On Monday, we are attempting to migrate to a new server, so we can give our site a much-needed update. On that date, the Round Table forums will be set to read-only. Inactive users will be pruned and we will try to upgrade the forum to phpBB3.
We don't know how long the downtime will be. Minutes, hours, days ... we don't know. Wish us luck.
And now for something slightly different. For the past several weeks, the news we have had to report have been all about Heroes VII. Now, though, we present something a bit more general, and you certainly won't find it anwhere else.
We're big fans of the music in the Heroes games, mostly because it's great music, but also because it never disappoints. A game could turn out to be mediocre or even worse, but the music of Rob King and Paul Romero is always a highlight. Well-composed and well-suited to the various scenes, the music lifts the gaming experience and adds a certain degree of class.
Even more so because of the vocals of Karin Mushegain.
We sent her a batch of questions a while ago and hoped she could find time in her busy schedule to talk to her gaming fans. Without further ado, then, have a read.
After giving us Sylvan's line up some days ago, Dev Blog finally reveal Might & Magic's Heroes for Sylvan.
Might Heroes are Avenger, ranger or Warden, suit with light armor and a bow.
Magic Heroes are Thornsower, Mystic and Starsinger, designed with cape and a spear.
Numerous players' comments those artworks, and many dislike helmets or cape design. Maybe Ubisoft will change those aspects during the 3D creation...
And you, do you consider those design matches well for Sylvan's faction ?
Dev team reveals some figures about the first closed beta test last June, and we give you a tiny abstract:
- Favourite Faction: Haven was more played than Academy.
- Top 3 skills: Exploration, Light Magic and Righteousness.
- Top 3 abilities: United we stand, Sisters of Mercy and Snatch.
- Top 3 spells: Sun Beam, Fire Bolt and Frost Bolt.
You can find all figures on Heroes VII Dev Blog.
Moreover, a new vote is set up. Players can choose the next faction available for the closed beta test 2, besides Haven and Academy.
All shadow councillors can choose between Stronghold, Necropolis, Sylvan and Dungeon. You have until July 15th to give your opinion.
And you, which one do you want to test during the next closed beta test?
Finally, The Dev team has revealed the line up for Sylvan's faction, with all basic and elite units.
For those whom haven't seen the news, Sylvan faction is composed of:
- Hunter & Master Hunter
- Dryad & Oak Dryad
- Pixie & Sprite
- Druid & Druid Elder
- Moon Doe & Sun Deer
- Blade Dancer & Blade Master
It is not a surprise, players are quite upset about characters' design. Some comments consider that Moon Doe is too cute to go on the battlefield.
Others are quite upset about the choice of having women as Druids, event the lore justifies this choice.
The main criticisms concern the lack of muscles for Blade Master.
And you, what is your opinion about Sylvan's units ?
Some days ago, dev's team shows to the community bios and portrait of stronghold's hall of Heroes.
Some of them are present in the campaign, and all will be available in skirmish or multiplayer maps.
You can discover or rediscover them: Yog, Ishi, Drakon and Anga.
After weeks of advises, Dev Team give some news about next Tales for Heroes VII. It seems players want more information about Naga and the Lotus Empire, The Griffin family, and Sandro, the famous Necromancer.
We now have to wait more income from the Spy Master :)
Well, not really. But on my Youtube channel, you can now find this, the second gameplay video. Short this time, focusing on graphics. What I'm doing is play around with the graphics settings so you can see how the framerate behaves and how the graphics of the game changes with the alternate settings.
In my opinion, the effects seem good and don't change a whole lot when you turn the settings down a notch or two, but there are a couple of buttons you can push if the game is too resource demanding - while not taking away the good graphical experience.
As promised, here is a video of my screen as I started up the closed beta. In the top left corner, you can see the FPS numbers. I will make more videos and I am taking requests: what do you want to see? Ask your questions and participate in the discussion here.
There is a report on gamesindustry.biz (thanks Marzhin) about the new mobile studio that was launched by Jon Van Caneghem, called VC Mobile Entertainment. He hopes to apply his experience in the gaming industry in a market where RPGs and strategy games have been very popular:
"Never before has there been a way to get to so many consumers so easily and so many people who are actually playing games on mobile devices."
JVC compares the mobile development field to the early days of PC gaming:
"it's a smaller team, less of a giant budget and there's a lot more chance to iterate, there's a lot more chance to be creative. And that's why I view this as such an exciting time for game design and development. It's not a 200-person, four-year endeavour to build a product."
There aren't any details about the games this new studio is working on. But feel free to make some predictions!
After the proposed system requirements for Heroes VII were published, fans reacted somewhat with disbelief, as they were setting the bar very high for players. Essentially, it seemed like you'd need a very powerful computer to be able to play this game. This upset some people and prompted Celestial Heavens to do a short Q&A about it.
Today, Heroes VII has officially been made available for pre-order. Customers can choose between several different game versions:
1. Standard Edition (retail or digital) just the full game, no extra shinies.
2. Digital Deluxe Edition. In addition to the full game, it will contain a digital version of the soundtrack, some digital contents like the Solmyr hero and an extra map scenario, and on top of it all you get the new Heroes III HD game as well.
3. Retail Collector's Edition - which we are now able to confirm will be available in the US (order it from the Uplay shop). It includes, as we have seen from the votes on the blog site, a collector's box, a 26-cm Ivan figurine, a 96 page artbook, the soundtrack, two lithographs, a tarot game. There is also the digital extra contents mentioned above.
If you pre-order the game, you will get access to the Closed Beta test. Ubisoft also throw in "4 exclusive in-game portraits and 4 exclusive artefacts".
After years of ignoring North America in the release of special editions, we here at Celestial Heavens are very happy to see Ubisoft finally conceding that the US market is important; the dedicated American fans of the franchise will be glad to have the Collector's Edition box available to them.
The skill wheel You may recognize this feature from earlier games. Remember Aurelain's skill wheel created for H5? Generally, the so-called "skill wheel" for H7 is simply an overview over a hero's gained and potential skills, viewable on a single screen. As your heroes gain levels, you can plan ahead to shape your perfect hero - the skill wheel feature makes this process easier. In H7, the skill's properties will appear in the right column when you select it.
As you can see in the image to the right (click for a larger version), skills are divided into "Major" and "Minor", with the levels "Novice" (giving the hero 3 abilities), "Expert" (another 2 abilities) and "Master" (giving 1 more). Three of the "Major" skills have another rank on top of these - the cherished "Grandmaster" level. The obtaining of skills is done in a way which should be familiar to RPG players, namely by the spending of skill points given when the hero levels up. Fans of the series will also be familiar with the general types of skills; some magical, some purely combat related and some to do with the adventure map and managing of the towns. Which skills are available to which heroes is fairly intuitive, but if you want to, you can read more about it in the blog article.
Warcries These are Might capabilities, used as an alternative to magic spells on the battlefield. Instead of casting a spell, a hero can use a warcry to boost his or her troops in different ways; increasing defence, ranged attack damage or initiative, for instance. Click the image on the right to see all these effects. As the hero levels up, the effects of these warcries also increase, making them a real alternative to magic. If properly balanced, I see this as a way to ensure that the game's title will indeed be a fitting description. It also underlines the fact that the heroes are on the battlefield themselves; these skills offer nothing in the way of direct damage, but bolster a hero's army.
Stronghold faction is finally revealed on the official website. Players can discover new units, upgraded units, lore and animation.
To your mind, do you consider that Devs Team give a nice representation of stronghold for this opus?
Tribes of nomadic barbarians, Orcs are the scattered but proud survivors of a long history of persecution. They boast ranks of fierce warriors supported by powerful Shamans. Orcs prefer open skies and the freedom to move on when the urge takes them: many chose to lead a nomadic life in the dunes of the Sahaar desert.
No, this isn't a petition to get more 'Twilight' books printed (shudder), it's a story about you being able to vote for your favoured H7 Vampire design. By going to the Shadow Council website, you will be able to vote for your favourite of three possible designs: The Vampire Knight, The Night Lady or The Blood Monster.
Two possible innovations here; there is a sword-less alternative, so Limbic may bring back the melee monster we know from earlier incarnations of the series, and there is also the possibility of the vampire being of the female persuation.
The fans have been screaming their proverbial heads off, complaining that the Vampire design shown earlier was both silly and merely a re-hash of assets from Heroes VI. Taking the "advice" to heart, the Devs said they would see if it was possible to change the designs. They did, and apparently it was, so the fans should be happy to see their hard work (shouting at devs is such a strain on the throat, we know) pay off. Finally, then, you can all vote for your favoured design and get something proper into the coming Heroes VII game.
A new struggle appears in Ashan, in Seamus' Empire. The Duke Ivan wants to show the people Seamus' atrocity in different nations and frontiers.
A War is about to begin, and all characters have to pledge loyalty to the Emperor, or join the “traitorous” Duke of Griffin.
Using Talonguard as his base of operations, Ivan would gather his and Stefan’s forces, march on Horncrest and remove Seamus from the Holy Throne. Of course, thanks to the information I had obtained on my end, he already knew that beyond the borders of the Stag Duchy, Seamus was also preparing for war…
Some days ago, Dev Team present Haven's Heroes on Heroes VII Blog. Players can read the specs of four new Heroes:
- Kryztoff, Inquisitor, with a Magic bonus when summoned.
- Tyris, Nice Paladin, whom can increase the production of Cavaliers and Cuirassiers each week in the Area of Control.
- Ymoril, Brave Paladin, whom can increase the production of Guardians and Justiciars each week in the Area of Control.
- Edric, Vincicator whom can increase the production of Wolves of Griffins each week in the Area of Control.
Players have asked Ubisoft which type hall of Heroes developers will implement in the game:
- Recruit any heroes we want, like H6 and H4,
- Or having a tavern, like H5 and H3...
Ubi Nox has sent a message for the community, in order to clear players questions:
Please keep in mind that those Heroes specializations only are 4 examples, there will be of course more variety on this topic. Moreover, Heroes presented in this page are the regular “tavern” heroes but you will also be able to recruit Heroes with a special role in MMH7 story or universe, those ones will have also their own specializations.