You should play Morrowind in 2023. In this article, I’ll list the reasons to play this gem and also some mods to make the experience better.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was originally released in 2002, and it’s obviously dated in 2023. The game is 21 years old now. Its graphics are very outdated and the gameplay is clunky. Overall, the game feels frustrating in terms of its technical side.
Reasons to play Morrowind in 2023
So, why should you play this in 2023, after 21 years of its release? The reasons are many, and I’m not going to list each and every one of them. So hopefully these reasons will encourage you to play it.
By the way, it’s worth pointing out that you can play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC as well as the original Xbox. It is backward compatible with Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. It is included with Xbox Game Pass.
However, you will not get the mods on Xbox consoles. Therefore, we recommend playing on a PC with the free mods that we discuss in this article. Now let’s discuss the reasons why you should still play Morrowind despite its age.
The depth of the RPG mechanics
From the start of the game, the complexity and depth of its role-playing elements are notable. You may even be overwhelmed by it. As you would expect from a good role-playing game, the number of choices cannot be counted here.
The Game World
Morrowind is set on the island of Vvardenfell. This world looks different from the later Elder Scrolls games. It looks gloomy and the island is foggy. The creatures, plants, and architecture are very unique and can’t be seen in any other TES game. It goes without saying that you can explore almost every inch of this masterfully created world. There are secrets and details all over the map, and it’s very immersive to explore.
You can talk with almost every single character in this quaint world. Everyone will have things to say about the affairs of the world and other races. The dialogue options are many; as you ask questions, the options expand, unlocking new dialogue options. These new options then reveal even more insight into the game’s lore.
It’s marvelous how many characters have different opinions of the world, and other races. Each race believes that they’re superior, and there is certainly some racism. Morrowind lets you learn the lore, and leaves you to form your own opinions. You become part of the game.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of the most immersive games in the franchise. While its visuals and gameplay are certainly not realistic, the game itself is very immersive. Unlike many other RPGs, Morrowind doesn’t show any markers on your minimap. Instead, you have to talk to characters to learn the way to objectives and check your journal. Landmarks mark the way to your destination.
Now, this may sound too overwhelming for some, and there are games that implemented this poorly. But as you go on these trips, you get exposed to the picturesque world of Vvardenfell.
Playing Morrowind in 2023
There are a few mods that improve Morrowind vastly while still sticking true to its vanilla formula. I highly suggest only adding a few mods for your first playthrough. But I do recommend installing mods that will improve accessibility and fix inconsistencies. I have written down below the ideal way to play Morrowind in 2023 with the use of OpenMW.
What is OpenMW? OpenMW is a free, open-source, and modern engine that re-implements and extends the 2002 Gamebryo engine for the open-world role-playing game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
Download it here: https://openmw.org/downloads/
Visit the above link and click “Download from GitHub”. After you get redirected to GitHub, scroll all the way down and select “OpenMW-0.47.0-win64.exe”. The filename may vary, depending on the time of your download. Advanced users will probably understand the alternative ways to download OpenMW, but the executable is the easiest way.
Follow the prompts. You can install OpenMW anywhere you prefer. After the installation, open the program. This will open OpenMW Wizard. You should then choose “Existing Installation” and then go into your game folder and select “morrowind.esm”. Follow the prompts again and you’re done.
If you want to integrate OpenMW into Steam, you can follow this guide. Otherwise, your playtime will not get tracked within Steam.
If you want to mod the game, download Mod Organiser 2. You’re going to use this installation of MO2 just for OpenMW/Morrowind. Do not install it in the Program Files folder. I suggest creating a folder in another drive. Name it “MO2 – Morrowind” (or anything you’d like).
Now you must integrate the ability for MO2 to work with OpenMW. Download this file, extract it, and put the content in the “Plugins” folder in the directory in which you installed MO2 in. You can do that here.
You may have noticed that the extension of the plugin file you downloaded is “.py”. That means it’s a file that is associated with Python. I suggest downloading it as well. You don’t need to configure anything; simply install it.
Open MO2 and select “Portable Instance”. After that, you must select “Morrowind” from the list shown. If it’s not shown in the list, simply browse to where the game is installed and select the game folder. In the next prompt, you can select a directory to install the mods in. I suggest not touching it and leaving it in the default location. You are now set up.
In order to easily install mods via Mod Organiser 2, you have to connect your Nexus account to it. Open MO2, click “Tools”, go to “Settings” and go to “Nexus”. Click “Connect to Nexus”.
Now you can install mods via MO2 easily.
Mods for your first playthrough
Patch for Purists
The Patch for Purists mod fixes a lot of bugs. It’s like an unofficial patch. It is more or less essential if you want to play this game in 2023.
Morrowind Code Patch
Here’s another patch that’s more or less essential. It fixes a bunch of bugs. You can download it here.
Better Dialogue Font
You’ll want to download the Better Dialogue Font. Dialogue is a major part of Morrowind and making it easy on the eyes makes the experience miles better.
Morrowind Graphics Extender
The Morrowind Graphics Extender is one of the best graphics mods for Morrowind. It makes everything look far better while not straying from the vanilla experience.