Fifty Shades Of Darkness: Might & Magic Heroes VI

By Adam Smith on February 21st, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Shades of Darkness is a standalone expansion for Heroes of Might & Magic: Heroes VI, originally due at the end of this month but recently delayed until May 3, by which point you’ll have completely forgotten about all of the delicious lore contained in the development diary below. It’s extraordinary stuff and quite possibly the most dramatic video of its type in existence. If the repeated use of an angry minotaur’s axe-blows as a sort of punctuation doesn’t get your blood pumping then the earnest enunciation of the finer points of Dark Elf history surely will: “The Mother of Trees, Brythigga, sacred to the elves and home of the royal dwelling was treacherously burned to the ground.”

Kurt McClung! The text in the video suggests that the writer might be the notorious disco villain, Kurt ‘MC’ Clung, but I did some proper journalism and confirmed that the name is indeed McClung.

It’s a new campaign, then, following the Dungeon faction. I didn’t take to Heroes VI, although I did reinstall III last year to see if it was as good as my memory reckoned. It is!

The Ubi website says ‘available now’ but that seems to apply to pre-orders. You can pre-order now, for £19.99, which is somewhat different to the product being available.

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25 Comments »

  1. Vorphalack says:

    I would urge everyone not to even consider buying this until you get some conformation that the memory leak which has plagued the original since launch has been patched out. That is all.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      On that note, are the dynasty features/hero selection and other stuff still online only?

      • PodX140 says:

        Yes, sadly. See my reply to the original comment for a quick rundown/review.

    • mr.ioes says:

      I hope someone picks up the HoMM formula and brings it back to its roots. Anyway, since I was interested and other people might as well, here’s what this DLC actually promises to deliver:

      “A full new lineup of 7 creatures, new hero classes, a new town and buildings set, a new mount, dozens of new artifacts, abilities and achievements. The Dungeon gameplay is completely original and tactically challenging.

      Play two original and thrilling campaigns starring two fan-favorite factions and their legendary heroes pitted against villains of mythical stature. Discover the fascinating nuances of Darkness that the rich and proven fantasy setting of Might & Magic is excited to unveil. There is always an even darker path.”

      Rarely has a DLC looked less appealing to me.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        A standalone expansion with a new town and two new campaigns for less than the original game’s retail price sounds all right to me?

      • b0rsuk says:

        Rejoice. Age of Wonders III is due this fall.

    • PodX140 says:

      I cracked about a month ago and bought the gold edition, I can confirm no odd memory leaks on my system. HOWEVER, it still has really bad loading times (after loading the game still has to load all the textures, takes a good 5 minutes total or so), and the game occasionally gets hung up (hard crash to desktop) on one particular ai turn (LEAFGREEN CURSE YOU!), I’m 99% sure it’s based on if they lose their primary hero before they have a tavern, so they can’t continue playing.

      Dynasty features are still online only, I really wish it was offline too because they offer a very nice addition to the game. Playing on a spotty internet connection sadly isn’t the greatest idea, but considering the load times and booting the actual game, it’s 15 minutes just to get it all going it feels like, so I only play long bouts.

      On the topic of the actual gameplay and story, it’s stellar. I REALLY enjoyed the necro campaign, and am just starting the haven one (there’s one for each faction).

      • Vorphalack says:

        I booted it up a few months ago (on patch 1.8) to see if they had fixed the worst of the bugs. Flickering cursor was gone but the memory leak was still there in every map I played. Awful slowdown after about 20-30 mins with a guaranteed crash at some point depending on the map size. It is odd that some people don’t seem to get this, but I know i’m knot the only one, and I haven’t seen any evidence that the problem has been officially acknowledged.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          Maye you could run it for a while under “Debug Diag” and then send them the output.

          http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=26798

          I can actually find good instructions on this once I get to work.
          Of course it’s unlikely that they’ll actually fix anything, but at least you can mock them mercilessly for failing even more (I myself would enjoy doing that).

    • djim says:

      They fixed some of the memory leaks and it is a good game, but while i can play a simple scenario in a couple of hours in Heroes 3 i need a few days in this. Everything seems to take more time as it should.

  2. abandonhope says:

    Darkness looks a lot like purple. Honestly, it’s adorable that they’re trying so hard, but I have yet to play any of the series except some of 1 and an infinity of 3. Every time a new one comes out I just play 3 again. I wouldn’t mind checking out something new in the series at some point.

    • Premium User Badge

      BubuIIC says:

      I quite liked and still play HoMM IV. It might not be quite as brilliant as III but I really like the changes they made. I played it almost as much as III.

      • b0rsuk says:

        Heroes IV has many flaws, and the AI has been called ‘lobotomized’ by the developers. However, it’s worth playing for the story and music alone.

  3. Randomer says:

    Hey, I have a great idea! For our new expansion, let’s get some of the developers to narrate a trailer using their best “New Dungeon Master reading the boxed text of a TSR module” voice!

    As long as you assume they recognize how silly the whole thing is, it’s actually rather charming.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Kurt McClung of the Clan McClung?

  5. solymer89 says:

    This iteration of HOMM (MMH VI) was such a huge disappointment for me. They dolled the game up nicely and it does have some gorgeous maps… but that’s it. It has become such a superficial game that I can’t deal with it. Add in the UPLAY crap and I am out for good. Ubi has successfully stripped the soul from this series and I fear it may never recover, for me at least.

    The uninteresting combat, the uninteresting skill tree and leveling process, the small maps, lack of random map creation, limited races and abilities… Even the artifacts are lackluster and there are only three resources now. They don’t even have a mage or wizard faction! Instead they have a Japanese themed fish folk (merfolk?)

    I still have and play HOMM III. There is no reason to play any of the other ones.

    • Jenks says:

      Agreed completely, I still play HOMM III a few times a year. One of my favorite games of all time, some of the most memorable music as well.

    • Jehuty says:

      The simplification of the resources was very disappointing. Completely ruined a lot of the finesse of the game. I kind of like being able to pick and choose from the entire skill tree, but as you say, the skills themselves are pretty ho-hum. The factions are boring, there are fewer unique structures to visit on the map (and the ones that are there are boring), there’s only a few good tunes in the soundtrack. Overall, yeah, pretty upset that this is where my favorite tbs series ended up. At least they added town screens back in, I guess.

      As for no reason to play any of the others, I’m probably in the minority here, but HoMM 2 was my first and still is my favorite, though I can recognize 3′s superiority in a number of areas.

  6. Xardas Kane says:

    So last time I checked the game was half-finished. Now, with the new developer, is it actually worth a shot? Stopped playing several months before they introduced the Town Screens.

    • abandonhope says:

      The new developer is Virtuous. This Virtuous? If so it sounds highly farmed out.

      I managed to remember a post (quoted) at Neogaf from a former Black Hole dev explaining what went wrong. Considering what he describes (and if true), I’m not sure whether the three month delay for Shades of Darkness is encouraging or not.

  7. Strangerator says:

    I’ve been looking for an excuse to talk about Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic. Finally got it on GoG for 10 dollars. Money very well spent. Very much feels like a combination of Master of Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic. 2003 graphics are fine, although I’m guessing there are mods floating around out there. Also it has a clock in the lower left corner, which is useful, because 4:30 am seems to be when I would stop playing it otherwise.

  8. Flavioli says:

    How does this game compare to HoMM3? I’ve tried 4 and 5 and thought they were both a very significant step back. Does this one do anything significant other than having “ePiC GrApHiCz”? The art style turns me off big-time… way too much spiky armor and the such.