Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Might & Magic II: Castles and Quests, Part II

Thanks for making that clear, strange person scrawling oddly detailed message on the wall of a random dungeon, trusting that the social institutions you reference will remain active at the point that another stranger comes along and reads this message, and that by then the bishops will not have already died or have been freed.
When I last posted about Might & Magic II, I was hanging around Castle Hillstone, trying to slay all of the various creatures that Lord Slayer wanted. Eventually, he gave me a quest to kill a Dagger Jaw, which I've never even seen in the game, so I decided to try some other castles. In Pinehurst, I found the answer to some confusion with a message on the wall: The "Triple Crown" doesn't just mean winning three battles of each of the ticket colors; it means winning a battle in each of the three arenas. With that knowledge in hand, I bought three tickets of each of the four colors and went back to each of the arenas. In fairly short order, I became a "Triple Crown winner" for each of the colors, and now when I free the bishops in the castles, I'll get a lot more experience. Plus, based on a message I received in a dungeon, I'm "halfway to an audience with Queen Lamanda." In Castle Pinehurst, I found an J-26 Fluxer, bringing the number of oddly-named objects that I carry to three. Per a message in a dungeon, "Fluxer, Radicon, Todilor, and Capitor are essential to gain the Element Orb." I still lack the Todilor. Also in Pinehurst, I found the most B.S. trap I've ever encountered in a CRPG: I ran afoul of these traps twice, meaning it's suddenly the year 902 and all my characters are 20. A message around the door frames in the castle warns that the world will end in the year 1,000, so I have to be careful with these traps. I'm making a note, though, to see what happens in the year 1,000 after I win the game. Lord Peabody, of Castle Pinehurst, gave me a quest to find his servant, Sherman. I had a previous message that he was being held captive in Native's Cove. After searching the area fruitlessly, I discovered that I had already freed him and he was waiting for me in Atlantium, so I temporarily dumped Harry Kari and added him to my party. Lord Peabody was suitably grateful: I don't know quite what to do with the time machine yet, aside from a few scattered notes, so I think I'll leave it alone for now. The last castle I explored as part of my overland exploration was the Luxus Palace Royale, which turns out to be the castle of Queen Lamanda. Unfortunately, she can't give me a quest, but what she says tells me something about what I need to do next: I have gained the Triple Crown, so what I'm lacking is the "plus." Based on a message I found at Mount Fairview, I know that the "plus" is the advancement my characters get when they complete the character-specific quests that were outlined on the statues in Atlantium. The plaque outlines all of the character quests:
  • Knights must defeat the Dread Knight of Jouster's Way
  • Paladins must defeat the Frost Dragon who resides in the dungeon beneath the Forbidden Forest
  • Archers must stop Baron Wilfrey from terrorizing Falcon Forest
  • Clerics have to reunite the soul of mighty Corak with his body
  • Sorcerers must release both the Good and Evil Wizards from the Isle of the Ancients
  • Ninjas must assassinate the chaotic Dawn of Dawn's Mist Bog
  • Barbarians must defeat Brutal Bruno, the Barbarian Chieftan
  • Robbers must accompany at least one other class on their missions
Aside from the robbers, the classes have to do these quests alone, which poses some problems. Aside from the obvious drawback of not having a full complement of characters to help in the fight, cast spells, heal, and so on, there's the difficulty associated with getting to each of the quest locations without the sorcerer's ability to cast "Fly" or "Lloyd's Beacon." However, judicious use of NPCs is probably the answer: I can have as many NPC paladins as I desire accompany my PC paladin. Moreover, since you can "dismiss" NPCs whenever you want, I could have an NPC sorcerer get the party to the right location and then send him packing back to town. My characters are still getting their butts kicked on a semi-regular basis, though, so I think I'll finish my general exploration of CRON's surface before attempting the class-specific quests. Some other scattered notes:
  • I have far too much gold: more than 7 million. The NPCs are starting to cost a bit (more than 1000 a day for each), but that's still a drop in the bucket. The shops have stopped selling things powerful enough to interest me. I pay for temple blessings before setting out on each quest, but other than that, I have no idea what to do with all this gold.
  • Equipment progression is still reasonably solid. On every map, I pick up two or three items more powerful than something that one of my characters is already carrying. Powerful items are tied to alignment, so if I find a Fiery Spear +11 that only evil characters can use, I either need to ditch it or save it for an NPC I don't normally travel with. I don't know how high the +s go; my highest right now is 15.
This dark trident rocks.
  • As in the first game, there are fountains that temporarily raise statistics and special encounters that raise them permanently.
  • My primary spellcasters have achieved Level 8 and, consequently, some excellent spells. The cleric spell "Moon Ray" simultaneously heals PCs and damages enemies, which is enough to keep my party alive round after round in tough outdoor battles--but it only works outdoors. The sorcerer spell "Dancing Sword" does some significant damage to 10 monsters at a time, but I can only cast one or two before my spell points are gone.
Alas, I helped the village achieve its destiny.
I'm encountering a lot of battles in which I get attacked by 255 of something. Hardly ever are these monsters particularly difficult. There are no spells that affect all foes--only those on the visible screen--so defeating them generally involves holding down CTRL-A while I browse Reddit on my iPhone. It's good to be blogging again. In my next post, I'll finish up with the outdoor areas and move to the underground.


  1. "There are no spells that affect all foes"

    There are 2 that affect all monsters:

    S 8/3 - Meteor Shower, 5-50 damage to each monster
    S 9/3 - Star Burst, 20-200 damage to each monster

    Both are outdoors only, sadly, which means when you fight 250 monsters indoors, you're stuck wading through CTRL-A for a minute or so, watching the count go down slowly.

    In the DOS version, it seems that monsters either take:

    1) no damage (fully resistant)
    2) half damage
    3) full damage

    What's interesting is that if the spell doesn't kill all the 10 monsters on the screen, you don't have to sit through the animation of all the remaining off-screen monsters taking damage-- they just all receive the same damage.

    That actually makes the BEST case (IE fastest) when monsters are INJURED by taking half damage, and KILLED by taking full damage. In those instances, once you injure 10 monsters without killing them, the remaining however-many-gobs-of-monsters have a chance to be killed INSTANTLY if they roll poorly on a single roll.


  2. "I regret to say that I was unable to resist the temptation delivered by this message:"

    What message? This is the end of the post!

  3. So after you find Sherman for Mr. - er, Lord - Peabody, you get to use his Wayback - er, time - machine? Hmm,... no moose or flying squirrel yet?

  4. It's been many years since I played M&MII (and it was a different version than this one), but I would swear up and down that I was able to take out entire groups of 255 zombies with a single turn undead spell.

  5. Lucky no wandering monsters decided to attack your party while they spent an entire year standing in one place. ;)

  6. I like how the only problem associated with literally MISSING AN ENTIRE YEAR is "oh no we are a little bit older now". Because, clearly, things like how quest-givers would be waiting an extra year, or how things might change in that year you were completely absent is NOT AN ISSUE AT ALL.

  7. CRPGAddict, I'm impressed with your persistence to stick with Might & Magic II. I had gotten the M&M 1-6 package off GOG.com a while back and decided to get into a few months ago, inspired by your blog. #1, which I once spent all of my birthday/Christmas money on as a child, held up beautifully and was quite fun. #2, though, I'd never played (despite it being available for my Apple II). I've been at it for roughly a month off and on, and I'm sad to say I've lost interest. There isn't much of a story at all, and most of what I've collected after trips through each town and dungeon is a random batch of information that doesn't really do a particularly good job of being compelling. Combat balance is considerably worse than M&M 1, with many battles being basically impossible to fight thanks to insta-kill or insta-paralyze spells and huge numbers. I'm level 9 with +12 weapons and I shouldn't have to constantly be reloading or jogging to the temple every five minutes. (I haven't even attempted the wilderness!) The other thing that's really getting to me is all the goofy names and bad puns- it makes it hard to latch onto anything seriously. I love humor in games, but this falls more on the "stupid" side than the "funny" side.

    Anyway, I know you have covered pretty much all of these concerns in your M&M 2 posts but I guess I lack the stick-to-it-iveness of the CRPG Addict. I'm looking forward to your future posts on the game to see if it gets any better.

  8. Just posting to say that I've read most of your posts so far and really love the blog (I got linked from Rampant Coyote, which I got linked to from Twenty Sided).

    You're the first blog to be added to my blogroll in a while since your site is such excellent reading. Keep it up, sir!

  9. fluxer capacitors

  10. Dave, you're right. I should have said that I don't HAVE any spells that affect all monsters. And you're right about the outdoor fights, of course.

    Lame: that was a stray line from an earlier version that I forgot to delete. Sorry. I fixed it.

    WCG: the references never occurred to me before now. Never watched those cartoons. Thanks for filling in the obvious!

    Keir: I think it had more to do with time-travel, but there are a lot of suspension-of-disbelief moments in these games, including (as another commenter said) the fact that all the quests are still waiting for you a year later.

    drscott: I agree with everything you say. I'm determined to win this one, but I actually like it less than MM1. Some of it may be the way I'm playing it, though--fitfully, with long breaks.

    Sid, thanks for joining us! Stu, if you're suggesting the names of the objects are "Back to the Future" references, you're probably right. I forgot that the first movie came out before the game.

  11. Well I was going to respond to another comment about the strangess that an entire year can pass and nothing at all will have changed in the world. I think this actually gets worse with time, with Oblivion and Mas Efect being the worst offenders: 'Quick, you must rush and save the world! ...now wander of and do side quests for a while' I have heard some games that say 'and go gather your strength first' which is abit beter. However the only giant sandbox game I know to do this well is Fallout 3, which is basically Oblivion witha better setting and all the problems fixed (except the bugs).

  12. Was just holding down ctrl-a as i read this! By the time you have spells such as meteor swarm that can take out the entire room -- whats the point of even fighting the measley goblin horde.

  13. The Problem with the character quests can be solved (at least in the SNES version of MM2, I don´t know if it is possible in other versions) by simply creating loads and loads of characters of the same class: One lonely knight may be in trouble, but six knights (or five plus one robber, I guess) will horribly maul the Dread Knight. (Training and equipping my army was no problem, I simply used a certain spell and a certain group of monsters on the overworld until I had the game pretty much broken -but actually telling what I did constitutes to much of a spoiler, so I just stop here.)

    Actually, as much fun as playing MM2 was for me, the only real thing that really bothered me (I love goofiness, by the way.) was the binary nature of the difficulty balance: Either certain monster groups mopped the floor with the remains of your party, or you used certain overpowered or badly balanced spells that wiped even the strongest enemies out instantly. Up at a certain point, I simply stopped loosing battles, period. That took much out of the fun in playing and in the end, I never finished Might and Magic II. Even if I still love it, it is simply to easy for me, considering what I know about it.

  14. "Also in Pinehurst, I found the most B.S. trap I've ever encountered in a CRPG:"

    It is especially lame considering that the Pegasus will tell you to come back next year, even though several years have passed thanks to those traps. :-)

  15. I just finished playing MM2, using the Dosbox version from the GOG MM1-6 pack.

    One thing that kept puzzling me was that the predetermined skill increase encounters did not seem to have any effect for me at all! I had played MM1 before, where it always said "Those worthy ... [get an increase]" and I seem to remember reading a similar phrase here occasionally, but maybe I am wrong. However, I never found out the condition I might have missed to make these increases actually work, and I also did not find anything about it here nor in a LP I read. I eneded up assuming it is just buggy in the DOS version, but I cannot find anyone else having the same complaint. So is it just bad karma, or did I miss something ingame?


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