest in Oblivion as a LEVEL ONE character. For me, that makes Oblivion a pretty terrible game right from the get go. What’s more, there is little difference in completing the game at level 1 or 50. The enemies might be different ones but they are mostly as difficult. You pick up different items along the way but then every bandit in the land is wearing what you are. This results in a game with no sense of progress or power.

  17. promeister says:

    I think both games were great. But, morrowwind definitely was grander and more realistic. There were opportunities where you may walk into a fight that you couldnt possibly win. Oblvion’s fights were adjusted. I disagree with that. Also, what happened to levitation. Oblivion was also missing certain weapons such as the polearms. I recommend that they add the breadth of morrowwind and increase the detail of fighting along with more weapons and realistic level advancements. This with the first person view point would make for a great game.

  18. Zanfib says:

    Another difference between Morrowind and Oblivion, is that Morrowind feels exotic, while Oblivion feels like generic fantasy world #542398472.

  19. Somebody Else says:

    I also preferred Morrowind, which is sad, because it was such a goddamn annoying game! I remember running around for an hour trying to find a cave after having been told only to “go to the northeast”, and then having to fight 25 Cliff Racers at once because I couldn’t be bothered to turn around every 5 seconds to fight them when they showed up. The dungeons were shallow and uninteresting, everything became too easy later on, the NPCs looked terrible and were bland and cookie-cutter, the fog let me see only 3 meters ahead, the combat system required me to hit every monster 20 times in order to land a single blow, the different armour skills were severely unbalanced, and 90% of all the terrain was damn ash wastes, and those damn Greater Bonewalkers would suck out my strength, without any time limit, so that I had to drop all my gear and run back to Balmora and get healed.

    And still, I loved that game. It sucked, but I loved it. It was magical.

  20. matthew says:

    there is a mod that brings the two games together, its called morrowblivion. you can go to morrowind via a boat or something.

  21. saraandthatsit says:

    I am a female gamer and have been in love with computers my whole life.Morrowind is hands down my favorite game of all time. I have never spent so much time with one game, and the replay value is enormous. As for its drawbacks,such as poor grpahics, stationary NPC’s, plagues of cliff racers, etc, there are hundreds of mods that fix these and other issues. Not only that, graphic mods are widely available that truly transform the gameworld. The Morrowind Graphics Extender also cures the limited sight by adding features which will extend viewing distance so you can see from Seyda Neen all the way to Vivec!
    One of the best features of Morrowind for me was the construction set.It took a bit of fiddling around but it is quite easy to master. Being able to easily snap buldings into existence and create custom quests has basically made Morrowind an infinitely replayable game (as if it werent already one) because users can tweak it however they want and there is an endless supply of user content available online.
    I really looked forward to Oblivion, but I was pretty disapointed. The opening was amazing, Patrick Stewart and the title screen was great. But after a while I got tired of looking at the same textures and tiles.I think Morrowind was visually more interesting to me because of its varied tile set and it seemed like every place was unique. But all the Ayelid ruins look the same in Oblivion, every cave looks the same, and the fact that everything is leveled to you makes the gameplay definitely less diverse.
    I finished Oblivion, but havent gone back to it while I am currently playing Morrowind for the nth time. I think that if those who bash Morrowind try updating the game with mods they will realize they CAN go back and enjoy it after playing Oblivion.

  22. Rayen says:

    I played oblivion a while back while i was housesitting for a friend… ANd like you i linged for morrowind especially the skills system. In morrowind it was precise and specific and that made sense. As a person Who studies medieval history, particularly medieval warfare, an axe and a hammer are used in very different ways. and while the movements to use them are similar Each needs to be used in it’s own specific way. Well, i recently reinstalled morrowind on my compputer (from back in the day of little to no DRM, seriously only thing i had to do pop in the disc and say register later [this only appeared once not like battlefront 2 which asks every time i put in the CD, every time i open the game and every time it fails to open the game and i have to try again], boom game opens).

    anyway playing it again i miss only one thing about oblivion and that the lock pick and trap systems. other than that it doesn’t bother me.oblivion brought alot of good things to the table but it was just such a hassle that even though morrowind isn’t as organized i can still find my stuff and do what i need to alot faster. except alchemy alchemy is kinda hard in morrowind.

  23. Arthas says:

    I bought Oblivion, instaled it, played it for 500 hours, unistaled it. Downloaded Morrowind, instaled it, played for 1 hour, unistaled it.

    P’s I heard that Fifth elder scrolls will be a MMO.
    If it that is really so then I won’t be buying fifth scroll.

  24. Jon says:

    I’ve played Morrowind. Havne’t played Oblivion.

    Going to play some Daggerfall. I realize the villages and towns are more generic, I realize things aren’t as unique wherever you might go, I realize the graphics suck and you need to use dosbox (pretty much), but I can’t get over the feeling that the sheer size of the world adds an epicness that Morrowind (no matter how much I’ve played) just cannot match. I wish they could revamp Daggerfall with new graphics and a new engine, but keep the same exact features and stay faithful to it. I think this drive to handcraft everything in the game to put a focus on quality over quantity is hampering role-playing games in the long-term. Yes, in the short-term pregenerated or procedural content sucks by comparison, but in the long-term it holds the only real hope there is of creating super massive believable worlds.

  25. Jon says:

    And one more thing. Daggerfall had houses and boats. They were not all that useful, but they were there. There were regional banks. Right now I can’t recall how the banks work in Morrowind. I played it a few months ago. I last played daggerfall probably 5 years ago. In daggerfall you could instant travel at any time. You just clicked on the map where you wanted to go and it would perform the calculations. There was a propensity to run out of food/water I think or to encounter baddies, but it depended on different factors like your stats/level/items and stuff. It felt more intuitive that way. It reminds me of another rpg I played from the early 90’s where you could move anywhere on the map instantly.

  26. hauzer says:

    “It reminds me of another rpg I played from the early 90″²s where you could move anywhere on the map instantly.”

    Was it, maybe, Fallout?

  27. Blue_Pie_Ninja says:

    Sorry for the necro-post:

    I actually find that both games are about as good as each other, because one is older with a better plot (actually I haven’t finished it, can’t really figure out how to advance the main plot after Balmora) and better equipment, magic etc. while one is newer, with better gameplay, graphics and beautiful vistas and the story was alright (although it did go downhill after Mankar Cameron jumped into the portal).

    The things I didn’t like about Morrowind was the lack of voice-dialogue (yet out of dialogue conversations were voice acted, go figure), terrible hit-miss system (yeah cause when I hit someone I miss 50 times in a row, even though the sword touches them) and I can’t really work out the blocking system, not to mention I have no idea if I am going to be caught stealing or not and the crouch is too high for my liking, and at the start you run incredibly slow and can hardly jump over someone’s doorstep. I also didn’t like the journal system and the menus were slightly confusing (I got over that though).

    The things I didn’t like about Oblivion was the leveling system (and how abusive you can be to it, as in max skill stats at level one), the gross looking NPCs (which Morrowind had worse), the lack of different equipment and spells (where’s the shurikens and spears? What about levitating? Why can’t I customise my shoulder pauldrons?) and the instant fast travel to every city meant I basically skipped every single bandit highwayman, imp and Aylied ruin around. I also felt the menus on PC was a bit fiddily (although less so than Morrowind).

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