MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby Logscale » Sep 15 2014, 2:08

I got MM7 in either 2000 or 2001 - with the original box. I still have the CDs for it, and they work like new.

I got MM8 around 5-6 years ago.

I got MM6 a few weeks ago (and finished it last week) as part of a "Limited Edition" bundle. I got it from Amazon but I think it's the same bundle that GOG offers.

Having finished each of them, here's my review. Note: Obviously this is somewhat subjective.
---------------------------
Storyline:
MM7 had the most original and detailed storyline in the entire series, offering the player the chance to choose between 2 paths - one which saves the world, the other destroys it. MM6 also had a large main storyline, but it wasn't as original (and the tacky Star Trek references didn't help). But why complain about the MM6 storyline when MM8 had a downright abysmal storyline... MM8 had arguably the shortest and least inventive story in the entire series
Winner: MM7 by a large margin.
Loser: MM8. What was the dev team thinking when they rolled out that lame excuse for a storyline...
-----------------------------------
Game Balance - NPCs vs Your Characters:
MM6 had incredibly broken/imbalanced balancing. There were plenty of enemies that could instantly KO your characters or worse, with no way to counter them other than abusing line-of-sight bugs with walls and other obstructions. Potions had no strength and prismatic abilities (light/dark) cost a large amount of energy, which meant the best way to recharge your characters was to use Lloyd's Beacon with a temple as a cheap form of Divine Intervention. There was no invisibility, preservation, or protection from conditions. To add injury to insult, healing was abysmal, with the strongest healing potion giving only 100 health and healing scaling limited to 2 points per skill level.
Most late-game monsters were completely immune to a lot of abilities on top of that.

It seems like plenty of players complained, and MM7 fixed a lot of these problems. Tired of conditions? Grab a master level healer and use protection from magic (aka protection from conditions). It prevents instant death and eradication at grandmaster level, or alternately you could just get Preservation, Healing now scaled properly with basic/expert/master/grandmaster rank. Costs of light and dark abilities went down a lot, and some of the more nonsensical abilities were removed. Other weaker/redundant abilities were merged.

MM8 swung the balance pendulum all the way in the player's favor. Instant eradication and death effects were removed (with the only exception being Ancient Wyverns which are easy to dodge and avoid anyway). Want to make MM8 easy? Recruit Ithilgore (the level 5 dragon) and Cauri Blackthorne (the level 50 dark elf) and laugh as everything below level 20 evaporates or takes 2 arrows to the knee.

Winner: MM7.
Loser: MM6. After MM7 and MM8 I was surprised at how bad the balancing was in MM6
--------------------------------
Game Balance - Skills and Abilities:

MM6: Some weapons were crap while others remained viable in the late game. No armsmaster, alchemy, or identify monster skill. Spell balance? even worse. Elemental skills each cluttered with a "damage" spell that does lower damage than an arrow and never scales with your level (obsolete at level 5 or so), some of which can miss. Most conditions against monsters were completely broken (no effect!!!). A lot of abilities were grossly underpowered or had too many restrictions to be usable. Only reasons to specialize in Light element were Golden Touch (alchemy items to gold), Paralyze, and buffs. Divine Intervention was only usable on sunrise and sunset (this restriction was removed in MM7 and MM8). Moon Ray and Sun Ray were limited to outdoors and night time/day time respectively, although there was no real balance-wise reason for this.

MM7: Much better. Big, big improvement. No more non-scaling spells. Moon Ray changed to Souldrinker, which works anywhere, anytime. Protection from Conditions and Preservation. Grandmaster perks provided an extra layer of game balance, and characters actually had skill mastery limits based on class.
Unfortunately, MM7 still had its flaws, with some enemies immune to magic and some immune to physical damage, and some grossly underpowered abilities. Flying Fist = weaker than Fireball with no area damage and can't damage undead. Ice Blast = utter trash and a waste of energy. Power Cure should have scaled a bit better considering it was just a group heal for 15x the cost. Spirit Lash had shorter range than a melee attack. Psy-shock was bugged to do only 1 extra damage point per skill level. On the plus side though, conditions on monsters were actually fixed. A lot of Light abilities were made more useful or reworked, but they were still weak compared to their Dark counterparts.

MM8: A further improvement. Flying Fist damage per skillpoint was increased to d10, which meant that healers could actually dish out some serious damage late-game. Spirit Lash was turned into dangerous point-blank area damage similar to Ring of Fire in MM6. Ice Blast received a damage buff to make it actually useful. Elementals were no longer immune to body/mind damage.

Winner: MM8, definitely
Loser: MM6, way behind the other 2
-------------------------------

Game Balance - Character Classes:

MM6:
-Knights:Paladins with a bit of extra health and no ability to heal or buff. Garbage. Just use a paladin instead.
-Paladin: Improved version of a knight.
-Archer:A good choice, combining combat expertise with elemental abilities
-Cleric: Garbage because Dark abilities were overpriced and Self abilities were crap for damage. Use a druid or paladin instead.
-Druid: Cleric that can actually do damage.
-Wizard: Tons of damage. Elemental and prismatic abilities.
-I have no idea why everyone says that 2 wizards and 2 clerics is the best party for MM6, my first savegame was a paladin, a cleric, and 2 wizards. Later on, I rerolled it as 2 druids and 2 wizards (easymode)

MM7:
-Knights: Only useful for doing damage and absorbing damage. No ability to heal/buff/area damage. Just get a paladin instead.
-Rogue: Mediocre in early and mid game, trash in endgame. Later on, you should be able to telekinesis traps away or have enough health to ignore them. Lower damage and defensive abilities than knights and monks.
-Monk: Knights that can heal, with a focus on avoiding damage instead of absorbing it. Grandmaster Learning is a big plus.
-Paladin: Useful alternative to knights that can heal and buff well.
-Ranger: Waste of a character slot - no meteor shower, town portal, flight, invisibility, protection, resurrect abilities - but also no grandmaster chainmail skill or bow skill. Just get a more specialized character instead. Only perks are grandmaster identify monster and axe.
-Archer: Heavy ranged damage, can use elemental skills at master level, and grandmaster chainmail for 1/3 reduction to physical damage
-Cleric: Grandmaster protection from conditions = no more instant death/eradication. Power cure to heal everyone at the same time. Put at least one in your team, get 2 of them if choosing the dark path.
-Druid: No grandmaster skills besides meditation and alchemy (and who needs grandmaster alchemy anyway). No light/dark. Unlike in MM6, MM7 druids are incredibly weak late game
-Wizard: Get one of these on your team - you need grandmaster level for Starburst, Lloyd's Beacon, and reliable Town Portals. Grandmaster invisibility is also good.

MM8:
-Knight: Waste of a character slot. Recruit a Dragon instead.
-Minotaur: Knight that can heal... just a bit.
-Troll: Similar to the MM2/MM3 Barbarian, it's a knight with lower defense but better regeneration and similar damage. Waste of a character slot in the end - recruit a dragon instead.
-Dragon: Heavy fireball area damage, flight, fear, and knockback. Plus an unrivaled ranged attack that never misses. This is why knights and trolls are obsolete.
-Vampire: Substitute for paladins in MM6/7. Decent after the buffs to Self abilities.
-Dark Elf: Substitute for archers - except that they have no melee skill for which they can improve their damage. For shame.
-Cleric: Like in MM6/7, only better. Grandmaster Self abilities + Light Have one on your team.
-Necromancer: Grandmaster Elemental + Dark. Not 100% essential but very useful.
-Ability to change your party after creating it.

Winner: MM7.
Loser: Can't decide.

Graphics:
MM6: No advanced graphics like in MM7 and MM8. Characters and items look like they were drawn in MS Paint.

MM7: Introduction of advanced hardware accelerated 3D effects in-game. Well-drawn items and character.

MM8: Slight improvements over the MM7 3D engine. Unfortunately the items were drawn in the MM6 style and are therefore ugly.

Winner: MM7
Loser: MM6
---------------------------
Game World - Detail:
MM6: Immersive reputation affects how NPCs treat you. Diplomacy skill (or lame attempt at one), options to influence NPCs. Amazing amount of game detail and 2D artwork on walls.

MM7: Reputation system was heavily nerfed, but artistic detail of MM6 still visibile.

MM8: Obviously rushed. Reputation system imported right from MM7, with visual side-details lacking.

Winner: MM6
Loser: MM8
----------------------------
Game World - Size:

MM6: Tons of huge caves, forts, and dungeons to raid, with an effectively massive game world - largest inn the series. Many side quests.

MM7: Many side quests, but the side areas (caves,forts,dungeons) were much smaller, almost disappointingly so compared to MM6.

MM8: Few side quests, fewer side areas than MM7, and of comparable size to MM7.

Winner: MM6
Loser: MM8

---------------------------
Bugs:
MM6: Conditions on NPCs bugged.

MM7 and MM8: Psy-shock damage bugged into the garbage.

Loser: MM6.
---------------------------
Pros and Cons of each game (+ and - respectively):

MM6:
+Impressive storyline
+Largest side areas
+Large world size
+Highly detailed world
-Combat balance is downright lousy
-Spell balance is crap
-Conditions on NPCs are buggy


MM7:
+Best. Storyline. Ever.
+Best balancing between character classes
+Decent ability balance
+Best combat balance in entire series
+Impressive world size, many side areas
+Many side quests
+Advanced 3D graphics
-Side areas aren't as large as in MM6
-Psy-shock is bugged, rendering Self abilities ineffective at damage.


MM8:
+Can change party mid-game
+Superior 3D graphics
+Wide range of character abilities
+Further combat balance improvements over MM7
-Dragons make several character classes obsolete
-Class balance inferior to MM6/7
-Worst. Storyline. Ever.
-Small game world, smaller side areas
-Few side quests

---------------------------
Overall winner: MM7 stands head and shoulders above every other game in the series. Get MM7 if nothing else in the series.

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Postby Arret » Sep 16 2014, 7:39

Oh boy. I'll keep this short because it's late.
-Cleric: Garbage because Dark abilities were overpriced and Self abilities were crap for damage. Use a druid or paladin instead.
-Druid: Cleric that can actually do damage.
-Wizard: Tons of damage. Elemental and prismatic abilities.
-I have no idea why everyone says that 2 wizards and 2 clerics is the best party for MM6, my first savegame was a paladin, a cleric, and 2 wizards. Later on, I rerolled it as 2 druids and 2 wizards (easymode)

Clerics are great. I find druids to be a waste of time (and not only because you should be able to finish the game before the first promotion).
The problem is that later on, the only thing that really does any damage is shrapmetal or maybe dragon breath. Druids don't scale well mainly because their best spells can't be used indoors, although they are fine until late game. If you are running out of mana, as stated, just beacon out and instaheal for 40 gold.

-Knights: Only useful for doing damage and absorbing damage. No ability to heal/buff/area damage. Just get a paladin instead.
-Rogue: Mediocre in early and mid game, trash in endgame. Later on, you should be able to telekinesis traps away or have enough health to ignore them. Lower damage and defensive abilities than knights and monks.
-Monk: Knights that can heal, with a focus on avoiding damage instead of absorbing it. Grandmaster Learning is a big plus.
-Paladin: Useful alternative to knights that can heal and buff well.
-Ranger: Waste of a character slot - no meteor shower, town portal, flight, invisibility, protection, resurrect abilities - but also no grandmaster chainmail skill or bow skill. Just get a more specialized character instead. Only perks are grandmaster identify monster and axe.
-Archer: Heavy ranged damage, can use elemental skills at master level, and grandmaster chainmail for 1/3 reduction to physical damage
-Cleric: Grandmaster protection from conditions = no more instant death/eradication. Power cure to heal everyone at the same time. Put at least one in your team, get 2 of them if choosing the dark path.
-Druid: No grandmaster skills besides meditation and alchemy (and who needs grandmaster alchemy anyway). No light/dark. Unlike in MM6, MM7 druids are incredibly weak late game
-Wizard: Get one of these on your team - you need grandmaster level for Starburst, Lloyd's Beacon, and reliable Town Portals. Grandmaster invisibility is also good.

Paladin over a knight? Maybe over a second knight, and then only on light side because triple paralyze spam/triple destroy undead is abusive. You missed out on Cleric's regeneration spell is the only possible explanation for devaluing a knight like that. You don't need a second healer in this game.

This is before things like GM Armsmaster (which a paladin can only get expert in), GM plate, GM body building. This is in exchange for what, a normal heal until you are promoted (meaning your party is already tough enough to kill a dragon!)? Spears and especially the trident artifact (Charele?) destroy the kind of damage a mace can put out. Remember that any extra point you can put into mace skill, a knight can put into Armsmaster and get 2x damage, hit, and recovery time. Recovery time late game will result in a knight getting 4+ attacks for every 1 of a paladin.

Unlike the other games, in MM7 due to how OP grandmaster skills end up the best party light or dark is:
Knight
Cleric
Sorcerer
Anything (4th slot gets argued a lot. with any answer but Ranger being acceptable. but the first 3 are obvious)

I'll continue tomorrow if I remember.

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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby Arret » Sep 16 2014, 23:49

Logscale wrote:MM8:
-Knight: Waste of a character slot. Recruit a Dragon instead.
-Minotaur: Knight that can heal... just a bit.
-Troll: Similar to the MM2/MM3 Barbarian, it's a knight with lower defense but better regeneration and similar damage. Waste of a character slot in the end - recruit a dragon instead.
-Dragon: Heavy fireball area damage, flight, fear, and knockback. Plus an unrivaled ranged attack that never misses. This is why knights and trolls are obsolete.
-Vampire: Substitute for paladins in MM6/7. Decent after the buffs to Self abilities.
-Dark Elf: Substitute for archers - except that they have no melee skill for which they can improve their damage. For shame.
-Cleric: Like in MM6/7, only better. Grandmaster Self abilities + Light Have one on your team.
-Necromancer: Grandmaster Elemental + Dark. Not 100% essential but very useful.
-Ability to change your party after creating it.



It's not that knights are bad, it's that you get dragons too early. If you ignore the first two dragons, Blazen Stormlance, and Cauri until mid game, it helps immensely. There is no reason any of these characters should be accessible before 30. At that point, your knight has scaled enough to actually be able to hit as hard (if not harder due to artifacts) as the dragons.

The biggest issue with dragons is there is no reason to get virtually anything but dragon skill (possibly ID item or learning, but even those aren't mandatory), so at 1-10 unresistable damage per rank (including an aoe and fly, which otherwise is unavailable until you have cleared out the minotaurs), it gets ridiculous early. By mid game they are sitting on 30-300 damage per attack. If you didn't get them until mid game this amount is only in the 7-70 range which is actually fairly weak, but fair given the spammable aoe.

Necromancers may not be essential, but they should be a part of any 5 man team. Grandmaster Town Portal/Lloyd's Beacon allows instant heals and cures. Dark magic is just as strong as in MM7, and this is before getting into things like Starburst/Meteor Shower.

---------------------------
Bugs:
MM6: Conditions on NPCs bugged.

MM7 and MM8: Psy-shock damage bugged into the garbage.

Loser: MM6.


Conditions on NPCs work fine, they just have an absurd level of resistance. I've found occasional uses for mass curse, but it just isn't as effective as burning down with an aoe attack like Shrapmetal, Sparks or Poison Spray. There is almost never a reason to use anything but direct damage or occasionally paralyze.

MM8:
+Can change party mid-game
+Superior 3D graphics
+Wide range of character abilities
+Further combat balance improvements over MM7
-Dragons make several character classes obsolete
-Class balance inferior to MM6/7
-Worst. Storyline. Ever.
-Small game world, smaller side areas
-Few side quests


All 3 games use the same engine and if anything, MM8 is considered pale by comparison although much of that is to set an atmosphere.
It's far less balanced than MM7 mainly due to the use of early characters that needed to be restricted. You can easily have 2 dragons, a level 50 dark elf, and a level 50 knight right out of the starting zone.

The storyline is one you would get much more out of the elemental lords had been familiar with the series going in, particularly reading the MM2 manual. The "gather the elements" storyline was a bit cliche, although the inclusion of certain races (Necromancers, goblins, Minotaur, and Dragons saving the world?) and blatant exposure of corruption in the only "good" faction by Dyson Leyland was a nice change. This is before including that the great enemy mage in a fantasy world was an AI.

Also, MM9 is far worse storywise. We don't talk about that much for good reason.

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Postby GreatEmerald » Sep 20 2014, 20:53

Hmm, yea, I more or less agree with the OP. In general I find it like this: MM6:MoH - unpolished; MM7:fBaH - solid; MM8:DotD - unbalanced.

But yea, I played MM7 first as well. Sort of; I tried getting into MM6, but decided its graphics style was not worth it and drove right into MM7.

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Postby Xfing » Sep 21 2014, 15:59

I disagree strongly about certain points, such as the graphics of MM6 being inferior to MM7 and 8. I mean, there was no hardware acceleration, which made the game look much neater, true. But on the other hand, the engine is identical, and the textures themselves from MM6 were much prettier and better than most of what was used in the later games. Really.

I have to agree about the spell balance, though. MM7 really was a huge improvement from 6 in that regard. If MM6 had the alchemy and armsmaster skills from MM7, the skill cap system and the spell system, it would have been the perfect game, hands down. Anyone thought about making a mod introducing all those things to 6? I'm sure that would take some work, but all that much, really? Would soooo be worth it.
Last edited by Xfing on Sep 22 2014, 11:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby GreatEmerald » Sep 21 2014, 16:42

The problem is that in MM6:MoH they used either photos or very early CG models, but there was a huge segregation between the two. Starting with MM7:fBaH it became much more coherent as they used CG for everything. It was also very coherent in the previous games, especially MM3-5, so in that regard MoH is the black sheep and it really shows.

As for the mod, you mean this? ;) http://www.celestialheavens.com/forums/ ... hp?t=10974

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Postby Xfing » Oct 4 2014, 19:40

GreatEmerald wrote:As for the mod, you mean this? ;) http://www.celestialheavens.com/forums/ ... hp?t=10974


Hmmm... Yes, it does seem this remake will be able to be used for what I just said. That would be such fun!

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Re:

Postby Macros the Black » Oct 5 2016, 8:59

GreatEmerald wrote:The problem is that in MM6:MoH they used either photos or very early CG models

They do look like pictures, but one of them is a Xena lookalike. Even her outfit is the same. It makes me wonder if perhaps they are CG after all.
Last edited by Macros the Black on Oct 5 2016, 22:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby thrakk » Oct 6 2016, 12:56

The photos beat the cg models everytime

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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 6 2016, 15:12

I would note that size does not automatically equal a positive for me.

MM6 is big, it's true -- but the size of many of its dungeons gets in the way of the game, for me. Once you've established your ability to clear a room of monster X, having to clear out another 500 rooms of the same is somewhat dull. Might and Magic 7, I think, had a proper sense of scale. The dungeons start out relatively small, and as the game progresses, they get larger, to the point where getting through the Tunnels to Eofol feels like an accomplishment rather than Dungeon Slog #87.
Far too many people speak their minds without first verifying the quality of their source material.

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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby hellegennes » Oct 6 2016, 23:55

I agree that plain size doesn't mean anything, but MM6 wasn't like that. The dungeons were much more rich and unique. On the contrary, MM7's huge dungeons were redundant. They weren't as unique, they just felt like big spaces with a lot of enemies. Especially the tunnels feels exactly like that. The space is boring and unimaginative, even given the fact that they're tunnels. Compare that with the Tomb of Varn.

The graphics comparison is unfair. Graphics-wise, MM6 was superb for its era. The resolution seems ridiculous today, but the textures are very rich and pretty and it really shows that they had put a lot of time into making the graphics detailed.

I do agree about the spells though. Most of the non-damage, non-protective spells are pretty useless, be it in early, mid or late game. It doesn't get much better in MM7 however, although it's certainly an improvement.

MM7 did manage to improve upon many things, like skills and spells but it was a step back with regard to the pacing; it's almost end-game and it feels like it's mid-game. That's maybe because there are a couple of areas not really accessible until very late in the game, whereas in MM6 you could pretty much roam everywhere free. Also, MM7 is much less of a challenge after mid-game. MM6 had much better scaling of challenge; you didn't feel god-like until pretty much the end.

One should also consider that MM7 was easier to develop. The engine is the same, the gameplay is pretty much the same, the core design is the same and much of the artwork is shared between H3 and MM7. The game mechanics are essentially identical. They didn't have to make a lot of design choices.

MM8 cannot be compared to any of the previous games. It was quite obviously half-finished. It doesn't have any major bugs, so we can't say it's unfinished (that's reserved for MM9), but it really shows that after a point they stopped designing and started wrapping it up. That's certainly 3DO's doing. Not only the game feels empty, even when there are areas packed with enemies, but it lacks story content and elements that would motivate you to go though an area. It's also ridiculously easy.

MM9 had great potential, but... bankruptcy.

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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 7 2016, 1:51

hellegennes wrote:I agree that plain size doesn't mean anything, but MM6 wasn't like that. The dungeons were much more rich and unique. On the contrary, MM7's huge dungeons were redundant. They weren't as unique, they just felt like big spaces with a lot of enemies. Especially the tunnels feels exactly like that. The space is boring and unimaginative, even given the fact that they're tunnels. Compare that with the Tomb of Varn.


I will agree that the different locations feel unique in MM6. But they're even bigger spaces than MM7 filled with even more enemies.

If I were to compare a MM7 dungeon with the Tomb of Varn, I'd actually use the Lincoln.

The Tunnels to Eofol, to put things in perspective, is roughly comparable to the Abandoned Temple in New Sorpigal. Nothing but tunnels that just won't stop full of spiders, more spiders, and still more spiders.

The difference is that MM7 worked its way up to that size, whereas MM6 starts with that size and keeps on pushing you through it, dungeon after dungeon.
Far too many people speak their minds without first verifying the quality of their source material.

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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby Macros the Black » Oct 8 2016, 0:13

As for annoyingly long and boring dungeons, the Barrow Downs annoy me more than anything in MM6. I think it's because it's also a multi-level maze. It might not take as long to get through as say Castle Darkmoor, but while you're going through it you have no idea if you're making any progress, and if you are how much more you have left to do.

I think MM7 would have close to perfect if it had one or two more map areas. One thing that feels strange to me is that you can get Light and Dark Magic grandmastery at basically the same time you would be able to get Elemental/Self Grandmastery. It feels like there should have been more than just one quest to prove your worth and gain access to them, and also an area or two to really take advantage of Meteor Shower and/or Starburst. As it is now, only Water Magic feels like it's worth grandmastering for Lloyd's Beacon. And of course there's the balance problem of the hybrid classes lagging behind on magic skills too much. It feels like you jump from having expert level spells to suddenly having GM light/dark spells.
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Re: MM6 vs. MM7 vs. MM8: My review (May Contain Spoilers)

Postby hellegennes » Oct 9 2016, 16:18

MM7 introduced the GM level but the way you get there feels a wee bit unbalanced. Proportionatelly, you spend most of the game time being only an expert at some skills. Skill advancement was not well thought out. If MM7 had spent 6 more months in development it would be a near perfect game.

Comparing it to MM6 in terms of graphics is really unfair, because between the two games 3D accelarated graphics became the norm. It was a technological leap.


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