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Friday, April 19, 2024

This randomizer mod turns the best Elder Scrolls game into a beautiful fever dream

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Yams. It’s all yams. Everywhere I look. Every crate, every bookshelf, every corpse pocket: They’re all stuffed with yams. I have become the protagonist of a vegan Edgar Allen Poe story, and it’s my own damn fault. I’ve installed the Morrowind World Randomizer mod (spotted by Micky D on YouTube, above), and it only went and randomized the world of Morrowind. They should put a warning on it.

Created by a modder named Diject, the randomizer is possibly the most thorough mod of its kind I’ve seen. While I’m used to mods like this switching up enemy types and container inventories, the Morrowind World Randomizer shakes up whatever it can get its hands on.

Textures are altered, characters become a mad, identikit patchwork of species and sizes, and doors that used to obey the basic, agreed-upon laws of physical space now lead to completely different areas depending on whether you’re entering or exiting them. 

When I first activated the mod at the start of a new game, the Seyda Neen starting area transformed from a sweltering swamp to a mixture of snow-capped peaks and creeping, thorny vines, inhabited by a populace of chimeric dwarves and giants, all wearing a catalogue of artefacts of world-historical potency.

Actually, I tell a lie. When I really first activated the mod, the guard who escorts you off the prison ship suddenly became nine-feet tall and got stuck in a stairwell, preventing my forward progress. I restarted, and next time around he transmogrified into a charming, bitesize little guy. That meant he walked at a snail’s pace, of course, but better slow progress than no progress.

It’s wonderful, in short. But I admit that, when I installed it, I expected this write-up to be about how I found some endgame weapons in a crate in the beginning area and proceeded to execute god, but instead a quirk of whatever randomization seed I got just put ash yams everywhere. 

Don’t get me wrong, I found other stuff too—including basic items like candlesticks whose properties had been altered in such a way that they were now tremendous and bizarre magical items—but I couldn’t help but notice the yams, and the yams, and the yams. The mod has quite a robust and granular settings menu, so I could probably fix the yam-spawning myself. But I don’t think you should interrupt genius at work.

If you’re curious to try out the Morrowind World Randomizer yourself, you can find it over at Nexus Mods. You’ll need to install the Morrowind Code Patch and MGE XE (make sure to tick MWSE during install), but both of those are small downloads that come with easy installers, so you shouldn’t run into too much trouble. Then, it’s just a matter of extracting the randomizer to your Morrowind > Data Files folder. And then? Wealth beyond measure, outlander.

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