Heroes of Might and Magic is a series of video games originally created and developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing. As part of the Might and Magic franchise, the series changed ownership when NWC was acquired by 3DO and again when 3DO closed down and sold the rights to Ubisoft. The games feature turn-based, fantasy-themed conflicts in which players control armies of mythical creatures. The series began in 1995 with the release of the first title, and has most recently seen a release in 2007 with an expansion to the fifth title. A sixth installment, Might and Magic: Heroes VI, is due for release in March 2011.
The series is directed primarily at the DOS and Windows platforms, with sporadic support for Mac OS over the years. New World Computing closed after the production of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, and since then the rights to the franchise have been owned by Ubisoft. Nival Interactive developed the first game in the series since the changeover, Heroes of Might and Magic V, while Black Hole Entertainment are developing its sequel. Heroes III was ported to Linux. GameTap has carried the first four games in the series since 2006. Remakes have appeared on the Game Boy Color.
King's Bounty (1990), an earlier game from New World Computing, largely precipitated the design of Heroes and is included in some Heroes anthologies. It was later remade and branded as a Heroes title for the PlayStation 2 game, Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff. A sequel to King's Bounty was released in 2008 as King's Bounty: The Legend.
- Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest (1995)
- Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars (1996)
- The Price of Loyalty (1997)
- Heroes of Might and Magic III (The Restoration of Erathia) (1999)
- Heroes of Might and Magic IV (2002)
- The Gathering Storm (2002)
- Winds of War (2003)
- Heroes of Might and Magic V (2006)
- Might and Magic: Heroes VI (2011)
- Heroes of Might and Magic (Game Boy Color, 2000)
- Heroes of Might and Magic II (Game Boy Color, 2000)
- Heroes Chronicles (2000)
- Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff (PlayStation 2, 2001)
- Heroes of Might and Magic Online (2008)
- Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms (2009)
- Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes (Nintendo DS, 2009)
- Heroes of Might and Magic Compendium (1997), includes King's Bounty and first two Heroes games including expansion pack. Released by 3DO.
- Heroes of Might and Magic Millennium (1999), includes King's Bounty, Heroes I, Heroes II Gold and Heroes III, but no expansions to Heroes 3. Released by 3DO, in a 3 CD-ROM disc set.
- Heroes of Might and Magic Trilogy (2000), Heroes I, Heroes II and Heroes III, but no expansions to Heroes 2 nor Heroes 3. Released in a joint venture by 3DO and Ubisoft, in a 3 CD-ROM disc set.
- Heroes of Might and Magic Platinum Edition (2002), includes Heroes I, Heroes II Gold and Heroes III Complete. Released by 3DO, in a 4 CD-ROM disc set.
- Heroes of Might and Magic III+IV Complete (2002), includes Heroes III Complete and Heroes IV Complete. Released by Ubisoft, in a 1 DVD-ROM disc set.
- Heroes of Might and Magic V Silver Edition (2006), includes Heroes V and the expansion pack Hammers of Fate.
- Heroes of Might and Magic Complete Edition (2008), includes all five Heroes games and their expansions. Released by Ubisoft.
The Heroes series is within the genre of turn-based strategy. The titular heroes are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones. Experienced heroes may persist through a campaign, but do not carry over between single scenarios.
On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. The number of different alignments varies throughout the series, with the lowest count of four appearing initially in Heroes I and peaking at nine in the Heroes III expansion Armageddon's Blade. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.
Towns play a central role in the games since they are the primary source of income and new recruits. A typical objective in each game is to capture all enemy towns. Maps may also start with neutral towns, which do not send out heroes but may still be captured by any player. It is therefore possible, and common, to have more towns than players on a map. When captured, a town retains its alignment type, potentially allowing the new owner to create a mixed army. A player or team is eliminated when no towns or heroes are left under their control. Barring any special conditions, the last player or team remaining is the victor.
A side objective commonly appearing in the series is the acquisition of a powerful object called the "ultimate artifact," (Heroes I and II), grail (III and IV) or Tear of Asha (V), buried under a random tile on the map. As heroes visit special locations called obelisks, pieces are removed from a jigsaw puzzle-like map, gradually revealing its location to the player. Once found, it confers immense bonuses to the player capable of breaking stalemates: the grail can be taken back to a town and used to build a special structure, while the ultimate artifact provides the bonuses directly through possession.
Time and resource model
Each turn (consisting of all players' moves) is represented as a single day, and days are organized into cycles of weeks and months (measured as four weeks). The primary resource is gold, which is generated by towns on a daily basis. Gold alone is sufficient for obtaining basic buildings and most creatures. As construction progresses, increasing amounts of secondary resources such as wood, ore, gems, crystals, sulfur, and mercury are required. These resources, as well as gold, are produced at mines and other secondary structures, which are located on the map and require heroes to capture them. As with towns, mines can also be captured by enemy heroes, presenting an additional avenue for conflict.
At the start of each week (each day in Heroes IV), creature dwellings produce new recruits. In some of the games, the start of a new month causes neutral armies to spawn all over the map, providing fresh challenges and opportunities.
Whenever a player engages in battle, the game changes from the adventure map display to a combat screen, which is based on either a hexagonal or square grid. In this mode, the game mimics the turn-based tactics genre, as the engaged armies must carry through the battle without the opportunity to reinforce or gracefully retreat. With few exceptions, combat must end with the losing army deserting or being destroyed, or paying a heavy price in gold to surrender. Surrendering allows the player to keep the remaining units intact.
Creatures in an army are represented by unit stacks, each of which consists of a single type of creature, in any quantity. A limited number of stacks are available to each army, varying by game. Players generally maneuver their stacks attempting to achieve the most favorable rate of attrition for themselves. The games also have an automatic combat option that allows the computer to make tactical choices for a player. Heroes participate in battle as well: passively by granting bonuses to their army, and actively by engaging in combat and casting spells. In most of the games, heroes do not act as units, and cannot be harmed. However, in Heroes IV they do act as regular units and can be "killed"; dead heroes are transferred to a dungeon where they can be re-recruited by the battle winner.
Combat is affected by several random factors. In addition to simulating dice rolls to determine damage, a variety of influences including hero abilities and special bonuses determine a unit's luck and morale ratings, which affect the likelihood of those units triggering a bonus during combat. A unit that triggers good luck deals more (or receives less) damage, and a unit that triggers high morale receives an extra turn. In some other games, luck and morale can also be negative, with opposite corresponding effects. Luck and morale can be improved by hero abilities, artifacts, and spells. Morale may suffer with overwhelming odds in combat or by mixing incompatible unit types (e.g. Chaos with Order.)
History of changes
Knowledge allows heroes to cast more spells, either through a spell memorization (HoMM I) or spell point (II-V) system.
Heroes II introduced secondary skills. Heroes can learn a limited variety of secondary skills with several levels of proficiency. Secondary skills give specific, miscellaneous bonuses to heroes and their armies. For example, skill in logistics increases the distance a hero's army can travel, while skill in leadership gives their army a morale bonus.
Games in the series often include a map editor or random map generator. Several fansites collect and rate user-generated maps.
Up until Heroes of Might and Magic V, the Heroes series took place in the same fictional universe as the Might and Magic series, and later Might and Magic installments heavily referenced the games, with some taking place in the same world.
Heroes I and II take place on the planet of Enroth, on a northerly continent of the same name, and chronicle the adventures of the Ironfist dynasty. The protagonist of Heroes I is Lord Morglin Ironfist, a knight who discovers a portal to the realm of Enroth while fleeing from his throne's usurpers, and goes on to conquer and dominate the continent, establishing a unified kingdom and a new rule.
Heroes II featured a two-sided conflict between Morglin's sons, Roland and Archibald, both vying for their deceased father's throne. Canonically, Roland defeats Archibald, though the player can choose to align themself with either side. It was the first game in the series to feature playable heroes as campaign characters – the main characters of Heroes I were represented by the player's presence rather than as commanders on the battlefield.
The storylines of Heroes III and the Heroes Chronicles shift focus to the Gryphonheart dynasty on the southern continent of Antagarich, and introduces the Kreegan as playable characters and enemies. In Heroes III, Queen Catherine Gryphonheart, King Roland's wife, is called home to attend her father's funeral, to discover Antagarich being torn apart by various factions. Heroes III's expansions build on the setting with more prominent character development, featuring new and old heroes from the series in differing roles.
The events preceding Heroes IV precipitated the destruction of Enroth due to a clash between Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost. The ensuing destruction brings about portals leading to another world, Axeoth, through which many characters escape. Heroes IV's campaigns focus on the scattered survivors from Enroth and Antagarich as they form new kingdoms and alliances in the new world.
Heroes of Might and Magic V was the first Might and Magic title to take place on the previously unheard-of world of Ashan, as part of Ubisoft's franchise-wide continuity reboot. Its six campaigns are each centered around a faction leader, tied together by the character of Isabel Greyhound, Queen of the Griffin Empire. The Heroes V expansion packs both continued this storyline, leading into the events of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Heroes VI is to act as a prequel, occurring 400 years prior.
Critical reception for the series has been generally positive, with Game Rankings scores averaging from the high 70s to high 80s.
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- ↑ Ubisoft Entertainment SA acquires 3DO Co-Heroes of Might & Magic from 3DO Co. The Alacra Store (December 23, 2003). Retrieved on 2009-10-05
- ↑ Heroes III ported to Linux. Loki Software, Inc (October 28, 2000). Retrieved on 2009-10-05
- ↑ Heroes of Might and Magic Invade GameTap. GameZone (February 23, 2006). Retrieved on 2009-10-05
- ↑ Douglas, Jane (2010-08-17). Heroes of Might & Magic VI rising on PC in 2011 - News at GameSpot. Gamescom.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-13
- Might and Magic official franchise website
- Heroes of Might and Magic series at the Open Directory Project
- Heroes of Might and Magic Online (2008)
- Heroes of Might and Magic at MobyGames
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