With the recent release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind in closed beta on the megaservers, many fans have been either returning to Morrowind or seeing it fresh for the very first time. Being one of the returning players myself, after 15 years, I thought it interesting how closely Zenimax kept to the original look of some of the notable locations.
The devs actually posted a bit of a discussion about this topic early last week, but I wanted to go more in depth. Today, we’ll be looking at Seyda Neen in both The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Now, it is important to note that technically in terms of the timeline of The Elder Scrolls series, the events of the 2002 Morrowind happen after the events of The Elder Scrolls Online. This will come into play quite a bit while we look at the comparison pictures.
The picture you see above is the main entrance to Seyda Neen, the starting town of Morrowind. As you can see, the developers took great care in ensuring this bit was almost identical, save for some of the vegetation which differs greatly as, after the events of The Elder Scrolls Online, Red Mountain erupts and covers Morrowind in Ash, killing the local flora. The docks are slightly different as well, but the important bit is the architecture, which is essentially the same.
The next comparison we have is the Courtyard of Census and Excise. Obviously more aesthetically pleasing in The Elder Scrolls Online, this courtyard actually has a fun little nod to the 2002 game. In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, that barrel to the left of the door contains a ring – one that plays a small role in upcoming quests. Instead of the ring and the quests, in The Elder Scrolls Online, a Soul Shard can be found there in what we can assume to be a remembrance for what once was.
The main bit of the town in the two games might initially seem worlds away from one another, but in truth they are quite similar. Once again, vegetation is the key difference in these two photos. The buildings themselves are nearly identical, other than the clear textural differences between the walls and roofs.
The lighthouse of Morrowind is certainly a staple location. As you can plainly see, the lighthouse itself is fairly similar, though it seems sometime after the events of Morrowind the citizens built much thicker steps leading up to the top. The biggest difference here is actually the land, as the lighthouse in The Elder Scrolls III is being swallowed by a rocky hill on one side. We can theorize that this was done to prevent players from jumping to their untimely death off the top.
Lastly comes my personal favourite bit: the Seyda Neen tree, or stump in the case of the 2002 game. In The Elder Scrolls Online, the tree serves as a hiding place for a note that is part of a quest. Sometime after this, the tree seems to have been chopped down where it stands as a stump in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. There is also a quest tied with the stump in the 2002 game, and so it’s a nice little homage to the source material to have the tree contain a quest item.
With these pictures, it is clear to see that Zenimax really put their all into the challenge of recreating a beloved town. Which comparison do you think is the most impressive? Which do you think is the worst? If you want more Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind content, make sure you check out the full review of the expansion we did here at MMOexaminer.