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Heroes Community > Library of Enlightenment > Thread: What went wrong in Heroes of Might and Magic III
Thread: What went wrong in Heroes of Might and Magic III This thread is 9 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 · NEXT»
B0rsuk
B0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted August 09, 2011 10:29 PM
Edited by B0rsuk at 22:38, 09 Aug 2011.

What went wrong in Heroes of Might and Magic III

I have played all games in Heroes of Might and Magic series except H5 (only for a short time). I think Heroes 3 is overrated, as it screwed up in some parts. It's generally accepted that some players prefer the (relatively modest, free of clutter, and hand drawn) visual style or music of Heroes 2. I'm going to leave that topic alone, since it's a matter of taste.

Having just finished all almost Heroes II campaigns including Price of Loyalty, I'm going to list the things Heroes II did better.
==============

1. Balance of spell levels
----------------

Sure, there's Hypnotize at level 5 and spells of questionable usefulness like View Artifacts, Castles, Resources. There's Set Elemental Guardian spell(s). But notably, levels 2-4 are much better than in Heroes 3.

Notable level 1 spells:
Slow, Haste, Cure, Dispel, Curse, Bless, Shield (missiles), Magic Arrow, Bloodlust, Stoneskin. With so many good spells, I can endure crap like View Mines and View Resources ! If I haven't missed anything, this means 10 usable spells out of 12.

Notable level 2 spells:
Blind (just as broken/overpowered as in H3), Steelskin (+5 to Defense),  Lightning Bolt, Visions, Cold Ray, Disrupting Ray, Dragon Slayer (single target, +5 against dragons/bone dragons), Death Ripple*, Summon Boat. 2 spells omitted, included Haunt, which is cute and not hopeless. This means 9 usable spells, 2 bad ones.

See ? Not much crap in here. Level 2 spells are just better than level 1 ones, the effect is strictly stronger (Steelskin, bolts, Disrupting Ray stacks and can't be dispelled...)

Notable level 3 spells:
Teleport, Mass Bless, Mass Curse, Mass Haste, Paralyze (not very cost effective - like Blind but unit is helpless if attacked. Still useful.), Animate Dead, Antimagic, Earthquake, Death Wave, Mass Dispel, Holy Word. 11 usable, 5 bad in my opinion.

I omitted  5 crap spells, but still much less crap than in Heroes 3. Level 3 spells are quite meaty.

Notable level 4 spells:
Chain Lightning, Meteor Shower, Mass Slow, Berserk, Town Gate, Resurrect, Holy Shout, Storm, Mass Shield, Mass Cure.

2 + 4 elemental Guardian spells omitted. "Set X Guardian" spells are rare enough that they don't waste much of guild space. Fortunately.

...and that leaves level 5, which is very hit or miss. But it still has Dimension Door, Town Portal, Resurrect True, Armageddon, Mirror Image.

Spells like Holy Word and Death Wave are better because unit growth is lower in Heroes 2. They're pretty scary actually, especially if you get them early. And since spells are better on average it's not really scary to invest in your guild. "I'm afraid to put resources into my guild" is a Heroes 3 thing mostly.

In my opinion Heroes 2 mid level spells are just much better than in Heroes 3. In H3 many of most powerful spells are actually level 1. I encourage one of you to make a similar writeup for Heroes 3 (how many usable, how many bad per level). The results won't be pleasing !

2. Spell costs
--------

In my opinion better in Heroes 2. This has far reaching consequences - casters still lose out in long run, but seemingly not as much as in H3. Most level 1 spells like Haste, Slow, Bloodlust are 3 points. Dispel is 5, Cure 6 and these are the expensive ones. In Heroes 3, the default seems 6.

Mass spells, considered most powerful by many (citation needed !) are priced appropriately. Mass Haste is 10 points, Mass Slow I think 15, Mass Bless is 12 or so. A barbarian or knight can't easily spam these.

Note that no game after Heroes 3 repeated the disaster that was Heroes 3 underpriced mass spells (a.k.a. expert spells). Not Heroes 4, not 5, not 6. In my opinion it was a mistake to make mass spells orthogonal (unrelated) to primary stats like Spell Power and especially Knowledge. That way, even a barbarian can cast them left and right.


The elephant in the room is that Spell Power is often the least needed stat. 3-5 is generally enough for enchantments, many battles will be over by then. It's easy to get as much from minor artifacts or just by luck on level ups, with a might hero. Or with Heroes 3 ubiquitous permanent stat boosters. (Not that Heroes 2 has much less of them, to tell the truth, but at least not in towns). Direct damage spells stop mattering after first few weeks. Besides, spell power for enchantments can be easily negated with Dispel (one exception: Antimagic).

3. Fewer crappy skills
-----------------

Secondary Skills in Heroes 2:

Archery, Ballistics, Diplomacy, Eagle Eye, Estates, Leadership, Logistics, Luck, Mysticism, Navigation, Necromancy, Pathfinding, Scouting, Wisdom.

Candidates for crappy skills:
Eagle Eye - agreed, although it's decent on larger maps where you have to use multiple heroes and can't afford to abandon a defensive position. But situational.

Estates - not really ! For Knight, perhaps, because he has dirt cheap units. Remember that towns only typically bring 1250 gold in Heroes 2. Tower, Dungeon have reasons to like this skill. Price of Loyalty started the era of rich maps (most campaign scenarios seem to have close, poorly guarded gold mines). Price of Loyalty also introduced the short H3 style campaigns I dislike. I blame PoL.

Mysticism ? Not at all ! Heroes 3 made most spells more expensive, notably the level 1 ones. Expert Bless will cost you 6 meaning even expert Mysticism can't replenish these in 1 day. But in Heroes 2 spells are quite a bit less expensive. There are some vital cheap spells like Haste, Slow which only cost 3. Lightning is 7, Cold Ray is 6.

Navigation - okay, it's crap

Wisdom - not as crap as in Heroes 3. Let's face it. In Heroes 3, on smaller/medium maps or multiplayer, players hesitate to improve their guild. Until you improve it, the skill does almost nothing.
In Heroes 3 I'm not excited at all to see a level 3 shrine. But in H2 it can give me Mass Haste, Curse, Bless, Paralyze or Teleport.

Scouting - pretty bad on main hero, but if you're not recruiting Warlocks as scouts you're doing something wrong.

So.... 8 slots, but 14 skills ? Let me tell you it's much easier to dodge crap skills. There aren't as many crap skills, and even if you get one you can fit most of skills anyway. Actually it feels a bit too easy to get the desired skills.

Skills Heroes 2 doesn't have  - First Aid, Artillery, Fire Magic (I don't consider it useless but many players think it's bad), Learning, Scholar, Sorcery (short window of usefulness - useless early, useless late, only middle game really).

4. No artificial stretching of tech tree
--------------------------------

Heroes 3 tech tree is very formulaic. This is because there are so many +income buildings: town hall, city hall, capitol, citadel, castle, +growth. City hall needs blacksmith and mage guild.

+income (I count growth here as well) invariably end up being no-brainers, you want them as fast as possible. False choices.
Variety or clutter ? I say clutter.

Heroes 2 has:
Statue (typically day 1), Well (typically day 7), 1 +growth building. Statue is 1500 5ore, well is 500, +level1 growth is 1000.
Buildings are much more optional. There's no Blacksmith. Additional defences like moat, turret and captain's quarters are optional. You don't have to build extra defences just to further increase creature growth.

I consider creature upgrades clutter too, but that's another matter. In H2 only Knight has upgrades for all units. Building Knight's town feels almost like Heroes 3 for that reason.

Aside from Knight, you can build towns very quickly if you have the resources. That's another trait of Heroes 2 - you can't always afford everything. Price is a factor. +1000 from a gold mine feels like a lot.
--------------------

Bottom line: I'm playing Heroes 2 and it feels like a damn fine game. It's perfect balance between variety and simplicity. Some things are just better designed, spell balance is better.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted August 09, 2011 10:41 PM

Both H2 and H3 are similar in terms of game design.

H3 has less interesting town builds, although it did have more interesting chreature specials.

H3 has a significantly more powerful editor.  Not even a contest.

Both games have exploitable AIs, but overall AIs are reasonably good.

H2 definitely has more charm.

H3 has more "stuff" - more items, more spells, more places to go and more things to do.  H3 also has more available map area with the inclusion of an underground.

In short, I don't think H3 did anything wrong.  It improved on H2 in virtually every way EXCEPT that there is less variety in the way that individual towns or hero types play and (IMO) H2 had superior artistic design, color palette and music.  When you get down to it, however, H3's more sophisticated editor (by a large margin) makes H3 overall the superior game by a long-shot.





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B0rsuk
B0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted August 10, 2011 12:51 AM
Edited by B0rsuk at 00:55, 10 Aug 2011.

5. Cluttered heroes
-------------------

For most part each hero type in Heroes 2 is distinctive:

Barbarian gets LOTS of Attack Skill and good Defense Skill.
Knight gets good Defense Skill and decent Attack Skill, but doesn't completely forget about magic.
Sorceress gets lots of Knowledge and some Spell Power, but neglects other stats.
Warlock is Sorceress in reverse, he values Spell Power much more.
Wizard trains both magic stats equally.
Necromancer is the most balanced of all heroes. He's biased towards magic, but gets tolerable Attack and Defence even before level 9.

Then there are secondary skill differences. You get to know them if you play for a while.

Now Heroes 3. Can you describe, in short (1-2 sentences) classes like
- Cleric/Demoniac/Alchemist
- Druid/Heretic/Necromancer/Battle Mage
- What's the difference between Barbarian and Overlord ?
- How about Witch and Wizard ?

How they differ from each other ? Without looking at a spoiler ? So much clutter ! So many minor, insignificant differences. They mostly differ in name. Heroes 3 has more than double the number of hero classes, but they're much less distinct and in my opinion Heroes 2 was already making things a bit muddy with Wizard and Necromancer. What I'm saying is that - for most part - everything in Heroes 2 has a purpose. Meanwhile Heroes 3 tends to add things just for the sake of adding things.
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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 05:32 AM
Edited by Salamandre at 06:00, 10 Aug 2011.

Typo in title. Should read IV.
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Aculias
Aculias


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Pretty Boy Angel Sacraficer
posted August 10, 2011 09:13 AM

It is impossible to 100% balance any of these kinds of games.
Even JB39 could not make the absolute balance because of the randomness.

That is what makes Heroes 3 fun. The unpredictable.
Also skill usually beats luck as well.

Beat the unbalance & use your skill & strategy to win.

You dont need mathematics to be great at this game.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 10, 2011 09:17 AM

Heroes III is a completele imbalanced game - that is a lot of fun to play both Single and Multi, provided you play within a certain map range in MP (not too fancy medium maps).

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Zenofex
Zenofex


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Kreegan-atheist
posted August 10, 2011 10:49 AM

This analysis is so flawed that I don't know where to start and I don't have the time at the moment. Nobody argues that Heroes III has its problems but please - you are greatly exaggerating some things and you are totally in the dark about others. Will explain later.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 10, 2011 11:07 AM

No, he makes very good points (even though the supposed uselessness of Fire Magic is a serious blunder).

The problem is, he ommits everything H3 does better, for example:
Waiting option in battle
Stopped the nonsense with unlimited movement points for fliers.

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 11:18 AM
Edited by Salamandre at 11:28, 10 Aug 2011.

Quote:

Now Heroes 3. Can you describe, in short (1-2 sentences) classes like
- Cleric/Demoniac/Alchemist
- Druid/Heretic/Necromancer/Battle Mage
- What's the difference between Barbarian and Overlord ?
- How about Witch and Wizard ?

How they differ from each other ? Without looking at a spoiler ? So much clutter ! So many minor, insignificant differences.



The differences are not as complex as in Heroes 5, but they fit perfectly with the simplicity of the game, and during a game you will clearly see how they differ. A more complex game is not always better.

As for the balanced or unbalanced, every one has his opinion there. Saying it is totally unbalanced only proves your lack of "on the field" experience or lack of interest in reading player comments and reviews.
Interesting that, while everyone has its opinion about balance, none could bring an universal solution, and the game was modified several times, and still not mass approved. But still massively played in its original form.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 10, 2011 11:40 AM

Quote:
Saying it is totally unbalanced only proves your lack of "on the field" experience or lack of interest in reading player comments and reviews.
Interesting that, while everyone has its opinion about balance, none could bring an universal solution, and the game was modified several times, and still not mass approved. But still massively played in its original form.

In case that is directed to me - since it is my position that the game IS INDEED completely imbalanced: denying that the game is imbalanced would prove a lack of a every understanding, playing experience  or reason.

I could even explain why there can't be a universal solution short of re-designing a couple of game elements - but who cares?
The game has been immensely fun, imbalanced or not.

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B0rsuk
B0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted August 10, 2011 11:43 AM
Edited by B0rsuk at 11:55, 10 Aug 2011.

Quote:
No, he makes very good points (even though the supposed uselessness of Fire Magic is a serious blunder).



It's not useless, it's extremely hit or miss though. It has good spells like curse, misfortune, slayer, Fire Shield, Frenzy. It has amazing stuff like berserk, blind.
Frenzy + Fire Shield would be fun on a shooter if it wasn't for Dispel.
Fire magic also has wonderful spells like Landmines, Firewall, Fireball, Fireblast/Inferno.
Then you get Sacrifice and Summon Fire Elemental. wow.


Choose Fire Magic and you may end up with awesome spells or utter crap. Earth magic is useful all the way, and first level is just amazing (Slow, Shield, Stoneskin). Water also has problems, but more good spells in general.

Quote:

The problem is, he ommits everything H3 does better, for example:



Considering the thread is named "What went wrong in Heroes of Might and Magic III" I don't think it's a problem. It's just staying on topic. I created this thread because I think Heroes 3 gets more praise than it deserves, and it could learn some things from Heroes 2. For two games so similar, it's strange that Heroes 2 is almost never mentioned on this forum. Heroescommunity info page even has glaring omissions like no Heroes 2 spells. Let alone campaigns.

It's a personal preference now, but I prefer the H2 style of campaigns. This means NOT Price of Loyalty. A long campaign where your choices matter, you get awards which influence your next scenarios. Heroes 3 had "heroes carry over", but many campaigns were so short (3 scenarios) that it hardly mattered.
Interestingly, in Heroes 2 campaigns you can become a traitor ! In good campaign you can join the dark side, and stay there. So I suppose you can end the good campaign with awards like Ogre Alliance and Dwarfbane. I don't recall many games which allow you to become an actual traitor in campaign. Sacrifice would be another one.

I almost forgot. About half of scenarios in Heroes 2 campaigns allow you to choose your faction. I very much appreciate it. I have my favorite factions and like to experiment, try faction/hero/magic combinations.

Quote:

The differences are not as complex as in Heroes 5, but they fit perfectly with the simplicity of the game, and during a game you will clearly see how they differ. A more complex game is not always better.



The differences are complex (and still largely meaningless) compared to Heroes 2. A complex game is not always better. My point exactly.

Unlike Heroes 3, Heroes 2 factions don't feel alike for me. Heroes 3 used the same template over and over and over, resulting in a large number of often bland creatures and heroes. Design-wise, it's like a long, a bit dull book where not much happens. Heroes 2 is like a short story. The same story on smaller number of pages.

Some books would be better off as short stories. Some authors should probably stay away from the longer form. Off top my head, Henry Kuttner and Robert Sheckley fit the bill. They wrote numerous good stories, but few good books.
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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 11:44 AM
Edited by Salamandre at 11:48, 10 Aug 2011.

@JJ

I did not deny is it unbalanced, I just laugh at "complete unbalanced".
There are a few exploitable flaws, as in every game, but you can't say they are major, because I will drop in your sigh 6 years of constant tournaments rankings. If a bunch of player know how to win the majority of games again and again, it means they can adapt to those flaws and counter them. Would it be 100% balanced, would we still have same fun to re-play it?

Mike Tyson also was totally unbalanced fighter until someone put him on his knees. And from there, he was suddenly possible to beat.
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B0rsuk
B0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted August 10, 2011 12:00 PM

Quote:

If a bunch of player know how to win the majority of games again and again, it means they can adapt to those flaws and counter them. Would it be 100% balanced, would we still have same fun to re-play it?



It's not just "positive" flaws, you know. Heroes 3 might feel balanced for people who learn to ignore the existence of First Aid, Artillery, Mysticism, Eagle Eye, Estates (much less useful than in Heroes 2 due to abundant gold). Not to mention spells - ugh !

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 12:04 PM

BOrsuk, it is only a matter of mapmaking and creativity. Except learning, there are not useless spells or skills in Heroes 3. I saw creative use of eagle eye, of mysticism and other. My only regret is that AI is hardcoded to never use berserk, because this would make him an much better opponent.
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Doomforge
Doomforge


Admirable
Undefeatable Hero
Retired Hero
posted August 10, 2011 12:08 PM
Edited by Doomforge at 12:13, 10 Aug 2011.

On Fire magic: I think it's not as good as the rest as a skill (not as spells) because it gives relatively less bonus. The difference between basic spells and expert spells isn't hot enough, I'd say. Especially for biggest spells like Blind.

on the whole H2 vs H3 - H2 has more charm, I think, but H3 still has plenty of it, and the fantastic editor (and mods) made us fascinated about this game for years, while H2 couldn't quite catch up.

On balance: yes, H3 is mostly a mess, but it's a kind of mess that's somewhat highly playable.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 10, 2011 12:09 PM

Just because you are able to pick the best of a bunch of imbalanced heroes, spells, skills, artifacts, and in some respects even towns, doesn't mean the game gets balanced. It just means, that you could have dropped roundabout half of the heroes, spells and skills without losing anything all. It means also, that the game was made with a glarig disregard of balance asects.

Also, if you have to make a long list of rules for multiplayer, it MEANS that you can't play with standard rules in any satisfactory way.

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 12:10 PM
Edited by Salamandre at 12:13, 10 Aug 2011.

Quote:
Especially for biggest spells like Blind.


Yes, like difference between no retal or retal, which can make you win a battle with no loss. Basic blind= good. Expert blind= god.

@JJ:

I personally am against any rules, because I really believe there is a way to win in each situation. Which never happens if both players agree to mutilate the game, thus diminish the various tactics.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 10, 2011 12:12 PM

Quote:
On Fire magic: I think it's not as good as the rest as a skill (not as spells) because it gives relatively less bonus. The difference between basic spells and expert spells isn't hot enough, I'd say. Especially for biggest spells like Blind.


It just depends on the spells you get.

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Doomforge
Doomforge


Admirable
Undefeatable Hero
Retired Hero
posted August 10, 2011 12:16 PM
Edited by Doomforge at 12:16, 10 Aug 2011.

Quote:
Yes, like difference between no retal or retal, which can make you win a battle with no loss. Basic blind= good. Expert blind= god.



You mean creeping or battle against player? I didn't mean creeping because creeping in H3 is all about exploiting the AI.

I don't consider extra no retal (that breaks the blind spell) for one unit that game breaking, there are way better things to do imho. At least, it never was something I won a game with. Contrary to expert spells of other schools.

@Salamandre

Does that mean you play vs. Necro on XL map?

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 10, 2011 12:16 PM
Edited by Salamandre at 12:18, 10 Aug 2011.

And we have WoG people, which allows us to mod the game to any extent, remove/add whatever we don't like. If there was such mod for H4-H5, I bet me/you would not have time to post crap in WW anymore.

@DF

Sure, why not. Want to try?
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