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December 23, 2002

Review: Morrowind - Got Months?

as has been said, morrowind is massive, immersive and all that. in this review i want to simply warn you about what happens next. you have to be like me, and take it to a level at which you can conquer at will and then switch to a completely different character or else your interest may fall off a cliff.

morrowind now leaves me cold. i don't know. i think some of it has to do with me living a bit less hermetically than when i first bought it. also i think that i like a bit more skill based playing. when i finally got my hands on metal gear solid, the contrast was clear. skill development in morrowind is painstaking and slow. the arsenal is too large. morrowind is very much like life. the range of skills is enormous. you can only guess how long it will take you to master them, and you don't really know if that is the thing that will bring you success, but you try it anyway. you are invested because of the time, you really build a self in morrowind.

i mean clearly, you need to be able to kill the various sentries and guards in order to progress to the level implied in the game, but it would take at least 3 months of game playing to reach that level.

in the middle of playing as a nightblade, basically the equivalent of an auror in the harry potter series - a killer of evil mages, i suddenly got interested in alchemy. so here i'm developing the skills so that i can be a good thief and short swordsman and political being all so that i can get lots of money to buy powerful potions and charms, and i discover that an alchemist, with just a few tools, can go around picking mushrooms and make their own. so i sell all my weapons and go picking flowers and looking for books with recipes. but clearly no matter what i do, i can't get my alchemy skill level up to par.

switching play styles in the middle of a game is an enormous and interesting challenge and it made the game more worthwhile to me, but the character you choose will have some hard limits. they do some fairly interesting things with genetic predispositions in morrowind. it's very nicely balanced though. there are obviously many approaches to the same problems
but either way, it takes a virtual eternity.

so the deal is, get into it deeply, and when you have the hang of it, switch to a new character and start over. this will double your pleasure. but then finally, you will be sick of it and wonder how you spent all that time on the game.

Posted by mbowen at December 23, 2002 11:11 AM

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