The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind gets a hardcore difficulty mod

Modder ‘Teralitha’ is currently working on a hardcore difficulty mode for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and has released a new version of it. This mod is for experienced players only and aims to increase the challenge so its no longer a walk in the park.

As the modder noted, even though every single creature in the game is been made stronger, players won’t notice much difference until they encounter higher level ones.  Rats and mudcrabs are still easy to kill, but players should still notice how much stronger they are compared to vanilla.

Morrowind Hardcore Mode - Before And After

Those interested can download the mod from here, and you can find below the major changes that this mod brings to the game.

  • All weapons in the game have been fine tuned to fit in the new hardcore world.
  • All creatures are now tougher and stronger.
  • Many higher level and important NPCs have been made significantly more powerful, especially guards. Guards are not invincible, but you will have to have much power to defeat them, should you tangle with the law.
  • Where appropriate, several creatures have had their souls values increased to match their power.
  • Several spells/enchantments have been modified to help magic using creatures and npcs have a slightly bigger bite.
  • Summons have been boosted accordingly, but are still weaker than non summoned, and have less soul value than normals so they cant be exploited. Those golden saint summons wont be worth as much as the real thing.
  • Traps are now more deadly.  Think you can just tank every trap you come across? Think again. Low level traps probably wont kill you, but medium and high end traps definitely will make you scramble for healing potions/spells.
  • Slightly higher probability of catching diseases.  Always make sure to carry potions/scrolls with you!
  • All fortify/drain spells have been removed since they are highly exploitable. Also removed fortify int effect from the ingredients that had it to rmeove that exploit too.
  • Self made potion values have been cut in half. Its should now be nearly impossible to make infinite profit from them.  Havent tested it fully to see though.  I didnt want to have to reduce it to zero.
  • Deadric/ebony/dwemer weapons will no longer fall like water from daedra that spawn them.  Such creatures now use bound weapons instead, but still have a 20% chance of spawning with those weapons.  Regular dremora and golden saints will have a longsword and shield.  dremora lords and other special version will have 2 handed axes.  So you will easily know the difference between them.  If they have a shield equipped you know they are the weaker versions.
  • Leveled lists for those weapons has also been changed.  For example, if you kill a deadric lord, you wont be seeing deadric weapons fall from them unless you are over a certain level.  Plenty of static items like this are still all over the world you can find by exploring, as you should..  These changes are meant to prevent the player from becoming stupidly rich so quickly.
  • Leveled lists for many random loots have been altered so as to make them more rare by 20%.  Havent tested this fully, I may need to make them more rare still.  But you shouldnt be finding as many stacks of dwemer armor or soul gems in random boxes/barrels. I may tweak the leveled lists some more to make the better items require higher player levels to spawn them.  We shall see. I already did that for some weapons and armor, but I may need to go further.
  • You now need 500 soul to make constant effect enchants.  400 was default.  Not to worry, there are planty of 500 soul enemies in the game.(and higher)  Whether or not you can defeat them is another matter.
  • Bribing has been made slightly more difficult.  Npcs in general will have a higher chance to reject your bribes, unless you have higher speechcraft skill.  It is even harder to bribe for merchants.  It is still easy to raise speechcraft by practicing on commoners.
  • Crime penalties have been increased.
  • Quick travel costs have been increased.
  • Training costs have been increased.  You are meant to be playing the game, not sitting at a trainer gaining 30 levels with your millions of gold. You still can, but it will be more expensive, and you wont be as rich as you were in vanilla, so you will need to get out and actually adventure, building up your character naturally.  This is meant to be a more challenging game experience after all.  Also, this will make speechcraft and bribing more important for reducing those costs.
  •  A few creatures in the game have some new abilities/spells.  Be afraid.  Or excited!
  • Magic weapon enchants have been altered to be less powerful.  Easily found (or randomly rolled)magic weapons will be much weaker, but have also been altered to actually be useful. That chitin flamesword will actually last longer than you might think.  When you find some, give them a try and see.(they will last even longer when using MCP.) Many enchanted items like rings and amulets that have “cast on use” spells are now actually worth keeping and using.
  • Enchantment charges on items will now regen more slowly by about 30%  You will need to raise enchant skill to increase regen rate.
  • You take slightly more damage from falling, and the distance you can fall before taking damage has been reduced. Still looking at increasing it more.  Its too easy to survive falls from high places when it shouldnt be.
  • You take a little more damage from drowning.  When you have held your breath as long as you can you should be dead.  I may increase it more, because high health means you can ignore the drowning damage for quite some time.  Plus you can just heal.  To balance this out I have increased the hold breath time from 20 seconds to 25 seconds.

(Changes in Version 1.7)

  • Big change regarding mercantile skill and bartering. In an effort to eliminate the infinite money trading exploit, I have gone through every single barter NPC in the entire game and boosted both their mercantile and speechcraft, roughly scaled based on their level.  Trainers who are also merchants were given special treatment so as not to mess up their training skills.  As a result, most of them are easier to barter with and bribe than all the others.  While this makes haggling harder to get the most money out of merhcants, it has a positive side effect of having your own mercantile skill increase much faster.  Mercantile and speechcraft have always been very slow to master because all the merchants in the game had no skills. Now, if you haggle vs a merchant that has 100 mercantile skill vs your skill of 5, you get a huge amount of exp toward your own skill advancment and your skills will increase just as quickly as all your other skills.  It may still be possible to get infinite gold trading at very high skill level.  But by that time, you will already be sufficently leveled in all your skills and have plenty of money.  There shouldnt be any incentive to try and get infinite gold.
  • Another reason why you wont need infinite gold is because I have changed all the master trainers to stop training at lvl 95. The MCP and leveling type mods remove attribute and skill caps to go beyond 100, and usually master trainers would train you beyond 100 with those things in play and because of the way post 100 training works.  But now they cannot.  Also, without any drain spells and effects in the game, you cant scam the system to train over 100 that way either.  But if you are playing this mod, why would you want to cheat anyway?    But also this is so you can become the master of a skill on your own.  You will have truly earned it.
  • It had been suggested to me that I should remove the creeper and mubcrab because they eliminate the need for mercantile/speechcraft skills, and I agree with them.  The creeper and unique mudcrab can no longer trade with the player.  Instead, you can fight and kill them to capture their valuable souls.  But be careful, they are not easy to kill.

John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities.Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email