PC games like Morrowind....

What games would people recommend that are very much like Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind or Thief- first-person, free-range RPGs? What my friend likes most about Morrowind is the feel of being in a totally different world, with different religions, and different buildings, etc. When she plays a game, she wants to feel like she’s in a totally different world and living another life. That’s what she likes about Morrowind. If she wants to be evil- she can. If she wants to be a pilgrim- she can. She loves Morrowind’s attention to detail and graphics as far as the sky & the rain, as well as the audio effects. However, she hates the senseless repetition of the quests, the programmed responses of the other characters, even when they are written to despise her character, and being able to run forever without having to eat or sleep. She wants to be in a totally different world but still with a semblance of realism to it. She’s not talking about games like Fable, which while still a RPG that you can choose your own affinity in, the graphics are unrealistic and seem more cartoonish. She especially likes the Thief series because they are first-person games that have a really cohesive storyline and there is a lot of interaction and activities within the levels. She likes the hiding and the sneaking instead of all the out and out fighting.

How do the other Elder Scrolls games compare? We’ve heard Oblivion is really good but because we’ve been told there is a lot more action in it, she’s not sure she’s interested in it because she likes the freedom of Morrowind.

I hear a lot of comparisons to the Gothic series, although I haven’t played those. If she has Morrowind for PC, there are mods which make food and sleep necessary, among other things. Modding is still going quite strong for Morrowind.

There aren’t a whole lot of games of this style. She might want to check out Deus Ex or System Shock/Bioshock.

I would strongly advise against Bioshock in this case. At the end of the day, Bioshock is still a first person shooter (albeit in an amazing environment), not an RPG.

I personally loved Morrowind, and I don’t like Oblivion at all. Oblivion doesn’t actually have anything to discover. Almost everything is randomly generated as you encounter it, making the world feel much less persistent and real. Morrowind had just the right amount of random generation, enough to make your luck attribute have an effect when opening chests and crates. In Oblivion, you can enter a cave, loot it of all the random treasure, then come back a bit later and find it randomly repopulated with more random treasure. If you find one cave, you’ve found them all, and there’s no reason to look for any more hidden caves.

Also, you’re punished way too hard for gaining levels. It’s actually better to finish the game at level 1 than it is to try and make your character stronger by leveling up. Every opponent you come across in Oblivion will get stronger as you gain levels, but their power goes up about twice as fast as yours does. The game is close to impossible to complete if you spend a lot of time exploring outside of the main storyline, gaining more than just a few levels.

So far the only game I have found like Morrowind is Morrowind. If she hasn’t tried the expansions for it, I would suggest those before looking for a new game.

In my opinion, Oblivion has the same free-range freedom, only on a much larger scale.

Yeah Bioshock was disappointing coming from System Shock 2, but it’s still similar. Sequels nowadays get Xboxified. With Oblivion, you can again mod the hell out of it, and if you want to see randomness, try playing TES2: Daggerfall. I disagree about the difficulty of Oblivion, it was too damn easy. The storyline also pales in comparison. However, it still has the same spirit.

What do you mean by expansions? Do you mean mods or is there something that actually expands the way the game plays?

That totally sucks to hear about Oblivion. She was looking forward to more Morrowind. What do you think about Daggerfall? Are there any cheats or mods that correct the problems with Oblivion that make it worth playing?

Does anyone know if they are working on a new Elder Scrolls game and when it should be completed?

There are two official expansions for Morrowind: Tribunal, and Bloodmoon. She might have those if it is the Game of the Year edition.

Daggerfall is huge. Possibly the largest game I have played. However, this is facilitated by the fact that everything beyond major cities and dungeons is randomized. Quests are pretty much repetitions of “kill rats” and “find item x.” It’s worth checking out though, it’s over ten years old so it shouldn’t hit the pocketbook too hard.

They are of course working on TES V simply based on the fact that it’s a cash crop. Nothing has been announced about materials or a release date. Fallout 3 is probably her main focus. She also might want to check out that series, there’s a lot of freedom there. You can become a hero or a mass murdering slaver.

I don’t really have anything to add, but I agree with this 100%.

I’m one who fell in love with Oblivion. I just finished up another long session of it last week two years after I first got the game. The leveling system is horrible as has been said up-thread and you really have to work to level in a way that keeps you competitive with the enemies. There are mods on the PC that can correct this and I’d strongly recommend using them.

The only other game I’ve played that’s even similar to the Elder Scrolls series is called Two Worlds. I believe it tanked commercially and got some pretty rotten reviews but… after getting used to its quirks, I found a pretty enjoyable game beneath the lack of polish. Definitely try a demo before you buy this one.

Well, the 360 game Mass Effect has a persistent and consequent fictional world to explore, though it’s mostly superficial. The quests are personalized and frequently exciting and appear to “fit in” to the greater picture of the setting. It’s not as freeform as Morrowing, bound far tighter to a central narrative structure, but still pretty cool. It’s in the same vein as the Knights of the Old Republic games - if she likes those, she’ll probably dig Mass Effect.

And, of course, the Final Fantasy / JRPG games can’t be ruled out. Not FP, but still a vast world to explore and lots of fodder for completionists.

Then there are the Gothic series. The first two games are excellent and probably the closest I can compare to Morrowind. The quests are far better - far more personalized and nearly all coming from significant sources to achieve a goal. It’s chiefly 3rd person, but it doesn’t really matter. Avoid the third game though - it’s a bloated bug-fest.

My personal recommendation has to be something like the Might & Magic cames. They’re old and look dated, but they feel very much like the precursors to Morrowind in terms of feel and style. Try out Might & Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven for a fit.

And, well, yeah - Oblivion must be mentioned.

Mass Effect is coming out for the PC in May.

The entire Gothic series has just been released as a set called Gothic Universe for $29.95. This includes all three games plus the expansion for the second game. I’ve just started on it and am a few hours into it and it looks good so far (once you get used to the somewhat arcane control scheme)

And there is a patch out now for the third game. I haven’t looked to see if it is included in Universe or not but it is supposed to clean up a lot of the problems with it.

But, yeah, I’m a huge Morrowind fan too and haven’t found anything else that quite matches up to it yet either.

I dunno about Gothic quests. To me they seemed much more linear and hard scripted. In Morrowind at least some quests could be done in alternative ways - like instead of extorting money you could pay from your pocket or you could talk people into giving you quest item or steal them instead of kill&retrieve cliche.

About Gothic - some quests are linear. But if you think they all are, you’re not trying hard enough. ( :stuck_out_tongue: ) There’s a lot of interaction in the game, and I’ve sometimes done something that I thought the AI would never react to, or finished a quest in an odd way - only to have the game turn around and either do something “smart” which totally left me suprised, or actually recognized how I’d done it. It’s true it isn’t as freeform as Morrowind (what is?) but it’s pretty darn sweet.

I will say that both gothics have a steep learning curve and both are very hard at the start of the game. If you are patient are willing to experiment, though, you can have a lot of fun. I would Avoid with a Capital-A the Night of the Raven expansion, which makes Gothic 2 incredibly difficult.

For the record, the consensus at the Bethesda boards is that the Oblivion levelling system is too easy, not too hard. This conforms to my experience. Once I got to level 20 or so, there was no longer any real challenge to battles with most enemies.

But… when you’ve got some people saying a game goes too far in some respect, and other people saying it doesn’t go far enough, you’ve got reasons to think the game may actually be just right… :slight_smile:


I have to agree with Frylock. The monsters are only hard when you first hit a new plateau, and even then, not for long. And I am no power gamer, trying to min-max anything. By the end of the game, my wimpy thief archer could go sword-to-sword with anything short of the final boss. Oblivion and Morrowind are greatly improved by user mods.

I’m in the minority of people who loved Daggerfall. Those impossible dungeons were great. There must’ve been a billion meth-addled dwarves building those things. Plus, that game had more factions than any of the following games, another bonus.

What bothered me most is the sense of futility about leveling. The whole world changes because I gained a level? It made no sense, and really took the fun of exploration for me. I liked the fact that, exploring Morrowind, you might find a cave full of idiot bandits and wipe them out, or you mind stumble into a vampire lair. Some randomization is okay, but it lost the feel of exploring a real world, and exploration was what made Morrowind so much fun.

Runescape is free-range but apparently not first-person. It is free, though.

Let’s not forget the bandits on the road with weapons and armor that they could retire comfortably by selling.

Of course, those friggin birds in Morrowind were enough to drive anyone crazy.

There is something to be said for the carrot-and-stick quality of having the challenge of an RPG constantly updated in accordance to your character’s level, but most attempts I’ve seen at bringing this about have been more frustrating than fun. In the Final Fantasy games I used to enjoy doing random encounters until I broke through to the point where the game areas I could access were trivial before proceding with the plot. Then with FF8 they started adjusting to your power level so that you never really got that sense of achievement. Furthermore, your best strategy turned out to be to level as little as possible. Accumulation of resources, a definitive joy of the RPG genre, turned into a burden. It became the anti-RPG.

Already in Morrowind you were better off building your character to do the opposite of what you wanted to do. It got even worse with Oblivion where time spent learning non-combat skills meant you would have to deal with mooks in daedric armor when you stepped outside the city walls.

The first two Gothic games were made for the hardcore RPG crowd that didn’t mind grinding for XP, constantly testing the barriers the game threw up against your exploration looking for a spot that had grown a little softer now that your skills were a little better. The third seems to be more or less linnear in its difficulty.

The Fallout games aren’t first person, if that’s important to you, but they are fantastic roleplaying experiences for testing out paths of least resistance, shaking the dialogue trees to tweak the emergent narrative to your liking, and finding creative solutions to quests and other dilemmas. If you know you’ll be fighting with certain people soon, you can use your pickpocket skill to plant satchel charges on them and use your radio to set them off. The book didn’t tell me I could do that, I discovered it in play.

If you really want to play a game with a zillion options and dizzying freedom it’s called Nethack and it’s free.

Otherwise, what the hell? Play Oblivion, why not? It’s fun, despite all my complaints. The graphics are better, though the look of the world is much less inspired than that of Morrowind. You can spend countless hours just picking flowers in the middle of nowhere – I have. You can carefully rob every house in every town. You can’t fly like you could in Morrrowind, but you could visit shining vistas nonetheless. There are no immersive experiences as breathtaking as sunset on the bridges of Vivec or as ponderous and inchoate as the sandstorms in Arduhn. But it’s got more polygons – that’s always a plus.