Between the recent 20th anniversary of Morrowind, Starfield’s disappointing delay, and the fact that we’re only slowly drawing closer to the release of The Elder Scrolls VI, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people have been thinking about diving back into the world of Morrowind. If you have been…well, you should know that the world of Morrowind may not be quite what you remember it being.
As much as I love Morrowind (it’s one of the best RPGs ever made), it’s kind of hard to ignore that the game was held together by digital spit and strings even in its day and feels even older now. Purists will balk, but the fact of the matter is that Morrowind is a truly great game that benefits from a little bit of help in 2022.
That being the case, I’ve decided to mostly focus on Morrowind mods that improve or upgrade the original experience in some way rather than completely reimagine it. While you will find a couple of overhauls and new content mods on this list, the basic idea is to be able to mod Morrowind in a way that will make it significantly easier to appreciate the things that make it such a masterpiece of game design.
On that note, I highly recommend reading this guide on how to install Morrowind mods before you dive into that sometimes daunting process. While modern programs like Nexus Mod Manager make the whole thing much easier than it used to be, don’t be surprised if it takes you several tries to get things right. That article also recommends a series of core Morrowind mods that every Morrowind modder on a PC should download such as Morrowind Code Patch and Patch for Purists.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind’s Best Mods
Morrowind Graphics Extender XE
There are quite a few Morrowind mods that will make the game look better, but if you’re looking for one visual overhaul mod that will do as much as possible, this might be the one for you.
Don’t be fooled by the generic name; Morrowind Graphics Extender XE is a truly beautiful piece of work. By focusing on improving many of the core elements of Morrowind’s visuals, this mod makes the RPG look as good as you remember it looking in 2002.
Better Dialogue Font
If you think a mod that improves the quality of Morrowind’s dialog font isn’t essential, that’s probably because you haven’t actually tried to play the game in quite some time.
This mod removes that strange blur effect that plagues much of Morrowind’s dialog and makes nearly every piece of text in the game just a bit easier to read. Given how important that text is to the game, this mod quickly goes from “nice” to “necessary.”
Morrowind Comes Alive
While Morrowind features one of the most vibrant and creative digital open-worlds ever crafted, the game’s original NPCs are certainly one of its most notable design weak points. Too many Morrowind NPCs look a little too similar and behave…strangely.
Morrowind Comes Alive overhauls Morrowind’s roster of NPC by adding new NPC models and making NPC actions much more organic. It’s honestly exactly the kind of thing Morrowind’s developers would have added to the game if technology at the time allowed them to make such improvements.
While there are mods that will add a kind of GPS system to Morrowind, I imagine most fans will want to ignore those and try to stick to the original methods of navigation as closely as possible. That means following a lot of directions and looking at a lot of signposts.
Well, this mod simply makes it possible to actually read those signposts without walking right up to them and waiting for a text prompt. Again, it might not sound like much, but this is one of those mods that enhances the base Morrowind experience in little ways that add up to a lot.
The Unofficial Morrowind Patch
Most Bethesda RPGs support one of these “unofficial” update mods. They’re basically elaborate fan patches designed to fix the many, many bugs that plague even the best Bethesda RPGs.
While there are other options out there when it comes to fan patches, it’s hard to argue against what this particular mod offers. If you’re looking to fix as many Morrowind bugs as possible without downloading too many “fix” mods, this is a great one-stop option.
Skyrim UI Overhaul
While there are some…janky elements of Morrowind I actually really love, the game’s UI is honestly pretty bad. It’s one of those aspects of the game that Morrowind‘s developers probably would have fixed if they had the resources and precedent required to do so.
As the name implies, this mod alters Morrowind’s UI to make it as close to Skyrim’s UI as possible. There are other UI mods out there if you’re not a fan of that particular style, but this is honestly one of the cleanest Morrowind UI conversion mods out there.
Are you looking forward to playing Morrowind again but dread the thought of working your way through roughly the same opening sequence yet again? If s, this is the perfect mod for you.
AltStart offers several different starting locations and inventory options based on your chosen class and general preferences. Like many of the mods on this list, the big selling point of AltStart isn’t just the new (or reimagined) content it offers but the fact that it is designed in a way that fits the rest of the core Morrowind experience so well.
Andromeda’s Fast Travel
I know that many consider the idea of fast traveling in Morrowind to be just short of blasphemy. To be fair, I also have reservations about adding too many “modern mechanic” mods to the game. There’s a degree to which Morrowind was clearly intended to be a little…”inconvenient” in spots. You don’t want to mess with that too much.
That’s what I love about this particular fast travel mod, though. It only lets you fast travel to locations that you find on signposts out in the world. That means you still have to head in the right direction via classic means, but you’re no longer required to walk those additional steps when you’re just trying to get somewhere via the beaten path as fast as possible.
If you’re looking for a truly massive Morrowind mod that will add quite a bit of new content to the base game, then you absolutely need to download Tamriel Rebuilt.
Among other things, Tamriel Rebuilt expands the world of Morrowind so that you’re able to seamlessly navigate to a fan-created version of the mainland area. That new area is bigger than the entirety of the base Oblivion experience and offers tons of new dungeons, towns, and adventures. It’s one of the largest, most impressive, and absolute best Morrowind mods out there.
The Underground 2
Have you ever thought to yourself “I love Morrowind, but it would be so much better if it let you explore an extensive underground S&M world populated largely by vampires and demons?” If so…well, I have a lot of questions to ask you, but I’d sooner recommend this mod than learn the answers to them.
The Underground 2 is a fan revitalization of a popular Morrowind mod. It basically adds a massive new questline to the game that sees you become a vampire’s companion and join them on a quest through Morrowind’s seedy underworld. It’s hilarious, creepy, creative, and a must-play for Morrowind fans looking for new content.
Described as a total conversion mod for Morrowind, this massive mod doesn’t just add new content to the base game; it basically reimagines the entire Morrowind experience from the ground up. From redesigned cities to new items and balance changes, this mod fundamentally alters the original Morrowind experience in ways both great and small.
If that sounds like a lot…well, it is. I highly recommend that anyone interested in this mod browse through its changelog a bit before downloading it. It’s an exceptional piece of work, but it might just change the original game a bit too much for some.
Next Generation Combat
While I love the idea of Morrowind’s “roll of the dice attack system,” it doesn’t always hold up in practice. There are too many times when you’ll miss obvious attacks in Morrowind even when you feel like your character should be landing them.
Next Generation Combat addresses that issue by making Morrowind‘s combat feel a little closer to the combat systems in Oblivion and Skyrim. You may choose to turn off some of the mod’s more advanced features, but on a basic level, this mod helps ensure that your character’s current attributes are better reflected via their damage output. It also eliminates instances of swinging wildly at a target while you separately wait for a “hit roll.”
Pure graphics mods are nice, but when it comes to improving older games, I tend to gravitate towards animation mods. They’re a great way to make an older game look better without compromising the artistic integrity of the original experience too much.
While there are numerous Morrowind animation mods out there worth considering, this particular mod offers a nice suite of basic improvements. You will certainly notice and appreciate the differences.
From an artistic design standpoint, Morrowind remains one of the most stunning RPGs ever crafted. Unfortunately, the game’s blurry texture sometimes makes it difficult to appreciate how lovely the whole thing really is.
That’s why I think this is one of Morrowind‘s best graphics mods. It smooths a lot of rough edges with Morrowind’s visuals without trying to completely overhaul some of Bethesda’s best design work. This won’t be enough to satisfy those who are hoping to make Morrowind look like a 2022 game, but it will please anyone who just wants the game to not look quite as rough as it naturally does after 20 years.
Morrowind may feature one of the deepest and most compelling magic systems in any Elder Scrolls game, but there’s no denying that most of the base game’s spell animations look pretty bland. The Morrowind team obviously had to cut a few corners to make the game work in 2002, which sadly led to a ton of recycled, or generally uninspiring, spell animations.
That’s where this mod comes in. It gives nearly every spell in Morrowind a unique (and often improved) casting animation. Granted, some are just variations of other reworks, but this really is a must-have mod for any spell users.
Birthsigns Are More Fun
Morrowind is actually one of the deepest Elder Scrolls games from a character-building perspective, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. For instance, the base game’s birthsign system is pretty basic.
This appropriately titled mod addresses that issue by introducing a series of birthsigns that are not only more diverse than the base options but actually have an impact on even late-game builds. If nothing else, it helps give you a better idea of what kind of character you eventually want to create.
ReadMe – Library of Vivec Overhaul
Morrowind’s many books are one of my favorite parts of the game, which really makes it that much sadder that the fabled Library of Vivec is so basic. It’s a great concept for a location that clearly got lost in the shuffle.
This mod addresses that oversight by redesigning the Library of Vivec to make it feel like the epic location Morrowind’s lore suggests it should be. Not only is the library’s interior completely redesigned (which also means the addition of some fascinating books), but the modded version of the Library of Vivec now offers more quests and NPCs. It’s just a fantastic addition to the game.
While Elder Scrolls games have historically struggled to get stealth right, the stealth in Morrowind is particularly bad. It’s often difficult to tell just how stealthy you’re actually being, and trying to build a pure stealth character often requires you to lean on too many additional combat mechanics.
This mod helps fix nearly all of those problems. At the very least, it makes it much easier to tell just how sneaky you’re being. Beyond that, it addresses some balance issues with the original game’s stealth system that made it possible to go from “stealth doesn’t work” to “stealth works way too well.”
Morrowind’s slower pace ends up being one of the game’s greatest strengths, but there are some aspects of Morrowind that are just a little too slow for their own good. For instance, even high-level characters walk like they’re carrying a mountain on their back.
This mod directly addresses that annoying issue by simply making your character walk and run faster than ever before. It’s honestly one of my most recommended quality-of-life mods for the game.
Sophisticated Save System
While many of Morrowind‘s biggest ideas have aged surprisingly well, little things like the game’s save system are an absolute nightmare. It’s way too easy to lose too much progress simply because you’re dealing with a limited number of save slots and inconsistent save triggers.
This mod fixes most of the game’s save problems by expanding the total number of base save slots while reworking the basic save system in a way that allows you to keep more safety saves in reserve and generally feel more confident that autosaves will be there for you. Definitely give this one a shot.
Better Armor/Better Clothes/Better Heads/The Facepack Compilation
Finally, I wanted to leave you with this series of mods that all improve some of Morrowind’s most common textures in some way. These are especially great for those who want to upgrade Morrowind’s looks without trying to give the game that “faux-4K” look some mods offer.
Interestingly, there used to be a fantastic “Better Bodies” mod available for the game, but I haven’t been able to find an adequate substitute for it quite yet. Thankfully, these other mods help address some of the more notable lingering issues.