Thursday, September 21, 2017

Might and Magic III: Moo and Moose Juice

No additional outdoor explorations this time. This entire session was spent cleaning various dungeons and special encounters in the areas I already mapped.

I started with the dungeon below Baywatch. Gnoman was right that the unavoidable pools in the dungeon aren't poison; they're acid. By this point, I had the "Protection from Elements" spell and was able to neutralize the threat. The enemies weren't too hard, mostly the very "bubblemen" that I faced in the first town. A boss-level creature called a "phantom" capped the small area.

I freed a couple of NPCs, including a knight named Sir Galant (did you work hard on that one, JVC?) and a cleric named Darlana. I wasn't interested in taking either since my existing archer and druid already complement my party.
You were sold to phantoms by skeletons? What did they do with the money?
Up in the town proper, Brother Alpha had told me that I should endeavor to find magic seashells for the nymph Althea. He told me to seek out his brother, Beta, for more information. Beta was in the dungeon and filled in a bit more information--the seashells are on an island--before sending me on to Brother Gamma in Wildabar. Each time one of the brothers passes me along to the next, it's accompanied by a vignette of the brother summoning a small creature to deliver a message to the next brother that I'll be coming. Each one also gave me a "quatloo coin." Although I didn't meet the other brothers until much later, I'll cover the rest of the story now. Gamma said that the name of the island is Rainbow Island; Delta said that one shell is released onto the island on a particular day of the year; and Zeta said that the day is #99.
Getting the last hint in the Arachnoid Caverns.
Next up were the Halls of Insanity in A3, probably the hardest dungeon of this session, although of course I didn't know it going in. Buffed as I was with the fountains, the creatures weren't so much difficult as thoroughly annoying. Some small dragons were easy to neutralize with "Protection from Elements" set to "Fire," but some creature called "Mystic Clouds" blanks a character's spell points when they hit, and they have ranged attacks. Spells are particularly necessary in this dungeon because many of the chests have teleporter traps in front of them, and you have to cross with "Jump."

Even worse, the dungeon introduces "Evil Eyes" for the first time. They remain one of my most hated enemies from Might and Magic VI. They're already in proper form here, turning the entire party insane with a single blast--a condition that I still have no spell to cure. I had to keep leaving and returning.
One day, I shall slaughter hundreds of you with blaster rifles.
There were three easy riddles here, all opening the way to areas of the dungeon, all with a common theme:

  • "This river of mine always flows down, never the same as its course. Laden with salt, it outlines a frown. The Great Sea is not its source." (TEARS)
  • "Automatically it's done; I don't have time to think. It darkens my world for a bit; it comes and it passes quick as a wink, with a two-fold, cleansing flit." (BLINK)
  • "A window they seem, that leads to no corridor. Their color lucid like a gem, reflections they cast, tho' not a mirror. Beauty resides within them." (EYES)

In the end, the dungeon was worth it. First, I found a statue that conferred all 18 skills in the game to any character for a 100,000 gold piece payment. That sounds like a lot, but I was walking around with almost a million and had another million back in the Fountain Head vault, earning interest. I bought the skills for all six of my "real" party members (i.e., not the NPCs).
My insane knight can't even use all of these skills, but it still seemed like a good deal.
I made that back easily when I followed clues to a set of coordinates not connected to the rest of the dungeon (I had to "Teleport" there) and found a chest with 1 million gold. Other chests in the dungeon held an "Ancient Artifact of Evil" (worth a lot of experience when I find the evil castle) and a "Hologram Sequencing Card." Later dungeons would deliver more of those mysterious cards. 

Finally, the dungeon produced my first two Ultimate Power Orbs, which I returned to King Zealot (the "good" king) for 1 million experience each. I later found two more and gave them to the neutral king. Does trying to keep the balance mean that I'm naturally favoring the neutral king? Wouldn't giving him all the orbs damage the concept of neutrality?
At least it's hard to miss these.
Next up was Dark Warrior Keep in B3, where Corak's notes promised that someone called the "Top Jouster" guarded two more Ultimate Power Orbs. The dungeon was swarming with dark dwarves and lesser jousters. Neither was terribly hard, although the jousters tended to do a ton of damage to one character at a time.
Keeping horses inside a dungeon seems cruel.
Annoying chests kept exploding and killing my ninja no matter how many hit points she had. I don't think it had anything to do with skill; the chests just inevitably explode when you try to open them. Naturally, I still had to try to open every one, lest I miss a quest item. Fortunately, I had a wand that cast "Raise Dead." Traps that you can't avoid or even protect against are an obnoxious game mechanic.
There was a math puzzle here involving identifying a "secret number" hidden in the walls . . .
. . . and then adding, subtracting, and multiplying various amounts written as stories on Pegasus statues.

For some reason, hanging skeletons conferred some attribute upgrades. Ultimately, I killed the Top Jouster and got his orbs.

The Arachnoid Caverns followed, and they were incredibly easy. I should have been here first. An outer ring of caverns was swarming with spiders and "Dino Beetles," and I could summon more with gongs placed throughout the area. I mostly killed them with arrows before they even reached me.
These were a lot harder in the last game.
A set of secret doors opened the way to inner caverns where a variety of crystals conferred one-time 10-point upgrades to luck, accuracy, personality, and intelligence. It took me a little trial and error before I figured out how the descriptions matched the benefit; crystals that increase luck are described as vibrating, for instance, and those that increase accuracy have a mysterious liquid flowing from them.
These increase intelligence.
Some of the rooms had thrones. Lord Might occupied one and gave me a puzzle that involved running around, speaking to the others in a particular order, and doing some math with their clues. My reward was 1 million experience points. Plus, I could give Lord Might 5,000 gems and reset the roughly 12 crystals in the dungeon, allowing them to impart their benefits again. I checked my gem total (13,000) and decided I could afford enough for one more round. I could see myself returning to the caves later in the game if I have a gem surplus.
This game is more puzzle-heavy than the other titles in the series.
Wildabar's dungeon followed, full of phantoms and ogres guarding casks of witches' brew. Two of the casks nonsensically held an imprisoned ninja named Wartowsan and a ranger named Lone Wolf, both available as an NPCs after I released them.
A cute reference.
The other casks were sometimes acid, but sometimes increased a random attribute. Unlike the crystals, there was no consistency in their descriptions, so I couldn't target the increases to particular characters.
I love how only one character can drink from a barrel large enough to accommodate a man.
In the Arachnoid Caverns, I had found keys to the last two dungeons in the opening areas. The first I tried was the Cathedral of Carnage in B3, headquarters of the Moo Cult, swarming with gargoyles and Clerics of Moo. The gargoyles weren't hard to kill, but they have an attack that sometimes paralyzes characters. Fortunately, this wears off after a few rounds. Priests and clerics of Moo used a weak electrical attack that "Protection from Elements" mostly rendered . . . wait for it . . . "moot."
Corak's notes paint the cult as evil but spectacularly ineffective.
Things went sour in the first room when a magic mouth cursed all my characters (I have no reversal spell) and got worse when I was unable to figure out a solution to a puzzle involving rotating heads. I had to mark it for a later return, but I need to solve it to get two Ultimate Power Orbs.
I have no idea what this was about.
I don't know about this Moo. This isn't the last time Van Caneghem will plague us with this kind of sillineess: the Temple of Baa figures heavily in Might and Magic VI and VII. The symbology there relates to sheep and rams, so you would assume that the priests of "Moo" worship some kind of cow god. But the head that cursed me said that "only the disciples of the Mighty Moose shall walk through these halls in peace," and there were some other references to moose in a cypher puzzle and the "moose juice" chalices, so I guess Moo is a moose. I suppose moose make about as much of a "moo" sound as cows do. Although it doesn't come up anywhere that I can see, the reference is probably to Bullwinkle specifically, as in Might and Magic II, the developer showed a fondness for other characters from the series.
Bold talk.

Lame walk.
The puzzle I couldn't solve had three parts. The first had to do with those heads. Five of them are lined up in alcoves and can be turned to face any cardinal direction. The heads are named Positro, Penetro, Dynatra, Barytro, and Proto. I couldn't figure out anything obvious from their names or anything. The second part involved an easy cypher puzzle that netted me some treasure. The third apparently involved drinking one or all of a series of "moose juice" chalices, but every sip either killed, eradicated, or stoned a character. I can solve these conditions now, but they have associated magical aging effects, and I figured there was no reason to solve that part of the puzzle when I couldn't solve the first.

Regardless, the trip was worth it. Scattered throughout the dungeon were most of the game's highest-level spells. I got "Town Portal," which frees up "Lloyd's Beacon" to be used in dungeons I want to return to instead of towns. "Raise Dead," "Resurrect," and "Holy Word" were all here, as well as some powerful offensive spells like "Moonray" and "Mass Distortion."
My cleric's spellbook now has most of the most powerful spells.
My final stop was at the Fortress of Fear in B2. An enemy called a "Plasmoid" seemed like a pushover before I realized that his attacks broke my armor and my attacks against him broke my weapons.

More difficult were a series of mummies, all of whom pathologically went after my druid every single round and caused disease. (Thankfully, that's one condition I do have a spell to cure.) An annoying and tedious lever puzzle (I had to run around the dungeon pulling levers then checking their results in the central room) led to a confrontation with the Mummy King, who had some nice treasure.
It looks like the mummies are begging me not to cast the "Fireball."
At this point, I had conquered everything in the opening 8 maps except for the two castles and the pyramid, all of which I had reasons for leaving until later. Before moving on, I returned to Slithercult Stronghold to spend some of the "quatloo coins" that were taking up precious inventory slots. Magic mouths in this dungeon give you strength, accuracy, and constitution boosts for each coin. I hope they're not needed elsewhere.

I wrapped up the session by heading to a new map. Rather than cast "Water Walk" to move to Column C or cast "Town Portal" to take us to the two locations I hadn't explored, I decided to do it organically and go see the ferryman at the tip of land in B3. He promised travel to Swamp Town.
This rather reminds me of that map in Might and Magic II where you find a ferryman on a river long after any sensible player would have acquired "Water Walk."
I'm glad I did it this way. My guide stopped several times to note islands or land features and something of their histories and lore. His first few tips were about areas I'd already explored, such as the Land of the Gargoyles. But soon we passed the ruins of Castles Greywind and Blackwind, and then the Isle of Fire, which holds many "fiery fiends" and a magically-protected town.
It's like being on the introductory tour in Pool of Radiance again.
I ended up in Swamp Town, way over in area E2, which I'll explore and write about next time--unless I decide to revert to a more systematic exploration back in C1. My guide did warn me that only "experienced adventurers" should venture outside of Swamp Town. The good news is that with "Town Portal," I can zip just about anywhere quickly. I wonder if "Fly" exists in this edition.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • I did try one visit to the arena. I killed a handful of easy enemies and got 1,000 experience points. I assume every time I go back, I'll get harder foes and more experience.
Arenas go back to the first title, but this game begins a tradition of making them inaccessible through normal exploration.
  • As is his wont, in the Cathedral of Carnage, the developer wrote his initials in the walls. 
I assume the "III" refers to the game number, as I've never seen Van Caneghem credited as a III.
  • I really haven't been using magic much in combat. The highest-level spells cost a lot of spell points. Weak and mid-range spells rarely outperform a physical attack. I have to start experimenting more now that I just got a bunch of new, powerful spells all at once.
  • Most of my party is Level 19 or 20. The training facility in Wildabar stops training at Level 20, so visiting new towns is a good idea.
  • The inventories of my first two characters are now completely full with keys, keycards, and other quest items that won't become useful until much later. That could be a problem if it continues. 
It's a good thing my medieval party recognizes this as something to keep.
My party feels awfully powerful for having only explored 1/3 of the outdoor area. I don't think there are very many spells more powerful than we have. Is it possible that the dungeons are frontloaded on the first set of islands? I guess we'll see.

Reflecting on the encounters in this session, I have to call up a couple of paragraphs that I wrote more than six years ago, in the midst of Might and Magic II

I just wish the game took itself more seriously. I don't have any problem with humor, but there's a difference between humor and goofiness, and Might & Magic II leans a bit too far towards the latter. I increase my endurance by listening to a singing ogre. We have NPCs named Thund R., Harry Kari, Sir Kill, Jed I, and Spaz Twit. A zombie, for no apparent reason, gives me an admission ticket to Corak's Cave. I fight armies of cripples. The tavern leaves the "h" out of "roasted pheasant" (ho, ho). A statue references wizards named Ybmug and Yekop (read them backwards). Add this to the nonsensical existence of clues written randomly on dungeon walls, and you have a game that makes it hard to suspend disbelief and just enjoy it. It's always stopping to say, "Hey! This is just a game! And look how clever we are!"

That doesn't make it not fun--it's still probably the best game I've played so far in this blog--it's just not quite as fun as if it took the world it created seriously and populated it with more realistic and interesting NPCs.

I have the same feeling as I go through this third edition. The Temple of Moo, random lords sitting on thrones in the midst of a cavern full of spiders, silly signs in the middle of nowhere, and a dozen other encounters all Jar-Jar-Binks their way through the plot, undermining the otherwise-serious world-building the developers have accomplished. At least the VI-VIII series mostly cut out this nonsense, but never entirely.
Time so far: 28 hours
Reload count: 11


Quick list note: Enchantasy: Quest for the Eternal Grimoire was coming up, but I found enough evidence that (despite its copyright date) it wasn't released until 1993, so I moved it to that year.

If anyone has any documentation or experience with Chaos in Andromeda: Eyes of the Eagle, I would appreciate an e-mail. I haven't been able to find a game manual, and I'm having trouble with combat in-game.


  1. I must mention that I'm most impressed that you've managed to maintain having the moniker for each message match two m-words.

    1. It's getting harder. I won't be keeping it up for the rest of the series.

    2. I hope you keep up as long as you can go. One of my favorite authors, Hugh Cook, kept it going for ten straight titles, it was delightful.

      If you have not read any of the Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, I recommend them highly. Both original and subversive, both parodying and delighting in high fantasy.

      The titles were

      The Wizards and the Warriors (or Wizard War)
      The Wordsmiths and the Warguild
      The Women and the Warlords
      The Walrus and the Warwolf
      The Wicked and the Witless
      The Wishstone and the Wonderworkers
      The Wazir and the Witch
      The Werewolf and the Wormlord
      The Worshippers and the Way
      The Witchlord and the Weaponmaster

      The books are getting rather difficult to find, but are worth the read, despite the perversity of their titles. :)

  2. Regarding insanity, there's a fairly easy fix which you should have already run across. I'm not sure if you overlooked it, or just didn't trust the straightforward explanation. (Not sure if I should outright spoil it, but it's up-front about the cure.)

    1. You mean the gypsy wagon? Yeah, it's not a hard solution, but it till involves leaving the dungeon. It's just as easy to "Lloyd's Beacon" back to town, where I can not only heal but sort out my inventory, too.

    2. Okay, yeah. Your earlier post about that zone made it seem like you didn't find the wagon cure, and then when you mentioned it again, I thought maybe a nudge was warranted. Agreed that it's not ideal to pop over there just for the fix mid-dungeon.

  3. One of the great things about reading your playthrough of this game is how differently you took it than I did. Neither is right or wrong, but it's nice that the game permits some flexibility in the way that you explore and progress.

    A couple of posts ago, I was "complaining" that much of the development is through these stat potions and the like. Having just finished MM4 & 5 (but not yet the combined-game bonus materials), I have decided that I *like* that feature. Because stat bonuses always matter, it's always worth exploring places you haven't been before. I came across a dungeon that I missed that was too easy for my characters and yet it was still great fun and worthwhile because of the stat bonuses it provided. It's a good way to ensure development and maintain interest in obscure areas of the game.

    A final point-- no spoilers-- having played MM4 and 5, I now have such a greater appreciation for the arc of the narrative that they were going for. The series is put together much better than I expected and it made the endings to these games and the realization how it's all connected much more meaningful. It may be a while until you get to play MM5, but I am very excited for you knowing what's ahead.

    1. See, that's exactly what I was saying in my first entry. There's more being plotted here than meets the eye.

  4. "Traps that you can't avoid or even protect against are an obnoxious game mechanic."

    You can avoid traps in chests. It is not a spoiler, so I write it openly.

    It depends on Thievery skill and Luck. Unfortunately, you have a Ninja, and they have lower Thievery skill than Robbers. Also, Ninjas has a lower HP growth, making them even worse choice. They tend to hit a bit harder in combat, but wear worse armor than Robbers. Overall, Ninja is a very poor class, perhaps even the worst in M&M 3 and 4-5.

    1. That's SOME traps. The boring ones that you wouldn't even notice because they hardly do any damage anyway. There are a lot of traps in this game that are just predestined. The exploding chests are among them.

  5. The solution for the heads puzzle was written on a wall in the Temple of Moo, check your notes.

    "I wonder if "Fly" exists in this edition."

    Nope, but Water Walk is enough.

    1. Yeah I wondered when that was going to come in handy

    2. I found MM3 relatively easy, but the Cathedral of Carnage puzzle was pretty hard, and not because of the heads. I couldn't solve it without a walkthrough despite having the right idea.

      The game helps you, though, I believe the hints in the pyramids were already mentioned.

    3. AH. That's the north, north, west, north, east (or whatever) message. I'd like to complain, but I guess it was fair play. I should have been more aware of the relationship between the two locations.

      Thanks. I'll head back and pick up those orbs.

  6. "The inventories of my first two characters are now completely full with keys, keycards, and other quest items that won't become useful until much later. That could be a problem if it continues."

    I usually do a "Mule" Character .. errr .. I mean .. a distant relative of one of the party members who is too old to travel but has a strong lockbox at home .. *coughs* and store some (Mainly Cards and Keys) of the Quest related items there, I guess it´s less hassle to Loyd´s Beacon + Town Portal back when you may need one of the Quest items than having to constantly carry them around.

    1. The two hired party members still have inventory slots while dead, and you don't have to pay them! That's how I solved the inventory issues in my playthrough. Chet might consider that "playing like a jackass" though.

    2. Yeah, I probably would. I mean, does it make sense to haul around human backpacks?

      I allow it in MM6-7, since the game won't let you start with a party of less than 4 characters, so if you want to play the challenge of finishing the game with just 1 or 2, you HAVE to kill the others.

    3. And leave their corpses sitting there in the party, I meant to add.

    4. Well, like I said in an earlier post, you can use NPCs (or even your own made-up chars) as inventory stashes at an inn to stash away all the power orbs and hologram cards until you need them.

      By the way, just a heads-up, watch out to not give too many orbs to one king (an early hint told you about it) as it can close off unexplored yet locations. The king automatically takes all of the ones you have in your inventory in one shot, so if you want to be precise (ie get just the amount of XP reward you want), you need to leave some orbs at an inn. (The "Awards" in your char lists how many you have given to who already)

    5. I've said it elsewhere, but just this was probably the most painful point. This isn't possible on SNES version. Orbs, keys, and hologram cards get permanently attached to characters. Since keys and hologram cards don't actually get used, those slots are just gone, and those characters are mostly required.

    6. Using dead NPC's seems like a bad idea unless you want to level them. I have noticed that dead characters still get XP and monster XP seems to be divided among all characters. I guess this would be a good way to cheat in a second game though once you know all the portal passwords since you could use the strongest NPC's to get XP for your quickly killed new characters (and fire them each day before they get paid).

    7. Isn't having a party member who just carries your stuff basically just a squire/sheildbearer? I thought this was a thing many historical warriors had people who did this for them....

      Wait while DEAD. Um. Errr. Nevermind.

  7. >>More difficult were a series of mummies, all of whom pathologically went after my druid every single round and caused disease

    I seem to recall that some monsters will target specific character classes.

  8. Didn't MM6 have a rodent-themed Cult of Eep, rather than Baa or Moo?

    1. Eep was 8.
      9 had Honk with Geese o.-

    2. IV has Yak, in V it's Bark (I don't think that's too much of a spoiler). X has the Meow Dungeon. Hooray for traditions.

  9. Yeah the humor can be a bit hit and miss in the series. I was half-expecting the spell to be called Mooray instead of Moonray, to be honest! :D I found the jokes in the castles hilarious though.

  10. The way that the M&M series was so game-ified was all part of the charm. Maybe if most games are/were like that then it would seem cliched or boring but it was unique and fun to have a game that didn't take itself 100% seriously but was still well crafted.

    1. No two people are ever going to agree on issues of humor, of course. But I like to role-play my role-playing games, pretending my party is on a real mission to accomplish something important, and I find that goofy humor completely shatters that immersion.

      There are ways to introduce humor that grow naturally from settings and characters. Think about the bit in Morrowind where you hear a scream from above, and suddenly a guy comes tumbling from the sky, dying on impact. You search his body and find that he's created a spell that boosts "Athletics" to absurd levels but apparently didn't consider the landing. Slapstick? Sure. But completely realistic--probable, even--given the rules established by the game world. Thus not immersion-breaking.

    2. One of the things about these early M&M games is that they really capture the feel of a certain sort of tabletop campaign, where the rails came off fairly early and the GM was forced to improvise new elements as he threw planned elements in where they weren't supposed to go, while the players paid half the attention they should have and assigned their own names to things.

      M&M II shows this the most with the pop-culture references in so many NPC names, but I and III also show it.

    3. careful with your quatloos.....I understand that they are the only currency Triskelion casinos take!

      Seriously though this is one of the things that actually kept me from getting into these games. Well that and the fact that I couldn't adapt to this view for least with a party. Heck at the moment I think we're still 2 maybe 3yrs from my first RPG on the computer as it is and they were all umm top-down isometric I think its called. Come to think of it WoW threw me off for similar reasons. Not the combat...just the references....sooooo many references.

    4. JVC reminds me of Seth McFarlane how he puts so many Star Trek references in his works. The whole plot of MM1 is supposed to be based on the TOS episode "For the world is hollow and I have touched the sky." In MM2, you mean Capt Picard in one of the towns, in this game you have the Quatloos, in MM6 one of the puzzles in based around Star Trek characters.

    5. If you liked the names in M&M, you'd love the player names in MMORPGs. Very charming indeed.

      I remember meeting Drizzt233, Gandalf7120 and Dickmeister2000 in Everquest. Greatnames, good times. Not.

    6. There are few things I understand less than 1) the appeal of livestreaming video games; and 2) players who put numbers in their character names. Based on what I've seen online, though, numberless character names seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

      Do these players never read or watch fantasy? Do they never notice that their favorite characters are named things like "Aragorn," "Lessa," "Kaladin," and "Tyrion," and not "K1LLZ" or "GZA33DD5"?

    7. I wonder when putting letters in names became even an option. When I played MUDs putting anything except letters was impossible. Not even hyphens or apostrophes. But maybe it is a matter of number of players and viability of manual verification of such names. I suppose number of players, yet difference between DICK69 and D1CK69 seems... small.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Chet: I livestream sometimes. Of course, I'm mostly known for livestreaming myself working in the lab, which is a bit different. It lets me talk about my research and chemistry to people that would otherwise never think about it.

      As for games, I enjoy talking to people while I play. I haven't done it lately, due to an injury, but when I was single (and now that Mara has had to move to Seattle for work) it is nice to be able to turn a stream on and chat with some people while I'm cleaning or paying my bills or whatever.

      Mara and I had a Deus Ex livestream for a while where we were doing a read and discuss run. So we read every bit of lore we could find and did our best to discuss the implications of it, both what it told us about the world, and its interactions with the real world.

  11. RE: Quest items and keys

    MM4+5: World of Xeen did this much better by having those items shifted to their own 'inventory' of sorts. For MM3, I usually create a character called the "Key Master" to hold items not needed. It's pretty much a requirement in MM3, as you have so few inventory slots.

    World of Xeen also does a good job tying in all the science fiction references and the entire series together as one whole. It even ties in to MM6+ and the Heroes of Might and Magic series, though I won't spoil that. I didn't realize it until the other day, when doing my video series on World of Xeen, I searched a particular dungeon.

    The animal sound cults will continue through both 4 and 5. Both are, technically, optional, but give good experience, and have a source for some main quest-required items (you can get extras of these items, so you don't have to do everything).

    Many critters have target preferences. Some target specific races, others certain classes. This is annoying when you have a Gnome Cleric and half the game hates her because she's either a Gnome, or a Cleric. #GnomeLivesMatter!

    1. I seem to remember in MM7 that the goblins all pathologically targeted my goblin PC, as if they were infuriated that one of their own was working for the "good guys." It may have been her class rather than her race, but I liked my explanation.

    2. Any chance you could ROT13 how Xeen ties into the Enroth games? You've made me curious.

  12. The first area has 14 dungeons, while the rest of the game also has 14. So, you're about halfway through with the game if you go by dungeon count.

  13. -Chests are an either/or thing; you either have enough Thievery skill to open them safely or you don't. Ninjas have a 15 point penalty compared to burglars or about 8 levels worth, so putting +theivery gear on them really helps.

    I think the game is balanced with the idea you have a level-appropriate burglar with you, as a result having a ninja makes it hard to open later chests safely unless you level grind them a lot or save chests in dungeons for later.

    1. By the mid-20s minimum party level I've found 4 different +5million XP opportunities; giving two of them to the Ninja has her comfortably far ahead. (It doesn't hurt that she also uses one of my two obsidian weapons.)

    2. That's a good strategy too.

    3. Nobody understands what I mean about the chests.

      There are NORMAL chests that hold treasure and are sometimes trapped. I agree that a robber has a better chance of opening them unscathed. But the traps don't do that much damage, and it isn't a huge deal when the ninja fumbles one.

      Then there are OTHER chests, coffins, barrels, etc. for which a PRE-DETERMINED thing happens and the THIEF SKILL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Certain chests always explode. Certain barrels always kill you, or age you, or poison you, or stone you. And because you have to step on every square, open every chest, try every barrel in case you miss a quest item otherwise, your party is predestined to suffer these effects. These are the things I object to.

      Maybe there are ways to avoid them that I'm not seeing by spells or whatnot, but it's nothing to do with thief skill.

    4. I did, I'm sure many others did too. I just didn't think it was worth a comment.

      These chests annoyed me, too, and I'm open to reloading often. I don't get their point, except for advertising the reload feature. I would understand teaching players not to be too gready IF there was a way to be careful with chests...

    5. These deathtraps were especially "entertaining" back when it used to take 1-3 full minutes for my computer to load a savefile.

    6. I did understand you! And I agree it's a bit annoying. I see it part as an artificial way to extend the game time (forcing you to heal, etc.) which is negative, and part as a balancing element (forcing you to have a minimum level/HP which you cannot cheat through with thievery gear), which is not so bad.

    7. Chet, I understand that sentiment and also find it annoying, although I must admit it is won't know what is in the chest until you try, and a truly devious foe would plant empty, trapped chests. It is not fun, though.

      Fortunately, in MM4/5, this is addressed but not in a manner you describe...instead, I think it is very clever.

      ROT13 (minor MM4/5 information that is contained in the manual for the game and thus not really a "spoiler" but ROT13 so the reader can decide; it is on Page 27 of the World of Xeen manual):

      Gurer vf n fcryy gung tvirf nqivpr ba lrf/ab qrpvfvbaf sbe n yvzvgrq gvzr. Cbffvoyr nafjref vg znl tvir ner "lrf", "ab", be "arhgeny" (fbzr tbbq naq fbzr onq) jura gelvat gb bcra n purfg.

      Gb dhbgr gur Jbeyq bs Krra znahny: "Gur gjb tnetblyr urnqf ba gur yrsg naq evtug bs gur Qvfcynl jvaqbj jvyy funxr naq abq gurve urnqf rirel gvzr lbh ner pbasebagrq jvgu n lrf/ab be 'jub jvyy' dhrfgvba naq lbh unir gur Pynveiblnapr fcryy npgvir. Vs nafjrevat gur lrf/ab dhrfgvba jvyy trg lbh gernfher naq gurer vf ab genc, obgu bs gur urnqf jvyy abq. Vs gurer vf gernfher naq gurer vf n genc, bar bs gur urnqf jvyy abq naq gur bgure jvyy funxr vgf urnq. Vs gurer vf n genc jvgu ab gernfher, obgu jvyy funxr gurve urnqf."

    8. Some races also have a bonus to thievery.

      However, you can get gear that also improves your thief skill. Thus you can even make do without a thief if you wanted too due to being able to buy all skills in the Halls of Insanity.

    9. Ah, sorry, didn't realize you were talking about the coffins and such.

  14. Quote:
    That doesn't make it not fun--it's still probably the best game I've played so far in this blog...

    So glad you enjoy the game so much!
    MMIII is such an incredible game I think I have to give it another go (must be like my 5th or 6th playthrough). Such a timeless piece of beauty!

    1. Well, he was quoting what he said about MM2 when making that statement...but said he shares the sentiment now, so it is clear he is enjoying 3 as well to about the same degree. :) I know the Cuisinarts spoiled MM2 (not sure if that was written before the Cuisinarts) but MM has been consistently rated highly by Chet, and perhaps is most consistently a good experience in that regard. Ultima has 2 to drag it down, Wizardry has the first few...but Might and Magic doesn't have a dud yet! (Which is why MM9 was such a huge letdown to a lot of fans...8 exceptional games in a row, then you get the bankruptcy game.)

    2. III is destined to rate quite high, but at the same time I'm slightly disappointed that it didn't offer significant improvements over II except in the area of graphics and sound.

  15. A Møøse once bit my sister.

  16. The cheesy atmosphere was one of the most charming aspects of the first three games. I loved it! And Sanger's music perfectly complements the atmosphere.

    You can't take Might and Magic 3 seriously, you must enjoy it for what it was--a masterpiece of CRPG gaming.

    1. I do take it seriously; it's a seriously fun ride from beginning to end.

    2. Well, to each his own. I like comedy in television shows and films, but I don't really care for comedic games. To me, "masterpiece" and "you can't take it seriously" are oxymorons when it comes to an RPG.

      I don't want to overstate this point, howe-ver. I still enjoy the game a lot. I would just enjoy it more if it was less goofy.

    3. Goofiness tends to turn situations of consequence into situations of no consequence.

      I don't want to stumble across the 'Knights who say "Ni!"' in Dragon Age.

    4. I agree with Tristan's phrasing here, severe tonal swings tend to kill the mood for me and turn a unified story into a string of sketch vignettes where half are written by Monty Python and the other half by Stephen King. The recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie is a good example of this, with the heroes bantering and bickering in one scene and the pirates ejecting people out the airlock in the next. What a hoot! A laff riot!

    5. Tristan summarized it well. But every time I say something like that, a handful of commenters say something like, "I would LOVE IT if Madea had been a character in Schindler's List!" and all I can do is sigh and think how boring a world it would be if we were all the same.

    6. I once saw a good reference in a game as to be one that someone whom has never seen the original sees and doesn't think there is anything odd about.

      For example. Mad Max in Fallout. There was a small chance you'd find a skeleton in a leather jacket, in Mad Max's car in Fallout. If you haven't seen Mad Max, it still fits into the setting, if you have it is a nice reference.


I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. If you don't want to log in to Google to comment, either a) choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank, or b) sign your anonymous comment with a preferred user name in the text of the comment itself.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.