A massive mod compendium called Morrowind 2011 that brings gorgeous, up-to-date graphics to the classic 2002 Elder Scrolls RPG is now available.

It’s hard to believe that Morrowind came out in 2002. That’s right, it’s been nine freakin’ years, and while the game was sweet eye candy back in the day, time stands still for no game and it looks pretty dated by today’s standards. But it’s a truly great RPG, set in an exotic land with a unique and compelling mythology, and it deserves some notice from the current crop of gamers who may not have had a chance to sample its pleasures when it was fresh. Fortunately, it’s also insanely moddable and that’s where the Morrowind 2011 compendium comes in.

Morrowind 2011 is a project that collects many of the mods and updates for Morrowind that have been released over the years by members of the community. Tyler Smith of Alberta, who put the whole thing together, wrote in the project’s WordPress page that he’s been playing Morrowind since it came out but found that too many mods and guides changed the game too dramatically or led to various sorts of technical grief. He therefore decided to put together a huge collection of mods and, more importantly, a detailed installation guide that adds a fresh coat of sexy, sexy paint to the venerable RPG without blowing anything up.

And when I say “detailed guide,” I do mean detailed, and also huge. Everything is covered, including Steam versions of the game and the Tribunal and Bloodmoon expansions, and it’s intimidating at first glance. But it’s all handled in a clear, step-by-step fashion, so while it may take awhile to work through, anyone with a passing familiarity with using mods should have no trouble with it.

The results speak for themselves. The Morrowind 2011 video posted on YouTube shows a world with sharp, bright textures, fantastic water effects, lifelike vegetation and brilliant lighting. The models still look kind of crappy but the world of Vvardenfell is so colorful and bizarre that you probably won’t notice anyway.

Smith said the hefty 4GB size of Morrowind 2011 made it difficult to find a host, so he elected to release it exclusively via torrent. A link is available through MediaFire but I’d urge anyone giving it a try to do so from the WordPress page; the instructions there look like the sort that really should be followed.

Skyrim, the next chapter in The Elder Scrolls series, is scheduled to come out on November 11 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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