I was half serious. I think Morrowind is a better game with better writing, but Daggerfall was my first ES game and I spent so much time on it as a teenager that it would be literally impossible for me as an adult to beat that. It was the first game I played that had a choice I could make in the main quest. I loved the political intrigue, the orc subplot (I loved that they added the ability to play an orc in Morrowind), and the expansiveness.
I honestly wasn’t used to games more complex than “kill all the nazis/space aliens until you reach the boss.” Suddenly there was this game with characters trying to manipulate my PC and asking me to decide who should get to wield a gigantic magical golem. It got me hooked on RPGs and will always be one of my faves.
As big as Daggerfall is (and believe me it blew my high school aged mind), it’s procedurally generated. This means that while there’s a lot there, you don’t have to pay attention to much of it. The main kingdoms (Daggerfall, Wayrest, Sentinel, and Orsinium) are important, and the others are kinda just there to be abused. The easiest way to get money in the game is to take out a loan in a kingdom you will never visit again and then skip town. Hopefully my widespread abuse of the financial system led to the invention of credit checks.
As a stickler, I have to point out that those books were in Daggerfall first. Other than that I’m with you! I loved all the in-game books and I think Morrowind is the only one that significantly added new books. It bums me out that they skipped so far forward in the timeline that Barenziah is probably gone.