My H5-rant\whine (long post)

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Postby Yrkoon » Jun 10 2006, 19:29

Great review . I liked a lot of the features in HIV as well and I think that the usage of 2X2 squares by semi-large creatures needs adjustment , 1X2 spaces , yes , bring it on :hoo:

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Kalah » Jun 10 2006, 19:32

Ethric wrote:...the game was released in a very unfinished state (...) lack of documentation, ingame and in manual form, the shortage of playable maps, and the lack of a key feature of HoMM: the map editor.


Agreed. A game should be finished when released.

Ethric wrote:...high initiative gets so extremely important, with the fast units getting many turns before the slow ones have gotten even one.


This is especially visible in battle between armies backed by a powerful hero with lots of artefacts and neutral creatures. The poor things never get a turn... Anyway our experience in MP combat is that the heroes counter out each other here. A bonus artefact giving more initiative can give you the edge you need, but that alone won't take away the opposition's turn.

Ethric wrote:...the skill system is quite interesting, with good room for experimentation and customization of your hero.


Indeed. I actually like this skill system more than that of H4, even though I haven't been able to get a complete overview yet. I'll need to print out that Skill Wheel one day...

Ethric wrote:...on the subject of "speeding up" gameplay, there's the delightful interface of H5. It is, by and large, dreadful (...) it seems nival is of the opinion that showing of 3d graphics is more important than functionality.


I believe we are in agreement about the hero screen. I also agree that having to spin the camera around to see everything is a bit of a drag, though in SP the problem fades. My left hand is placed on the arrow keys permanently during gameplay, and once you get used to it, having to move around like that really isn't so bad. My complaint is that this is not the sort of user interface one should put in a Heroes game. You'd expect to have to use both hands continously in Battlefield Vietnam or other first person shoot-'em-up games, but in Heroes it just doesn't fit.

Ethric wrote:Take the heroscreen... The hero doesn't do anything. He doesn't perform a pantomime version of the info you're after...


He doesn't?? But.... but... I wanted to see a pantomime hero.. ;)

Anywaaay... what I'm most unhappy about is the lack of maps to play (there should have been at least 20 SP and the same number of MP maps), and the interlude videos in the campaigns. I would have thought that with the resource requirements of this game they would have been able to do better. I mean, this is "Red Alert" graphics. :tsdown: I also want more in-game info about spells, abilities etc., and a nice printed manual on high quality paper would also be nice.
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Postby Omega_Destroyer » Jun 10 2006, 19:47

That is a very fair analysis Ethric.

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Postby Akul » Jun 10 2006, 21:19

Great review Ethric :)
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Alamar » Jun 10 2006, 21:34

I wish that your view was more positive of the game at this point. I must say though from an H4 fan's point of view I think that really there is virtually NO other view that you could have.

While I understand your points and admit that they are reasonably well reasoned I still disagree with some of the points that you make and I believe that the game is at least "fun" for me.

Ethric wrote:First and foremost because the game was released in a very unfinished state, as shown not primarily because of the numerous small bugs (which is to be expected in all new games, though it certainly doesn't help), but more from the lack of documentation, ingame and in manual form, the shortage of playable maps, and the lack of a key feature of HoMM: the map editor.


Well I must agree that the lack of documentation [at least electronic] is totally inexcusable. Not having things like hero starting skills, castle build charts, up-to-date skill information, up-to-date ability information, creature card etc. available electronically is a slap-in-the-face.

However for things like the number of maps, map editior, campaign editor, RMG, and crushing small bugs I'm "ok" with waiting for a patch or two. If they can get the majority of those things totally handled in 3 months or so I'm personally fine with it.

The town lineups suffer the same "Must have upgrade on all creatures"-syndrome that H3 have, but they do seem more varied; buildings get quite expensive further up and you find yourself playing quite some time with the unupgraded versions, much more so than in H3.


I really think that the above statement is a little too harsh. Sure if you have unlimited funds then it would only make sense that upgrading all units would be a wise move. If it's not then I would have to question why the "upgrade" is there at all.

However the vast majority of [heroic difficulty] games are already decided before you ever reach a point where you just upgrade everything. The decisions about what to do and when to do it are much more important now because of the new cost and build structure.

Then there's the doing away with battle in rounds in favour of a purely initiative-driven system, where each creature acts as often as their initiative allows compared with the other creatures.


I think that this is one of the best ideas that has come out of HoMM5 so far. The artificial limitations [and exploit possibilities] of having orderly turns have been removed and this gives us a chance to have a larger diversity of creatures.

I do admit that with this solution there are OBVIOUS balance issues that need to be taken care of. However I do believe that a reasonable balance can be achieved and it shouldn't even be that hard .....

And not to mention the skillsystem, which is in my opinion the only gem in this heap.


Well the skill & ability system is one of the better aspects of the game.

But then it's time for the bad things, where there are several disturbing issues.


Ok here we go ....

I am of course referring to caravans and the ability to flag resourcedwellings other than mines, so as to not have to run around constantly to pick up creatures and resources around the map.


I'm not too unhappy with this decision. In MP games [with proper time limits set] I don't think that this micromanagement will cause too many problems. In SP you can choose to use these extra resources or no so once again it's not that big of a problem.

I think that the automatic resource gathering and the ease of caravans just made things too easy in H4. By "easy" I mean that it doesn't cost you hardly anything to automatically get resources, create caravans, etc. I prefer the overhead cost of hiring heroes to do this job MUCH better than H4's systems.

I would of course like a way to automate these additional heroes so I don't have to manage all of the clicking and moving myself. This sort of functionality could wait for an expansion back or H6 though because of the potential complexity of making sure you have a good system to get things "right".

And on the subject of "speeding up" gameplay, there's the delightful interface of H5. It is, by and large, dreadful.


I don't have any particular problems with the adventure map interface. I can usually see everything that I need to see without having to zoom, rotate, unzoom, etc. 50 times. There are SERIOUS problems with this underground and I do hope that it is resolved.

As for the hero screen I'm not even going to argue about that one. I'd prefer to have everything on 1-2 screens tops.

IMHO 1 point that was left out is that the AI is still unfinished in my opinion. While I have no proof of this I am of the firm belief that if you gave the H3 AI the same "cheats" as the H5 AI gets then a human would almost never win a game on impossible difficulty in H3. I also believe that with a few tweaks to the H3 AI that it would clean H5's AI's clock [each side playing without cheats].

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 10 2006, 21:58

Alamar wrote:However for things like the number of maps, map editior, campaign editor, RMG, and crushing small bugs I'm "ok" with waiting for a patch or two. If they can get the majority of those things totally handled in 3 months or so I'm personally fine with it.


The RMG is expansion material for sure, as it was that way in H3 too. But the number of mps and the faulty descriptions are BS. Like they couldn't have someone make maps and spellcheck the bloody description while they worked on the rest of the game.

Alamar wrote:I think that this is one of the best ideas that has come out of HoMM5 so far. The artificial limitations [and exploit possibilities] of having orderly turns have been removed and this gives us a chance to have a larger diversity of creatures.


What? How does it allow for "a larger diversity of creatures"? While I prefer the orderly turns I'm not really against the initiative thing, but I just don't see how the creatures can de more diverse because of it.

Right now the only thing I see is that some creatures die long before they get the chance to act. But that's more of a balance thing...
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Akul » Jun 10 2006, 22:28

Alamar wrote:I wish that your view was more positive of the game at this point. I must say though from an H4 fan's point of view I think that really there is virtually NO other view that you could have.


Are you from Ubi or Nival when you care about are reviews positive or not?
And whats that with H4 fan point of view? I think that H5 is a great game, but I agree with Ethric: it isn't perfect.

I'm not too unhappy with this decision. In MP games [with proper time limits set] I don't think that this micromanagement will cause too many problems. In SP you can choose to use these extra resources or no so once again it's not that big of a problem.

I think that the automatic resource gathering and the ease of caravans just made things too easy in H4. By "easy" I mean that it doesn't cost you hardly anything to automatically get resources, create caravans, etc. I prefer the overhead cost of hiring heroes to do this job MUCH better than H4's systems.

I would of course like a way to automate these additional heroes so I don't have to manage all of the clicking and moving myself. This sort of functionality could wait for an expansion back or H6 though because of the potential complexity of making sure you have a good system to get things "right".


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Sending heroes to collect creatures and artifacts is simple also. The only difference is that that it increases your frustration!
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Postby LordErtz » Jun 10 2006, 23:26

Excellent review...you weren't harsh at all imo.

In addition to all the aforementioned disappointments, I'd like to add the fact that without the internet...how would we even know what elemental chains are? I STILL don't know how to "blow up" chains except to use an opposite element. How can they expect people to teach themselves???

Anybody else ever wnat to know how much it's going to cost to upgrade your troops before you do it? I know that when I go to a hill fort and it says "not enough resources" to upgrade my shadow dragons...I WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH I NEED!! I had to go back to my market to find out what resource they cost and go back and forth to get that resource! Too many little things like that to list that need fixing.


All in all, lack of maps, documentation, overview map problems, and the many many many little problems that add up make the game in need of some major work.


Great review from the standpoint of anybody, not just a heroes 4 lover.

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Postby magritte2 » Jun 11 2006, 1:15

While I don't think the review overall is unduly harsh, I'll defend the HOMM V map. Can you honestly say that you never missed treasures or monsters in earlier versions of the game because they were behind other objects? Maybe if you're really anal about making sure you find every single thing and don't waste a single movement point you rotate constantly but I find I only do it occasionally, except in the underground and heavy forest maps. On the battlefield, I almost never have to rotate the camera and I do find it much easier to navigate than HOMM IV. No more forgetting about enemy creatures that are hidden behind towers. No more struggling to guess whether I'm attacking out of the tower or not. No more trying to figure out whether my shooters will be able to attack a particular monster or not because of the line of sight rules.

If I had to design the game, I'd go for a top down 2-D campaign map and a 3-D battle map in which there was real terrain instead of just obstacles, but I don't find the current map to be a problem.

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Ethric » Jun 11 2006, 3:01

Alamar wrote:
Ethric wrote:The town lineups suffer the same "Must have upgrade on all creatures"-syndrome that H3 have, but they do seem more varied; buildings get quite expensive further up and you find yourself playing quite some time with the unupgraded versions, much more so than in H3.


I really think that the above statement is a little too harsh. Sure if you have unlimited funds then it would only make sense that upgrading all units would be a wise move. If it's not then I would have to question why the "upgrade" is there at all.


What I meant was what you wrote and not what you thought I meant :)

Alamar wrote:I think that the automatic resource gathering and the ease of caravans just made things too easy in H4. By "easy" I mean that it doesn't cost you hardly anything to automatically get resources, create caravans, etc. I prefer the overhead cost of hiring heroes to do this job MUCH better than H4's systems.

I would of course like a way to automate these additional heroes so I don't have to manage all of the clicking and moving myself. This sort of functionality could wait for an expansion back or H6 though because of the potential complexity of making sure you have a good system to get things "right".


Well I wasn't complaining about the cost of having to rent a hero to do it, I was complaining about the tedium of having to do it. In terms of gametime spent. If you think an automated hero for doing these mindless tasks is a good idea, why not just implement a resource caravan? If you build it, they will come :) You have to pay for the whole thing, like with renting a hero, but you don't have to actually spend time on it. Sounds far easier to implement than a hero on autopilot.

Alamar wrote:I don't have any particular problems with the adventure map interface. I can usually see everything that I need to see without having to zoom, rotate, unzoom, etc. 50 times. There are SERIOUS problems with this underground and I do hope that it is resolved.


There are some above ground stuff that can make it nearly as hard as in the underground. Some enormous trees for one thing, you can find some the bottom right corner of one of the MP maps.

Alamar wrote:IMHO 1 point that was left out is that the AI is still unfinished in my opinion. While I have no proof of this I am of the firm belief that if you gave the H3 AI the same "cheats" as the H5 AI gets then a human would almost never win a game on impossible difficulty in H3. I also believe that with a few tweaks to the H3 AI that it would clean H5's AI's clock [each side playing without cheats].


Ye gods how could I forget! 8|

I agree with you here of course. Even the AI in H4 can give you a run for your money if you give him the advantages I understand H5's AI has. For this reason I am looking forward to the map editor, as it seems quite obvious to me that for a mapmaker it is important to know what advantages, if any, the AI has, and we might get a chance to see the AI running on fair ground.

magritte2 wrote:Can you honestly say that you never missed treasures or monsters in earlier versions of the game because they were behind other objects?


Couldn't say that, no. But with the static overview of previous games it is at the mapmakers discretion whether an object is "hidden" or not. In H5 you don't have that opportunity, instead things can become hidden merely because the camera is at the wrong angle.

magritte2 wrote:On the battlefield, I almost never have to rotate the camera and I do find it much easier to navigate than HOMM IV.


Well it's good that you have no trouble. But I find myself cursing loudly sometimes when trying to target creatures, especially ones in the corner of the battlefield. Also, the same problem that people complain about in H4 is here, for the large creatures: sometimes you just want to attack the creature adjacent to yours, but you find that your attacker moves to a position you didn't intend.

magritte2 wrote: No more trying to figure out whether my shooters will be able to attack a particular monster or not because of the line of sight rules.


Yeah I miss line of sight rules, where you could protect your valuable shooters. And not only can't you protect your shooters from the enemy shooters (and vice versa), you now have to endure heroes charging in, straight through a castle wall, to attack your troops and it's not a damn thing you can do to stop him (Well win the battle, obviously. Or not play at all).
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby DaemianLucifer » Jun 11 2006, 8:04

Alamar wrote:However for things like the number of maps, map editior, campaign editor, RMG, and crushing small bugs I'm "ok" with waiting for a patch or two. If they can get the majority of those things totally handled in 3 months or so I'm personally fine with it.


Looking at the first patch,3 months is way to optimistic.

Alamar wrote:I'm not too unhappy with this decision. In MP games [with proper time limits set] I don't think that this micromanagement will cause too many problems. In SP you can choose to use these extra resources or no so once again it's not that big of a problem.

I think that the automatic resource gathering and the ease of caravans just made things too easy in H4. By "easy" I mean that it doesn't cost you hardly anything to automatically get resources, create caravans, etc. I prefer the overhead cost of hiring heroes to do this job MUCH better than H4's systems.

I would of course like a way to automate these additional heroes so I don't have to manage all of the clicking and moving myself. This sort of functionality could wait for an expansion back or H6 though because of the potential complexity of making sure you have a good system to get things "right".


Why would it be a problem to make a waypoint automate option?As for the caravans,it costs quite some money,you know.And in HIV,there were no free creatures like the level 1 dwellings now.If you have a peasants hut nearby,youd basically get free money every week.

magritte2 wrote:While I don't think the review overall is unduly harsh, I'll defend the HOMM V map. Can you honestly say that you never missed treasures or monsters in earlier versions of the game because they were behind other objects? Maybe if you're really anal about making sure you find every single thing and don't waste a single movement point you rotate constantly but I find I only do it occasionally, except in the underground and heavy forest maps. On the battlefield, I almost never have to rotate the camera and I do find it much easier to navigate than HOMM IV. No more forgetting about enemy creatures that are hidden behind towers. No more struggling to guess whether I'm attacking out of the tower or not. No more trying to figure out whether my shooters will be able to attack a particular monster or not because of the line of sight rules.


But now you have to pinpoint what square you are going to attack from,since the sword goes only into four directions and not eight.And there were plenty times I couldnt click on my leftmost unit because of the stupid horses/lizards head.Especiallt in the tactics phase.

And about the adventure map,I never had to search for the tree of knowledge for 10 minutes if I knew its location before,not even with HIVs FoW over it.Sure,you could hide somethings in previous games,but there was this map view that would show you every artifact/resource,creature,dwelling that you missed.

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Missing manual

Postby andrewgr » Jun 11 2006, 8:07

Am I the only person that assumed that all the missing information that one would normally hope to get in the manual was intentionally left out so that you would buy the guide? At Best Buy, they had the stack of guides right next to the stack of games...

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Gaidal Cain » Jun 11 2006, 8:18

DaemianLucifer wrote:But now you have to pinpoint what square you are going to attack from,since the sword goes only into four directions and not eight.And there were plenty times I couldnt click on my leftmost unit because of the stupid horses/lizards head.Especiallt in the tactics phase.


It does go into all eight positions. It's just rather hard at times to get it to go int the direction you want...

And about the adventure map,I never had to search for the tree of knowledge for 10 minutes if I knew its location before,not even with HIVs FoW over it.Sure,you could hide somethings in previous games,but there was this map view that would show you every artifact/resource,creature,dwelling that you missed.


The H4 ones could be rather hard to see at times, but I agree that it's nowhere near how well camouflaged the current ones are. If they'd been much taller than the ordinary trees, you'd only have needed a slight tilt to spot them.
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby DaemianLucifer » Jun 11 2006, 8:31

andrewgr wrote:Am I the only person that assumed that all the missing information that one would normally hope to get in the manual was intentionally left out so that you would buy the guide? At Best Buy, they had the stack of guides right next to the stack of games...


No,I thought the same thing once I heard it costs $10.

Gaidal Cain wrote:It does go into all eight positions. It's just rather hard at times to get it to go int the direction you want...


Then why was the sword pointing from left to right when the highlighted square was one in the left lower corner?It happened to me loads of times.Although,mostly with large creatures.Hmmm...Im too lazy to check the smaller ones now,but I think it sometimes was like this with them as well.

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Postby Gus » Jun 11 2006, 11:38

You got to play around with the sword and the highlighted squares. In fact, the way it works is very consistent, so once you try to understand how it works, you don't even need to look at the highlighted squares to know where your unit will move. But i agree it should have been designed much better. Like plenty of other things, btw =/

My wishlist includes:
- flaggable dwellings/resources buildings.
- LOGS! I want a button or more where i can click to know what happened, much like in battle. I want to have an history of what resources i've picked up, of how many creatures i've killed, lost, resurrected and raised.
- ingame help/tooltip for everything.
- optimization of various screens. The hero screen is the perfect example of something that needs to be redesigned to show more info with less time spent.
- more graphical options: i want to be able to "truncate" trees, to increase transparency of underground walls, etc. It would help the game run more smoothly on low-end systems, and make the map much clearer.
- keep the random skill/ability offered at level-up, but make the choice larger.
- Make explicit the mechanisms of the game, for everything. Tell us what the exact effect of morale, luck, etc is, what are the odds for it to kick in. Also, be more precise in Hero's specialty. "Lizard Bite more effective with Hero level" sucks. I want to know HOW more effective it gets.
- more to come later, but these are very important gameplay issues.

This game can be truly great, i hope it will eventually be.

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Alamar » Jun 11 2006, 15:41

ThunderTitan wrote: The RMG is expansion material for sure, as it was that way in H3 too. But the number of mps and the faulty descriptions are BS. Like they couldn't have someone make maps and spellcheck the bloody description while they worked on the rest of the game.


To get HoMM back I'm willing to compromise on the number of maps and some other things. To clarify things .... poor documentation is totally inexcusable and pathetic.

What? How does it allow for "a larger diversity of creatures"? While I prefer the orderly turns I'm not really against the initiative thing, but I just don't see how the creatures can de more diverse because of it.

Right now the only thing I see is that some creatures die long before they get the chance to act. But that's more of a balance thing...


What I intended to imply is that this is an additional factor [number of times a creature attacks over time] that can be used to differentiate creatures. To me this seems like a logical extension of what we saw in H3.

As I said before this system requires much more attention be paid to balance issues but I believe that the problems are solveable.

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 11 2006, 15:50

Alamar wrote:What I intended to imply is that this is an additional factor [number of times a creature attacks over time] that can be used to differentiate creatures. To me this seems like a logical extension of what we saw in H3.


Oh, as in diference between them. Right.
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Alamar » Jun 11 2006, 15:53

Sauron wrote:Are you from Ubi or Nival when you care about are reviews positive or not?
And whats that with H4 fan point of view? I think that H5 is a great game, but I agree with Ethric: it isn't perfect.


I'm not from UBI but I care about how other fans feel about the game. You NEED a strong community behind a HoMM like game and if a major section of the community has problems with the game then THAT IS A PROBLEM.

BTW: If I were from UBI / Nival the game wouldn't have been released yet. More maps, Better AI, real documentation, and a map editor would have been in the intial release.

As far as "H4 fan" point of view if you LOVE H4 then you're going to be unhappy with H5 [duh]. Is there any other reaction you could have but disappointment??!?!?!?!

"This is a tale of Shivas heroic dids. Her collecting creatures from dwelings are so legendary that it is writen in the bible!" :D

Sending heroes to collect creatures and artifacts is simple also. The only difference is that that it increases your frustration!


Actually I could see something like that in the bible. Going out amongst the people to raise an army for the cause of rightousness and having the people come to the cause of the great hero IS the stuff of legends :) Heck the entire point of the Queen Campaign is for a great hero to go amongst the people to raise an army ........

As far as "frustrating" you don't HAVE to do any of this if you don't want to. If you do want to then [IMHO] it's not unreasonable to me to have to hire a hero to do these chores. My strong preference would be for a way to automate this so that once you set things up you [the virtual GOD] wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.

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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Wildbear » Jun 11 2006, 16:09

Alamar wrote:Heck the entire point of the Queen Campaign is for a great hero to go amongst the people to raise an army ........

She's so heroic that if she has already been to a dwelling, the new creatures available there, or the old ones that couldn't be bought the first time, won't try to join her if she doesn't get back to their door. :disagree:
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Re: My H5-rant\whine (long post)

Postby Alamar » Jun 11 2006, 16:15

You are a scholar & a gentleman. I appreciate you POVs. Now back to the discussion ...

Ethric wrote:
Alamar wrote:
Ethric wrote:The town lineups suffer the same "Must have upgrade on all creatures"-syndrome that H3 have, but they do seem more varied; buildings get quite expensive further up and you find yourself playing quite some time with the unupgraded versions, much more so than in H3.


I really think that the above statement is a little too harsh. Sure if you have unlimited funds then it would only make sense that upgrading all units would be a wise move. If it's not then I would have to question why the "upgrade" is there at all.


What I meant was what you wrote and not what you thought I meant :)


IC ... Nevermind.

If you think an automated hero for doing these mindless tasks is a good idea, why not just implement a resource caravan? If you build it, they will come :) You have to pay for the whole thing, like with renting a hero, but you don't have to actually spend time on it. Sounds far easier to implement than a hero on autopilot.


My preference is still for a hero autopilot and the reasons are:

1. I don't much care for the invisible caravans of H4. Having a hero means they are vulnerable to enemy attack in the standard ways. Implementing visible & attackable caravans would be [possibly] as much or more new work required as an autopilot.

2. One caravan structure could control practically an entire empire. I prefer [in empire terms] to having to hire multiple heroes to take care of these sorts of things. [Think 1 castle and dozens of creature generators, windmills, etc.]

3. A hero on autopilot feels more like heroes and meshes a little better. For example a lackey you send out weekly couldn't get a Leprachaun to give up its gold ..... it takes a special person [hero?] to do this. The same might be said for raising an army.


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