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Chris Carter avatar 7:28 PM on 05.14.2009  (server time)
Other Worlds Than These: Or, how I lived in Morrowind for 2 months

Divorce isnít easy, especially as a child. A lot of things are running through your head; things you really donít want to deal with, or maybe canít even fathom.

Everyone needs some sort of escape. My grandest grief excursion was the world of Morrowind.

I never had an experience with an Elder Scrolls title before, or even heard of them (although I shortly would enjoy them after this experience). Unbeknownst to me, Bethesda Softworks had stunned the world with the releases of Elder Scrolls: Arena, and Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Both were first-person adventure games that would become Bethesdaís trademark genre, and both were highly acclaimed at the time.

Honestly, the most enigmatic part of my journey into Tamriel could be the fact that I, to this day, have no idea why I bought the game. I think I found the brown, runic cover intriguing, as Iíve always been a huge fan of fantasy.

As soon as I entered what would become my home until my avatar's dying days, Balmora, I immersed myself in the world of Morrowind.

Balmora was a quaint town with a river running straight through it, and district seat of House Hlaalu, one of the three political parties found in the region. Although their morals were sometimes questionable, their pragmatic ways really spoke to me, and so, I chose them as my affiliation.

The Code of Hlaalu: In the great wind of progress, tradition cannot stand. Grasp fortune by the forelocks. When you see your chances, seize them. When you see a chance to turn a profit, take it. But do not follow money blindly. There is value in reputation, more than many young Hlaalu realize. This value must be carefully balanced against the more tangible coins in any deal. Theft and murder are bad for business. You can steal from someone, but will he trade with you after that? You can't bargain with a dead man.

Eventually, rising through the ranks of the house, I became a lord, and as a reward, I was given an entire plantation, complete with servants. After living there for a few days, I decided it just wasn't "me". I had been given a few homes as quest rewards, but really, I was never satisfied. None of them exemplified anything I stood for; one was too small and cramped, one was too large and presumptuous, and so on.

It wasn't until I was propositioned by a gang of deadly assassins called The Morag Tong, that I found my home.

The Morag Tong gave me an offer I couldn't refuse, and I laughed in their faces. I had never known of their existence before, but no guild of murderers was going to do business in my town. I, in turn, murdered all of them, and took over their bar. It had a quaint sitting area on the roof, and only had one room on the ground floor, but was equipped with a very large basement.

Slowly, I started moving my effects from my old homes (which, looking back, was an odd experience. Moving, in a game?), which took me 2 hours to do, going back and forth. I was very happy with my situation, and started building a library in one of the downstairs rooms, and an armory in the other. I would never move again.

As I continued my journeys throughout Morrowind, one thing was for sure; it was always interesting. You see, the deity Dagoth Ur, housed within the Red Mountain in the center of the map, was spreading pestilent disease across the land. I knew eventually I had to put an end to it, but honestly, it could wait. There was so much more out there than the lair of some deity, and I was going to explore all of it.

In Morrowind, there is no ďfast travelĒ option, outside of Silt Strider beasts that are able to transport you to and from major cities. As a result, you could never skip past anything, and are able to enjoy the nuances of the environment. I couldn't have imagined skipping past some of the enchanting towns I came across.

One of my grandest tasks was given to me when I joined ďThe TempleĒ; the official religion of Morrowind. I was required to go on a pilgrimage to seven shrines across the land. During my travels I saw wondrous things, as I had to walk the entire distance on foot. 10 hours later, I was able to complete this one quest, after being sidetracked a few times. Never before had I experienced a 10 hour quest in any game Iíve ever played; itís most likely an event that will never happen again.

During my travels, I met kings, robbers, murderers, thieves, and noble knights. I was never in one place too long, but rest assured, there are some faces I could never forget. 300 hours later, enough was enough. I was ready to finally continue my quest to stop Dagoth Ur, and finally become a hero.

But I had to come back to reality. School was starting again, and I couldnít simply escape any longer. My final resting place was in Balmora; I died with the world still in tumultuous ruin.

I perished as the Arch-Mage of the Mageís Guild, Master of the Fighterís Guild, High Acolyte of The Temple, and Lord of Hlaalu. I still, to this day, never saved the world from the terrors of Dagoth Ur: and Iím ok with that.

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