Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

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Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby Kalah » Oct 13 2011, 22:22

<img src="https://www.celestialheavens.com/images/news/erwanlebreton.jpg" align=right hspace=10 vspace=10>Norwegian site Gamer.no have published a <a href="http://www.gamer.no/artikler/96097/might--magic-produsenten-svarte-leserne/">Q&A with producer Erwan le Breton</a>. It is a net-meeting kind of Q&A, with the various readers posting their questions and Erwan typing in his replies. The start of the article (the introduction) is in Norwegian, but the actual Q&A is in English, so just scroll down the page to find it. Here are a couple of tidbits:

<b>Q:</b>Why did you decide to remove town view from homm5?
<b>A:</b>The town view has not been removed - it is still there. But we agree it is not as nice and rewarding as in the former Heroes. Improving these town views is on top of our post-launch support priority list.

<b>Q:</b>How many factions can we play on release, and will you add more later on?
<b>A:</b>5 factions are present in H6, out of 9 that are present in the world of Ashan. So there is ample room for additional factions in possible extensions.

<b>Q:</b>What would you say was THE toughest choice/compromise for you during the development?
<b>A:</b>The toughest choice was the revised skill system. It was discussed at length with the VIP fans from our private forum, and our first proposal was (justly) discarded in favour of the current system.

<b>Q:</b>Why where so many resources removed? Less resources equals less fun. One of the fun part of the Heroes of Might and Magic games is to find the right resource.
<b>A:</b>The 4 rare resources have been combined into a single one, called “Dragon Blood Crystals”. Its existence is linked with the history of Ashan. We have three main reasons for this change:
<ul><li>This brings more strategy to the game. At first, you could think this is the contrary but on former Heroes, each faction had his specific resources to look after and so did not care much about the other guy and his mines. Now that every faction is looking for the same resource, mines possession will be much more strategic as you’ll also prevent the other to take this crucial resource.
<li>Games with a lot of resources are not strategy games but management games. If you look at Starcraft 2, they have 2 resources. Games such as Settlers VII (7 resources) or Civilization V (32 resources!!) focus more on management. In the former Heroes games, you would often spend a lot of time collecting rare resources that were useless to you just to convert them in the marketplace. This kind of micromanagement was not really the funniest part of playing M&M Heroes...
<li>It is much easier for map makers. You don’t need to think too much about which resources to place on the map depending on which factions are present.

Read the whole thing <a href="http://www.gamer.no/artikler/96097/might--magic-produsenten-svarte-leserne/">here</a>.

If you would like to take a look at the original page visit this link:
https://www.celestialheavens.com/viewpag ... 1318544570
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Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby JSE » Oct 14 2011, 3:07

Up until Heroes 6, Heroes had been a multifaceted strategy series. One of these facets was resource management. It was the combination of these different facets that made Heroes so special.

Based on these statements, however, it's now quite obvious to me that Erwan does not appreciate the original Heroes formula. It's not a surprise, but still a disappointment. :(
Edited on Thu, Oct 13 2011, 23:25 by JSE

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Postby intipacha » Oct 14 2011, 7:26

what happened to heroes of might and magic is just really sad. :(

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Postby Torur » Oct 14 2011, 7:54

meh...
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Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby NimanRodd » Oct 14 2011, 10:24

PLEASE, stop this at once! I've bought the game yesterady and it even didn't start beyond the splash screen. And it is very common as I have seen in forums. This is shameful, and after waiting two delays we do not deserve such a trash. And they worried about how many rsources....
I want a refund.

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Postby Khelavaster » Oct 14 2011, 11:25

Well you'll never get a dev on record admitting the dumbing down. It's sad, but that's the way it is. So now, Erwan's excuse (and I'm not blaming him, mind you) is that more resources=management, and that this hurts strategy. Which is complete rubbish of course. Even the examples are bad: Starcraft 2 is nothing like Heroes, and Civ, with 32 resources, is still universally considered one of the best strategy games out there thank you very much. I tend to agree with the micromanagement of the market system, but I don't think throwing the baby out with the bath water is ever a sensible decision.

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Postby CloudRiderX » Oct 14 2011, 13:34

I think its a little extreme to accuse the developer who is graciously continuing our series of not appreciating 'the heroes formula.' Tradition for the sake of tradition is pointless.

And he's right. Having seven resources sounds nice on paper, and always worked for the series, but what it all comes down to - just like he says - is that the game becomes a resource war. Now that's great and all for strategy and whatnot, but I always found resource wars to be extremely annoying, especially against the AI, and fun is really what it all comes down to.
Now that there are only four resources, which every faction absolutely needs, its easier to inhibit other factions without as much of a grind.
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Postby Orfinn » Oct 14 2011, 17:24

4 resources or not, those listed reasons regarding GAMEPLAY are fine and dandy, but I care more about the connection to the HISTORY background of Ashan, regarding Dragon Blood crystals? Were the other resources not found yet in that timeline? to hard/expensive/unimportant to mine?

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Postby CloudRiderX » Oct 14 2011, 19:08

That IS a good point. They are taking liberties with this prequel thing.
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Postby Kalah » Oct 14 2011, 19:35

Another Q&A here, with Marzhin. It's in French, so use google translate. :)
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Postby JSE » Oct 15 2011, 1:33

@ CloudRiderX:

First of all I did not accuse Erwan of anything: I've just taken the liberty of assuming that Erwan means what he says. By saying -- quote -- "games with a lot of resources are not strategy but management games", he actually expresses that in his opinion, the previous Heroes games were no real strategy games. When I compare this view to the fact that the original Heroes games are largely considered to be among the most important turn-based strategy games of computer gaming history, I think it's not at all "extreme" or even far-fetched to say that he does not appreciate the original Heroes design formula. The original games are full-fletched strategy games which combine different kinds of strategy: exploration, combat tactics, army building, character advancement, *and* resource management. They are all different aspects, but they are pure strategy nontheless.

Second, what about the "developer who is graciously continuing our series"? Are you serious about this? Are you actually implying we should be thankful to even get a Heroes game? Apart from the fact that Heroes and Might and Magic are actually very lucrative franchises which would guarantee solid sales just by putting the names on the box, what kind of a fan would I be if I were happy and understanding even when my favourite game series is continued in a bad way? That would probably make me a model consumer, but not a good fan.

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Re: Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 15 2011, 15:34

JSE wrote:Are you actually implying we should be thankful to even get a Heroes game?


Er . . . yes. There is no inherent human right to Heroes games. There isn't even an inherent human right to good Heroes games. Whatever you may have spent on Heroes games, it isn't even close to what the average company pays to acquire IP. So until you've put forth as much money as they have into the game, yes, you should be grateful. They're doing far more to support it, even if you don't happen to like the direction it's going.
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Postby JSE » Oct 16 2011, 15:58

I think it all comes down to how we understand the role of the "fan": You seem to have the impression that a fan's top priority should be loyalty to the franchise and the company who owns it.

In my opinion, this is a conuterproductive and even dangerous definition of fandom. I think that being a fan is mainly about sticking with something because you enjoy it a lot. When the basis for this enjoyment is starting to disappear, however, it's very reasonable for a fan to be openly critical and to complain -- because, naturally, the fan *wants* his enjoyment to return. A wise developer or publisher listens closely to such criticism and uses it to build a better product.

Now, you say that I should be grateful even though I don't like the current situation at all -- but this behaviour would essentialy disrupt the cycle. If we all were so devout and stopped complaining just because a new product is released that bears the name of our favourite series, we would give up any chance of influencing the series in positive way or in a way we prefer.

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Re: Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby jeff » Oct 16 2011, 16:56

Bandobras Took wrote:
JSE wrote:Are you actually implying we should be thankful to even get a Heroes game?


Er . . . yes.


First I have no experience with H-6. I have not looked at the demo, and have not played the beta. Saying that I agree we have no right to expect someone to continue the Heroes or MM series, and once a company buys the rights they can do as they please. However the idea fans should be grateful for crap, is ludicrous. :jester: Just think of all the horrible movie sequels fans are trying to forget.

As I stated I have no opinion on the quality of H-6; as I don’t know if it’s great or horrible.
Last edited by Anonymous on Oct 16 2011, 17:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Pitsu » Oct 16 2011, 17:03

Supporting a game that you do not like is fine only if there is a good reason to believe that your support turns it back to what you like. With current Ubi, I see no possibilities whatsoever to get what I liked in HoMM and therefore i cannot give them any support. It is rather they who should be grateful that i am not complaining, whining, sabotaging, sending death threats etc more than i do. :S

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Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 17 2011, 8:36

When both sides are grateful, it creates an atmosphere of holistic wellness. ;)

More generally speaking, though, I don't believe that Heroes V was crap, given that it merited two expansions. That speaks well for its viability, meaning that should Ubisoft eventually fail as 3do did, some other company might be encouraged to pick up the rights, and maybe they'll do it right according to everybody's own private vision of what's right.

I also have no particular opinion on H6. But I'm once again seeing the same comments and excuses for random complaints for Game X; To Wit:

The original games are full-fletched strategy games which combine different kinds of strategy: exploration, combat tactics, army building, character advancement, *and* resource management.


Is resource management absent from Heroes 6? No. Was resource management a joke in Heroes 4? Yes. Does this complaint add anything new that was not mentioned and replied to in the interview? No. Does it suggest an improved plan which adds the same number of rare resources while addressing the designers' concerns (map design, direct resource competition in the game, less micro)? No.

Given that,

A wise developer or publisher listens closely to such criticism and uses it to build a better product.


Is inaccurate. I wise developer doesn't waste his time on criticism that betrays nothing more than a vague sense of outrage that "things weren't done the way I want." There's nothing in the criticism here that can actually be used to build a better product.
Far too many people speak their minds without first verifying the quality of their source material.

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Postby Pitsu » Oct 17 2011, 9:01

Bandobras Took wrote: There's nothing in the criticism here that can actually be used to build a better product.


There has been a lot of constructive criticism during different stages of development. I see no reason to post pages of analysis every time "someone in the internet is wrong".

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Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 17 2011, 15:47

I don't, except for special occasions. :)
Far too many people speak their minds without first verifying the quality of their source material.

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Postby JSE » Oct 18 2011, 1:15

@ Bandobras Took:

"Is resource management absent from Heroes 6? No. Was resource management a joke in Heroes 4? Yes. Does this complaint add anything new that was not mentioned and replied to in the interview? No. Does it suggest an improved plan which adds the same number of rare resources while addressing the designers' concerns (map design, direct resource competition in the game, less micro)? No."

Did you leave out Heroes 2 and Heroes 3 on purpose? Both handled resource management very well, and the marketplace's exchange ratio was reasonable. Also, I have replayed Heroes 2 and 3 very recently and did not at all feel that either contained a particularly high level of micromangement. Thus, if you are asking me to suggest my preferred solution, it's this one: the resource system of Heroes 2 or 3. Not because I'm overly nostalgic or conservative -- but because they just worked. How much the struggle over resources is implemented in individual maps, would be based on the map maker's design decisions.

"A wise developer doesn't waste his time on criticism that betrays nothing more than a vague sense of outrage that 'things weren't done the way I want.' There's nothing in the criticism here that can actually be used to build a better product."

You seem to be under the impression that my main criticism in this thread was directed at Heroes 6. While it's true that I am not at all happy with the way it turned out, I was actually criticsing Erwan Le Breton's statement regarding resource management and strategy games. It's quite disheartening for me to know that the future of my favourite game series is in the hands of someone who believes that an actual strategy game cannot contain more than three resources.

Even though my "complaint" was more a comment on Erwan's understanding of strategy games, I think I still made a substantial suggestion that could actually be considered by UbiSoft/Black Hole for the development of future Heroes games:

--> More detailed resource management systems can very well be part of pure strategy games because management is strategy, too. Strategy games are richer when they contain multiple facets and are not solely concerned with direct warfare.
Edited on Mon, Oct 17 2011, 21:19 by JSE

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Re: Erwan Q&A at Gamer.no

Postby Bandobras Took » Oct 19 2011, 4:00

JSE wrote:@ Bandobras Took:
Did you leave out Heroes 2 and Heroes 3 on purpose? Both handled resource management very well, and the marketplace's exchange ratio was reasonable (. . .) Thus, if you are asking me to suggest my preferred solution, it's this one: the resource system of Heroes 2 or 3. Not because I'm overly nostalgic or conservative -- but because they just worked. How much the struggle over resources is implemented in individual maps, would be based on the map maker's design decisions.


But does not address the point he made about the map-maker's design decisions -- either you disallow town type choice to create specific resource shortages for a player or you remove all special resources from nearby, and neither choice really allows the "every mine is important" philosophy that promotes more active strategy. So, yes, I did ignore 2 and 3 deliberately. The impression you gave was that previous Heroes Games were all great in the resource management department, and I felt it only fair to point out a NWC-created Heroes game that was not.

You seem to be under the impression that my main criticism in this thread was directed at Heroes 6. While it's true that I am not at all happy with the way it turned out, I was actually criticsing Erwan Le Breton's statement regarding resource management and strategy games. It's quite disheartening for me to know that the future of my favourite game series is in the hands of someone who believes that an actual strategy game cannot contain more than three resources.


It's more the implication that somehow having less than four strategic resources makes for less of a strategy game. It isn't really resource management in any meaningful sense to flag a Crystal Mine that you're never going to use just to convert it into gold by clicking through various screens.
Far too many people speak their minds without first verifying the quality of their source material.


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