Why I’m giving up on Morrowind (again)

I learned a new internet acronym the other day: FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when everybody talks about a new form of entertainment, be it movie, TV show, music, comic book, video game, etc., and you don’t want to be left out of the conversation. As a result, you consume media you would not normally consume just so that you can keep up with the virtual Joneses.

I’ve documented my love/hate relationship with Morrowind in the past. I played it a long time ago, found it arcane and confusing, then never played it again. I got further in this time before tapping out. The main reason I’ve uninstalled this time is to free up hard drive space, but a few things still bother me about the game.

One of the biggest problems is a problem that existed in the original Witcher (which I loved): trying too hard to abstract D&D combat rules. There is little skill in combat. You approach a bad guy and click buttons until they are dead. There is little strategy. Because magic can (and does) fail, it’s an unreliable weapon at best.Archery seems suboptimal because aiming is strange; I can’t always predict what will hit and what won’t, which some might call a feature, but it means that every time you loose an arrow, you could be incurring monster wrath for no benefit.

Stamina is my other major complaint. It’s too limiting. Every action in the game uses stamina to a greater or lesser degree, so if you don’t carry lots of potions, you’re more or less screwed. You don’t heal over time, which also makes potions vitally necessary, especially since if you cast a healing spell and the spell fails, you lose stamina, which makes you more vulnerable, ad nauseam. Later Elder Scrolls games did away with this (entirely appropriately, IMO). Mods can correct this latter problem, and if/when I do reinstall the game, I will certainly consider more mods.

The reason I keep coming back to the game is mostly FOMO at this stage. Some people I know love Morrowind and speak very highly of it. I can see glimpses, here and there, of why they enjoy it. The world is small but dense and surprisingly detailed. Perhaps if Skywind is ever finished I’ll come back to Morrowind, but for now, I’ve got other games to play.

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