In the "Beginners' Guide to Daggerfall" I observed that the eighteen canned character classes fell into three general types: "skull crushers, spell slingers and sneaks." I thought I was being humorous when I wrote it, but Bethesda apparently took it to heart. In Morrowind, there are three class specializations: combat, magic and stealth. But there are now twenty-one canned classes. The Agent, Crusader, Pilgrim, Scout and Witchhunter are new; the Burglar and Ranger moved on to greener pastures (or the little round filing cabinet in the corner, as the case may be).
Morrowind made some serious changes to the Elder Scrolls class system, but has retained its skill-based approach to gaining levels. Here is a quick rundown on how it works:
You gain levels based upon how closely you adhere to your class. A Mage is not going to gain any levels by strapping on his Daedric armor and shield, grabbing his Broadsword and laying into everything that gets in his way. Sure, he can do that if he wants and he will eventually become very good at it. But it won't gain him a single level because Heavy Armor, Block and Long Blade are not skills belonging to his class. However, if he forgoes the armor and sword and confines himself to blasting them into itty-bitty pieces with spells (maybe sticking them with his dagger if he really likes combat) or turning invisible and flying by them, he will advance rather nicely. Why? Because now he is behaving like a Mage rather than a Warrior.
Classes are defined by which skills are important and which ones are not. Skills are classified as Major (five skills), Minor (five skills) and Miscellaneous (everything else). Only Major and Minor skills count toward level increases. Major skills are the easiest to develop, Miscellaneous skills are the most difficult and Minor skills are in the middle.
Bethesda did away with the armor, material, shield and weapon restrictions. All classes can now use everything, but most classes are going to be better at using some things than using others. That means no more class-based advantages and disadvantages. Initial attributes are pretty much set in stone based upon your race, birth sign and favored attributes of your chosen class.
On the upside of the equation, there are no more arcane mathematical formulas to govern your level increases. Ten skill increases in any of your Major or Minor skills is all that it takes.
So, with that short introduction, here are the canned character classes. You'll find everything you never wanted to know about custom classes on another page.