One of Morrowind‘s best features was missing from Skyrim, and Elder Scrolls 6 has a chance to bring it back to the series. Most of the changes between games have turned out positively, but spell crafting being excluded from Skyrim left mages without one of their best tools. When Elder Scrolls 6 finally comes around, reintroducing spellmaking would be an excellent idea.
In Morrowind, players can craft their own spells by speaking to a spellmaker and mixing the effects of any spells that they know together. This feature added a lot of depth to spellcasting by allowing players to create more powerful and flexible spells. As a result, Morrowind mages had an impressive magical arsenal at their disposal. The removal of spellmaking in Skyrim meant that game’s mages were missing a major part of what made them powerful in the past. Since Elder Scrolls 6 is repeating Morrowind‘s biggest mistake by being exclusive to PC and Xbox, it should also copy something good about it in spellmaking.
Because spellmaking could blend any spells that the player knew together, a mage’s skillset could grow exponentially based on the number of spells that they already knew. They could gain the ability to debuff enemies while dealing damage, fortify themselves in multiple ways at once, and other combinations. It added an extra dimension for mages that was only limited by their imagination, their wallet, and their existing spell list. It made playing as a mage more powerful as well as more convenient, since two spells could effectively be used at once rather than one after another. Morrowind had Elder Scrolls‘ best spellcasting system, and the perks of spellmaking played a major role in that.
Spellmaking was also the source of some incredibly powerful tricks in Morrowind. For example, a player could create a spell to drain one of their skills to the lowest possible level in order to get cheap training, then regain all of their lost points while keeping the new ones at the duration’s end. Combat spells could also be supercharged in order to deal a massive amount of damage in a single cast, albeit for a high mana cost. While these could be seen as exploits created by the mechanic, they could also be rewards driven by the player’s creativity. Elder Scrolls 6 could embrace complexity and bring back spellmaking in full force. After all, magic is typically about intelligence over brawn, and crafting powerful custom spells supports that.
Skyrim‘s mages suffered from a lack of spellmaking, both mechanically and in terms of roleplaying. Mages had a much higher difficulty curve than warriors or thieves because it took longer for them to unlock their strong damage options in addition to being restricted by their magicka bar. In addition, an expert mage feels like should be able to make spells of their own creation due to the studious nature of magic in Skyrim. Instead, mages tend to feel lacking until they reach their endgame build. Access to spellmaking could have made mages feel smarter and more powerful before that point. Considering the terrifying monsters roaming Skyrim, mages would have likely appreciated the boost that spellmaking could provide.
Mages always have potential to be incredibly powerful characters. However, they felt less so in Skyrim, partially due to spellmaking not being involved. Letting players make their own spells adds another layer of customization to Elder Scrolls impressive amounts of immersion. Hopefully Elder Scrolls 6 will be able to bring back this fan-favorite mechanic.