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The Year in Review

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Angelspit
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 26 2006, 18:16    Post subject: The Year in Review Reply with quote

For the Might and Magic community, 2003 was the year of the fall, 2004 the year of the reconstruction and 2005 the year of the waiting. 2006 was much more eventful, with two news games bringing (back) a new batch of fans, and Ubisoft finding out how demanding the community can be. Here is my annual recap of the events of the year with a couple of comments:

January



5: The Round Table leaves ForumPlanet and reopens on the Celestial Heavens server, with no advertisement of any kind. Round Table Knights are nominated, and people celebrate with a Rage of the Carrots, as it should be. 9: A new feature was published on Celestial Heavens: Cranky Hero, by far the worst Heroes fanboy, went through several adventures during the year, and even visited the Nival office in Moscow. 12: Freeverse announced that it is porting Heroes of Might and Magic V to the Mac, to the relief of all Mac strategy gamers. 24: Disappointed in the state of the beta test, fans started petitions to delay the game on several sites. A site called SaveHeroes.org is opened a few days later. 29: Several fan sites agree to stop printing news on their sites. The action is short-lived as on the following day, Fabrice announces that Heroes of Might and Magic V has been delayed.

February



19: The Heroes of Might and Magic V Card and Tile Game (by DGA Games) is announced, another incarnation of the innovative hybrid game.

March



1: After several months in hiatus, The Behemoth's Lair reopens first next to Celestial Heavens, then on a server of its own.10: After 126 reviews and 50,000 words, Psychobabble retires from map reviewing. He will focus on the mapmaking contest in January. 12: An administrator of the Starforce forum makes a major blunder and posts a link to a GalCiv 2 torrent, hoping to show everyone that the game needed some sort of copy protection. Stardock's very diplomatic reply is that regular and free updates was a better strategy: "If you make it easy for users to buy and make full use of your product or service legitimately then we believe that you'll gain more users from that convenience than you'll lose from piracy." 14: Nival opens new offices in Los Angeles and names Kevin Bachus their new CEO.

April



5: A Heroes Web game called Heroes Mini is released and keeps people busy until the release of the game. Some fans still play it today for some strange reason. 12: Ubisoft announced that it was going to stop using Starforce in its game, putting to rest endless debates about copy protection. 13: The Heroes V demo is released, and Disciples III is announced the next day. 20: Heroes of Might and Magic V goes gold. 29: Dragon's Fate, an eight-map Heroes IV campaign, is released to the community by jeff. With the equivalent of 300 pages of text, it is a massive accomplishment.

May



2: The Create-a-Town contest, originally started by Nival as a joint effort with a Russian magazine and extended to the rest of the world thanks to the guys at Age of Heroes, falls flat after the announcement of the winning entry, a town made of halflings, minotaurs and vampires. 7: The first version of Aurelain's Skill Wheel is published on CH, with very positive feedback from the fans. The tool has since been released in multiple languages with additional features. 16: Heroes V is released across the world. Some players from the United States had to wait a little longer because of shipment delays. A Haven hero, Klaus, is named after a beta tester. 20: Rumors of a first patch appeared on a Russian forum.

June



2: Pictures of a steamy Nival party are posted on a blog. Various strippers can be seen in front of Heroes screens, a rather astonishing sight. 7: Heroes V is the third best-selling PC game in the US on the week of May 27. The game is in the top ten in the U.K. as well. 16: Vladimir Kuzmanov 's Ghosts of the Past series debuts on CH, and lasts several months. The Dark Messiah beta test begins. 18: About a month after the release of the game only, a first fan manual was released on Celestial Heavens. The guide was a small, easily printable PDF guide.

July



3: The Elrath.com mod manager is released and makes the lives of mod users easier. Dozens of mods have been released for both the beta and the retail game. 20: Patch 1.2 is released. 27: Dark Messiah is delayed too

August



1: A second fan-made manual is released, this time at the request of the game's producer, and with a seal of approval. The guide is a common effort from various community sites. The good news is that the manual is one impressive piece of work, the bad news is that we aren't likely to see any decent Heroes manual from Ubisoft anytime soon. The Disciples of Sareth site opens and gets people talking about Dark Messiah by giving them various goodies. I would tell you more about these corrupted pawns of Ubisoft if I wasn't too busy staring at my brand new keyboard and mouse... 6: Tim Lang joins the Nival Interactive U.S. office as the first game designer of the new studio. No information about his project has been released since. 8: A very short demo of Dark Messiah is released. People are amazed by the action, but wonder where is the role-playing. The game stu-stu-stu-tters a bit too, a well-known side effect of the Source engine. Fans immediately start modding the beta, doing all sorts of crazy things with it. 27: Ubisoft announces an expansion pack to Heroes of Might and Magic V, entitled Hammers of Fate. It features a new dwarven town called The Fortress.

September



8: The map editor gets leaked on the Internet. A funny guy uploads it to a torrent site under my name. 25: The new Celestial Heavens map contest opens. After a short stay at NCSoft, Jon Van Caneghem creates Trion World Network with Lars Buttler, a new developer.

October



9: Dark Messiah goes gold. 14: We learn that Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco are the composers for Dark Messiah. 17: Version 0.4 of the Might and Magic Tribute gets released, and people start to wonder if that game will ever see the light of day. 24: Dark Messiah ships. 30: An unofficial random map generator is posted on the Internet.The tool is surprisingly effective.

November



9: Hammers of Fate goes gold, patch 1.4 is released. 14: Hammers of Fate ships, and soon references to nagas are found in the game files, possibly a hint of additional content to come. 22: GameSpot gives Hammers of Fate a 6.7 out of 10. 27: A post on Jeff Spock's blog reveals that the writer is working on a new fantasy game to be released in 2007. In an interview with Celestial Heavens, he adds that the Might and Magic fans will not be disappointed.

December



1: The Wake of Gods site reopens on CelestialHeavens.com. More than five years after the publication of the first version of the mod, the Wake of Gods team is still alive and active. 24: arturchix is crowned the Disciples of Sareth MVP and wins a Dark Messiah modded computer.


Top Five Events of the Year



5. Critics Give Bad Scores: While the new Might and Magic games got fairly good reviews overall, scores such as 4/10 and 5/10 at 1UP, 67% at GameSpot and 3/5 at GameSpy bring the average down. The bottomline is that the games have good potential, but lack the polish that makes great games truly great. I can't really disagree with most of the negative points in the reviews, but I can't help but feel that some reviewers didn't feel like playing the games in the first place.
4. Fans Publish a Manual: Seeing that Nival was busy patching Heroes V, Fabrice asks fans to create a manual of their own. It was a great idea really, and with multilingual versions and regular updates, the results were probably beyond everyone's expectations. The only drawback is the trend that such an action probably created.
3. Fans Beat Starforce: We will never know why exactly Ubisoft changed its mind about its copy protection scheme of choice, but the fact that the name of the company was often associated with the Starforce brand on Internet forums was certainly a source of concerns. A couple of Heroes fans fought a long and difficult battle and eventually won. Unfortunately, the issue of software piracy remains unsolved.
2. Ubisoft Patches Its Games: Try launching version 1.0 of either Heroes V or Dark Messiah and you'll see how much progress has been made on those games during the past months, especially with the release of the Hammers of Fate expansion. Early adopters and players who are not Internet users had a tough time with the game, but Heroes V is possibly a better game today because of the feedback of the players after the release of the game -- too bad that didn't happen during the beta test.
1. Fans Save Heroes: A timely reaction, a very organized group of fans, exposure across the Internet, headed debates, support from the gaming community and, ultimately, a flawless victory that avoided what could have been a disaster for the series. The SaveHeroes movement was possibly the fan site community's finest hour.

So, has 2006 been good for you?

If you would like to take a look at the original page visit this link:
http://www.celestialheavens.com/viewpage.php?id=1167157005
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HodgePodge
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 26 2006, 22:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Angelspit wrote:
3. Fans Beat Starforce: We will never know why exactly Ubisoft changed its mind about its copy protection scheme of choice, but the fact that the name of the company was often associated with the Starforce brand on Internet forums was certainly a source of concerns. A couple of Heroes fans fought a long and difficult battle and eventually won. Unfortunately, the issue of software piracy remains unsolved.

Yes! 2006 turned out to be an amazing game year for me. Particularly, pointing out the above mentioned Event, if this had not taken place, 2006 wouldn't have been so amazing for me.

Also, I have to note that UbiSoft/Nival has been making more improvements with Heroes 5 and this makes the game much more attractive to me.

Anyhow, thanks Angelspit for posting these events and bringing back so many fond (and some not so fond) memories. big smile
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asandir
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 26 2006, 23:20    Post subject: The Year in Review Reply with quote

Ah the year in review, well it was good in that heroes got reborn, perhaps not the easiest birth, but nevermind
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Elvin
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 27 2006, 1:43    Post subject: The Year in Review Reply with quote

There were some incidents but many good things came with them nontheless.I'm glad the series was revived.
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Veldrynus
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 27 2006, 11:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

2006 was the year, when the Heroes of Might and Magic serie was killed a horrible way. Its' agony isn't over yet. The rotting corpse continues its' ugly undead life...
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Thelonious
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 27 2006, 12:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veldrynus wrote:
2006 was the year, when the Heroes of Might and Magic serie was killed a horrible way. Its' agony isn't over yet. The rotting corpse continues its' ugly undead life...


Still playing HoMM IV then? Me too (yet even if I wanted to I couldn't play HoMM V in a 'decent' manner)
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Orfinn
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 27 2006, 13:04    Post subject: The Year in Review Reply with quote

1: The HOMM and MM series got revived
2: SF got crushed by fans
3: H5 keeps getting better
4: No snow
etc...
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 28 2006, 23:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I kind of gave hope for Heroes after thinking of the quality or lack thereof of HoMMV. I doubt there's going to be a sixth addition to the franchise when this outing got such a poor reception, and even though HoMMV has improved with the Expansion, it's never going to be great.

With this, I say goodbye.
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 29 2006, 15:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good review, AS. Well, let's call it "decent". Kinda. I guess. Maybe "half-decent". If we stretch it a little. Or a lot. You could cut the "decent" bit - maybe replace it with "not" and "bad". Yeah. Not half-bad. Or not too bad. That is to say, it didn't suck. Too much. Etc. etc. etc... wink

applause hail
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 31 2006, 18:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am honored surprised that Dragon's Fate was mentioned, but I think you missed one big item the return of GhostWriter. applause
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CH - The Year in ReviewCH - The Year in ReviewPosted: Dec 31 2006, 18:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thelonious wrote:
Veldrynus wrote:
2006 was the year, when the Heroes of Might and Magic serie was killed a horrible way. Its' agony isn't over yet. The rotting corpse continues its' ugly undead life...


Still playing HoMM IV then? Me too (yet even if I wanted to I couldn't play HoMM V in a 'decent' manner)

Me three! big smile Right now, I'm replaying the Sylvan Campaign in the original H5, but that's only because I want to "miss" playing Heroes 4 for awhile. Heroes 4 (and Heroes 3) will always be there to keep the series alive; and who can say but that given enough time, Nival will mend Heroes 5 to the point of making it a classic also.

Still, Heroes 5 isn't a bad game, it does take some getting used to I do believe that after all the expansions & patches are released, the game will rate quite highly (maybe never as highly as Heroes III or IV) and that there will most definetely be a Heroes 6.

jeff wrote:
I am honored surprised that Dragon's Fate was mentioned, but I think you missed one big item the return of GhostWriter. applause

Dragon's Fate is one of the major campaigns ever to be created for Heroes IV. It's great! Right up there with the Saga of Depierrelles and Wind of Thorns. I intend on replaying Dragon's Fate soon. I want to thank you again Jeff, for this magnificient campaign.
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