Wot I Think – Might & Magic X: Legacy

By Alec Meer on January 29th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Might & Magic X, released last week, is a resurrection of the ancient first-person roleplaying series. It’s not to be confused with strategy-RPG sister series Heroes of Might & Magic, or Crusaders of Might and Magic, or Warriors of Might and Magic, or Legends of Might and Magic, or Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, or Might & Magic: Clash Of Heroes. Despite the scary number ten suffix and an unhelpful patina of dull lore, you can go in cold on this one, no prior experience of the series required. That was the case for me, and indeed I’ve consciously avoided tracking what this does or doesn’t do compared to the series’ past and its rivals in favour of having my own, unadorned reaction to it. Said reaction is below.

I got there in the end, no thanks to Uplay. Also no thanks to having to start the game over, as savegames pre-release were rendered null and void by the release version, which my copy silently switched to during the period I was blocked from accessing it. Video. Games. Also, A POX ON UPLAY.

OK, that’s done, now onto the game itself at last – a consciously retro revisit to the tile-based, squad-based, first-person fantasy roleplaying games that were so popular back in the last time that alt-culture was obsessed with lumberjack shirts. There’s plot and backstory if you want it, but:

a) speaking as someone new to the series, I found it to be entirely tedious, clumsily written and performed, and whoever frontloaded so much of it onto M&MX seems to have forgotten that amongst the seven billion inhabitants of planet Earth number at least a few who aren’t fascinated by the lore of the last nine Might & Magic games.
b) this is a tale of your adventures/misadventures, and any additional framework around that adds very little. Go Be A Hero is more than sufficient.

I did not, I must admit, expect to now be singing the praises of this curious, cheap-feeling roleplaying game. Here, ripped directly from the RPS staff chatroom, is an insight into my evolving thought process during my ludus interruptus over the last week:

16th January:

Alec Meer: Might bagsie the might and magic x review unless any objections? Embargoed until 23rd January.

John Walker: Please do. I lasted less than 15 minutes in the early access.

Alec Meer: it’s also going to have a massively anal fanbase who will violently disagree with any criticisms, isn’t it?

John Walker: Of course!

21st January:

Alec Meer: the might & magic intro cutscene has been running for ten minutes and I haven’t understood a word of it.

An hour later

Might and Magic thingy is terribad. Might have to restrict this to Impressions for the sake of my sanity.

24th January:

Alec Meer: urgh, that’s an hour battling Uplay to let me continue playing might and magic today, with no success as yet. So this review ain’t happening for tomorrow.

John Walker: Hooray for UPlay! You’ve tried switching it to offline mode?

Alec Meer: it won’t allow it, saying I need to have logged in at least once. I have logged in dozens of times previously, so presumably its latest daily update has reset some tracker there. It eventually blames my net connection for not being able to log in; my net connection is fine.

John Walker: What fun! What score do you give Might & Magic?

Alec Meer: Broken DRM/12. I should probably be grateful I dodge the M&MX bullet as the game seemed so bad, but I do so hate being defeated by tech issues

24th January, pm, after discovering the BT issue and employing VPN shenanigans to circumvent it

Alec Meer: I’m quite enjoying m&mx now.

A weekend and two days pass, Hours of M&MX are played.

29th January:

Alec Meer: Might and Magic turned out pretty good, btw

John Walker: I was surprised by the reviews I was seeing. Glad it improves.

Alec Meer: yeah, the opening and especially the intro are horrendous, but it opens up later and becomes very tactically interesting.

Which, while it might convey just how much a boy can flip-flop, frankly undersells just how much M&MX managed to get under my skin over the last few days. I didn’t expect to be saying that, back in the dim and distant past of 21st January, as this slow, thoughtful RPG has a severely misjudged opening – am-dram babble-cinematic, followed by further babble from an unseen narrator once the game appears to begin, followed by being locked inside a small but bewilderingly-laid out town with very few attractions.

At the same time, I was getting to grips with what I hesitantly call the shock of the control system – square-by-square movement, no true mouselook, using Q and E to rotate 90 degrees: the feeling of a remote control tank rather than a party of musclebound adventurer-sorts. This is, of course, How They Used To Do Things, but initial experiences are jarring when it happens within a fully 3D world. I did adapt to, and even came to love, this system, but more on that shortly.

Throwing in the woeful and repetitive voice acting and low-rent, often ugly graphics which look suspiciously as though they might comprise hastily upscaled models and textures from the last Heroes of Might & Magic game, my initial impressions were that this was a bad quality and oppressively boring affair. The Uplay/BT nonsense was almost a relief – I wouldn’t have to continue with this cludgy, backwards thing.

I’m so glad I persevered, because I would be won over, in the manner of discovering that a man whose opening conversational gambit was about the rising price of loft insulation would turn out to be an astronaut. M&M gets good. Really good. It has a great many problems, especially on the presentation front (to the degree that its major USP, being a spangly modern reworking of M&Ms past, becomes almost irrelevant – consciously lo-fi might have been a better approach than this makeshift one. I talk as much of dialogue/speech as I do graphics there), but a rugged and hardcore charm shines through.

It’s a dense and broad game, opening up enormously after its miserably ringfenced beginning, and while its total landmass has nothing on your average Elder Dragon Craft, the combo of step-by-step movement and careful placing of high-threat enemies as beatable but extremely fearsome gatekeepers makes it feel much larger than it is.

Sadly part of that is down to backtracking through areas long-cleared of enemies, though after far too long fast travel systems of a sort come into play, and occsaionally you will turn up undiscovered pockets of enemies or find that a recently-acquired divine blessing has opened up new paths. So the pacing’s a bit off, with a touch too much dead time, but the Metroidy satisfaction of gradually finding ways past earlier impasses and then seeing whole new tile-mazes sprawl before me kept me determined to push on, even as I whined pathetically to myself about the inconvenience of retreading my own footsteps for the two-dozenth time.

The tile-based movement system also means that every step matters enormously – this is the kind of game where one wrong tap of A or W might embroil you in a fight you can’t win, or where quest text saying something like “nine steps from the sea” means something very specific. In a way it’s adventure as a puzzle, assembling a turn-by-turn path through a danger-filled environment in pursuit of a bespoke solution. It’s perhaps tempting to compare M&MX to fellow retromancer (©Kieron Gillen) Legend Of Grimrock, but it’s more a quests-from-overworld-hubs game, not a dungeon-run. Though there are plenty of dungeon runs in it, but even the most trap-filled ones don’t have anything like the elaborate puzzle-nature of Grimrock.

I was in command of a party of four fantasy archetypes – Dwarf warrior (my tank), Orc warrior (my DPS), elven archer (my ranger and healer), human mage (my, er, mage). Each, as the words in parentheses suggest, play a very specific strategic role rather than just being part of the general fracas. Learning precisely how to use these guys and their developing powers quickly became critical, as M&MX is merciless to anyone who relies on spamming the heaviest attacks.

My greatest regret in M&MX – other than not using a VPN at the first sign of Uplay trouble – is that in my uncertainty about what I was headed into I went with the default party rather than designing my own. This prefab four is a little too vanilla for my tastes – no-one felt special, and I didn’t feel there was much room to tailor them to my tastes and playstyle. So, just a warning. Either way this is very a game you learn on the job, with very little handholding, so expect graft and punishment while you work out what’s what. That’s part of the charm, though.

The foundation of the charm is slowly pushing outwards, a brew of experience and experience points enabling you to gradually reach new areas, expanding the amount of world available to you and infusing you with the satisfaction that only comes from truly feeling like you’re a better adventurer rather than simply a graphical frontend stuck onto some incrementally increased statistics. Statistics play a big part, but they are very carefully chosen and nurtured as you devise specific roles and specific goals for each of your heroes. A new weapon or skill is a very big deal that can dramatically change your capability and your strategy, not simply a temporary fix before the craving for the next new toy sets in.

This is probably the sort of comparison that will incite fury in The Faithful, but what M&MX most puts me in mind of is the earliest days of World of Warcraft, back when I felt I was slowly conquering the world through exploration and cunning (as opposed to the later days of chasing specific builds and specific loot). I can get to that tougher zone and past the big ‘orrible thing lurking near its entrance if I try this or try, try again; I can wonder and shiver at what terrors lurk just beyond the horizon; I can feel a big fat sense of pride if I somehow survive something my character(s) didn’t seem quite ready for.

And, like so many of the best RPGs, I feel like someone carving my own quiet destiny rather than some hulking hero with the fate of the world resting on his battle-scarred and probably rather sweaty shoulders. Nothing especially uncommon in any of that, but it all pulls together well, and in way that’s much more true to the cautious, exploratory routes of Dungeons and Dragons than the breathless, kill-crazed mania of roleplaying’s latter-day descendants.

It also has D&D’s edge of unfairness, occasionally unleashing long queues of monsters in a wearying onslaught that all the health and mana potions in the world couldn’t have prepared me for. Part of me wants to cry “that’s rubbish design!”, but the other wants to boast “ah, yes, but I actually managed to survive that time three goblins popped out in front of me, two shaman behind me, two Jaguar Warriors from the left and then four more goblins from God knows where after all that. I. Am. Amazing!” Which, I suspect, makes it good design.

Everything here is programmed, a vast spiderweb of triggers, but it manages to feel random, stumbling from fight to fight like some enormous bar-brawl. Only with spiders and earth elementals rather than tattooed bald blokes called Geoff and Lenny. This is a game about always, always staying alive by the skin of your teeth, and whatever tension is lost to the mechanical movement and the uneven pacing is restored by that essential sense of fragility.

Presentation is the main issue here, and my suspicion is that M&MX hasn’t enjoyed a particularly generous budget in that regard. It’s an uneven experience, populated as much by frustration as it is by triumph, but it feels technically solid and is appropriately enormous and secret-filled. It’s a framework for adventure, and I wanted that more than I realised. I do wish its producers had gone “screw it, let’s go full text rather than burn time and money on a tiny handful of crap gag-laden dialogue that we’ll play over and over again”, I wish it wasn’t populated by NPCs who offer pointless and entirely unexciting lore-balls but perform no other function, and I do wish it opened up right away, earlier Elder Scrolls-style, instead of starting off as a charmless prison by any other name.

But those are now, to me, issues of the past rather than the present – a present where I am very happily continuing to play a game that last week I was convinced I detested.

Might & Magic X: Legacy is out now.

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132 Comments »

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  1. razgon says:

    I’m so happy to see this kind of review here. The game is not at all what most people expected, and way better than it has any right to be, considering its obviously low budget.

    I really do hope though, that the game is financially succesfully enough to get a sequel and/or expansion because it really does deserve it, and the developers seems to understand exactly what made the original series so great and loved by many. I was a bit scared at first that they emulated M&M5 with its turnbased movement, but its very well executed.

    It has its share of troubles, but what game doesn’t (Mount & Blade, but thats digressing), but its a very fun and capable game that I really recommend people to try out!

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    • irongamer says:

      I was going to hold off on this but finally caved. The game is great fun. It has issues but nothing that keeps me from enjoying the game (although pausing the loading process on window focus loss is crazy annoying, I don’t expect many others would even notice or care though). Totally worth the money. Wish their mod solution didn’t require a commercial license of unity (30 day trial does not count, sorry).

      The phrase “getting out of the woods” has never been so fitting or terrifying, you’ll know when it happens.

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  2. DatonKallandor says:

    “a) speaking as someone new to the series, I found it to be entirely tedious, clumsily written and performed, and whoever frontloaded so much of it onto M&MX seems to have forgotten that amongst the seven billion inhabitants of planet Earth number at least a few who aren’t fascinated by the lore of the last nine Might & Magic games.”

    The Roman 10 is a lie by the way. It’s not the tenth installment of ANYTHING. The other Might and Magic games used a completely different setting (which was a high science fiction with magic hybrid setting). This one uses their reboot which is generic tolkienesque fantasy with orcs and elves.

    It being badly written fits in right with that new setting. Dark Messiah is by far the best written game in the rebooted setting and even that is held back by it boring foundations.

    • Xerophyte says:

      Badly voice acted intros with nonsense plot that you don’t care about aren’t new to the series. Also, the voice acting for 6-8 (9 did not happen) was New World Computing plucking random developers out of their cubicles and asking them to ham it up as best they could. 10 is just continuing a proud tradition.

    • tyren says:

      I still miss that old setting. I played HoMM3 the most extensively but just looking at the borders of the campaign maps and reading the information exposed through campaign missions, hero descriptions, etc. made me hungry for more information about the different nations in Antagarich, let alone places that were referenced in HoMM3 but not actually in the game.

      Of course it’s hard to blame Ubisoft for not picking up that setting again when NWC are the ones that blew it up in the first place. HoMM4 made me sad.

    • drewmaxon says:

      I’m sorry was this game created for the few that know nothing of the lore? This is a bit of a drive by post because I’m looking for the ESO reviews to hit……but I played all the Might and Magics as they came out…I had to use paper and pen to map where I was and where I was going…..I certainly wasn’t expecting this game to be anything and I forgot I even paid for it before it was finished. I was very happy with it. I like to be able to clear out a place and it stay cleared…I hate respawning….This game is worth the money to play it if you are any fan of M&M

  3. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    The lore actually has nothing to do with any of the previous games, as this one takes place in the shiny new universe of Ubisoft’s games. The four minutes of opening narration are summing up the background struggle of Heroes VI instead, in spectacularly boring fashion.

    As for MMXL itself: Act 2 is kicking my poor party’s bottoms, and I am considering restarting now that I know more about how the game ticks.

    • razgon says:

      I think everyone restarts after a few hours in – .its part of how these games worked back in the day and it’s pretty fun :-)

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Absolutely.

        • Firkragg says:

          Definately, I have restarted 4 times so far, the first time because the party I first tried turned out bad, the others because “I wonder what I could do with THIS setup, hmm!”. Got a good setup now but I still think about fun combinations and tactics.

      • Moraven says:

        Always was fun in MM6-8 to go full melee for instance and no spells. You had to rely on your alchemy supplies. Or 4 archers and kill almost everything at range.

      • socrate says:

        ive never actually found restarting in these linear game fun in any possible way…if im replaying a good well made one yes sure to try new class….but in the case of this one restarting is like ripping your eyes out with your hand…ive never also seen it as part of fun if i had to restart while being far because my party wasnt able to do anything against the encounter thats just bad design and not good gameplay at all…people seems to think extremely unfair=challenge at this point in gaming…if i on the other hand restart because i don’t like the party setup i have and want to try something different right from the start then this is totally ok.

    • Jenks says:

      “The lore actually has nothing to do with any of the previous games, as this one takes place in the shiny new universe of Ubisoft’s games”

      ugh, gross

  4. GamesInquirer says:

    If you think these battles are borderline unfairly large then you shouldn’t play Wizardry VIII!

    Well, you didn’t mention not having played that, only the other M&M games, so, how does it compare to it? Or have you never played any game of this style before (although Wizardry VIII isn’t tile based)?!

    Also, most Elder Scrolls games do start you off confined (either in actual prison or in an almost on rails path) before you get to the open world so that comparison is a little off the mark.

    • Thesword says:

      To be fair to the comparison, most elder scrolls games put you through one dungeon which they use as a tutorial (and character generator in the more recent ones), and it’s relatively brief. It sounds like here he was stuck somewhere confining for too long, and for no obvious reason.

    • noom says:

      Having just struggled through the ridiculous mid-level difficulty spike on my 7th or so playthrough of Wizardry8, I can more than attest to this.

  5. guygodbois00 says:

    “Choose me!” “Pick me!” – would say the characters at the selection screen.Those were the days. Excellent article, by the way( which I come to expect from Mr Meer) – informative, Interesting, funny. Keep up the good work, RPS.

  6. Lemming says:

    issues/opinions with the game aside, anyone want to ask Ubisoft why a game made in Unity wasn’t released simultaneously to mac and linux along with Windows? Seems like that would’ve been less work than hammering Uplay into the game. It just gives the impression this whole thing was rushed out the door without a second thought.

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      Because Ubisoft wouldn’t want you to get the idea that they [i]care[/i] about Windows PC users, let alone Mac users.

      Lynn… Knucks? What’s that?

  7. Utsunomiya says:

    I still cannot actually believe how good this one turned out to be.

    Although I must say, the new magic acquisition method just sucks. I want my spelltomes back, with fun and discovery included; not clicking through a menu buying every spell in the game through a boring shopkeeper.
    …and really, autoloot? I want to push spacebar like a madman, and hear the sound of gold falling into my party’s bottomless pockets! And loot in particular seemed kind of too random, although relics are fun.
    …and there’s no Fly spell! At all!
    …and why can’t Crusader learn two-handed mastery skill? He’s clearly holding his sword with two hands in a picture!

    Wait, actually, this game sucks.

    • araczynski says:

      its not a 2 handed sword. if you look at the scale of the gauntlets and compare it against the hilt, you’ll notice you can’t get more than one gauntlet on that thing. the blade suffers from JRPGia.

  8. Joote says:

    First look and I thought I had wasted my money. How wrong I was. MMX is one of the best games I have played in ages. I haven’t been off it since day one, I absolutely love this game.

  9. manitoo says:

    Grimrock is the only RPG I’ve played of this type. Which was excellent, except that I thought dancing from square to square in order to dodge enemy attacks was tiresome. Is that a common feature of this subgenre? As dumb as it sounds, I think I would rather slug it out in a more tactical turn-based combat model.

    Also, aside from MMX, what’s the next first-person tile based RPG I should play? I’ve had a look at Wizardries and Might and Magicses on GOG, but there are just so many of them. Difficult to choose a starting point.

    • razgon says:

      You are in luck – This is basically Grimrock but without the tile dancing. Combat is turnbased and not movement based.

      As for your second question, I’d say M&M 6 and up are decent games, if you like the genre. Wizardry 8 is damn fun and still great looking , Older games in both series are rough, but in terms of needing manual mapping on graph paper and graphics and UI.

      • kalirion says:

        I’ve only played M&M VI, but manual mapping was pretty important there for one reason – to keep track of where the hell all the trainers were in each city!

      • Nick says:

        MM 3 – 5 are great and more akin to this game, never played 1 or 2. I seem to recall them having automapping though? I enjoyed 6 and 7 as well but they have free movement and the combat is moreabout spamming fireballs.

        Wizardry 8 is great.

    • Moraven says:

      Etrian Odyssey on the DS/3DS.

      Creating your map on the touch screen is half the fun!

      • Premium User Badge

        ffordesoon says:

        Thanks for mentioning EO. Too many people are snooty about Japanese blobbers, even though many of them carry on the Wizardry tradition quite ably.

      • MarkB says:

        EO is such a wonderful series. The map making is sublime and it has the best turn-based combat in anything I’ve played (admittedly I missed the golden age of turn based WRPGs, I’ve got Wizardy 6-8 lying around on my hard drive waiting for me to get around to them).

        EO4 in particular is amazing.

        Did you play Millennium Girl? I sort of want it for completions sake, but I don’t like the idea of a more traditional story structure. I loved the relatively minimalistic approach they had previously.

        • Nick says:

          You can play it without the story and your own custom party. Its decent, a bit of a step back from EO4 as its a remake of EO1, but it does have a slightly better class system and some extra areas and stuff over the original EO1.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Digital Soul Saga is great too (as are other Shin Megami Tensei games, but they aren’t all first person, especially outside battles, but they’re still mostly dungeon crawlers).

    • Premium User Badge

      strangeloup says:

      Wizardry 8 is near-universally considered the high water mark of the genre. I’ve enjoyed most of the Might & Magic games myself, but there’s likely someone with a better idea of what the best ones are. I think there’s a well praised two-part story in 6 and 7 or thereabouts (maybe 5 and 6?) and I’m sure someone can fill in the blanks in my memory.

      Edit: The Lands of Lore games, while not exactly the same thing, might scratch the itch. I was inordinately pleased to get the third instalment from GOG, having had it on disc since release but never got it working properly.

      • Xerophyte says:

        4 and 5 — Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen — are the M&M two parter, they combine to make a very large World of Xeen with some additional content. It’s probably the high water mark for the turn based you’re-a-hydra-on-a-grid style of party based RPG and the cartoonish graphics have aged pretty well for being an early 90s game. Anyone who found 10 enjoyable might want to check the Xeen games out as it’s very much where they’re coming from with this one.

        6, 7 and 8 went with 2.5D which hasn’t aged fantastically but they’re generally pretty fun and especially manage some really neat mass combat with your 4 guys versus 150 skeletons and the like. 7 is the typical favorite of everyone who doesn’t say Xeen.

        9, is, uh … we don’t talk about 9.

      • Themadcow says:

        Um, while I appreciate the general sentiment “near universal” is wide of the mark. There are a large number of RPG fans who consider Wizardry 6 and 7 to be superior to 8. Particularly if you don’t apply certain mods like Wizfast.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      There’s also the Eye of the Beholder series which is pretty good. Also if you wanna go back to the origins, there’s an awesome source port of Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back for modern OSs : http://dmweb.free.fr/?q=node/851 .

      And then there’s Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos which is excellent, great production values, some voice acting, rather nice story and characters, a large variety of environments to visit and devious puzzles. Highly recommended. For me it’s still the best of the real-time tile-based dungeon crawlers.

  10. araczynski says:

    so what is the ideal character party then? i hate restarting after a few hours in.

    • razgon says:

      Bladedancer, Paladin, Shaman and freemage. There are others, but this works quite well.

      Just be aware that prudent skill choosing is important as well. These games require both skill and reading of how spells and abilities in order to see how you can join them into a good way to deal with all possible fights.

      • araczynski says:

        thanks!

        • Lobotomist says:

          BTW Ranger can perform just as good as Bladedancer but have higher Earth magic skill level. Which is something to consider.

    • irongamer says:

      I’ve played the first act three times with different parties and ended up continuing and finishing the second act with the following:

      Bladedancer x2, Rune Priest, Freemage

      I went with one dagger dancer and one sword dancer. The sword dancer became crazy powerful after gaining expert and picking up an expert sword. The dagger dancer took a while longer but that is because I didn’t find any good daggers and finally marched across the map to the crag to buy some. The priest and mage primary keep up Celestial Armor and Burning Determination for battles, along with other spell odds and ins. Worked great so far through Act 2. The ghouls in the forest were very difficult for this setup, I only survived that encounter by using a yo-yo effect with Gust of Wind, was a delicate balancing act.

  11. hurrakan says:

    How does it compare to World of Xeen? That was one of the best games I’ve played. I uncovered every possible square of the map(s) – every region – every dungeon (down past Shangri-La) – even into the clouds! It was a truly epic experience!

    But I don’t play any Ubisoft games anymore because I don’t support games that have crap DRM (Uplay, SecuROM, GFWL, etc).

    • Keyrock says:

      This game was actually patterned after World of Xeen. In combat, movement, and such, mind you, not story.

      • hurrakan says:

        Damn, I may have to buy World of Xeen again from GOG :)

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          I WILL BUY WORLD OF XEEN FOR ANYONE WHO REFUSES TO BUY IT FOR THEMSELVES!!!!!

          I will find you, there is no escape.

          • Premium User Badge

            frymaster says:

            The only reason I haven’t re-bought xeen is my lack of a few hundred hours to play it in. I still haven’t finished Skyrim or The Witcher 1 fgs, I’d have to quit my job if I bought xeen as well…

  12. dE says:

    There’s a hidden minigame in there as well. It’s called “spot the art-reuse”. Everytime you spot an asset from another game, you get 10xp. Every 100xp you level up. I’m currently at Level 7, how are your scores? I scored big time on the Dark Messiah assets (Musictracks, Ding, sound effects, Ding, models, Ding).

    Joking aside, I’m absolutely loving this game. Sure I could pick away nitpicks here and there and complain about inexplicable performance drops or how the music sometimes starts to loop and stack or HOW I’VE HEARD THE JOKE ABOUT THE BATH ALREADY, THANK YOU FFS. Or how the art is probably as inconsistent as it is, because the assets are all from different Might and Magic Games… but at the end of the day, this is the game I play most at the moment. I’ve dropped everything else. Games I used to spend a lot of time on, now give me a concerned look, because I hang around with that MMX:L person again…

    In further notes:
    WHO FORGOT TO TAKE A BATH?
    Please don’t let this become a meme. I’ve already remade my entire party to remove the cynical voicesets.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      ORC NOT LIKE STRANGE NEW COMMENT

    • BTAxis says:

      I just turned the party barks volume to 0.

      • dE says:

        That would deactivate the secret indicators as well, wouldn’t it? The line they bark if they find a nearby secret door. I kinda want that aspect, I’m even running around with permanent whispering shadows, just so I can find them all.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      *scrambles to reinstall Dark Messiah*

      That was a fun game.

  13. RProxyOnly says:

    Thanks for that review Alex.. I’m very surprised.

    I REALLY want to play it, really, really… but not touching it with Uplay.

    • programmdude says:

      Buy the game, then pirate it. The developers get your support, and you get to avoid uplay. Fairly certain in most countries cracking games you own is legal, so you shouldn’t be doing anything legally wrong.

      • Ich Will says:

        The problem is that while you are downloading it, due to the nature of bit torrent, other people are uploading it from your computer and the cracks are rarely distributed without the game because most pirates require both.

        You don’t get done for downloading the game, you get done for distributing it to others.

  14. Lobotomist says:

    This is excellent old school dungeon crawler. Anyone saying opposite is probably just looking for next Skyrim or Mass Effect. And this is not it.

    The game will hook you in just as Grimrock did. Except this game is turn based , and not reflex based like Grimrock. Which is much better in my opinion.

  15. Moraven says:

    I look forward to when modding is enabled.

    Dev Diary in Nov of the modding tools:

  16. Infinitron says:

    Bravo, RPS. This game is a labor of love that hasn’t gotten the amount of attention it deserved, because it was immediately disregarded as a corporate cash-in by Ubisoft. Also, most reviewers just Do Not Get It. I hope this one helps improve its sales.

  17. socrate says:

    Wow reading all this make me sad,this game does a million step back and no step forward unless you count bad graphic and art for this time in age…puppet doll that don’t even change with new gear….gear that is color coded like WoW(seriously game need to stop doing that at this point),extremely crappy and often unfair class creation(some being extremely OP and other next to useless),having to restart after x hour of gameplay….this is one of the old crap that was fixed in most of these type of game a long time ago with pure logic and common sense in picking class even then ive played the most horrible group in M&M7 last year and actually got it easy,skill system that seems to be there just to be there…you get like 3 skill each lvl up but its like you’re upgrading nothing and making really crappy progress on some skill and other you get so much more out off….also no interesting skill like alchemy or the sort.

    Ive heard alots about performance issue but didint experience it myself,the magic system was one of the biggest turn off for me while the old M&M did use some HOMM spell they also used awesome stuff like boulder that would drop down or roll down terrain..no telekenisis or fun spell like that…and the yet again imbalance in spell school earth being almost a dumb must have and other like air being almost useless…also expert,master and grandmaster only adding to magic penetration instead of like the old M&M adding new effect or faster refresh time or other effect while also increasing the potency of said spell…

    also for some reason i can’t put it in 1680×1050…maybe a bug?

    and at last the most horrible of all is the dumb tileset thing….you know at some point they actually evolved to free roaming full control…going back to this just seems dumb at this point…and why oh why can’t i run around with the mouse to turn?…why even have mouse look when the game is so freaking scripted and mouse is almost useless its almost as if they said hey if this actually sell…we can now port it on console without any further investment.

    in the end this is just a dumb cash in scheme by ubisoft yet again from the popularity and success of legend of grimrock and from the look of it sadly worked….for everyone with an actual brain at this point which is maybe 1% of the entire world population probably at this point i suggest you play M&M 7 instead,yes the graphic are bad for today standard but its pretty much 100x what this game will ever try to be also it cost like 5.99 on Good old game…so yeah

    • Moraven says:

      So, 7/10?

      • Brosecutor says:

        VII/X!

      • huldu says:

        The current state of the game I’d give it a 3/10, the bugs, glitches and all those issues really brings down the experience. A patch or two that fixes those problems would increase my score to a 7/10 however. There are a few design decisions in the game that I just don’t agree with that lowers the score slightly. It’s an okay game, just make sure you like this type of game before you buy it. It’s cheap that’s the only saving grace. The game looks like it was made in 2002-2004. The game is also known to cause issues with graphic cards, overheating etc, it’s quite poorly optimized, so make sure you keep an eye on your graphic card when playing.

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      Are all the grammar and spelling mistakes in your post actually there, or is my primitive brain too stupid to comprehend the true magnificence of your words, O Mighty One Percenter?

    • Keyrock says:

      The grid-based movement actually adds quite a bit to the game. It can be tedious when travelling, but in combat it adds a good bit of strategy with a sort of chess match with your opponents of trying to lure ranged enemies in without getting pelted by spells and arrows or trying to get in as many free volleys of arrow shots on melee enemies before they reach melee range, all while exploiting the terrain to keep yourself from getting flanked or surrounded.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Grid-based movement “adds quite a bit” to the game the same way having to input the keystrokes with your nose would add quite a bit.

        It’s just not a bit that is really all that worthwhile. There might be a kernel of a good game somewhere in there, but as someone who paid for a copy of the game it’s a big disappointment.

        I think there is an effect that kicks in after you spend two or three hours struggling with a game as bad as this one. You don’t want to feel stupid for the time you’ve put in so you do your best to convince yourself that it’s really not that horrible, until you end up trying to convince other people it’s not that horrible. I think that may be what’s going on in this review.

        This is a pretty horrible game. If you’re going to try it, for goodness sake wait until April when it’s going for $11.99 on a Steam sale. By then there might be a modding community for it.

        • malkav11 says:

          The gridbased movement is the game. When they switched to their bizarre free movement hybrid of real time and turn-based in VI it became effectively unplayable and it’s nice to see they finally went back to what works.

          • Wizardry says:

            Exactly. The Might and Magic series declined with its move to free movement. Even Wizardry 8 suffered similarly, despite improvements in many other areas. Spatial abstraction is a good thing for CRPGs.

          • Smoof says:

            Really loving the grid based movement. It’s a nice change of pace and it leads to tactically interesting situations.

        • Nick says:

          Game wasn’t made for your tastes, doesn’t mean its bad.

        • Themadcow says:

          Grid based? Grid based???? Why didn’t they tell us in advance???? Grrrrr…

          Next you’ll be telling me that Wasteland 2 isn’t the first person shooter that I’ve been waiting for.

  18. Durante says:

    Interesting to read the perspective of someone new to the series. As someone not new to the series, all I can say about the game is that it greatly exceeded my expectations, and that I’ve played it with more dedication (and spent my hours at work with more withdrawal symptoms) than any other game in years (literally).

  19. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    Utter crap in the opening hours, first cutscene is a tedious loredump, terrible graphics and kludgey interface, the party barks make you want to punch – then it clicks and becomes amazing and you can’t stop playing it?

    Wow, this is an old-school cRPG!

  20. Keyrock says:

    I actually like the corny barks the party members make from time to time. I’m weird like that, though, and they can be turned off. I like this game a lot, it’s thoroughly old school and surprisingly well put together (presentation notwithstanding). I’m playing a party of Hunter, Defender, Shaman, and Freemage on Warrior (hard) difficulty and having a great time. The game has thoroughly kicked my ass a whole bunch of times, but I’m loving every second of it. Even Adventurer (normal) difficulty is thoroughly challenging, but Warrior difficulty is straight up punishing, yet completely doable if you persevere and use your head. This is actually my game of the year so far, but, of course, it’s only January.

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      I was about to ask if anyone actually likes party barks, and then I saw your post.

      Seeing as how you seem to exert a troubling level of psychic control over RPG developers, can you please use your powers for good and ask them to let players turn them off in all their games.

      Sincerely,
      Someone who is playing Baldur’s Gate right – IT’S SOOOA HAHD TA FIND DECENT FOLK NOWUHDAEES – now, and thinks it may be doing something – AH SURVE THA FLAMIN FIST – to his brain.

      YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE

      *jabs a pencil into own aorta*

      • MacTheGeek says:

        You should have taken another SWIG OF SOME STRONG DWAAARRRVEN ALE. Numbs the eardrums.

      • Nick says:

        MY ‘OTELS AS CLEAN AS AN ELVEN ARSE!

        I actually *love* all those BG sounds, even ‘you must gather your party’, they illicit fond memories =)

      • Noviere says:

        So I kicked him in the head ’til he was dead!

    • huldu says:

      The problem is once you’ve heard the female banter a few hundred times within 30 minutes of playing, it gets old, very old. It got so bad for me I had to remove all female characters from my party and build one entirely out of males. Of course it turns out you can turn off the party banter in the options! Anyways, the voice acting is very bad, the only one that stands out is the dwarf male, personally I find it quite good. Just a shame the defender is so bad and don’t get me started on the scout. The runepriest is very nice tho.

  21. JanusForbeare says:

    “I did adapt to, and even came to love, this system, but more on that shortly.”

    I had a hell of a time trying not to read this in Shatner’s voice.

    M&M games have always seemed just a step removed from S&M games to me: painful and more than a little humiliating, but also pretty damn fun once you give them a chance. I would have hoped that by 2014 they would have scrapped the “four heroes, one P.O.V.” idea in favor of a more individualized approach (not to mention the tile-by-tile movement scheme), but it’s understandable that financial pressures may have encouraged the devs to stick with what they know.

    • Keyrock says:

      6-9 ditched grid-based movement and turn-based combat. This game was patterned after World of Xeen (4 & 5), hence why they went back to grid-based and turn-based movement and combat. The success of Legend of Grimrock probably had a hand in this too.

      • huldu says:

        You can’t move in combat in m&mx, if an enemy is in melee range, and that’s what I really like about it. Movement in combat is what made me lose interest in grimrock, moving around the rogue in combat was so tedious and just a poor design decision.

        Back in the days they moved away from grid movement due to the evolving nature of fps games at the time. They wanted to give the player a fresh, new, gaming experience. Like I said up top, I prefer this grid based movement since it adds to the immersion.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      By 2018 characters in all games will have stopped to walk and will all fly. What comes after is inevitably better than what comes before! Nothing can stop the inevitable march of progress!

      ……. Morons.

  22. Keyrock says:

    I hope this sells well and convinces Ubisoft to have Limbic do another game, and maybe with a little more generous a budget (I’m under no illusion they would ever get a AssCreed or Sphincter Cell type budget, mind you). I would love to see what these folks could do now that they have a bit of experience with this type of game under their belt.

  23. huldu says:

    First rule of m&mx: you do *not* make any archer type, they’re bad and a waste of a party member. Anything the archer can do can be done by a non-archer dps class better.

    Second rule is: you do *not* make a tank, they’re useless. The “taunt” is a single target attack and requires the tank to hit the monster in question. This might seem easy enough, it isn’t. The tank needs a lot of perception to even land a hit. However eventually you’ll crawl over that “issue” but by then you’ve already noticed that most monsters are just plain immune to taunts. This is where the problem with the tank arise, they add nothing to the group at that point. You can run a group without any tank, without any problems at all. You’ll actually make the game “easier” to play in a sense, not that the game is any hard to begin with.

    As for the game itself they put all their focus into “act 1″. After that it’s really a climb down all the way to the last boss where the fight is so poorly done you wonder if they even tested it themselves. I destroyed the boss in 2 hits, sure my group was heavily optimized since I’m very familiar with these types of games. There are moments in the game that makes it worth playing, but only if you’re into these games.

    The game shouldn’t be been released yet, it’s obvious when you play it. It isn’t done yet. You’ll encounter bugs, glitches, crashes and poor optimization all the way through the game. Some issues will just blow your mind, wondering how could they let something that obvious into a “released” game? It feels like you’re playing a beta, period.

    However the game is fairly cheap but I’d really recommend waiting a patch or two for the developers to hopefully fix many of the issues in the game. I just hope that this title doesn’t scare away people from this sort of game where you move around like this, because I love it. That’s the only reason I spent time even finishing the game, if it weren’t for that I wouldn’t even have wasted time playing it.

    • Moraven says:

      Does it have the classic rule of monsters have a higher chance to target the 1st party member > 2nd > 3rd > 4th?

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      You’re boring. I prefer to make a cool party, even though it’s non-optimal. And then I don’t complain because my party two-shotted the final boss.

      People like you deserve their suffering.

  24. Casimir's Blake says:

    This should be on my radar.

    I want it to be.

    But Ubisoft, and UPLAY. :(

    And my god, why is there no free-look and first-person weapons in this? Why is it so difficult to make Ultima Underworld 3 (or the equivalent thereof) ?

    • adammtlx says:

      Why is it so difficult to make Ultima Underworld 3 (or the equivalent thereof) ?

      What I wouldn’t give…

    • malkav11 says:

      Because that wouldn’t be Might and Magic, it would be some other series.

    • Nick says:

      “Why is it so difficult to make Ultima Underworld 3″

      Arx Fatalis? =D

  25. adammtlx says:

    I wanted to try this but I didn’t want to pay $25 before I knew if I’d even like it so I found a (*cough*) “demo” version. Had a very enjoyable 2 or 3 hours screwing around with it. Responsibly deleted the “demo” version shortly thereafter and now simply have to decide if I want to pay full price or wait a few months for it to go on sale somewhere.

    Fun game. For sure.

  26. Strangerator says:

    I could not be more surprised at what I’m reading. Firstly, that MMX has apparently recaptured some of the grid based magic I remember so fondly from MM3-5. Second surprise is RPS being able to rediscover that magic despite not growing up with the original games. That someone new to this type of game can actually “get it” means the formula has been understood and replicated at the very least.

    This goes on the list then!

  27. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I’m really enjoying this game, too, but balls is it hard. After a restart and some careful, thorough exploration, I finally got up to the top of the lighthouse so I can get steamrolled by some four-armed motherfucker with an insta-kill ability and a whole-party attack. I’d been relying on potions and don’t have access to any healing, which seems like a mistake now.

    Thinking about walking back down and trying the cyclops cave I passed by earlier. It sounds nasty, but I’ve gotta do something and that black dragon I found elsewhere isn’t going to offer any hope.

    • irongamer says:

      I went back to these two caves in Act 1 after picking up some expert level daggers and master level swords for my two bladedancers. I believe all my characters were level 17. The cyclops was much more difficult than the dragon. I failed my first time by forgetting a Burning Determination cast during the fight. Once you have enough DPS Keep up Celestial Armor and Burning Determination for the cyclops and you’ll get him. The dragon is similar but also toss in some arcane and dark resist spells, he was cake.

      You might be able to do it sooner, not sure. My swords were like 29-33 +24 elemental damage. I think the daggers were like 10-19 +20 elemental damage.

      The battles for my party primarily revolve around the casters trading buff casts and drinking mana to keep the blade machine running.

    • Nick says:

      The insta kill at the lighthouse is a knockback that pushes your party off the edge – you can avoid that with careful positioning. Not having earth magic is a huge mistake btw, you very much need regeneration at least, that plus celestial armour are vital.

  28. racccoon says:

    I like the game muchly,
    I feel it needed far more quests and far more spawnings for leveling.
    I dislike the ordered roam here to there and when you go back there’s nothing many times.
    I found I ended up running backwards, sidewards and anyway but forwards! all I seem to do was follow the mini map! The idea of old school keys go left go right go forward go backwards is ok in dungeons but should be free roam in outside environments. I enjoy the game for its challenges and the whats around the corner, I think the npc’s need more work as they need better interaction with the player.

  29. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    Having played it for a very little bit today, I can say that the HUD is a glorious bit of design. It packs all the functionality of a classic M&M game into a compartmentalized package that wouldn’t be daunting to your average WOW player, but maintains the feel of a proper, chunky M&M HUD rather than an MMOesque agglomeration of distinct menus. That’s a bit of a feat.

  30. Curratum says:

    I love how you fail to mention that the game is a heap of poo-poo from a technical viewpoint. Floor tiles using 1200 polys, fps slowing to a crawl in wooded areas on monster rigs running eleven jiggawatts of ram and a GTX 780 or whatever.

    output_log.txt in game dir full of memory leak messages, missing asset messages, game unloading as many as 40,000 unused assets to ‘reduce memory usage’.

    That’s without mentioning the alpha-early access bugs that were reported multiple times and were never fixed – stuck in combat mode when outside of combat, unable to enter towns, etc etc.

    But yeah, outside of that, lovely oldschool game. If only it were playable.

  31. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    Unsurprised to hear that the story and lore are dreadful. Unfortunately Ubisoft’s hubris prevents them from accepting that anything anyone else did with the IP was better than what they’ve done. It’s also obvious that they either never ask for, or at least never listen to, the opinion of anyone who’s ever actually read a book or played a game or watched a movie in English, when it comes to their writing – it’s like watching a bad episode of He-Man. The original M&M setting was far from perfect but vastly more interesting than the dreariness that is the HOMM world. I’ve also never seen a cutscene or intro for a M&M or HOMM game that wasn’t utterly cringeworthy.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Honestly the story and world in the M&M games was pretty much always awful, at least judging from Heroes I-IV and M&M III. I thought Dark Messiah and Heroes V had decent narratives which made me at least want to know the ending. But really they shouldn’t have kept the whole corny angels vs demons thing, I feel it’s the main reason why their setting doesn’t work. The whole good vs evil thing started in Heroes 2 and it progressively got more stupid as the series moved forward.

  32. Hunchback says:

    How did you guys kill the first “boss” in the lighthouse? He totally rapes my party, after so many tries that i kinda felt sick and abandoned it… And i really wish i could progress in this game, i needed a slow paced, calm and nice game like that. I am getting old, i think.

    • MisterBungle says:

      The first boss is all about physical damage and knocking you off the edge. So keep away from the edge and keep up celestial armour, stoneskin and regeneration to keep his damage under control. If he’s really wiping you out then you might need to go level up a little – or reconsider your party build :)

      • Hunchback says:

        Well, i did change my party once, now i have 1 mage and 3 fighters. He kinda does too much damage… I guess i gotta go level up a bit, but since there’s no respawn etc, not sure where i can go to find more stuff to kill. Hmmmm

        • MisterBungle says:

          You need healing and damage reduction. Mass healing such as regeneration and celestial armour is extremely useful. My runepriest casts regeneration, stoneskin and celestial armour, my freemage and crusader also have celestial armour.

        • Robert says:

          He has a retaliate ability. The more times you hit(or miss, can’t remember details) him with a physical attack, the more he hits you back. So if you have trouble keeping up with his damage, dial back on the physical hits. He especially counters bladedancers as they do many hits. In the worst case you should just let your mage throw a fireball each round and have the physical attackers defend/drink potions.

          • Hunchback says:

            Oh i see, i didn’t know that. I’ll give it another go then

          • Enkinan says:

            This. I’m playing on Warrior and he rocked me multiple times until I realized that my tank was doing more harm than good by attacking. I am running: Protector, Bladedancer, Freemage, Druid.

            Had the Druid keep up celestial armor/regen, and just had the protector and BD defend while using firebolt non stop with the freemage. Unfortunately he got through and knocked out my Druid at about 1/5 health and my mage ran out of mana potions so I then just crossed my fingers and let everyone at him. He ended up killing the Druid and the mage had a sliver of health left, but they dropped him.

          • SandroTheMaster says:

            You have to carefully consider the enemy special abilities throughout the game. Just like the review said, if you just keep hammering that melee attack key throughout the combats you’re going to be severely punished. Mamushi (the Lighthouse boss) is actually there to teach you that, I believe. That and to mind your positioning. The Ghouls you find later on utterly punish being met with a whirlwind of attacks, because not only do they give back with interests, this is also likely to enrage them, making them double the danger they already pose.

  33. Robert says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first Act despite the technical issues, the lore issues and the not-so-enticing plot.

    However, ever since I reached Act II, the amount of crashes skyrocketed to a nigh-unplayable “crash-every-few-minutes”-state. Not to mention that due to the fact I have a 32bit version of Windows 7 (upgrades), I don’t have party voices, or voices at all, and hardcapped textures.

    Due to this, I can’t really recommend the game, though I enjoyed it while it lasted.

    • Hunchback says:

      Don’t mean to sound anal, but you really should get a 64bit OS now….

      • Curratum says:

        What if I told you it doesn’t make a difference? Because it really doesn’t. I did upgrade and many people with similar issues were originally on 64-bit. The devs aren’t even acknowledging that there are technical issues with the game. ololo ubi got your monies and all that but seriously, this is quite appalling.

  34. itchy01ca says:

    You guys used the word anal in a derogatory sense. That is an insult to me as a women, also an insult to the gay community. Welcome to a shitstorm RPS.

    • Hunchback says:

      You realize that this is no some random forum online, and your shitstorm will never happen. People will just ignore you or throw flowers and rainbows at you.

      Here, have some flowers! –.–‘–<@

    • Einhaender says:

      How in the world is using the world anal in a derogatory sense an insult to women or the gay community? It would imply that every women and gay person enjoys anal sexual intercourse and every straight person would never do something like that. That is actually quite insulting and offensive to me as a straight male.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      You need an “/s” tag. I think.

  35. Einhaender says:

    I’m having quite a lot of fun with it. The only thing that keeps bugging me is the usual Ubisoft support.
    Being made with Unity the game puts some heavy pressure on the gpu and thus turning the card into a solar flare running around 100c for some people. Even FC3 on ultra in DX11 mode doesn’t make my computers fans spin like MMX does.

    Many people have addressed this issue in the official forum but Ubisoft has yet to reply or to release a fix that makes the game run without being so demanding. There are even people who don’t dare to continue playing because they are afraid that their card will die due to overheating.

    But apart from that it’s freaking awesome.

  36. Premium User Badge

    dahauns says:

    “low-rent, often ugly graphics which look suspiciously as though they might comprise hastily upscaled models and textures from the last Heroes of Might & Magic game”

    Well, that is actually the case – they openly admit it:
    https://mightandmagicx-legacy.ubi.com/opendev/blog/post/view/meet-the-team-ubisoft-chengdu

  37. Keyrock says:

    The biggest compliment I can give this game is that it’s still the only thing I’m playing. I originally planned to have this split time with other games I had been playing, but it’s completely taken over my gaming time. Whenever I have time to game I never even consider playing anything else right now, I just boot straight into M&MX. I also suffer from “just a few more minutes” syndrome when playing this game and often wind up staying up much too late and paying the price at work the next day. Good times!

  38. Berzee says:

    INTERSTING. I will inspect this game further.

    “its major USP”

    Q: wot is this, USP?

  39. Enkinan says:

    Really glad I saw this article a few days ago or I would have slept on this game. Thanks RPS.

    Picked it up last night and got sucked in pretty quickly. Played about 5 hours on Warrior difficulty. It scratches an itch for sure. It doesn’t candy coat a whole lot and if you try to faceroll through it you are going to get bitch-slapped. There were quite a few encounters in the lighthouse that I thought I just may not have been able to be to beat with either my setup or level, then realized the right strategy to use to proceed after getting killed a few times. Pretty rewarding.

    I haven’t noticed any performance hiccups with everything turned up, nor any bugs so far.

    It’s not groundbreaking or the best thing I’ve ever played, but it is the right game at the right time for me. It gives me warm fuzzies full of nostalgia and enjoyable gameplay.

  40. SandroTheMaster says:

    I’m doing a Defender, Hunter, Blade-dancer and Freemage setup. Later on I realized my mistake of having only a single competent caster as my freemage is usually overloaded with buffs and utility spells to actually have a chance to fireball (or rather, electrocute) anything, but when he does he is a blast. Oh, and it was a mistake to postpone Dark. Agony is really, really good against the toughest fights and the Blade Dancer makes great use of it. But more than anything Purge is one of the best spells in the game.

    This setup is really not as good as I thought it’d be. Hey, it is the 3 race tanks to protect my mage! What could go wrong? Oh, right, whenever someone get past the tanks the mage is dead and no-one can do a sodding thing about it. Fixed the issue by giving the mage Armor-granting and health-granting magic items and buying healing scrolls for the brutes to use when the mage goes down and now it is going swimmingly. In act III now, with most of the continent that doesn`t require the blessing of Ylath explored. The hunter turned out to be quite a sturdy guy with lots of DPS, though the Bladedancer is usually surpasses him, she is not nearly as reliable.
    Here`s a tip. Have your tank go up the Warfare skill. It really pays off at the Master level (GM is also great, but the goal is mastery). At Master Warfare the tank can really do his job as well as he was supposed to.

    Especially with master shields as well (or GM dodge, if you for some reason are using a dodge tank… though the Hunter could possibly do it).

    It was my intention from the start to make 3 runs, each with 4 different races and new classes. When I`m finished I`m looking forward for my Mercenary, Barbarian, Hunter and Runepriest run (three offensive classes with big pappa to keep them healthy), and then the Crusader, Scout, Shaman and Druid (ALL THE SPELLS! Plus the Scout, who was my favorite class from the early access).