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Heroes Community > Library of Enlightenment > Thread: Flaws in the classic HOMM formula
Thread: Flaws in the classic HOMM formula This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · «PREV
Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted September 08, 2016 01:01 PM
Edited by Stevie at 13:01, 08 Sep 2016.

I've already tried coming up with one and the closest I got was having Attack improve Attack, Defense improve Defense, Spellpower improve Magic Penetration and Knowledge improve Resistance. But that only means there's perfect symmetry, proving JJ's point. I'm not sure that's entirely bad though, because symmetry is good ground for balance, so I think the question that should be answered first is just how much different should Might and Magic be from a gameplay perspective.
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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted September 08, 2016 01:21 PM

A major part of the game is campaigns and here I definitely overall prefer magic heroes, because they are army independent. In my opinion this is an environment where magic and might does play very different.

As long as the environment (such as campaigns where magic hero really do become powerful warlocks who can take out "legions" by himself, while the might hero can lead armies with greater and greater success, nothing able to stand in this warlords way) allows for might and magic to be played out differently, I don't think the imbalance is an issue. It first becomes an issue when you're playing a supposed fair fight, such as MP, where one is clearly favored over the other.

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batoonike
batoonike


Known Hero
posted September 09, 2016 06:03 PM

I think some of these are just to make gameplay more fun and allow more clear strategic choices. Being close to reality or being logical are irrelevant if it ends up more fun.

6 stacks of 1 pikeman blocking a thousand hydras always felt a bit BS though.

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b0rsuk
b0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted September 10, 2016 10:59 AM

JollyJoker said:
b0rsuk said:

False dichotomy, man. There is design room to make might and magic scale in similar manner but still feel distinctive.

How?


Here's how I would do it.

I. Split spells into leadership abilities and actual spells based on function. This is crucial to assure both might and magic activated abilities feel distinctive.

The design guidelines I would use:

1. If it affects unit stats, especially friendly unit stats, it's a Might ability.
2. If it can't be explained through tactics, strategy, leadership, preparation etc it's a Magic spell.

So Might abilities would be (after name changes):
Haste, Precision, Air Shield, Counterstrike, Bloodlust, Curse, Bless, Frenzy, Slayer, Shield, Slow(?), Stoneskin, Mirth, Sorrow, Weakness, Forgetfulness, Prayer, maybe Remove Obstacle?

Actual magic spells would be:
Clone, Teleport, Water Walk, Frost Ring, Magic Arrow, Earthquake, Forcefield, Meteor Shower, Implosion, Town Portal, Summon Elemental, Blind, Fire Wall, Fireball, Landmines, Armageddon, Berserk, Fire Shield, Inferno, Sacrifice, Lightning, Disrupting Ray, Resurrect (this one could as well be First Aid in Might branch), Lightning, Hypnotize, Dimension Door, Fly...


Such line of division makes more sense than arbitrary fire/water/earth/air. Why are Fortune, Hypnotize Air magic ? Why is Curse, Misfortune in Fire ? Why is Antimagic Earth magic ? Why is Teleport, Weakness, Forgetfulness, Clone, Mirth Water magic ?

II. Make Might heroes participate in combat semi-directly

HOMM4 had heroes fighting directly and it was a nightmare to balance. They didn't scale with army growth. Can it be done in a convincing way ? Sure it can! A hero would be attached to a chosen stack in your army. Then he could deal his extra damage and not get hit himself. Soviets boasted about their WW2 heroes very much, but each hero had at least a dozen of bodyguards willing to step forward and die for him and for Mother Russia, so the legend might live on.

(Might) heroes would be harmed if their stack died, but they could also jump from one stack to another stack.

And many Might/Leadership abilities would work within certain range of the stack with Might hero. This would introduce some positioning into HOMM battles. Say, default range for passive bonus is 3 hexes, and it could be improved with Leadership secondary skill.

Now because Might heroes would be pretty good in direct combat and Magic heroes the opposite, you'd want to put Might heroes in frontal stacks, or at least overseeing your archer stacks. Magic heroes would hide in some mouse hole at the edge of the battlefield.

The end result:

Might heroes would be limited by range or LOS in their abilities, where Magic would have no such limits. Might heroes would focus on boosting stats, Magic heroes would do the seemingly impossible things. Might heroes would become more interactive and would participate in combat more directly, but not so terribly fragile like in HOMM4. Might and magic would be more distinctive each, and you could still mix them for interesting results. Like, who says Frost Ring couldn't be cast to damage all hexes surrounding the hero stack ?

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted September 10, 2016 01:08 PM

You just gave an example for option 1), make might heroes and magic heroes completely different from each other with no overlaps.

Fine by me, of course.

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted September 10, 2016 01:39 PM

You cannot make might different of magic as long as you consider same skills are available to all and this is the major flaw of H2-H3 hero upgrade. Prohibiting fire to rangers and water to barbs was the grain of an promising idea, but there was nothing special to substitute to it, so it nothing more than a flop. And then magic heroes can learn logistic and all natural fighting skills so is all doomed from start. Might and magic should have different skill wheels but possible synergies to pick between both wheels at specific levels, 10, 15, 20 or so. Leaving the possibility to create an hybrid will satisfy both sides as well.




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Maurice
Maurice

Hero of Order
Part of the furniture
posted September 10, 2016 03:02 PM

Salamandre said:
Might and magic should have different skill wheels but possible synergies to pick between both wheels at specific levels, 10, 15, 20 or so. Leaving the possibility to create an hybrid will satisfy both sides as well.


Isn't this more like a prelude to having a system with general Adventure Map Skills, and then a set of Might Skills and Magic Skills? Make Adventure Map Skills generally available, while you make the Might Skills and Magic Skills exclusive. Something like that?

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted September 10, 2016 04:02 PM

I didn't imply that, but why not. If I recall right, AOW had a set of skills available to every one (cosmos?) and then magic schools to pick separately. However adventure map skills have in general not much in common with magic skills, and you can't simply prohibit a warrior access to magic schools for the entire game. There should be a way to gain a mastery somehow, or you end in hack and slash style.

Some months ago, I tried to split magic heroes from might in a summoning mod, where magic gets a serious bonus. In my opinion, people should keep trying to design mods of actual games and test various patterns until something both balanced and addictive is found. Somehow every serious and inspired proposal should be materialized and converge towards a functional game, instead of remaining a theory, thus not tested not debuged.
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Pollo2002
Pollo2002


Known Hero
posted September 10, 2016 04:28 PM

Creating a proper mod though can take hours in the 3 digits, so itīs quite an investment, talking about it can consume only a couple of hours.
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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted September 10, 2016 04:43 PM

Indeed, but going both sides is necessary, as flaws and fails will reveal only during game play, not during discussion.

Take for example the idea of creating single stacks in Civ5, I am sure everyone thought it was genius when on paper. But then when you play, and fill the map with armies, the traffic jam is such, late game, that warmongering becomes a frustration. In heroes is same, I am sure they thought sorcery will be a great skill, but when you compare the speed an hero levels up with the speed monsters and armies grow on map, the skill is nullified after the early phase.
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Pollo2002
Pollo2002


Known Hero
posted September 10, 2016 04:51 PM

Honestly, the main reason, I donīt commit surely to do a mod, is testers, rightfully so, most people are not interested to test experiments.
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Varnoc
Varnoc


Hired Hero
posted September 10, 2016 07:35 PM
Edited by Varnoc at 22:29, 11 Sep 2016.

I've been fiddling with Heroes design in my free time recently, and something I'm working with might provide some dichotomy for Might/Magic.

The crux of the magic system, as it currently exists, it is that there are 8 magic schools divided into two sub-groups:


- The Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.
- The Self: Light, Dark, Mind, and Body.


In the current system, you learn two magic skills at a time, such as Water/Earth, Dark/Fire, etc. The only rule here is that opposites (Earth/Air, Fire/Water, Dark/Light, and Mind/Body) cannot be learned at the same time. With this system, Heroes can learn all magic schools with only 4 skill slots (and assuming the maximum is 10, as it historically has been, that's not too many, though I prefer 12 personally).

There are a few options for limiting Might Heroes under this system:


- Might Heroes only learn one Magic School at a time.

They would be able to level it up to the same levels as a Magic Hero, but if they wanted all schools of magic, they would need to sacrifice 8 of their 10 skill slots for it. There is also the possibility of schools being mutually exclusive with their opposites (so learning Fire Magic for example would disable the ability to learn Water Magic), keeping the total number of slots that can be allotted towards Magic 4 for any hero.


- Might Heroes are limited to the "Expert" level of mastery for Magic, but learn Magic two schools at a time like Magic Heroes do (with the levels being: Novice, Expert, Master, Grandmaster).

With this approach, we can similarly limit Magic heroes to the "Expert" levels of Might abilities while still retaining a maximum of 4 slots allotted to Magic. This approach also allows us to create a "Mixed" class, that can reach the Master level of both Might and Magic abilities, but cannot Grandmaster any.

EDIT: Is this in the wrong place? I apologize if this is the case.

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b0rsuk
b0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted September 10, 2016 09:10 PM

JollyJoker said:
You just gave an example for option 1), make might heroes and magic heroes completely different from each other with no overlaps.

Fine by me, of course.

Eh, if you say so. Your post was very vague and that was my best guess.

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b0rsuk
b0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted September 14, 2016 07:58 AM
Edited by b0rsuk at 07:58, 14 Sep 2016.

11. Back and forth enchanting

Sometimes you cast a spell, and your opponent will immediately dispel it or replace with haste/bless. Such ping pong casting can go on for several rounds and results in a boring battle - it seems like nothing is happening spell-wise.  It's also an easy way to counter a high-level spellcaster with a mediocre spell. A magic hero will typically have a smaller portion of his primary skill points in Attack and Defense, and that's what it boils down to when you remove magic.

At the same time, it feels like some spells MUST be dispelled or you'll lose a fair fight: blind, berserk especially, but also Expert Slow and Expert Haste.

I think the problem is two-fold: 1) the dispel mechanics 2) the mere existence of blatantly overpowered enchantments which must be removed.

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dredknight
dredknight


Honorable
Supreme Hero
disrupting the moding industry
posted September 14, 2016 07:53 PM

b0rsuk said:
11.
I think the problem is two-fold: 1) the dispel mechanics 2) the mere existence of blatantly overpowered enchantments which must be removed.


Very good point! Heroes 5 mod was made that regards exactly those issues on the magic system.

1. The first issue is actually fixed in the original game by giving the mass versions of the magic only to heroes who take a perk which grants it.
For example there is a perk in light magic that makes haste mass.
There is a perk in dark magic that makes slow mass.
there is also a perk that gives light magic 50% chance light magic to resist opposite dark magic spell cast which is a good one in case you pick a light hero and you know your enemy will be darkish in flavour.

Not sure if you are aware of heroes 5 skill presnetation but you can check this presentation for the original game and that skillwheel app for the modded version.

2. The whole magic system and the way it scale was totally overhauled in heroes 5.5 mod in the following ways:
- All magic scale accourding to spellpower, this include blesses and curses. strong mage casts stronger and longer haste than a mere fighter with few spellpower points.
- Some magics were totally modified due to their imbalance nature (as far as the modding allowed it).
Such an example is berserk. Here is a brief comparison.
Originally berserk is a spell that is cast over single enemy unit and makes him hit the closest enemy unit the next two acts with increased damage (200% more).

We tried a lot of ways to nerf it because it not only disables 1/7 of the enemy army but it makes his rank troubled due to moving not the way the opponent wants, do significant damage and on top of that take retaliation.

Some of the nerfs included signififacntly reduced damage (-70%) but yet again the confusion in the enemy ranks and the retaliation of the hit unit was still a big deal.

So what we did was to make the spell available for cast only over friendly units. This way the spell was reshaped into something totally different that received a strategic flavor with pros and cons (not only pros as before).


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b0rsuk
b0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted September 14, 2016 11:58 PM
Edited by b0rsuk at 00:07, 15 Sep 2016.

There is also the Heroes 4 way:

Bloodlust, Haste, Slayer, Misfortune and other lesser enchantments last the whole battle!
Confusion, Cloud of Confusion (units lose a turn) - last 1 turn.
Cowardice - stack can't attack stacks with more total HP - lasts 3 turns.
Berserk - lasts until unit attacks
Blind - 3 rounds or until stack takes damage
Hypnotize - 3 turns (no resist!)
Song of Peace - next turn the unit can't attack or cast spells on enemies - 1 turn
Sanctuary - unit protected until offensive action


The pattern is clear - powerful disabling spells get a small, fixed number of turns. Other echantments, even most powerful ones like Dragon Strength, Mass Slow, Mass Weakness etc last for the whole battle. Dispel is not strictly necessary. New Hypnotize is really powerful, but it's level 5 with a matching cost.

As for mass spells, H4 takes a page from H2. All mass versions are separate spells, with higher level and mana cost.

Order magic has monopoly on Dispel and Steal Enchantments. Death has Cancellation (removes only positive spells from enemies). Life has Exorcism (a.k.a. Cure).
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I wish I could get over the looks of Heroes V and the ham-fisted campaign with cutscenes, maybe I could enjoy H5 then.

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As for point 10 in the original post, the one about boarding/disboarding penalties, maybe it would be enough to disallow attacking cities in the same turn as when you leave the ship ? It could be a status effect "catapult not ready". A hero lurking on a boat near city could still try to snipe supply lines, but nothing else.

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Pollo2002
Pollo2002


Known Hero
posted September 15, 2016 04:44 AM

I feel the same, Heroes 5 may be good, I donīt know, but I just canīt stand the playing map, isntead of a strategy game it seems im playing an RPG like Diablo, its unreadable.
But I would be hard pressed to believe that any team creating a strategy game an accepting the main gameplay screen looks like heroes V have any idea of what they are doing.


With heroes 5 rant ended, Iīm very interested in how would be a good magic system since im working on revamping the magic system on my mod, and I have some ideas, but not sure what is the best course of action.
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b0rsuk
b0rsuk


Promising
Famous Hero
DooM prophet
posted September 15, 2016 04:56 PM

12. Town Portal via "Retreat".

When a hero retreats or surrenders, he is immediately available for recruitment in a city. This means you can attack any army, especially neutral, and immediately surrender, then pay 2500 gold and the hero is instaneously teleported. This works best with spellcasters because their value doesn't really depend on the army they lead.

The reason this mechanism exists is to prevent repetitive attack/retreat/attack/retreat/attack/retreat cycle seen in Master of Magic. What's the point of retreating if the army is immediately available for next attack ? That's how sequential turn-based games work.

A fix would be simple - delayed recruitment.

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