Thursday, April 5, 2012

Backlog Assault: 2011 Wrap Party - Morrowind Edition

Title: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind  
Platform: PC

Bought: 02/01/10   
From: Steam   
Price: €4.99

Beaten: 26/10/11   
Final Game Time: 99:42   
In-Game Days Spent: 369   
Journal Page Count: 295
Price/Hour: €0.05

Backloggery Dump:
  • --/03/10 - I've just  arrived in Ebonhart for the fist time to drop off a slave I've been rolling around with. Picked up some sweet Dark Brotherhood armour too.
  • 02/05/10 - I'm still doing early Thieves Guild and Mage's Guild quests mostly, but I've made a little story progress now too.
  • 06/09/10 - I'm about halfway through the Thieves Guild and Mage's Guild quests now, still only eight missions into the main quest though.
  • 08/10/11 - Almost done with the Thieves Guild quests, but their conflict with the Fighters Guild means I need to take care of those quests first now.
  • 14/10/11 Burned my way through what feels like dozens of Fighters Guild quests the other night. Delivering potions to mines? What a lame-ass guild.
  • 17/10/11 - Finished the Fighters Guild, Thieves Guild and Bal Molagmer quest lines last night. Feels good man.
  • 26/10/11 - Finished off the Mage's Guild stuff a few days ago and finally got around to smoking Dagoth Ur's ass last night.
Previously on JiliK's Blog:

15/01/10 - Dammit, just when I thought I was done with the sale this pops on the second last day as one of the daily deals. Again, I've yet to fire it up, but I suspect there's an awful lot of content in there for a fiver.


With almost one hundred hours logged into this, I'm pretty sure I got my fiver's worth.:D

I booted this up for the first time in March 2010, probably not long after it finished it's hefty download over my terrible connection, just to check it out. Before playing I was worried that I'd never have the patience to master the mountain of stats and the various systems present in the game, but the world of Vvardenfell and the ability to interact with it any way you desire - to go anywhere, do anything, to really play a role of your own choosing were so engaging that I ended up hardly able to pull myself away from it for weeks.

He was still Trogdor!

Not knowing anything about anything, I started off by creating a character. Basing my choice of race solely on who looked the coolest, I ended up with a grey-bearded Nord, who I called Trogdor. After being released by the in-game authorities, I started wandering around the starting area for a while, just exploring. The basic controls were pretty simple to grasp. At it's core, it played like a slow-moving FPS with sword combat. Having completed a simple quest for one of the townsfolk, I was feeling a little more confident about the game as I set off for Balmora in pursuit of the main story line. I really shouldn't have been. What followed was a baptism of fire if ever there was one.

I wandered around alone, in the rain and the dark for days, lost in the aptly-named Bitter Coast Area. The signs seemed to lead nowhere; I was moving at a snail's pace, even by running; and every encounter with the even smallest enemy brought me closer to my seemingly-inevitable end, as I wrestled with the clunky, chance-based combat system. When I finally stumbled across civilization, it was a ramshackle fishing village run by elves, who made it abundantly clear that no Nord was welcome there and that I should fuck at the nearest possible opportunity.

After another spot of aimless wandering I decided that I could possibly reach Balmora by trekking over a rather steep mountain range that stood between me and it. No mean feat with my character's then-tiny athleticism skills, but I somehow I managed it, crashing down from on high into town, at last.

Balmora. Things get pretty wild after dark, let me tell you.

After meeting up with a perpetually shirtless man to receive my first story quest, I set about joining some guilds, as requested, and tackling some of their missions. As I began to get into the swing of the game, I came to two conclusions: 1. Thieving was pretty bad-ass and I should continue jacking anything I wanted for the rest of the game, dispensing anyone who stood in my way; and 2. The town guards were dicks and I should level up enough in order to kill one as soon as possible.

My first stash site in the north-west of town.

Being a filthy thief, I started accumulating a pile of items quite quickly. Not being entirely sure of which ones would later prove to be useful and not being able to carry everything at once, it became clear that I needed to commender some storage space.  I started off by stashing my ill-gotten goods and various collectable items in some crates and urns at the North side of the town. Later, as my lock-picking skills increased, I was able to do as spot of breaking and entering and I set up a sweet squat in an unoccupied house at the opposite side of town. It was there I set up my base of operations for the rest of my time in Vvardenfell, building up a fine collection of illicit and occult materials there by the end of the game.

Home, sweet home. I thought that blue lamp was quite fetching,
so I stole it.

Drugs, occult relics, some dude's skull - business as usual in château Trogdor.

Within easy reach of my new pad was a guard tower, which may not have been the first place I dispatched one of Vvardenfell's finest, but was certainly the site of my most triumphant spots of guard slaughter, giving me access to the tower's hefty stash of weapons. Too bad I just left them there and wandered off, only to discover another sodding guard standing in my way on my return. After the effort it took to see off the tower's original guardian, I decided I'd let him be. For now.

I didn't play through the game as a complete dick though. Actually, I spent most of my game time being a bit of goody two shoes.  I was especially obsessed with freeing slaves whenever I encountered them. - I'm not sure where it was, but on one occasion that lead me to dispensing a slave owner to get his key, in order to free a group of Khajiit slaves from their cells. Unfortunately, he didn't have the key; the key for those cells didn't actually didn't exist in the game. Those slaves were absolutely going to die of starvation and it was all my fault. :D I did kind of owe the slave population of Vvardenfell though after one I was escorting early in the game helped me take down a member of the Dark Brotherhood, giving me access to his incredibly high level armour way earlier than I'd be able to get anything approaching it elsewhere.

Some hot, modded-water action.

As much as I was enjoying the game though, after several months and several long stretches of playing little else, it became clear that if I didn't take a break, it was going to be a long, long time before I got around to beating anything else. This, together with the fact that I was going to have to navigate the frustrating, confusing-ass mess that is Vivec to progress in several of the guilds, saw me putting the game aside for 2010. Well, aside from installing a whole mess of graphical mods later in the year, as well as a few others to help with some of the more frustrating elements of the game. I'm looking at you, cliff racers.

Cheating like a pro.

Picking up where I left off in 2011 as part of my backlog assault, I decided I was going to cut a few corners in order to speed up my progress. Rather than going to sell my valuables to one of the two merchants in the game that actually has enough money to buy anything valuable, I started using the console to add the item's value in gold to my inventory and disposing of the item. I also made quite a bit of use of the no collision command to get me past awkward or confusing areas by floating around or walking through walls. And the browser in the Steam overlay became my best friend, allowing me to look up confusing quest details and hard to find areas without exiting the game - areas I would then warp straight to, thanks to an extremely useful fast travel mod I'd installed the previous year.

A tricked-out Trogdor from slightly later in the game. You know you're ballin' with a supply of golden saint souls on tap.

With those concessions in place and the sound of dub step in my ears (thank you, Steam browser and BBC iPlayer), I was able to ascend to the head of the thieves, mages and fighters guilds and finally get moving on the main quest. As I'd heard before playing, it really wasn't the greatest. It felt like a real achievement though to be able to finally say that I beat Morrowind - something I never saw happening, stumbling through my first few hours of game time almost two years earlier.

What's that? "Was it good?", you ask. Um, yeah, it was alight. Some strange-looking orcs though:

Obviously a Britney fan.

More pics over here.

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