Bountiful: Might & Magic Heroes VI Preview

By Alec Meer on August 8th, 2011 at 4:13 pm.

The series formerly known as Heroes of Might & Magic returns, with a confusingly rearranged name, to a post-King’s Bounty landscape. Without access to publishers’ long and tedious spreadsheets, I of course couldn’t begin to guess whether 1C’s good-natured, wilfully silly turn-based strategy/semi-roleplaying game presents any kind of financial threat to HoMM. KB’s certainly made hay during HoMM’s six-year absence, however. Now daddy’s coming back for his crown – but what has he learned? I’ve been tinkering with some preview code to find out.

I have, I must confess, relatively limited experience with prior HoMMs, but it’s pretty obvious that this one’s a serious rethink after the lukewarm reception to game V. It’s intended to harken back to HoMM 2 and 3, oft-believed the series’ glory years, but with a thoroughly 21st century paintjob and interface. The essential structure – roam a map, acquiring units for your army and boshing assorted fantasy monsters in the face in tile-based battles – is along very familiar lines, but… oh, I’m just dancing around a few key words, trying to buy time, trying to prevent anyone getting the wrong end of the stick…

So: it is a bit simpler, ok? There, I said it. But only a bit. Unlike KB – and again, that’s my primary frame of reference here, so you’re going to have to put up with a few more comparisons, I’m sure – there’s a strong emphasis on gathering resources, building up settlements, touring your holdings to check in on what’s become ready for collection and construction, and even having ancillary heroes and their armies roaming the map or defending your strongholds from enemies. Actually fighting stuff only takes up a portion of your time. Managing, upgrading and protecting your kingdom covers the rest of it. It’s big on numbers and short on explanation – you’ll work it out if you’re new to HoMMery, but the existing fans seem to be the group VI is mainly making eyes at.

From the preview code, I’m getting a strong sense that despite superficial visual similarities it’s a less characterful game than 1C’s King’s Bounty titles, and certainly one that’s terribly caught up in its own long-running lore – which of course it treats deadly seriously. However, it’s much more elaborate, with a beefy choice of strategies, skill trees and build options. While the number of resources you need to gather has mercifully cut from seven to four, you’re still presented with a battery of choices whenever you poke your nose into a city. It’s a game of careful planning and a great many statistics, and while the turn-based nature of everything – including movement across the world map – tends to put the initiative in your hands (in singleplayer at least) I’m not convinced that this is a game that could be bludgeoned through. It’s shed a bit of bloat, but it’s not interested in anything other than proudly being a true-blue PC strategy game.

While the meat of your mightiness and magicking is setting armies of assorted fantasy tropes against other, and trying to mitigate losses so you don’t have to spend a fortune replenishing for the next fight, the hero leading your silent armies provides structure and strategic nuance. Each turn, you can have him/her/it dole out either a straight-up attack, free from the risk of damaging retaliation which your units suffer when landing a turn’s first blow on each enemy, or a spell. On top of that, your actions and choice of spells dictate whether you generate Blood or Tears, which are the game’s reputation system and in turn open up new stuff. (The reputation system also extends to out-of-battle choices, such as whether you prevent a weaker enemy from fleeing from you or even giving you the fabled choice to talk to the monsters.)

The magic I dabbled in wasn’t terribly interesting on a whizzbang level, focusing on buffs and debuffs rather than big, crazy, wild mayhem, which rather speaks to the nature of HoMM6. Its flashy in its way – particularly in the occasional cuts from the standard isometric perspective to close-up, dramatic mega-stabs starring highly-detailed character models – but primarily its interest is in tactics, not bombast or the silliness of King’s Bounty. This numbers first/showing off second philosophy even extends to the city building, which isn’t much more than buttons on a flat image. I’m the kind of guy who likes to see the results of his building, to see his settlement visibly improving, not just have an icon turn a different colour.

As such, HoMM6 perhaps not terribly immediate and certainly isn’t speedily-paced, but it isn’t short on depth and tactical thoughtfulness, and that’s endearing me to it even through the vague bewilderment I feel when browsing its page upon page of skills. It’s a game to be gradually learned, not ground through or bounced off. Take the siege battles, when you’re trying to wrest a city out of enemy hands. A huge wall will separate both armies, which your catapult will slowly and automatically break down over time, but in the meantime you’ll need to make the absolute best of your ranged units while trying to protect your melee units from the enemy’s archers and spellcasters. You should probably also get someone guarding the one-way gate in the middle of the wall, which the enemy could send a unit through whenever it wishes, otherwise you’ll likely end up with your own ranged guys suddenly squished into the ground.

Meantime, there’s all sorts of special attacks I don’t yet entirely understand being delivered to me in all sorts of exciting/annoy ways with all sorts of exciting/annoying side effects, with my guys apparently taking damage from some force I can’t even see and enemies somehow able to splat half my army simultaneously. In time, I’ll learn how best to place them to avoid this, what spells and upgrades I need to mitigate the particular foes I’m up against. But that’ll take a while, because while HoMM 6 might have trimmed a little fat, it sure isn’t compromising itself for the sake of new players. I certainly don’t feel any doors are closed to me as a relative HoMM newcomer, though.

Ubisoft have just announced that the game’s been 11th-hour delayed from September to October 13 in order to give the devs more time, which I suspect is the right decision. They’re definitely onto something here – a whittling away of feature creep, a gentle stepping up of the roleplaying, a few lessons learned from King’s Bounty but without sacrificing HoMM’s own identity – but given it’s a few weeks from the originally-mooted release, the code I have is a little unstable and the HoMM community seems to have similar concerns. A few more weeks in order to help be sure they’redefinitely getting HoMM back on track after six years away seems only sensible.

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95 Comments »

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  1. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Anything in the preview code to suggest Ubisoft’s DRM approach to this? What has been revealed so far suggests their always-on approach slathered with a veneer of social networking.

    Also: do multiple unit upgrades return? I thought the addition of alternate forms in the final expansion to HoMMV made a real difference for the game.

    • Nim says:

      DRM is in and it has taken the shape of some kind of Ubisoft social platform that enables access to the game, Facebook, forums, skype, newsfeed and lots of other unnecessary annoying crap that you don’t need to play single-player. You need to be constantly connected to Ubi’s servers if you want to make use of the “conflux” meta-game which enables bonuses, resources and artifacts to you the longer you play and accumulate in-game xp and unlock stuff from campaigns.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      “You need to be constantly connected to Ubi’s servers if you want to make use of the “conflux” meta-game which enables bonuses, resources and artifacts to you the longer you play and accumulate in-game xp and unlock stuff from campaigns.”

      IF you want to make use? So it’s an optional reward system (with a presumably mandatory initial connection)?

      Regardless of the accuracy of my interpretation of those words, I can’t help but wonder why Ubisoft has never played that angle up more. I know in Assassin’s Creed 2 you could get additional throwing knives, an extra level, a new costume, and a desktop wallpaper by earning achievement points within the game. Besides not making you feel like the company’s bitch right out of the gate vis a vis DLC, it made the achievements worth more than checking a box on your OCD to-do list.

  2. cheesetruncheon says:

    Any Word on Hot-Seating?

    If they have it so there’s more than freaking 5 maps, I’ll definitely pick it up for mine and my Younger Brother’s Nostalgia.

    • Xaxxon says:

      @cheesetruncheon
      I played a hotseat game earlier in July when the beta was available. We were quite pleased with how it played.

  3. Spinoza says:

    Mighty Heroes & Magic

  4. pakoito says:

    This is not your best article, Alec, it’s ok for newcomers to HOMM but for people who have been following it aside of the cut of resources (revelaed amost 1 year ago) and tears/blood you give nothing new :(

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Well he admits that he hasn’t played very much of the previous games. From the description, it sounds exactly like the previous HoMM games, what with the focus on overall strategy (managing and protecting several towns and many heroes at the same time) combined with tactical fighting.
      As much as I love the King’s Bounty series, I found them disappointingly easy. In HoMM, you are always running out of time, as your enemies and the random monsters are always getting stronger, and an enemy attacking at the right time can devastate all you have accomplished.

    • pakoito says:

      That’s because they’re different games. King’s Bounty is a roleplaying game with squad-based combat where you advance in your quest for money to buy squads to “save the princess”, and HOMM is a turn based strategy versus game with emphasis in exploration and growth.

    • ShaunCG says:

      @Snarfelfhtagh’n: You found KB easy? Crazy – I stopped playing it because I found it such a tedious grind with my wizardly character, and having to constantly trek about to restore my armies after each encounter. I enjoyed the game but the few moments of Wacky and the hilariously terrible localisation weren’t enough to encourage me to slog my way to the end.

      @no one in particular: Re. Alec’s article, given that a second attempt to resurrect this classic series of games will need to draw in new players, I think it’s very sensible to have someone who is not intimately familiar with the games offer up a short preview.

      What I will say is that with the grid-based combat system it *looks* closer to HOMMV than any of the others, which strikes me as odd if they want to depart from that game (which I quite enjoy, though HOMM3 remains fondest-held in my memory banks). Indeed, almost all of what Alec mentions sounds similar to past titles in the series, which should tell fans of the HOMM games all that they need to know. Yes?

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Yeah King’s bounty made you choose between cherry-picking easy fights or taking casualties in a more difficult encounter and then trekking back to recruit more. It was a grind, but without any risk beyond having to re-load a fight.
      In HoMM, making the wrong moves could doom you 10 turns later, especially before you get the teleportation spells. I think it was that sense of urgency that kept people playing longer than in the KB series.
      But back to the topic, if Alec Meer really hasn’t played the other games, he did an amazing job describing them anyways. So HoMM VI is gonna be awesome!

  5. Metonymy says:

    No offense to a well written piece, but it is completely unacceptable that someone who isn’t strongly familiar with Homm3 would write a piece about a new Homm.

    It’s better to wait a few days, and assign it to someone who is familiar with the game in question. I have no interest in how it compares to KB, I want to know precisely how it compares to previous Homms.

    • Tyrmot says:

      Yes I was just writing the same… – any review of a new HOMM needs to be compared to number 3 – which is still by far the best in the series…

      ps – I think ‘completely unacceptable’ might be a tad much – after all, there will be people who might buy this who have never played HOMM3 either – but there is definitely something of a cult following for the HOMM series, and it’s for them that the comparison to #3 must be made.

    • f300 says:

      As someone who has never played a Homm game, but is interested to know about this new one, comparing it to previous Homms only would be quite useless.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Sticking to ‘by the fans for the fans’ is a particularly unhelpful way of talking about new videogames to a wide audience.

    • Metonymy says:

      That isn’t a counterpoint. Succinct, accurate information, that requires no frame of reference is a requirement in any article. I’m merely pointing out the ham-fisted “uh it’s like this other game that is sorta similar, and some stuff happened that is alpha code so I didn’t understand, and there’s like monsters and fighting and strategy and stuff, and it’s like a video game, yo” is useless.

      The information we desire may not exist at all, but we have no way of knowing that, because the writer doesn’t mention anything that pertains to the Homm series.

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      Morph says:

      So which members of RPS are familiar with Homm3. Is it… none of them?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Metonymy – this is RPS. We’re not going to make our articles all super-specific hyperfacts just because a game has a history. You want those, the HoMM forum’s full of ‘em.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      I’ve only casually dabbled in the HOMM series and would have liked more details and comparison with the previous games as well. Doesn’t have to be ‘super detail hyperfacts’.

    • svge says:

      I think a lot more people have played HOMM3 than King’s Bounty so surely comparisons with HOMM3 would make more sense to a wider audience.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      And next week on When Fans Attack!

      It was a good piece and I like the approach of judging a new entry in an old series by its own merits.

    • jalf says:

      No offense to a well written piece, but it is completely unacceptable that someone who isn’t strongly familiar with Homm3 would write a piece about a new Homm.

      No offense to you, but I really don’t see who put you in charge of determining the “acceptableness” of this or anything else posted on RPS.

      In fact, I’m pretty sure that they can post anything they like, within the bounds of UK law, and it will, by definition, be “acceptable”.

      What’s more, people who suggest that you can’t, or that it is somehow unfair to, judge a game on its own merits are morons.

      If the game is good, people will think it is good regardless of whether they played HOMM3. if it sucks, being nostalgic about HOMM3 shouldn’t make a scrap of difference.

      Oh, and by the way, I liked HOMM5 better. There, I said it. I guess that renders my comment “unacceptable”.

    • Metonymy says:

      The reason why the article is written is to be informative. If the writer obviously spends more time making cute quips than describing the underlying game, I’m going to immediately point this out. This is going to happen next time, as well.

    • Homo_erectus says:

      I disagree, I have never played an of the previous games but I am interested in this game and reading the thoughts of someone else who comes to the game with no baggage was useful and interesting to me.

  6. BunnyPuncher says:

    “It’s big on numbers and short on explanation”

    This just about sums up the HOMM games. The game might present a great number of complex and interesting options but you have no real way of discerning which options are good options. The only way to identify and understand strategies is to play the game over and over and over to find out what everything actually does…. which would be ok but the game is so slow you would have to really hate yourself to spend all that time grinding out information.

    • Demiath says:

      Doesn’t seem entirely fair to me. As far as strategy games go HOMM’s mechanics (including things like army/unit type management and choices etc.) have always been relatively simplistic and easy to digest. Personally I have zero tolerance for something as daunting as Civilization, but I’ve always found Heroes of Might & Magic to be easy to pick up and play quite regardless of how good the game is at introducing anything.

    • BunnyPuncher says:

      The choices you can make during a game are well presented and easy to understand. However, what those choices actually mean is not made clear, if such information is available at all. This is more of a criticism of the strategy map than the individual battles, which I enjoyed.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    I’m fairly certain HoMM V was well received, by critics as well as fans. It’s HoMM IV that’s the black sheep in the family and incidentally also the one I like the most.

    • WrongThinker says:

      I honestly don’t know why people hate on HoMMV. People who say things like “it was a step backwards” or it “wasn’t as deep as HoMM3″ I’m convinced didn’t actually play it. Having dumped over 200 hours into both 3 and V I can say without any question that V was the deeper, better balanced, and more rewarding experience.

      The only weakness with V, as far as I’m concerned, was the lack of lower-level artifacts. I would also find duplicates, even on smaller maps. Outside of that V truly did what IV couldn’t… it toppled III as the king of Might and Magic.

    • Wizardry says:

      Nah. World of Xeen or Isles of Terra is the king of Might and Magic.

    • Grygus says:

      Alec mentions that HoMM takes its lore seriously. I believe that fans dislike HoMM IV because it slid into self-parody, especially in the campaign. The hero class system was interesting, though.

      The only real problem I had with HoMM V was a dismaying lack of maps; especially once the Tribes of the East expansion was released, it was a very solid entry in the series.

    • pakoito says:

      You mean retail maps, because there was a lovely random map generator and shitloads of community maps.

    • Grygus says:

      Yes I do mean retail maps. After all, neither community maps nor the random map generator existed when HoMM V released.

      Besides, HoMM III had community maps and a random map generator in addition to a lot of retail maps; it’s not like having one means we can’t or shouldn’t have the other.

    • pakoito says:

      I’ve never been a fan of retail maps TBH, in any RTS, just playing the same known ones. I can understan the need in competitive ones like SC2, bot other than that community beats retail.

    • Grygus says:

      So you don’t want to play the same maps over and over, yet you are arguing with me about including more of them on release. That’s your position. I’m not sure you’ve thought this through.

  8. Caddrel says:

    Dear sirs,

    I’m writing to register my horror and disdain at your pun, “HoMM is where the heart is”.

  9. abremms says:

    played in the pre-order beta, thought it was a lot of fun, there is a ton of strategic depth that I don’t remember from the HOMMs of my youth, might have just been too young to recognize it though. the empire bits where the footmen share damage amongst adjacent stacks is a really interesting mechanic as it immediately changed the way I played empire armies the moment I realized what was going on.

  10. inertia says:

    Six years? Has it really been so long? Gosh. I need to crack out some of the HoMM games again…

  11. Kdansky says:

    I am the only one who thinks: “Where are the Hexes?”

  12. floweringmind says:

    I am so sick of Heroes of Might & Magic. The first couple of these were really neat and fun to play. Now it is just the same garbage recycled over and over. I wish they would get back to it’s roots when the game was actually a RPG. It had so much more depth and could have even been a great MMO.

    • Wizardry says:

      HoMM was never an RPG series.

    • floweringmind says:

      You are right, I am talking about MIGHT & MAGIC which was an RPG before HEROES OF MIGHT & MAGIC came out.

    • Werthead says:

      Quite a few of the RPGs were released after the HoMM series started up (6-9 of the main series, I recall). I think your ire is better-directed at DARK MESSIAH OF MIGHT AND MAGIC, as that direction (a sort of FPS thing) seems to have supplanted the far more expensive and time-consuming-to-produce RPGs, or would have done if DMoMM had sold better.

  13. Sidorovich says:

    Good lord, those screenshots don’t do the game justice at all. The over-world is probably the lushest looking yet of the series. Please get someone whose more familiar with the HOMM series (and knowledgeable of this incarnation’s controversies) before giving the final verdict.
    No mention of the new ‘Sanctuary’ faction that’s been shoe-horned in and the demise of classic factions like Wizards and Dungeon?

    • Tyrmot says:

      Perhaps to be released as DLC at a later date…?

    • Sidorovich says:

      Sanctuary would’ve been perfect for DLC, but axing Titans and Black Dragons – the series stalwarts – just to include a load of Nagas from the get go has really given fans the hump.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Does the main/first campaign revolve around the Haven faction again? Just replayed 4+expansions, and I realized I’m seriously fed up with the paladin filled Griffin clan and the constant fall from grace of their bland family members.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rhygadon says:

      This! Why always start with the most tedious, unoriginal army in the game? (OK, Peasants are cool, but that aside …)

      King’s Bounty had the same problem. Most of the interesting strategy is in the early game, before things get too out of control; but you never get a chance to play with, say, demon or elf armies at that power level. By the time you have access to more than one or two stray units of those types, you’re already at endgame power levels. Sad. Though of course, that’s where a scenario builder would have helped …

    • LokisDawn says:

      Actually, in the Pre-Version, the campaign starts as the “pseudo-japanese” sanctuary.

  15. Bugg says:

    This might be a clumsy question, but is there any sense of permanence to your actions?

    Although it’s been a while since I last played a HoMM game, I seem to remember that armies did not carry over between maps, nor did items or any other progress. You simply took on each map then found yourself reset to a state that the developers chose at the beginning of the next area.

    After playing King’s Bounty (which admittedly has a different focus) I can’t imagine going back to a game that expects you to invest in so many tactical options but doesn’t allow them to have a lasting impact.

    • Sadraukar says:

      I could never quite determine why I wasn’t enthralled by this series and I think you just nailed it. You spend a lot of time leveling your heroes and armies only to have it all reset at the start of the next mission.

      Hopefully HoMM VI will do something to remedy this but perhaps it is a feature that fans of the series enjoy.

    • Grygus says:

      Sounds like you never tried the single player campaigns.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rhygadon says:

      To a certain extent, that’s built into the genre; it’s a map-based strategy game, so you can’t have too much carryover without ruining the challenge level (or creating cascading failure/steamroller situations).

      In the campaigns, you at least get to carry over your hero. Though honestly, in the last two iterations (IV and V) I felt that the hero-building was too completely focused on campaign-level powers. All of the truly interesting powers came late and required carefully chosen sequences of prerequisites; in a single scenario you felt like you were never really seeing the good stuff. I do hope that’s one of the things they’ve scaled back.

  16. Namos says:

    Calling the game long on lore is a bit of a stretch, since Ubisoft rebooted the Might and Magic universe after they bought the franchise. Might and Magic lore currently revolves around HoMM 5 and its two expansions, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and Clash of Heroes. That isn’t much at all, considering the fact that prior to the reboot it was based on 4 strategy games, their expansions, and 9 (!) RPGs.
    Also, series fans are absolutely pissed over the lack of proper evolving town screens.

    I find it odd that this preview seems to stress how “grognard” Heroes is, considering the series has always been one of the more approachable turn based strategy games on PC.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Theoretically, all the nine Might & Magic games as well as the first four Heroes of Might & Magic games are set in the same continuity. You’d probably go insane trying to piece it all together and it will raise more questions than it answers but yeah.

  17. Zippy says:

    “post King’s Bounty” makes no sense, since HOMM was originally based on the New World Computing game King’s Bounty, released in 1990 for PC, Amiga, and Commodore 64. Everything good in HOMM was in that original game, all they’ve added is graphics and irrelevant complications.

  18. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    HoMM4 will always have a special place in my heart for the sheer magnificence of its music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAFa4669lNc&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=PL5B3CE0D5AC01CE1E

  19. Velvetmeds says:

    for a moment there i thought only 4 HOMM had been released, i had to look up the list to realize i was wrong

  20. Jae Armstrong says:

    It’s intended to harken back to HoMM 2

    GLORIOUS

  21. Koozer says:

    As someone whose turn-based roots lie with Nintendo, how does HOMM compare to, say, Advance Wars and Fire Emblem? Does it at all suffer from over-the-top powers and feature creep like Dual Strike, or is it simpler and more like Black Hole Rising?

    • pakoito says:

      It is kind of different than both. Advance Wars is Rock Paper Scissors most of the time, and just knowing where to place your units and how to battle that unit with that other. Fire emblem gives you a fixed number of units and once again everything is played on the fild, with preparations done between levels.

      HOMM has to different parts: the overworld is where you conquer places to get more resources to improve your unit-generators, which has to be level up and only spits units once every 7 turns, you got Dragons in the 8th you have to wait 6 more turns, that’s how it is balanced. Different resource generators, magic items, extra spells, random gold…there’s a lot of different buildings that can be explored.

      The other half of the game are the combats, which are stats-heavy but mostly sums up in whoever has more units wins as most factions are balanced all game, except maybe Dungeon. Spells and what skills leveled each hero is good, but a lvl1 with 1000 archers still beats a lvl20 with 600 most of the times. Positioning is kind-of important but it only takes 2 turns for most units to engage in melee if needed, so most of the time you use your long range on their long range and try to defend (with) your melee, while using spells and high movement units to undermine theirs.

      Overall, it is a game of resilience, whoever spent less units exploring the map while getting the most resources will probably win endgame, and low-lever skirmishes are to be avoided most of the times.

  22. TheGameSquid says:

    I just wish a someone would make a new Might & Magic RPG. To be honest, I never really liked the Heroes series, despite being a huge Turn-Based fan.

    • Wizardry says:

      I want a new Might and Magic too. Unfortunately any new Might and Magic RPG will be watered down shit, as well as being set in the rebooted “universe”. So while I want a new Might and Magic, at the same time I don’t want one. Might and Magic IX was bad enough, but a Might and Magic X that plays like Dragon Age II is something that would cause me to rage forever.

  23. noexes says:

    For a tiny tiny second I thought this story was about a PC version of Clash of Heroes. It, of course, is not, and it will likely never show up, but damnit I need some Capy in my life!

  24. MythArcana says:

    They changed this series more than Heroes IV did and I’m very nervous about the whole thing. The beta really did seem like King’s Bounty more than HoMM (that’s right, I’m not buying the new stupid title, either) and the changes to the town screen are unacceptable, among other things. You have your online character profile (Ubisoft DRM) which stores your heroes’ progress and also keeps you permanently online to play this game – and that might be the final blow for me. I’m sticking with Heroes 3 and Heroes V with the user-made final integration patch and watching this project fall wayside into corporate oblivion.

    • pakoito says:

      Tell me more about those integration patches.

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      Rhygadon says:

      Yes please! I’m a big fan of the series (since primordial KB) but lost track of V before the expansions came out. Integration patch?

    • Premium User Badge

      ADinVA says:

      Search the RPS forums for “HoMM5 Content Combo Pack” and you can read a thread about it there.

  25. pazmacats says:

    So, the author basically thinks the game is too complicated? Too many skills? Too much to read? Not enough resource simplification? – How about simplifying weapon’s choices in FPS? Surely 7 weapons is much too complicated. Let’s just have nukes instead. The players want it.

  26. TLGAthena says:

    I’ve been beta’ing for HoMM 6 (I’ll still call it that despite UBI’s attempted rebrand).

    It needs a balance pass and a fair bit of polish, but the singleplayer campaign is shaping up into something genuinely special. Just… don’t pay attention to the voice acting PLEASE. The developers are delaying because they feel that the game needs more time in development to be up to spec, which I applaud as a move. They’ve been honest and said they want time to polish the game further.

    Better that than retailing a buggy beta at full price.

  27. Sinnorfin says:

    They are going the wrong direction with this in my opinion..
    3 was GREAT !
    4 had a hard reception but aside the balance issues its certainly a step forward!
    as for 5 i was hoping for something even bigger on scales..
    The greatest problem with 5 and 6 are scale.. You’re no longer feeling you’re traveling lands.. it feels like the end of the map is the backyard of your castle..The units and landscape in battle mode got so detailed that is hard to imagine any more that there are hundreds of creatures fighting ..It’s just numbers..
    Music went to hell. and 5’s graphic was cleanly aiming for a korean style..
    I dare every HOMM player that he wouldnt have played that much with these games if they didnt have that crazy good atmosphere about it.. I for one have tried disciples and other homm like games alike but they just couldnt catch me..
    I am afraid this is big daddy’s last drop in the glass. I dont mind. Atleast they dont torture it anymore..
    I wish CDproject or some other decent devs grappled upon the idea of a homm like game and took it further finally..

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      I think I agree mostly with what you’ve said more than others.

  28. Sinnorfin says:

    I dont understand by the way why didnt they ditch the number if they changed the name..
    I thought they did this because IV is similar to VI ..when news air about it i still think sometimes ‘AHH something about the fourth..no..’

  29. origo says:

    Anyway, comparing it to other HOMM series, there are few things that stand out:
    – magic. No more mage towers, heroes can only gain spells by spending skill points gained after leveling. Currently magic seems a lot weaker.
    – heroes leveling system. Now this reminds a bit of King’s Bounty. Level up, gain some random stats and one skill point, which can be used on predetermined combat, magic or economy skills. No more random skill choices.
    – Town portal. Now its no longer a spell – you just build town portal in towns and every hero can use them.
    – influence zones. Something from civilization series. Conquer the town and whole zone with mines, creature dwellings automatically becomes yours.
    – recruitment. You can now recruit creatures from all towns and dwellings to any town.
    – creatures. Now creatures are divided into 3 categories. Even weakest ones have ~20 hp, while strongest still retain stats similar to strongest creatures from HOMM 2-5. This means that balance has shifted in favor of smaller units – few dozens of weaklings can rip a few dragon-like units no problemo. Also 3 of 5 factions have healers with resurrect ability.
    – you can convert towns to your faction for tiny sum of 2500 gold and 5/5 wood/ore. In a single turn.
    – not sure if constant internet connection is needed. Game exit in the middle of a fight during single player campaign map… it better be one of numerous bugs.
    – AI. Is weird. Likes to abuse movement range and stay 1 step outside your heroes reach. Also i had AI heroes run from fight while still controlling overwhelming armies. And be bought in some nearby town with all army next turn.

    All this is beta, and may be removed in final version.

    But current state of HOMM6 looks like quite a different kind of game. Town portal + global creature recruitment + town conversion changes game pace and strategy dramatically. I’m not sure if its bad… my feelings are a bit mixed. Might be good in the end.

    • pakoito says:

      Now that’s more like it. It doesn’t sound like my classic HOMM but will try and decide myself.
      Just comment in influence zones and global recruitement. Yes! No more second weakling heroes just to kill mines with half a week units and bring reinforcements lategame.

    • Frank says:

      Re: AI “Likes to abuse movement range and stay 1 step outside your heroes reach”

      I hope they can fix that. In previous games, targeting the “logistics” and “pathfinder” skills was a dominant strategy. If these skills are removed and the AI can make some movement errors like humans do, I’ll like it a lot better.

    • pazmacats says:

      Thanks, that was a lot of information. Sounds like the game might be playable and magically isn’t as bad as her other sequels.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rhygadon says:

      Thanks for the information! Sounds interesting … I do like the rebalancing in favor of weaker creatures, they’d been needing some love. Though the spread of resurrection is worrying. One of the weakest aspects of IV and V (and new-KB for that matter) is that expert play almost always boils down to lossless play. I loved how in HOMM 3, victory often meant losing most of your army while squeaking out a castle capture on day 7. Resurrection was only ever a work-around for the pain of recruitment and troop transport in the earlier games, so if those aspects have been simplified, why expand resurrection?

  30. BurningPet says:

    Kings bounty greatest feature, in my lazy, modern, short attention span mind is the fact that outside the tactical combat screens it has real time mechanics and not those time consuming, boring, click festing turn based.

  31. Frank says:

    @Alec. You probably know that Ubisoft threw out the Might and Magic lore before HOMM 5 and Dark Messiah, right? There’s no “long-running lore” to become “terribly caught up in.” It’s just a poor imitation of Warcraft, which is itself a brightened-up imitator of Warhammer.

    • Wizardry says:

      Yep. HoMM V and Dark Messiah are part of the rebooted franchise. They aren’t related to anything before.

  32. Nick says:

    Dosn’t look like it harks back to HoMM 2 at all. It looks like it harks back to HoMM 5. IE shite.

  33. psyk says:

    “I’m the kind of guy who likes to see the results of his building, to see his settlement visibly improving, not just have an icon turn a different colour.”

    I don’t understand so they have ditched 5s rubbish town screen and gone back to the good old school ones? or do they just have a button?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E6BDXcUFWk&feature=related – old town screen

    • Nick says:

      They have ditched it completely and made it a static picture that isn’t even full screen.

  34. dontnormally says:

    If only they’d throw away the plot, tighten the mechanics, and take a few cues from emergent gameplay like Dwarf Fortress.

    There’s no reason to care about the lore of this world; it’s way more interesting to generate your own.

  35. jay35 says:

    Oh hell, it’s Ubisoft so it’ll be ruined with miserable always-on UPlay DRM crapware. Ugh. They really need to go off themselves and stop ruining promising PC games.

  36. Davie says:

    What? No alt-text joke about that hilariously stoic knight? “Ah, just being attacked by some sort of undead S&M enthusiast. Not even a big deal.”

  37. Gar says:

    What we really need a massive Mount & Blade overhaul mod based on Heroes of Might and Magic. Riding around on a bad ass horse, smacking unicorns with your sword, casting lightning bolts at a Phoenix hovering in the distance and ordering your dragons to go toast a mob of sprites. I daydream about such a game and how awesome it could be if done well…

  38. OpT1mUs says:

    Seriously shitty article.

  39. Infinity says:

    There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about the balance in HoMM 3, the most recent version (including expansions) suffers from the following problems.
    -Certain towns are just way better lategame because of their army composition and hero specialties, namely offensive, chain lightning, skeleton and resurrection masteries are overpowered.
    -Some skills were arguably much worse than others, eagle eye scholarship and even sorcery are bad choices MOST OF THE TIME.
    -Many believe that dungeon is too strong, this is not the case, they are probably the easiest to access and have a lot of strong units, but they can’t touch a good stronghold/tower/necro player.
    -Many spells suck major amounts of buttocks, death ripple for example isn’t even good when it’s your hero’s mastery
    -weaker units scale very well with attack/defense skill, due to their mass production they can easily overcome even tier 6&7 units (haste, teleport, stoneskin and bloodlust are a must for some tier 1 units)
    -Inferno sucks ass, there’s really no denying it, their heroes are bad their dwellings suffer from being worse than all other towns, devils<angels too, Rampart just isn't as strong as the others, they have some unquestionably good upgrades and the 2nd *edit* 3rd(forgot about phoenixes) fastest tier 7 unit in the game but they turn up short in combat, they do, however, have the best (lategame) town in the game.
    -certain towns have over-restrictive building costs which can only be overcome by luck (in a skirmish) haven for example had this jousting ground (the one that made cavaliers) and it had a cost of 20 wood.
    -fortress&conflux are ridiculously strong in small maps.
    -the fire magic school was bad
    WoG does NOT add balance -.-