Performance & Prettiness: M&M Heroes VII Patch Plans

Heroes of Might & Magic will always hold a special place in my heart for hotseat fun with childhood chums, but the series has lost its way over the years. Even the most casual of glances at Steam player reviews for Might & Magic Heroes VII [official site] will fill your eyes with complaints about bugs, crashes, poor performance, ugliness, and more. Oh dear. Still, developers Limbic Entertainment are plugging away, and it sounds like future updates will bring big fixes for some of its problems, at least – performance and prettiness especially.

Limbic explain that following forum threads asking players for feedback, they “then made a top 10 list of the most frequently requested ideas, sat down and discussed what is actually feasible to add to the game with the various restraints that come with game development.” They’re working on what’s viable.

Agreeing that its desaturated levels “were not satisfying and the game appeared not as colourful and magical as a Heroes title should be”, they’ve tweaked the colour, saturation, and contrast of adventure maps and dang, that looks a lot nicer. I still do not understand why so many games are so drab when all it takes is being a little more free with colour. Do check out the before/after screens on that blog post.

Performance is being worked over too, as Limbic explain they’ve managed to halve load times and nearly halve RAM consumption. They’re also considering removing the level cap, looking at rebalancing, improving the level editor, and working on fixing desync problems in multiplayer.

Some of those changes will arrive in patch 1.4, which is due “in the next few days” is now out, while others will take longer. Whether this all is enough to bring the game into line, I don’t know. Any HOMM7 players reading this have thoughts to share with your fellow dear readers?

25 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    To my mind, HoMMs 6 and 7 are ‘just’ further iterations of HoMM V’s dragging of the franchise into futuristic 3D. And having played 8 million Russian King’s Bounty games and several -alikes in the interim, I’m personally finding 7 a huge let-down. The balancing is all over the place, and there are lots of basic things missing or only half-heartedly implemented. On the other hand, the traditional save game corruption is present and correct, so that’s something.

  2. Amatyr says:

    Like the look of this patch so I’m pretty glad I’ve not actually started playing it yet. Maybe once I’m done with Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 they’ll have patched it enough that it’s ready to play!

  3. Bweahns says:

    I’ve been playing since HoMM 2 and there is simply no reason to play anything other than HoMM 3 with the fan made small balance tweaks, unless you enjoy fancy graphics. HoMM4 was the only game I have ever returned to the shop. It was a complete let down.
    The newer versions do nothing but let down the grizzled veterans of the series and for my money don’t really offer much to new players getting into this genre when there are things like King’s Bounty around.

    • klops says:

      Wasn’t V at least ok? Haven’t played it myself, but that’s the impression I have.

      • Premium User Badge

        Neurotic says:

        It definitely had its own quirks, but there’s (yet another) fan patch that rebalances and tweaks it, making it a thing of splendor (to all but the die-hards ;)

      • zaphod42 says:

        Better than okay! 4 is actually my favorite HOMM after 3 and 2. Its really good, much more newbie-friendly and approachable than 3 or 2 (you don’t need to have the manual to play it lol) and the best part is the expansions add a great deal of content. In particular the last expansion doubles the number of units each faction has, all of the factions, not just the new expansion ones! Instead of creating a 3rd upgrade tier at each level, it creates a secondary 2nd upgrade for each tier, which gives you two options of units. You can use some of both or all of one or the other, it gives you SO much more depth and choice over your faction’s armies.

        I actually wish 3 had that same feature, its so great. 5 unfortunately does have some performance issues, its in 3D and its not very efficient, and I’m not as much a fan of the art style as 2 or 3. But its not bad by any means, great game.

        2, 3 and 5 are the good HOMM games. 1 is too primitive and 4 and 6 and 7 are just a bit too off.

      • Jenks says:

        No, it isn’t. It retroactively changed my opinion on HOMM4 from “killed the series” to “leagues better than any of the ubi games.”

        • Chris Cunningham says:

          Well, that’s precisely it, isn’t it. The people who loudly announced when III was released that it wasn’t a patch on II (and there were plenty of them, hanging around games shops in their dirty trenchcoats before mankind foolishly invented blog comments sections) are precisely the same people that subsequently loudly whined about IV, and who practically did themselves injuries orgasming over V being in three dee and thus beneath all contempt.

          In reality, the things V gets wrong are mostly fixable (TOTE made it an actual finished product, and since then the entire AI has been rewritten to not cheat). It’s ironic that what it really most suffers from is a loss of its non-visual atmosphere when its loudest detractors have always been the sort of wannabe pixel-art purists that ignore the desperately terrible 3D that lies just behind much of III and IV’s artwork.

    • Frank says:

      Oh, you want to do this again?

      Sure, there’s a reason: HOMM 1 & 2 are better.

      As a grizzled veteran of the series, I’m glad to see it living on, even if it’s not as good as it could be.

    • Mavarich says:

      4 wasn’t bad, it was just different. You didn’t give it a chance. I hated it at first but I play it more than 3 now. Best and second best in the series based on personal opinion.

      • Borsook says:

        Homm4 had good ideas, but it is broken to this day. There are buildings that AI never uses, severe problems with balancing hero progression, slow downs and really, really, really bad AI.

        • Premium User Badge

          Neurotic says:

          Have you tried the Equilibris mod? It’s 11 years old now itself, but it vastly improves the AI and several other key aspects of the game, and works with all the expansions. Definitely worth a go!

  4. klops says:

    Ooh, they understood that a game looks better when not looked through a grey filter (yeah, it’s not a filter but you get the idea). I wish more devs and publishers got this.

    • mukuste says:

      To the contrary, I’ll never get why “crank saturation and contrast to the max” is many gamers’ concept of “pretty”. This looks exactly like one of those ugly SweetFX orgies that people inflict upon their games.

      • mukuste says:

        Actually, I do have a guess, and it’s just the same reason people prefer louder (more compressed) version of the same song when comparing them A-B for a few seconds: it simply pops more at first glance/listen, but in practice just gets fatiguing very fast.

        Look up the Loudness War if you haven’t read about this, it’s quite interesting.

        • klops says:

          I too agree. My point was the use of colours actually, which was a bit off here since this seems to be about saturation and things that are too hard for me to understand.

          But you think “before” looks better than “after” in this case? Really?

          • mukuste says:

            Yes, I prefer “before” here. It might stand to be a bit more saturated, but “after” is way, way over the top.

          • socrate says:

            i think it goes with the game itself in that case i hate both i wish they did some in between…in Diablo 3 for example i found it wayyy too colorful for the gothic feeling that i had in every other diablo game…then again Diablo 3 wasn’t really gothic either it was…well…nothing

            i did see extremely colorful game that did match the game

      • Troubletcat says:

        I agree, but it’s not applicable here. Looking at the before/after slider comparison things on the website, the game was way too desaturated before, and the change looks like it’s not particularly extreme.

        I think the actual explanation of the crazy stupid high levels of saturation and contrast people seem to put in through SweetFX etc. is more likely due to the fact that so many games devs these days are desaturating everything so much to make things look more “realistic” (apparently they’ve never actually seen what colours look like in real life…), so people go overboard as a reactionary response.

        Or it could just be that getting colour right is actually really hard and Joe Novice isn’t equipped to do a good job of it.

  5. Generator22 says:

    “Heroes Of Might and Magic” will forever hold a special place in my heart. “Might & Magic Heroes”, on the other hand…

  6. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    This is a series that should be retired with honours – a long time ago actually. HOMM3 shall always reign supreme.

  7. Elusiv3Pastry says:

    I’ve been playing the HOMM series since the first game, and I always feel like I’m the only person in the world who actually liked HOMM IV when I read these threads. To be sure, II and III were far superior, but I accepted the changes for what they were and still had fun with them (although the battlefield heroes tended to become completely overpowered in later levels). I’ve played II III and IV over and over again to death, yet I never finished V and VI as they were too much of a slog. I keep hoping the next version will be better but just judging from the reviews, VII is no better. Maybe I’ll get it during the holiday sale.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      IV had better maps, a better UI, and a better skill tree than III while having a very similar feel otherwise. The change to the combat perspective simply doesn’t work at all, though, and having heroes as active battlefield participants simply introduces too many changes to truly work (it’s a pain in the arse as a Magic hero to have to care about combat skills and armour simply not to get killed the first time you encounter more than half-a-dozen fast or ranged tier 3 monsters). It’s still good fun.

      V improves on UI, skill tree, overall faction cohesiveness and town building massively over either, but loses out on overall style (its music in particular is a serious let-down comparing to its predecessors), far less complex maps and dire campaigns. It was released half-finished and without Tribes of the East it’s definitely inferior, but with the expansions (and preferably the unofficial patches on top) it’s a worthy successor. VI learned nothing from it (or the rest of the series) and VII is more of a sequel to VI than anything else by the look of things.

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        Neurotic says:

        Yes, I think VI and VII are very much of a pair, and not only because they’re closer to being contemporaries technologically.

      • Elusiv3Pastry says:

        I think I bounced off of V so hard because I played it at launch and got so disgusted with it I dropped it long before Tribes of the East came out. I’ve heard good things about it and I picked it up during a sale, but I’ve yet to bring myself back around to try it again in lieu of the rest of my backlog. It didn’t help that the dev forums for V were quite toxic to feedback at the time as well (e.g. “Oh you don’t like this? Obviously you didn’t even pay for it then.”)