Morrowind provides players with the most uniquely designed fast travel system in the series, and it’s much more immersive than what Skyrim delivered.
Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowwind has the best fast travel system in the series. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim might have been efficient when it comes to traveling, but it lacks the design elements present in Morrowind. Traversing the world of an Elder Scrolls game is a key aspect in their entertainment, as they are designed to encourage discovery and exploration.
Skyrim gives players the option to essentially teleport to any location on the map that has been previously uncovered, which is great in its own right. However, without that instant travel players are forced to learn the lay of the land and remember what every route leads to in Morrowind‘s overworld. By today’s standards this method is rather inconvenient, but it’s also creates another layer of gameplay.
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There are a few options for traveling in Morrowind aside from walking. Players are able to commute via a network of silt striders, boats, and magic. The thing is, these aren’t all linked together and transports don’t go to every area on Morrowind’s map. What this does is it creates a sense of distance in the game and gives landmarks that players can recognize during their journey. Instead of hopping around the map at a moment’s notice (ignoring those pesky load times) players must remember where they are going, where they are coming from, and where they are currently. It means more work for the player, but it also means a richer and more meaningful experience. Anyone that has played Morrowind will have a hard time forgetting the image of those massive bug-busses on the outskirts of the city.
Why Morrowind’s Travel Is Better Than Skyrim’s Teleporting
Some might argue that Skyrim has a much better fast travel system because players can go anywhere at the drop of a hat. These worlds are beautiful and deserve to be seen, but 15 minutes of in-game walking can get old quickly. Skyrim‘s system is more efficient, however it fails to create a sense of familiarity which ultimately further immerses the player – although Skyrim provides various loading screens to help with the brief intermission from gameplay, turning items around over and over isn’t terribly engaging.
In Morrowind the loading screens are simple black screens with a loading bar at the bottom, but players are traveling from one transport location to another. It’s akin to learning the routes of the Chicago train system. It can be frustrating at first, but it’s part of the overall experience. That’s the point and why the people at Bethesda designed these systems the way they did.
Skyrim has a network of carriages that carry players to known and unknown major locations for a fee, something that is likely inspired by Morrowind’s system. That said, it’s not the fast travel system the game is known for and it’s unlikely players would choose this option over a free teleport. In Morrowind, every method of travel costs money just as it does in the real world. Whether it be a silk strider, boat ride, teleportation scroll, or paying the mage guild, every transport is an investment.
It’s the intention of the developers to bring players into their world to the best of their ability. That subtleness is often replaced with convenience as technology advances, and that’s certainly the case in these two titles, which is why The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind‘s fast travel is so much better than Skyrim‘s.
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