Post by Discoalucard on Aug 27, 2011 22:19:18 GMT -5
I've really wanted to cover more early CRPGs on the site, and here's the first of them! This is only the first 2/3rds of the final article - it covers Might and Magic 1-6, though there are nine total. (It's not going to cover the spinoffs, since they're basically their own deal, though I wouldn't object if anyone wants to take up the helm of a Heroes of Might and Magic/Kings Bounty piece!):
Post by starscream on Aug 28, 2011 10:41:48 GMT -5
Great. I'm currently playing the Turbografx version of the third one on my Xbox. Some notes:
- M&M 1 and 2 were also ported to the Sharp X1 and PC88VA - Mac shot for 1 isn't linked properly I guess? I mean it doesn't go full size. - Speaking of Mac ports, I find the paragraph describing the graphics for M&M 3 a bit misleading - the game is still able to run on monochrome Macs, and M&M 2 supports color.
Re: Moose rats in M&M 3 and balance problems. I don't remember how the situation in the PC version was, but I've read it's the same as in the TG port. You shouldn't take them on from the start. There's no reason you would have to (although it's of course understandable you'd try..), because they're all behind doors. Rather, you should go out and kill the goblins which are much easier.
Last Edit: Aug 28, 2011 10:46:43 GMT -5 by starscream
Fixed the Mac screen. I think we had issues trying to get M&M2 working on the Mac emulators though, which is where there's no pictures or much information about it.
Yeah. I remember that I had a devil of a time getting a Mac emulator to work, so for the first game I basically had to hunt down a Let's Play of Might and Magic 1 for the Mac to borrow a screen shot from.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Sept 4, 2011 12:58:30 GMT -5
Very good overview of the series even if, again with this type of games, it doesn't encourage me to extensively play them (I only gave a passing try to some of them in the past) when describing some aspects that haven't aged well or were just badly designed, although the NES version of the first might be worth a shot; 3-4-5 seem to be most worthy, and they have some fantastic 2D artwork, which has certainly aged better than 6's engine. I also love the Xeen's duology combining function, and the overall setting of the flat world with two sides.
Some random observations...
- A typo on M&M1: "two notable differences to streamle the gameplay".
- Another typo on M&M3: "to give the player an general
- I dug up this from a page on TV Tropes, regarding the Genesis port of M&M2: "Unfortunately, someone messed up the computer AI, because enemies always had a predictable pattern — they would attack the party members in order, one after the other. Doesn't sound that bad? That includes party members out of melee (who are typically there for very good reason), turning the thing from mildly annoying to unbelievably frustrating." Can someone confirm this.
- My, are the Japanese computer ports of M&M2 weird.
- At least some words could have been spent for Swords of Xeen, a fan modification that found official endorsement and was published along with the original games in some compilation rereleases, even if it's not considered canon - but it doesn't contrast with it, since it takes place after the defeat of Lord Xeen, sending the adventurers to a new world though a portal found in the ruins of Xeen's palace. From what I gathered, it's far from perfect (it also has some bugs) but well made and challenging, since it's tailored to a party that has already conquered the original games.
-- I dug up this from a page on TV Tropes, regarding the Genesis port of M&M2: "Unfortunately, someone messed up the computer AI, because enemies always had a predictable pattern — they would attack the party members in order, one after the other. Doesn't sound that bad? That includes party members out of melee (who are typically there for very good reason), turning the thing from mildly annoying to unbelievably frustrating." Can someone confirm this.
Seems to be true - I took a look with an emulator some time ago and while enemies don't always start with attacking the first character, they follow the order afterwards. I've read that party member order regarding melee doesn't matter in the SNES version either. I don't remember it as being that annoying, not having played the PC-versions. Since the article mentions at one point the randomness of the encounters, I note that the disposition option works as some sort of difficulty switch.
Last Edit: Sept 6, 2011 8:57:54 GMT -5 by starscream
Post by archcorenth on Sept 20, 2011 0:09:52 GMT -5
I think it's worth mention that one of the reasons the first couple of Might and Magic games are worth playing is that they have interesting obscure riddles directing you what to do next, that give you a sense of accomplishment when you figure them out.
Also I don't agree that the NES version of one is superior, the original had fixed enemies where you could always find them (although it was usually random what enemy would be there.) this allowed you to avoid enemies on your half-dead return to town if you made a map -- also it was easy to find enemies if you were looking just to level. The writer seems to think enemies showed up on a random chance Final Fantasy style which was not the case - it was in the NES version. Also the enemies were weaker and both gave and took less damage making each encounter less challenging and pointlessly long. Adding to this the slowness of navigating NES menus as opposed to computer quick keys, and I'd only recommend the NES version if you intended to not finish the game for the next year. And a third reason I wouldn't recommend the NES version is that you can't port your party to be played in the next game since 2 isn't on the NES.
Post by archcorenth on Sept 20, 2011 0:40:07 GMT -5
The writer says that series gets worth after VI, but I liked VII quite a bit more than VI. It let you have your own castle which you could return to throughout the game, and it would be periodically upgraded as your characters became more famous. Certainly, I have seen this sort of thing in games since then, but it was a lot of fun at the time. The height of the series was probably World of Xeen, but VII was the best of the 3D games -- well that one of your party members was a baby dragon in VIII, who slowly grew up and you could eventually fly around on was pretty awesome too. It had a less interesting plot, but was probably was better than VI as well. I've never played IX or seen it for sale. But I'd say that of the ones I have played, VI was actually the worst of the 3D games.
Oh, that wasn't the main author, I added that "to be continued" bit. I didn't mean to say that they were getting worse, but in fact no one seemed to care much about the sequels after VI, and the press (at least here) was absolutely not in favor of them. That sentence is just a placeholder, though, and will eventually be replaced with a detailed description of Might and Magic VII to IX.
Post by Discoalucard on Dec 12, 2011 17:46:41 GMT -5
The way random encounters are handled has been altered, as well. Instead of them occuring entirely randomly, dungeons have set encounter triggers with randomly determined enemies, which are set when you enter the dungeon and changed when you run from an encounter. A set encounter one time can be a cake walk, and easily lead to a total party kill the next time.
Someone on RPG Codex is disputing this, saying that this works identically in M&M1. Is this correct? I can't seem to verify it in any FAQ.
The player begins the game in the home computer versions by generating a party of up to six characters, with seven stats ranging from three to eighteen, with most of the stats, character classes and alignments being analogous to stats in Dungeons & Dragons (although it makes a point of always changing the terminology).
I just started MM1 or as it is known: Might and Magic Book One - The Secret of the Inner Sanctum on DOS. I vaguely remember, that I have actualy seen this game in early 90s. Didn't really knew, that there were so many platform versions of this game. Prior starting to play MM1, I came under impression, that D&D influenced this game serie(as I did read something like that somewhere), but MM1 to me brings back flashback of different memories of text dungeon crawling and also MUD. Also skill system is completelly diferent from D&D - names might be the same, but this can not be trademarked anyway, because these are basic statistics - to me biggest mystery in MM series is LUCK skill. There is only one place in www, where it is more explained about M&M mechanics: sites.google.com/site/sergroj/mm/mechanics
M&M had something, where D&D from dungeon crawling games went to other path: just like in text crawling games there were 2 types of leaders strong and healthy might and proportionally strong magic leaders with lesser health force, that was transferred to magic force. I did like M&M way of "multiclassing" in MM6, on archer example, where my archer was next to Knight swordbearer(paladin had hammer or something else), who dealt proportionally weaker hits(but couldn't use some knight only weapons), was also good shooter, and also dabbled in some magic - if my sorcerer was dead he was the one who would have to cast wizard eye, to get out of dungeon... D&D went complex way of restricting players in creativity, also D&D games have level cap and after MUD, where my pal was proud, that he had achieved(without any final goal - it was just unachievable statuss to others that required many years to achieve) some high levels in some evil wizard D&D is unbelievably restricting - MM to MUD players was more appealing game. D&D - not, because smart, creative players with great imagination do not want to play by books of others, but create their own stories. I like Tolkien and Lord of The Rings, but there are hundreds of stories out there, some of them deal with magic, also hobbits and other creatures in different ways and my inner child requires to write my own story.
"All the basic rules are extremely straightforward, accessible, and easy to learn. Only after this is where things get obtuse and a little more difficult for newcomers. The first problem is starting out everyone begins with a club and no money, forcing you to go out and fight enemies for money for better weapons and armor, plus more food and torches so you can travel into the game's dungeons. Because of this, Might and Magic requires the player to grind even more in the beginning than in other RPGs from the same period, which provided the characters at least a small amount of money from the start."
(ALL here relates to DOS system, as I'm playing it on DOSBox.) If you start with default team, first knight hero *HAS* money: 200. Also extra items, like shield. Though I might be wrong there as I'm playing abandonware version, which could contain changed data, but I guess everyone now would play the same version. And there are many text games from 80s, where you start without money so it was not a biggie.
"The next problem is the encounter rate, which can be glacial. The player can wander around the dungeon and outside world for quite some time without encountering any random encounters. While they do happen, they're just rare enough that they make grinding for money and levels take much longer than necessary."
It seems, that this game restores all monsters, when you go to Inn, and quit. I'm not sure there, but when starting game again, all non-random monster places are repopulated. Could be that also treasures are replenished as well. Also some of the quests repeat, once you have finished them, so there are endless ways to level up and gather worth - this game is very big and I had to do the same thing, when I played MM6 - write big game map on paper with travel opportunities and other notes.
I could not see in save file, that it stores any extra game data - there is data only for heroes and their items, skills, xp and so on - probably also information about quests. This is actualy smart and simple way of dealing with big environment - game stores in memory how it dealt with monsters locally and forgets when you go out - if you are into this type of text crawling(I could not see any coordinates in game - is there any key?), especially applies when you get lost: teleport, slide, avalanche to other place or drop down somewhere in dark place and if you don't have torch, you are just mudding...
You could "cheat" in this game - going(dealing with random encounters only) out to some place where are treasures, taking them, bringing back to inn, taking rest of game and gathering them again(as they have bneen restocked) in next time. In Sorpigal outdoors there was one unguarded treasure spot. So good luck amassing wealth...
"Following the simplified CRPG interpretation of the D&D rules popularized by Wizardry, the game does make two notable differences to streamline the gameplay there are only three alignments (Good, Evil and Neutral), and spells don't have to be memorized, with casters instead using a pool of magic points for handling spell-casting. Additionally, classes that would have alignment restrictions in Dungeons & Dragons or Wizardry, like the Paladin, have no such restrictions even Paladins can be evil or neutral."
I do find this very biased. I liked the idea in M&M, that player with actions can change attitude and became good or evil(lFallout also comes in mind as good example) unlike in D&D, where you *HAD* to play according to your role without any chance to twist a plot. First of all common sense and history lessons shows, that people who were fighting for higher goal(especially all totalliarian socialist-communist utopians), also made later grave sacrifices and D&D with new classes have went M&M way with anti-paladin(so what is it exactly?). Also I find defining Lawful chaotic or neutral in D&D as restrictive system to gameplay, also it does not relate to human society. I know one group who are living by by their own laws and honor - thieves, mafia and big criminals. In D&D they are mostly chaotic... And druid neutrality in D&D is so wrong(the problem here is that D&D Druids aims to take over all RL Druid specifications) - also there are many paganic traditions all over the world, that would be considered as druidic in game environment, and the game would change differently if after hunting and taking animal, player would have to leave something as valuable in forest... or even if you find something, or if you just would not take things, because they are not yours... unless you pay for them to owner. And Druids in no way were neutral towards people - they were part of society, when it had to live with nature and obey it's rules. In my eyes Druids are good/lawful, but D&D thinks otherwise...
"Further, the game has little story direction at first. Even the manual contains no story information at all. While you do receive quests that progress the main plot and other side quests from NPCs as you go along, at the start you have nothing. Also, while there are spells that will give some information on your current location, there is no auto-map or other sort of map view in the game, meaning that the player will need to break out ye olde graph paper to maintain orientation not only in cities and dungeons, but the areas between towns as well."
The game was from 80ies and plot for player was in title. Also if I remember correctly, crawlers and MUDs were not about plot - they were about exploring, fighting countless battles and surviving them in score of levels - also getting back to some place to store accumulated result(which meant countless tries and errors in exploring world) and in this game you were just another andventurer who explored world, fought monsters for glory and upon some quirk of fate(as opposed to self-prophecied messianistic adventurer in most games) he was the only one who was asked for help and was strong enough to deliver help.
I would really like to see any well-grounded(for comparisional and educational research) article of how much D&D or other games influenced M&M or how much M&M influenced other games and that would also mean pointing out differences. I do realize, that dnd in computer games was introduced earlier than any other modern RPG games, but there were similarly themed dungeon crawlers, that had modern, medieval and also sci-fi themes. They all are forgotten now. I would find that M&M has similar GUI as many other RPG and other genre games, but that is the restriction of software GUI and how it evoluted in this field. M&M there is similar to all other games - RPG or not, not to mention skill systems. Basic statistics names come from RL and they will be as similar to others as much as synonyms or similar meanings, because they describe similar RL statistics, that are expressed in digital form. M&M has different game mechanics - unlike 99% of D&D games there is no restrictions in level counts, so it is good, as player defines goals. Character types initially came from books - there were knights, paladins, sorcerers, wizards, mages, druids and so on and M&M has gone classic way, that already was defined in other games. The only thing that could be taken from D&D(crawlers) could be about initial races statistics and resistances, though they seems were not blindly copy-pasted, but followed the same dungeon crawler logic, where cyclopes or giants had extra health and strenght and some had magic immunities, so... please if someone mentions that M&M follows simplified D&D RPG rules, please explain where, because it should naturally come to game mechanics, but it is not the case here. IMHO M&M, especially MM6 has more complex RPG rules - in MM6 good/evil attitude worked fully in that each temple restored some alignment if you donated to temple(especially helpfull, if you called armageddon and local population died out because of that) - I do not remember if MM6 had local attitude change because of that, but MM IMHO went different route there from D&D. So the only thing in common between D&D(crawlers) and M&M is similar idea of initial classic race statistics bonuses in beginning of game. Not even resistances or extra abilities. It has completelly different RPG game mechanics and try to create today new RPG game withgout copying, but thinking on your own and then compare how much it will be from D&D and what is not. And to be honest here - classic monsters, even some abilities(like medusa, werewolf, etc.) will have similar ideas in any game, if its source comes from ancient myths, legends and folklore.
All in all description of MM6 is somehow weak. MM6 had huge impact on RPG players of PC in late 90ties. It was spatially big game - not to mention dimensionally. Also MM6 dimensionally probably was as big as MM7 and MM8 combined. Somehow I feel, that MM7&8 map dimensions were somehow smaller, though this could be illusion and mind trick. It would took some time before there would be as good 3D Windows RPG game as M&M6. Look at the rest of 1998 RPG Windows games - DOS at this point was graphically unappealing and even Baldur's Gate, just as Diablo wasn't 3D - it was all plain sprites and drawn local area screens and unmovable object sprites, that could be seen from only one angle - no 3D at all. MM6 stands out as first RPG game with such huge true 3D world and it seemed that it was created with online game in mind, but even for single player it was succesful implementation with many beautifully done technical challenges, where you could properly use spell "fly". I do have good memories, but I really hope that there are some high-res pack out there or will be, as default terrain unlike in MM7&8 is just unbearable to my eyes. As for properly 3D skinned character RPG - it took some time before they in next RPG(nonMM) games gained some nice polygons, so whining, that MM6 was not fully 3D, is just as bad as receiving latest graphical card and wishing that it was even better... After MM6-7-8 I played comparably good(to MM series) Wizardry 8, that was published 3 years later(in 2001) - it had some nice polygons on female opponents... but that was cool then, but at that point it wasn't even achievement in game development milestones, as it was with MM6.
Last Edit: Jun 24, 2013 12:57:06 GMT -5 by svii: so many errors and sorry for grammar errors, but english is not my first language - it is just 4th or 5th(depends if dialect is counted as language)