Morrowind vs Skyrim: Battle System – Melee and Ranged Weapons

Following up to the post I made with the controversial assertion that Morrowind is the best Open-World RPG to-date, I decided that I should make a series of posts comparing it to the most recent main entry into the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim. Hopefully, I will be done with the list before Elder Scrolls VI is released. There are high chances of that happening, of course, given that we have yet to hear from Bethesda about anything substantial regarding the long-awaited next game.

List of Contents:
1. Battle System – Melee and Ranged Weapons
2. Battle System – Crafting Magic and Weapon Enchantments
3. Battle System – Fighting
4. Skills – Efficient Leveling, Major and Minor Skills, Classes
5. Skills – Leveling each Skill, Trainers
6. Lore – The Pantheons
7. Lore – The Inhabitants

Battle System – Melee and Ranged Weapons
One of the biggest complaints I have regarding the newer entries in the Elder Scrolls series is what many games call ‘dumbing-down‘. ‘Dumbing-down‘ is a term used to make comparison between games in the same franchise where more complicated and otherwise convoluted systems of gameplay are simplified for a more streamlined experience. This phenomenon is very much present in the Elder Scrolls series, ever since Daggerfall.

In this post, I will only look at weapon types, particular melee and ranged weapons, since magic is a different beast altogether.

From sheer numbers alone, Morrowind greatly outclasses Skyrim in the types of weapons available to the player. For the sake of comparison, we turn to look at all the Daedric standard weapons in both games. (Here, standard refers to unenchanted base weapons)

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All Daedric Weapons in Morrowind

In Morrowind, there are a total of 18 weapons (as seen above). From left to right, up to down, we have: Arrow, Long Bow, Warhammer, Battle Axe, War Axe, Claymore, Spear, Wakizashi, Dai-katana, Tanto, Staff, Dart, Club, Mace, Dagger, Shortsword, Longsword, and Katana.

skyrim_equipment_daedric_weapons_by_ray_lederer
All Daedric Weapons in Skyrim

What about Skyrim? It is a measly total of 9 (the above picture also includes shields). These are the Dagger, Sword, Greatsword, Mace, Warhammer, War Axe, Battle Axe, Bow and Arrow.

In Skyrim, the damage done by each standard weapon is fixed, with additional damage added either by enchantment, doing critical damage, etc. In Morrowind, the damage done by each weapon lies within a fixed range, depending on the type of attack you make with it. But, that is not the focus of this post.

Even in ranged weapons alone, Morrowind far outperforms Skyrim. In Skyrim, there isn’t even a difference made between Longbows and Shortbows, which results in the game only giving players a single type of ranged weapon. In Morrowind, the Shortbow is significantly lighter than the Longbow while doing less damage, said to be better for stealth-based characters. Furthermore, there are also darts, which can be poisoned for even better stealth gameplay.

Curiously enough, by having more weapons in Morrowind, one expects that the variety of weapons would limit the observable differences between each variety. However, every single weapon type has its own unique characteristics – for example, a wakizashi and a tanto are significantly different in the way they are used, despite being extremely similar in looks. Furthermore, shortswords and katanas may seem rather similar, but refer to below:

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The Shortsword is much more consistent in damage than the Katana, but the Katana has a much higher upper limit for Slash and Chop damage.

How is this significant?
The Elder Scrolls series heavily emphasises the player’s ability to customise their character to truly feel like they are part of the universe in which the game takes place. Having more weapons plays into this. Just like how Skyrim‘s character customisation makes you feel closer to your character, since you can customise it more than in Morrowind (and its fixed number of selections), Morrowind breaks down the barrier between your game character and you. The choice of weaponry doesn’t just define the character, but also speaks about you as a player. That can only be possible by having a much larger array of weapon types, each being unique in their own ways.

Next: Battle System – Crafting Magic and Weapon Enchantments

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