Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Skill System

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

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Kristo
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Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Skill System

Postby Kristo » Oct 1 2008, 18:47

This is the first of (hopefully) a few topics discussing the various aspects of the Heroes games and what we would like to see in a future edition of the game. The first topic is the skill system. Skills make the hero who he/she is. After all, this is Heroes of Might and Magic, not Armies of Might and Magic. We can include individual special abilities into this discussion as well.

I liked the concept of secondary Hero Classes from H4. The skills you chose led to your hero becoming a different and/or better class. Since new skill choices are given based on what your hero already has, you could somewhat tailor your hero's development to your playing style. I also liked the Abilities concept from H5. With the heroes once again off the battlefield, abilities made them more "interactive" during combat. A hybrid H4-H5 system would be ideal to me; we can flesh out specifics as the thread progresses.

I was turned off by the "Ultimate" skill concept in H5. I've never been completely happy with the skill balance in any of the HoMM games, and Ultimates just made it worse. Every skill choice should yield about the same benefit, especially since the choices are given randomly. I don't want to have to check the skill wheel at every level to ensure I don't mess up the perfect hero build. (Now, since I stopped playing H5 after the beta, someone please feel free to enlighten me on this topic.)

I think a future Heroes game could also do without individual hero specials. The game is hard enough to balance without them. I cringe every time I read a post that says one faction is superior as long as you pick a certain hero to start. The heroes are what the player makes of them. Luck of the draw at the Tavern shouldn't enter into it.
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Re: Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Skill System

Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Oct 1 2008, 19:28

I like the concept of heroe specialities. The problem is that time is not taken to balance the specialities which results in only a couple of heroes of each faction actually being used as a main heroe. I hope specialties are retained. A heroe has to be able to creeep reasonably well to be chosen as the starting heroe. Once you get your starting heroe experienced it is hard to take an inexperienced heroe that you might have liked if he could creep and make him your main heroe.

I liked each faction having a might and a magic heroe in HOMM4. I would like that concept to return in HOMM6.

I liked each faction having unique magic as in HOMM4. I think it is easier to balance the game and contributes to the uniqueness of the faction with this type of magic setup.

While I liked heroes on the battlefield in HOMM4 but I'd prefer they remain off the field of battle in HOMM6.

The ultimate skill concept is nice. The problem is that the skills are not balanced in usefulness, ease of obtaining, or usefulness of skills required to obtain the skill.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 1 2008, 19:40

I agree with everything GoW said except the Ultimate Ability. It's not a nice ability, since it's either:

1) ignored because you play a map where you won't reach such a high level
2) aimed for, thus eliminating your choices at level-up.

It doesn't bring any fun into the game.
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 1 2008, 19:53

Well, instead of having ONE ultimate you could combine the classes of H 4 with something like a superior skill which you would get, for example, for having specific combinations of skills/abilities.
Just as an example, imagine something like the really complex and cool abilities like Preparation and imagine them being available as a bonus.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 1 2008, 20:28

Well yes, abilities that are "harder" to get (like for example Swift Mind with Dungeon - requires Arcane Intuition on top of the logistics skill Scouting) are nice, but not one uber-powerful ultimate which is extremely hard to get and limits your choices too much.
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Re: Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Skill System

Postby klaymen » Oct 2 2008, 6:04

Kristo wrote:A hybrid H4-H5 system would be ideal to me


I agree



Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:... but I'd prefer they remain off the field of battle in HOMM6.


This will be ok, until the heroes won't have any attack (but they will be able to cast spells as it was in HoMM 1-3), because for instance the knight's attack (melee) is able to reach anyone, even behind castle walls and this seems really stupid to me. Nival should give them another attack (ranged), or don't let the heroes attack at all.
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Postby Kristo » Oct 2 2008, 12:09

Jolly Joker wrote:Well, instead of having ONE ultimate you could combine the classes of H 4 with something like a superior skill which you would get, for example, for having specific combinations of skills/abilities.
Just as an example, imagine something like the really complex and cool abilities like Preparation and imagine them being available as a bonus.

That sounds OK in principle, but you'd have to ensure that all of the "bonus" skills/abilities were roughly equal in power and about the same difficulty to obtain. Otherwise, we're no better off than before. The basic skills that unlock the best bonus would be more useful than the others. And worse, any skill that doesn't help unlock a bonus is much less useful. In H4, every primary skill led to at least one of the advanced classes. I think it's important to retain that.

klaymen wrote:
Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:... but I'd prefer they remain off the field of battle in HOMM6.

This will be ok, until the heroes won't have any attack (but they will be able to cast spells as it was in HoMM 1-3), because for instance the knight's attack (melee) is able to reach anyone, even behind castle walls and this seems really stupid to me. Nival should give them another attack (ranged), or don't let the heroes attack at all.

But it already behaves like a ranged attack since the hero can strike and return anywhere without retaliation. Do you really think one poorly chosen animation should disqualify all hero attack abilities?

In H5, how blurry is the line between attack specials and magic? Are the abilities less powerful since they don't cost any mana?
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Postby Asheera » Oct 2 2008, 12:31

Kristo wrote:In H5, how blurry is the line between attack specials and magic? Are the abilities less powerful since they don't cost any mana?
Well for example Benediction is weaker than a spell, obviously. Or are you talking about the normal attack?
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Oct 2 2008, 13:20

Asheera wrote:
Kristo wrote:In H5, how blurry is the line between attack specials and magic? Are the abilities less powerful since they don't cost any mana?
Well for example Benediction is weaker than a spell, obviously. Or are you talking about the normal attack?


Might heroes have attack and defense values that help their creatures every single turn on both attack and defense without requiring any action on the part of the heroe. The knowledge and spell power of a magic heroe don't help their creatures at all. A magic heroe can only help his creatures with spells. So the might specials should be less powerful than spells.

And of course a might heroe will have both his specials and spells. The warcries of barbarians are the equivalent of spells and are pretty good.

Also, might heroes can cast the uber mass spells just as fast as a dedicated spellcaster with sorcery which makes no sense to me. Mass spells should take more initiative and should work in conjunction with sorcery.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 2 2008, 13:26

Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:Also, might heroes can cast the uber mass spells just as fast as a dedicated spellcaster with sorcery which makes no sense to me. Mass spells should take more initiative and should work in conjunction with sorcery.
I could never understand why mass spells cost only 50% initiative and don't work with Sorcery. It's a pretty messed up system IMO. They're already affecting the whole army, which means casting A LOT faster than usual. Double mana cost? The mass spells are useful to target multiple creatures, not just one, and if you target two creatures (which is a minimum anyway), you will use "normal" casting mana, but cast twice as fast. Now, imagine if you affect 7 stacks of creatures... and on top of this, they use only 50% initiative for some weird reason only Nival could think of :disagree:

There's also the problem that low level (and available as mass spells) Light/Dark magic spells have almost no use of spellpower, which simply makes them unfair towards magic factions, since the might heroes benefit of the same bonus...
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 2 2008, 14:05

What I still don't understand is why the newer Heroes versions didn't make the transition from a plain attack/defense to a diveded
attack/defense
Magic attack/Magic defense

This would allow some new and interesting twists. Obviously most "normal" units had a magic attack and defense of 0, why others, instead of immunities, would have a high magic defense value. A Golem might have a magic defense of 20, for example. Moreover, new creature varieties would be available: A Witchhunter, for example, might be weaker in attack than a Crusader or something, but had a formidable magic defense.

On the other hand you had creatures with a MAGIC attack like Wizards, and Titans, Sukkubi, Sprites and so on, and there could even be creatures with both.

This would mean that the Power attribute would boost magic attack and defense (maybe 50%, depending on the balance).

Spells could be cast by comparing the magic attack value of a spell (modified by the magic attributes) with magic defense and modify the effect according to the difference as for mundane attacks.

Something like that.
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Postby John.Galt » Oct 2 2008, 22:27

Heroes should be off the map and have no attack like in H3, or on the map and have an attack, like in H4. I personally prefer the latter. Unkillable heroes are just as dumb as massive armies falling to a small number of stalkers.

Also, in the tavern, heroes should not start with troops - they should be just a hero.

As for the skills, I like the idea of having a skillwheel like in H5, but if possible, blend that with the setup in H4. I never really mastered the details of H4, since I lost the disc and only found it once I bought H5, but I liked the principle of your hero changing based on the skills you chose a lot. I may be revealing my ignorance about the system here, cause I didn't play H4 much, but I still liked it a lot.

Overall: H4 has the best heroes system to date, but if it could take a little from the diversity in skills of H5 and ToE that'd be perfect.
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Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Oct 4 2008, 23:56

This isn't a skill system wish but one that is important for the series.

I wish for a map editor with drop down menus that is easy to work with. Also, the editor should be well documented. ALL functions should be documented. In every HOMM5 patch there are undocumented functions in the editor. While I have taken the time to learn LUA scripting, learning scripting should not be a requirement for map makers. More maps will be made and the game in better shape if HOMM6 has a map editor with drop down menues.
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Postby sezerp » Oct 7 2008, 14:28

Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:
Might heroes have attack and defense values that help their creatures every single turn on both attack and defense without requiring any action on the part of the heroe. The knowledge and spell power of a magic heroe don't help their creatures at all. A magic heroe can only help his creatures with spells. So the might specials should be less powerful than spells.


In general, I agree. But the other side of this is: magic heroes should not be able to direct attack at the same (base) efficiency as might heroes, because they already have more/better spells & bigger mana pool, which can completely nullify might hero's advantage. I think that, base damage of hero's direct attack should depend on his fighting skills (e.g. sum of attack & defence skill) rather than just his level. Of course, abilities like Retribution, Mark of the Damned and so on can be learned to improve base dmg. and some of them should be available to casters too.

Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:And of course a might heroe will have both his specials and spells. The warcries of barbarians are the equivalent of spells and are pretty good.


I wouldn't say warcries are equivalent of spells. They are not THAT powerful. (which is OK)

Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:Also, might heroes can cast the uber mass spells just as fast as a dedicated spellcaster with sorcery which makes no sense to me. Mass spells should take more initiative and should work in conjunction with sorcery.


Mass spells should take more mana & time and be affected by Sorcery as any other spell. I agree also, that influence of spell power should be more visible for 'time effects'. That should fix most of the problem.
OTOH, I think there's nothing inherently wrong with might heroes having access to mass spells. We just as well could say that Wizards should not be able to learn Pathfinding. Or Ballista. Or <put your favourite might ability here>

Other than that:
- heroes off the field.
- Might & magic heroes in each town: thumbs up !
- Ultimate ability - perhaps they could be something you can get when reaching reasonably high level, without skill prerequisites. Instead of that, it could be kind of 'promotion' you would have to pay high price (in gold) for it. (so you have to choose: more troops or better hero) Of course, then all of them simply must be equally worth of picking up.
That solves the problem of limited choices in hero's set up. (although it may create a new one: the race to reach level n-th, when hero becomes insanely strong)
- hero specials: the idea I always loved.
- Balance issues in general: there's no way in hell beta testers will find them all. Removing features because they can be 'imba' is therefore not the way to go. Instead, patches should be released more often, some of them being just the balance fixes. Just like Blizzard does it.

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Postby godlyatheist » Oct 9 2008, 3:09

My thoughts on the skill system and hero development in general.

Might and magic heroes: yes I would like this to return so any faction has a choice for both.

Skills: might and magic heroes should have different % chance for skills at level up(obviously). Also, i like heroes 3 way of attribute having a different distribution before and after a certain level. If this is extended to skill choices as well then it becomes much easier to set the path for development at early level.

Specialties: don't include useless crap like Lizard Bite. Magic faction specials shouldn't be limited to +1/+1 per 2 level. Instead it should be like, Minatours gain +1 speed/+1 initiative per 5 level in addition to the atk/def. Make bad creatures worthwhile when used with specialty heroes.

Hero development: It's okay if we have good starting heroes and good late game heroes. To use them effectively I'd like to drift away from the uber main hero of H5. Lower the exp cap and the neutral amount, so you can creep with a starting hero, then give the army back to the late-game hero and allow him to develop adequately. Since it takes less kills to level, you can afford to develop multiple hero. To stop just using massive army to pump one hero uber high, make them start with no troops so you can only use weekly troops from the town. Also, impose a diminishing return on exp the more you kill in the same day.

Here's what i mean: A weeks worth of troops can allow two heroes to creep effectively. If you put all your troops on one hero then he can obviously creep insanely fast. Experience should be reduced if your army power is >> than the neutral stack and if you fight too many battles a day. This way, your "uber" hero can kill everything in sight but his experience gain is slowed.

On the other hand, using two heroes to creep will allow both of them to level at normal speed so in the end you have say 2x lvl 12 hero vs 1x lvl 15 hero. In addition there should be a "battle effectiveness" check built-in against heroes level. If your army consist of say 4 weeks worth of troops on a level 10 hero, the army's stats gets a penalty. This promotes more management and allows more dynamic battles. It's not game over if you lose your main, your secondary can still turn the tide around. Of course might heroes gets more battle effectiveness than magic heroes at any given level/army size than magic heroes.

Creature spells: Should allow a faction to make up for major weakness if the hero skills can't. Shadow Priestess- Sacrifice: sacrifices x creatures to cleanse certain dark magic with calculated value = y. Why should dark magic completely cripple a faction, sure it should be strong but not IWIN.

Am I making heroes a too complicated in terms of mechanic and strategy?

PS: As for previously discussed topics, mass spells should definitely not cost only 50% initiative. I vote for nerfed Ultimate skill to be give to all heroes at lvl 25; think of it a little reward for achieving high level so lowbies can have something to be afraid of.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 9 2008, 5:54

The "problem" you are sketching isn't there. Or better, it's there only in 2-player maps, where it is none. If you play maps with more players, you will have more than one "main" heroes automatically, because you simply cannot manafe a map like Heritage with one and not even with two "main" heroes.
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Postby godlyatheist » Oct 9 2008, 16:58

now i feel like an idiot

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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 9 2008, 18:08

Umm, sorry and all, but do you disagree?
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Postby godlyatheist » Oct 10 2008, 0:07

I agree with you completely, I forgot that maps with more than 2 castles existed lol. It just takes way too long to play a map with 8 castle against friends so I stopped, opting for game/time efficiency of 2 castle small map.

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Postby Asheera » Oct 10 2008, 15:12

btw, what do you all think of the Mentoring ability?

For me it's simply the most broken and overpowered ability there is. It allows you to level up your heroes too much when having high levels (because the experience is gained exponentially and not linear) - it is already too strong on 2 player maps, not to mention on multiple player maps where you'll need many heroes and Mentoring will simply provide you with a lot of main heroes.

I hope it won't be available in other Heroes games, or at least change it to give 25 percent of the LEVEL of the hero to the other, NOT experience.
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.


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