Heroes of Might & Magic (catch-all)

There's a King's Bounty thread, but I don't see anything specific to HOMM, and since I will probably be playing these games forever, it's time for a thread...

I'm in a tough mission in the HOMM2 campaign, and a walk-thru mentions it's important to upgrade some units.

I searched the web and read the documentation and unit upgrading is mentioned all over the place, but I couldn't figure out how to upgrade units and was going to use this thread to ask, when I decided to try an experiment...

Turns out if you have an upgraded building in a city, you can upgrade units of that type while you are in that city (doesn't work outside the city), by double-clicking on the units, then clicking the "Upgrade" button and agreeing to pay the cost.

Argh! No idea how I missed this (though it is somewhat hidden) and can only cry for how much it would have helped in my dozens and dozens of hours spent in HOMM2...

Having started a catch-all topic with an obscure UI detail, perhaps stepping back and providing some context would make sense. Since the HOMM games are frequently mentioned in various threads, here's a gameplay summary and some history:

The HOMM games are turn-based strategy affairs, with each mission being composed of a map that contains pre-placed castles that must be captured in order to generate armies and to keep from being eliminated. The terrain is filled with monsters and treasure, stat-enhancing items, and mines that provide the resources necessary to enhance your castles with useful buildings. There are numerous types of castles each of which generate a completely different set of units (undead vs mythological vs mountain, etc).

You control heroes who have their own stats and who represent a stack of armies on the map.

Combat is done on a grid in which your stack of armies face the enemy's stack of armies. There are a rich variety of combat options including spells you can cast onto the field, magic using units, flying units, ranged units, and melee types.

The games are extremely clever and addictive. I've probably spent more time playing and replaying them than any other franchise, and I'm only up to HOMM2 so far. Here's how they evolved:

King's Bounty - Until the recent (and amazingly long-time in coming!) sequel, this 1990 item has been the mostly-forgotten precursor to the HOMM games. Amazingly, it contained pretty much all the combat mechanics and hero/stack handling that would characterize the HOMM games; this aspect of things (that I'm aware of in what I've played so far) remains pretty much unchanged throughout the history of the franchise.

Everything else was much more primitive though...the game didn't have the castle concept and involved traipsing around various islands doing a lot of digging. I would not classify this as "playable" for a modern gamer, and I found it too much of a slog to finish.

HOMM: A Strategic Quest - Five years later, HOMM was born. HOMM was an amazing leap from King's Bounty, with the rest of the game filled in. This introduced castles and the strategy aspect so important to the series, and reduced -- but didn't eliminate -- the important of digging for stuff as part of the gameplay. While it's worth any fan of the series checking out for historical context, the maps were not well-designed and were overly-gimmicky, resulting in something that was great for the time but, especially in light of the later games in the franchise, I would also classify this as not being a "playable" game.

HOMM II: The Succession Wars - In 1996 the franchise truly came into it's own. Nothing really changed from HOMM 1 in terms of mechanics, but the map design is excellent and every little gameplay detail has been polished to create a compelling, nail-biting, "just one more turn" gaming experience that is up there, for me, with Civilization and the like. I have played and replayed much of this (due to computer changes, lost savefiles, and the like) and it just sucks me in. I'm still working my way through the original campaign, and there's an expansion for me to get to. I can highly recommend this to any strategy gamer without reservation.

HOMM III: The Restoration of Erathia - The scary thing for me, given how much I love HOMM II, is that those in the know all seem to agree that III is the best of them all. I can't even imagine what is in store for me...

HOMM IV - Apparently with this one the developers started kicking dogs or something. All I know is this seems to be the most universally hated entry in the series, and I get the impression it may be one of the worst games of all time? It introduced isometric to the series and the screenshots look nice, but I take it that the interface and gameplay were completely changed and it drove people nuts. I'll probably be compelled to try it for completeness, but I'm scared...

HOMM V - The modern incarnation. I've heard mixed reviews, enough so that I didn't bother to pick it up even with my love of the series. Again I'll no doubt try it out some day...

King's Bounty: The Legend - The most recent entry, this calls back to the very original game. It has delightful combat animations and was smart enough not to futz with the combat mechanics much. This emulates the more free form "wander around to different islands while resolving a larger quest" mechanic of the original King's Bounty, which means it doesn't have the strategic land-map aspect of HOMM. As such, I find it enjoyable mind candy and will keep playing it, but it in no way replaces HOMM in my heart.

I'd love to hear more about the entries in the franchise that I haven't gotten to yet, and to know if anyone has a different opinion of the first couple of games...

HOMM III is indeed brilliant, such that the sequels pale beside it. However back in the day I found coming into it from HOMM II to be a bit of a jarring experience. There is a stark simplicity in HOMM II that is lost in III. When I first started, it almost felt like there was too much stuff on the map. The music is also a sad step backwards.

Either way I played both of them so much that I could basically shut my brain off and play the single player game on auto-pilot.

I haven't played any of the other Heroes of Might and Magic games, but my wife and I really, really love Heroes of Might & Magic IV. I had no idea why that it was despised until recently, and I can't really understand why. We've played through it and all of its available expansions a few times through, now, and I really enjoy it every time.

HOMM 4 was the game that introduced me to the series so I had a bad taste in my mouth till someone convinced me to get HOMM 5. It's a TON better.

I enjoy HOMM3. I didn't play much of 4 or 5, but my true love will always be HOMM2. It was my first multiplayer experience. My friends and I would have epic hot seat games ending around 5 or 6 in the morning. It was just an amazing game. I can still hear the Warlock castle music in my head (with the Opera turned on, of course).

Thanks a lot, jerk, now I need to go find my copy of the game.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

I haven't played any of the other Heroes of Might and Magic games, but my wife and I really, really love Heroes of Might & Magic IV. I had no idea why that it was despised until recently, and I can't really understand why. We've played through it and all of its available expansions a few times through, now, and I really enjoy it every time.

Man, they should put you on the podcast talking about this, just so they can get lots of angry emails! However, this is the first ray of hope offered that it might be worth checking out, so I'll take what I can get.

kaostheory wrote:

Thanks a lot, jerk, now I need to go find my copy of the game.

It's available as part of Gametap. Many years ago I got the game by buying the Millenium Edition of this and the Might & Magic series:

HOMM Millenium Edition

Might & Magic Millenium Edition

I've never gotten around to playing the M&M games (other than just firing them up for a bit), but the HOMM Millenium Edition is a huge value -- which it would need to be, since it's selling there for $49+.

I hold out hope that GOG.com will be able to get their hands on these...or Steam. Anyone, please! (I'd be willing to re-buy so I don't have to have the CD in the drive.)

I have fond memories of HoMM3, and at $20 bucks on steam, HoMM5 might just be worth checking out...

I loved HOMM V, and I was really looking forward to this, too:

http://hommkingdoms.uk.ubi.com/index...

... but alas it seems to have just been sitting there for the past year or so with the same introductory content and no progress.

One of the weird reports about HOMM5 was Tom Chick's thing about how it's all about kicking people.

What's up with that?

Deadron wrote:

One of the weird reports about HOMM5 was Tom Chick's thing about how it's all about kicking people.

What's up with that?

You sure that wasn't in reference to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic? Because that game was totally all about kicking people.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

You sure that wasn't in reference to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic? Because that game was totally all about kicking people.

Yeah, I guess I'm not clear where that fits in the list...I've been conflating that with HOMM5...

Given how much you love the series, I'm frankly shocked that you haven't played past HOMM 2 (With the exeption of King's Bounty: The Legend). You're missing out. Play HOMM 3 and 5, NOW.

I'm a big HOMM Fan. 1 I played for a bit but basically found it unplayable and simplistic compared to 2, so I never got into it. 2 I loved, but as a kid I found it incredibly difficult and never finished it. Still, it certainly paved the way for me to play HOMM3, which was frankly amazing. Miles ahead of 2, it's not even funny. Incredible units, beautiful graphics, crazy maps - it had it all.

Then HOMM 4 came along. Count me among the haters - everything about that game was bland. First of all, there was nothing epic about it - all these wierd seperate stories with plots that made no sense. The graphics we fine, but totally bland - they made the battlefield 3d, and by doing so, replaced beautiful 2d models with boring and ugly 3d models.
Look at this image from HOMM IV:
IMAGE(http://ab-games.org/heroes_of_might_and_magic_IV/Heroes_of_Might_and_Magic_IV_battle_screen.jpg)

Ugly, boring, bleh. Now this one from HOMM III:
IMAGE(http://www.game-over.net/review/april2000/shadowdeath/Screen3.JPG)
Colourful, interesting 2d!

The emphasis on involving a hero just didn't work - my guy just felt vulnerable and useless. I gave up very early and came out extremely disappointed.

My interest was renewed with HOMM 5, which basically brought the gameplay and the look and feel of the game back to HOMM 3. Good stuff - unfortunately, the plot, cutscenes, and voice acting was just bad. But hey, Russian developer, give them time. I beat this one too, and had a great time doing it. A great return to form.

I'm currently playing King's Bounty, and am absolutely loving it. I think it's much more than "Mind Candy" - its an absolute refresh of the series. The problem with the HOMM Formula is that it's gotten totally stale - I think by the time you play through 2, 3, and 5 you'll see that the concept hasn't really changed - strategies that were effective in 2 are generally just as effective in 5, once you learn the troops and the spells. So while 5 is great because you're playing the same great game as 3, it also sucks because you're playing the same god damn game as 2 and 3. But King's Bounty's addition of RPG elements and the removal of city building adds a phenomenal dimension that takes absolutely nothing away from the strategy - it just changes it. Unit conservation takes a back seat to the acquisition of gold, experience, and ultimately the fast destruction of enemies - there are a LOT of battles in this game, and you want to clear through them as fast as possible. The use of a leadership stat to dictate army size is brilliant and lets you explore a whole range of unit combinations while still providing a limit to troop size that can guide your path through the game. I just love it, and think that it's a must-play for any fan of the HOMM series.

Anyways, that's my take. Lots of fond memories.

Dysplastic wrote:

Given how much you love the series, I'm frankly shocked that you haven't played past HOMM 2 (With the exeption of King's Bounty: The Legend). You're missing out. Play HOMM 3 and 5, NOW.

I'm slow, I keep repeating it because I lose my savefiles, and now the Country Lords map is kicking my ass.

But I shall prevail!

I don't want to bail out on II, since I enjoy it so much. I take the series as something that I'll be playing for years to come...

And I agree that this is a genre where 2D can often be more effective than 3D, though I think developers have solved that problem in the last few years, as shown by Civ and the like...

I can't even recall how many hours me and a few other friends poured into HOMM3 Hotseat style during the wee hours of the night. That game basically summarizes the experience of my free time during the 6th grade.

/nostalgia

imbiginjapan wrote:

However back in the day I found coming into it from HOMM II to be a bit of a jarring experience. There is a stark simplicity in HOMM II that is lost in III. When I first started, it almost felt like there was too much stuff on the map. The music is also a sad step backwards.

I found that as well, I didn't have a PC at the time but I played the crap out of 2 on a friends PC, then they got 3 and I really didn't like it. I moved out and didn't get time to adjust to it. I missed HoMM until I eventually picked up the V complete edition and I've played a tiny bit. I will get back to it, but I remember 2 being so much more elegant and simple, 5 seems so clunky.

3D really isn't always a step forwards.

I haven't played any of the other Heroes of Might and Magic games, but my wife and I really, really love Heroes of Might & Magic IV. I had no idea why that it was despised until recently, and I can't really understand why. We've played through it and all of its available expansions a few times through, now, and I really enjoy it every time.

HOMM IV is probably OK in its own right if encountered with no prior experience of the series but like I said earlier it's pretty poor compared to the earlier versions. It was definitely not the game that fans were looking for. It seems like HOMM V comes closer but I haven't bought it because of some criticism about a lack of content especially when compared to previous titles. That concerns me a bit because one of the great things about HOMM III was that there were enough maps that you could always find one to suit your preference at any given time.

imbiginjapan wrote:
I haven't played any of the other Heroes of Might and Magic games, but my wife and I really, really love Heroes of Might & Magic IV. I had no idea why that it was despised until recently, and I can't really understand why. We've played through it and all of its available expansions a few times through, now, and I really enjoy it every time.

HOMM IV is probably OK in its own right if encountered with no prior experience of the series but like I said earlier it's pretty poor compared to the earlier versions. It was definitely not the game that fans were looking for. It seems like HOMM V comes closer but I haven't bought it because of some criticism about a lack of content especially when compared to previous titles. That concerns me a bit because one of the great things about HOMM III was that there were enough maps that you could always find one to suit your preference at any given time.

I started out on HOMM IV. In fact it is the only one i have ever played. I enjoyed it quite a bit the numerous times I picked it up to play. I'm guessing my lack of experience with HOMM III helped me enjoy IV. That being said. I loved King's bounty and I will eventually pick it up (just played the demo) once I have cleared out the massive backlog I have of games I'm playing right now.

I enjoyed the first three HoM&M a great deal. IV wasn't terrible, but it seemed to lack a great deal of the charm of the previous one. Five was littered with bugs early on and lacked a few features, but it was fun in its own right.

I have tried to go back to V a few times, but the one thing that continues to trip me up is the lack of cooperative maps for it. My significant other and I had played the co-op maps in II and III over many weeks and months, enjoying them tremendously. It saddens me to think that cooperative play has seemed to have gone by the wayside.

I really wish King's Bounty had some sort of multi-player capablity. Heck, we even enjoyed playing the Might & Magics as a single player game with multiple character in a group as we could each choose 2 or 3 as our own then work towards completing the game as a couple.

Wow, I'm so pleased Deadron made this thread. I've heard so much talk about the HOMM series on GWJ, especially with the popularity of King's Bounty: The Legend, that I was hoping to find a sort of catch-all thread for the series. Here it is!

While there is a lot of love for that previous games, it is unwise for me to just start with HOMM V? Will I be missing out on superior gameplay that can only be found in the older titles? OR, should I just purchase the complete edition AND King's Bounty and partake in everything?

stauf7 wrote:

Wow, I'm so pleased Deadron made this thread. I've heard so much talk about the HOMM series on GWJ, especially with the popularity of King's Bounty: The Legend, that I was hoping to find a sort of catch-all thread for the series. Here it is!

While there is a lot of love for that previous games, it is unwise for me to just start with HOMM V? Will I be missing out on superior gameplay that can only be found in the older titles? OR, should I just purchase the complete edition AND King's Bounty and partake in everything? :)

As long as you stay away from HOMM IV, you're fine. HOMM V is a good game on it's own and doesn't require previous experience. I haven't tried King's Bounty yet so I can't comment on that.

mrwynd wrote:

As long as you stay away from HOMM IV, you're fine. HOMM V is a good game on it's own and doesn't require previous experience. I haven't tried King's Bounty yet so I can't comment on that.

I disagree. Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a fine game, but it's apparently overshadowed by its predecessors. So, start there; you'll get to play a good game without any preconceived notions, and then you'll be able to move on to better games down the line.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
mrwynd wrote:

As long as you stay away from HOMM IV, you're fine. HOMM V is a good game on it's own and doesn't require previous experience. I haven't tried King's Bounty yet so I can't comment on that.

I disagree. Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a fine game, but it's apparently overshadowed by its predecessors. So, start there; you'll get to play a good game without any preconceived notions, and then you'll be able to move on to better games down the line.

Is it really necessary for me to start with the weakest game just to be more impressed as I play the other games? Couldn't I just avoid it and only choose to play it if I'm dying for more content after somehow managing to exhaust all other options?

stauf7 wrote:
adam.greenbrier wrote:
mrwynd wrote:

As long as you stay away from HOMM IV, you're fine. HOMM V is a good game on it's own and doesn't require previous experience. I haven't tried King's Bounty yet so I can't comment on that.

I disagree. Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a fine game, but it's apparently overshadowed by its predecessors. So, start there; you'll get to play a good game without any preconceived notions, and then you'll be able to move on to better games down the line.

Is it really necessary for me to start with the weakest game just to be more impressed as I play the other games? Couldn't I just avoid it and only choose to play it if I'm dying for more content after somehow managing to exhaust all other options?

I was being a bit facetious, but it is interesting that everyone in this thread who played Heroes of Might and Magic IV first thought it was a good game, while everyone who played one of the others first hated it. My point was more to not neglect the scorned entry in the series, because it's a good game, and that you might consider playing it first since other people in this thread found that to be the most enjoyable way to experience the game.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
stauf7 wrote:
adam.greenbrier wrote:
mrwynd wrote:

As long as you stay away from HOMM IV, you're fine. HOMM V is a good game on it's own and doesn't require previous experience. I haven't tried King's Bounty yet so I can't comment on that.

I disagree. Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a fine game, but it's apparently overshadowed by its predecessors. So, start there; you'll get to play a good game without any preconceived notions, and then you'll be able to move on to better games down the line.

Is it really necessary for me to start with the weakest game just to be more impressed as I play the other games? Couldn't I just avoid it and only choose to play it if I'm dying for more content after somehow managing to exhaust all other options?

I was being a bit facetious, but it is interesting that everyone in this thread who played Heroes of Might and Magic IV first thought it was a good game, while everyone who played one of the others first hated it. My point was more to not neglect the scorned entry in the series, because it's a good game, and that you might consider playing it first since other people in this thread found that to be the most enjoyable way to experience the game.

I see your point.

Did anyone else pick up Heroes of Might and Magic V in the recent Steam deal?

I've been really enjoying it. Once again, my wife and I are primarily playing hotseat multiplayer games, but I've just started dabbling in the single player campaigns. We've had some issues with the game crashing and one instance when our saves completely disappeared, but it's not been a miserable experience by any means. My biggest problem with the game is that all of the game's text descriptions are in broken English, and as such their meaning can be difficult to decipher. I know that this game was made by an Eastern European developer, so I can understand the language problems even if I wished they had spent a bit more money on translators.

Picked it up, will be years before I get to it...:)

I played King's Bounty (the original one) about a decade ago and loved it. HoMM I & II were outstanding, but so far have had little time to go onto HoMM III and on. I have all of III, IV, and V all sitting in an intimidating pile!

I played quite a bit of HOMM II, but my real love has always been the Might & Magic series (sans Heroes.) VI remains one of my favorite games and VII was quite good. Heck, I even enjoyed VIII even though it was pretty dull.

I even played and finished IX, which most people despise with a passion.

I can still remember the awesome music in Whitecap from VI.

Spark! Spark! Spark!

Arcomage too.. good stuff.

I did, and despite it being my most recent purchase, its my 'pile game of the month'.

I'm going through the single-player campaigns, and while its plenty of fun, it seems like I'm usually either destroying everyone, or way behind.

Good Old Games now has Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Gold Edition for $9.99 and will soon be selling Heroes of Might and Magic 3: Complete Edition and Might and Magic 6: Limited Edition (which includes Might and Magic 1 through 6) for $9.99 each.