Sunday, October 1, 2017

Might and Magic III: Materials and Momentum

Stomping hydra eggs gave me the largest experience reward in the game so far.
      
Things really picked up this session. I explored all of Column D and half of Column E, for a total of six maps, leaving me only six to go. Among them, there were five dungeons, although I left three of the five for later, for reasons I will recount anon.
     
Almost done!
      
Column D was mostly a mirror of Column C, generally continuing the same island or groups of islands. It started in the frozen north, where the east side of an island that started in C1 offered a fountain that raises all attributes by 100 points. I can't imagine there's a more powerful buffing fountain in the game. I wish I'd found it before fighting all those crabs last time.

The fountain changed the nature of buffing. I outlined the path I used early in the game, but now the optimal buffing path hits only four locations: the 100-point fountain, the level increasing fountain, the hit point fountain, and the spell point fountain. It's important to go in that order because the hit point and spell point fountains will increase your values to around 100 points higher than what should be possible given your current attributes and levels. Thus, you want to buff the attributes and levels first.
       
If this is the "mount" of Athea, she's a cruel mistress.
      
The 100-point fountain alone is enough to create pretty ultra-powerful characters, so I set my archer's "Lloyd's Beacon" for the location. I only did the full buffing trail when I encountered particularly difficult foes. In some ways, it seems like cheating, or at least kind of playing like a wuss. On the other hand, that's what the fountains are for, right?

Corak's notes for D1 focused on the other island, which also had a fountain called the "Fountain of Katera," but I'm not sure I understand what it does. There were a few treasure squares, plus a couple of "trap" squares where avalanches damaged my party.

Most important was a dungeon called "Cursed Cold Cavern," where a coven of witches guarded pots of magic brew that increased my attributes. The witches were drawn like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and for the umpteenth time I wished the game had taken a less goofy approach. They were capable of cursing my entire inventory, but luckily a single "Uncurse" back at the temples took care of that problem. Messages in the caverns, some obtained by answering Pegasus riddles, told me that Princess Trueberry has the Golden Alicorn, that a Vampire King guards some Ultimate Power Orbs, that the password to a sunken island is YOUTH, that the "pirates' treasure" is "real" on Onesday, and finally that if I take a pearl to the Pirate Queen, she won't steal my gold.
      
All we own, we owe her.
       
The boss foe of the caverns was a "Black Knight" who looked almost futuristically armored.
     
This looks like something out of DOOM.
     
If you want to test yourself on the riddles, here they are. I got all but the first one on the first try.

  • What is always coming but never arrives? (TOMORROW). I tried FUTURE first. 
  • What cannot be seen but only heard, and will not speak unless it is spoken to? (SIRI)
  • What is nothing but holes tied to holes, yet is strong as iron? (CHAIN). I was going to type MAIL first, but I switched in time.
  • What lives in the winter, dies in the summer, and grows with its roots upward? (ICICLE)

Map D2 made up the northeast sector of the Isle of Fire. I left the interior for later, so I just mapped the water around the edges on my first visit. A whirlpool in the western section teleported me to the Arena, where I won my second combat for 2,000 experience points. I guess I should have been visiting in regular increments if I wanted the Arena to help me. At this point, I'll have to win dozens of combats for the experience point rewards to be remotely valuable.

The eastern side of the map had four encounter points at which the Pirate Queen abducted my party. True to the message in the caverns, upon each encounter she took one of my Precious Pearls of Youth and Beauty, rewarded me with 25,000 gold and 100,000 experience points, and set me loose. I still have a few pearls left. I don't know if they're useful anywhere else; if not, I should just visit her until they're all gone, I guess. After that, based on the message in the caverns, I assume she steals my gold.
       
      
D3 occupied the southeast quadrant of the Isle of Fire and the surrounding waters. Whirlpools once again held treasure chests, and opening those chests once again summoned monsters--in this case, "Octobeasts." They have 3,000 hit points and 8 attacks per round and cause weakness when they hit. I would say that they're quite a bit harder than the crabs, but my party was several levels higher and now had access to that attribute-boosting fountain. I was able to kill them in mostly melee attacks. I think there were about 9 of them.
       
Between this and the "spider" last time, someone really needs to tell New World how many "eight" is.
       
D4 offered another desert island scattered with pirate chests. C4 had contained a lot of chests, too, but they just disappeared when I tried to open them. The message in the Cold Cavern had explained why: the chests are illusions except on Onesday. The game offers a 10-day week, so I just had to wait for Onesday to roll around again and I could loot the chests.

Castle Blackwind was on the island, but as with Castle Greywind in C4, I arrived a few weeks late to complete the castle, so I didn't bother to enter. I'll note carefully when Day 50 and 60 approach next year and make sure I'm at the right places.

Speaking of days, I had learned from the Greek Brothers that magic seashells would wash ashore on Rainbow Island on Day 99. I'm not 100% sure which island is Rainbow Island, but I think it's probably the one-square island in D4. Unfortunately, owing to training, I missed Day 99, too. So that will also have to be saved for next year. The year only has 100 days, so it won't take that long. Three years have passed since I began the game.
      
I suspect that on Day 99, this will leave more than just a hole.
     
I moved over to the bottom of Column E and worked my way up. E4 occupied the western half of a large desert island swarming with "plasmoids," which cause your weapons to break when you strike them. I had to deal with them with spells.

The map was studded with oases which made a point of saying that it was safe to rest in them, but most outdoor areas are generally safe to rest if you've cleared the enemies, so I'm not sure if there was something special I was supposed to do there. There was also a wishing well that wanted me to type in the keyword of what I wished for. I tried some obvious things--GOLD, EXPERIENCE, POWER--but got nothing.
    
This feels like a trap.
    
Buried treasure on this island released Vulture Rocs, which I'm convinced were harder than even the Octobeasts. I had to do a full buffing sweep to take them out.

In the midst of some mountains was the Magic Cavern, a huge sprawling dungeon full of sorcerers and floating heads called "guardians." Vapors rising from the floor canceled active spells. Coffins, when opened, released liches, but my party was still buffed from the Vulture Rocs and thus were able to kill the liches in one hit. Wading in fountains increased intelligence and speed. A number of altars had powerful magic spells, but I had already bought everything for my spellcasters, so they were mostly wasted.
     
Lich? Or Disco-Lich?
    
On to E3, which outlined the southwest area of a swampy island. At least three squares held "quicksand!" which immediately killed my two lead characters every time I stepped into it. 
      
Sinking me deeper in love with you.
        
Beyond that, there wasn't much here except for battles with "tree golems" and random treasures in the water. 
      
These guys are going to be really annoying in 4 more games.
     
When I was done, rather than continue on to E2, I decided to head back to Blistering Heights and explore the Isle of Fire. The island consists of a number of interconnected pathways crisscrossing maps C2 to D3 (four maps total). The pathways are bordered by mountains that I don't think there's any way to step on or cross.

Unless you have high fire resistance, you take damage with every move--and even if you do have high fire resistance, you have to wait for the damned fire animation to hit every character every time you do anything. This is a bit annoying.

Monsters were tough here. Fire lizards are the easiest. Fire stalkers are a bit harder because they only take magic damage. Major demons and devils are quite hard if they attack in groups, as they did in the northwest.
      
Individually, they're not so tough.
     
But hardest of all were the "great hydras" in the southwest. I can't imagine there are many harder creatures in the game. They have 5,000 hit points, do 12 attacks per round, and cause poison. There were maybe 12 or 15 roaming the map, and I had to "Lloyd's Beacon" out of the area and restore my spell points after every couple of battles, even with my characters fountain-buffed. The experience and item rewards were worth the effort, however.
       
The toughest foe in the game so far. I know I keep saying that.
      
The main purpose of the Isle of Fire, other than destroying monster spawn points for experience and treasure, is a pyramid--the second I've found--in the center. I avoided the first pyramid and I avoided this one, too, thinking that I should save them for the endgame. I must have a vague memory of playing this before.

As I close this session, my party is extremely obsidian-heavy. Almost everyone has obsidian weapons and armor, plus brooches, belts, cameos, and boots. Obsidian seems to be the most powerful material in the game. The material hierarchy seems to go leather < wood < glass < coral < crystal < iron < bronze < lapis < pearl < silver < brass < amber < steel < gold < ebony < platinum < ruby < emerald < sapphire < diamond < obsidian.
      
My cleric's inventory. It must be exhausting just to move.
    
Obviously, the idea of weapons and armor made out of some of these substances is silly, but Might and Magic is far from the only series to offer equipment of silly material. I've never understood why in the Elder Scrolls series, "glass" is something that you mine, nor why it makes armor and weapons that don't shatter the first time you use them. (At least the Ultima series has that right.) Someone also needs to tell both Might and Magic and The Elder Scrolls that "ebony" is wood, not metal, and not particularly suited to swords. I guess I can buy obsidian as a material for weapons--even The Game of Thrones has gotten in on that racket--but can you imagine how heavy a suit of armor made out of the material would be?

Throughout most of the game, I've relied on the item's value to help guide how it compares against other items, but obsidian seems oddly undervalued. An obsidian dagger, for instance, does 52-54 damage with a +10 bonus and sells for only 800 gold pieces, less than other daggers above steel that do less damage. Obsidian and platinum platemail both sell for 100,000 gold despite platinum offering +18 protection and obsidian offering +28.

Aside from my concerns about the realism of the material, though, I love the quantity and variety of items that characters can equip. With 8 characters and so many items, the equipment upgrades offered by the game are more-or-less constant.

I've only been training every few hours, and I usually go up 5 or so levels at once when I do. All my characters are around Level 40 now.

Still no problems with money. Training is costing about 15,000 per level and the two NPCs cost about 35,000 EACH per day, but I'm walking around with almost 2.5 million and have another 4 million in the bank, earning interest. I know I'll eventually run out but it seems a long way off.
    
The fact that the average dungeon delivers hauls like this keeps me flush with cash.
    
Miscellaneous notes:
         
  • Three of my characters are now magically aged, one by 50 years (!) thanks to one of the cauldrons in the Cold Caverns. I think there's a way to reverse magic aging--probably having something to do with the hidden island and the YOUTH password--and I hope I find it before anyone dies.
       
This wasn't cool at all.
       
  • Another Ancient Fizbin of Misfortune was to be found in the witches' caverns, and again I declined to take it until I know what it's for.
  • The game attaches textual qualifiers to attributes, such as "very low" (8 or below), "low" (9-10), "average" (11-12), "good" (13-14), "very good" (14-16). After that, the words just seem like synonyms, including "super," "amazing," "fantastic," "astounding," and "astonishing."
  • I still haven't found the "evil castle," where I can turn in all these Artifacts of Evil and a couple Ultimate Power Orbs. The game almost ensures that you side with the good or neutral king just to free up inventory slots.
    
By the next post, I expect to have finished the overworld map, unless I get to Day 50 and have to take a break for the Greywind/Blackwind quests. (It's Day 19 as I write this.) I'm not regretting my approach, but remind me when I get to Might and Magic IV that I want to explore more randomly or organically rather than in predictable columns.

Time so far: 41 hours
Reload count: 14

74 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm still puzzled about that one... this is an older game before that existed? Or am I missing a topical reference?

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    2. Siri is another word for betel and it still makes no sense so I supoose it is a joke and answer is echo or something. Not that I am sure as I am not a nat5uve speaker.

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    3. Just a joke about the iOS 'personal assistant'.

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    4. Of course, "Echo" would be a joke about Amazon's personal assistant.

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    5. See, ECHO was of course the real answer, and now I wish I'd gone with an Amazon Echo joke. I didn't even think of that.

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  2. Only one of the pyramids is an endgame area. At the point you're at, most of them would be rather easy.

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    1. That's interesting. I don't know why I've been avoiding them all this time, then.

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    2. I think it's good to avoid them, not because of the level of difficulty but since they pbagnva fcbvyref gb chmmyrf naq evqqyrf.

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  3. A reload count of 14 seems very low for a game like this. I feel like I'd be at 14 about 6 hours in. It's almost like you're a highly experienced gamer or something.

    Regarding textual qualifiers, Heroes of Might and Magic uses them a bit, and it can be important to know which of: Zounds!; A swarm; A legion is higher. And apparently things that are 'Ultra Swift' are slower than things that are 'Quick'.

    Obsidian and glass are very similar materials. Both were used by early humans in weaponry because they are good at cutting meat. Obsidian/glass can be manufactured to be sharper than steel, but you dont want to run into anyone armed or armored in any kind of metal :)
    I'll add a caveat to obsidian = glass though: Fantasy literature often takes the 'magical things make magical things' line, and thus obsidian sourced from the fires of hell or dragon volcano or wherever can be arbitrarily powerful.

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    1. Reg obsidian from hell fire: imagine wood.. from the iron birch.. from the plains of tears... in hell! Gosh, it sounds pretty powerful, I'd say it beats rock, paper and scisors. Even if they are... from hell!

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    2. "The Heartwood Spear was created by the halfling druid Nok in the 190th King’s Age, and is rumored to have been constructed from a piece of the Last Tree, and the life energy of Nok"

      Feel the power of wood.

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    3. For me one of the best implementations of a materials system was in Dragon Age origins. Stellar, a shame they dumped it in the dumbed-down sequel. And they had Ironbark, magically crafted-by-elves wood harder than steel.

      Apart from that, I think you can get around some non-logical materials by either imagning it's ornamental (a sword incrusted with ebony/rubies in it's hilt should be of a better make) or imagining it as only part, for example, a steel sword with a magically allied diamond coating on the edge, not an entire diamond blade.

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    4. I just assume that the stuff they call obsidian is unrelated to the stone they call obsidian on Earth.

      Elder Scrolls actually makes this clear, I think, in that I'm pretty sure there are glass and ebony mines.

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    5. Yes, both of those in TES are mined; glass seems to be a mineral and ebony is an ore.

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    6. What was notable about DA:O's material system? Didn't it just signify tier of weapon?

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    7. Well in DA:O I just found it overally well implemented. The materials used made sense, they were evocative (like "Dragon Wing" for leather...) and they were tied in with the lore, and even some quests. They had real actual impact on stats and level requirements, and things like how much runes the item can support, and it was properly balanced. Not like in DA2 or even The Witcher 3 where the same item can be level 1 or level 30 arbitrarily. And the rarity I find was well balanced too, common materials were very common and the higher tiers were increasingly rarer or appeared in unique items. I remember being excited everytime I found an object from a high material tier, or the first time I bought or equipped something, when a char finally had the level required to use a sword made of [something]metal.

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    8. "A reload count of 14 seems very low for a game like this. I feel like I'd be at 14 about 6 hours in. It's almost like you're a highly experienced gamer or something." And that full-party death is extraordinarily rare. "Raise Dead" doesn't have any penalty, and with the ability to warp out of combat ("Time Distortion") and fast-travel to towns, a temple to heal other conditions is only a few moves away. There simply aren't many good REASONS to reload.

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  4. Glass in elder scrolls isn't strictly glass but a mineral that has an appearance of glass is the way I've reasoned it.

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    1. Probably, just volcanic glass (of which obsidian is a type, but not the only one).

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    2. According to the wiki, Elder Scrolls glass is a form of malachite, which is just referred to as glass because of a superficial similarity.

      Which doesn't make a lot of sense either.

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  5. At least obsidian weapons did exits in real life. The Aztecs had a sword-club hybrid called Macuahuitl made from obsidian and wood (so you could make an obsidian-ebony sword...). But yeah, I find strange materials = better materials silly. At least TES makes glass and ebony actual minerals, but they could have named them [FANTASY METAL NAME] and I would be happier...

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    1. Right. I mean I don´t have a lot of imagination, but even I would come up with names like Ebonite or Glasteel.

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    2. I was just going to post this. The Spanish faced a nasty surprise when they encountered warriors armed with obsidian-bladed clubs. One conquistador's letter home recollected watching an Aztec warrior decapitate a charging conquistador's horse with a single blow. I imagine the conquistador fared little better.

      Also, obsidian is used today for specialized surgical razors, they are made much sharper than surgical steel blades and the incisions heal quicker with less scarring. They are single-use though and very expensive.

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    3. SMALL obsidian weapons exist in real life. To make an entire sword, you'd have to find an enormous deposit and--I don't know--chip it out in the shape of a sword. And it would weigh 75 pounds.

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    4. I wasn't aware they were single use but if you move laterally while making an incision you can easily break off the tip, and then have fun digging it out of the patient. Maybe it'll see more use when robotic surgery becomes more of a thing.

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    5. There actually exist a couple of obsidian swords, or at least sword-like items, in Polynesia. But since obsidian is basically just a special type of glass, using them on anything with some resistance will shatter them instantly.

      @Raifield: The Conquistadors had much less problems with those obsidian weapon, as they shattered against their armors. Had the new world been explored just about 50 years later, when most armor got deemed obsolete, the different cultures in south and central america would have hold out much better than they historically did against the invaders.

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  6. I had a similar feeling to you using the game's own mechanics to beat those tough monsters in the middle of the map, however I didn't use the fountains. In my case I got an item of "recharge item", which you can use on itself yo give it 100s of charges. I then give each character an item that can cast Mass Distortion, or Starburst or some other powerful spell that I cast every round. On the one hand it felt a bit like cheating, but on the other hand I don't think I would have been able to defeat those tough Octobeasts and whatnot without it. If the game gives you these options then you have to assume it expects that you will use them.

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    1. Not sure if this is true on PC, but on SNES, enemies couldn't cross map boundaries or attack across them, yet my shots would land just fine. There was usually no way around this because they were blocking the way, but it felt a bit off to win combat that way.

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  7. Siri as the answer to a puzzle in mm3? It can´t be a reference to Apple´s 2010 product since mm3 came out in 1991. As others have noted the riddle´s true answer is Echo. I think this blog entry should idealistically have pointed that out or at least warned people it was a joke with a smiley or something. It´s the old problem with text communication, you can´t read the face or know the feeling of the writer unless they make it explicit. Not a criticism, just saying!

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    1. Well, with games so iconic and covered elsewhere extensively, I don't think that this blog has an aim to provide walkthroughs and readers are not comming here to get riddle answers... Of course it's a joke, and a very fun one at that, and I think that adding anything around would have spoiled the effect.

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  8. I'm sure you'll find subsequent games even more enjoyable if you explore them a more "organic" way, following roads, taking detours, ending up finding unforseen treasures and powerful enemies.

    By the way, will you play Clouds, then Darkside, then both back to back with World extra scenario, or just once as the massive game World of Xeen is?

    I've always felt Clouds is the weaker entry in the III-V series of games. It lacks challenge and even, a proper conclusion, and feels like a glorified prologue for Darkside and the amazing conclusion to the five first episodes of the series. I fear playing it alone will cause you fatigue with the series and subsequently downgrade your appreciation for the latter episodes.

    Of the things to come, I hope I'll eventually see your review of Mandate of Heaven. This, has my favorite dungeon and overworld design.

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    1. Tomb of varn, possibly best rpg dungeon ever!

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    2. I thought they came up with a ton of great ideas for III and then just kind of got lazy for IV and V (with the exception of joining the two games up). Well I haven't properly played V but I've played IV mostly to the end and it was fun but seemed to be a bog-standard sequel to III.

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    3. You should play V, this may be my favorite episode in the series, much, much better than IV. Even if playing a World of Xeen run, try playing the Darkside first (making it a rather hard game), rushing Clouds afterwards (that shouldn't take very long) before doing the epilogue.

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    4. Yeah Varn is a great dungeon, huge and atmospheric, but it is worth noting many other dungeons, of all sizes, have interesting topography and gameplay. Makes a big departure from the so-so dungeons in III-V (what a pity VII got rid of most of the sprawling dungeons design, its game systems may be more solid but it stills lacks this to surpass VI greatness)/

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  9. The one drawback of obsidian is that it cannot have any further modifiers, so no 'fiery obsidian greatsword of fireballs' for you. But it's strong enough on its own to not really matter, and fountains/spells take care of elemental resistance.

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    1. That must be why the price is the same as the previous material.

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    2. This is not actually true. When lvl 6 items spawn, they only have one attribute (and lvl 6 is more likely to be obsidian). However, lvl 5 items also have a much lower chance to be obsidian and can have more than one attribute. Thus you could reload lvl 5 treasure generation until you get useful items, but I do not think it is worth it. I just finished the game this weekend and have several obsidian items with multiple attributes.

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    3. It's actually possible to get obsidian equipment with additional modifiers but the chance is very low.

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    5. Obsidian is extremely powerful.

      (Minor spoilers)

      Gur zvavzhz qnzntr ba gur jbefg Bofvqvna jrncba (na bofvqvna pyho, svsgl bar gb svsgl guerr qnzntr) vf rdhny gb gur znkvzhz qnzntr ba gur orfg aba-Bofvqna jrncba (n Qvnzbaq Terng Nkr qbrf guvegl guerr gb svsgl bar).

      Fbzrjung cnenqbkvpnyyl, guvf zrnaf gung lbh zvtug npghnyyl jnag lbhe svefg bofvqvna jrncbaf gb or guvatf yvxr pyhof be fgnssf - guvf znxrf gurz hfnoyr ol lbhe fbepreref, jub jvyy nyzbfg nyjnlf or gur jrnxrfg yvax va unaq-gb-unaq pbzong.

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  10. I have to say, one thing that really turned me off about M&M3 (and then 4 and 5), coming from the first two, was the change in art direction. Like they didn't know what to do with all 256 of those colors. Much of the art is either a gradient of a single color, or a carnival of mismatched colors. This makes the whole game feel cartoonish. M&M1-2 were grittier, probably mostly owing to the capabilities of the hardware being targeted at the time.

    Though, the blue city walls in M&M2 probably portended the circus-future of the series.

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  11. Sorry, somewhat off topic: Chet, have you ever considered Heart of Africa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Africa) as a candidate for your history? As far as I remember, it has quite a lot of the required ingredients, including attributes, encounters, role-playing and side quests. Not too much combat, though. Its predecessor, Seven Cities of Gold, had an interesting Anti-Combat mechanic where your diplomatic skill was tested by challenging you to move carefully through native populations without killing (popping into) too many of them en route to a tribe's leader.

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    1. You have to find the 'lost tomb of Ankh Ankh' somewhere in the 'dark continent'. Jesus Christ I'm glad video games have moved beyond this.

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    2. It's classified as an adventure game everywhere I look. It's not attributes that matter but CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT during the game through something like experience and leveling.

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    3. Well, I'd be lying if I said I remember it in detail, as I've last played it about 31 years ago. However, i'm reading back through your blog now, and having reached the "Wilderness Campaign" review I'm quite sure Heart of Africa can be classified as belonging to the same family of games. You lead an expedition; you recruit bearers; you have to juggle supplies and manpower, and decide how to react to different encounters. It had some interesting features for its time, such as allowing you to choose whether to explore a realistic map of Africa or a procedurally generated one, and being presented like the diary of an age-of-explorers style traveller. Maybe it's only borderline RPG by your standards; in any case, it was nice being reminded of it.

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    4. I just looked at some screenshots for the game, and the interesting thing is that the font and some of the placement of messages looks a lot like Pirates!, although I don't see any personnel that they share.

      I appreciate the suggestion, ududy, and I apologize if my reply was somewhat cold. You have to understand that I have a list of a thousand RPGs, and I instinctively take suggestions to add more as less "here's a recommendation from an enthusiastic fan!" and more as "here: have more work."

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    5. No offense taken. You've undertaken a titanic task, and I appreciate the time you put in and the knowledge and insights you provide.

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  12. Fun fact: In the SNES version, the fire island's mountains are the same like everywhere else. You can walk across them, and the party doesn't even take any fire damage while doing so.

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  13. Lawnmowing does take a bit of fun out of the game, especially when you lawnmow squares within an overworld area AND the overworld areas themselves.

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  14. Superbuffing and conquering areas way beyond your normal strength for huge rewards is my favorite part of this game series. It's so darn addictive. (This is also what I really loved about Moraff's World.)

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  15. Does MM3 have "adventurer mode" and "warrior mode" (difficulty settings) or is that a Xeen-only thing?

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  16. Another MMIIIMM post--you must really enjoy acronymic palindromes!

    I am curious whether you explored MM1 and MM2 with "lawnmowing" from the beginning (or attempted to at least), or whether that is something you did later on?

    I did not initially lawnmow in earlier MMs, but for some reason, MM3 just lends itself to it so readily. Perhaps it is because you start in the upper left and can lawnmow most of the first map early on, and the remainder not too much later. Or perhaps it is just that I was more experienced in the MM series when I started playing MM3...not sure which it is.

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    1. You couldn't lawnmow the first one. Mountains and forests created barriers, and outdoor areas were basically the same as indoor ones, except with mountains and trees instead of "walls." MM2 created the system used here, where mountains and forests occupy entire squares, and you need the appropriate skills to walk across them.

      It's a slightly unsatisfying way to play, but what else are you going to do when you know you ultimately have to step on every square? The urge to lawnmow goes away in later games, where you can actually SEE objects, NPCs, and encounters in the environment and thus don't have to tread over every bit of grass.

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  17. I didn't enjoy the constant item upgrades as much as you seem to. I had a well-defined order (helmet, amulet, body, ...) and I had to reshuffle all the time.

    For me the M&M games (3-5) are generally a bit too generous with experience, items, money and buffs. The sense of achievement suffers a bit if you gain too much too often.

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    1. That annoys me to no end as well. It would have worked a lot better with something along the lines of a paper doll, or at least a slot list.

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    2. Good point. Getting "raid level" gear in World of Warcraft was really exciting when the game capped out at level 60. Once the expansion replaced all the raid gear with better items in a week or two, it made all that striving seem wasted.

      In an early D&D game I played in, run by a pre-teen, there was a seemingly-invincible animated skeleton in a dungeon cell. But a couple of Magic Missile spells and it was toast. Our loot was a set of "AC -20 armor", basically impervious to all physical attacks (the lower AC, the better, in original D&D). But no protection against magic. After that, what treasure could the gamemaster possibly give out?

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    3. True, but there are few things that kill a game for me more then maxing out my gear and still having half the game to go: Fallout 3 was really bad for this. Skyrim and Fallout 4 are better, but still. I like games with lots of small, incremental updates, where you get little boosts on a regular basis, but not so big or so often that you feel like you didn't get to use your old gear. In Baldur's Gate I could count on getting one item better then something SOMEONE was carrying about once a dungeon, possibly twice, in addition to many potions and such.

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  18. SNES port checking in: you can climb the mountains on fire island if you're on land, but can't cross into or out of the sea. I've been told they're completely inaccessible on the PC version. It made all the enemies pitifully easy with ranged weapons, except the hydras which I never did kill a single one until I got implosion.

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  19. Hey guys, speaking of all M&M games... Anyone here played the newest one, Legacy? I've read mixed reviews, on one side people saying it was true to the old 3-5 era, others saying it was low-budget and rushed. I wonder what the opinions are here between "connoisseurs".

    (I still have to get through The Witcher 3, about a 100 hours in and maybe half-way, lol, then I have Pillars of Eternity on my to-do-list, but if you say M&M Legacy is cool/short I can squeeze that next).

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    1. I enjoyed it, but it must have had some bad memory leaks because it used to grind to a halt and after a while crash my computer in a few spots, which considering it is a tile based game with (for it's time) average graphics was pretty poor. I played it at release though, so those problems might have been patched. I certainly got drawn in to it and that feeling of MM3-5 was almost there, filling in automaps and knocking off quests while becoming more powerful. My main criticism of the gameplay was the inability to retreat from combat, meaning if you ended up in a combat too tough (and they do sprinkle high end encounters near starter areas) or went in overconfident you just had to reload. On the whole I'd recommend it, pretty decent old school fun with a fresh coat of paint.

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    2. I played it and enjoyed it a lot. I am not really great crpg player so it was veey hard in quite a few parts, It also seems that party composition is very important and at the same time easy to screw up (I could not progress with all mage or all warrior party, which is not really that strange, but I supposed that with careful planning and a lot of save scumming and resting I will manage, but it wasn't so), so I had to restart quite a few times. But maybe it is my inability to adapt.

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    3. I enjoyed it. It's very much a small-scale project by fans, which shows in the price point (20$ at release) and the length, but that's fine as long you don't expect a sprawling epic like VI or so. It didn't feel rushed to me, it was just never supposed to be a 100h+ AAA game. In my head-canon, Limbic demanded Legacy as a requirement from Ubi for developing Heroes VII ;)
      I didn't find it very hard, though the last dungeon is a pain.

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    4. I have a bit of trouble without a human mage but I really didnt want one so I'm getting through just miss the one spell I can't get. Other than that it feels a lot like xeen and I actually really like the story. The Addict did a piece on it a while back I thought was good.

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    5. Cool, thanks for the input! :) I'll give it a go for sure.

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    6. It was alright. They captured somewhat of the M&M feel with the game engine and basic mechanics, but the game is very difficult and more combat heavy and less exploration heavy than the actual M&Ms. But you should give it a try if you are into old school RPGs and/or M&M games.

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    7. Big hint .. Whatever you do do NOT choose 4 "Snarky" (or whatever it´s called in English) voices ...

      If I hear "Looks like they smelled us! ... who forgot to take a bath?" ONE MORE FREAKING TIME I'M .... *coughs* sorry ...

      Yeah aside from that I kinda wished they hadn´t called it Might and Magic maybe I would have liked it more. Most of the classes were not the usual M&M Classes, once you are engaged in combat you either kill or die, since you can´t "jump" from monsters or "zone" into another square ...

      Lots of smaller Pet Peeves that made me not really enjoy the game. It also had the Doom 3 Problem where Monsters suddenly spawned in your back all the time o.-

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    8. I liked the game, but I don't call it Might & Magic - just like any other game of the franchise since Ubisoft took over Jon Van Canegem and killed the old universe. No more Sci-Fi in the new ones, no more interwebbed storyline...

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  20. That's my problem with riddles in games - the game generally looks for a specific answer, but doesn't catch equally correct ones. FUTURE seems almost as good as TOMORROW (although I would have guessed the latter). CHAIN is a good answer, but CHAINMAIL or MAIL is not wrong.

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  21. Am I the only person who thinks that "Black Knight" kinda looks like Ram Man from Masters of the Universe?

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