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(Re)installing Morrowind, Pt. 8

Continued from Part 7, or start at the beginning.

We’ve upgraded characters’ bodies, heads, and regular clothes, but we’re not anywhere near done. Now we’ll continue on to robes, armor, and weapons.

Better Robes

It may seem strange that Better Clothes doesn’t cover robes, but the reasoning was that the existing robes didn’t conflict with Better Bodies, and that many robe replacers already exist, so it wasn’t really needed at the time. That may be true, but the original robes are still lower in quality because they’re low-resolution and the models are pretty blocky. This shows up during many character animations. Just wait till a robed NPC idly lifts their arm to scratch their head, and you’ll see their arm turn into disjointed LEGO bricks contained inside a cloth tube. Even the many, many robe replacers don’t entirely fix this problem, because they only replace the female robes (often with dresses, which may be to your taste, but I prefer robes to look like robes), so you’ll end up with inconsistent graphical quality between male and female characters. This is an issue shared by nearly all robe replacers except one.

It seems there is but a single robe replacer that really addresses ALL robes, male and female, and also keeps the original look: the appropriately-named Better Robes by Moranar, who recommends that you follow it up with Keazen’s Better Textures for Robes. Better Textures for Robes includes one replacement mesh for a Better Clothes shirt in a folder called “If You Use Better Clothes,” and I think it’s an upgrade to the existing one, but I’m not sure. Don’t worry about that, and just install both robe addons in that order along with that extra Better Clothes mesh.

In search of a good selection of robe-wearing NPCs to use for comparison’s sake, I went to the Balmora Mages Guild. Here are the before and after screenshots. If anyone looks super short, it’s because I’m playing as a Nord. It’s also kind of dark in there, but I didn’t want to alter the screenshots at all.

I only just now realized Marayn Dren is the only guy in the Balmora guild. He must either consider himself the luckiest or UNluckiest mage in town. Anyway, the screenshots don’t actually do justice to the level of improvement seen in the game; it looks much better in action (you may also notice the lack of UI elements in the “after” pictures; that’s because in the middle of writing this entry I updated MGE XE).

Addendum

Since I originally wrote this entry, a modder going by Flash3113 released HiRes Robes, which further boosts our robe textures. Go ahead and install it on top of the ones you already installed (you still need the others for their mesh replacements). It’s a noticeable improvement, even from what we’ve done.

Upgrading Armor

We now turn once again to the amazing Moranar. Her Better Morrowind Armor is the only replacer to make all the default armors Better Bodies-compatible (meaning, you don’t revert to your old “poorly-constructed action figure joints” whenever you put them on). She even provides several options as to having “female versions” of armor, or using the same shapes on both men and women. Read the instructions in his ReadMe to find out which to install to get the look you prefer; you will be able to switch between them simply by checking off a different .esp in Data Files. If you’re using one of the “DeFemm” plugins and your torso becomes invisible while wearing an Orcish cuirass, download this fix and install the appropriate replacement .esp.

Next, install Darknut’s Armor Textures. It comes in two versions, 1024×1024 resolution and the still-a-massive-upgrade 512×512 resolution. My screenshots (yes, I’m getting to them) use the 1024 version. Now, when you install these, you need to open each folder individually and drag the files to the Textures folder— it’s tedious, but worth it. Here’s Testdunmer (and his female counterpart) showing off some of their new armor; mostly the native Dunmer-type sets.

The friendly neighborhood Nords came out to show some of the heavier metal armors, as well as their proprietary fur. Note: they are Nords. By “friendly” I mean they will only crush SOME of your bones.

Did I mention beast races? For sheer sticking-it-to-the-man I’ve put both of Morrowind’s most oppressed races into some of the most expensive armor in the original game’s existence. That will show those grouchy-ass Dunmer!

You will notice that none of the female armors are skimpy. Even the “boob plate” is pretty subtle (with the exception of the ebony; like whoa). If you want metal bikinis in Morrowind you’ll have to download a different mod (or several). I’m not going to cover them in this guide, as we’re trying to maintain a close-to-original look, but later on I will be reviewing as many popular addons as I have the time for, so I will get to them eventually. I’d like to note, however, that most of Morrowind is the kind of hostile territory you don’t want to be underdressed for (except for those Nords up in Solstheim who seem to wear just… boots and hats. Uh).

Now, please be aware that Better Morrowind Armor contains a few minor graphical glitches, but it’s still the best option for the time being, and they are very, very minor issues. When the update is released, I will edit this blog entry. Anyway, let’s move on to those things we hit people with!

2 comments

  1. Kaamis

    A lowly pleb without nexus account as i am, i could not find Better Robes by Moranar anywhere else (worked out well so far).

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Life in Ink and Pixels

      Thank you, I surely intend to! 🙂

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