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How Morrowind helped me survive my first semester of college November 10, 2009

Posted by Chris McKenna in Bethesda, College Gaming, Copy+Paste Original.
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MGE Screenshot 3 closeup

"We're watching you, brah."

I step out of the car and into the warm, humid air. Right away I’m confronted with a barrage of new and interesting sights, sounds, and smells. In the distance I can see a building. I walk towards it, open up its large, heavy doors, and descend a flight of granite steps to the dark basement below. There I’m greeted by a man who asks me for my name, my place of origin, my room number and my birthsign…

“Oh my God,” I think to myself. “This is Morrowind.”

Obviously, it wasn’t Morrowind. Not really. It was my college orientation, and although the resident assistants didn’t really ask for my birthsign, the rest of the ordeal was eerily similar.

For those not in the know, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the third game in Bethesda’s popular Elder Scrolls series, and the precursor to Oblivion. And it’s also one of my all-time favorite games.

Over the years I’m sure that I’ve pumped hundreds of hours into the game, and as my friends will attest, I’ve spent about the same time talking about it, too.

Which explains why, at a point in life that normal people would be thinking about higher education, newfound freedoms, or getting their party on, I was thinking about an immersive fantasy RPG from 2002.

But no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the feeling: I was in Morrowind. It all made sense:

Thrust into the vast, wild expanses of the island of Vvardenfell, you’re charged with making sense of an alien world and the people in it, a feeling that anyone who has ever wandered alone into a college cafeteria can understand.

With several plates of food precariously perched in my arms, I slowly meandered the crowded dining hall as passers by gave me harsh looks and evil glares, and I could have sworn that I heard someone mutter, “I’m watching you —scum.”

Secretive fraternal societies are key features of both the Morrowind and collegiate landscapes, but with a few key differences. While the Vampire clans of Morrowind ask you to kill and consume the blood of members of rival clans, college fraternities don’t make you drink the blood of your victims.

Both worlds are host to a wide variety of illegal, addictive substances. You know what they say: one man’s Skooma is another man’s Aristocrat.

Morrowind is full of bizarre creatures, as mysterious as they are deadly. Coming from my home in the southwest to my college on the east coast, I was confronted with equally strange beasts. Walking through campus one day, I nearly jumped out of my skin as I heard the devilish screech of a Cliffracer.

As I frantically searched the skies above me, cursing myself for not bringing my trusty glass dagger or at least a simple fireball spell,  I realized that the sound wasn’t coming from a horrible, winged, nightmare- bird — but a squirrel in a nearby tree. (I didn’t even know that squirrels could screech.)

Morrowind is ultimately the story of a stranger in a strange land. But, in the end, your character realizes his true position as the Nerevarine, the savior of the people of Morrowind, slays the evil Dagoth Ur, and is greeted with unimagined fame and fortune.

I can only hope that my college years will be half as rewarding – that is, if I don’t pick up Blight in the dorm showers, first.

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Comments»

1. Jack Q. - November 11, 2009

Dorm Blight…got it my freshman year here at UMD. Good times…good times.

2. Jack Q. - November 11, 2009

Also, my roommate turned out to be Dagoth Ur.

3. Hannes "icepepsi" Kinnunen - November 11, 2009

This was one hell out of a good blogg, keep it up! 😀

4. Cheryl - November 12, 2009

ROFL. Wish I’d had Morrowind to fall back on while in college, but I didn’t buy my first Xbox until after graduation. Actually, that might have been a good thing, from a time-management perspective…..

5. Lexmirnov - November 13, 2009

In fact, the whole life is something RPG-like )

6. GhostLyrics - November 14, 2009

I simply love that article and I feel similar to you. Once I didn’t look very closely at the local trainstation and saw the train going to Skingrad (instead of “Beograd”)


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