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Install and play ES3: Morrowind on Linux

04 Nov 2017

The first open world exploration game I played was Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. It is very different from what I would call “modern” open world exploration games (even from the same Elder Scrolls series). I actually enjoyed the game play more.

Why I enjoy Morrowind

Morrowind, for me, is enjoyable because:

  • There is no fast travel; at least not like newer games. One can only fast travel from designated points like Boats, Gondolas, Stilt Striders, and Propylon Chambers.
    • Why is this cool? It emphasizes the importance of skills in the game: speed and acrobatics. It really matters how quickly you can travel on your feet.
  • There aren’t really any map markers and the world map starts out with a fog of war. That is, the map isn’t revealed and a player is forced to explore in order to reveal it. There’s also no quest markers so this adds to both the difficulty and a bit of investigative gameplay.
    • Why is this cool? I have to investigate by asking non-player characters questions around the town. They give you general directions like North, East, South, West, or in between. Then you follow the roads in those general directions and look for road signs to the destination you’re traveling. This adds an element of uncertainty and allows a player to explore and investigate like a detective.
  • At the beginning of the game your character actually sucks. What I mean is, let’s say you have all basic stats; if you try using a sword your character is going to be terrible at it. You’re lucky if you hit the enemy with 1 out of 10 swings. As you level up your sword skill, your character gets better at hitting enemies until eventually it always hits enemies.
    • Why is this cool? Again, it forces me to think about what stats I value early on in the game. Depending on the style I want to play I have to invest in certain stats over others.

These are just a few reasons I love Morrowind over other games of its kind.

Installing Morrowind in Linux

OpenMW (a.k.a. Open Morrowind) is a project that aims to make Morrowind multi-platform. So far, I’ve put a few hours into it and haven’t encountered any noticeable bugs. I think it’s a great port and it loads Morrowind extremely fast on my laptop. OpenMW allows Morrowind to be available for many platforms such as Mac OS X, Linux, and even Windows (though Morrowind was initially available for Windows).

Download and install OpenMW.

Purchase and download the GOG.com version of Morrowind. On my computer, it downloaded to ~/Downloads/setup_tes_morrowind_goty_2.0.0.7.exe. Use innoextract to access the game files from the installer.

sudo apt-get install innoextract
mkdir -p ~/usr/games/morrowind
cd ~/usr/games/morrowind
innoextract ~/Downloads/setup_tes_morrowind_goty_2.0.0.7.exe

Open the OpenMW Launcher, it will prompt you to go through a wizard to search for the game files. The game files are located in ~/usr/games/morrowind/app/Data Files. After the game files are set up and the OpenMW Launcher is open, visit the Data Files tab of the launcher. Enable all of the available expansions and DLC available in the list. Configure the graphics to your liking and then launch.

Enjoy the game.


This article was last updated Nov 19, 2017.

Posted in Gaming with tags: Gaming, Linux


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