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(updated February 08, 2010)

Index to Arwen's Tips


- My Need to Tweak
- My Computer System

Basic Game Improvements

- Making Morrowind run better

Morrowind.ini File Tweaks: Basic Edits

- How to see your FPS (frames per second)
- How to take screenshots

Hints on Playing Morrowind

- Read the Manual!
- Moving Stuck NPCs
- The Journal File - Viewing and Printing
- Bartering - Arwen's Shopping Tips
- Skills - How to Improve Them
- Weapons and Combat - How to Improve Combat
- Magicka: How to Use Magic


About this section

First of all, this is not a spoiler page.

It just has some things that I've learned about playing Morrowind and how I made it run better on my own system.

My Computer System (My current PC System)

I purchased my current system in May 2007 - it was the fastest system that I could afford, but it was not nearly as fast as the top gaming systems (which are like 33% faster, but cost two to three times more). But I should point out that my system is a gaming PC, in the sense that it was designed especially to run graphically demanding games, by a company that specializes in gaming PCs (and yes, there is a difference). But my system is now over 2 years old, so it does struggle a bit when running some graphically demanding games.

Current Desktop (Gaming) PC - purchased in May 2007 (posted here just for comparison/reference):

- Computer: Vigor Force Recon AXE
- Operation System: Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit
- Processor: Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core AM2 5200+ Processor at 2.6GHz, 200MHz FSB, 1MB X 2 Cache
- Memory: 4GB Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR2 800MHz
- Graphics Adapter: (SLI SLOT 1): XFX NVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB DDR3 @500MHz
- Monitor: ViewSonic VG2030wm 20" Widescreen (1680X1050) Active Matrix LCD

Arwen Note: If you have a nVida graphics card, I strongly suggest that you use nHancer (Advanced Control Panel and Profile Editor for nVidia cards). Using nHancer, I was able to increase my FPS in Fallout 3 by 60-80%. Instructions on setting up nHancer.

Morrowind PC (this is what I was playing Morrowind on, when I was writing my journal):

- Computer: 1999 Gateway Full Tower PC (sorry, this is all I know about it)
- Operation System: Windows XP
- Processor: AMD 1GHz Athlon (original, not the Thunderbird)
- Memory: 512 MB of 133MHz RAM
- Graphics Adapter: Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 500 w/64MB RAM
- Monitor: 19" Gateway VX900 (CRT monitor)

My Settings for Playing Morrowind (on my above Morrowind PC):

- Resolution: 1600x1200 Full Screen (I get about the same FPS at 640x480)
- Pixel Shading: On
- Shadows: Off
- View Distance: set at 50%
- Music: On

Basic Game Improvements

Making the Morrowind run better.

Official Patch released 6/19/02:

I have updated the game with the MORROWIND PATCH v1.1.0605. I can't find anything official, but it appears that the SafeDisk stuff has now been removed. My FPS and pauses now seem to be identical to what I was getting when I was using the NoCD patch.

No NPC Health Bar MOD

I don't like this new feature that came with the Morrowind 1.1.0605 patch and I found some instructions on how to make a MOD which would disable it.

It's a really simple MOD, but this is the first one I have made, so use it with caution please. This will remove the NPC health bar when the MOD is loaded. The health bar will return when the MOD is not loaded.

Here's the download: No NPC Health Bar MOD

From the Readme file:

If you're still using an old, slow PC (such as the one that I originally played Morrowind on), there are several things you can do to increase game performance:

1.) Slide Real Time shadows all the way off - On certain machines, shadows become the biggest speed hit.
2.) Slide the view distance all the way down - The farther you can see, the slower the game will run.
3.) Slide AI distance to Near - Causes AI to not process as much for characters closer to you.
4.) Turn off music - The music is mp3 format and can eat up CPU time.
5.) Turn off pixel shaders if you have them on - The reflections cause performance to degrade.
6.) Lower the game resolution - The game runs faster at 640x480 and 800x600.
Arwen Note: For some reason, changing to a lower resolution makes no difference at all in fps for me.

Page Menu:| Introduction | Game Improvements | Morrowind.ini File Tweaks | Hints on Playing Morrowind

Morrowind.ini File Tweaks
Arwen Note: These edits will allow you to see your FPS (frames per second) displayed in the lower right and give you the ability to take screenshots. Please only do these edits if you understand this process.

I would feel horrible if I caused you to mess up your game in any way.

Please make a backup copy of your original morrowind.ini file first and save it in a another directory. (the morrowind.ini file is found in the directory where you installed Morrowind

Open the morrowind.ini with notebook (or notepad) and make the following edits:

To see FPS:

Find the line: Show FPS=0 (down 8 lines or so)
Change the 0 to 1

To take Screenshots:

find: Screen Shot Enable=0 (down 33 lines or so)
Change the 0 to 1

Press your keyboard's "Print Scrn" key to take a screenshot.

These are saved as very large bmp (bitmap) files in the Morrowind game directory. I use IrfanView (a freeware imaging program) to convert the image to a much small JPG file.

Hints on Playing Morrowind

First of all: Read the Manual silly - Yes, the manual is sort of small, but it's also very well written.

My biggest complaint is that some of it is nearly impossible to understand if you are new to RPG's. And there's just a huge amount to digest if you have never played a game like this before. I actually tried to read the entire manual before playing Morrowind, but there were a LOT of things that I really didn't understand at all. Personally, this really frustrated me, so I just started playing the game. And I then made a huge number of mistakes, because I didn't understand or remember something that the manual had covered. When I get stuck in the game, I always go back to the manual. I have to read some parts several times, but I am almost always able to find what I need somewhere in that little book.

Moving Stuck NPCs:

When an NPC is in your way and won't move, I usually find that I can jump over or around them.
But when this doesn't work, just open up the console (~ key) and enter RA
This moves the NPC's back to their starting positions.

Ok, what do you do if your own character gets stuck? This happened to me once, when a door shut on me. Open the console and enter FIXME and your character will beam to a nearby location.

The Journal File - Viewing and Printing:

You can open your current Morrowind by opening the Journal.htm file in the Morrowind directory. I just started copying this to a Word file, which I print out as I complete each page.
This gives me an easy way to make little notes and check off my completed quests. (I have been told that you can even edit the file and add your own notes but I haven't tried this yet.

Bartering - Arwen's Shopping Tips:

You get the best prices from people who really like you. Use persuasion to get the disposition as high as possible with the person you wish to trade with. Start with Admire and use Bribe when necessary. Be aware that persuasion can often backfire and you'll end up with a lower disposition. (Your chance of success is linked to your Speechcraft skill)

If you plan on trading a lot of stuff in this trade session, you can usually raise the disposition by making a bunch of small trades.

- Pick a single low value item to sell and accept the trade without raising the default price.
- Keep doing this until you get the disposition high enough.
- Each successful trade should raise the disposition by one point.
- This is only a temporary change, and will drop back down when you end the trade session.
- Now you can sell or buy higher value items and get better prices.
- Also note that if you have two or more of the same item, you will usually be offered more moneyby selling one item at a time.

Skills - How to Improve Them:

- Your skills only improve if you use them. For instance, your Athletic skills will improve if you run and swim a lot.
- Your weapon skills will only improve if you use that specific type of weapon. If you use a bow all the time, your Marksman skill will improve, but you Long Blade skill will never improve.
- You need to be aware of what skills you want to improve and what you must be doing to improve those skills.

Weapons and Combat - How to Improve Combat:

- Spend the extra money to purchase better weapons. A steel short sword costs a bit more than an iron short sword, but the steel sword will do more damage.
- Keep your weapons repaired. Visit a smith or a weapons dealer and pay for repairs to keep your weapons in top condition, which is when they are most effective. You can also repair your own weapons if you purchase hammers and/or tongs. But you won't be very successful at this if your Armorer skill is low.
- Don't just click the left mouse button quickly when attacking. You need to hold down the button for a while before releasing. The manual say that "The longer you hold it, the more damage you will do and the more your fatigue will drop." I don't really know if this is true with the use of bows. (When I hold down the mouse button for a while, before releasing, the arrow seems to do more damage, but I'm not really sure.)
- Don't just stand there. Always try to keep moving. Also remember that your attack changes from chop (standing still) to slash (move sideways) to thrust (moving forward or back) as you change your movement.
- Turn on the crosshairs in the options settings. This is very important if you are using any of the marksman weapons, like a bow or crossbow.
- Pay attention to your fatigue bar as well as your health bar. You won't do much damage when your fatigue gets low. If your fatigue reaches zero, you'll be knocked unconscious, during which time you will not be able to defend yourself.
- Armor: I don't really know much about this, as I am playing without using any real armor.
I have Unarmored (a magic art) as a Primary skill and adding any armor actually decreases the amount of my armor protection.
I guess that you should probably make sure you have the best armor you can afford and that your type of armor matches your type of armor skill (light, medium, or heavy).
Shields: Similar to armor, but tied in with Block skill, for how well it works.
And a tower shield is more effective than a smaller shield because it protects more of you.
I also found that a light tower shield works very well with even Unarmored skill, once my block skill reached at least a 10.

Magicka: How to Use Magic:

My Wood Elf character is a Sorceress, but I found it very difficult to learn how to use any of the magic in the game. Using magic was the hardest part of the game of Morrowind for me.
I discovered that magic is a powerful skill, so it's worth taking the effort to learn how to use it.

Remember that when you first start using any type of magic, your magic skills may be really low and that your chances of success at using any magic will slowly increase as your skills increase. And your magic skills will increase by using the magic. Sort of like training yourself.

For example, your Alchemy skill will increase a tiny bit every time that you successfully make a potion. *Hint: It took me a really long time to figure this part out, but your Alchemy skill also increases whenever you consume an inventory item (like a plant) and it has an effect on you. (Like if your health is low and you eat some Wickwheat and your heath improves a bit, your Alchemy skill will increase a tiny bit.)

It's also important to remember the difference between Spells and Magic Items.
Spells use up magicka (which you need to restore).
Magic items don't use up magicka, they just lose their charge (but this restores itself over time).

This is some of what I have learned so far:

Spells: More that just pretty special effects.

- You can purchase spells from some of the mages that you meet in your travels.
- You have to make the spell your Active Magic Item to use it.
(it will then appear as the active magic icon, on the lower left of the screen)
- To make a spell active, you can hit the F1 key to bring up the Quick Menu and then select the box (1 through 0) and then the spell. If you put the spell in box 1, then hitting the 1 key will make this spell the active magic item.
- Or go to Menu Mode (click the Right mouse Button), and just click on the spell that you want to use. (in the Magic Menu window, under Spells)
- Once the spell is active, you use it by first hitting the R key (for Ready Magic) and then by holding down the Left mouse Button (don't just click it).
- Some spells work on yourself, some work by aiming at your target, and some work only by touching your target. So it's really important to understand your spell before trying to use it. (info about each spell can be found when you hover the mouse arrow above the spell or when you select it in the Magic Menu window)
- Success in casting a spell is also affected by your fatigue level. When your fatigue gets lower, your chance of success is also lower.
- Every time that you use a spell your Magicka will decrease by the cost of the spell. You cannot cast a spell when your Magicka level is less than the cost of the spell. Magicka is restored by resting or by drinking a Restore Magicka potion. (Note: if you chose the Atronach birthsign for your character, you cannot regenerate Magicka by resting)

Magic Items: Much like spells, but no magicka is used up. (Sort of like battery powered.)

- Magic Items can be bought, sold, found, stolen, and are sometimes given as rewards. Enchanted items can also be made by the enchantment process.
- Magic Items are things like magic scrolls, enchanted rings, or any enchanted non-weapons (enchanted weapons are just used like any other weapon).
- To use a magic item, the first thing you must do is make it your active magic item. (it will then appear as the active magic icon, on the lower left of the screen )
Note: Dragging a magic item onto your character does not make it active.
- To make an item active, you can hit the F1 key to bring up the Quick Menu and then select the box (1 through 0) and then the magic item. If you put the item in box 1, then hitting the 1 key will make this item the active magic item.
- Or you can go to Menu Mode (click the Right mouse Button), and just click on the item that you want to use. (in the Magic Menu window, under Magic Items).
- Once the item is active, you use it by first hitting the R key (for Ready Magic) and then by holding down the Left mouse Button (don't just click it).
- Scrolls can only be used once.
- Enchanted items, like rings, lose their charge during use. They will recharge over time or you can use a charged soul gem to recharge them it you are in a hurry.
- Important: using magic items only increase your Enchantment skill and not the skill of the magic skill associated with the item. For instance, repeatedly using an enchanted ring that turns you invisible (an Illusion skill), will not increase your Illusion skills at all
- Potions: How to make your own potions. See Chapter 10 of My Morrowind Journal, middle section, "Why Can't I Make Potions".
- Enchantments: How to trap souls and how to enchant items yourself. See Chapter 19 of My Morrowind Journal, middle section, "Soul Trapping & Enchanting".

Page Menu:| Introduction | Game Improvements | Morrowind.ini File Tweaks | Hints on Playing Morrowind

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