May. 24th, 2015


I'd forgotten what was missing in modern games

I've gotten back into Morrowind and am playing a Dunmer pilgrim and temple acolyte, doing Temple quests, the main questline (slowly) and generally just kicking around Vvardenfell, talking to people, doing side quests, busting up Daedra shrines and robbing Dwemer ruins and so on.

In doing it, I'm being reminded of what it is that is missing from most MMO's and even most single-player games:


It's a joy to wander around the countryside (most of which I've forgotten), never knowing what's around the next bend or over the next hill, even if I get attacked by cliff racers all the way. Exploring in WoW or Rift frankly feels forced at best; both games try to reward it with little surprises and treasures, but it's not the same when most of the design effort has gone into a main quest line on rails and the map always shows you exactly where you're supposed to go.

I'm not saying they're bad games that way, but right now I vividly feel what's lacking in them.

And somehow, with very limited rapid travel, it's also more immersive. Obviously, I'm one of those who approved of the no-flying decision in Warlords of Draenor.

Most immersive of all, you're not really aware of leveling in Morrowind; it's not the whole game, as it is in most MMO's. Pershal is up to level 12 now, and the world is less dangerous than it was at level 7, but it still feels dangerous and he still gets killed occasionally; and yet, I'm really feeling no pressure to level up.

It feels sooooo good.

Other people's reactions in the comments to this article on Rock Paper Shotgun.

March 2008

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