Os Altmer, ou como chamam a si mesmos, "Povo Culto", são uma raça de pessoas altas, de pele dourada, que vêm das Ilhas dos Semprestio. São conhecidos por Altos Elfos pelos habitantes de Tamriel. No Império, "Alto" é normalmente entendido como ser orgulhoso ou esnobe, pois como os Altmer geralmente personificam essas características, e as "raças inferiores" guardam ressentimentos por eles. Os Altmer vivem duas ou três vezes mais que humanos; um Altmer de 200 anos é velho, e um de 300 anos é muito, muito velho. Os Altmer se consideram a cultura mais civilizada de Tamriel; o idioma comum do continente é baseado na escrita e discurso dos Altmer, e muitas das artes, artesanato, leis, e ciências do Império são derivados de tradições Altmer. Eles normalmente têm olhos dourados, verdes ou castanhos.
Os Altmer são a raça mais dotada nas artes arcanas, e eles são muito resistentes a doenças. Entretanto, são um tanto vulneráveis a magicka, fogo, gelo, e choque, o que os faz fracos contra o ponto mais forte deles mesmos - a magia. Eles estão entre as raças mais inteligentes e que vivem mais em Tamriel, e normalmente se tornam poderosos usuários de magia devido a afinidade mágica e aos vários anos devotados aos estudos da magia.
For more information, see the main lore article.
The High Elves consider themselves the most civilized culture of Tamriel; the common tongue of the Empire, Tamrielic, is based on Altmer speech and writing, and most of the Empire's arts, crafts, and sciences derive from High Elven traditions. Deft, intelligent, and strong-willed, High Elves are often gifted in the arcane arts, and High Elves boast that their sublime physical natures make them far more resistant to disease than the "lesser races."
While the Breton is marginally better for protective magic, Altmer are also advantageous for magic. You receive much more magicka than the Breton (the only other race with a magicka bonus). This may be the foremost reason to play the Altmer, because with that much magicka one does not worry as much about the more expensive spells. Particularly greedy players can also choose a birthsign with a Fortify Maximum Magicka Ability so they would almost never encounter a magicka shortage, but they would have to endure the extensive resting needed to re-gain it - though Alchemy provides a means of restoring it more quickly with potions, and Altmer have a bonus to their starting skill value. Altmer are also the only race with an Enchant bonus, which ironically does not use magicka. Consider this if you plan to play an enchanter, as Enchant is a difficult skill to raise and even a small starting bonus is helpful.
The dilemma one faces with the Altmer is the many weaknesses they have. Experienced players should be able to navigate around this kind of issue, but early in the game you will be afflicted with a severe handicap against any characters who will use magic. For this reason, you may want to design your character to keep their distance in battle. Females have a certain advantage there, with the increased speed. Using this method, you could attempt playing a magical sniper, having high speed to retreat (or at least significant feather/burden effects) while using Destruction spells to attack your opponent. Of course, Morrowind is open enough to allow you plenty of options, so anything you can implement to keep yourself safe from magic will be ideal: Reflect, Spell Absorption, Paralyze, Calm, Demoralize, Speed Fortification/Damage/Drain, Silence or Sound. These can be particularly viable options for Altmer spellcasters as they have enough magicka to cast both these 'protective' spells for their own safety as well as using ranged spells from the Schools of Destruction and Mysticism against their enemies.
In a sense, the Altmer are the embodiment of the Apprentice birthsign, in that they gain larger magicka reserves but pay for it with increased susceptibility (and of course this is doubled again for an Altmer that is born under the Apprentice).