In the beginning, there was Morrowind, and it was a buggy, godawful mess. And then Bethesda, the company responsible for said godawful mess, made a halfassed attempt to patch it, afterwhich it was... well, still a buggy, godawful mess. Bethesda then went on to be wildly successful by producing even more broken crap because Americans love crap and there's no money to be made in fixing any of it.
And then ThePal said, "let there be the Unofficial Morrowind Patch", and there was. And it was good, for it fixed many of the game's countless bugs, both big and small. And then the Unofficial Morrowind Patch begat the Unofficial Unofficial Morrowind Patch, which was pretty much the same thing but with a dumber name. And then the Unofficial Unofficial Morrowind Patch begat the Morrowind Patch Project, wherin Quorn united all the community's numerous bugfix projects to stand against the forces of evil. And lo, the reign of the Morrowind Patch Project was long and prosperous. However, Quorn disappeared shortly after releasing a new beta version of the patch, and the kingdom then descended into darkness and chaos.
It was during these dark times that a prophet named BTB entered into the kingdom and came upon the beta patch in a temple. He saw that it was good, with only minor flaws that anybody with half a brain and thirty seconds of spare time could fix, and so he did. Figuring that Quorn would eventually return to the kingdom to reclaim what was rightfully his, the prophet BTB left the fixed beta patch in the temple as a gift and took leave of the kingdom, but he was stopped on the street by a beggar who bowed down to kiss his feet. BTB proclaimed unto the beggar that yea, he was not their messiah, but a crowd of lepers had gathered around him to thank him for healing them. The kingdom then called for a great tower to be erected in honor of the false prophet BTB for his great gift of the Morrowind Patch Project.
Angered, the gods cursed the kingdom with a plague of patches, scattering them upon the face of the Earth and confusing their goals, so that they would not be able to be used with each other. And the peasants left off building the tower to go build their own towers with blackjack and hookers, because the gods had confounded the language of all the kingdom of Morrowind. And then Slartibartfast descended verily from the heavens and proclaimed, "fuck this. Let there be one patch to rule them all!" and re-united all of the patches in the land under the title of Morrowind Patch Compilation.
And then, in the year of our Lord 2013, Slartibartfast bemoaned the inefficiency the fully-patched game and sought to slay this foul demon at its source by replacing - not patching over - the game's original master files. And Slartibartfast led his army into battle against the unholy trinity of Morrowind.esm, Tribunal.esm, and Bloodmoon.esm. Standing victorious against his wicked opponents, he took the crown from Morrowind.esm and placed it upon the Morrowind Patch Compilation. "From this day forth," he declared, "thou shalt be known as Morrowind Patched!" And it was so. And it was fucking awesome.
To summarize the above, Morrowind Patched is not a patch - it's the patch. Not only does it combine the Morrowind Patch Project with literally every other bugfix mod ever (many of which were made by Slart himself, which put him in a good position to do this), but it also replaces the game's original master files with a single, unified Morrowind.esm file. This allows the game to load in a fraction of the time it did before since it's no longer reading shittons of useless data that just gets overwritten three and four times over. It also turns patching Morrowind from a nightmare of Lovecraftian proportions into a convenient one-stop shop.
There's just one small catch to all of this: every other plugin (and master file) in existence (i.e. every other mod ever) is dependent upon the master files on which they are based (i.e. the ones whose disembodied heads are now adorning pikes atop the castle walls of Slartibartfast's new empire). Thankfully, this problem has a very easy solution. Just follow these easy steps:
1. Download and install Wrye Mash
2. Select a plugin in Wrye Mash and click on the window where its master files dependencies are displayed
3. Tribunal.esm and Bloodmoon.esm (if applicable) should be unchecked and Morrowind.esm should be highlighted in green
5. Repeat the above process for every plugin you have, not just those dependent on Tribunal and/or Bloodmoon
6. Punch yourself in the face for not doing this sooner (optional)
As noted in step five, the above procedure should be applied to all of your plugins rather than just those dependent on Tribunal and Bloodmoon. This is because plugins will generate errors if they detect changes to the master files that they depend on, and Morrowind.esm (upon which all plugins are dependent) has changed considerably, to say the least. If you deleted Tribunal.esm and Bloodmoon.esm after installing Morrowind Patched then simply clicking on the window where the master file dependencies are listed (i.e. step two) will automatically perform step three for you, so all you need to do after that is save, rinse, and repeat.
Morrowind Patched is the first mod that should be installed on any build, since several of the fixes that were brought together under the rule of King Quorn are to things like broken meshes that have since been obsoleted by the more recent grahpics mods on this list (which will thus overwrite those fixes when you install them). It should also be noted that our friends from south of el border will have an unfortunate problem with Morrowind Patched, as it will replace their entire game with one written in a language that they don't speak. While this issue has already been brought up to Slartibartfast, it would appear that non-gringos will probably have to stick with using just the regular Morrowind Patch Compilation for the foreseeable future.
Better Bodies is one of the most popular mods available for Morrowind, and the reasons for this are readily apparent the moment you first lay eyes upon the moldy stick of beef jerky that you soon discover is actually your character. For as good as they were at creating beautiful environments, Bethesda sucks some rather unholy ass when it comes to recreating the human (or inhuman) form. Luckily, the folks at Psychodog Studios suffer from no such lack of artistic talent.
Better Bodies is usually available only as a self-extracting installer, which makes things easy since the multiple versions of the textures (non-nude, partially nude, and fully nude) add extra steps to the manual installation process. The partially nude version only shows female characters naked while keeping underwear on the dudes, so it's a good choice for sexually insecure boys who would still like to see some titties. As for the non-nude version, I'd only recommend it for people who for some reason don't want to integrate masturbation in with their Morrowind time. And frankly, I don't think I want to be associated with anyone like that.
The addon (that's a female symbol next to it, in case you were wondering) is "Extra High Resolution Female Textures for Better Bodies" (an unnecessarily long name which wouldn't fit in the space provided) by Cappucine and Westly. It's basically nakeder females than the ones provided by just regular Better Bodies. As with Better Bodies, you have a few choices, although they all involve nudity in this case. First, install Better Bodies and then copy over the "hands" textures from the addon to overwrite the ones installed by the former because everyone has hands and that much really isn't an option. Following that, replace the body textures of the original mod with either the "hair" or "no hair" textures from the addon depending on whether you care about the carpet matching the drapes or if you'd just rather say "fuck it" and install linoleum. Finally, there's an alternate "bluer" dark elves texture (available as a separate download on the pages I link to) which seems to be intended for players who are sexually aroused by smurfs. Use it if you get a jolly from that sort of thing, I guess.
There's one tiny bug in the original game that I should probably point out, by the way, as you're liable to actually notice it now. Because male is the "default" gender for player characters, and also because the game was coded by retards, a newly-created female character will still use the male hand textures ("man-hands", if you will) until you save and reload the game. It's pretty tame as far as bugs go (there are much worse ones than this, I assure you), but I figured I'd mention it before any of you started peeling your carrot to your in-game avatar only to have the moment ruined by her freakishly mannish grabby bits.
This is basically Better Bodies for Argonians and Khajiit, neither of which were dealt with by just regular Better Bodies. But unlike the humanoid body replacers, where there's one clearly-superior mod to rule them all, there are quite a few of them - most likely owing to the internet's rich furry community - contending for that same status with the game's beast races. I ultimately went with LizTail's version due to its artistic quality and ease of installation: both categories in which I found it to excel beyond its peers.
The "clean" and "mature" labels above refer to an anatomically-incorrect version of the mod and one with "100% more Khajiit penis!", respectively. I personally endorse the latter to anyone possessing the emotional maturity beyond that of a blueberry scone because once you get past the giant kitty dong waving around in your face (hopefully by remembering that it's helmets and boots they can't wear, not pants), you'll notice that they actually do look a lot better. And while I'm sure that the internet is just full of sick freaks who would love to nail them (or "yif" in furry-speak), I'm sure that all of us normal people who only want to sex up Swedish redheads are using LizTail's mod solely for its intended purpose of making beasts no longer fugly as shit.
LizTail advertises New Beast Bodies alongside Unique Beast Shadows, which was previously built into NBB before being broken off for some reason into its own mod. With blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the mod, because there's really little need for a shadow replacer for beast characters in a game where shadows are typically disabled because they eat up processing power like Nancy Grace eats babies and small children. Sweet mother of holy fucking shit on a pogo stick, I fucking hate that woman.
This mod completes the Better Bodies package by providing heads that no longer look like somebody took a steaming shit on your computer screen. Every head in the game (player and NPC) is replaced with a better, non-shitty head. Like Better Bodies, Better Heads is one of the oldest mods for Morrowind around. And despite the presence of many other mods that have since been created to do the same thing, Better Heads remains arguably the best of them all due to the fact that it tries to keep things simple and remain faithful to the game's original premise, whereas most of the head replacers I see nowadays appear to have been created by the same weirdos who jerk off to New Beast Bodies. Somewhat ironically, Better Heads is comprised of several head mods that predated it and was notable for being the most comprehensive compilation of head mods available for its time.
Conflicts with Better Heads are virtually nonexistent since it uses master (.esm) files rather than plugin (.esp) files. At worst, the occasional mod will somehow manage to add a new NPC with one of the original heads instead of a "better" one. Some optional extras are included with download - including an alternate plugin version of the mod - but I wouldn't recommend any of them.
With bodies and heads that no longer make people in the game look like hideous mutants, it seems weird to see them still wearing stuff that does. While not nearly as vital to non-hideous visuals as the rest of the "better" mod family, this one is still some very nice icing on the very delicious cake that is in no way a lie (seriously, fuck that meme). Better Clothes improves upon about half of the available clothing textures, optimizing them for use with Better Bodies, as well as giving unique appearances to most of the game's special and/or unique clothes.
A plugin is used to accomplish the second half of what's mentioned above, and two of them are provided: the normal plugin and an alternate "No Argonian Change" plugin. This is confusing because the alternate one is technically the one that "changes" Argonians by doing nothing to address the fact that the mesh replacements cause female Argonians to develop "breasts", whereas the regular plugin includes scripts, new dialogue topics, a tailor kit, and special "de-boobied" shirts that all serve no other purpose than to ensure that nobody has to stare at any lizard tits. If you're like me (and the vast majority of people who aredn't reading this from inside a room with padded walls), you most likely fall into the "who in the fuck cares?" camp on the subject, in which case the "No Argonian Change" plugin is the one for you. It's also the one upon which I've based the compatibility plugin for my own mod, BTB's Game Improvements, the intent being that anybody who wants one for the other version bad enough will either have to make it themselves or do the unthinkable and explain to me how it is that lizard tits are a relevant issue and why I should go out of my way to keep them away from people.
As I mentioned, Better Clothes replaces only about half of the game's clothes textures. Well, it only took a couple of years, but someone finally came along and did the other half. And that someone is
Plag Plank Playng Bob. More Better Clothes is an addon to Better Clothes, although it technically doesn't require the original to work. Like Better Clothes, it changes the meshes on some of the clothes that it edits in order to give them unique appearances via a plugin, which is set to load after the original so that it doesn't interfere with the lizard tit scripts. And here you thought we were done talking about lizard tits.
Because I'm not a fan of more plugins than necessary, the compatibility plugin for my mod (see above) also incorporates the edits from More Better Clothes. This means that it requires both Better Clothes and More Better Clothes to be installed, it's to be used in place of both the original Better Clothes plugin and the More Better Clothes addon plugin, and anyone who gives two shits about lizard tits should immediately seek professional help. Seriously, what in the hell is the matter with you people?
It may surprise you to learn that robes are not clothes, at least not as far as the above two mods are concerned. I mention this so that you don't install them and then wonder why they're broken the first time you meet Ygfa (who would look a lot better if she were a Swedish redhead, by the way). I mention this also as an appropriate segue into a mod that does consider robes to be clothes and replaces the godawful ones in the game with ones that actually look like robes. And because the lady behind it has "Canadian" in her name, I'm legally required to make a joke here about maple syrup and bagged milk.
Canadian Ice's Robes come in two flavors (both of which taste like maple syrup), each one using textures from a different artist. In an unprecedented display of user-friendliness, the download page explains how you can mix and match from the two versions except for the ten robes that have different meshes in their respective plugins and thus can't be easily swapped out. There are alternate versions of the plugin in each version that omit one or both of the game's expansions (because this mod was created back before literally everyone in the world had a copy), as well as one that adds robes to some of the game's leveled lists. The readme urges you to use a leveled list merger along with that one: good advice in general, but not really necessary if you're only using mods from this list. After all, compatibility is what this list is all aboot, 'eh? Now, let's all go have some Kraft Dinner.
This mod does run into the same problem that Better Clothes did, however, in that the plugin converts several robes to metric (LOL Canada) that I've also edited in the "Equipment" plugin of BTB's Game Improvements. So, I made some compatibility plugins (included with my mod) that apply my changes while still allowing the robes to be made... Canadian. And icy.
At this point in the list, you may have started to notice a trend with graphics replacers in that vastly improving the visual quality of certain aspects of the game has a habit of making the ones you don't stand out even more. Enter a man named Darknut, who clearly has more spare time on his hands than can be considered healthy (much like myself). He handily deals with a good number of these things that other mods either haven't, or have and did so very poorly. His distribution methods leave a lot to be desired, however, to the point that I both love and hate this man at the same time.
What's notable about Darknut's work is that he doesn't do like so many before him have (and failed) by turning Morrowind into some sort of fantasy kitchen sink. Rather, he just focuses on simply taking the original artwork and polishing it up until it no longer looks like ass. He remains so faithful to the originals, in fact, that everything he replaces actually becomes *less* noticeable as a result. In short, my not-so-humble opinion of Darknut's textures is that they look less like replacements and more like you went and got a better video card.
Now, for the technical stuff. First, Darknut likes to release his textures in two versions: a smaller 512-res version and a more detailed 1024-res version. Quality-wise, the big jump is from the originals to Darknut's 512-res textures. You really have to look hard to spot the far more subtle differences between the 512-res and 1024-res versions, and the increase in file size (and thus CPU load) between the two is dramatic. It's up to you to decide whether or not the extra quality is worth it, though most computers these days are fast enough that this might not really be much of an issue anymore.
As for the weapons mod in particular, what I link to is the complete version that comprises the dozen or so smaller releases that Darknut made over time and for some reason just never bothered to delete from the Planet Elder Scrolls archives. Also, both the 512 and 1024-res versions are located inside their own respective folders within the download file structure, so it's up to you to choose one and then manually copy the files over to the "textures" folder inside your data files directory. Although slightly irksome, this is by far the least irritating of Darknut's major replacement mods.
For reasons that will forever elude me, Darknut just didn't feel like including both versions of the armor textures in the same download as he did with the weapons mod. Also, both armor replacers consist of about twenty separate subfolders - one for each armor type - whose files must be individually copied over to your "textures" folder. Remember that these files belong just inside the "textures" folder in your data files directory, and thus the subfolders for each armor type serve no purpose except to make more work for the end user. And just for that extra bit of "fuck you", there's a few overlapping textures in some of the subfolders so that you'll think you've fucked something up halfway through the installation (protip: just do them in alphabetical order).
But wait, there's more! One of the textures in the 1024-res armor download is broken (at least as of version 1.1). So, if you're using the 1024-res version, you'll have to either download the 512-res pack and fish the tx_a_imperialchain_f_c.dds texture out of the "Misc" folder or just live with the giant, black crotch flaps that the broken one gives to Imperial Chain Armor. This is completely unrelated to the "alternate" Imperial Chain texture found in the 1024 version that, as far as I can tell, is completely identical to the original. I'm starting to think that Darknut is just trying to piss me off.
The armor mods also contain a single mesh file in the Ebony armor folder that needs to be placed in the "data files/meshes/a" folder. This one is technically a fix, and as such is already included as part of Morrowind Patched (from back in the old days when the patch actually tried fixing shit like this). Thus, copying it over isn't necessary unless you're some kind of nitwit who isn't using Morrowind Patched, in which case I'd have to teabag you mercilessly until you realized the error of your ways.
From a distribution standpoint, these are by far the most poorly-managed of Darknut's textures, and the fact that they're good enough to make me put up with it just pisses me off even more. Why he can't just combine the downloads into a single page - or at the very least incorporate his addendum into the appropriate downloads - is forever beyond me. On top of that, I can't even just throw the links at you and tell you to go nuts (no pun intended). As always, there's a few issues that need to be discussed.
The "addendum" download is basically a bunch of shit that Darknut forgot to include along with the base textures, and should thus be installed on top of it. The Planet Elder Scrolls page has an addendum to the addendeum in the form of a fix to a broken Winged Twilight texture in the addendum that he uploaded there, because apparently "consolidation" is a dirty word where Darknut comes from. He was at least nice enough to integrate the Winged Twilight fix into the addendum download at GHF, though I think that may have been a deliberate attempt to piss me off even further since he makes no mention at all of said fix there and so I spent a good twenty mintues on Fliggerty's site looking for the damn thing.
Speaking of Darknut trying to drive me crazy, there's a texture named tx_kwama_foragerspit.dds that got included in the download by mistake or some shit. And Darknut apparently couldn't be assed to remove it himself, so he just made a note in the documentation that the player should, like, not install that file. On an entirely separate (and considerably less-maddening) note, Darknut's Creature Textures should be installed after Visual Pack and Connary's textures (see below).
This is a trio of mods that deal with three special cases that were missed by both Darknut and Better Bodies: Azura, Lord Vivec, and Almalexia (actually, I think Darknut does do Almalexia, but let's just assume for the sake of narrative flow that he doesn't). As with Darknut's textures, the goal here isn't so much to drastically alter their appearances as it is to apply the Better Bodies standard of making them no longer look like Oprah's back hair shaved onto the floor of a gas station bathroom. Because this is three different mods rather than just one of them, I'll describe them all separately below.
The first one, the Azura replacer, is the most straightforward. Just copy the meshes and textures over and you're good.
The Vivec God Replacement is a tad bit more complicated, starting with the fact that there's actually two different versions of it. The "creature" version, which I link to, is the straight-up texture replacer that makes no other alterations to Lord Vivec. There also exists an NPC Edition, which contains a plugin that converts him from a creature into an NPC so that he can be given better animations. It also edits some dialogue and shit. I don't use it, and it appears by all accounts to be the less popular of the two.
Both versions of the Vivec God Replacement also contain a folder of extras which consist almost entirely of alternate versions of Vivec's head. I personally prefer the concept head with the added particle effect, because flaming heads are always awesome. There's also an optional folder with a plugin and textures which allows you to loot Vivec's armor from his dismembered corpse and wear it, but I ignore it because the armor sucks and looks like the crap we're trying to upgrade away from.
Lastly, Better Almalexia is also a more or less straight-up and straightforward texture replacer. There's a folder containing an alternate eye texture that can be safely ignored, but the textures for the optional plugin that allows you to wear Almalexia's armor after you gank her are for some reason included in along with the main textures. Unlike Vivec God Replacement, however, this armor actually looks pretty damn good, so you may want to actually use it (though preferably with this edited plugin that makes it less overpowered and overpriced). I would say that Better Almalexia is the only one of the three that requires Tribunal to be installed, but then I'd have to kick you in the ovaries for being dangerously stupid.
Visual Pack is a compilation of several different texture mods that collectively replaces nearly every texture in the game with improved hi-res graphics. It falls into the same category as Better Heads in that it's an older mod which was fairly revolutionary back when it was the first one to combine the best parts of other texture mods into a cohesive, cream-filled whole. And also like Better Heads, the mod community has since been flooded with all manners of knockoffs that range from bad to just plain weird. It all goes to prove that you just can't fuck with a classic like Visual Pack.
Connary, on the other hand, is seen as something of a modern-day messiah in the world of Morrowind modding. For years, his work was the quintessential holy grail of texture mods that many spoke of, but few claimed to have actually seen due a great cataclysm some time before the dawn of recorded Morrowind modding history rendering them unavilable to the general public. A break in the case was made back in '09 when his work popped up on the filesharing site equivalent of AIDS. And the moment anyone set foot into the Temple of Doom known as 4shared in an attempt to retrieve the holy textures, it became immediately apparent how it was that they went missing there for over two years.
Since then, filesharing sites have been getting ROFLstomped left and right by the bag of dicks that is the US Government, and several Morrowind mod sites either got caught up in the crossfire or just got shut down due to lack of funding/boredom/derp. Someone finally got it in their heads to start up a site to archive the metric shitton of mods that were on the verge of being lost forever; that site is Morrowind Modding History, and I want to find that someone who's responsible for it and love them in ways that are illegal in 49 states. Said site is now the home of Connay's textures, along with most every other mod on my list.
Since both Visual Pack and Connary's textures are full replacers, there's going to be some overlap with other mods on this list. Thus, you should read this paragraph in its entirety. First of all, as I've already mentioned, Morrowind Patched should be installed before anything else. Secondly, install Visual Pack first and then Connary's textures because there is significant overlap between them and Connary's textures are the better of the pair. Finally, mods that should be installed after Visual Pack and/or Connary's textures are: Darknut's Creatures, Darknut's Dwemer textures, Mesh Improvements, SWG's Skies, Oblivion Septims, Windows Glow, and Distant Lights.
As a warning, Connary's textures seem to have been uploaded to Morrowind Modding History by a graduate of the Darknut school of Morrowind modding; they are all unnecessarily broken up into several dozen sub-folders for each type of texture being replaced, thus requiring the end user to manually copy every fucking one of them into your "data files/textures" folder (except for those which also include meshes, which are separated thusly). You can skip the "creatures" folder entirely since it's incomplete and is overwriten by Darknut's comprehensive creature replacer. You also don't have to bother with the meshes included with Visual Pack since they're just coin meshes that will be overwritten by Oblivion Septims.
Mesh Improvements does for the game's meshes (i.e. shapes) what Visual Pack and Connary do for its textures. If you'd rather not get too technical about the difference between the two, then just consider this the second half of Visual Pack/Connary and download it without asking any questions. The overall effect of Mesh Improvements is less immediately noticeable than that of the texture replacers above, but the former compliments the latter(s) exceptionally well.
Unlike the texture replacers, Mesh Improvements has little to no direct competition. There's a lot fewer mesh mods out there, and none to my knowledge that are all-out replacements. This leaves Mesh Improvements as the de-facto best choice in the mesh department, and there's no reason not to use it in its entirety (including the "optional" Tribunal and Dwemer meshes). Please note, however, that Mesh Improvements is to be installed after Connary's textures and before Oblivion Septims.
Once upon a time, when Slartibartfast was just a wee young pile of spellcheck vomit, he realized that whoever tiled the game's landscapes was either drunk off his ass, just really wanted to get the hell out of the office one Friday afternoon, or possibly both. Nobody really noticed how shitty of a job the guy did in the original game because all of the textures looked like crap anyway. But then Visual Pack came out and everyone was like, "whoa, this looks like fucking shit!" and the guy responsible for it is now on the streets giving handjobs for moldy bread scraps (nah, just kidding - he's swimming around in a vault full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck because stupid American audiences will buy anything).
Anyhow, Slartibartfast saw this and took it upon himself to do the guy's job for him and released a mod called Texture Fix that was honestly far much more work than anyone should do without getting paid for it. And then he came out with this little gem that not only did the same thing for Solstheim, but also gave the landscape textures a makeover in the same vein as Visual Pack and/or Connary since for some reason neither of them did the same thing. Note that all of Slartibartfast's texture fixes - that is, the proper arrangement of how the textures are called by the game - are now included in Morrowind Patched, which is why Texture Fix is no longer on my mod list and we're only after Bloodmoon Landscape Overhaul for the textures (and also some meshes). In other words, install the meshes and textures, but don't use the included .esm file.
By now, one of the few places left to look for graphics that we haven't replaced yet is to the skies. And to be honest, the game's original ones don't really look that bad compared to all of the other stuff we've updated. Still, SWG's Skies are a marked improvement. The new sky textures are of higher quality and the meshes have been re-mapped to fill the whole sky rather than tile across it. There are several other upgrades/additions, as well, which are broken up into optional folders that can be used independently from one another. I'll go over each one separately, as I don't recommend using them all.
The "skies" folder is the main sky replacer. Just copy the meshes and textures into your data files folder. And then, because one of the meshes is broken, you'll need to install the fixed one that's featured as a separate download from the sites linked to above, or you can just download it here. I host the night sky mesh fix on my site because SWG is yet another graduate of the Darknut school of mod distribution and figured that the best place to put the fixed mesh was motherfucking 4shared of all places (and I wouldn't touch that site with Hitler's dick) instead of just updating the main download.
The "optional textures" folder contains alternate textures for clear and cloudy skies. They actually look like clear and cloudy skies, respectively, unlike the main ones which both look pretty much alike. The only thing that seems to earn them the "optional" label is their similarity to the game's original "Vanilla Skies", which SWG hates in the same way that normal people hate lawyers and child rapists. I like them better than the originals, but Vurt's Skies (keep reading) invalidate them either way.
The "particles" folder contains better particle effects for things like raindrops, ash storm dust, and snowflakes. The readme doesn't make it very obvious, but these belong in the "data files/textures" folder since they're textures. They look very pretty, and I would definitely recommend using them.
The "sunglare" folder contains textures that attempt to make the game's sunglare effect look more realistic. I'd pass on these since I think they look terrible and you're better off using MGE to achieve the results that these textures aim for.
The "moons" folder replaces the textures of Masser and Secunda (Morrowind's moons). They look good, so go for it.
The "Dwemer Observatory sky" folder replaces the textures of the sky as seen from the Dwemer Observatory; no comment.
Lastly, SWG suggests several Morrowind.ini edits to go along with the new skies. Rather than having to make them yourself, the mod is bundled with a program called MINI ("Morrowind .INI" editor) that will make them for you. Two sets of edits are included, only one of which is to be used. They're named "light nights" and "dark nights", which I personally find to be a bit misleading - "dark nights" and "pitch-fucking-black nights" seem more appropriate. Even given the game's varied appearance from system to system, an identical effect to the latter can likely be achieved simply by powering off your monitor.
That said, I don't really care for the .ini edits. Like anyone else who's ever tweaked those settings, SWG seems to be going for a more "alien" look, which just ends up being more weird than better: liquid blue skies, deep purple overcasts, and radioactive green fog that looks suspiciously like the notorious "Kryptonite Fog" from Superman 64 (because that's a game you want to be taking ideas from). Give them a try if you want, but back up your Morrowind.ini first - the included "reset to Vanilla" MINI template is incomplete and fails to revert several settings to their default values (including the aforementioned Kryptonite Fog).
Moving on, let's talk about Vurt's Skies. Vurt is one of the bigger names in the world of Morrowind modding, known mostly for his work with animated grass. As it turns out, Vurt is also a huge fan of SWG's Skies. He just doesn't like them very much, so he went ahead and made his own, completely different versions of them. With blackjack. And (okay, yeah, this joke is getting old). Inexplicably, Vurt's Skies is an addon rather than a standalone mod, so you'll first need to install SWG's Skies before these textures that aim to replace them almost entirely (which is something of an apt metaphor for Morrowind itself at this point).
Vurt's skies only replace the "main" folder in SWG's mod, which consists of all ten weather conditions plus night skies. As for which individual replacements I'd recommend, Vurt's are the clear winner in all but two categories: night and snow. The snow and blizzard skies are actually a pretty close match, and my preference of SWG's may be more a matter of personal taste than anything. But I can honestly say beyond the shadow of any doubt that SWG's night skies kick the everloving shit out of Vurt's.
This mod replaces the background images that are used when reading your journal, books, and paper/scrolls. For paper/scrolls, you have your pick of four different replacers, though number two (pictured) is clearly the best.
The font in the screenshots, by the way - since I have literally nothing else to say about Vurt's mod and need to fill this space somehow - is the work of a man better known for bringing us the Morrowind Code Patch (not to be confused with Morrowind Patched). Better Dialogue Font (alternate link) is a higher-resolution version of the game's "Magic Cards" font, which it uses for pretty much everything (not just the dialogue, derp). In conjunction with a fix made by the Morrowind Code Patch, Better Dialogue Font makes all of the in-game text less blurry, more crisp, and gives it a fresh, lemony scent. Just copy it over to the "fonts" subdirectory in your "data files" folder and let it replace the one that's already there. The download also includes a backup of the original font in case you go full retard or something and want to revert to it.
A poorly-named mod to say the least, Particle Arrow Replacer is self-descriptive on a technical level only, leaving what it does a mystery to most people who don't care enough to investigate. What it does is replace the particle effects on all pre-made enchanted arrows, which is the nerdy way of saying that it makes flaming arrows actually look like flaming arrows. It does the same for all other elements and effects, too, but I mention the flaming arrows specifically so that I can make a joke about just how fabulous this mod makes them look.
A plugin is required to update the meshes of enchanted arrows, and this mod thus conflicts with BTB's Game Improvements. My mod edits most of the game's enchanted equipment, but most of those changes are to the enchantments rather than the arrows themselves; the only snags are two arrows that I switched to a new enchantment. Because this was so minor, I just said "fuck it" and worked the compatibility into my remake of Area Effect Arrows, with which Particle Arrow Replacer was not compatible due to more significant conflicts.
This is a fun little mod that gives summoned "bound" equipment a more ghostly/ethereal look, which I like primarily because it helps to distinguish it from regular Daedric stuff (to which it is otherwise identical). The mod's creator, PeterBitt, apparently had a crisis of conscience just prior to its release, acknowledging that it is not at all lore-accurate and that he has no intentions of updating it in the future. But I say fuck that; Peter did some good work with these new textures (really just a recoloring and a transparency effect) and I wholeheartedly recommend them.
Like anything else that edits equipment, however, the required plugin for this mod is going to conflict with BTB's Game Improvements. And like everything else on this list that conflicts with BTB's Game Improvements, there's a compatibility plugin packaged with it (or, at least there will be in the next update - please be patient) that takes care of this problem. If you wish to thank me for my efforts, please email me with a picture, contact information, and heavy metal preference of an attractive Swedish redhead in or near the Houston area (please, no fat chicks).
These are some various textures made by a guy named Masoxx and he calls them "extreme" because they are extreme to the max, yo. But the only ones we're really interested in are the spell effects, because we've already replaced all of the other textures that Masoxx has extreme'd the fuck up, ya feels me? But, dig this shit, these textures are just way too extreme to be contained in a single download. So go to Masoxx's (that extra "x" is for "my shit is fucking extreme, bitch") page at Morrowind Modding History and download just the spell fx textures without having to sort through a bunch of totally extreme textures that you probably don't even need. Or, you can just download the spell fx textures from my site, which is just as extreme, dawg.
If you do decide to take your game to the max with the other extreme textures, you should install that totally radical shit after Visual Pack, yeah? And Connary's textures will make that shit more useless than a two-pound dick at a dyke bar. Oh, and those extreme grass textures will need a mod that adds grass for them to actually show up, yo. But the problem with grass mods is that they slow down your game like yo momma when I bust a cap all up in her ass, which is totally *not* extreme. So keep away, don't do milk, stay in drugs, and drink your school.
AKA "Crosshair Pack II: The Legend Continues", this is a collection of replacers for the game's first-person crosshair. The extensive variety of CP2 not only eclipses its predecessor to the point of complete obscurity, but also allows it to appeal to a much broader audience. Sensible players like myself will appreciate the far less obtrusive gray "dot" (pictured), while all of you freaks out there are free to plaster a giant, yellow 'X' (also pictured, for shiggles) onto your monitors.
Although a simple texture replacer, you'll need to remember to rename the chosen crosshair to "target.dds" prior to (or after) installation. Failure to do so results in it not actually doing anything and lots of angry emails from basement-dwelling troglodytes wondering why "ur mod no wurk1!!". And then I have to respond to these mentally-challenged dipshits by saying that it's not my fault that we put warning labels on everything so that hopeless retards are allowed to continue breeding. And then there's the crying, the screaming, and the confused banging of their helmet-clad heads against solid objects. It's a huge pain in the ass, really.
...and people wonder why I'm still single.
This is a pack of, well, alternate enchanted item icons. The name kind of says it all, really. One of them is a brighter blue swirl that contrasts better with the magic items, thus rendering them more visible. The other is muted light blue "gleam" (pictured) that's by far the better of the two.
What comes down to, I think, is how enchanted items appear in large groups. With either of the "swirl" graphics, they tend to pretty much overtake the whole area as one, gigantic blue mass. Also, the alternate blue swirls look really blocky if there's more than one of them. The "gleam" suffers from neither of these problems, which is why it's my obvious choice.
To be honest, the gold in Morrowind looks like fucking garbage. That is, it literally looks like trash having sexual intercourse, which I'm pretty sure you can find on the internet if you want (thank you, rule 34). This mod provides gold textures that are not only of much higher quality than the originals, but are actually those of septims from Oblivion (the game, not the place).
By default, the "tails" side of the septim is shown on all graphics. The readme describes how to change all of the world meshes to display "heads", but the inventory icon is sadly unchangeable from the tails face. Also, install this after both Visual Pack and Mesh Improvements.
Realistic Blood replaces the game's default "smoke puff" blood texture with a far more realistic blood "splatter". The mod itself is just a single texture file that needs only to be copied into the "data files/textures" folder: just drag and drop and you're good to go. It shouldn't conflict with any other texture replacers because I honestly don't think I've seen a single one that addresses this particular texture, leaving us with yet another winner by sheer virtue of default.
Weathered Signs aims to make the game's signposts readable, but without making them seem out of place. There are many mods out there that all do pretty much the same thing if you're not happy with the particular flavor of this one, but I like Weathered Signs the best.
This mod hasn't been updated since the last version of Morrowind was released, so it will generate an irritating (although harmless) warning as the game boots. This can be remedied by using Wrye Mash to update the plugin - bearing in mind that you'll already be doing this to all of your plugins if you're using Morrowind Patched - or just download the mod from my site.
Herbalism For Purists is actually a combo pack of three different mods, which makes it a bit difficult to categorize since they all do different things. I settled on "gameplay change" since its primary function and selling point is a mechanical change that removes the "container" interface when harvesting alchemy ingredients from plants; rather, the plant simply disappears after its ingredients have been harvested. This eliminates the homicide-inducing frustration and confusion of trying to remember which plants you've pilfered in a sea of hundreds, not to mention no longer having to click "take all" for every last one. This is about as close as a mod can come to being a bug fix without actually being one, especially since the other two parts of it qualify as such.
The less talked-about parts of the HFP trinity are Bloated Morrowind and Flora Glow. The former adds bloat spores to the game; these are the plants from which the "bloat" ingredient can be harvested that already existed in Morrowind's code, but some herp derp just forgot to put them in the fucking game. The latter makes all flora (that means "plant" in Latin) that's supposed to glow actually do so. A .bsa file makes the necessary changes and will need to be referenced in Morrowind.ini in order to work. Although it's an easy edit to make, the download also includes a patcher that will do this five-second job for you, you lazy fuck. One interesting and likely unintended side effect of this new functionality is that the empty space left behind after harvesting glowing flora will still continue to glow despite the fact that there's nothing there anymore. Weird.
I recommend downloading the mod from my site rather than from anywhere else due to a bug in the original mod which causes kollups to give you broken pearls. I've edited the main plugin to remove its edits to kollups, thus fixing the bug, and went ahead and merged it with the Tribunal and Bloodmoon addons while I was at it since nobody doesn't have Tribunal and Bloodmoon anymore. Although I could have just fixed the pearl problem outright (the "Tribunal only" plugin from the original mod didn't have this bug), doing so seemed inappropriate since kollups are the only "plants" in the game that legitimately should function like containers instead of disappearing completely when they're looted.
It's not often that I think that people who write readmes say anything with any degree of eloquence, but I believe that HotFusion sums up the situation pretty well in the main one for this mod:
"Morrowind's economy is out of control. It is very, very easy to make money (people frequently obtain millions of gold coins during the course of the game). Worse, there isn't a whole lot to spend this money on. Equipment is a serious expense at the beginning of the game, but it isn't long before the player graduates from store-bought gear and starts using loot... the result is a situation where the player makes an ever-increasing amount of money, but faces an ever-decreasing list of expenses."
Economy Adjuster is comprised of several plugins that can be used independently from one another, thus allowing the player to choose which adjustments to implement. Collectively, they aim to make the economy harder to exploit, which in turn makes the game more fun/challenging. Economy Adjuster is one of two mods (the other being Wakim's Game Improvements) from which my own mod was inspired. As such, BTB's Game Improvements was largely designed to replace HotFusion's Economy Adjuster; the "Merchant" module is the only one I recommend using, and I strongly suggest downloading my edited version for reasons that I will explain below. It's a long story, so feel free to skip it and just trust me on this one.
The "Merchant" module is more or less the main plugin of HotFusion's mod, as it deals with Morrowind's economy directly at its source: the merchants themselves. As many a player has discovered, the way that merchants deal with your character is at best wonky, and at worst batshit insane. The strange phenomenon of buying an item and then selling it right back to the merchant who just sold it to you at a higher price than you paid for it, more commonly known as the "mercantile bug", is put to an end by Economy Adjuster. Although, technically speaking, this issue isn't the "real" mercantile bug, but rather the cause of it.
In actuality, the mercantile bug refers to the fact that merchants eventually start offering you progressively worse prices for items once your mercantile skill reaches a certain point. This is because the mercantile skills of the merchants are ludicrously low, and the so-called "bug" was a deliberate stopgap put in place by the programmers to stop you from *really* hosing the poor bastards. And as several exhaustive charts of painstaking research in the plugin's readme prove, the mercantile bug is effectively removed from the game simply by raising their skills to acceptable levels.
The speechcraft and mercantile skills for every merchant, trainer, and service provider in the game are raised by the "Merchant" plugin. Where the higher mercantile skills make our NPCs much more shrewd in their dealings with you, the higher speechcraft skills make them harder to sweet-talk into cutting you a deal anyway. It also reduces the effectiveness of bribery and removes the disposition bonus to a merchant for each successful barter. This not only makes raising your mercantile skill more helpful over the long haul, but your speechcraft skill, as well.
The insertion method of these changes is through dialogue, which is a lot better for compatibility than direct editing and a lot less painful than anal. Version 1.0 of Economy Adjuster uses the phrase, "Hold on... I'm busy right now. Talk to me again in a few seconds." for all appropriate NPCs in order to make the necessary changes. While the update is immediate and already applied by the time you see the message, this method does run into the problem that it also prevents certain disposition checks against your character - like if you have a high bounty, for example - unless you end the conversation and speak to the NPC again.
Version 1.1 takes a different approach by inserting edits via audible idle and greeting sounds (a sniff or a rude "hrmph!"). HotFusion touts this as a less annoying alternative to the method used in version 1.0. The problem here is that these sounds are not immediate, and unless you stand around and wait for a moment before talking to most NPCs, the update won't yet have been applied. This method also suffers from the drawback of being much, much more annoying than the original. Version 1.1 did get at least one thing right, however, in the inclusion of several NPCs that had been overlooked in the first version.
Since both versions were problematic at this point, my ultimate solution was to create my own version of the 1.0 plugin that fixed the problem with disposition checks and incorporated both the missing merchants that were added in version 1.1 as well as four Blades trainers that both versions missed. The latter warrants no further discussion, and the former was resolved by editing the script to force a new conversation after it runs. This had the added benefit of rendering the "I'm busy" message from version 1.0 useless, because the script finishes instantly and the NPC begins speaking normally afterward. There does have to be some text present for the script to run, however, so my version just uses the phrase, "...".
Regardless of which version you're using, the script will only run during your first meeting with any NPC. This means that unless you feel like screwing around with the console to edit every merchant that you've already spoken to, this will require a new game to be completely effective.
Regarding the other modules of Economy Adjuster, they have either been replaced by BTB's Game Improvements (see below) or will be replaced in the next version of it (which I will start working on as soon as I finish updating this list).
One of the earliest mods to implement tweaks and rule changes to the game was Wakim's Game Improvements. Content with using it for quite some time, I started noticing things about it that I wanted to change. A few minor edits turned into a few more, and before I knew it I had a full-blown release of my own on my hands (no, not *that* kind of release). Yes, kids, uncle BTB has finally made a contribution to the mod community aside from writing snarky commentary about the ones he likes.
I'm going to hold off on any further description of my mod here for the time being, as it is due for a massive overhaul as of the time of this writing. The goal is to this list updated first, after which I will begin work on my mod.
Describing this mod is a bit complicated, since I'm actually having to describe two of them. The other is Wakim's Game Improvements, namely its "Faction" module, of which Service Requirements is largely an extension. The combined purpose of the two is to make guilds and factions somewhat more exclusive, thus providing a greater sense of reward and accomplishment as you advance throughout them, not to mention in most cases giving you a reason to join up in the first place.
Wakim took something of an issue with the fact that the minimum stat requirements to become a member of most of the factions were roughly equal to the lowest possible stats that you can start the game with. And so, he made it more difficult to both join up with and to advance in rank through these fine establishments. Also, Wakim was by all accounts the first person to ever think of stopping NPCs who claim to refuse service to non-members of a faction from servicing non-members.
What Service Requirements then came along and did was flat-out put an end to these people offering their services to any bum who wandered in off of the street. It specified that in order to obtain services a member of any faction, you must either outrank that member, or in some cases, be at least of the same rank. It basically took what Wakim's Game Improvements started and logically followed through with it - whereas Wakim made it harder to join up with and rise up through these groups, Service Requirements gives you reason to do so.
Where it all comes together is when the author of Service Requirements finally got the idea to merge his mod with the changes that Wakim made. Service Requirements was thus presented to the public in two flavors: original and WGI style. Using just this mod on its own makes little sense, as I've already discussed how it and WGI go together like Swedish redheads and eyepatches. And I would just say to go ahead and use the WGI version, except that some of Wakim's settings don't mesh very well with BTB's Game Improvements. And since my mod was sort of created to replace Wakim's mod... well, you see where this is going.
The first issue is that BTB's Game Improvements lowers the overall starting attributes for each race, so it's not necessary to raise the joining attribute requirements above 30 simply for them to have any meaning at all. Secondly, BTB's Game Improvements also stops natural growth of miscellaneous skills, thus making the skill level requirements in most cases far harsher unless you're running a very specialized skillset. Third, and not really as important, I found the distribution of favored skills and attributes throughout the factions to be a bit lopsided and in need of some general tweaking.
To this end, the download from my site is an edited version of the original Service Requirements plugin that adjusts the attribute and skill level requirements for faction advancement to more appropriate levels that are still challenging while still allowing full promotion without having to custom-build your character specifically for that purpose. In general, I make it easier to play to your character type rather than against it, as it's now much harder (albeit not impossible) to advance significantly through any faction outside of your area(s) of expertise. But even playing to your strengths, however, the new requirements are such that more time and character development must go into rising to the top of any of the game's factions, thus lending more meaning to such a monumental achievement. As always, refer to the included readme for more details.
Other issues do tend crop up with a mod like Service Requirements - especially in conjunction with mods like Wakim's or BTB's Game Improvements. One of them is the relative scarcity of trainers for certain skills, particularly when said trainers are of a rival faction. It just so happens that my edited version is based on an update to Service Requirements that was made by yet another modder who addressed this issue by allowing services to the unworthy, albeit with a hefty surcharge. Bear in mind that the surcharges were concieved in a non-BTBGI environment, and so they're pretty price-gougey even by my standards. Thus, I've edited the values to make them a bit more worth actually paying (a full price table is in the readme). Oh, yeah, and I also edited the surcharge dialogue so that the NPCs don't sound like fucking robots.
Another problem with Service Requirements is the occasional difficulty of starting out in some cases. Since most of the game's spell vendors will now refuse service to you until you've sufficiently advanced through their little group, you'll have to find some other way early on to get your hands on some decent, low-cost spells to practice with. I recommend the "Spells" plugin from BTB's Game Improvements, which does a lot to provide starting characters with plenty of newbie-friendly spells to toss around.
This is a mod created by a lady named Denina that handily deals with a particular pet peeve of mine in which that whole "starting out the game with only the clothes on your back" feeling is greatly downplayed by the crates full of totally free shit that litter the streets of Balmora and other cities. Earn Your Keep turns them all into crates full of nothing. Absolutely nothing. It also cleans up all of those weapons that some stupid asshole left lying around Seyda Neen, so you have to buy your own.
That's... really all I have to say about this one. Let's move on.
This is a new project I'm working on. Will post here when I actually finish it.
State-Based (sic) Hit Points makes a small, but very important adjustment to how the game calculates your maximum health. Rather than being based on your endurance at the time of leveling up, your maximum health gains per level will be applied retroactively based on your current endurance and strength values. In other words, your endurance can be raised at your convenience for exactly the same effect as if you had rushed it, where previously it would have resulted in a much lower maximum health. Why the game was programmed that way to begin with is beyond me, though "incompetence" is looking like a fairly likely explanation at this point.
To elaborate, State-Based HP establishes the average value of your strength and endurance attributes as your "base" health, and then adds to that one tenth of your endurance times your character's level. So while strength does still play a role in determining your maximum health, that role is greatly eclipsed by the the one played by endurance. And that brings me to my next point.
This mod has a secondary effect in that it lends some degree of purpose to fortifying your endurance. Since the health calculation script runs in real-time, your maximum health is immediately boosted whenever you raise your endurance (or strength). There is a tradeoff, however, in that attacks which drain your endurance are now much more deadly. Black-Heart Blight, in particular, is usually outright fatal to any but the most powerful characters. This effect is so bad, in fact, that the next update to BTB's Game Improvements is going to lower the endurance drain so it doesn't one-shot weaker characters.
Talrivian's State-Based HP is a continuation of the exact same mod created years earlier by HotFusion that completely rewrites the original script to do away with some of the... wonkiness one tended to encounter when using HotFusion's version. Talrivian's mod retains the same name as its predecessor, complete with bad spelling, either as a direct homage to HotFusion or to cover up for a lack of creativity on Talrivian's part (an issue with which I'm not unfamiliar, to be honest). Thorough testing of the final version of Talrivian's mod (2.2) has shown a near-complete absence of wonkiness.
The only remaining issue with Talrivian's State-Based HP is a far more benign version of a similar problem that HotFusion's version had. In the original mod, the starting bonus to health for a high strength attribute would remain with a newly-created character unless you went back to change something at the final confirmation before your papers were stamped at the census office. Talrivian's version will calculate your health correctly at first, but will display an incorrect, lower value if you go elect to alter your name, race, class, or birthsign - even if you don't actually make a change. It will revert to the correct value after the chargen process is completed, however.
Dark Brotherhood Armor Replacer Expanded (henceforth referred to as "D.B.A.R.E.") replaces the game's default "deep-sea diver" Dark Brotherhood armor with a set that looks like the outfits worn by the ninjas from Mortal Kombat. I defy anyone to look at the yellow version - of the many different colors available to choose from - and not be overcome with the desire to yell, "Get over here!" and harpoon a guy in the throat (then again, just about everything makes me want to do that). It also adds new weapons and a few new pieces of Dark Brotherhood armor, so it also qualifies as an Added Content mod.
What earns D.B.A.R.E. the "Gameplay Change" label is the optional "Delayed Dark Brotherhood Attacks" plugin that fixes a huge problem with the Tribunal expansion by not having the game send assassins after you until you've gained a reuptation sufficient to warrant them, and anyone who's even pimped out a first-level d00d in Dark Brotherhood gear knows exactly what an important change that is. Previously, I listed a mod that only delayed the attacks, and the primary selling point of D.B.A.R.E. is that it was delayed assassination attempts plus cool new outfits. Everything else that it does - editing the attack script to send assassins appropriate to your charcter's level and adding the aforementioned new weapons and armor - is really just a bonus.
There is one tiny little problem, though. The "delayed attacks" script is broken, hence the download to a fixed version of it on my site above. Bear in mind that it will not be necessary if you are using BTB's Game Improvements (which you should be, damn you) since the included compatibility plugin also has the fix built into it.
Other optional extra features of this mod include, as I mentioned above, several different colors for the
Mortal Kombat Dark Brotherhood armor (black is the default), as well as a set of alternate plugins containing a sheatheable version of the new Hattori Hanzo Hissyo Katana it adds. The latter is still in beta testing, so I'd advise against using it. Though, if I get any requests, I'll go ahead and edit the alternate plugins to be compatible with BTB's Game Improvements.
Tribunal is obviously needed to run this mod. Starting a new game isn't required, but you'll get a warning message if you try to apply the Delayed Attacks version to an existing game. It can be safely ignored, and saving/reloading will get rid of it.
Darknut returns yet again to tantalize me with his oh-so-special blend of making me happy in the pants and driving me batshit crazy at the same time. If I didn't know any better, I'd say we were married. Anyway, old Darky takes a break from his standard fare of pretty graphics with this mod (in this case because he was already done with them) to get annoyed at just how easy the game's main quest is. Thus began his epic journey to render the final portions of Morrowind proper an even more epic journey. And if the feedback he's gotten on this puppy is any indication, he sure as hell succeeded. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Darknut's Greater Dwemer Ruins, Volume 1.
How hard does this mod make the main quest? I'll try to avoid any references to my cock at a Swedish redhead convention, but the man himself recommends a minimum level of twenty before taking it on, and he also suggests that a proper battle strategy is key to ultimate victory. Also, a greater emphasis is placed on puzzle-solving, though I suppose it's not too hard to get much greater than "none". At any given moment, there's at least one confused player out there who has found himself stumped by one of GDR's puzzles and is feverishly posting a message on the official Morrowind mod forums to ask about it because kids today have absolutely no fucking attention spans and have long since lost the ability to figure things in video games out for themselves. To be fair, at least half of these little bastards have legitimately broken the mod by the time they post about it by using the console to cheat their way past the parts that were too hard for them. So, yeah, you should, like, not do that.
And now, the madness. The "Volume 1" part of the mod's name, perhaps attempting to invoke some sort of Kill Bill-esque vibe, instead just does more to make people wonder why in the fucking hell this thing has never been updated to remove all of the dirty references that it's just plain loaded with. And no, we're not talking about Swedish redheads and all of the dirty, dirty things I want to do to them, but rather a venerable shitload of changes in the required plugin that are identical to the game's original settings. Darknut has addressed this issue in the past only to say that they belong there and that removing them will break the plugin, which is a rather hard pill for some of us to swallow. I frankly wouldn't even care except for the fact they cause the slightest of conflicts with one of the other mods on this list. And that makes me angry.
Two of these "dirty" references are to Luminous Russula and Violet Coprinus plants. This causes the effects of the Herbalism for Purists mod on them to be overridden. My rage over this perceived slight is without equal, and can be quenched only with either the blood of my enemies or a slightly-edited version of the GDR plugin that remedies the problem. After much debate, I opted to edit the plugin to remove the two offending references and host it here on my site for all to enjoy. And then I grabbed my battle-axe, put on my best loincloth, and slaughtered a village full of unarmed pesants (they were totally asking for it, I swear).
As a general rule, I tend to strongly oppose mods that add new items, quests, or dungeons to the game. Rare exceptions like D.B.A.R.E. or Darknut's Greater Dwemer Ruins notwithstanding, these mods are a dime a dozen and almost never worth it. When they're not causing balance issues or conflicting with other mods, they're mostly boring, stupid, pointless, or seem like they were made by a hyperactive 15 year-old who plays too much Final Fantasy. Often, they're all of these things. So, it would then seem somewhat peculiar that I've included such a mod on my list.
Now, I could sit here and come up with all sorts of excuses about how the dungeon it adds really is quality work that doesn't interfere with other parts of the game, seem horrendously out of place in the game world, or introduce any overpowered rewards that turn you into Chuck Norris. And these would all be perfectly valid reasons for not only why I've given these mods a position on my list, but also why The Neverhalls is (or was) the highest-rated Morrowind dungeon mod hosted on Planet Elder Scrolls. But the honest fact of the matter is simply that I'm a huge sucker for its Oblivion-style architecture.
The Forgotten Halls is the official continuation of the above-mentioned Neverhalls mod. It's brought to us by the one and only MidgetAlien, who comprises exactly one half of the creative talent behind the original. It expands the titular dungeon and adds a few new enemies and pieces of equipment. Because it's an expansion rather than a replacement, The Forgotten Halls should be installed over The Neverhalls and the plugins from both mods should be used.
A lot can be learned from this mod about the proper method of adding items to the game without having them feel obviously tacked-on. It adds books to a wide variety of merchants throughout the game, though mostly to booksellers (who also get the wider variety), as well as to some of the leveled lists. And since the books are direct copy/pastes from Daggerfall, there's not really going to be any issues about them not fitting in lore-wise, either.
That being said, this is still a mod that I under most circumstances would still pass on if not for the fact that the addition of these new books were perhaps the best chance I was going to get to insert more skill-raising books into the game. The mod's creator actually tries to do just that, but his distribution of skills amongst the new reading material leaves a lot to be desired. Thus, I went ahead and resolved this problem in my usual fashion of editing the mod to my own specifications and then hosting the edtied plugin(s) on my site for the whole world to enjoy.
Three versions of the mod are included in the download, and the one that I've been referring to thus far is 1.1, which is the most current version and the only one that requires Tribunal. Version 1.0 is for people who only have Morrowind or who do not want the new books added to the leveled lists, as it only adds them to the four booksellers in Balmora, Ald-Ruhn, and Vivec. Version 0.9 is a modder's resource and can be ignored. The download from my site contains edited versions of both 1.0 and 1.1.
This is another one of those mods which hasn't been updated since the last version of Morrowind was released, and so it will generate an irritating (although harmless) warning as the game boots. Again, This can be remedied by using Wrye Mash to update the plugin - and again bearing in mind that you'll already be doing this to all of your plugins if you're using Morrowind Patched - or just using the edited version from my site.
The Less Generic NPC Project, more commonly known as just the LGNPC Project, attempts to make NPCs, well... less generic. It does so by giving them all something more interesting to say than "welcome to Seyda Neen! I like swords!", though it does occasionally tend to stray into "who writes this crap?" territory. Still, it's almost enough to make me want to stop going around indiscriminately murdering people. Almost.
As you can appreciate, the sheer scope and magnitude of this massive undertaking eclipses all others before it. Because of this, the LGNPC Project is presented in a modular format - one "mod" is released per town or general area of focus (like a Great House). As of this writing, about a third of the game is completed, with the rest of it not looking like it's going to get done anytime before I start collecting social security (which, given the state of our economy, is never). Updates do happen on occasion, though, so be sure to check the mod's home page every once in awhile for new versions.
Speaking of updates, Less Generic Nerevarine, Tribunal and Bloodmoon are the LGNPC modules for the main quest NPCs and the expansions. They're written by Ostar (a member of the LGNPC team), and are linked to separately above because they've yet to be posted to the LGNPC main site. Apparently, these people have quite the backlog since it's been, like, two years now.
One particularly irksome quality of the LGNPC project is that its writers tend to occasionally be way too ambitious about what they're setting out to do. Adding new quests and items to compliment the enchanced dialogue is certainly not a bad thing when done in moderation, but the problem is that preservation of game balance does not appear to be the strong suit of (almost) anyone involved with the LGNPC project. Thankfully, the project leader, cyran0, is an exception to that rule, and working with him to resolve these issues has been both an honor and a pleasure.
As things currently stand, I've made some personal edits to several of the current LGNPC modules to suit what I believe to be my more balanced tastes. Out of respect for Cyran0 and the LGNPC team, I've opted not to make these patches publicly available. However, I will gladly share my proposed changes with anyone who asks. If you're really nice, and/or you offer sexual favors from eyepatch-wearing Swedish redheads, I might even just save you the work of making all of those changes yourself.
This is the one official plugin that I liked at least enough to edit to the point of not being total shit. Since it adds new arrows, bolts, darts, and throwing stars to the game, I also went and gave my version a more appropriate name than "Area Effect Arrows". Given that the original version of this mod seemed more halfassed than my marriage was, I've gone to the unusual extreme of linking to *only* my edited version. This is opposed to my standard practice of presenting the preserved original work alongside my own edits as a gesture of respect to the modders who made them, whereas my feelings towards the Bethesda developers lean more towards finding every last one of them who was in any way responsible for any gameplay balance decisions and slapping them repeatedly in the loins with a frozen fish. Seriously, did they even playtest this shit at all?
The short list of what I've edited begins with the adjusting of the values and effects of the new equipment for
better balance, notably amongst the different types of projectiles. Secondly, I raised the speechcraft and mercantile skills of the new merchant added by the mod so that she's not the only one in a game using HotFusion's Economy Adjuster who can be taken advantage of like a two-dollar hooker with a room-temperature IQ and a lenient return policy. And finally, I removed a shit-ton of dirty references from the original plugin along with a bunch of edits that just made no fucking sense at all, such as addition of slash damage to bows that will never use it since Morrowind doesn't let you pistol-whip your enemies.
As always, refer to the readme for a complete changelog (yet another area where Bethesda falls flatter than my little sister).
To give you an idea of how annoying the opening sequence is after sitting through it for over the 9,000th time, this is my favorite mod ever. Of all the alternative chargen mods out there (there's surprisingly few of them, actually), this is the only one that allows you to cut straight through the bullshit and get right to the game. For anyone making or testing mods, this one is vital.
Quick Char works by presenting you with the option fill out your character sheet (natch) and be sent straight to Sellus Gravius near the exit of the census office immediately after starting a new game. All of the chargen scripts are edited to disable the tutorial mode, which in turn does away with the message boxes that pop up if you choose to head back into the census office to loot the place before leaving (note: Abuse My Nipples Dot Biz does not endorse the totally awesome crime of robbery).
I also have a personal edit of this plugin included with the download from my site. What it does is adjust the timescale - a global variable that controls how fast time passes in the game - to 1/5 of its original value when you start a new game. I never liked how fast the time in Morrowind progressed and wanted to be able to relax and enjoy the days as they passed by. And I'm far too lazy to take five seconds to open up the console and make the adjustment manually, so here we are. Use my version if you want, but remember that it only works if you start a new game.
Morrowind will feel a little bit more alive and real with the target practic... er, pretty birdies provided by this mod. A Flock Of Seagulls adds its titular winged rats to all of Vvardenfell's coastal towns and cities (NPC haircuts are sadly unaffected). Though a seemingly small addition to the game, the mod's atmospheric impact is quite significant.
There are several other mods out there that also add various forms of wildlife to the game, but this is the only one that doesn't go massively overboard with the idea - adding things to the game that try to make it more like the real world than it was ever meant to be just ends up doing more to highlight Morrowind's flaws than it does to compensate for them. And that makes me a sad BTB.
Quieter UI Sounds reduces the volume of various sounds in the game that are otherwise jarringly loud and tend to detract from the game experience. This includes sounds made by things like putting on equipment, dropping stuff, brewing potions, and so on. I personally find many of these sounds to be annoying, and thus the effects of this mod are very noticeable to me. Of course, noise appears to bother me far more than most other people in this day and age: a world where we're constantly assaulted by tiny gadgets beeping and ringing at us on a near-constant basis, begging for our attention with the relentlessness of a crying child until you finally just can't take it anymore and shake the fucking thing until it shuts the fuck up and gives you just one moment of fucking peace.
Er... yeah. Sorry about that. I guess my point is that even if you aren't as irritated by loud noises as I am, or if you think that this seems like an insignificant change in theory, I still imagine that most players will still appreciate the results of Quieter UI Sounds in practice.
As far as immersion goes, this is by and large one of the most important mods to have. You'll notice the vast improvements made by Duncan's Atmospheric Sound Effects - or just "ASE" - immediately after stepping into what will now actually sound like a bustling city or a lively tavern. Weather sounds have been upgraded too, as well as pretty much every other potentially sound-producing orifice in the game that were all practically begging to be stuffed full of Duncan's creamy goodness. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need a cigarette.
Of course, not everybody will always like everything, and Duncan knew that. He wisely included a blank sound file along with instructions on how to delete any sound that displeases you and replace it with a copy of the blank one (actually, that's pretty much all that the instructions tell you). Ultimately, only two sounds have elicited my ire enough to warrant this treatment: tavern(outside)28 and 39.
Though there are many places online to download ASE, Planet Elder Scrolls is the only place where version 3.04 can be nabbed as a single download instead of four separate ones. It's also the only release to contain the most recent version of the plugin file, as well as a copy of MINI (a program also bundled with SWG's Skies) which will make the necessary changes to the Morrowind.ini file in order for the new weather sounds to work properly. The sound files themselves are the same ones from the previous versions, however, so you could just get them from some other source and use them with the edited plugin that I provide here on my site (keep reading for more on that).
There are two versions of ASE's plugin: one for just Morrowind, and another for Morrowind and Tribunal. The fact that Bloodmoon hadn't even been released back when this mod came out tends to date it something fierce. Tribunal and Bloodmoon addons to ASE (which are meant to be used with the non-Tribunal version of the main plugin, obviously) exist as part of the Illuminated Windows mod (see below). However, the advanced age of ASE causes a slight issue that's once again necessitated my intervention.
Simply put, ASE predates such efforts as Xiran's Better Music System, which have since done much more to add atompshere to the game through the use of music. Its tavern music, specifically, will clash rather harshly with the more appropriate music added by modern mods. While you could simply do the whole "blank file" thing mentioned above, it would still leave behind a whole bunch of things like new NPCs and conversation topics that exist in the mod solely to support the tavern music and will then serve no purpose. So, I've done y'all one better and posted an edited version of the non-Tribunal plugin that's been merged with the Tribunal/Bloodmoon addons from Illuminated Windows and then edited to remove these references altogether. Aren't you glad that you've got me looking out for you?
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Trees. Lots of trees, actually. This single, simple object is used to great effect in these addons by Vality that radically transform the landscapes of Morrowind far beyond what any other mod on this list manages. It's for this reason that I avoided these mods for the longest time: Vality's work is amongst some of the best around, but it's also some of the most polarizing. Vvardenfell is, after all, mostly a total, barren wasteland. Thus, the lush overgrowth present in these two mods will sharply contrast with a look that quite a few of us have not only grown to like, but actually prefer.
What finally changed my mind about using these mods - aside from the obvious fact that they look really cool - was the realization of the very important role performed by Vality's vegetation. Aside from simply just making the game look pretty, these addons do a surprisingly excellent job of making Morrowind (or at least the Bitter Coast and Ascadian Isles) feel a lot bigger. And since Morrowind is a game that's based primarily around exploration (or at least it's supposed to be), I appreciate any and all help that it can get in that regard. Also consider that these mods only edit two of the nine regions of Vvardenfell, specifically the ones known for their vegetation, so it's not as if they rob the game of it's whole "wasteland" motif.
One rather noticeable problem that Vality's mods run into is that their landscape edits overwrite the landscape fixes made by Slartibartfast's Texture Fix mod, thus reintroducing ugly seams on the ground. And so, I've whipped up a couple of compatibility plugins that remove Vality's landscape edits (which are so minor that I didn't even notice them when they were gone) while leaving the cell edits (which actually add the trees). Also, I went to the trouble in the edited Bitter Coast plugin of removing the trees that were added to the two main Seyda Neen cells, since they were making the lighthouse less lighthouse-y by making it impossible to see (or see out of).
Though not entirely necessary for them to work, the Morrowind Graphics Extender (see the end of this list) really helps Vality's mods far more than any other on this list, as I feel that a great deal of the atmosphere they create is lost without MGE's "Distant Land" feature.
(mind the compatibility patch)
Xiran's Better Music System is an oddball on this list for a couple of reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, it's the only one that requires the use of MWSE (Morrowind Script Extender), which is most commonly utilized these days as one of the core components of MGE (Morrowind Graphics Extender - see the bottom of this list). In the past, being built around the advanced fucntionality offered by MWSE was grounds for immediate rejection of any mod from this list due to the fact that along with that functionality comes problems that I wish not to subject neither myself nor my readers to. Nothing offered by any of these "advanced" mods seemed worth the cost of my game crashing like a Russian spacecraft on re-entry. Thus, it was going to take something very, very big to break my stance on that subject - and that something was Xiran's Better Music System.
As you're probably aware, the music in Morrowind is largely ambient, and there's a good reason for that. The amazingly talented Jeremy Soule did an excellent job with the challenge he was given, but ultimately failed at the impossible task of composing music that would be somehow equally appropriate in small villages, huge cities, dark caves, haunted tombs, forboding Daedric ruins, even more forboding Dwemer ruins, the march towards the final battle against ultimate evil within the depths of
Mordor Red Mountain, and Fargoth's house. So, yeah he kinda had his work cut out for him.
You see, most video games have different music that plays in different situations, such as when you're in a tavern, a dungeon, a castle, or in the field. Morrowind has music that plays when you're in battle, and music that plays when you're not in battle. Xiran's Better Music System is an attempt to make that second one act more like the first one. How well it goes about doing just that depends largely on the philisophy with which you approach video games. Xiran, in the spirit of most modern games, tries to make his mod appeal to everyone by making it as customizeable as possible. I, on the other hand, come from a time when games were made right in first place, and the in-game customization system that Xiran implements is a huge break from immersion that essentially makes the player do the job that Bethesda should have done nine years ago.
Xiran's Better Music system offers a gigantic, brand new soundtrack with unique setlists for the following situations: each village/city, each region (Ascadian Isles, Ashlands, Azura's Coast, Bitter Coast, Grazelands, Molag Amur, Red Mountain, Sheogorad, Solstheim, and West Gash), each different type of dungeon (caves, mines, daedric shrines, etc.), taverns, temples (with special music for the one in Mournhold), three different kinds of shops, imperial forts, the royal palace, six different levels of battle music, special battle (or "sub-boss") music, and unique themes for the three final battles of Morrowind, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon. It also includes special music for underwater and nighttime conditions, becoming a werewolf, specific game events, and the ability to generate your own playlist to override (almost) anything that's currently playing. And every last bit of this is customizeable in-game through a cube that the mod dumps into your inventory when it loads.
This brings us to the other thing that makes Xiran's Music System different from the other mods on this list: it's the only one that I technically don't use. Rather, I've rebuilt it from the ground up into something that's different enough from the original to be significant, yet nowhere near different enough that I can claim it as my own. Plus, Xiran helped me with it (and still does).
There are three main differences between the original Better Music System mod and my edited version of it. The first is that, once the game loads, nothing is customizeable (and if you don't know how to read and write code, nothing is customizeable), and the mod itself has been stripped down to its core functionality of playing different music in different situations. Several features that I considered to be extraneous have been removed, namely the underwater and night music. A considerable amount of the mod's tangled mess of spaghetti code went into supporting this functionality, as evidenced by the fact that my version does essentially the same thing as the original and is about a quarter of its size.
The second difference is the soundtrack, which may or may not count given that Xiran expects people to insert their own music and even instructs them on how to do it. The main point is that my soundtrack is a lot smaller - roughly half the size of the original - which I feel is important because too much music will have a lot harder time making any of it stand out. Rather, I try to do a lot more using a lot less. Towns have been given setlists as larger groups (fishing villages, Telvanni areas, Nordic towns, etc.) rather than individually, the number of battle music "tiers" has been reduced from six to three, and all regions except Red Mountain and Solstheim have been consolidated into a singular "overworld". Furthermore, I integrate the game's original sountrack into my new setup, wheras Xiran's version confines the original music to "manual override" only. It's probably also worth nothing that, with the exception of the overworld music, everything in my soundtrack also appears in Xiran's version.
Lastly, and perhaps the only functional difference between my version of the mod and the original, is that mine has what I feel is much smoother transitioning of music from one type to the next - the only things that will cause music to switch mid-track are: battle, sleeping, fast travel/recall, and entering/exiting a dungeon or building with unique BGM. Although Xiran's version can be configured to act this way, my experience with it was that it never actually did. And there's at least one situation in which the original cannot be customized, which is how it tries to keep track of how far away you are from something that's trying to attack you in order to determine whether or not to stop the battle music. My version just lets the track finish and then checks to see if it can find anything else nearby that wants you dead. It's a lot simpler, I think.
One notable feature that I did retain from the original version is the concept of battles with "weak" enemies (less than 50 HP) not triggering any battle music. I found this to be necessary given the excessive length of several of my overworld tracks and the fact that there are more cliff racers per square foot in Morrowind than air molecules. "Weak" battle music still triggers for interior cells, however, so you'll still actually hear it once in awhile.
Also, and somewhat related to my first point above, my version keeps track of far fewer enemies to determine the battle "tier" than the original does. It's still enough to make sure that the correct music is playing, and it alleviates the FPS hit during battle. I've actually done a singnificant amount of restructuring of the battle script in particular for the sole reason that it's where the entirety of the FPS hits associated with this mod come from, namely because it's the only part that uses MWSE script functions. My version has these commands run slightly less frequently, thus stopping the FPS hits entirely. Whether or not this same format can be applied to the benefit of the original is a matter of contuined discussion between Xiran and myself.
What does all of this come down to, then? Exactly how much of all the work that I put into my version of Xiran's mod qualifies as my own depends on how you look at it, I suppose. The idea, the concept, and the execution are all his babies - as far as I'm concerned, I'm just a janitor (albiet a wise one). The end result that is my edited version is very much the result of our combined efforts, which is something that I thank him for from the very bottom of my cold, bitter heart. So whether you opt to use my version or the original, the credit should rightfully go to the guy who made this mod a reality.
The Morrowind Code Patch is an external utility which edits the game's executable file in order to repair what no mod previously could. Hrnchamd, the creator and maintainer of the MCP (yeah, I can't pronounce it, either) went somewhat mad with power and has liberally expanded his interpretation of "bug" to include things about the game that he just doesn't like. The patch has since become an outlet to make all sorts of crazy-ass changes to the game that simply couldn't be done without editing the source code, but at least Hrnch is nice enough to let us choose which ones we want to use.
To install the patch, copy the contents of the download into the main Morrowind directory and then run the installer. Check off all of the fixes you'd like to use, and then the installer applies them to Morrowind.exe file. A backup copy of the original Morrowind.exe is automatically created. The patch and its supporting files can all be deleted at this point if desired, as the updates are now contained entirely within Morrowind.exe itself.
The effects of the MCP's fixes are proudly showcased in the form of an included "demo" plugin which hasn't been updated since version 1.3 of the patch (we're up to 1.9 and beyond now). Unfortunately for Hrnch, it's the fixes since version 1.3 that are the most demanding of a visual demonstration of what in the fuck they actually do. As it stands, I still have no fucking clue what several of the latest fixes are for, even after reading their (somewhat) detailed descriptions *and* having Hrnch explain them to me personally. Perhaps I'm just a retard.
I'll briefly (yes, briefly) go over each of the MCP changes below. Download from Sourceforge
This is a nifty little utility which optimizes the code of the Morrowind.exe file, greatly reducing crashes to the desktop. There are a couple of adjustable settings for people who know what in the hell they're doing (which, aside from Timeslip himself, is nobody), and even he recommends just using the default ones. You're also presented with detailed changelogs after the optimizer is run, presumably to mock your lack of understanding of them. Timeslip's .exe Optimizer is at this point deleted from my hard drive with extreme prejudice.
Oh, and make sure you run this after installing the Morrowind Code Patch, otherwise the MCP won't work.
This makes rain and snow stop falling through static objects, thus allowing you to take shelter under buildings and trees. It seems rather pointless on the basis that precipitation has no actual effect on you, and it also increases CPU load during these conditions. Also, I can't seem to get it to work, nor do I particularly enjoy the Morrowind.ini edits that it suggests/requires to largely increase the size and frequency of raindrops and snowflakes so that the effects of this change are actually noticeable. I say pass on this one.
This bump and reflection maps (like glowing enchanted stuff) dependent on local lighting. Thus, the glow gets less intense as the light gets dimmer. I don't really see the point, since I always assumed that glowing stuff was supposed to be visible in the dark.
This is a feature intended for people who don't find the game to be vomit-inducing enough. Anyone who uses it is a fucking Commie.
This makes the third-person view stop zooming in for extreme close-ups every time an NPC or other object wanders too close to the invisible camera man. It's a good fix because it addresses an actual, aggravating problem in the game engine.
No. Just... no.
This allows the "sneak" key to toggle in and out of sneaking mode as opposed to requiring you to hold it down. It's ironic (or perhaps tragic) in the sense that I'd been wanting this fix for years, and now I don't use it because it doesn't work with my controller setup.
If there's any one feature that makes this entire Morrowind Code Patch worth it, it's this one. This allows spellcasting from any stance via the "ready magic" button without having to put away your weapon or throw up your "jazz hands". In other words, it allows spellcasting to work exactly as it does in TES4: Patrick Stewart is Dead (Hrnch's joke, not mine), which is one of the rare few good things that can be taken from an otherwise-mediocre game.
"Jazz hands" (also Hrnch's joke) are still available via the 'm' key if you for some reason want them.
This rewrites the pickpocket mechanic to work as it was likely intented to. Then again, I wouldn't put it past Bethesda to have actually meant for pickpocketing to get harder as your sneak skill increased. In addition to your skill level, the overhaul also adjusts the difficulty of theft based on the weight of the object stolen.
This rewrites the formula that the game uses to calculate the weight of potions, which was previously exploitable by adding extraneous ingredients to result in a lighter potion. The new formula factors in the total weight of the ingredients instead of the average, as well as the quality of the alembic used. It also fixes a bug that allowed for potions weighing next to nothing.
This addresses by far one of the biggest oversights in the game's design, which is the fact that "cast on use" enchanted items have no casting time. This, combined with a zero percent failure rate and the exponential growth rate of the Enchant skill, allows you to machine-gun even a marginally powerful magic item for far more damage per second than any other means available. This feature institutes a four-second "cooldown" period between magic item uses and significantly curtails the exponential growth rate of the enchant skill's benefits so as not to eventually result in magic items that can get hundreds of uses on a full charge. These two changes finally finish the job of balancing the game's enchanting system that I began over a year ago with BTB's Game Improvements, and this is definitely a feature I'd recommend using if you're at all concerned with game balance.
This doubles the success rate of using soul gems to recharge magic items and also sets a minimum guaranteed recharge percentage dependent on your enchant skill and stats. This is a particularly important feature if you're using my mod, as BTB's Game Improvements disables the gradual recharging of magic items over time, thus leaving soul gems as the only way to restore spent charges.
This is another of the big ones. It changes the game's formula for calculating the value of a filled soul gem, which was previously the value of the gem multiplied by the value of the soul. As you might expect, this led to some rather ass-rapingly expensive items that sort of fucked the game's economy. The new formula is now entirely dependent on the size of the soul, and the resulting values are much more reasonable (41 for a Kagouti, 300 for a Scamp, 7200 for a Golden Saint, etc.). This had the nice effect of actually lowering the values of expensive gems filled with crap souls, as well as allowing BTB's Game Improvements to assign soul gems values more representative of their actual usefulness than of how broken the economy is.
It should be noted that BTB's Game Improvements assumes the use of this fix. This is because it adds restocking supplies of filled soul gems to various merchants, and the way I scripted them to work meant that I had to manually enter their values. Without this fix, my mod allows you to purchase filled soul gems that are worth much more than what you paid for them. Though, as I mention in the readme for my mod, all I'm really doing to an unpatched game at that point is pissing into an ocean made entirely out of piss.
This allows you to enchant arrows, bolts, and throwing weapons. This was a somewhat broken feature when it was first introduced, mainly because the enchanting system as a whole was still a horribly broken feature at the time. But since that's all been taken care of by a combination of the above two fixes and BTB's Game Improvements, I'm free to wholeheartedly recommend this feature as a fun and exciting new way to throw shit at other shit.
Although Hrnch's description suggests that a rebalance of projectile enchant capcities is recommended to fully balance this feature, they're already (and surprisingly so) quite well-balanced under the default rules, with the highest capacities reserved for the rarest/most expensive projectiles. The equipment value adjustments made by BTB's Game Improvements combined with the fact that it disables creating magic items on your own (thus forcing you to pay for enchanted projectiles), is more than enough as far as balance is concerned.
This is another one of those features that came out a long, long time before other features would render it useable without being broken like a pre-alpha release of Windows Vista. The default rules enchanted items equal in value to their unenchanted counterparts due to the fact that you could create your own enchanted items and thus easily accumulate enough money to buy a small continent. But BTB's Game Improvements has since put an end to that sort of douchebaggery, and a more recent version of the MCP has made the new enchanted item values a bit more reasonable, which thus finally brings this puppy back enough into line that I can now recommend using it.
This feature tries to work around the fact that the game only lets you wear a maximum of two rings at a time by allowing "cast on use" rings to be equipped into a third slot so as to not displace either of the two constant effect rings that you're no doubt wearing. You need to be careful to unequip any "cast on use" rings when fucking with your constant effects ones, though, or else the "smart" equip will end up taking off the last one you put on.
This changes the fortify health effect to increase both maximum and current health. The purpose of this is less to make fortify health actually useful so much as it is to make it no longer a death sentence, since you still lose the extra (current) health when the effect ends. Thus, fortify health still sucks, just slightly less than before.
This corrects an issue in which the baseline speed of larger races was higher than that of smaller races due to body scaling.
Oh, for the love of fucking shit, enough with the lizard tits already.
This allows NPCs to use their inherent racial powers in battle. While it seems like a great idea in theory, the reality is that you will get your ass kicked five ways from Sunday by every non-Wood Elf NPC you encounter with this feature enabled. This is particularly true if you're using the "Character" plugin from BTB's Game Improvements, which radically increases the strength of racial powers.
This change makes the disposition changes of merchants towards you for failed and successful bargains permanent rather than temporary. The game was most likely programmed that way to begin with so that selling arrows to a merchant one at a time for ten minutes wouldn't leave that merchant loving you with mouth for ever and ever. The downside of this setup, however, was that any disposition loss for failed bargains became meaningless since you could just exit the conversation to reset it.
The truth of the matter is that, permanent or not, the ability to so easily achieve a perfect relationship with any NPC willing to barter with you is just plain cheap. That's why HotFusion's Economy Adjuster removes the disposition bonus for successful bargains entirely. However, with both this fix and Economy Adjuster in effect, dealing with merchants becomes far more difficult due to the fact that they're much easier to piss off than they are to make happy again (sort of like in the real world, actually). But, as I say to every Swedish redhead that I meet, it's the good kind of hard, and I strongly urge you to grab hold of it and ride it like a Shetland pony.
This is the only fix that addresses a "bug" caused by one of the game's official patches. It's also the only fix that creates another bug in the process. What it does is let you steal from (pickpocket) knocked-out NPCs, where before you'd get a "this character is in combat" message. As an unintended side effect, it also also lets you to talk to hostile NPCs if you can sneak up on them before they start trying to kill you. I personally find it to be a bit on the imbalanced side, but I don't suppose that'll stop half of you from using it anyway.
Lowering an NPC's fatigue to below zero has always caused them to collapse, which is part of why the name of this fix is so confusing. What it actually does is allow the damage atigue effect to do just that - previously it never could reduce fatigue past zero (drain could). Thus, the effects of this fix not only make the damage and drain fatigue effects more useful (something that they desperately needed), but it also gives you a way to knock somebody out without resorting to punching them.
This allows your strength to affect the damage done by bare-fisted attacks, where previously, it was based entirely on your Hand-to-Hand skill. It makes both logical sense and a good gameplay balance edit, as it acts as a good way to shore up what is easily one of the weaker weapon choices (Chuck Norris notwithstanding).
This raises the spellmaking and enchanting magnitude limits (not just spellmaking, as the name suggests) from 100 to 500. The justification for this is that there are many spell effects (Burden and... um... Burden) that are somewhat worthless prior to hitting triple digits. The rather obvious drawback here is that there exist many more spell effects in the game that are plenty powerful when confined to the magnitudes of mere mortals, and they become criminally apocalyptic under the anarchistic rule of this so-called "change".
BTB's Game Improvements deals with this issue by adjusting most of the game's pre-made spells to be no longer useless, setting many of them well over the 100-point magnitude cap. More importantly, it does this without opening the floodgates for a 499-point fireball of flaming world doomy doom doo doo doom. Personally, I feel like my mod loses something when you're able to duplicate the effects of its spells on your own. I'd say to go ahead and use my mod instead of this feature, but I suppose that it would be like handing a child a nuclear weapon and then telling him that he can't play with it.
This reduces the spellmaking and enchanting duration limit to from 1440 to 100. While I totally agree that whoever set the default spell/enchant duration cap was on drugs that are all sorts of illegal, the only compelling reason to use this feature is that it makes moving the duration slider a lot easier because it doesn't have to cover the span of nearly 20 minutes. Me, I use it because I'm a hopeless obsessive-compulsive who has to have everything in my Morrowind "just so".
This allows you to add the same spell effect more than once to custom spells or enchantments, presumably so that you can set them each with different parameters. It makes sense, even though I can't really imagine a situation in which I'd want to do something like that.
This edits the formula that the game uses to calculate the spell cost of area effects. The original linear formula allows for large area effects on powerful spells with very little added cost, which is bad for game balance. The new formula is exponential, which largely increases the area of effect cost as both it and the magnitude/duration are increased. This fix does carry the nice benefit of rendering any pre-made spells or enchantments with large areas of effect (particularly those edited by BTB's Game Improvements, which was created with this fix in mind) much more useful than before.
This disables the "trap" status of an object on the popup information menu, which is although a good step toward nixing the game's tendency to telegraph its moves like a Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!! boxer, still doesn't do anything about the fact that most players would still find something strange about a glowing door. It's a good start, though.
Actually, further inspection reveals that this feature does seem to remove all visual indications of a trapped object, glowiness and all.
This makes the "detect animal" effect also show NPCs instead of just creatures. My mod assumes the use of this fix, which you might have figured out from the fact that I've renamed the "detect animal" spell.
This fixes the game's formulas for calculating fatigue loss from spellcasting and the base damage from weapons, activating four dormant GMSTs (fFatigueSpellBase/Mult and fDamageStrengthBase/Mult). The former defaulted to zero in standard Morrowind, thus this feature will cause it to bgin working as it should even if the related GMSTs are not edited; the baseline weapon damage GMSTs are set to a neutral value by default and so this feature won't affect weapon damage unless you alter them.
This allows the cost of paying for "cast once" enchantments to be adjusted independently from the cost of other types via a previously-unused GMST (which the game is just plain loaded with). This is yet another one of those things that we shouldn't have had to do for ourselves because the developers shouldn't have programmed disposable enchantments to cost the same as reusable ones in the fucking first place, the fucking pricks. Fuck them.
Of course, you'll have to edit the fMagicItemOnceMult GMST for this feature to have any effect. BTB's Game Improvements edits it. Fuck.
This allows for mods to add cutsecenes with resolutions of up to 2048x1024, where previously they were capped at 640x480. This isn't the greatest idea in the world, since cutscenes aren't really the sort of thing you want to be encouraging in a video game.
This improves the game's animation capabilities, apparently by adding more bones to bodies or some shit.
This allows modders to filter service refusal by individual service type instead of "all or none". It's a great idea, although no mod to my knowledge currently makes use of it and I have no intentions of working it into Service Requirements anytime soon.
This prevents combat and explore music from interrupting music that's being played via the StreamMusic command. Although I've yet to fully test it, this fix (in theory, at least) will make it no longer necessary to delete or rename your "battle" and "explore" music folders when using Xiran's Better Music System. This, in turn, should allow users of my version to hear the game's default music (or whatever is in their "explore" folder) when they're in any cells for which no music is specified (Tamriel Rebuilt comes to mind).
This disables the brief "put away weapon" state following all unequip actions and when switching to Chuck Norris mode (A.K.A. hand to hand). The purpose of this is to make it easier for scripts that need to detect your character's current state. It's not really necessary unless you're using a mod that utilizes such a script, and I wouldn't use it unless I had to (which I don't).
This fixes a problem with the GetWaterLevel command in which it would report that you were underwater when you very clearly were nowhere even near any water. Again, this isn't really necessary unless you're using a mod that for some reason needs to know if you're submerged, but you might as well just opt for the fix either way.
This allows creatures to possess an armor rating so that they may be protected by shield spells and effects. Note that no creature in the default game proper possesses a shield spell or ability, so this is another feature that will have no actual effect unless/until mods take advantage of it. Another footnote is that the GMST that caps total possible damage reduction does not affect the armor rating of creatures, and thus it is possible for a shield effect to defend them entirely.
This makea the in-game world map work better with mods (namely Tamriel Rebuilt, as the name implies) that add a lot of land to the game by expanding its visible area. If you use such a mod, then this is the fix for you. If not, then don't use it. Pretty simple, really.
Makes the in-game world map appear more crisp and less blurry. The documentation describes it as also making the town markers appear "chunky instead of smoothed", which makes me think more of peanut butter than it does graphics. The overall effect of this fix is pretty subjective, but I'd say that it's an improvement. And, honestly, isn't my opinion the only one that really matters?
This makes the program stop deliberately (yes, it was deliberately programmed to do this) misaligning the UI (user interface) so that it appears blurrier than it should. Fuck you, Bethesda. Fuck you *so* hard.
The sister fix to this feature is Hrnch's Better Dialogue Font, which I already discussed and lovingly mocked earlier in this list.
It's fixes like these that make me want to take Hrnch into my tool shed and love him tenderly - right after I get down hunting down every single person responsible for coding this game originally and beating them senseless. This feature allows dialogue windows, books, and scrolls to be closed with the spacebar, which is absolutely vital for anyone playing this game with a controller. Additionally, it makes "just take them all" the default action when clicking on a stack of items rather than bringing up the quantity window every fucking time.
Removes the restrictions for the "allowed" sizes of the game's adjustable windows (the character/stat window, for example). This is another good example of a fix that I bitched about wanting for years, and once I finally got it had finally reached the point where I was fine with the way that I'd already set everything up. I still use this fix anyway, just so I know that I can change things if I want to.
This makes the repair and recharge item menus larger, as well as the windows that are displayed during character creation. Oddly, this feature doesn't enlargen the windows that actually do need to be made bigger (the spellmaking & enchanting windows), and the ones it does affect likely aren't going to need the extra size unless you're using a custom font large enough that it's probably breaking the fuck out of all the other windows. So, yeah, I can't really see how this might be in any way useful.
This makes the in-game description for items display the weight out to two decimal places instead of one, which is the same level of accuracy that's shown in the editor. It's a sensible fix, particularly since some items actually do use that second digit.
This makes the in-game display for current magicka and magic item charges round down instead of up so as not to falsely indicate that you have more magicka or charges than you really do. It's defintiely a good fix for a great annoyance.
This makes the program stop fucking with the resolution of the images it loads as splash screens, making them sharper and crisper.
This adds a "friendly" reminder to the game's interface once you accumulate more than 200 files in your save game folder that perhaps you should fucking delete some of them so that the game doesn't mess itself. This is useful only if you're the type of person who actually needs to be reminded of this sort of thing. Players like myself, who take the "ethnic cleansing" approach to file management, will find this a rather useless feature that horrifies us by the very necessity of its existence.
I'm not sure what in the hell a "colour" is, but this lets you specify a color for the journal text other than black by adding the following line to your Morrowind.ini file:
• color_journal_topic: xx,xx,xx (where "xx,xx,xx" are R/G/B decimal values)
Personally, I'm happy with black because I'm not a racist.
Apparently, translating Morrowind into other languages causes issues with the resolution. Now, I'm from Texas, so I'm not even going to pretend to have a clue what any of this means. If you're from one of them foreign countries, then y'all can figure this shit out yourselves.
From what I gather, this makes it easier for Germans to invade your keyboard.
This is what happens after the Germans invade your keyboard.
This sounds like a job for Translation Party.
In Soviet Russia, Morrowind mods you!
One of the more important fixes, this does several things to change the way that Morrowind creates savegame files. Is addresses flaws in the previous system that could cause disappearing objects and the occasional CTD (crash to desktop) when loading. It also makes the game "clean" your saves (just like Wyre Mash does) whenever a mod is added or removed, greatly reducing problems caused by doing so.
This preventes crashes caused by leaving the room while an NPC is in the middle of casting a spell, and then the game messes itself when it clears its memory 72 hours later and runs into a NPC trapped in mid-coitus and doesn't know what in the fuck to do with it.
This prevents crashes from spell effects bound to creatures that have been unsummoned.
As I explained in my commentary for HotFusion's Economy Adjuster mod, the infamous "mercantile bug" isn't really a bug. It's the deliberate result of shoddy gameplay design and lazy programming, and it's effectively removed by a mod (Economy Adjuster) which corrects the gameplay issues that it was created to restrain in the first place. This "fix" is therefore entirely unnecessary.
This fixes a bug where your Unarmored skill has no effect unless you're wearing at least one piece of armor. Even though your armor rating will report correctly in the inventory screen when you're all naked and stuff, it remains ineffective in practice unless you put something on. I'm still waiting on a bug fix for people who think that words like "armor" should have lots of unnecessary u's in them.
This adds the missing month of Morning Star into the game's calendar. It also gives each month the correct number of days, so as to match up with the only real-world calendar that actually matters.
This makes merchants stop equipping really awesome things that they buy from you. While most certainly aggravating at times, and simply downright hilarious at others, one would be hard-pressed to refer to this practice as a bug. To claim that it's otherwise impossible to get the item(s) back from the merchant is incorrect, as a thorough slaughtering will also get the job done, and usually with interest. Then again, I suppose that this fix might be a bit more appealing to players who don't go around compulsively murdering people like I do.
On further reflection, I guess this does make it impossible to kill merchants simply by selling them an Exquisite Robe of constant effect Kill Self and then reaching for the popcorn.
This fixes a bug that prevents drained or damaged attributes from being fully restored so long as they're fortified by an enchantment, spell, or potion. Because the game doesn't see the fortification, it thinks that the fortified value is actually the base value. And since it knows what the unmodified base value is actually supposed to be, it won't let you restore the attribute past that point. In other words, without this fix, the magnitude of any fortification is the same amount that you'll be unable to restore that attribute if it gets drained or damaged unless you remove the fortification.
Interestingly, birthsign bonuses are not affected by this bug. This is because of how they're applied to your character - notice that a birthsign bonus won't turn the value of an attribute white like a normal fortification does. It's quite possible that this oversight is to blame for the fact that this issue wasn't noticed or dealt with by the developers. Personally, I blame their habitual crack use.
This stops the game from constantly setting the music volume to maximum level every time the StreamMusic script runs (which, if you're using Xiran's Better Music System, is every fucking time the music changes). Although technically not necessary if you like leaving the music volume maximized, there's still no point in opting out of the fix.
This gets rid of those occasional jarringly-loud weapon strike sound effects, which were caused by calculation overflows going from "very low" to maximum volume. Granted, uncomfortably loud sounds in battle are technically more realistic than the alternative, but Morrowind is a bit too full of enchanted pants and talking mudcrabs to play the "realism" card at this point.
This is the same as the above, except concerning interface sounds. The most noticeable example of this is to sell a whole bunch of shit in rapid succession; without this fix, you may notice that every fourth or fifth sound is uncomfortably loud. I say "may" because I seem to be one of the few people who actually experiences this problem, as Hrnch's description and subsequent advice against using this fix unless you absolutely have to might indicate. Honestly, I'd opt for the occasional muted sound any day if it means that I get to keep my eardrums, but it would seem that nobody else (or at least not Hrnch) agrees with me about that.
This fixes a bug that occurred during leveling up where any attribute gain that would raised the given attribute over 100 if not for the cap (a 4x gain to an attribute of 97, for example) would instead only raise the attribute by 1. Interestingly, this bug only affected the four attributes listed on the left side of the level-up screen (strength, agility, intelligence, and willpower).
Normally, when bound weapon effects expire, your previous weapon is re-equipped and set to ready. That last part tends to cause problems if you're in the middle of, say, casting a spell when this happens. This fix makes it to where your old weapon is still re-equipped, but your battle stance is unaltered.
This fix stops the black areas of the map (more commonly known as the "fog of war") from randomly revealing large chunks of it that you've never been to. The problem was the result of a calculation error made by the game when you were near the edge of a cell.
Sometimes, when you successfully intimidate an NPC, the NPC will remain decidedly unintimidated. This is because the game has a code specifying a minimum disposition increase when intimidation occurs, but it applies the code incorrectly. This fix makes it apply correctly.
This fix makes the game sort the enchanted items in your magic menu alphabetically, as opposed to "puppy-fluffingly randomly".
This is sort of a hard fix to describe to anyone not familiar with scripting, but the short version is that being in third person view tended to cause items that were scripted to appear at a given location to appear at your feet instead of where they were meant to be. A good demonstration of this bug in effect is to pull up your inventory and just start dropping shit. If you do so while in third-person mode, notice that everything you drop goes straight to your feet instead of where you were trying to stick it. This fix corrects that problem by letting the game know exactly where it can stick it.
This fix stops your current spell from being randomly deselected as you wander about. According to Hrnch, this bug was the result of nearby NPCs unequipping or using up magical items.
The bug addressed here is that Calm Humanoid and Calm Creature spell effects will always remove their target from combat, regardless of magnitude. This is incorrect, as the effect is only intended to do that if its magnitude is sufficient to reduce to target's aggression level to zero. This issue is demonstrated in the "showcase" plugin, where the target will continually drift in and out of combat like a retarded manic depressive on crack due to the fact that these effects continually call for the StopCombat script as long as they're active. This fix stops that, effectively removing the bug.
This fixes a bug where your stats are permanently increased by more than they should be when becoming a vampire while under the influence of any constant-effect "fortify attribute" enchantments. It's basically the restore/drain attribute fix applied to a different situation. Unfortunately, it won't fix this problem if you already have it when the patch is applied.
When "absorb" spell effects are reflected normally, they end up cancelling themselves out due to the caster and the target being one and the same. Whether or not this was intentional or merely shitty programming is anybody's guess, but I think it's safe to say that you'll be a lot more careful lobbing them around when your enemies can pull a Soviet Russia on your ass and absorb from YOU. The fix works the other way around, too, so you can also be Soviet Russia if you want. Though, if YOU are Soviet Russia, then what does Soviet Russia do to... oh, fuck, my head just exploded.
This allows clothes and armor with the "transparency" effect to display correctly on your character in the inventory screen. Basically, it stops the background layers from texture files (usually seen in your inventory as giant patches of black or white that shouldn't be there) from appearing. An example of this would be the giant, black crotch-flap that normally shows up on the Imperial Chain Cuirass.
Allows clothes and armor to use reflection maps. Since bump maps require reflection maps to work, it also allows bump maps on skinned meshes. And I have absolutely no fucking clue what I just said.
This fix stops glowing enchanted items from turning white in fog, dust storms, underwater, and pretty much any other environment that confuses the graphics engine into not knowing what colors are anymore.
With this fix, NPC health bars will display when you're healing them just as they do when you're trying to kill them. This is particularly helpful when you're trying to keep someone else alive (which, I suppose, is the only reason that you'd be healing them in the first place).
This prevents permanent disposition loss when speaking to an NPC under the influence of a personality fortification that would push their disposition over 100. It's the same problem that the restore/drain attribute fix and the vampire stats fix both deal with, just again in a different situation.
This fix allows spells and enchantments with variable magnitudes to have an equal chance for any magnitude within range to appear, where previously the higher values had a much lower probability of being used. A spell which does 15-30 damage, for example, now has the same probability of doing anywhere between 15 and 30 damage, whereas without the fix it would almost never do above 25 or so.
This prevents dispel effects from inivisibly stacking if used repeatedly, so that a 100% effect can no longer be achieved simply by repeatedly casting the spell (or drinking more potions) at a lower magnitude. This one isn't entirely necessary if you're using BTB's Game Improvements, since it sets every pre-made dispel effect to 100 and removes the effect from custom builds and alchemy ingredients.
Again with the unnecessary u's in words that aren't supposed to have them. This fix allows creatures to damage your equipment in battle, where previously they couldn't unless they were attacking with weapons (go figure).
I dislike how the name of this fix implies that none of the other things dealt with by this patch are rare and weird. Anyway, this prevents crashes when you do things that confuse the inventory, like drinking the last potion through a quickslot and then trying to click on it.
I think Hrnch has since renamed this to just "Inventory Bugs Fix".
This makes NPCs take breaks in between drinking potions instead of just shotgunning everything they have without waiting for the first one to take effect. It also allows them to use restore magicka potions, where previously they could only use restore health and fatigue.
This makes the blind effect give the player an attack penalty instead of a bonus. This is the sort of fix that horrifies me by even being necessary, as I can't begin to imagine what other crap managed to get past Bethesda's radar if they let this shitbomb fly under it.
I have absolutely no idea. I read the description about twelve times and all I can come up with is how much I like kitties. You assholes can figure this one out for yourselves - I quit.
This appears to have some sort of vague-ish effect on the game's lighting. I can't really tell, either from reading the description or testing the fix myself. It might have something to do with the fact that I've edited my Morrowind.ini file to enable quadratic lighting.
No fucking clue. Seems useful, though.
This fixes the incorrect trajectories of projectiles when you aim them too far up or down (or "off-centre", as the outlandishly British-sounding description puts it). It also corrects the aiming in the 3rd person view to the point of actually being useable.
This prevents you from taking fall damage if you try to waterwalk on a body of water after falling into it. A more realistic fix would probably have made falling 500 feet into a lake cause some sort of damage in and of itself, but I'll take what I can get at this point.
This corrects the price of training to be based on your base skill levels rather than their drained or fortified values. This is now the fourth fix that is technically just the same calculation error being corrected in a different scenario. Couldn't they have just been combined?
This fix makes guild guides (travel via Guild of Mages) actually charge the prices that they claim to. The correct prices - adjusted for mercantile skill and disposition - would previously be displayed, but the base cost (read: much lower) would actually be charged.
This makes the createmaps command skip over interior cells, shortening the time it takes to finish from a lifetime to roughly half of one. Rather pointless unless you actually use the createmaps command to begin with.
This stops the spellmaking/enchant edit screens from constantly resetting the range of an effect to "on touch" whenever you edit it. Because, honestly, there's nothing more annoying than a game that keeps asking you to touch it.
This stops the game from occasionally that demanding you enter a name for a potion you're trying to make when a name has clearly already been entered. It also stops custom potion names from being reset every time a potion is made.
The name of this one is a bit misleading, because what it does is allow for multiple fortify/drain effects to appear in a potion, where before a bug prevented more than one of each (one fortify effect and one drain effect) from appearing. Use it. Love it. Keep it.
This disables the broken game mechanic in which blight storms occasionally add invisible, inactive blight diseases to your character.
This prevents the slowfall effect from killing your companions when moving from one cell to another, which really makes you wonder what in the hell could possibly be causing the sort of weird-ass problem in the first place.
This corrects one of the game's classic bugs/exploits in which draining your intelligence attribute to zero would fully restore your magicka when the effect ended.
I'm actually not entirely sure on this one. And since I'd rather not talk out of my ass, I'm just going to keep my mouth (and my ass) shut for the moment.
This causes the armor indicator (natch) underneath your character in the inventory screen to update each time menu mode is entered to properly reflect its adjustment by a shield effect and/or armor skill gains.
This is normally the part where I'd stop to make fun of Hrnch's liberal use of the letter 'u' a bit more, but it looks like at least his latest fixes have been translated into proper American English.
You have to run Morrowind once
This is pretty much the end of the line as far as my scope of support is concerned. While I will describe - in lengthy detail - what the Morrowind Graphics Extender is and what it does, there's absolutely no way that I'm going to subject myself to the pain and suffering of trying to help people use it (or, in some cases, even begin to understand it). That's what the official forums are for.
First of all, you'll need a couple of things before you even begin using MGE (as it's more commonly known). You'll need .net 2.0 if you don't already have it, as well as a DirectX update that you likely don't have unless you've been pimping out your rig to run some other ridiculously demanding game. You'll also need Visual C++ 2008, though not having it installed doesn't seem to have the negative consequences (read: MGE no worky) that lacking the other two does. Given my overall knowledge of MGE's inner workings, however, you may want to take that statement with about a quart of salt.
Second of all, pay attention to which version of MGE that you're downloading. This puppy is a work in a constant state of development, so new beta versions are popping up at Sourceforge all the time. But if you'd rather not have your game crashing like a Russian spacecraft on re-entry, make sure that you're grabbing the latest *stable* release (which, at the time of this writing, is 3.8.0).
MGE is, to put it simply, an external utility that allows Morrowind to achieve graphical feats of which it was previously incapable. One of its most popular features is "distant land", which allows static objects like buildings and trees to be visible beyond the normal view radius. Combined with the ability to disable or push back the in-game fog, you'll be able to see much farther than before.
The above has two side effects, one of which was probably unintended. First, it eats up a lot of processer power, setting Morrowind on par with today's most technologically demanding games. Secondly, and less-commonly discussed, you'll begin to realize just how small Morrowind really is. If you never noticed before, you will when you step off the boat at Seyda Neen and can see Vivec in the distance.
It's for that last reason that I'm not really impressed by the screenshots that show over half of Vvardenfell visible from Vivec. To this end, my suggestion is to keep the fog on and the number of cells set to display distant lands low - 2 or 3 at the farthest is plenty. This lets you see large objects in the distance, but without sacrificing atmosphere or dropping your FPS into the single digits.
Another concern is that the game's graphical flaws are made increasingly more noticeable by all of this. Distant loading, in particular, is still an issue. I'd suggest setting the draw distance to one cell beyond the maximum fog distance (I use 3 and 2 cells, respectively), thus causing objects to be drawn "behind" the fog and allowing them to fade realistically into view. As for distant lands, "drawing" is just replaced with shit popping up out of nowhere, which is just as annoying, if not worse. The CPU power I save by keeping my view distance reasonably low is then spent by lowering the minimum size for distant statics to 100 and pushing the nearest distant statics out to where the fog ends (again, 2 cells). This does away with the whole "shit popping out of nowhere" thing entirely. The farther distant statics are given filler values of 999 because, since you can't see beyond 2 cells because of the fog, what they're set to doesn't really matter.
Also, when running the distant land generator (this is required to create the graphics used for distant statics and must be run before you can alter any of the distant land settings), be sure to set the quality at "very high", "ultra high", or "Willie Nelson". Any lower than that shows distant land doing strange things when changing altitude. For a good example of this, take a walk from Seyda Neen to Pelagiad and watch what the distant land does when you're walking over the hill leading into the Ascadian Isles region.
MGE has several other settings and features, as well. You'll need to specify a number of graphics card settings in the other tabs, you can set the game's resolution to any custom value you want (vital for widescreen owners like myself), and you can disable the game's intro movie (thus saving precious seconds of your life). There's also a macro editor which allows you to remap any key to another key, specific console command, or preset function (such as toggling the 1st-person crosshairs or taking a screenshot). Taking a screenshit is actually one of the more important functions of the macro editor, if only because MGE's driver disables the conventional method of doing so.
One last thing that needs to be mentioned is the relation of MGE to MWSE, or "Morrowind Script Extender". MWSE is a utility which adds more script functionality to the game, thus allowing for more robust and otherwise-impossible mods to be written. MGE contains an internal version of MWSE, so there's no need to download the latter since using the former allows you to use any mod dependent on it.
And that's about it. I hope you've enjoyed the list, and I hope you enjoy the game. If there's something you want to tell me, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll be glad to talk to you - especially if you're an attractive Swedish redhead (with an eyepatch).