TweakTown
Tech content trusted by users in North America and around the world
6,095 Reviews & Articles | 39,129 News Posts

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Tweak Guide - BASIC MORROWIND OPTIMISATION

In our first, of what will become a continuous stream of comprehensive gaming based tweaking guides, our newest writer, Koroush "PersianImmortal" Ghazi, has completed a very in-depth guide on obtaining the best performance from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Since Morrowind is such a demanding game on most systems, this guide goes into detail about improving not only game settings but general system settings so everyone is able to play this game at a decent framerate and in a stable environment on computers with varying specifications. Grab a coffee, sit back and learn with Koroush!

| Guides | Posted: Jul 17, 2002 4:00 am

PART 1 - BASIC MORROWIND OPTIMISATION

 

1. Installation/Uninstallation of Morrowind:

 

Install Morrowind in the straightforward way described in the manual. I highly recommend choosing to install the TES Construction Kit as well, as this will be needed later to fix an error with the plugins. I would also recommend installing Morrowind in the directory suggested by the program. Usually this is C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind.

 

If you don't have WindowsXP, you will need to install at least DirectX8.1 as well (if not DirectX9.0b). A copy of DirectX8.1 is on the Morrowind CD. I recommend installing DirectX9.0b (more information in my System Optimization Guide). You can download the latest DirectX from Microsoft DirectX Homepage.

 

If for any reason you wish to uninstall and cleanly reinstall Morrowind - for example for troubleshooting purposes - the best way to do so is:

 

1. If you want to keep your saved games, copy the contents of the SAVES folder under the \Morrowind directory, as well as the Journal.htm file in the Morrowind directory itself to somewhere safe.

 

2. Go to Control Panel>Add/Remove, select "Morrowind" from the list and choose "Change/Remove" to uninstall.

 

3. Go into Windows Explorer, to the directory where you installed Morrowind, and manually delete the entire directory, including the Bethesda Softworks entry.

 

4. Download a program called RegCleaner and install it. Under the Software tab, look for entries by Bethesda Softworks and place ticks next to them, and choose "Remove Selected" at the bottom. Next, still in RegCleaner, go to the Tools menu and choose Registry Cleanup>Do Them All to clean out your registry of redundant entries in general.

 

 

5. Once all this is done, reboot your system and you should be ready for a reinstall of Morrowind. Just make sure after you've reinstalled and re-patched, that you copy back the Journal.htm file and the SAVES folder to the same places if you want to recover your saved games.

 

2. Morrowind Patches

 

All Morrowind patches are available for download from the Official Morrowind Website

 

Morrowind V1.6.1820

 

The latest version of Morrowind is V1.6.1820 which is Morrowind with the Bloodmoon expansion installed and the Bloodmoon Patch. If you've installed Morrowind and then Bloodmoon, then you need to install this patch to fix several bugs in Morrowind, Tribunal and Bloodmoon which are caused by installing the Bloodmoon expansion.

 

Morrowind V1.4.1313

 

If you don't have the Bloodmoon expansion, and you've installed the Tribunal Expansion pack, there is a patch available for Morrowind + Tribunal which will bring your version up to V1.4.1313. Download the patch here. Remember the patch is only for Morrowind with the Tribunal Expansion pack installed. If you have Bloodmoon installed you don't need it, and if you don't have any of the expansion packs you can't use it.

 

Morrowind V1.2.0722

 

If you don't have either of the official expansion packs installed, to bring your original Morrowind to the latest version, install this patch if you're using the North American, Australian or European Collectors Edition. If you're using the standard European edition, install this patch. If you're using the localised French version of Morrowind, install this patch.

 

So basically Bloodmoon users need to install only one patch. Tribunal users need to install one patch, and base Morrowind users need to install one patch. Each patch/version contains all the fixes from the previous versions, so you don't need to install earlier patches. Make sure that you get the correct version based on whether you have the US or the European edition of Morrowind. For Australian copies get the US patch. Run the patch file, and it should automatically update your Morrowind. The patch fixes a number of bugs and adds several useful features so it is a must. If you have problems running the patch successfully, try doing a clean install of Morrowind suggested in 1 above.

 

2(a). Morrowind Tribunal Expansion Pack

 

This expansion pack is an add-on to Morrowind, and hence you must have the retail version of Morrowind to install and play Tribunal. Aside from a new storyline and new areas to explore, the expansion pack also provides a nice update to Morrowind, bringing it up to version 1.3.1029. This update contains an improved journal system which now keeps track of each quest, a range of bug fixes for Morrowind and some slight performance improvements as well. These improvements apply to Morrowind in general and not just the new expansion, hence the pack is worth getting just for the updates.

 

Installation of the pack can be tricky if you're currently using a No-CD patch for Morrowind. See the No-CD Patch section below for general details of No-CD installation, but here are the Tribunal-specific instructions for installation and No-CD patching:

 

1. If you use a No-CD patch, make sure you delete the No-CD Morrowind.exe file, and replace it with your original Morrowind.exe (which you should have backed up before). This is essential for proper installation of Tribunal.

 

2. Install Tribunal by running Setup.exe, and ensure that the installation path is your default Morrowind directory. Installation of Tribunal will add the gameplay elements of the expansion, but as mentioned, it will also patch your entire Morrowind install up to the new version 1.3.1029. If you have a fresh install of Morrowind, you needn't install any of the earlier patches first - Tribunal will bring it up to the latest version.

 

3. Download and install the latest Morrowind Tribunal patch, which brings Morrowind up to version 1.4.1313 (see above for link). Note that the patch is only for those with the Tribunal Expansion Pack installed already.

 

4. Once Tribunal is installed, you can download the 1.4.1313 No-CD patch from the sites listed in the No-CD Patch section of this guide, or directly from here.

 

5. Before installing any patch, make sure you make a copy of your original Morrowind.exe, rename it (e.g. Morrowind.REALexe), and keep it as a backup.

 

6. If the new No-CD patch comes as a modified Morrowind.exe, put the new Morrowind.exe in your \Morrowind directory over the existing one (remember to backup first). If the No-CD patch is an actual "patch", it will need to be copied into your \Morrowind directory and executed to modify your Morrowind.exe. Once done you will no longer need the Morrowind CD in the drive to run the game.

 

Note that some No-CD patches will not play the startup movies from Morrowind. Also note that the first time you start Morrowind with Tribunal installed, you may get some errors about plugins being out of date. See the Plugins section for how to fix this. One final note: because of the new journal quest tracking system, the first time you load a saved game in Morrowind with Tribunal installed, it will have to parse (sort) all the quests and this can take several minutes to complete. Once done, make sure you re-save your game so you don't have to parse the quests again.

 

In terms of performance tweaks, setting descriptions, console commands, etc. in the rest of this guide, what applied to Morrowind will apply to Tribunal.

 

2(b) Morrowind Bloodmoon Expansion Pack

 

Just like Tribunal, this expansion pack is an add-on to Morrowind which will provide new areas to explore, a new storyline and some new gameplay elements (such as the ability to play as a werewolf). Installation instructions are similar to Tribunal, but you should note some important things:

 

1. Installing Bloodmoon will bring whatever version of Morrowind you have to version 1.5.1629. You don't need to install any of the older patches, Bloodmoon automatically contains all the previous fixes and updates. This also includes the new Journal sorting/tracking system, even if you haven't installed Tribunal.

 

2. Once you've installed Bloodmoon, you need to install the 1.6.1820 patch from here to bring Morrowind up to the latest version. This will fix a number of bugs which Bloodmoon introduced into Morrowind, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon quests.

 

3. You don't need to install Tribunal for Bloodmoon to work. However if you do have Tribunal and wish to install it along with Bloodmoon, make sure you install Tribunal first. Alternatively if you've already installed Bloodmoon, and you then install Tribunal, you will need to reinstall Bloodmoon to bring Morrowind back to the latest version.

 

4. You will need the correct 1.6.1820 No-CD version to run Bloodmoon without a CD in the drive. Check the No-CD patch section of this guide for download sites and instructions.

 

3. Morrowind Official Plugins

 

All the official Morrowind Plugins can be downloaded here at the official site. You can get non-official Plugins from places such as Morrowindfiles. Once you have downloaded them, to install each plugin, follow this procedure:

 

1. If the plugin comes as an .exe file, simply run the file. That's all you need to do.

 

2. If the plugin comes as a .zip file, unzip the contents of the plugin to an empty directory.

 

3. Copy the main plugin file - the .esp file - into the \Morrowind\Data files\ directory, right next to the Morrowind.esm and Morrowind.bsa files.

 

4. Copy the remaining files into their relevant directories. For example, with the Lefemm armour plugin, copy the contents of the \Meshes\A directory to the \Morrowind\Data Files\Meshes\A directory. If such a directory doesn't exist, then create it first, and then copy the contents to it. Just remember that all the plugin files will have to site beneath the \Morrowind\Data Files\ directories somewhere otherwise Morrowind won't be able to detect them properly.

 

5. Once all the plugin files have been copied into the appropriate place in the correct Morrowind directory, double click on the Morrowind icon, and in the Morrowind launcher menu, choose Data Files. You should see a list of existing plugins and the Morrowind.esm file with a cross in the box next to it. Go to the new plugin name and double click on it so that it too has a cross next to it.

 

Now, sometimes when running Morrowind, especially with the new patch, you will get an error as the game is loading saying something along the lines that the plugin date is newer than Morrowind.esm and hence there may be problems. This is not a serious issue at all as all the official plugins work perfectly well with the latest patched version of Morrowind. However, to get rid of the annoying error messages, you will have to do the following:

 

1. Open the TES Construction Set Editor.

 

2. Go to the File menu, and choose Data Files.

 

3. Click a plugin name (only one can be fixed at a time) and click Set As Active File so that a cross appears next to it, and click OK. This will open the data file, and may take some time so be patient.

 

4. Once the file is open, don't change anything, just go to the File menu and choose Save. Once that's done, this will update the date of the plugin and you won't see the error message again on loadup. Do this for every plugin.

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Guides content at our Guides reviews, guides and articles index page.

Do you get our RSS feed? Get It!

Got an opinion on this content? Post a comment below!

Latest Tech News Posts

View More News Posts

Forum Activity

View More Forum Posts

Press Releases

View More Press Releases