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Heroes Community > Heroes 7+ Altar of Wishes > Thread: Which Heroes game had the best spell system
Thread: Which Heroes game had the best spell system This thread is 3 pages long: 1 2 3 · NEXT»
Mystic_Genie
Mystic_Genie


Adventuring Hero
posted April 01, 2018 10:48 PM
Edited by Mystic_Genie at 22:51, 01 Apr 2018.

Which Heroes game had the best spell system?

As I got hit by a nostalgia wave and tried to design a spell system that used the principles of H5 (skills and perks) with the 7 spell schools of the H6 and H7 universes, I had to pause and reflect how much I enjoyed the spell system of heroes 4 baring it's lack of ice spells (no circle of winter...seriously?)

This got me thinking. The spell systems have got changed so drastically and so often with each iteration I don't think there was ever enough time for us to reach a consensus on what worked and what didn't system wise.

I don't mean things like: H3 earth magic was too good cause it had town portal, or H4 order was too good cause it had town portal on steroids, or H5 summoning was more of a "dump extra spells here" school than a summoning one,etc.

I mean things like, themes:
- H3, H6, H7  separated spells by elements
- H4 separated spells by concepts (Order, Chaos, Life, Death, Nature)
- H5 separate spells by what they did (buffs, debuffs, damage, summoning)
-etc

Or like spell distribution:
-H3 was random
-H4 was pyramid based (more low cost spells, fewer high cost ones)
-H5...began with a tower spread (2 spells per tier)
-etc

Or how skills affected the spells:
- H3 required "Sorcery" to unlock tiers but "insert_element magic" was needed to improve their effects in a meaningful way
- H4 had a sorcery skill per spell school
- H6 made spells unlockable skills
-etc

But has the community ever settled on which system or mix of the systems was the...if not the best, the one with the most potential to be that if they got properly explored/balanced?

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The_Polyglot
The_Polyglot


Promising
Supreme Hero
Legit Karate champ. Totally.
posted April 01, 2018 11:55 PM

H2 magic scaled better and stayed viable longer than the others without relying on op must-have spells like mass haste/slow on level 1
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Galaad
Galaad

Hero of Order
Li mort as morz, li vif as vis
posted April 02, 2018 12:25 AM

Mystic_Genie said:
principles of H5


Good inspiration.

Mystic_Genie said:
H6 and H7 universes


Bad inspiration.

Now you know where to look.
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AncientDruids
AncientDruids


Known Hero
BEware THe DRuids
posted April 02, 2018 12:41 AM
Edited by AncientDruids at 01:10, 02 Apr 2018.

H7 spell system has some real potential and I won't agree that it's not worthy of looking at.

Turning H3's Wisdom skill into a primary skill (Arcane Knowledge) that could be raised by investing in several different secondary skills and one perk (Arcane Intuition), was a good step in my opinion.

Attributing the scale of spells' effects to individual different perks was also a sound decision, as well as not allowing any spell to affect all of the allied/enemy army - the range of almost every spell increased from 2x2 to larger radius, but was never global (aside from the Armageddon and Earthquake, which are global by default).

The only real problem is, that some spells are vastly overpowered (Cyclone) and spells added in the expansion are kinda random and useless.

Some tweaks of H7's spells could really improve this game.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 02, 2018 04:53 PM

H2 has the advantage of not burdening your heroes with many magic skills. A crucial principle to keep in mind.

H3 elemental system is more interesting thematically and effectiveness based on mastery was a good addition. Including the unlocking of mass spells out of regular ones.

H4 concept was great and added special skills tied to the magic. Something that made possible some interesting magic skills in H7. Copy paste skill trees was plain crappy though.

H5 separating masteries from the main skill was pretty interesting but implementation sucked. Sorcery tied to initiative was brilliant plus more diverse spellcasting with marks or active abilities. Concept was good but spell variety suffered. No longer possible to get numerous magic skills which is a no no for me. Another high point was the possibility to make buffs/curses affected by spell power.

H6 elemental schools had good distribution plus some nice skills. Elements felt complete even with a limited variety. But spending skill points on spells was stupid since you'll prioritise passive abilities with a minimum of spells. Bad for replayability. Also, regular spells more effective than mass was a good idea.

H7 had some good skills but the trees were crappy and the added amount of schools introduced the need for more magic skills. Sigh. Skills that directly affected a certain spell were great but further trouble in learning multiple schools. Arcane points were acceptable but a silly solution to a problem that shouldn't exist.

All things considered, a mix between H5 system and the elements would work wonderfully. But with a lesser focus on magic school skills and their trees. A magic hero's life should not depend on getting the right spells to support his skills. Rather he should be able to learn numerous spells and focus on skills that promote his preferred gameplay. Skills that affect all schools even as different elements would have different gameplay. As an element's destructive or healing capabilities would be different from another or would require different conditions to be effective.  
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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted April 02, 2018 05:06 PM

Sorry about Off-Topic, but could you clarify what you meant by:

Mystic_Genie said:
H4 order was too good cause it had town portal on steroids


In what way was HoMM 4 TP better than the HoMM 3 one?
My opinion is that the HoMM 3 one is better, because it let you choose the town you want in stead of only going to nearest town, and I can't see much difference between HoMM 4 town portal in battle and a free surrender option, though I'm not sure if surrender had any cost in HoMM 4.

Mystic_Genie said:
H3 required "Sorcery" to unlock tiers but "insert_element magic" was needed to improve their effects in a meaningful way


What are "tiers" which sorcery unlocks? In my opinion sorcery is one of the worse skills, only good for damage spells, which generally are inferior to mass spells.

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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Supreme Hero
posted April 02, 2018 05:58 PM

OhforfSake said:
I'm not sure if surrender had any cost in HoMM 4.

Not only it had a cost but you would receive it from an enemy that surrenders to you. I even remember a map where an enemy hero would become yours if you paid his surrender...

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Drakon-Deus
Drakon-Deus


Legendary Hero
posted April 02, 2018 06:33 PM

OhforfSake said:
Sorry about Off-Topic, but could you clarify what you meant by:


Mystic_Genie said:
H3 required "Sorcery" to unlock tiers but "insert_element magic" was needed to improve their effects in a meaningful way


What are "tiers" which sorcery unlocks? In my opinion sorcery is one of the worse skills, only good for damage spells, which generally are inferior to mass spells.


I think maybe Mystic_Genie meant to say Wisdom instead of Sorcery.


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Mystic_Genie
Mystic_Genie


Adventuring Hero
posted April 02, 2018 08:13 PM
Edited by Mystic_Genie at 20:13, 02 Apr 2018.

Oh god...I thought I was safe to wait to leave work before commenting...ah well live and learn

@OhforfSake: To add to what bloodsucker said, H4 town gate was cheaper, both in terms of cost and it was available at tier 3 as opposed to tier 4, so with all of that combined it just feels like a better version to me.

Also yes, I meant Wisdom instead of sorcery when referring to H3, apologies for the confusion.

@The_Polyglot: H2 having the best scaling of the bunch sounds like a good thing for me to keep en eye on. Since you have to spend a finite resource to cast them(mana) I always felt their scaling should be better than it is.

@AncientDruids: Was there any reason to make Arcane Knowledge a separate primary skill though? I mean why was it's mechanics not simply added to say...the Magic primary skill?  

@Elvin: So theoretically you would have had nothing against multiple spell schools if it didn't translate into a skill branch for each school? like say instead of a prime magic branch, fire magic branch, etc. you had something like H5 with skill branches focusing on the improving a specific aspect of a spell (a buff branch, a curse branch, a destruction branch and a creation branch)?

Ok...I think that should cover everything.

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Hourglass
Hourglass


Adventuring Hero
posted April 02, 2018 10:19 PM

I think no system is perfect, altrought I've only played 2-5, so I can't really say anything about 6-7.

Personally, I like how the spells are divided in 4 elements in Homm3. I've played diffrent kinds of RPG's all my life, where usually spell-like effects are divided by what they do (white magic, black magic etc.), so to me it's refreshing that it was done diffrently in Homm3, where each magic school has a way to deal dmg, summon things, both buff and curse creatures.

However, I feel Wisdom or rather the ability how you unlock the most powerfull spells was done best in Homm5, where you have the freedom to learn 1-2 level spells without limitations, and unlocking the
high level spells is done by mastering a secondary skill related to a spell school. (for example basic destructive magic let's you to learn level 3 destructive spells.)

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 03, 2018 06:18 AM

One skill to cover all magic would not be nearly enough. As might heroes have all sorts of skills to shape up their armies, I'd like a skill that shapes your spellcasting. Something like sorcery that unlocks more spells with mana manipulation abilities and spellcasting modes(double casting, area of effect casting, empowered or combined spells etc). Plus 3-4 magic skills for creation, destruction, blessings and curses. Skills there could affect certain types of spells, offer conditions for passive magical bonuses, and generally spice up your preferred gameplay. Like extra damage against summons, counter-summoning, blessings protected from being completely overwritten, extra morale on summoned units or how fast they act after summoning etc. But I wouldn't want spell mastery to be more than 10-12% per level. It would be great if untrained spells remained useful even if 30-35% weaker than your specialized ones.
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Ebonheart
Ebonheart


Famous Hero
Rush the rush
posted April 03, 2018 09:54 AM

I would say H3 would have the best spell system if all mass-spells were moved to level 3-5 and Blind to level 3.
With that said, I believe Heroes 4 currently has the best spell system.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 03, 2018 12:07 PM

H4 was grand. Of course, the same philosophy could be applied to elemental schools so it's a matter of taste imo. As long as the schools have character without sacrificing gameplay variety, it's good.
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phoenix4ever
phoenix4ever


Supreme Hero
Heroes is love, Heroes is life
posted April 03, 2018 12:20 PM
Edited by phoenix4ever at 12:38, 03 Apr 2018.

Even though Heroes 3 is my favorite Heroes game and I have played very little Heroes 2, I think Heroes 3 took a step back from Heroes 2.
In Heroes 2 spells like Haste, Slow, Bless and Curse were level 1 spells, but they did'nt become mass spells until level 3-4 and at a much higher mana cost. That's why mass spells in Heroes 3 feel incredibly OP, especially Slow and Haste.
A typical mass spell in Heroes 3 also get 14 (!) times stronger from basic -> expert, it's quite absurd.
A spell like Slayer was also only level 2 in Heroes 2, but for some reason became an expensive level 4 spell in Heroes 3 and it only affects one unit, while Bloodlust being a cheap level 1 spell can affect all.
Really some strange balance in the spell department of Heroes 3...
 

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 03, 2018 03:19 PM

H3 mass spells were clearly broken. No spellpower required and pretty strong bonuses, giving might classes an edge. H6 was right to separate the basic spell formula from its mass version and make buff/curse spells spellpower dependent. H5 allowed an interesting possibility too, 4x4 area of effect spells. Would be nice to have both 4x4 and mass spells in the game. I believe that Slayer affected all T7 with expert mastery but rather crappy spell anyway.
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Maurice
Maurice

Hero of Order
Part of the furniture
posted April 03, 2018 03:35 PM

I don't think you could redesign the Magic system without also considering the Might system. They're two sides of the same coin and making changes on one side will affect the other.
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Mystic_Genie
Mystic_Genie


Adventuring Hero
posted April 03, 2018 11:14 PM

Yeah but I don't think might skills have gotten radically different over the years like the spells have, so I'm not too worried about focusing on magic first.

Got to say I was hoping to leave the mass variant of spells as perks to free up space on the number of spells in a guild, but by the sound of it whenever that got tried they just ended up breaking the game by being too easily accessible...

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 04, 2018 06:10 AM

Not a matter of accessibility, just them being designed broken. Perks unlocking mass versions a la H5 is bad for levelling as you don't always know what spells you will have. So a sorcery ability that gave 4x4 area version, upgradable to mass(for low-mid level blessings/curses) would be just right. Improving price while reducing the bonus of course. It would apply to whatever spells you got and your mage guild results would not mess you up. Nor would you require 4-6 master of x perks for light and dark schools.
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PandaTar
PandaTar


Promising
Supreme Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted April 05, 2018 05:02 PM

Might skills were mostly too subtle and uncontrollable, rather than the spell casting action. For today's standars, imho, both lack implementation of more diversified actions. In a resume, a might hero had tough troops and a magic hero cast stronger spells. This feels so bland.

As for which Heroes had the best system ... I probably like H2 the most, where spells were spells, untied by schools. I still enjoy the idea that a system to tweak and test would have Spells like H2 and then, magic schools which would 'corrupt' those spells and bend them their own ways.
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Heroes-based proposal thread On hold, while I'm writing my book. =)

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fidanas
fidanas


Adventuring Hero
posted April 05, 2018 05:49 PM

Heroes 5.5 mod managed to balance some issues with magic, in a very clever way. In addition, new skills and perks (like Occultism), gave the proper mastery to a magic hero , in order to face might superheroes properly.
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