Heroes 6 wishlist (draft)

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Postby Alamar » May 18 2009, 18:52

OTOH, this might lead to less variety in the skills you're offered if you always play with the same basic strategy. Your heroes always do the same kinds of things, so they're offered some skills more often than others. Thoughts?
I agree with the critique. I don't want to lock people in to certain skills with "no hope" of getting something different. I wouldn't like to kill variety either.

If that's an issue maybe you could set ranges of the "weighting" of the skill. This way if you "never use it" you still have some chance of it being offerred to you. If you "use it always" your odds of getting the skill offerred isn't 100%.

Something else that you could do to keep randomness but try to "discourage" skills & abilities you don't want coming up multiple times is that if you are offered XYZ and don't choose it the odds of it being offered again go down slightly. If you don't choose the skill "multiple" times then the odds of it being offered again go down more ...

Honestly I'm not sure which way is best ....

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Postby Silver Ray » May 19 2009, 2:00

Again, this is a wishlist thread. Please don't say something is broken without explaining why and/or offering suggestions on how to fix it.
Sorry for not being concrete enough. Ok, let's take example: Inferno racial is Gating. "Super skill" is Immediate gating. Logical? Yes. But Necropolis racial is Necromancy, and "Super skill" is Howl of terror, and I cannot see logic here! Heaven has Counterstrike, which (IMHO) does not suit. Something like Pure or Enhanced light magic suits more, don't you agree?

Or "Super skills" should enhance heroes' specialties. Say Irina is Griffin trainer. Her "Super skill" should enhance Griffins even more. See where I'm getting at?
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Postby Kristo » May 19 2009, 3:00

If that's an issue maybe you could set ranges of the "weighting" of the skill. This way if you "never use it" you still have some chance of it being offerred to you. If you "use it always" your odds of getting the skill offerred isn't 100%.
The simplest way I thought of to implement this idea is to assign a value x to each skill. Let's say that at the start of the game the sum of these values is 100, so your chance of being offered a certain skill is x/100. Now let's say you do something that increases Logistics. Your chance for Logistics becomes (x+1)/101. Logistics' probability increased, but because the sum total has also increased, all other skills' probabilities have decreased. And you can't have zero probability unless you start that way.
Sorry for not being concrete enough. Ok, let's take example: Inferno racial is Gating. "Super skill" is Immediate gating. Logical? Yes. But Necropolis racial is Necromancy, and "Super skill" is Howl of terror, and I cannot see logic here! Heaven has Counterstrike, which (IMHO) does not suit. Something like Pure or Enhanced light magic suits more, don't you agree?
Thank you for clearing that up. These two ultimate skills you mention here seem pretty fitting to me. Undead dragons throughout the series have had the ability to lower enemy morale - and now it's been made into a skill. And a Knight's unique skill is Counterstrike. Does it not make sense to have a high powered version of your unique skill as the ultimate? IMHO, as long as you're not doing something weird like giving Absolute Rage to a Warlock, it's kinda hard to come up with an ultimate skill that isn't suitable.
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Postby Silver Ray » May 19 2009, 5:42

Well, as I said - that's what I think. And your opinion about "Super skills" which enhance heroes' specialties?
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Postby Kristo » May 19 2009, 15:10

Does that mean a unique ultimate skill for each hero? That's an awful lot of ultimate skills to create and balance, don't you think? Isn't having your hero's specialty grow with his level good enough?

It seems like there's a couple of different reasons why people like this game based on our suggestions so far. A lot of people seem to enjoy the process of building up your hero, gaining interesting new skills and abilities. And then there's a group of people like me who'd like to see the game return to its strategic roots at the expense of a lot of the RPGish stuff. The new devs will certainly have a challenge finding a middle ground that satisfies most of our wishes.
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Postby Alamar » May 19 2009, 18:18

Does that mean a unique ultimate skill for each hero? That's an awful lot of ultimate skills to create and balance, don't you think? Isn't having your hero's specialty grow with his level good enough?

It seems like there's a couple of different reasons why people like this game based on our suggestions so far. A lot of people seem to enjoy the process of building up your hero, gaining interesting new skills and abilities. And then there's a group of people like me who'd like to see the game return to its strategic roots at the expense of a lot of the RPGish stuff. The new devs will certainly have a challenge finding a middle ground that satisfies most of our wishes.
I think that a happy medium can be found between the two camps ...

May I ask which "RPG" elements that you'd like to see disappear / change / etc.?

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Postby Kristo » May 19 2009, 19:14

I guess I'm bothered by how much people talk about their "hero builds" in H5 like they're playing Diablo 2 or World of Warcraft. The strategy guides for the different factions all mention the best heroes and the best ways to build them. I don't know if it's just a balance problem or what, but that feels wrong to me. The trend in the past few Heroes games has been toward heroes as individuals. People seem to treat the primary hero as "your character" in an RPG sense. But as I've said before I want to see a kingdom-scale strategy game. Heroes matter, but they're not the primary focus. I don't want the RPG elements to go away - that's what makes the Heroes games unique. But I'd like to see them de-emphasized back to the H1-3 level.
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Postby Bandobras Took » May 20 2009, 3:12

But I'd like to see them de-emphasized back to the H1-3 level.
Please, not the 1 level. I suppose the 3 level would be tolerable, but starting spells/skills/specialties would have to be a bit more thought out than they were.
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Postby Alamar » May 20 2009, 19:33

I guess I'm bothered by how much people talk about their "hero builds" in H5 like they're playing Diablo 2 or World of Warcraft. The strategy guides for the different factions all mention the best heroes and the best ways to build them. I don't know if it's just a balance problem or what, but that feels wrong to me. The trend in the past few Heroes games has been toward heroes as individuals. People seem to treat the primary hero as "your character" in an RPG sense. But as I've said before I want to see a kingdom-scale strategy game. Heroes matter, but they're not the primary focus. I don't want the RPG elements to go away - that's what makes the Heroes games unique. But I'd like to see them de-emphasized back to the H1-3 level.
I could be wrong but it almost looks like you don't like the "attention" that the heroes are getting as opposed to there being something "wrong" with heroes ... is that right?? Is it the developer attention or the fan attention that you don't like?

Personally I like the flexibility that HoMM allows your heroes to have. A good variety of useful skills, useful abilities, useful spells, etc. should add to the strategic depth of the game instead of taking away from it.

I wouldn't cry if heroes "returned to the tent" so-to-speak instead of taking direct parts in battle like "Charging" troops or similar. However I wouldn't want too much taken away as that would take out too much of the Hero based strategy ....

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FYI: I miss the feeling that I'm in charge of a wide spanning kingdom instead of a group of rag-tag critters all in one valley :)

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Postby Kristo » May 20 2009, 21:37

This is a really subjective opinion so it's hard to describe. I think things started to go south when it mattered which hero you had. It's really bad when you have to pick a certain hero and build him up a certain way in order to win a scenario. That's not strategy, it's figuring out the secret, and it's not fun. I don't want to have to unlearn a skill or pass up a perfectly useful skill just for the slim chance that I might get to Ultimate, and I can't win the scenario without it.

My ideal is the H5 skill system without hero-specific specials and no skills being better than others. That means no second- and third-tier abilities and certainly no ultimate skill. No heroes or skills should have to be banned in multiplayer. I think maybe we can keep the unique skill for each hero type but it's important that those not be any stronger on balance than the common skills. If we can achieve those goals, we'll have taken the focus off Diablo 2 style hero builds while retaining the interesting variety of hero skills that makes the Heroes games unique.
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Postby Alamar » May 21 2009, 17:58

This is a really subjective opinion so it's hard to describe. I think things started to go south when it mattered which hero you had. It's really bad when you have to pick a certain hero and build him up a certain way in order to win a scenario. That's not strategy, it's figuring out the secret, and it's not fun. I don't want to have to unlearn a skill or pass up a perfectly useful skill just for the slim chance that I might get to Ultimate, and I can't win the scenario without it.
The issue described above isn't all the game's fault per-se. IMHO it's mostly a problem with the designer of the map and not stating in the map description that this is an RPG map. If a map is designed & balanced around normal heroes with reasonable skill sets then you shouldn't run into this problem. Anytime I design a map for myself / friends / etc. I often do "weeks" of testing to make sure it should work as expected.

My ideal is the H5 skill system without hero-specific specials and no skills being better than others. That means no second- and third-tier abilities and certainly no ultimate skill. No heroes or skills should have to be banned in multiplayer. I think maybe we can keep the unique skill for each hero type but it's important that those not be any stronger on balance than the common skills. If we can achieve those goals, we'll have taken the focus off Diablo 2 style hero builds while retaining the interesting variety of hero skills that makes the Heroes games unique.
Your requests are quite reasonable but I prefer a middle-ground between your position and H4/H5.

I'd like to see:

-- Heroes that are different from each other. Different starting skills [all need to be reasonable skill sets] ; bonus abilities ; different starting spells all sound reasonable to me.

However:

-- A Hero's "bonus" should provide a very small bonus. For example maybe a bonus "stat" point [+1 SP / +1 ATT / +1 KN / etc.]? Maybe a fixed +1 ATT / +1 DEF to a specific creature type? Maybe a bonus move of +2 units? Maybe a +3% to Necromancy percentage? .... IMHO the bonus should certainly be less than half the "ommph" of a skill at basic level.

-- A Hero's starting skill set should always be a good & reasonable skill set even if it's duplicated amongst different heroes.

-- A Hero's starting spells should be reasonable. I wouldn't want a hero to start with any spell over L2. Even then I'd prefer just a bonus L1 spell.

-- I don't believe that there should be an "Ultimate" skill per se. I certainly don't want to see a repeat of the H5 ultimate. If you have an Ultimate though maybe any faction hero that has maxed out all their skill & ability slots automatically gets that faction's version of the "Ultimate" skill. This way you can still choose whatever skills you want for the map without being rubbed the wrong way with the game & map maker leading you by the nose and forcing your decisions.

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FYI: I don't mean to flame or "dis" your opinions. They are reasonable. I just "prefer" a slightly different set of features.

I agree 100% that:

-- All skills && abilities should be balanced against each other. There should be [as much as possible] no lame skills or uber powerful skills. It should be OK though if certain factions find certain skills more useful ... I.E. the Necromancy skill should be more useful to Necromancers than other factions :)

-- There should not be any heroes that are significantly better than any others [of the same faction] at any point of the game [early, mid, late]. IMHO some developer was on crack when they thought Deleb & her bonus was a good idea :)

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Postby Kristo » May 22 2009, 3:07

:applause: I really enjoy reading well thought-out opinions/suggestions such as this. And no apology necessary for disagreeing - we're all entitled to our opinions here.

Your mention of Necromancy got me thinking about the importance of thinking holistically when designers work on a complex game like HOMM. It's dangerous to isolate one part of the game, e.g., the skill system, and forget about the rest. All parts tend to affect each other. Necromancers, for example, play differently from other heroes because they can raise Skeletons after every battle. They get to regenerate a few lost troops, or even gain troops as a result of fighting. To keep the game balanced, the devs have to consider how much their buildings cost, creature growth, and even what spells are available - all because they get a few creatures for free nearly every turn.
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Postby Bandobras Took » May 22 2009, 3:53

I like Alamar's ideas for Hero development as well. Nice post!
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Postby Alamar » May 22 2009, 16:42

:applause: I really enjoy reading well thought-out opinions/suggestions such as this. And no apology necessary for disagreeing - we're all entitled to our opinions here.
Thank you. It's good when folks can discuss thing that they disagree about in a civil & reasonable manner.
Your mention of Necromancy got me thinking about the importance of thinking holistically when designers work on a complex game like HOMM. It's dangerous to isolate one part of the game, e.g., the skill system, and forget about the rest. All parts tend to affect each other. Necromancers, for example, play differently from other heroes because they can raise Skeletons after every battle. They get to regenerate a few lost troops, or even gain troops as a result of fighting. To keep the game balanced, the devs have to consider how much their buildings cost, creature growth, and even what spells are available - all because they get a few creatures for free nearly every turn.
While I admit that I like Necromancy [or even other skills that certain factions use more effectively than other factions] these make it almost impossible to get the balance of the game right. If the developers aren't super careful about taking a holistic view and being very careful how they craft bonuses / abilities / etc. they'll never get things "right".

The poster child of this sort of issue, as you have pointed out, is Necromancy. On any skills that give you something for nothing it's almost impossible to balance the hero & skill / etc. for short / mid / and large maps.

Honestly if I were the designer I'd take the coward's way out and instead of giving you free additional creatures I'd do some combination of:
-- Allow the skill to raise some of your losses
-- You don't get "free creatures" ... you have to buy the creatures you raise at your castle.

Basically I'd try my best to make sure skills / creatures / costs / etc. were set up in a way that I'd be less likely to run into nigh-unfixable balance issues.

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Postby hydro123456 » May 28 2009, 2:22

Are 2D graphics too much to ask for? I miss having a fixed map that always showed me exactly what I need to see. My biggest complaint with Heroes 5 is that overall it just wasn't as easy to play as the previous game. When it comes to a TBS one of the most important things to me is the interface. Or is it still more important to sucker people who won't even like the game in to buying it?

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Postby Kristo » May 28 2009, 13:44

I don't think 2D vs. 3D matters all that much. What matters is usability. Strategy games like Galactic Civilizations 2 and Sins of a Solar Empire are both done in 3D but present very user-friendly interfaces.
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Postby Bandobras Took » May 28 2009, 18:06

Are 2D graphics too much to ask for? I miss having a fixed map that always showed me exactly what I need to see. My biggest complaint with Heroes 5 is that overall it just wasn't as easy to play as the previous game.
Heroes IV? The one that made it easier than ever to hide things behind trees and terrain? The one that emphasized overland map graphics beyond anything that the Heroes series had seen before? The one with the clunky, unintuitive battlefield layout?
When it comes to a TBS one of the most important things to me is the interface. Or is it still more important to sucker people who won't even like the game in to buying it?
The Heroes II town screen interface was generally lousy, but very, very beautiful. I suppose JVC was just trying to sucker people into buying the game. Yeesh. :jester:
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Postby hydro123456 » May 29 2009, 0:20

Are 2D graphics too much to ask for? I miss having a fixed map that always showed me exactly what I need to see. My biggest complaint with Heroes 5 is that overall it just wasn't as easy to play as the previous game.
Heroes IV? The one that made it easier than ever to hide things behind trees and terrain? The one that emphasized overland map graphics beyond anything that the Heroes series had seen before? The one with the clunky, unintuitive battlefield layout?
I meant to say previous games, but I still think Heroes 4 was way more playable than 5. Navigating the underground levels was incredibly frustrating. Yes it was easy to hide stuff behind items, but they genereally didn't do that from what I remember. Ideally I'd like to see a combination of Heroes 3 graphics(but higher res and a little prettier), combined with the best parts of the Heroes 3 and 4 interfaces.
When it comes to a TBS one of the most important things to me is the interface. Or is it still more important to sucker people who won't even like the game in to buying it?
The Heroes II town screen interface was generally lousy, but very, very beautiful. I suppose JVC was just trying to sucker people into buying the game. Yeesh. :jester:
The difference there is that the interface improved with every Heroes game except 5. 5 took a big step back, and I can only imagine it's because they spent more time on the fancy graphics than things like AI, interface, and balance.

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Postby ThunderTitan » May 29 2009, 8:17

The Heroes II town screen interface was generally lousy, but very, very beautiful.
Only if you played it years after it came out, noob...
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Postby Bandobras Took » May 29 2009, 14:01

The Heroes II town screen interface was generally lousy, but very, very beautiful.
Only if you played it years after it came out, noob...
No, I played it when it first came out. Especially with fully built up towns, there were cases where trying to click on the correct building required a good deal more precision than I was generally capable of at that time. ;)
The difference there is that the interface improved with every Heroes game except 5. 5 took a big step back, and I can only imagine it's because they spent more time on the fancy graphics than things like AI, interface, and balance.
People keep saying this, but I'm having trouble understanding it. With the exception of having to rotate the camera sometimes in the underground, what exactly was wrong with the Heroes 5 interface? The town screen alone made things more convenient than before with shortcut buttons to take you directly from resource trading to creature buying/city building. Their manner of presenting the city build trees meant far less right-clicking to remember prerequisites. They had the standard buttons on the adventure map, and a nice "highlight" key for telling at a glance what objects you could interact with. To say nothing of their pathfinding being able to use teleporters correctly.

I principally object to the idea that a Heroes game must avoid focusing on graphics; Heroes games have always focused on graphics as well as the rest. While they have never been cutting edge graphics, a lot of work has always gone into them (the mummy unraveling from Heroes 2 is strictly eye candy -- it adds nothing strategic to the game, and that is one example among many). It is too much to ask that they avoid focusing on graphics, because that has never been the way of any Heroes game.

People seem to be in the habit of idealizing past Heroes games as pinnacles of AI brilliance and balance. Neither of these is particularly accurate. Heroes II AI had a terrible time with boats. It was obssessed with killing ranged units. It really didn't handle sieges well. The Well alone did hideous things to game balance. The Conflux in III was so imbalanced it wasn't funny. Anybody who claims Heroes 4 focused on AI or game balance probably has an extremely personal and unique definition for those terms.

Are AI and game balance important? Yes. Are they the job of the art personnel? No. Do game developers wait until they actually are working on the game before advertising job openings for artists?

Your guess is as good as mine.
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