My love for Oblivion has found new life, thanks largely to Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul. The main feature of this mod, other than adding some new items and NPCs, is to disable change level scaling. In vanilla Oblivion, NPCs will be, at most, your level. Making their levels closer to static does not allow you to go anywhere and beat anything, but it does allow for a feeling of gaining power, something that level scaling does not.

I’ve been ignoring the main quest, and just exploring caves and forts, looting what I can manage. I’ve run into a share of amusing glitches on the way. Not only have I heard the hilariously inconsistent voice acting of the beggars, but once I ran into an NPC that had, for some reason, fallen inside a set of stairs. She was jittering back and forth. I could still talk to her. After leaving the building and spending some time elsewhere, I found her standing at the foot of the stairs, unstuck.

I haven’t been able to replicate this, but I was crouched on a roof in Bruma and, on a whim, I shot a guard with my bow. He ran past me, up a staircase and onto a higher level, ran into a small raised barrier for a bit, then fell off the ledge, and climbed back up. Another guard joined him. I really should have saved then. The next time I tried, the guard just ran around in circles below me. Why not let them jump? I shot another arrow at a random passerby, who turned out to be a powerful wizard, and threw powerful bolts of lightning in my general direction. That’s more like it. Then there are the amusing times when AI will get stuck on a fence, or in a rocky outcropping, at which point they become much easier to take out.

I was in Fallen Rock Cave and there was this huge Mud Golem that could take me down to a sliver of my health bar with a single hit. I slipped in and out a few times (while sneaking) first to get a journal for a quest, and later to try to empty a chest full of shineys. When I got a gigantic battle axe, I thought I might be able to take him. (This is the part where I found out how much damage the guy did.) I ran to the start of the corridor leading into his room, and started bombarding him with arrows. It turned out the corridor was too small – he couldn’t get to me!

That being said, it’s still an enjoyable experience. I’m willing to forgive the occasional outdoor framerate chugging, which may be due to both an environment mod I’m running and my aging hardware, and the lackluster story, which is a canned tale of the entire world in danger. I find myself wondering why if many of my enemies can make short work of my health bar, I’m the only one that can save Tamriel.

EDIT: Feel free to check out my screenshots.

EDIT 2: Realized the OOO link I had was old. It is now updated.

EDIT 3: There’a also an excellent unofficial wiki.

EDIT 4: It doesn’t make them completely static, but more static.

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