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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – Game of the Year edition

Elder Scrolls

It has been just over a year since Bethesda released their stunning RPG masterpiece The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on the Xbox system, and still no other game has risen up to take its crown. With the much anticipated releases of both Fable and Sudeki still a ways off, it looks like 2003 will go just as 2002 did, with Morrowind reigning supreme. But, the fine folks at Bethesda have decided to not sit idly by and claim victory by default. In fact, they plan on making an already fantastic game even better.

What am I on about you ask? I’m referring to Bethesda’s recent decision to release The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of the Year (GotY) for the Xbox this fall. Not to be confused with the Morrowind Platinum Hits edition, which is just the original game selling for a cheaper price, this new game will offer all-new content from both the Tribunal and Bloodmoon expansions previously only seen on the PC. Not only will the game feature all major content from these expansions, it will also include the original Morrowind in its entirety, thus allowing the Game of the Year edition to be played as a stand-alone title. And for those of you who have saved characters on your Xbox hard drives, don’t worry, you will be able to use your previous save files with the new game.

So what exactly do these new expansions offer? Well, let me break it down for you. Tribunal allows you visit Morrowind’s capital city, Mournhold, and investigate the political intrigue brewing between the two god-kings, Almalexia and Sotha Sil. In case you were wondering, the third god-king, Vivec, was met in the original Morrowind. Mournhold is quite massive and offers up some enormous dungeons such as the Clockwork City of Sotha Sil. Also different in this expansion are numerous new enemies like lich lords, Fabricants and goblins, and the ability to hire mercenaries and pack animals to aid in your questing. All told, these new features promise to offer an approximate 40 hours of additional gameplay time onto the original game.

The content offered by the other expansion, Bloodmoon, is a bit more intriguing because it gives you an entirely new island to explore. This new island of Solstheim, which is located to the north of Vvardenfell, is covered with frosty weather, thus allowing you to experience snow (including blizzards) for the first time in a Morrowind game. Besides the new weather, you’ll also fight plenty of new creatures, including wolves, frost trolls, ice minions and werewolves. In fact, in what is easily the coolest addition of this expansion, it is possible to become bitten by a werewolf and contract the disease that turns you into one! Becoming a werewolf promises to offer an entirely new gameplay experience (including new quests) and should delight both Morrowind veterans and newcomers alike. Like with the Tribunal expansion, Bloodmoon offers an additional 40 – 50 hours of new gameplay time.

The GotY edition will also have new updates that were included with the PC versions of Tribunal and Bloodmoon, including a difficulty slider, enemy health bars (Yes!) and some various other interface improvements. Unfortunately, the ability to sort through quests in the journal and place notes on the map will not make it into the final game due to console related issues. Also, it is currently unknown if Bethesda is attempting to fix some of the freeze-up problems that plagued the original Morrowind, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they do. Despite these uncertainties, the new expansions both look simply amazing and should do a smashing job of making an already masterful RPG even better. I anxiously await a chance to explore the impressive looking new locales and to quench my never-ending skooma thirst, which has been getting a bit worse as of late…

The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind Game of the Year should hit US stores sometime this fall, while the UK release is currently unknown.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2003. Get in touch on Twitter @Joshua_Luke.

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