I agree, Morrowind was my first TES game so I'm a bit biased but you are right. I always hated Suran, mostly because of the layout but Balmora is a decently sized city. Had they gone more vertical with their buildings, they could've added a lot more NPCs too. But there's a reason why Balmora is a benchmark for vanilla modding If your frames survive that town, the rest of the game should run fine.
I used to dread going to Vivec, got lost more than once there which was a good thing. Lore-wise it should've been even bigger but it definitely serves it purpose.
I've used Starfire's NPCs at some point, there were a couple other mods that added NPCs too and there was the LGNPC overhaul. I dropped all those with my last playthroughs though.
I never really played Oblivion, made several attempts but I can't get into it. Same thing with Skyrim, got a good deal of it's main quest done but when I couldn't kill the Blades I was like screw this, it's a waste of time, I might as well watch the 'endings' on YT. What I miss in those games is choice, I'm not out to kill anyone but I remember killing Vivec for the lulz with cheats and then that message appeared. I went DAAAAAMN and loved the game even more after that. The fact they let you play on when you finish Dagoth Ur was a brilliant touch too, they really should've done a DLC to expand on that.
Off topic discussion. Talk about gaming and life in general. Be awesome to each other.