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-> ''"They have taken you from the Imperial City's prison, first by carriage and now by boat, to the east; to Morrowind. Fear not, for I am watchful. You have been chosen."''
-->-- '''Azura''', from the introduction

''The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind'' is [[NeverTrustATitle the fifth videogame]] in ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series by Bethesda Softworks, released in 2002. Like the other games in the "core" series (i.e. the ones with numbers in their names), it is a massive, [[WideOpenSandbox free-form]] {{RPG}}.

This was the first ''Elder Scrolls'' game to be released on a console (specifically, the {{Xbox}})--in fact, it was the first major WesternRPG to get a MultiPlatform release in a long while. As such, it also marked a major shift in gameplay and design philosophy. Gone were ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'''s nigh-infinite, [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels procedurally generated worlds]], replaced with carefully hand-crafted environments that, while smaller than their predecessors, were designed to invoke [[SceneryPorn awe]] and still be far larger than most video games. The combat system is radically different from the rest of the series: while it is still real-time, character stats play a far larger role than player skill compared to the rest of the series. Like the other games, however, ''Morrowind'' puts a huge emphasis on the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests numerous side quests]], to the degree where they are pretty much the most important aspect of the game, and are neatly tied into the main story.

The story is set 10 years after the events of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', on the far eastern frontier of the Tamrielic Empire. The player character is a convict and an [[ParentalAbandonment orphan]] in the Imperial City dungeons. For unknown reasons, TheEmperor Uriel Septim VII personally orders that you be released early on the condition that you be shipped to the backwater province of Morrowind (more specifically, the even more backwater district of Vvardenfell) and meet with an agent of his named [[TheSpymaster Caius Cosades]]. However, upon being released, you are perfectly free to say "screw that" and explore Vvardenfell at your own pace. If you choose to accept the mission given to you, however, you are launched into a labyrinthine plot involving an AncientConspiracy, prophecies, lost prophecies, false prophecies, reincarnation, [[PhysicalGod gods]], backroom politics, gang wars, TheCorruption, and lots and lots of walking. Seriously, you spend a good half of the game just walking around. Not that it isn't [[SceneryPorn a pleasant and interesting walk]].

Two expansion packs were later released for PC: ''Tribunal'' has you visit Morrowind Province's capital city of Mournhold to investigate an assassination plot against you. It's noticeably more challenging than the original game, and intended for mid-to-high level characters. Unfortunately, it is not a WideOpenSandbox like the rest of the game, as you are restricted to only one part of the stated-to-be massive city and the sewers/ruins [[UndergroundLevel beneath it]]. The new antagonist also turns out to have a very petty excuse for their EvilPlan, while the protagonist [[IdiotPlot has to suffer some strange lapses in judgement]] [[StupidityIsTheOnlyOption in order for the plot to proceed]].

The second expansion, ''Bloodmoon'', is generally considered far better. Set in a [[GrimUpNorth frozen tundra]] with a refreshingly different atmosphere than the main game, it returns to the WideOpenSandbox formula. There are effectively two main quests to follow in ''Bloodmoon''. The first begins when the player signs on to help an [[BadassArmy Imperial Legion]] captain with some odd jobs around his fort, which expands into a simple-but-dramatic plot about rescuing him from the [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame Most Dangerous Game]]--by taking part in it yourself. Also, [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves are involved]]. The second involves helping the new Imperial mining colony of Raven Rock grow from absolutely nothing into a flourishing frontier settlement, with plenty of somewhat interesting moral dilemmas along the way.

In 2003, the GameOfTheYearEdition was released. It includes all of the patches, DLC, and both expansions.

Despite its venerable age, ''Morrowind'' remains a classic and boasts a large player base to this day. It marked the point where [[TheVerse Tamriel]] ceased to be a standard MedievalEuropeanFantasy setting and became a truly unique ConstructedWorld with highly memorable cultures, history, creatures, landscapes, mythopoea, and characters. As its {{gushing|AboutShowsYouLike}} fans will tell you, ''Morrowind'' does imitate the works of Creator/JRRTolkien, but in a much different way than most fantasy worlds do--by putting the same amount of thought and detail into its universe, rather than just borrowing ideas from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings.'' And even less-enthused observers have to admit that ''Morrowind'' has probably had the greatest overall influence on the direction of WesternRPG output since ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'' - near-as-dammit every WRPG since has been influenced by ''Morrowind'' in some way, and it in turn took a lot from ''[=U4=]'' (and not just in game mechanics, either).
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!!This video game provides examples of:

* Morrowind/TropesAToC
* Morrowind/TropesDToL
* Morrowind/TropesMToR
* Morrowind/TropesSToZ

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