|Might & Magic: Heroes VI|
|Developer||Black Hole Entertainment|
|Series||Heroes of Might and Magic|
|Release date||October 13, 2011|
|Genre||Turn-based strategy game|
|Previous game||Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms|
|Next game||Pirates of the Savage Sea|
Might & Magic: Heroes VI is the sixth installment in the series, developed by Black Hole Entertainment and released on October 13, 2011 by Ubisoft. The storyline serves as a prequel to Heroes of Might and Magic V, taking place four centuries earlier in the same world of Ashan.
- Tears/Blood Reputation: a new honor points system available only for primary heroes, the Reputation serves to both upgrade heroes accordingly and determine the outcome of the game. The player is forced to choose either Tears alignements for acts of mercy (letting the weaker stack flee, distributing the money accross the poor, forgiving the enemies, etc.), or Blood alignment for acts of cruelty (pursuing the stock, keeping the money for yourself, executing the enemies, etc.) of their hero. The either system has 2 ranks, Prime and Realm, the first of which is available at 250 points (usually this occurs when the hero reaches around level 8), and the second is available at 1000 points (around level 30). Every upgrade increases some of the skills, and also grants one super-ability, that is consistent with the hero class and faction. After reaching the first chosen rank, the hero can still accumulate opposite points up to 1000, however they will not unlock anything and are basically useless. Tears or Blood Reputation does not affect Magic or Might affinity of the heroes, therefore creating four possible subclass profiles for each hero (Tears & Might, Blood & Might, Tears & Magic, Blood & Magic). Each of them has its name, for example Tears Necromancer becomes an Embalmer, but Blood Necromancer becomes a Reaper.
- Talents tree: it replaces both the old Magic Guild tree and the random Skill/Ability wheel. Now building a Magic Guild structure is no longer required to learn magic spells, which can be learned with skill points available after each level-up. Some spells can also be cast from bought or found scrolls, but spells can no longer be learned by visiting certain dwellings (such as a Witch's Hut) as before. The skills can now also be learned the same way, instead of being randomly selected by the game. Heroes can respecialize for free only once, however as soon as they choose either alignment, both skills and spells of the opposite Reputation alignments would no longer be available (but would still be available if the hero learned them before reaching either Prime Reputation level).
- Dynasty weapons/artifacts are new items which can be obtained by either completing secondary quests in scenarios, or reaching certain achievements (in which case the player must be connected to the CONFLUX system). Dynasty items are usually more valuable since they grant better benefits even compared to the Relic items, but unlike the other three groups (Relic, Major and Minor), Dynasty items are attached to the player's CONFLUX account and can be transfered from one hero to another at the start of a new campaign. Players can also buy or trade Dynasty items with each other online, from the bonus points earned by unlocking their achievements.
- New "area" control: Unlike before, now every mine and dwelling surrounding an area controlled by a certain town will keep providing resources and army stacks to that town no matter what player controls it. So, even if an enemy hero can capture one of such buildings, his or her kingdom will receive its benefits as long as he or she are standing next to the building. As soon as they leave, the allegiance changes back to whomever owns the nearest town or fort. This feature eleminated a lot of hit-and-run fighting present in previous games, where an enemy hero could capture mines or dwellings near a town, but not the town itself necessarily, thus underpowering the other player without necessarily going into direct combat. In Heroes V, however, a feature was implemented to allow heroes garrison their mines, which apparently proved of little use, since it has been replaced by the present feature.
- Town portal system has also been complexified. Instead of allowing heroes to teleport to the nearest town with a simple infinite scroll use, players now have to build two portal systems in each town (costing roughly 5000 gold, 15 wood/ore and 5 crystals in total), while the skill itself was turned into a spell and now costs 10 mana (but only 20 movement points instead of all, as in Heroes V). Boarding a boat is now also worth only 20 movement points, so the hero can continue on water within the same day.
- There are Core, Elite and Champion creatures. Basically, Core creatures are the weakest and have up to one active ability (most have only passive) and are susceptible to all spells. Elite creatures are immune to some spells and have each at least one active ability (spellcasters usually have two active abilities). Champion creatures are usually immune to spells of the opposite school (like Haven Seraph and Celestial are both immune to Darkness spells), and have more than two active abilities. There are three Core and Elite creature, and one final Champion creature for each faction. Just like in Heroes V, every creature has an upgrade, but upgraded creatures now also cost 1 crystal additional to the increased gold price. However, unlike in all previous games, creatures belonging to the same group are now almost equal in specs (with only the slightest increase a/p creature cost) whereas higher-level creatures are much stronger, to the point where a gap of, for example, 20 damage or 500 hit points, can exist between Elite and Champion creatures of the same faction. For the same reason, some Elite and all Champion creatures are shown larger on the battlefield, and take 4 cells instead of one. This system successfully eliminates the old Tier-based system, where with each tier increase there was a steady increase in both the cost of creatures, and their specs.
- Introduction of "Boss" creatures. Bosses are available at the end of every campaign (including add-ons and expansion, but excluding the tutorial campaign) and result in single-creature stacks of specially-specced units which possess far superior damage, defence and hit points. Boss creatures have up to five abilities and are immune to all buff spells (damage-inducing spells work on them). Losing a Boss battle would in most cases (in fact, all except for two) result in immediate game over. In Shades of Darkness, the final Boss also possesses two consecutive forms, and both must be dealt with. Since killing Bosses results from completing the final primary quest, there are no experience points and no items dropped by them, with the exception of a dynasty weapon in one case, and possible bonus points from unlocking achievements after defeating five Bosses.
- Heroes may travel with no creatures (as in HoMM IV, but they cannot attack; if they are attacked, they lose automatically). Additionally, armies are not town-related like in previous games, but are rather stacked together in one creature pool, which can be hired from any town. This feature replaces the previous "caravan" hero-less army stack travel present in Heroes IV and V, but can prove ineffective when stack income is influenced by the number of dwellings built, especially if some dwellings belong to towns the player doesn't fell the need of sacrificing armies for.
- Original town screens were replaced by town windows in order to minimize heavy CPU usage and save loading time, but were returned in the first add-on due to major fan requests. In Shades of Darkness, an option was made to choose to have either windows or screens.
- The turn-based battle system was returned to its standard form, i.e. priorities created by modified luck and morale specs in Heroes V were removed from Heroes VI. Both luck and morale now simply allow creatures to strike twice at the same time, instead of having another attack chance within the same turn.
- Artifact merchants are now buildable in every town, and sell or buy any random artifacts. Strangely enough, a hero can pick up the same artifacts twice and carry them in up to 30 spots.
A legendary Archangel general, revived hundreds of years after perishing during the Elder Wars, plots to recover his powers and take control of Ashan while battling a supposed Demon invasion, but is impeded by the Griffin dynasty, led by Duke Slava. As a war erupts between them, Slava is assassinated in his throne, leaving behind as heirs his five children — Anton (Haven), Anastasya (Necropolis), Kiril (Inferno), Sandor (Stronghold) and Irina (Sanctuary). There will also be a tutorial campaign featuring Slava, explaining some ground pillars to the other campaigns. The campaigns can be played in any order, and are interconnected (meaning that you don't have to complete any campaign to be able to play another one). There are now bosses, and some new types of neutral unit. Most old faction units have been replaced, such as the Imp (replaced with the Maniac).
The official site describes the game as follows:
Might & Magic Heroes VI takes place in 564 YSD, roughly some 400 years before Heroes of Might and Magic V, at the time of the second Blood Moon Eclipse, and the Rise of Kha Beleth, the Demon Sovereign.
A legendary Archangel General, killed during the war of the Elder races, is resurrected. Under the cover of preparations for the upcoming Demon invasion, he plots to recover his powers and take control of Ashan while eradicating his ancient enemies. He underestimates, however, the power of the all-too-human Griffin dynasty...
Heroes VI tells the story of the Griffin dynasty, when they were still Dukes of the Holy Empire, and not yet sitting on the Imperial throne (like in Heroes V and Clash of Heroes). The Griffin Duchy is east of the Empire, a region that would correspond to the Slavic nations in our own world.
At the dynasty’s origins, The Griffin Duke Pavel was a zealous servant of the Light and a trusted lieutenant of the Falcon Emperor. He met his demise defending his own duchy from a Demon host summoned by the dying wish of a desperate enemy. Pavel’s heroic last stand would ensure the survival of his son, Slava, who was only a boy at the time of these events.
Pavel’s sister Sveltana, who had left her homeland to become a prominent Necromancer in the Seven Cities, was called back to act as regent to Slava and educate him in the ways of the Griffin.
Fifteen years and a war have past. Duke Slava of Griffin is now the father of five promising children. These are the main Heroes of the Heroes 6 campaign, and they will lead different factions to battle.
In 2012, 2 additional campaigns (called "adventure packs") were released - Pirates of the Savage Sea and Danse Macabre. Each campaign is only two missions long and is in fact a simple d/l patch freely available for game owners. Their versions are respectively 1.7.2 and 1.7.5. The campaigns have been developed by Virtuos Software instead of Black Hole Entertainment, since the latter filed for bankruptcy in May 2012 as a speculative result of copyright feud with Ubisoft.
In May 2013, the first stand-alone expansion pack, Shades of Darkness, was released. It includes both previous add-ons and corresponds to patch version 2.0.1. Also developed by Virtuos, Shades features three new four-mission campaigns, a new faction called Dungeon, as well as some notable gameplay and AI improvements which hadn't been corrected before.