The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition

I know few virtual places as intimately as Seyda Neen, the port in the southwest of Vvardenfell where your Morrowind character begins their adventures. I’ve fleshed out dozens of characters in its Census and Excise office, and I’ve bought many a starting weapon at Arrille’s Tradehouse. I’ve passed the necromancer’s tower countless times, and I’ve… 

Hang on, that isn’t right. There’s no necromancer’s tower on the outskirts of Seyda Neen. Actually, I don’t recall there being this many shacks clustered on the coastline. And was that shady-looking tavern with the red lantern outside always there? What in Vivec’s name is going on? 

Such is the sensation of exploring Vvardenfell with the Morrowind Rebirth mod installed. This enormous mod remodels huge chunks of terrain, expanding towns and adding new dungeons and adventures alongside swathes of other content. It also achieves this with such a delicate hand that, if you haven’t played Morrowind for a while, you might struggle to identify where the old Morrowind ends and Rebirth begins.

Landscaping

Morrowind Rebirth was first released in 2011, starting out as a collection of town-overhaul mods created by trancemaster_1988. Since then the mod has received 44 major updates that basically give the topography of the entire island a makeover, adding a truly staggering amount of new and modified places to explore. 

Unsurprisingly, a large amount of the mod’s focus is on expanding towns and settlements. Almost every scrap of civilisation has been altered in some way. Caldera, the Imperial mining town northeast of Balmora, has seen new buildings and shops introduced within its walls, while the perimeter has been remodelled to include farmsteads with working windmills. Meanwhile, the massive city of Vivec has seen its entrance area overhauled, with a range of shops, houses and warehouses added near the Silt Strider port. Even tiny villages, such as the northern outpost Dagon Fel, have been expanded. 

One of the towns that has received the most attention is Balmora. Rebirth’s interpretation has not one but two entirely overhauled districts – one near the town’s south gate and the other on its northern hillside. These include multiple new merchant vendors such as a Scroll specialist and a seller of magical clothes. Alongside trancemaster’s own work, Morrowind Rebirth incorporates third-party mods, such as Balmora Underworld, which adds a vast subterranean market. Beneath that lurks a labyrinthine Dwemer ruin for players to plunder.

What’s particularly impressive about these additions is how seamlessly they fi t into Morrowind’s landscape. These new buildings aren’t simply plonked down wherever there’s space, trancemaster has painstakingly moulded the game’s terrain to accommodate for them. Beyond the game’s urban centres, trancemaster has added various new adventures and perils. These include bandit camps to raid, and multiple new dungeons, including a new Daedric realm to explore, and unique sights such as, err, mass graves. 

It’s worth noting that Morrowind Rebirth doesn’t add many quests. At least, not ones that will be recorded in your journal. Instead, Rebirth’s adventures are less offi cial, taking the form of notes pinned to walls that hint at the location of an item or a stash of gold, or bounty hunters that will track you down if the price for your head reaches a certain threshold. Rebirth also doesn’t make signifi cant changes to the game’s visual prowess, although it does make landscapes more varied, while adding visual variety to recurring NPCs like Imperial guards and skeletons.

Returning home

Alongside its many additions, Morrowind Rebirth also makes a massive number of balance changes. Hundreds of mechanical values have been tweaked, from the damage of different weapons to the weight of items and the price of travelling via Silt Strider. It’s impossible to go into these in any great detail, but the general effect makes levelling slightly slower and the diffi culty more challenging. Personally, I always felt Morrowind was slow and challenging enough, but this does spread your progress out more evenly across the mod’s increase in scope. Plus, if you get stuck, that’s what the diffi culty slider is there for. 

What I like most about Morrowind Rebirth is how natural all the additions appear. It makes Vvardenfell feel as if it has grown and evolved during your absence, like returning to your hometown after years away, only without the disappointment at discovering your favourite coffee shop has been replaced by yet another Starbucks. It doesn’t feel like the game has been modded. It’s more like time has simply moved on. If you want to know just how much has changed while playing, however, keep an eye out for hanging lanterns. These are trancemaster’s calling card, and you will be seeing them absolutely everywhere you go.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

It’s time to hang a pine-scented Little Tree air freshener from your cybergoggs because The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR last night launched on PC, following its console debut in November 2017. It’s Skyrim but in VR, yeah? Put your feet in a foot spa while you sit by a river in the rain, hang an old sock over your nose when venturing into Blackreach, and punch yourself in the knee any time you drag up tired memes. Ow. (more…)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda has announced that Skryrim VR will be coming to Steam on April 3rd.

Skyrim VR, which originally launched on PSVR late last year, sees Bethesda's classic open-world fantasy epic rejigged and reworked for virtual reality headsets. As was the case on PSVR, the Steam version of Skyrim VR will include the celebrated base game, alongside the newly VR-ified Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn expansions.

Skyrim is pretty ubiquitous at this point in time, having appeared on six different platforms and in three different guises since its release in 2011 - but Bethesda's thorough virtual reality update, which includes support for VR controllers, is easily one of its most impressive.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Given that the iconic image of Skyrim is a fella wearing a Knightmare-esque bucket on his head, it’s only fitting that Bethesda want you to strap cybergoggles onto your head to enter the fantasy RPG’s world. Today they announced a PC release for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, a new standalone version built for cybergoggles. Skyrim VR debuted on PlayStation VR in November 2017, and now it’s headed to PC on April 3rd. It seems a terrible shame that the game doesn’t (as far as I know) use goggle microphones to control dragon shouts. (more…)

Dragon Age: Origins - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A new video of Beyond Skyrim: Morrowind, a wildly ambitious upcoming mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, gives a look at its version of lands from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. This isn’t one of those mods remaking Morrowind, mind. The wider Beyond Skyrim project wants to revisit lands from older Elder Scrolls games, exploring how they’ve changed in the hundreds of years since through new stories which are contemporaneous with the events of Skyrim. How is Morrowind looking after all these years? Not that great, what with the devastating volcanic activity and all. Observe:

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The game trailer is a sly creature. It wants to entertain you, to excite you, to embolden you with curiousity. But it also wants to sell you a bunch of code wrapped up in some 3D shapes. Some trailers turn out to be more artful than the game they re hawking, others plant sneaky emotions in your head with music. However, some are better than others. Here are the best conflagrations of light and noise in PC gaming.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Despite the mountain of incredible 2017 games I still need to play, I am once again back on my Skyrim nonsense. I reinstalled it over the weekend and I’m still in the process of adding all 10,000 mods that I simply cannot live without, including many featured in our best Skyrim mods list. I might need to add another, however, at least when the gargantuan Lordbound mod launches later this year. 

The Lordbound team is aiming to make an expansion-sized mod with around 30 hours of new adventures, including fancy dungeons, three non-linear faction storylines and an entirely new region of Skyrim, Druadach Valley, located near High Rock, which is also where Daggerfall took place. 

When it launches this year, the mod will throw players into a conflict between Orcs and the Imperial Legion as they fight over who gets to stick their flag in the area. The latest trailer showcases some of the mod’s environments, including some striking magical ruins and weird Dwemer caverns. 

I used to avoid the massive mods that added whole new areas to the game because it can be a bit of a hassle trying to figure out what mods they’re going to conflict with, but after playing Beyond Skyrim’s surprisingly polished Bruma mod, which introduces the northern Cyrodiil town to the game, I’ve been won over. Thank goodness for kind souls making compatibility patches. 

Cheers, Kotaku

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

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