What Comes Next?

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What Comes Next?

Postby JSE » Jul 27 2014, 15:38

---Well, considering the amount of work the designers have put into the new universe, it could be conceived as insulting to call it bad on the single merit that it isn't the same as the old.---

The fact that Ashan isn't Enroth has *nothing* to do with my critcism of it. I've been playing games set in many different fantasy worlds and I do like many of these worlds. My dislike of Ashan is based purely on how badly it is designed -- in my opinion -- and not on nostalgic feelings or the like. The reason I mentioned Enroth in this discussion was to compare the overall quality levels of what we once had to what we have now.


---Frankly, this argument is getting a bit old, and the fans who criticize Ashan tend to focus on the fact that it isn't Enroth rather than actually saying what it is about the new universe that isn't any good. You could start there, perhaps?---

What is really getting old -- in my opinion -- is the "nostalgia argument". There is such a thing as bad game design and bad world design. That is a fact that should be accepted. It's rarely the stubbornness of fans that plunges a game series into a crisis -- but far more often the lack of honest dedication on the developer's/publisher's side.

As for the specific reasons I don't like Ashan, here is a quick list -- I would be more than happy to explain or discuss any of them in detail: a far too simplistic and artificial faction-based concept for the world's realms, the obtrusive use of faction symbols in nearly every situation, the fact that basically all actual dragons are gods and vice versa, most of the place names sound like pathetic attempts at trying to mimic typical Anglo-American fantasy names (examples: Ranaar, Thallan, Heresh, Ygg-Chall -- come on), many of the world's main concepts borrow in a painfully obvious and unoriginal way from the world of Enroth (take the "Holy Griffin Empire" which is basically a rip-off of the Kingdom of Erathia with its Queen Isabel being a carbon copy of Queen Catherine and its former king Nicolai bearing the exact same name as Enroth's prince to the throne and Catherine's son), the fact that several popular characters from the world of Enroth and other worlds of the original universe have been reintroduced as inhabitants of Ashan with completely overhauled background stories (artistically shameful and an outrage for long-time fans).


---I am one of those who don't really care one way or the other, since I arrived into the series late and hadn't formed an emotional attachment to the old universe, [...]---

And again: My opinion about Ashan per se has nothing to do with any emotional attachment.


---[...] but the argument made by Ubisoft when moving to Ashan was a good one: They would never get it right anyway. The old team had moved on and the amount of work required to learn the old canon would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming ... and they would probably get something wrong anyway, thus provoking the die-hard fans. They'd be damned if the did and damned if they didn't, and so decided to go for the solution giving them the fewest problems. They have a point: if I took over a franchise like this, I might think the same way and want to put my mark on it rather than trying desperately to keep making the same thing.---

Strangely enough, other companies can create worthy sequels in established game universes and even please long-time fans (my favourite example here is Fallout 3 -- which was not created by the original developers of Fallout). Apart from that -- how hard would it have been to simply create a new world *within* the original universe? The meta concept was loose enough to allow for just about any kind of fantastic world. They could have just hinted at the existence of the ancients and would have stayed 100 % true to canon while still keeping up ties to the other M&M worlds. Actually, I find it much more likely that Ubisoft really *wanted* to start from scratch. They wanted a differnt style of fantasy and were convinced that they can do it much better. Some of the things Erwan Le Breton (the "Might and Magic world manager") said in interviews seem to support this theory -- I'm quoting:

"Question: Why did Ubisoft decide to revamp the M&M universe?

Erwan Le Breton: There are several reasons for this.

1.) The world used as a background for the Might & Magic games has often changed from one title to the next (Varn, Cron, Terra, Xeen and then Axeoth with Enroth, Erathia, Jadame, Cheh'dian, etc.) As a result the consistency between all the M&M games was a little weak and the overall background was vague, if not flat-out confusing at times. We want to have a single, deep world that’s consistent across the board and has layers of story and content that players can just dive into.

2.) There was just so much information in the world that it was difficult for new players to really embrace everything that was there. The mass of backstory and continuity was almost intimidating, and we wanted to create a world that new players could enjoy as well.

3.) As much as we enjoyed the original M&M worlds, they had a certain science fiction undertone, while we really wanted to focus on the fantasy aspects – the 'might' and 'magic', as it were. Those games were also “lighter” in tone than what we had in mind for the new generation of M&M games."

The full interview can be found here: http://www.the-genies-lamp.com/heroes_5 ... 20DIARY%20#1
Edited on Sun, Jul 27 2014, 12:00 by JSE

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What Comes Next?

Postby hellegennes » Jul 27 2014, 19:56

So you don't like the new world because it's so different than the old one and at the same time you don't like it because it sounds like the old one (the thing about the Griffin Empire). How is that consistent?

You don't like the place names. Is this a serious argument? Do toponyms bother you so much? The old universe had plenty of these types of place names, anyway. Enroth, Erathia, Antagarich...

Look, you may not like the new universe, but saying it's bad or lazy is another thing. Some things are a matter of taste. Ashan is sufficiently deep, has a well-established lore, a considerable amount of work has been done on it and it feels unique. And I am saying that despite preferring the old universe.

On the other hand, your main argument against it is that it's not connected to the old universe. Putting a reference to the ancients has absolutely zero effect on anything. Why would it matter? Would it change the setting and the plots? Would it change the lore? How different was MM9 which had no connection to the rest of the series? Just because of a reference in the intro everything changes? I really don't understand the argument. Not that it matters, because the reference is there. It's the same universe, just another planet. It's all there in Sandro's DLC and in MMXL. Now that you know it, did anything change?

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What Comes Next?

Postby JSE » Jul 28 2014, 3:18

Where do you read that I want Ashan to be like Enroth? Copying a fantasy world can never result in anything good -- especially not when it's copied in such an unoriginal and obvious way. For Ashan to be a good world it would have to be good on its own merits -- which in my opinion is not the case.

Regarding the place names: Of course the quality of names does matter -- it matters a great deal! And yes, all your examples sound far better to my ear than Ashan, Thallan or Ygg-Chall. Those actually sound like the writers set themselves a one-minute deadline for each name.

As for keeping a connection to the original worlds: When Ubisoft took over Might & Magic, they clearly expressed that they had decided to start from scratch and without any connection to the original universe and metaplot. For a lot of fans, that was very frustrating and disheartening. Apparently though, the time for backpedalling has now started.

How does this make me feel? Well, let's see... First my favourite game universe is declared dead. It's then replaced with a completely new world that isn't interesting or exciting to me in the least -- even though I have given it plenty of chances. As if this wasn't bad enough already, even the legacy of the once great Might & Magic is suddenly being taken apart as many iconic characters are reintroduced with completely new background and origin stories. And now you say that they have actually decided to make it all one after all... I feel cheated! The little credibility that might have still been there is definitely gone now.
Edited on Sun, Jul 27 2014, 23:21 by JSE

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What Comes Next?

Postby hellegennes » Jul 28 2014, 17:38

They never explicitly said that Ashan is on a totally new universe which has no relation to the old one. It's the plot that's different and the focus on the history of one planet.

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Re: What Comes Next?

Postby Avonu » Jul 28 2014, 19:07

hellegennes wrote:They never explicitly said that Ashan is on a totally new universe which has no relation to the old one.


Heroes 5 brings us to a new universe.. away from Erathia,the old story, and the heroes we used to love.
This is a new world you are all playing in, with new protagonists, and new destinies.


Fabrice Cambounet and Thomas Le Grand wrote:"Ubisoft decided to revamp the whole Might and Magic universe into a revolutionary modern fantasy. So, we have created a brand-new world, with a new mythology and, of course, new factions. As a result, the current factions are not directly similar to the ones available in previous games."

Intrview from 2005.

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Postby Kalah » Jul 28 2014, 19:09

And no matter the arguments about the qualities (which, btw, I sometimes agree with and sometimes don't), the whole opinion of being against the new universe seems to come along with anti-Ubisoft and nostalgic pro-NWC arguments from most users. Whenever I see somebody criticize the new universe, there is usually a "they should have hired JVC" kind of argument soon to follow.
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Postby jeff » Jul 28 2014, 19:35

Kalah wrote: the whole opinion of being against the new universe seems to come along with anti-Ubisoft and nostalgic pro-NWC arguments from most users.


There is a lot of truth in that, but the quality of the UBI releases has fueled the anti-UBI feelings. They can certainly recover with a high quality release or two. Unfortunately actions speak louder that words, and for the most part their releases (to be nice) have been disappointing. :S
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Postby Kalah » Jul 28 2014, 22:05

Hey, I'll be the first to agree that the Ubisoft games (H5-6) have not been of satisfactory quality, but what I'm saying is that there is a difference between thinking the games are bad and that the universe is bad. I am not convinced that even if H5-6 had been better, these arguments would have changed. We would still hear the same "Ubisoft killed our beloved Enroth" screams. Which is why I think it's getting a bit old. But I guess you're right about one thing: the better the new games, the fewer people would probably complain.
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What Comes Next?

Postby JSE » Jul 29 2014, 3:06

I think I made it very clear that my dislike of Ashan has nothing to do with how much I liked Enroth in the past or how great the NWC games were. And even though I still regard JVC as one of the best game designers out there (because he is one of the few who seem understand the principle of "less is more"), I didn't bring him into this discussion. Apparently, though, mentioning his name is expected as senseless name-dropping fits so well into the cliché of a conservative and stubborn fan who just can't accept evolution and change and who can only repeat the same old complaints instead of discussing intelligently...

As you can see, however, I have given you several specific arguments why I don't like Ashan. And even though you might not agree with some or even all of them, it should still be apparent that I do have more detailed reasons for not liking this world than just not being able to let go of the past.

Kalah, from one of your previous articles here on CH I know that explaining the opinions and attitudes of long-time fans as nostalgia is some sort of a pet peeve of yours. I'm asking you to please always consider the possiblity that fans can also be well aware of their own emotions and can differentiate between nice memories and actual game content.

Personally, I have based my opinion of all M&M games (both the NWC ones and the Ubisoft ones) purely on the quality of each game itself: That's why back in the day, I was not exactly satisfied with how Heroes 4 and M&M 9 turned out -- even though they were made by NWC. I still played them alot because both had several good sides if you gave them a bit of time. For the same reason I decided to buy the Heroes 5 main game and both expansions: I wanted to give them a fair chance of convining me of their "hidden qualities". However, apart from the fantastic music by Rob King and Paul Romero, the game had only very little going for it -- in many ways, it was a weaker Heroes 3 in 3D. Then, after enjoying the demo version of Dark Messiah very much, I decided to purchase that game. And that was definitely worth the money: To this day, it remains my favourite action game and one of my favourite fantasy games. What made it so great, though, had nothing to do with M&M: It was actually a spiritual successor to Arkane's previous RPG Arx Fatalis, another fantastic game. Then came Heroes 6... And I can only thank Ubisoft for the fact that they released a demo version of that one at an early stage: After having played it thoroughly, I could make the very conscious decision that I wanted to have nothing more to do with Heroes 6. Style-wise and gameplay-wise it turned out be the exact opposite of how I would have made a Heroes game.

Anyway, you may have noticed that my attitude towards the world of Ashan didn't even have an influence on whether or not I liked the individual games. Dark Messiah, for instance, contained loads of Ashan lore and even though I found a lot of that material very questionable, I still didn't let it affect my enjoyment of the game itself.

I hope this illustrates how I form my opinion of a new M&M game and sets my disregard of Ashan into perspective. And -- to get back to the original topic of this article -- I'm going to have the same approach towards every future M&M release: I'm going to make up my mind based on the information, sketches, screenshots, and videos released by Ubisoft. I will also certainly play a demo -- if there is one. And finally, based on all that, I'm going to decide whether or not the new game is worth my time and money. Considering how all of Ubisoft's major M&M relases so far (Heroes 5, Heroes 6, and M&M 10) turned out, though, there will probably have to be major changes in terms of art direction and game design for me to find the new game appealing. A positive surprise is always nice and welcome, of course! From my point of view, however, the times of loyal fandom are over. Loyalty, after all, has to be earned. It's entirely up to Ubisoft to win it back.

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Postby Kalah » Jul 29 2014, 13:10

Sure, and I hope you notice that when I speak of the fans who keep bringing up the old universe, I don't mention you specifically. There are some fans who don't like the games simply because they suck, but then there are also some who will never accept that the M&M franchise is produced by the "big bad wolf" Ubisoft; there are some who hate the transition away from Ashan because it meant their old heroes would be gone forever,

As to the nostalgia point: you should be aware that I also count myself in amongst those who would like to see any new game that has roots to an old game I play, create the same feeling when I play it. XCOM comes to mind. I find that good because it's both a good game and pushes the nostalgia button.
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Postby jeff » Jul 29 2014, 17:58

Kalah wrote:We would still hear the same "Ubisoft killed our beloved Enroth" screams. Which is why I think it's getting a bit old. But I guess you're right about one thing: the better the new games, the fewer people would probably complain.


Which is why a user friendly campaign editor (yes campaign not just map editor) was/is essential. Then those who wish to keep the old universe alive, could. Like you I do not care that much about the old canon. However, I would have liked moving my Dragon's Fate world to the newer chapters. UBI has and still consistently fails in the editor area; in the past all they provided was lip service. I have now gotten older and less likely than ever to have the time or desire to produce maps. My campaigns took over three years each to produce from start to finish. My view was always a minority view and there are probably even less players who concern themselves with the editor, but would prefer an RMG. The new younger player is more about quickly starting a new game, and lacks the patience to produce a quality map in an editor. It was the miserable state of the H-6 editor that caused it to be the first Heroes chapter that I did not buy.
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Postby Pol » Jul 30 2014, 8:44

I think that main problem is that many Ubi games were processed like quickies. Not planned for longevity (map editors, servers for MP, bug free, community, modding support, clear rules, best AI for SP, design to purpose - not just for game fashion dictate), just short term quick cash to please shareholders.
That happened on the top management level, beyond Fabrice or Erwan spheres. Exacly on that level where you don't see, someone failed miserabely to grasp how this 'business' works.

Instead you receive blabbling about new noDRM only Online DRM model. Pretended forfan approach where free offered help is refused. Generally weak game design. And lots of unfinished work which in current state is useless.

I suppose that when their time was over, they expected new releas and so on, so on. Two years lifespan and developing cycle, like for some android/iOS systems. But Ubisoft is nowhere close to Google or Apple so that was really nonsense.

This is pitty especially because all game developers were excited and willing to do that just on previous premise to continue their favourite series.

This is mostly true about H6, H5 and MMX fared better, however the same signs are still here.
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What Comes Next?

Postby Troller » Jul 31 2014, 0:01

I think the next game in one of the original series will be Might and Magic XI, after the decline of Heroes I think they will put a bit more time between the next instalment if there will be a next heroes.

To be fair to Ubi the Might and Magic franchise was in a bad shape when they bought it. Heroes IV was an unfinished game that had many interesting ideas but lacked the tweaking and polished to execute them. Might and Magic IX was just worse (I played through it four times only one of them to the end due to bugs). And story wise Enroth was no more and the story of Axeoth was a mess.

So I didn't mind when Ubi created a new world, though I would have liked it to be part of the old by a reference to the Ancient. (But this reference was only in Might and Magic games in the NWC days as well)
Ubi still has to prove that they can make a great game in one of the original series, I could not finish Heroes V, the story was horribly executed, with bad voice acting and a terrible pace. I have no intentions of trying Heroes VI the reviews are bad and a lack of bug fixes makes it not worth my time. I hope that Might and Magic X will be released on GOG and I do actually look forward to trying that (though I don't expect it to be great). My hope is that by keeping it simple they will be able to deliver great games at some point, Might and Magic will never create enough sales to create a world as rich as some of the AAA titles but I hope there is enough to keep it going and improving over the years :-)

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What Comes Next?

Postby Red_Flag » Jul 31 2014, 20:54

What is next?
Heroes VII? MM XI?

It's easy to answer:
07.10 Heroes I
https://www.facebook.com/MightandMagic/photos/a.440842199587.209353.161184829587/10152548428234588/

07.17 Heroes II
https://www.facebook.com/MightandMagic/photos/a.440842199587.209353.161184829587/10152548439194588/

07.24 Heroes III
https://www.facebook.com/MightandMagic/photos/a.440842199587.209353.161184829587/10152583525914588/

07.31 Heroes IV
https://www.facebook.com/MightandMagic/photos/a.440842199587.209353.161184829587/10152601081239588/

Are you have some forefeeling? ;)

Edited on Thu, Jul 31 2014, 16:57 by Red_Flag

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Postby Wizard of Soz » Jul 31 2014, 21:37

Good catch! They may well be hinting at something. Also they mentioned in an interview that H6 was set in the past so as not to conflict with Heroes Kingdoms. And Heroes Kingdoms is now coming to a close in August....

To answer the question of what will come next though I predict... a bunch of Dual of Champion expansions and Heroes online! I know, I must be a prophet or something right?

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What Comes Next?

Postby Andrews » Aug 1 2014, 16:29

I know what will come and i hope it will be as good as ........ :) Sadly i cant say.. :D But i heard some music snippets from it. :D Those were fantastic! I'am hahakocka by the way. Hope to see some pictures or video me and all of the fans would be really happy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlx8o609lU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t826FgXx1k4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xtIgSjbGnI

Oh did you heard my 3 part interview with Mr fantastic Paul Romero ( Composer for the Heroes of might and magic series) last year? Its really interesting. Thanks Paul again!

May be there will be another one in the autumn I hope... :)

Edited on Fri, Aug 01 2014, 12:37 by Andrews

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Postby Variol » Aug 1 2014, 18:21

Personally, I don't give 2 st___'s about storyline or whatever. Just make a good game.

They didn't listen to me for H6 and they'll make the same mistake next time. They'll have 7 units for each faction and ruin the game.

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What Comes Next?

Postby JSE » Aug 3 2014, 8:54

Why would 7 units per faction ruin the game?

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Postby Variol » Aug 3 2014, 20:16

I feel it's a lame way to create "balance". So, they come up with stupid/useless units.
I think there would be more replay ability if some factions only that 3 types with more growth: Orcs for example could have goblins, orcs and ogres etc.

..won't happen though.

Remember the lvl1 Dwarfs in H5? Those guys hit like halflings for cripes sake.

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What Comes Next?

Postby hellegennes » Aug 3 2014, 20:47

So, you want less variety. What they did with H6, with the new formula, works just fine. There are no useless units, not even late in the game.


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