Discussion of Ashan history

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

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Postby XEL II » May 1 2011, 16:31

Mlai wrote:I hear the older HOMMs gameworld have UFOs??? WTF is that stupid crap?

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Please, stop judging things you have no idea about. This just makes you look stupid. For example, those who accuse Ashan actually know the stoyline of games set in it. You, like many other "anti-old universe people", on the other hand, obviously don't have any concrete knowledge of its lore and background.

BTW, the only thing "ripped" from D&D in the Dungeon is the Beholder creature. And "ripped from D&D" is an absurd statement - D&D is rather the platform for fantasy setting, rather that a universe. A whole motherload of games take some elements from D&D to a degree. Not to mention that MM Beholders are quite different from their D&D counterparts.
Make you strong places to dwell and practice the evil of your arts. Build great monuments to stand through the ages and remind your followers of the task with which you have been charged. Use these halls of iniquity to perpetrate your schemes against the infestation that has taken the fields and lakes of this land from you, their rightful masters. Never forget the hatred that must finally overcome and consume mankind. Dwell in your dungeons and brood. - Sheltem the Dark

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Postby Mlai » May 2 2011, 6:58

Oh, so displays of ignorance do make you facepalm, does it? Then I've proven my point. How do you think I feel whenever someone disses Ashan with no good reason?

those who accuse Ashan actually know the stoyline of games set in it.

Never seemed like it. I've never heard 1 good reason why the Ashan world/universe is sub-par.

BTW, the only thing "ripped" from D&D in the Dungeon is the Beholder creature. And "ripped from D&D" is an absurd statement - D&D is rather the platform for fantasy setting, rather that a universe. A whole motherload of games take some elements from D&D to a degree. Not to mention that MM Beholders are quite different from their D&D counterparts.

Double standard? Nival basing their DE on Warhammer DE is beaten until it's deader than dead. But ripping off a clearly AD&D creature that has no basis in historical mythologies, that's A-OKAY?

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Postby ThunderTitan » May 2 2011, 8:39

Mlai wrote:What's wrong with playing with Warhammerish DE? As if there's another good TBS out there featuring Warhammerish DE? Do you see a Heroes of Warhammer 5? No? Well there you go, what's the issue?


There are plenty of strategy games that do... most of them are WH based. And Mark of Chaos was Turn Based even.

But the problem was that making a new world and then just using factions from other setting for it is lame... why not take the chance to make something new-ish... make Dungeon with Dark Elves that are honourable and instead of using slaves the other units are allied with them because life underground is very dangerous, which makes them all very wary of others...
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Postby Mlai » May 2 2011, 17:28

I happen to keep a tab on WH videogames. Mark Of Chaos and Shadow Of The Horned Rat are the only WH videogames that exist (barring that other MMO), and neither feature any DE.

The HOMM franchise's fundamental schtick is that it uses classic mythological and faery-tale creatures as its bestiary. As the Dark Elves are basically a Tolkienized version of the Unseelie Court, they cannot be depicted as honourable in order to appeal to "innovation."

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Postby XEL II » May 2 2011, 18:04

Mlai wrote:Never seemed like it. I've never heard 1 good reason why the Ashan world/universe is sub-par.

That's your problem, certainly not of those people who provided their points for criticizing Ashan.
Mlai wrote:Double standard? Nival basing their DE on Warhammer DE is beaten until it's deader than dead. But ripping off a clearly AD&D creature that has no basis in historical mythologies, that's A-OKAY?

Unlike previous MM games and many other games (when they just borrowed some conceptual ideas from D&D), HoMM V Dungeon is blatantly ripped off from Warhammer FB with matriarchy from D&D Drow.
Make you strong places to dwell and practice the evil of your arts. Build great monuments to stand through the ages and remind your followers of the task with which you have been charged. Use these halls of iniquity to perpetrate your schemes against the infestation that has taken the fields and lakes of this land from you, their rightful masters. Never forget the hatred that must finally overcome and consume mankind. Dwell in your dungeons and brood. - Sheltem the Dark

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Postby Corlagon » May 2 2011, 18:31

Mlai wrote:Oh, so displays of ignorance do make you facepalm, does it? Then I've proven my point. How do you think I feel whenever someone disses Ashan with no good reason?


But there are many good, objective reasons to diss Ashan in the form it was portrayed in Heroes V. Conceptual restraints (no sci-fi), charmless plot, cheese-laden atmosphere, bad writing, membrane-thin connection to the preceding games, countless typos, dull backstory, horrendous voice acting...

I'm confident Heroes VI will mend an awful lot of these faults and that Ashan will be "elevated" to a good platform for storytelling, but if/when it is it's only because people were vocal in criticising the problems.

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Postby Kalah » May 2 2011, 19:04

Corlagon wrote:But there are many good, objective reasons to diss Ashan in the form it was portrayed in Heroes V. Conceptual restraints (no sci-fi), charmless plot, cheese-laden atmosphere, bad writing, membrane-thin connection to the preceding games, countless typos, dull backstory, horrendous voice acting...


GRIFFIN ETERNAL!!

What? No, I just felt like shouting that for no particular reason.
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Postby Pitsu » May 2 2011, 19:06

Mlai wrote:I hear the older HOMMs gameworld have UFOs???


Literally only h5 has, elsewhere flying objects are known.

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Postby Infiltrator » May 3 2011, 1:36

Corlagon wrote:
Mlai wrote:Oh, so displays of ignorance do make you facepalm, does it? Then I've proven my point. How do you think I feel whenever someone disses Ashan with no good reason?


But there are many good, objective reasons to diss Ashan in the form it was portrayed in Heroes V. Conceptual restraints (no sci-fi), charmless plot, cheese-laden atmosphere, bad writing, membrane-thin connection to the preceding games, countless typos, dull backstory, horrendous voice acting...

I'm confident Heroes VI will mend an awful lot of these faults and that Ashan will be "elevated" to a good platform for storytelling, but if/when it is it's only because people were vocal in criticising the problems.


I have to agree with this.
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Postby lotusreaver » May 3 2011, 2:23

Kalah wrote:GRIFFIN ETERNAL!! What? No, I just felt like shouting that for no particular reason.


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Postby Mlai » May 3 2011, 15:27

That's your problem, certainly not of those people who provided their points for criticizing Ashan.

I don't have a problem. I like the game that I bought, and I enjoyed the campaign immensely.

But there are many good, objective reasons to diss Ashan in the form it was portrayed in Heroes V. Conceptual restraints (no sci-fi), charmless plot, cheese-laden atmosphere, bad writing, membrane-thin connection to the preceding games, countless typos, dull backstory, horrendous voice acting...

1. Wait, no sci-fi in my fantasy... is a bad thing???

2. What part of the plot is charmless? By the last campaign mission of TotE, I actually knew that I was going to dearly miss my band of heroic kings/chiefs and their collective adventures.

3. Cheese is bad? I always thought that it's an essential tone for HOMM. There was certainly plenty of it in HOMM2, the last HOMM I played.

4. I never encountered the bad/dull writing or typos. Or they weren't bad enough that I remember them.

5. No connection to the preceding games... You do remember this is set in a completely new universe??? What connection do we need???

6. I never had a problem with the voice acting. It fit the graphics perfectly. Like 80's adventure cartoons.


I don't know what you expected, exactly. I expected something in the tradition of HOMM2, but with better graphics and more complex game rules. That's exactly what I got and I'm very happy with it.

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Postby Corlagon » May 3 2011, 18:12

1. Wait, no sci-fi in my fantasy... is a bad thing???


No sci-fi in your long-running science fantasy series is a bad thing. Or at least an inconsistent thing. Either way, it's no reason to celebrate. Might and Magic had a very fair share of science-fiction undertones series until 2006, like/believe it or not. It was always hidden well in the Heroes series, so it's acceptable for Heroes to lack it, but the entire new universe refuses to accommodate it in any game.

Disallowing the sci-fi and essentially saying "sorry, but there'll no more of that from here on" is a direct conceptual restraint which leads to a setting with less freedom for storytelling. It's even worse because the "fantasy worlds with a sci-fi origin" concept was among Might and Magic's main truly unique aspects. Even its predecessor, the Wizardry series, drew inspiration from it.

I hear the older HOMMs gameworld have UFOs??? WTF is that stupid crap? I'm so glad I'm playing in Ashan and not some medieval fantasy world that somehow has UFOs


I wanted to avoid commenting on this, but I'm sorry, I just can't resist. The irony of your statement here is actually causing me physical pain.

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3. Cheese is bad? I always thought that it's an essential tone for HOMM. There was certainly plenty of it in HOMM2, the last HOMM I played.


Bad? Well it isn't great when avoiding cheese and creating a mature, epic tone was the explicit and fundamental intent and promise of the writers (as outlined in dev diary 1). It certainly isn't an essential tone. In fact it was made doubly regrettable with H5 since the prequel, Heroes IV, had the darkest and best-written campaigns in the series for it to live up to.

4. I never encountered the bad/dull writing or typos. Or they weren't bad enough that I remember them.


Well I'm not quite sure how I'm expected to respond when you try to use your inattention or opinion to prove a point. The argument from ignorance isn't really a valid one. It sounds to me, and probably the others who dissed the H5 storyline, as though a) you didn't play through it or b) you haven't played it in one hell of a long time.

I mean, I guess if somebody tied me to a chair and forced me to watch Tommy Wisseau's The Room, I could just as well insist that it wasn't a bad film and that I encountered no problems with it, or even that it's genius and merits an Oscar. I'm entitled to that opinion and can never be proven "wrong". That doesn't mean I shouldn't expect to be laughed out of the room if I insist as such to my friends and family, let alone strangers.

There are objective and subjective flaws in any storyline. You claim you've heard more than enough of the latter, so let's discuss the former (and I'm only addressing the flaws in the campaigns' storyline here, not the gameplay):

1) Countless story elements are directly plagiarised from Heroes I-IV. I could devote an entire post to this (and have, in the past). The game is NOT, however, declared a tribute or remake - rather the opposite, one seeking to "move away from the [previous worlds'] light-hearted fantasy" - and there is no indication that the writers realised they were mashing together one previous story after another.

2) Map design barely adheres whatsoever to the official map of Ashan - for instance the surroundings of Talonguard City are mutated and warped at least three times over.

3) Storyline barely applies to gameplay in several instances, such as Markal's hunt for the "Vampire's Garment" artifact which never existed and is never obtained. Internal plotholes such as the miraculous resurrection of Freyda and Duncan.

4) Not a single one of the voice actors reprised their roles in the expansions due to a voice director change, which created poor consistency. Not even Geoffrey Bateman returned as Arantir. In contrast, characters like Catherine or Archibald or Gelu retained the same actors in previous games.

5) There is no connection to the preceding games beyond four half-hearted name-drops. This is objectively a continuity flaw/fault. Inventing a new setting with absolutely no connection to the previous one means as a given that there is no storyline continuity with the rest of the series, which is intrinsically unwelcome in a saga.

6) Unintentionally-deleted scenes. Bugs in the vanilla and HoF expansion ensured that two pivotal cutscenes (Raelag revealing his identity and Biara discoursing with the Sovereign) were omitted and therefore unseen by 90% of players, resulting in unwarranted loose threads and red herrings which required interviews to "fix".

7) Elrath killed Laszlo

5. No connection to the preceding games... You do remember this is set in a completely new universe


Yes, I think everyone remembers. As addressed above, this is, objectively, a problem in itself. There was continuity between Heroes II and Heroes III. There was continuity between Heroes III and Heroes IV. etc, etc. There was no continuity between Heroes IV and Heroes V. The Heroes saga had unblemished continuity and then all of a sudden had none. H5 was out of line. That is a problem.

6. I never had a problem with the voice acting. It fit the graphics perfectly. Like 80's adventure cartoons.


It may be consistent with the graphics but it does not fit the authors' intent. According to them, the highest praise possible was "Ashan feels real". The awful, cartoonish voice acting couldn't possibly have run more contrary to that goal.

As I previously said, though, there's not much more I can do to counteract an opinion like this beyond asking you to listen again to some of it and see if you reconsider.

"I was just about to put the kettle on"
"Fatha / Lazslooooo"
"the thing that came out"

Also, inconsistent voice actors.

I don't know what you expected, exactly. I expected something in the tradition of HOMM2, but with better graphics and more complex game rules. That's exactly what I got and I'm very happy with it.


I don't think I'm unfair to Ashan (any more, at least), let alone abusing it. But I do have reasonable expectations. There's no reason not to enjoy it if it improves - and I can see that it is improving. Heroes VI has competent storytelling, and somebody who knows the entire series is working on it. The thing is, you say that people criticise Heroes V's story for no reason and that you can't seen any justification in the belief that it was sub-par.

I've played the entire Might and Magic series, I have no prejudice against Ubisoft, yet my opinion is still that Heroes V has, on the whole, a bad storyline. Can I ask that you at least be fair to us and have a read of the Heroes IV storylines, then tell us your opinion of them - particularly Half-Dead, A Pirate's Daughter or The Price of Peace. Maybe if you see what Heroes V was up against you can formulate a better-informed picture of the reasons behind our enduring consensus on its low quality, at least more so than "WTF is this stupid crap" and "I don't know what you expect".

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Postby lotusreaver » May 4 2011, 1:30

Corlagon wrote: 7) Elrath killed Laszlo


Perfectly stated. And yes, Laszlo's death was indeed one of the more confusing and stupid aspects of the storyline. Elrath exploding Laszlo through gateways due to Freyda's screams?

I really really hope that H6's storyline will be as mature and complex as it seems on paper. But we've all been burned before by similar claims...

Your link to the H5 Developer Diary made me weep for the game's lost potential. They wanted to create a story where "all of the characters have legitimate motivations and credible mindsets." Instead, we got a lady who was made a queen for no reason, who resurrected her husband as a vampire, and who basically invaded the Silver Cities... and ultimately goes on vacation with Raelag while her people get tortured by Biara. And there are no consequences.

Oh wait. It was all for love.

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Postby Mlai » May 4 2011, 17:05

Haha, I think I know the fundamental disagreement now.

I came from H2. I was expecting a basic storyline with cheesy delivery which are often (unintentionally) hilarious, with classic mythological and faery-tale creatures as bestiary. This is exactly what I got with H5.

You came from H3-4, you were expecting a complex and mature storyline with continuity, with original creatures/factions that are not necessarily copy/pasted from classic myths and folklore (such as the sci-fi angle). This is certainly not what you got with H5.

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Postby Corlagon » May 4 2011, 17:35

Well, absolutely, I did want a complex and mature storyline because that's exactly what was promised and anticipated. See the developer diary. There was no reason to expect the crappy storyline in the finished product, hence the "bashing".

Anyway I guess you'll now think twice before saying you've never seen at least a few good reasons ;).

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Postby XEL II » May 4 2011, 18:45

Scrapping the old universe was an incredibly stupid decision for Ubi also because they were ignorant to the core Might and Magic series. They were forming their opinion on MM lore only from HoMM campaigns, and decided that MM had "no strong connection between the games", all the while ignoring NINE games from core RPG series, which formed solid lore background of the old universe.

Heck, they didn't even know the stoyline well and called Enroth, Erathia and Jadame continents of the same world... practically in the same sentence where they accused the old universe for "not having strong lore". Which is also a totally fase statement, if we take into account rich backstory of MM universe.
Make you strong places to dwell and practice the evil of your arts. Build great monuments to stand through the ages and remind your followers of the task with which you have been charged. Use these halls of iniquity to perpetrate your schemes against the infestation that has taken the fields and lakes of this land from you, their rightful masters. Never forget the hatred that must finally overcome and consume mankind. Dwell in your dungeons and brood. - Sheltem the Dark

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Postby Pitsu » May 4 2011, 19:47

Mlai wrote:I came from H2. I was expecting a basic storyline with cheesy delivery which are often (unintentionally) hilarious, with classic mythological and faery-tale creatures as bestiary. This is exactly what I got with H5.
.


I consider H2 as the best in the series too. But not because its cheesy storyline. While leaving aside strengths and weaknesses vs H3, then compared to H5 in H2 i enjoyed having kingdoms of tens of towns. Starting with whatever castle and end with whatever combination of castles and armies. In H5 i am pretty much locked to the starting town and more linear kingdom development. H2 was a strategy game, H5 a RPG with tactical battles. In H2 MP a game with 2 human opponents took less than 2 turns in H5 against a single human player. And so one. So if you value cheese in stories then do so, but please do not suggest like H2 and H5 both are great because of that.

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Postby XEL II » May 4 2011, 19:53

I don't know why you're calling HoMM 2's storyline cheesy. There was not so much of the storyline to begin with, but I wou;dn't say it was cheesy. Even the premise is the civil war between two prince brothers raging across an entire continent.
Make you strong places to dwell and practice the evil of your arts. Build great monuments to stand through the ages and remind your followers of the task with which you have been charged. Use these halls of iniquity to perpetrate your schemes against the infestation that has taken the fields and lakes of this land from you, their rightful masters. Never forget the hatred that must finally overcome and consume mankind. Dwell in your dungeons and brood. - Sheltem the Dark

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Postby Mlai » May 5 2011, 0:55

Who's being biased because of nostalgia, now?

H2 storyline was very cheesy. Not in a bad way. Archibald was your classic Saturday morning villain evil brother, intoning maliciously while twirling his mustache. The evil ending where he tosses his brother into a tower, with a "oh it's such an eeevil dungeon -- complete with skeleton!" static graphic, and then gloats over it, is just classic. The storyline was hella basic. The graphics are laughably homey, even at its time.

Basically, even at the time when I bought H2 as a teen, I felt like I was playing a library fairy tale book, with library fairy tale book graphics. And it was great.

I consider H2 as the best in the series too. But not because its cheesy storyline.

If I didn't like H2 gameplay, I wouldn't have bought H5 on the spot.

The discussion centered on the plot and gameworld, so that's what I was responding to.

Well, absolutely, I did want a complex and mature storyline because that's exactly what was promised and anticipated. See the developer diary.

Well there you go. I never saw any of that. I just walked into BestBuy and "Hey, HOMM5? Oh, I remember homey old HOMM2 with its homey graphics and cheesy story, it was great!" *Buys.*

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Postby Qurqirish Dragon » May 5 2011, 13:08

Mlai wrote:Who's being biased because of nostalgia, now?

H2 storyline was very cheesy. Not in a bad way. Archibald was your classic Saturday morning villain evil brother, intoning maliciously while twirling his mustache. The evil ending where he tosses his brother into a tower, with a "oh it's such an eeevil dungeon -- complete with skeleton!" static graphic, and then gloats over it, is just classic. The storyline was hella basic. The graphics are laughably homey, even at its time.


Perhaps cheesy isn't the right word. "B-movie" style, maybe?
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