Oh come off of it. Guess you don't give a rats ass about Skyrim
I didn't hate Oblivion... I just found it distinctly average. I enjoyed it for what it was... a fun world explorer (at least the first few times you played it) and a not bad first person hack and slash game but I never considered it "good"... and was aghast at all the "RPG of the Year" type awards it won.
As for Skyrim... I don't know. Considering that I'm not a huge fan of Oblivion and hate vanilla Fallout 3 with a passion I'm not optimistic but then again hopefully working with Obsidian and seeing how well received certain aspects of New Vegas were (notably C+C) has rubbed off. A lot of the stuff they're talking about implementing is stuff they took out of Morrowind for Oblivion so if it returns to its roots it's a plus and the new engine looks quite impressive... at least compared to what came before. That said the new menu system looks absolutely atrocious...
*Rips the rose-colored shades of nostalgia from Consortium's face and smashes them into tiny, tiny bits* I've played Morrowind and I've played Oblivion, and I can tell you Oblivion did a lot to fix the balancing issues that basically made Morrowind unplayable to anyone but the most absurdly devoted.
I'd actually say Oblivion is one of the least balanced games around with your choices of how and when to level up making the game range from exceptionally easy to virtually impossible (outside of exploiting the pretty poor AI) and certain combinations of equipment (that you can achieve almost by accident) making the game an absolute cakewalk. Morrowind has its own balancing issues... the endgame gets pretty easy even if you deliberately try to nix your chances but compared to Oblivion I'd say it's a masterpiece of balance.
Sure, if you wanted to play a simple warrior and just kill everything in your path that was easy enough, but God help you if you wanted to be sneaky.
And God help you in Oblivion if you tagged any non-combat skill that you used a lot.
That meant hours upon hours of sneaking around the starter towns building up your sneak skill until you were bored to tears. Morrowind promised me a real play-as-you go experience, but hell if I didn't have to do seventeen math problems just to figure out how much I had to up a skill for it to be good.
Is it any worse than Oblivions "swim for 400 miles/jump under a rock repeatedly/multicast a simple spell" to improve your skills there?
Yeah, they had to eighty-six a lot of the little stuff in Oblivion.
I'd consider a lot of the stuff they 86'd pretty important... such as nerfed fatigue and luck, skill affecting whether you hit with a weapon, limited choices and consequences (especially with factions), skills being important while being part of a faction (such as not being able to become a high ranking member of the mages guild while knowing two spells and rarely using either of them), dynamic merchant economies and top level equipment actually being rare instead of stupidly common.
Look what you got out of the deal. What has to be the most real-worldy engine ever devised.
I'm not sure quite what you mean here. The scale of the engine was no different to Morrowind (it may have been a slightly larger area I suppose) although it did look prettier. Do you mean the Radient AI? I found that basically redundant. By the development teams own admission they had to basically nerf it because they couldn't program it well enough and virtually nothing they did couldn't have been achieved by well written scripts. Characters moving was fun... but they essentially moved in set patterns and didn't do anything (people would sit and yawn on a chair for 5 hours, or stare at a wall for 30 minutes) and the only time it was really noticeable was when it screwed up... such as guards shooting each other with arrows during a fight and then turning on each other. It promised too much and didn't deliver enough.
They brought full (if limited) voice acting and in general a much more immersible experience than Morrowind.
I can take or leave full voice acting... especially if every other example of it is two NPC's saying "I saw a mud crab the other day/frightful creature" in the same voice (weren't there only about 4 voice actors for the generic characters anyway?)
As for "immersion"... I don't know. To begin with I'm beginning to dislike the term as a whole... it seems to be thrown around a lot without actually meaning anything (in many ways like the term progressive is in politics, especially in the UK). Secondly, even if it was an improvement on Morrowind (and I don't distinctly remember it being so) it's not as if Oblivion was an immersive game itself: the previously mentioned repeating voice acting, the levelling system that had generic bandit number 4 be better equipped and more dangerous late in the game then super evil wizard or mighty warrior early on, the fact my character can be the Archmage while barely knowing any spells... and the head of the fighter's guild and a high ranking thieves guild member (although no-one would know you're the head) and the leader of the Assasins guild and the Arena Champion and (with the expansions) a member of the Knights of the Nine and a God
and no-one points that out...
There's also moments where it looked like Beth just lacked the courage of their convictions and in doing so really broke any sense of immersion. For example near the end of the Dark Brotherhood quests you've recovered the traitor's mother's head. If you drop this in front of the group when all the leaders are together the traitor starts acting strangely and blatantly suspiciously... yet there's nothing you can do to point this out or investigate further and you're left in the same situation as if you hadn't done it at all. Beth went to the effort of putting in the characters reaction to his mother's head... but then didn't follow through by allowing you do anything with it... and that's a clear break from any immersion you had.
Oblivion isn't perfect, but a lot of the problems it has were always in Morrowind to begin with, yeah, and in some small ways it might seem a step back, but as a much more "real" experience give me Oblivion every time. I hope they take what they learn and put it into Skyrim though. That's going to be awesome.
As I say I'm not particularly optimistic about Skyrim but I'm not massively negative about it either. Some of the changes look promising (notably the ones they're returning from Morrowind), others less so.
You don't have to use quick travel, Morrowind had samey dungeons too, and honestly there are some times I don't want to spend walking or running back to the nearest town it wasn't that varied and so great to look at (even for the generation) I'm kind of with you on the leveled monster design, but I can see the point.
A.) Either everything will be too weak or too strong and you'll be frustrated.
B.) You'll get randomly ganked by a monster you have no idea of what it's toughness is and get frustrated.
So it's a cheap fix, but makes the game more playable.
I don't really see how level scaling (at least to the extent Oblivion takes it) makes the game more playable. If you power play it the game becomes incredibly easy (you'll remain level 1 but be a combat god) and if you tag the wrong skills and level up normally you'll find yourself being massively under powered compared to every enemy. In addition if we're putting any weight on immersion then it completely breaks it... the previously mentioned fact that generic monsters and enemies late in the game are far more deadly and well equipped than supposedly huge threats early on (the fact that the great evil necromancer at the end of the Mages's Questline completed early would get tooled by a bandit from late game) and also the simple fact that my level 1 newly escaped prisoner can basically go anywhere and facing anything in a roughly even fight...
I thought Fallout was a lot better than Oblivion in that regard, at least. I just hope Daedra are actually dangerous, as they should be.
I know I'm in a pretty small minority here but I found Fallout 3 incredibly poor all round... and again if we're putting weight on immersion then it fails on that front almost entirely. Your guns break down after firing a few rounds but rogue robots patrolling the land are still functional? The fact that your guns in poor condition meaning that you can shoot a human in the head about 9 times and they still live? Plot holes a mile wide throughout the main quest? All the food being irradiated yet virtually no-one suffering from rad poisoning? Computers and subway lights all working despite no noticeable power source? Settlements without even the pretence of being able to support themselves? NPC humans being able to walk through highly irradiated areas but your character dying when he even comes near? A truly broken morality and faction system? And of course, invincible kids...