Okay, so now Skyrim is out, let's hear it: which game do you like more - Morrowind or Oblivion?
Or, if by any chance you've already played Skyrim - is it better than the other two?
Morrowind, because it has a far more interesting and better designed world.
And probably also because it was the first of its kind that I played.
(Edited by Daniel Saner (2409), Nov 12, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Daniel Saner (2409), Nov 12, 2011
I played Morrowind and both expansions more hours than I want to know, yet until now I only ever played a few hours into Oblivion. So I guess that answers that. What I loved about Morrowin was how you got completely lost as this insignificant person in a huge and believable world. In Oblivion it felt much more like the developers took you by the hand and always told you exactly what to do. The scope of the world around it was still there I guess, but it felt a lot less amazing and satisfying.
I'm definitely going to buy Skyrim sooner or later. I'll buy it if I find a good deal, just borrow it if it has a DRM I don't like. I saw it advertised on Steam for about double the price the boxed copy costs in stores. Needs a discount of at least 85% before I would consider it, so it might be a while.
Daniel Saner Wrote:
Really? I actually felt even more hopelessly lost in Oblivion than I did in Morrowind. I haven't played it since it came out, but i have this vague memory of not actually being able to even find the main scenario after I'd left the sewers.
Maybe I have played so little of the game that I never even reached the part where it opens up. I just remember the feeling, that while the world might have been just as large, it somehow felt "narrower".
One of the things that bothered me most in Oblivion was this - you can't get lost. The game holds your hand and allows you to jump to all major cities without actually having discovered them first physically. Major immersion-killer.
Luckily, Skyrim doesn't have that.
YID YANG Wrote:
That was the feeling I had, and even though it sounds like something positive it really isn't. I remember reading a critical review of the original Dungeon Siege, which is ridiculously linear, in which the author said that "getting lost is part of every good RPG". I often remember this sentence and completely agree with it. If you are to actually "play a role", you have to be able to make decisions. Getting lost means not being sure what is the right thing to do next, which is exactly what choice is about. I usually couldn't care less about which stat number I want to increase next, but getting lost in such situations means that you're actually forced to think inside the game world and character.
the author said that "getting lost is part of every good RPG"
Totally agree. At the very least, we need the illusion of being lost - and Oblivion doesn't even give us that.
YID YANG Wrote:
No wonder. I avoided the fast-travel system wherever feasible. If a game lets you zip around like that, I want to earn that privilege, dammit.
That said, I gave up around 10 hours into both Morrowind and Oblivion, and have no intention of ever playing Skyrim. There's just something about Bethesda's school of design that just doesn't sit well with me. The weird thing is I absolutely love exploring big open worlds. I'm not too big on swords-n-sorcery, but it'll do in a pinch. I've never been able to pit my finger on just why it is that I don't like these games.
THAT said, I still haven't given Fallout 3 a chance, either. I borrowed it from a friend close to a year ago and it's still sitting in my backlog... Hmm...
You know, I gave Morrowind maybe 4-5 tries at least, over the course of at least 8 (!) years. Each time I got bored and uninstalled the game.
Except now. Yesterday I was late for an appointment because I couldn't stop playing Morrowind.
It is as if something suddenly clicked and I experienced a full harmony with the game. I think it is true for other Elder Scrolls games as well. I actually player and even finished Oblivion, and was not very impressed, but now I'm longing to replay it.
You really need to connect to the vibes of these games. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But when it does, those games deliver big time.
Morrowind. I, too, sank more hours than I care to estimate into that game, wandering the wastes and swatting at cliff racers. Morrowind just had a lot more depth. People said more because there was no need for huge amounts of dialogue, there were more parts to suits of armor which allowed most customization of looks, and it wasn't focused on delivering a hugely accessible and tactile experience. It was less restricting, overall.
More specifically, I loved the Bloodmoon expansion. I've played through that section alone over and over. Solstheim was just so much fun.
I liked Oblivion more. The quests are better, the dialogue system of Morrowind is horrible and I like fast travel.
Didn't Morrowind have fast travel too? I'm pretty sure you were able to go instantly to places you'd already visited. I used to zip around wildly after having explored most of the island.
Morrowind had fast travel services: boats and striders and the mages guilds. Also you could get spells that brought you instantly to the nearest temples, and also a pair of spells that could mark a location and then bring to back to that location.
Morrowind was less a game about getting to a location than it was about going to a location. That suited the story too. Morrowind was about a problem that had been around for hundreds of years, and if possible the emperor would like it sorted out before he snuffs it, but hey, you might not even be the right guy, so don't worry about it. Oblivion was OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING IM BEING EATEN BY A DEMON VELOCIRAPTORS BLARGARLEGABAG.
The fast travel options in Morrowind made sense because they were part of the game world, whereas the fast travel options of Oblivion were part of the interface and took you out of the game world, which is especially bad for an RPG that tries to have an immersible world.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 14, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 14, 2011
I disagree. The fast travel option is no instant teleport, it simulates the time a player would need if he would walk. It just cuts away the walking. It is like saying Deus Ex is not immersive because it cuts away when flying to Hong Kong instead of letting the player suffer through a multiple-hour helicopter flight.
You need to reach a point manually the first time anyway. And after that the game lets you fast travel to the point. Really, I don't see the problem. It is not like walking the same way over and over again is fun or interesting.
You need to reach a point manually the first time anyway.
If I remember correctly, you don't. That exactly was my problem - you could travel to all the cities just by clicking on them. You only had to discover hostile locations manually.
Well, I just know that the two Fallout games operate that way I described. If Oblivion did not, well, that is really not good. At least I never used fast travel without visiting the location manually first.
I think all the cities were immediately accessible from the start. Which made the first quest (after the tutorial) especially dump because it was basically meet person x in city y and all you had to do to complete it was open the map and click on the city. While in other RPG getting there would be an adventure in its own right.
I agree that fast traveling becomes a necessity in the long run, because walking the same areas over and over again gets boring, but it should at least have a cost to make it less of an option at the start (i.e. make crossing large distances actually dangerous, adventurous and/or expensive for low level characters) and gradually open up the world once the player becomes more powerful.
How does Skyrim tackle this problem anyway?
How does Skyrim tackle this problem anyway?
You can only fast travel to a location you have physically discovered before.
I'm rather surprised -and not really in a good way- that the only people to realize the ultimate solution for a properly balanced fast travel system were a bunch of Fallout 3 modders: With the FWE mod, fast traveling can only be done by using a motorcycle that you need to keep in shape with scrap metal and assorted parts, as well as refuel periodically. Bam. Instant success. You still can fast travel to your heart's content; but every time you do it, it will cost you a certain amount of resources you need to be on the lookout for. Hell, those resources are even there, scattered all around the world in the vanilla game. Unused.
I'm especially surprised that, of all the things that Obsidian picked up from mods to use in New Vegas, they didn't pick that one; because some of you might recognize the general idea as pretty much the exact thing they did themselves with Fallout 2's car.
And I take it that still, to this day, noone has thought of a similar system for Skyrim.
Seriously, sometimes even the smartest game developers would seem to have the most baffling creative blackouts.
Patrick Bregger Wrote:
But you can't seriously compare the two, can you? Instant travel in an RPG is questionable because the journey somewhere is just as important a part of the game as getting there. Sure you can fast-travel through the main storyline if the option is given, but then you miss out on all the places to discover on the way, people to meet, things to do and find. Those things are really the main reason I play a CRPG. If someone is really so intent on getting through the main quest as quickly as possible, I would argue they don't really enjoy the game that much, and they should probably rather play another game than trying to "get this one over with". If Deus Ex had an interesting part of the story to tell during the helicopter flight, they would have included it.
Patrick Bregger Wrote:
I don't see that as so much as a difference. I remember now that what I was doing in Morrowind was using a spell or item that could teleport you from a dungeon to a city and back again (good for OCD players who want to collect all the loot). Whether I click a button on a map in the game's interface, or press a button to cast a spell—same difference, to me. Maybe the problem is more with whether, or why, players would even want to skip travel. It's a symptom of a much more basic shift in the target audience, which brought changes that alienated many old fans.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 14, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 14, 2011
Daniel Saner Wrote:
Yes, the first time. I really don't see the appeal of having to walk the same way twice. Sure, having the opportunity to fast travel to a place you never visited before is stupid, but I am not arguing that.
(Edited by Daniel Saner (2409), Nov 14, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Daniel Saner (2409), Nov 14, 2011
Sure. From that perspective it is even questionable whether there is anything to criticise about it at all. It reminds me of the quicksave/quickload question. No one is forced to use it, but it still feels to me that when it's completely unrestricted and unpunished, it can make it too hard to not give in and play the game like a pansy.
Of course this is less of a problem for the travel feature, because if you enjoy the game you don't want to miss out. I guess I just wonder about people who play a game and wish to skip 90% of its content =) Then it doesn't make much of a difference whether the feature allows to teleport even to places one hasn't been. I mean, why force those players to go through something they want to skip? For me personally there would be no temptation (as with quicksave), because it would go against everything I want from the game.
As for the repeated travel, I'm a bit different I guess. I mean, of course I don't want a game to force me to take the same long journey several times. But usually I am one to enjoy walking even the paths I've seen before. It's part of what I enjoy about the game. I also never took the mission retry shortcut in GTA games, I always drive back there myself because that's a big part of what I love about those games. But I see myself using it if I have to retry for the 4th time and am starting to get annoyed. To offer it is basic decency, like allowing players to skip cutscenes.
(Edited by Happy Rabbi (1250), Nov 13, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Happy Rabbi (1250), Nov 13, 2011
Morrowind probably. It has a very unique world (mostly reminding me of Roman occupied 1st century Israel with it's messianism mixed with Mongolia, Venecia and smurfs) and I can't decide quite exactly whether I appreciate it or not, also an interesting metanarrative... but from what I gather from interviews and stuff... they basically wrote several different versions of the main story and threw them all into the game. Different accounts of truth. So basically, if the player so wishes, he can construct himself the real true version of the truth from these several versions. That was the meta.
My problem however is that I don't really agree with their world design philosophy. Todd Howard constantly brings up Ultimas as inspiration, so I always think why can't they be more like Ultimas. That living breathing world with non-random npc's they had in 5, 6 and 7.
Then again, Todd wasn't exactly in charge in Morrowind. It's with Oblivion and later with Fallout 3 where he becomes this official voice and vision of Bethesda. And Oblivion already emulates more that old-time Ultima feeling with it's Radiant A.I system... which wasn't working properly.
I've played Arena and Daggerfall. These games are randomly generated. Both world and quests. Daggerfall is an endless game, but it basically is just a limited number of basic quest ideas that the game randomly generates different versions of. But it doesn't take that long to meet the tenth variation of the same quest. Very non-Ultima, though they do emulate a lot of Ultima (down to even the same spell names). By the way Oleg, lots of nudity in Daggerfall. Just saying.
And Morrowind brings a hand-crafted and beautifully designed and limited world but makes it empty and dead. I tried some of those npc mods, which basically Ultimafy the npc's by giving them lives and real place in the world... can't recommend them all, because they don't always capture the tone of the setting. But some of them do and thus enhance and make the setting feel more real. I still remember some of these npc's thanks to these mods.
I think what bothers me about the later Elder Scrolls games is that they do create this open world by hand... but they do it by throwing a lot of random shit together. Just like how the Morrowind lore and main story were created by throwing a lot of random shit together.
So they're basically doing by hand the same thing that Daggerfall and Arena were programmed to do on their own. They still design the game with that procedurally generated random mindset. And for me it's a bit of a deal-breaker. It breaks my immersion.
But I can't get angry at Bethesda. They just seem so sincere in what they're doing. Was watching few of the making of videos, and they seem so loveable people. And Skyrim looks great and more living and coherent than Oblivion. I know I want to and will play it (and I've missed Jeremy Soule's soundtracks... he disappeared for years, I hope it wasn't because I complained about how he made soundtracks for every rpg :-)). I just strongly disagree with their design philosophy.
I think and strongly believe that these games would be much better with less random shit and more coherent world-building, and since they've already emulated Ultima with so many things, why not where it really mattered, in the world-building and non-random npc's too?
Well, I'm playing Skyrim now, and the world is beautiful and initially immersive as always - but again, I feel it doesn't matter, because there is nobody interesting out there and it's all this harmless, lukewarm fantasy thing all over again... I hope to be proven wrong, though, I'm still very early into the game.
I want to give Morrowind a second chance, don't know why.
"I want to give Morrowind a second chance, don't know why."
Because you can't shake off the feeling that there is something really deep in Morrowind. Some hidden dark earth-shattering truth.
Can't blame you. Because Morrowind basically throws you into a Dan Brown novel. Only this time - you are Dan Brown. You are the one seeing these patterns and putting together the truth. It gives you that conspiracy theorist rush.
The designers never bothered to come up with what was real and what was not themselves. They left it to the player to create his own truth consciously or subconsciously basing itself on his thought patterns and experience.
Is it deep or not? That's just Morrowind. Can't shake that feeling off that there is something truly secret to be discovered and on the other hand... there might not be any.
And to some it's just a basic chosen one story. But I could write several pages of stuff like how Morrowind shows us that there is no truth, but just different cultural perceptions that form accidentally over time, certain visions of the world that people hold, and by how becoming these visions we can fulfill their accidental messianistic fantasies and become someone else, a vessel of cultural revolution, but the real truth is that we were actually a nobody, and it's doubtful we ever existed.
It's just that kind of a game. By making no sense, the player is forced to make sense of the game and it's mess himself. And thus the game reflects the player.
I loved Morrowind, the setting is great and with the lack of a story proper, it's up to the player to make his own story in the world. Oblivion felt like a tuned down version in almost every way (except graphically). They tried to make combat a bit more interesting, but failed in making it more fun. And the setting was just drab. It was still a good game and I put many hours in it, but it didn't feel as fulfilling as Morrowind.
They did do a lot right in the Shivering Isles expansion, mainly by including a more interesting and unique setting.
Not sure when I'll play Skyrim. Videos looked interesting, but couldn't shake the feeling it was just another Oblivion again with nothing really new.
Playing Morrowind, and... I just couldn't stop. For some unfathomable reason, I can't put the game down. It is definitely more addictive than Oblivion, even though its dialogues suck even more. Can someone tell me why?..
Dunno, but it's the game that started me on RPGs. Which I had little or no interest before. (Though granted I hadn't tried many either)
From all the bits and pieces I have picked up from people who have played Skyrim, is the general consensus that many of the things fans of Morrowind criticised about Oblivion have been improved a bit? While I hear the PC version is still an embarrassing console port with gargantuan interfaces and braindead controls, so far what I hear about the general impression of game world, story, quests and characters seems to be cautiously positive.
This wording perfectly describes my initial impression :)
Anyway, it's too early to say, but so far the game looks somewhat more interesting than Oblivion. The interface is horrible, though.
What I'm trying to find out now is whether it has level scaling. Because that was nr. 1 reason for my less-than-enthusiastic opinion about Oblivion.
Morrowind's level scaling is much less intrusive. Containers with randomized items use leveled lists, so they will contain more valuable items as you level. The encounter tables also add more dangerous animals as you level, but the animals themselves don't change (a blighted cliffracer is more dangerous than a cliffracer, but all blighted cliffracers are about equally dangerous, regardless of your level). I think it tops out just before level 30 when Golden Saints start showing up in the Telvanni area. Any enemy that isn't part of a leveled list has set stats (and names! Every bandit, slaver, and skooma runner in Vvardenfell has their own name!)
As far as story goes, Morrowind and Oblivion have very different approaches to plotting. Oblivion drives in the (fictional) urgency of the main quest as often as possible. The main quest is the singular thing that absolutely must be done to save the world. In that scenario the side quests (guilds and such) are sidequests in the truest sense of the word. Morrowind, on the other hand, basically shoves you out into the world with the quest of "Fix Morrowind's problems", and never even forces the player to do so. It points you in the direction of the province's biggest problem, Dagoth Ur, but there's all sorts of other issues to work out too.
I've put a lot of time into Skyrim, and I have to say I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I was going to. It has fixed a lot of my biggest complaints about Oblivion, like the boring dungeons and stupid enemy leveling system. The game world is also very gorgeous, though I'm still annoyed by the obvious pop-in and low detail of the distant lands.
It took me a while to get used to some of the changes, like the removal of the stat system in favour of perks, or the changes to the crafting. I'm not a fan of the regenerative health (not as bad as it sounds). It kind of eliminates the need to rest or rush back to town to heal. I also don't understand why night is so bright. I liked having to stop at an inn or head back to town to rest for the night. It's really not necessary in Skyrim, though I do it anyway just to spite it. I guess having two enormous moons would brighten up the night sky.
It's still too early to judge it against Morrowind, however.
What, the game has regenerating health? I really have a hard time believing that this works.
I also heard a lot of stories about the "great" user interface. I'm really glad that I chose to play L.A. Noire, Saints Row 3 and Batman: Arkham City before starting with Skyrim. I am sure there is a mod which makes the UI decent until then.
I also heard a lot of stories about the "great" user interface
It ain't that bad. After a while I got used to it. It's still better than the non-graphical mess of Oblivion.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 15, 2011)Re: Elder Scrolls debate
Patrick Bregger (89527), Nov 15, 2011
Why can't they go back to the Morrowind interface? Granted, it is not perfect but much better usable than the one of Oblivion or Skyrim (only from what I heard about it). I'd rather arrange a few windows than having to switch back and forth between twenty submenus.
Yes, I know the answer.
I never played any of the Elder Scrolls games, but I have a copy of Morrowind waiting for me for a while now. I hesitate on playing it for several reasons, the main one being what everybody seems to love the most about the game: its hugeness. I'm kinda avoiding huge games, specially RPGs, because I'm trying to find some kind of reinforcement from actually beating the games I own (something I learned from other thread that Oleg isn't interested lately).
I also thought that, being older than Oblivion, Morrowind could be worse (and some of the reviews here on Moby sold me that notion, I guess), but this thread really made me think seriously about playing Morrowind. Everybody is talking about Skyrim and I wanna know what the Elder Scrolls are about.
Nobody is forcing you to complete any of these games, bro. Games are made for us to enjoy, not to scare us with self-imposed challenges.
I'd understand the desire to finish a heavily plot-driven game like, say, Deus Ex: Human Revolution; but Elder Scrolls games are famous for not compelling players to finish them. Just enjoy the virtual tourism :)
I actually finished Oblivion, but now I kinda wish I didn't. The mystery ended and left a bitter taste, the sense of constant wonder and discovery all but gone. I will definitely not finish Morrowind, perhaps ever.
Some thoughts on Skyrim here. I'm about 20-25 hours in. And I'm really enjoying it. There are lots to do and see. And I have already planned my journey for about 10 hours ahead. The major improvements over Oblivion, in my opinion, are..
1. Level-scaling. It's not gone, but it's not as prevalent as it was in Oblivion. This introduces a new problem, though. For example I have been fighting some Silver Hands (werewolves hunters) in a dungeon. Some of them were pretty easy to take down, due to my level. However, others were exponentially stronger (like two sword swings against 50). The game doesn't indicate in any way why that is so. They look the same, they are named the same. So I guess it's a some form of level-scaling screwing things up a bit. Dragon fights are another thing - Dragons are stupid and are pretty easy to kill, which kinda goes against the whole concept of dragons )). I mean, I had to run away from a meagre ice-wolf and had no problem taking out three dragons on my own.
2. Dungeons. Much better than either Oblivion, Morrowind and Fallout. The dungeons connected to the quests are all enjoyable and nicely-designed, each with something that makes it stand out. The dungeons which are not quest related are short and sweet - two-room affairs with some enemies that are unique to the area.
3. RPG-system. At first, I was suprised to see my stats gone. But it kinda makes sense in the context of an Elder Scrolls game. You want to be able to try different things. And as always the more you do stuff the better you get at it. But also you get to buy fun perks with your levels (nice to see some Fallout influence here). And since they weren't incorporating stats into anything but skills (unlike Fallout which had proper RPG-like stat and skill checks), so what's the point of having them?