Lore And Order: Might & Magic Heroes 7

It's basically medieval WWE

Ubisoft have a fifty page PDF dedicated to TALES OF THE TEN YEAR WAR as background reading for Might & Magic Heroes 7. It’s fine and all, featuring words like “succubus” and “exile” and “decided” and “the”, but I’m far more interested in their stained glass window design.

I’ve always liked stained glass windows as storytelling devices so I’m enjoying looking at this one, unpicking the stories as I see them without reference to the PDF at all to see how well it functions as a lore-based press release. It’s also just a lovely thing to look at so you should look at it.

Click for a larger version of the window

Once upon a time a bunch of knights had a lot of arguments. Most of it was about Ser Sebastian of Stagworth’s obsession with stags which was weird and annoying because he kept putting antlers on stuff. “It’s a horse, stop it” Ser Lewis of Threelions would complain. “You can tell he doesn’t like it.”

“Nonsense,” said Ser Sebastian and tried to gore Ser Lewis to death with his antler horse. Also his cousin Gerald who happened to be wearing antlers was there too.

This is an antler-vention

Ser Stuart of Unicorns and Ser Martin of Maybe Some Kind Of Panther Or Whatever were also battling but it was an unrelated argument about the fact Ser Martin had subtweeted Ser Stuart, making comments like how having a mythical creature on your coat of arms was really lame.

Then there was a lot of secondary fighting because a bunch of other knights took sides after reading about the events online and they had opinions about mythical heraldry and antlered horses that they felt were very important and would improve the debate, especially if they were said in all caps several days after the event.

Being a succubus means a lot of sit-ups

Two ladies were busy having their own drama. One of them was a demon sex witch and the other one was a virtuous queen of some kind, neatly encompassing all the types of lady that there are in the world. The demon sex witch messed the queen up using her sex witch flames and probably destroyed the whole of the royal lineage somehow because that’s what the broken sword probably symbolises.

Then all the knights had to attend a really boring ceremony honouring the dead queen and tried to look attentive and alert even though the speeches were long and it wasn’t really going to do the queen any good to hear about how lovely she was now, was it?

I can't believe you're still wearing those antlers - this is a FUNERAL

Then Ser Sebastian and some griffin guy did a televised duel because that kind of entertainment is good for morale and also the economy.

I feel like WWE would benefit from an ANIMAL WEAPONRY aspect

I have now read the PDF.

The queen is actually the Empress Maeve from the Falcon dynasty who ended up being destroyed by a demon cultist leader-turned-succubus, Jezebeth. With Maeve’s son Brendan suspected dead the Dukes and Duchesses began vying for the crown and had a whole bunch of battles. I like that the mountain orcs are a bit eye-rolly about all of this and insist on calling it the “babyteeth war”. Seamus of Stag ends up on the throne and Ivan of Griffin stages an unsuccessful rebellion. There’s a cool-sounding necromancer spider cultist called Anastasya Griffin who turns up and forms part of Ivan’s new council and that’s where the PDF leaves off.

TL;DR:
There’s a wizard emperor with a thing for antlers versus Ivan and his collective council wisdom and new sword.

40 Comments

  1. Chris Cunningham says:

    I actually thought that was the skill wheel for a minute.

    Anyway, this had better not suck. It depresses me that I’ve sunk more than a hundred hours of my life into IV considering what a blisteringly terrible game it is.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      (VI, that is. No comment editing, awesome.)

      • BlackeyeVuk says:

        Ooooh you gave me mini heart attack.
        Because IV was wonky, and different, but awesome, and story was nice. I still play it. And 3 and 5. Still installed on me PC.

        VI was … IS still bug ridden infestation, and game breaking crashes. Except for deities, everything else was BOOOORIIIING. Not to mention non existent AI, that basically just wait for you, and grow like a plant.

        • Dawngreeter says:

          Really? People like V more than VI? The hell?

          • BlackeyeVuk says:

            It stay true to the heroes of might and magic, in both the heroes and the story. Plus adds something more. More creatures, heroes development is rich and complicated, in a way you have good progression system. Music is awesome, animation is awesome, ingame cities are THE best ones from ALL heroes games.

            That said, unbalanced in PVP. But who cares? I play with friends against AI , ask me if I care about “balance” . I don’t . Heroes 3 and 4 is also unbalanced, ask me again if I care about that.

            And there goes might and magic “heroes” with new brand and bland stick on its face , that was build on bog, with neverending ram eating engine, that could not even render MAP properly without crashing. And it still crashes and eats ram/animation stuttering/rendering issue, despite going gold or complete or whatever.

            Im never gonna waste my money on heroes .

          • SandroTheMaster says:

            Everyone will hate something and think everyone else is on-board with them by default.

            Heroes VI I’ll give props for at least making things different. It didn’t play safe and tried something new (like Heroes IV) and was bogged down by a buggy engine and a lot of executive meddling (while Heroes IV was bogged down mostly by executive meddling deciding to ship a game in it’s testing prototype stage).

            We can always come back to Heroes III if we want to play that, but if I’m going to play Heroes VII I want it to be something new with the formula. I’d very much prefer another Heroes VI than Ubi doing a Nintendo or Capcom and re-releasing the exact same game with just a minor new gimmick every six months.

    • piedpiper says:

      I played it like 20 hours and then gave up. It suck so hard. A real atrocity in the brilliant series.

    • klops says:

      It also deleted my cloud saves. Twice. After that I’ve never bought games that require U-play and never will.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    ‘ser’ in Polish is ‘cheese’. :D

  3. BathroomCitizen says:

    I want to play Cousin Gerald!

  4. xfstef says:

    Heroes of Might and Magic 7*

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      F’real.

      I still maintain that this daft name change is just a matter of them realising they accidentally left the “of” out of all the box art and splash screens for Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and wanted to make it look like it was deliberate…

  5. Dawngreeter says:

    I have a sneaky suspicion that the stained glass window isn’t actually a stained glass window at all. I bet they pulled a cheap trick and just put a digital illustration (made to look like a stained glass window!) into a digital file and called it a day.

    I hope that isn’t the cause, because if it is the game is going to suck!

    • JohnnyPanzer says:

      Yeah, like software capable of such feats exists. Right. In Magicland maybe.

  6. Horg says:

    Almost nailed it, but Ser Lewis of Threelions is actually Duke Lewis ”ThreeDog”. Those are greyhounds.

    On a serious note, I wouldn’t touch this game with a 10ft pole after the bug infested mess that was Heroes 6. Age of Wonders 3 has taken the turn based fantasy themed strategy crown without a fight.

    • Boosterh says:

      I dunno about “without a fight.” Endless Legend seems to have slid on over from the neighbouring realm of
      Sci-Fi 4X in order to take the throne.

      • Horg says:

        I’m reserving judgement on EL until i’ve actually played it, which wont be until summer rolls around. However, in the classic match up of the AoW series vs the Heroes series, AoW is clearly on top at the moment.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      So you’re going to flat out ignore a game regardless of its quality because the previous one in the series was of poor quality? Not just a bad move, also kind of a weird one. But you are free to deprive yourself of potential fun, of course.

      Isn’t VII by a different team, though? I’m fairly sure that’s a thing, but too lazy to check right now.

      • Steve Catens says:

        If it makes you feel any better, I’m going to flat out ignore this game regardless of its quality because it probably requires Ubisoft’s wretched U-Play, not because of the previous game. Although I did in fact ignore the previous game because it also required U-Play.

      • Horg says:

        It’s a decision made to avoid Ubisoft for the contempt they showed to their customers over H6. Pushing expensive DLC out while your game still has serious bugs that were reported in beta and never fixed is not acceptable. The genre has some great games right now (AoW3, EL) so i’m not going to lose any sleep over skipping this.

  7. piedpiper says:

    In defence of Heroes 7: it is developed by Limbic which has brought us pretty good M&MX. So I have hopes for Heroes 7 despite Heroes 6 being an unbearable piece of shit.

    • BlackeyeVuk says:

      You and me both, but if I see uplay shenanigans , im torrenting that shit. And if it suxx, I’ll cry less then usual.

      • manio22 says:

        Get out of my mind, my thoughts are for me only. (and the court *if* they ever catch me )

  8. Ejia says:

    I would like the good Knight o’ Antlers more if he had used majestic moose antlers.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Three weeks late, but still. A Møøse once bit my sister… No realli!

  9. ye-ole-PK says:

    U-Play = No Way .

    I preordered homm6 before I knew that uplay was a thing. I didn’t even get 5 hours in when I had issues with my saves. That was the last time I pre ordreded and the last time I had u-notplay installed on my pc.

    • Horg says:

      The saddest part about H6 was that the beta was pretty bug free until Uplay was implemented near the end of development. It broke so much and added nothing.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Uplay? More like Ufail!

  10. Jenks says:

    Imagine if they’re able to capture the awesomeness that is HOMM3?

    Yeah I can’t either, the idea is too far fetched. The storyline in HOMM5 / M&M Clash of Heroes / what I played of HOMM6 is so fucking stupid that it makes me angry, and that isn’t easy. I can’t think of another video game or series ever to do that and I’ve played many terrible games.

    • SandroTheMaster says:

      @Jenks

      Come now, the Heroes VI campaigns were actually good. And the story on some of the Heroes III campaigns were at least as bad as the Heroes V ones (did you ever actually read any of the text when you played as Gelu or Sandro in Shadow of Death? They scream FANFIC, both are written as the worst kind of Mary Sue).

      Heroes V’s story was bad all around, nobody can deny that, but the mechanics were very good. That’s a game I still play in skirmish with my friends (they prefer it to previous Heroes games because they are 3D snobs). Clash of Clans was serviceable. Nothing great, but nothing particularly horrible either. Heroes VI actually had good campaigns. The most stupid one I’d say was Sandor’s, but that was very much on purpose and at least the writing was fun. Anton, maybe, was too dull even with the fight for his sanity theme. Anastasya and Irina’s campaigns, on the other hand, were very good. Great even. Not to the level of the amazing Heroes IV campaigns, but certainly at least on par with Heroes III best ones. And the Dance Macabre DLC certainly had better writing than any of the Campaigns with Sandro on Shadow of Death (and I say that as a HUGE fan of the character, as evidenced by my freaking name).

      • SandroTheMaster says:

        Meant “Clash of Heroes”, not “Clash of Clans”, sorry, but no “edit button”.

      • Jenks says:

        I agree with almost none of this, and FYI my avatar on any site I care enough to create one has been Wystan for the last 15 years.

        • SandroTheMaster says:

          If you think that, well, there’s nothing I can do. But Heroes III Shadow of Death has some really cringe-worthy passages. Like this one:

          “As you watch her practice incantations under the moonlight, you realize that she is also quite beautiful. Suddenly her eyes meet yours and she smiles warmly. You turn away, slightly ashamed for the momentary indulgence. Necromancers are not supposed to have such feelings!”

          This comes from a Lich. There is no combination of convoluted justifications that makes any of this make a lick of sense. A lich getting emotional and falling in love! That’s Sandro’s greatest struggle during the mission “Master”. Worse yet, it is followed by this passage:

          “He’s in love, I tell you,” a skeleton warrior whispers to his comrades. “Haven’t you seen the way he looks at her? “Why when she rode off, he practically got all misty eyed.”

          Now, I know that it is a proud tradition in the classic Might & Magic lore for monsters to have all levels of bizarre sentience. But this is really low. Skeletons, time and again portrayed as mindless and incapable of tasks more complex than charging and fighting, doing gossip with zombies… it wouldn’t be so bad if not also for the fact that Skeletons in his campaign are also given all the characterization of battle Droids from the Star Wars prequels: That is, cowardice and incompetence that could only be conferred into them by their makers.

          But one of my favorites is this one. The one that truly cements Sandro as a Marty Stu in the Shadow of Death campaigns:

          “The pit fiend slouches and stares silently at the ground. You grab his horns and force him to look you in the eyes. ‘You have been looking for Sandro and now you have found him. Now tell me why your worm of a brother is interested in him.’ Shalongrarg’s eyes bulges and ears bleed under the immense pressure of your grip. You pull him close to your face. ‘I will crush your skull like an eggshell if you don’t answer my questions!’ You suddenly release the wretched demon, and he falls to the ground. You raise your foot and place it on top of his head.”

          “‘Wait, wait!’ the pit fiend sobs. ‘I’ll tell you what you want to know. When my brother learned that you had the artifacts, he ordered his troops to seize them from you at all costs. I was sent to get information on your numbers and movements.'”

          “You pick Shalongrarg up by the head again and look him in his terrified eyes again. ‘So, your brother plans to challenge me. Perhaps some of your people have courage in them. Perhaps they are not all like you, sheep to be slaughtered.’ With a quick twist of your wrist, Shalongrarg’s neck snaps loudly and he falls to the ground. Suddenly you hear a loud noise from all of the bushes surrounding you. A large army attacks you.”

          Let’s count all the things wrong with this picture: A) Sandro, a Necromancer and a lich who takes pride in manipulating others and performing psychological warfare, intimidates and postures against a Pit Fiend like a goddamn thug without two neurons to rub together. B) He is portrayed as supernaturally strong, stronger than an elite kreegan, capable of toying with his prey confident in his invulnerability, instead of overcoming his opponent with magic and wits, his outspoken strengths in the game. C) He gloats on top of an opponent who is pathetic by all accounts. This is writing 101 “Don’t make the protagonist look good by comparing him with idiots.” This is like Dragon Ball Z level writing, lazy and unimpressive. D) It breaks lore, since Kreegan are bred and organized like a hive instead of like families. E) Then Sandro is ambushed by a large-ish army of Pit Fiends. The writer just failed to portray Sandro as a powerful and menacing character by having him defeat and torture a really sorry excuse for a kreegan, then he makes Sandro look even more incompetent by being unable to detect a large ambush right beside him after minutes standing still, of creatures the writer just established as sobbing, incompetent and cowardly.

          So, no, I don’t think that Heroes III is the holy grail of story-telling and that all heroes games future and past should be compared to it in all areas. It has it’s problems as well (conflux being the most obvious). But that’s just me.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The storylines in Heroes 3 in a general sense were no better. They just weren’t. The overall lore in the Heroes series is lots of fun, but if you come for the story you’re gonna be disappointed.
      I still don’t hold 3 up to the same standards most people do, though, so maybe I’m just missing something. I liked 2 more than 3 for general style, I liked 4 more than 3 for actually trying something different (albeit less than perfectly), and I liked 5 best of all, for taking pretty much everything I loved about the preceding titles (style from 2, masses of content from 3, skill system from 4) and mashing it all into one game.
      I will qualify that by saying that I didn’t play 5 much on release, though, and most of my judgements are based on the ‘complete’ version.

  11. Frank says:

    6 was the best since 2, in my estimation (though I haven’t had 200 hours to play it in full yet) and I’ve never had any uplay trouble myself.

    Anyway, best of luck to the devs Ubi has hired! I’m sure they’ll add something interesting to the mix.

  12. Fenix says:

    Just wanted to say the “come up with a story from the pictures” thins made me laugh out loud, thanks for that!

  13. Hypocee says:

    Jezebeth, huh? She’s one of the few bits I remember rising above Clash of Heroes’ general schmaltzy story mush. Didn’t seem that high-ranking. Go figure!

  14. Veldzhes says:

    I have another theory of what’s going on on the stained glass. Starting counter-clockwise from the two ladies section. So, the demon sex witch is oppressed virtue-lady’s sub-self which revolted against the dominant self to reveal to her the truth she concealed for so long, that is – she prefers women rather than men and that’s why we see the sword – an obvious phallic symbol – broken: it works no more for her. The next stage is all the men gathered at a symbolic burial of the lady, she is dead for them as henceforth they are stuck in eternal friendzone with no hope to change that status ever. Next stage, their libido run high – we can see them erecting their spears and staffs, perplexed and confused as they are clueless of what to do, they eye each other with growing anger, they are divided by the tree trunk – growing, but growing for nothing. The next stage – libido breaches through all natural defenses transmuted in hatred and amok – unstoppable desire to pierce. And the war is unleashed: they pierce each other with swords, arrows, spears to death in the gruesome attempt to substitute the lack of relationships. The final stage in the center: two men fighting each other against the picture of crowned vagina, the essence of the conflict. And in the game.

  15. MellowKrogoth says:

    Nice art. Now, they need to trash the existing Heroes universe, throw the remains in the nearest volcano, and reboot it again without the whole demon vs angel thing that polarized the whole series (from Heroes III on) in a very stupid and simplistic way.

    • SandroTheMaster says:

      You’re somewhat in luck, as demons will be practically out of sight in Heroes VII. They’re not even one of the playable factions this time around.

      And it could have been handled much better in III if they hadn’t done EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to avoid saying Kreegans are an invading alien species as old as the galaxy, but nope. They even sheepishly avoided making it too explicit that the Kreegans had reached Erathia through that meteor.