Among the innovations and refinements either introduced or greatly improved by Morrowind were:
- Open-ended play: You never had to touch the primary storyline to spend hundreds of hours deeply engaged in the game. This non-linear play style was pioneered by Bethesda in the earlier “Elder Scrolls” games, but the prominence and popularity of Morrowind brought it to new levels of public visibility/
- Near-universal item manipulation: so much of the game world was able to be picked up, moved around, and used. The now-usual suspects were there, of course – plants, rocks, trees – but also things like household items and thousands of containers. I remember back in the days when alt.games.morrowind was an active group, we had one poster who went through and collect all of the spoons in the game – something like 800 of them, without any modifications being made – and dumped them all into a single room.
- Stunning graphics: while over a dozen years later the game graphics are finally beginning to seem a bit dated, when it was new it was really incredible to see in comparison to what else was happening in the world of gaming. Some of the graphical enhancements were far enough ahead of their time that it took other games years to catch up.
- Mods: The ability to modify the game really had no limits. Indeed, there are still projects running to this day that involve the creation of gigantic new land masses, quest lines, items, graphics, and other features. Anything that Bethesda was capable of creating in the game, the player was equally capable of creating should they be so inclined. This so effectively created what was essentially a blank slate for use with the game engine that even to this day, nearly a decade and a half since it first launched, this site still sees a couple of thousand downloads of the popular Morrowind FPS Optimizer every month.
That last sentence above is the reason I’ve bothered keeping the Morrowind pages up at LowGenius.Net over the years, and why I’m bothering to create this new page in 2015. The game’s now-negligible requirements for system specs have ensured its continued popularity to the present day, and based on the traffic patterns I see hitting the relevant pages it remains a favorite introduction to RPG’s in regions where folks don’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend on computers and gaming.
I personally finally stopped playing Morrowind in 2007 or so, but the “full” game (called the “Game of the Year Edition,” which includes both the official expansion packs Tribunal and Bloodmoon) is often available at US retail stores for less than ten dollars, or you can get it at amazon on physical media for about ten bucks, or as a download for twenty. Given that just the main storylines contain something on the order of 100 hours of play, this seems a very good gaming investment for those into single-player RPG’s, even in light of the game’s age.