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|Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms|
The game's logo
|Designed by||Fabrice Cambounet (producer)|
|Series||Heroes of Might and Magic|
|Release date||Nov 3, 2009|
|Genre||Turn-based strategy browser MMORPG|
|Previous game (release)||Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes|
|Next game (release)||Might & Magic: Heroes VI|
Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms (originally Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms) is a turn-based strategy MMORPG browser game published and developed by Ubisoft Entertainment. It is the second released online-only Might and Magic title, succeeding Legends of Might and Magic, and is a spinoff from the Heroes of Might and Magic series, most prominently Heroes of Might and Magic V.
Extensively delayed during its development period, Kingdoms was initially announced on December 13, 2007 to coincide with the release of the Heroes of Might and Magic Complete Edition. A series of closed beta-test periods followed, bypassing several proposed release dates. Eventually, Kingdoms was released - exclusive to France - on November 3, 2009. Ubisoft re-announced the game for other territories in early 2010.
Kingdoms Heroes is a real-time strategy and massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game playable in web browsers. Each game is not persistent like many MMOs. Instead, each game lasts approximately six months.
Based on servers with approximately 1,500-2,000 players each, the game is isometric, and is divided into four stages of progression known as seasons, with each season ending when an alliance has achieved a particular victory condition. Throughout, only the Haven, Academy, Necropolis, Inferno and Sylvan factions are available for play, with players controlling heroes and towns as in the core Heroes series. Actions occur in real-time, with each taking a certain period to complete, varying from minutes to days. The number of resources a player invests in the action can reduce the time required to complete it.
A day/night system exists, with night spanning 22:00 - 08:00 GMT or 11:00pm - 9:00am CST; during this period, no armies may move across the adventure map and therefore players do not have to be awake all hours of the night watching for raiders. Players control one town to begin with, and may settle or conquer new cities by achieving certain thresholds (milestones toward one of the three paths to victory). Towns contain four mines each, producing the standard Heroes resources, and twenty squares where NPCs reside which may be battled for experience or resources. Heroes can also learn spells or recruit by constructing buildings. It is a broad mixture of strategy board games like checkers and chess, mixed with the intricate details and options of an rpg. This is definitely a game worth trying, but be prepared to have a certain degree of loyalty to your alliance members, should you join one, as the game will last for months on end.
Three paths to victory are available: Domination, Wealth and Honour. The Domination path entails construction, expansion and mustering forces, the Wealth path involves calculating the total value of a player's kingdom, and the Honour path requires extensive player vs player combat. Each path enables players to obtain Tears of Asha, a certain number of which are required to win the game. Domination players must locate an Obelisk which directs them to a tear, which must be dug up. Wealth players may synthesise Tears using an oven, which requires exhorbitant amounts of resources to build. Honour players must fight NPC characters with army restrictions enabled.
Alliances between players are necessary for victory; befriending and uniting with others generates a control zone, in which players can control adventure map objects and travel more quickly. Presently, the victory condition for all servers is to build thirteen Tear structures and hold them for fourteen real-time days.
Although the game is free of charge to play, a restriction to three towns and heroes at any one time is imposed on non-subscribers. Currently, it is possible to subscribe for 1 month (£5), 2 months (£9.50) or 3 months (£13.50), during which period the limit is removed, and additional features are enabled, including an upgraded battle calculator, an improved mailbox, a permanent connection to the game, a "training mode" server and faster artifact unbinding time.
Kingdoms is set in an alternate reality of Ashan's history, and takes as canonical one of the dark endings of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, in which Sareth releases Kha-Beleth and opens the gates of Sheogh. In the divergent timeline, Urgash thus escapes, engaging in a second War of the Primordial Twins which ends in Asha's defeat and exile. Four of the Elemental Dragons begin to vanish, leaving their respective children-races to fend for themselves in the now-broken world. The storyline progresses through short animated cinematics, narrated by an unknown priestess loyal to Asha.
Upon her banishment, Asha's tears were scattered across the surface of the earth; obtaining the Tears of Asha - thereby consolidating Order in the world and resurrecting the fallen Dragon Gods - is the player's primary objective. At the end of each game season one of the four Elemental Dragons is returned to activity, and the faction it corresponds to is introduced (for instance, Sylanna's return introduces the Sylvan faction). The events of the game are classified as the "War of the Tears".
The development of Heroes Kingdoms is currently overseen by Heroes V producer Fabrice Cambounet, and the game underwent a series of evolutions prior to its ultimate release. Following its initial announcement, the game suffered from extensive delays, and thus far has not been made available to players outside of France.
A large number of original hero portraits were created for the game in the style of Heroes V's artwork - the portraits were modelled on Ubisoft's employees, their relatives and associates. Composition for the cinematic sequences was handled by Olivier Derivière (who notably worked on Atari's Alone in the Dark 5).
Exclusive beta keys for the game were granted to fans who purchased the Heroes of Might and Magic Complete Edition, though could not be redeemed at the marketed date; instead, these players were offered access to a later closed beta.
The official site describes the factions as follows:
Haven nation is a feudal holy empire protected by medieval knights, monks and "Angelic" troops. Haven has very strong armies but limited use of dark and light magic. Troops include:
- Imperial Griffin
The academy is composed of human wizards, with their spirit servants and animated constructs. They are proud seekers of knowledge, and subjugators of the natural order. Their power relies heavily on light and summoning magic. Troops include:
- Master Gremlin
- Stone Gargoyle
- Obsidian Gargoyle
- Iron Golem
- Steel Golem
- Djinn Sultan
- Rakshasa Rani
- Rakshasa Raja
Demons are embodiments of Chaos. They believe that the only meaningful moral value is individual freedom. They kill because they can, or want to. Their armies ravage countries, with limited help from dark and destruction spells. Troops include:
- Horned Demon
- Horned Overseer
- Hell Hound
- Succubus Mistress
- Hell Charger
- Pit Fiend
- Pit Lord
- Arch Devil
Necromancers began as a splinter sect of the Wizards, and grew into a powerful nation. They worship the "Death" aspect of Asha. Their armies may seem weak, but they are surrounded by summoning and dark magic. Troops include:
- Skeleton Archer
- Plague Zombie
- Vampire Lord
- Arch Lich
- Bone Dragon
- Spectral Dragon