Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 25: End of the main quest

I actually wrote this post a while ago, after finishing the main quest, but delayed posting it because I didn't have any screenshots set up to accompany it. I'm posting it anyway.

I won't spoil anything about the content of the main quest. But I finished it, and I was disappointed with two things -- one, the ash storms still occur. Sure, the skies are blue over Red Mountain now, and it was calm when I emerged, but sometimes I still get ash storms, there and in other places like Maar Gan and Ald'Ruhn, and I thought finishing the main quest was supposed to end those. The other thing that disappoints me is the change in the way NPCs address me. I believe it was supposed to be an ego-stroke, but it irritates me to have every person I talk to recognise me, thank me, and often grovel to me. That's not the character I'm playing. I want to be a relatively anonymous adventurer. I'd almost recommend just not finishing the main quest for that reason. Especially since I don't think they'll stop. Perhaps I can find a mod to get rid of that problem.

The end game was interesting and a challenge, at least, thanks to the aforementioned Greater Dwemer Ruins mod, which greatly expanded the final three citadels. From what I've seen, it would have been trivial otherwise. Even with this mod, I find it difficult to believe that the three gods of the Tribunal were unable to break through these defenses for 300 years, when someone without godlike powers is able to.

I'm not absolutely sure I got through the last one the way Darknut intended, especially after I found out that I definitely went through the second-to-last one in an unintended way in one spot. But I searched for a very long time looking for another way to do it, and I couldn't find any, so if it was the "wrong" way, so be it. I prefer non-linear solutions to things anyway.

One thing I found unnecessary about DN's GDR is that it replaces the voice of Dagoth Ur, probably because it adds voice acting to all of his lines. I would remove that entirely. That aside, this replaced voice for Dagoth Ur stripped him of his uniqueness. After I finished the main quest, I viewed a couple of speedruns of the game (one completed in 14:26, another in 7:30 -- those are minutes, not hours), and heard his original voice. It was very unique! In this mod, it becomes a generic, stereotypical villain voice.

Nevertheless, the mod adds a great deal of fabulous architecture and puzzles to the game, so I still highly recommend it.

Voice acting vs. text

As I mentioned voice acting, I should explain my stance on it. I don't need or want more voice acting. In fact, I detest what mandatory voice acting of every single line of dialogue has done to video games -- creating bloated file sizes, and much less actual dialogue. Add to that less variety between characters -- compare Morrowind, which had voice acting only for generic greetings and exclamations, and employed different sets of voice actors for every kind of elf, with Oblivion, which had the same set of voice actors for all elves. Morrowind has pages and pages of dialogue that may be unique to any given NPC, compared to the dozen lines or so they might have in Oblivion. Because they have to pay actors to speak it all, and then find space on the discs for those sound files. Text, on the other hand, is cheap and low-maintenance.

And I like to read! I love the in-game books, many of which are very well-written! I've formatted and printed out some of them from the copies on, and read them for pleasure. I'm pretty sure the 2920 series was in Oblivion, too, but I never got around to reading it, because there were so many volumes. But I'm reading it now, and it's worth the read, although it is a very brutal story, both viscerally and emotionally.

Post MQ

So now, I'm going back to the side quests. There are still many areas on the map left unexplored, and there are some towns whose quests I still haven't even picked up yet. And then there are countless mods I've looked at which add entire new islands to the game, as well as pirate-themed mods that work well with the Ultimate Galleon or Fishing Academy. And of course, I have the Tribunal expansion, which still has plenty to do, and the Bloodmoon expansion which I still haven't even begun, beyond going to Solstheim and taking a look around.

Fun with enemies

One thing I've started having fun with is converting enemies into temporary companions. I occasionally run across an enemy in a ruin or somewhere, and I may just like the look of him or her. In-game, there's a spell I haven't used much, called Command Humanoid, which will cause any NPC (if the spell is successful) to become your ally, and fight for you, just like a summoned creature, or just follow you around if there's nothing to fight. Though I haven't used that one, I have used Calm Humanoid often, to talk to enemies and see if they have any unique dialogue or training to offer.

Anyway, Command Humanoid is a temporary effect, of course, but I've been using a mod with a similar function, called NPC Functionality. This is a broad, general-purpose NPC interaction mod that I've mentioned before, that adds options to exhange pleasantries, ask the time, ask them to move out of the way, ask them to cast a beneficial spell on you, or, if they like you enough, to follow you as a companion. It can be a little tricky, because sometimes even if they're 100% disposition they still won't agree to follow you, but it works well enough after I cast spells fortifying my personality and speechcraft and charming them. So I calm the enemy, then charm them and ask them to come with me, and suddenly I have a travelling companion! Unlike Command Humanoid, this effect lasts as long as I don't ask them to stop following me. Also, as mentioned before, I can then also take advantage of the Universal Companion Share mod to exchange items with them, outfitting them with better items to improve their survivability.


  1. Defeating Dagoth Ur, IIRC, is supposed to get rid of blight storms, and it does. Problem is that it's hard to tell, from sight, the difference between a blight storm and an ash storm (except the former is what causes blight diseases), and ash storms are more or less natural to the environment.

    I agree about the whole Nerevarine greeting thing, but there are plenty of mods that fix that. The Unofficial Morrowind Patch, I think, includes the general Text Patch that, among other things, fixes the greeting issue, but there are plenty of others that only fix the greeting issue.

    And I'm in definite full agreement about the whole all-dialogue-spoken thing.

  2. Well, if ash storms are supposed to remain, then I guess my hope that they would end was misguided. Blight storms never seemed any better or worse in actual effect, as it was the reduced visibility and slowed movement walking against the wind that I don't like about both of those storms. I'll just try out this weather control amulet mod and just change to clear skies whenever one of those annoying storms starts up.

    I do already have the Unofficial patch. When I say everyone recognises me/thanks me/etc., I don't mean they all use that "E-e-excuse me sera" greeting, but they do all know who I am and may say things like "I know you've heard this a million times before, but thank you." So what I need is a "return to anonymity" mod. I'm sure there must be one out there, but I haven't searched for one yet. It was bad enough that everyone automatically knew I was an outlander, but at least I was hypothetically just one outlander amongst hundreds of other anonymous outlanders.

  3. Agreed on the voice acting part. I played Oblivion very little, but enough to wish everything was in text and I could take my time reading it instead of having to ask it repeated in case I had to answer the phone or remove a kitty from the computer cords.

  4. Warning, spoilers ahead!

    Imagine if someone actualy did something like that in real life. A champion officially chosen by all the major political and religious authorities goes forth and actually kills the bloody DEVIL, saving the world in the process. Isn't it only natural that word about this is going to get around and that the champion will be famous throughout the land?


  5. Believable, perhaps. Morrowind characters must have some kind of automatic instant universal ID spell that works through face-covering armour and resists all attempts to hide one's identity. But it doesn't make it any less annoying when I want to go through the rest of the game and expansions without everyone automatically knowing me. I mean, they can't be circulating photos of me on TV, I don't see any statues of me being erected, and I don't think there's any evidence of painted portraits or even mirrors in vanilla Morrowind, so they'd have to be relying entirely on spoken descriptions of me in bards' songs and travelers' tales, otherwise.

    A person like Robin Hood is recognised by his green outfit, being located in Sherwood Forest, and only robbing you if you're rich. The Lone Ranger is recognised because he always wears a white outfit, rides a white horse, and wears a small black mask. Those figures are recognisable to the masses in their stories because they're consistent. I, on the other hand, am traveling throughout the entire land (and others), changing clothes/armour often, and taking odd jobs. Even if there were a statue of me or songs about me being sung in every inn and on the streets, they shouldn't recognise me if I'm just some random stranger coming to town asking about odd jobs, dressing incognito.

  6. Maybe your name is floating over your head. Kind of like other people's names are floating over their heads for you. ;)

  7. That must be it! How often the simple solutions elude us! :D