Turned Around on HOMM5

Just skip the painful campaign and go right into custom missions or multiplayer missions (which you can play as single player, just set all the opponents to AIs.)

I just had a mission that took me back to homm2…the last game (until now) that got both the look and the gameplay of homm right.

It’s even (god forbid) a balanced Nival game! I’ve always wanted to love their stuff (and i’ve played pretty much everything they’ve ever done, back to rage of mages and evil islands, and they’ve all been missing something…feels like the finally got it right this time.

So, you are saying the game itself is great but the campaign is not? At what point does the campaign fall apart, because I’m very slowly making my way through the first set of missions (because I don’t have a lot of time right now)? I’m not terribly impressed with it so far, and I’m a little stunned at how dull the battlefield is (just a big square dotted with some misc props). I thought they might have put some elevations in a 3D-based game.

A lot of games have gone 3d for shits and giggles. Civ4? 3d serves 0 purpose, is only a marginal improvement in looks, and makes unit and graphic creation time consuming and extremely difficult. New units can only be made by people with expensive modeling programs. Reskins are doable but uninspiring.

I doubt any game was hurt more by 3d than Civ4.

Campaigns are also bad with most of the tbgs I’ve played recently. Story is often poor and there are frequently bugs, even in high quality, otherwise excellent games. Galciv2 anyone?

That said, I never liked the HoMM series.

I’m going to have to disagree with you, Aeon, on the 3D hurting games (especially Civ4…crazy indeed!). It may not add anything, but it certainly isn’t detrimental.

I’ve always loved the HoMM series but I’ve not seen anything yet in HoMM5 that strikes me as better than any past implementation.

Which reminds me, anyone know how to turn off just the single sound that all the pop-up/tool-tip windows make? If there’s one thing that’s annoying me to death, it’s that, especially since I have the tips pop up instantly right now.

How do you think it was hurt by having a 3D engine?

We couldn’t have doen Galactic Civilizations II they way we did without a 3D engine. The advanced ship design stuff really required it (for starters).

The easy, smooth zoom in and out from being able to see continents on a planet all the way out to seeing the galaxy also would’t have been very nice without a 3D engine.

3D engines aren’t just about eye candy. They can give developers the ability to give players a lot more flexibility in how they play the game.

To me, the campaign started in a “Fallen apart” state, but i’ve played every homm game there is…it made it seem like the balance didn’t exist and the battles were all going to be absolute pushovers. Without challenging fights, the battlefield is dull. Homm is all about interesting decisions, every turn. One reason people love it’s about a reasonably small number of interesting decisions each turn, which keeps the strategy clean and free of micro-management. However, in the campaign, esp. early on, those interesting decisions don’t exist.

Well in the case of Civ 4, 3D added very little for me, but it made it require a lot better machine to run.

Then again, I seem to be one of the rare folks who didn’t particularly like Civ 4.

BTW, I fully agree with Ken’s initial post. Some of the missions really turned me off the single player campaign. It’s funny seeing people discover 2-3. :)

The stand-alone scenarios and the flexibility of the multiplayer games (choose your own race, hero, and bonus) is what kept me going. Here’s hoping Ubi and Nival get a map-maker and scenario editor into the fans’ hands pronto.


Civ4’s graphics put it out of reach for anyone without a gaming rig. For a series that attracts huge numbers of non-gamers…yeah, that hurt it. A lot.

I know several people who almost never play games who wanted to play Civ4, but found that it wouldn’t run on their systems.

What’s more, anybody who would have upgraded their system or bought a new one so they could play Civ 4 would not have seen any improvement in gameplay or graphics for their trouble. The game just doesn’t look that much better than Civ 3 did, but now it requires a relatively high-end machine to run (high-end by what most computer owners have, not necessarily what most serious gamers own).

If a game is going to tech up to the point that a sequel is unplayable on a machine that ran the prequel just fine, it damned well better look and feel the part. I love Civ 4 and I think it offers a more enjoyable gameplay experience than Civ 3 did, but I’m pretty sure I’d be pissed off if I had gone out and bought a new video card or a new computer in order to get the thing to run.

Could you imagine TA’s successor “Supreme Commander” being 2d instead of 3d?

Yes, initially a lot of modders were unhappy Civ IV went to 3D, but personally I think it adds a whole lot of character to the game that 2D simply can’t do. Like the jump from from CGA -> EGA -> VGA - >16 bit color -> 32-bit color. If you give artists the power, they can continually improve. Of course, even someone like myself (no graphic talent) could do something in CGA since you only had 4 colors to work with, and very few pixels. So the definition between a good artist and bad artist wasn’t that defined. Take it to 3D and 4,294,967,296 (32-bit) colors - and you need someone who’s talented, skilled, and trained to do a good job.

Sometimes I’m concerned with too much emphasis going towards graphics (at the expense of AI) - but a well managed development team will strike the right balance (Firaxis, Stardock, BHG). Did Nival? Sounds like they didn’t - but since I don’t have the game myself I’m judging that fully off reviews and forum discussion on its AI.

I’m not sure I agree. I always felt like Etherlords and Etherlords 2 were too well balanced. Most of the battles (in the campaign game) came off like puzzles, where you had to have just the right mix of cards in order to defeat the enemy.

Considering I couldnt’ get past the first mission in Etherlords because one battle (which was at a bottleneck) was simply, as far as I could tell, literally impossible to win with the possible resources you had, I wouldnt’ call it balanced…but ymmv

However, balancing an open ended game like the skirmish missions in HOMM5 is a zillion times harder, and they did it around a quantrillion times better. Trust me, balancing BioShock makes baby Irrational cry, and I think HOMM5 was maybe even harder.


Well, you tell baby Irrational that if he pulls it off, I will personally buy him a new monkey for his troubles. I can’t wait for that damned game!

In many games, 3d has a place. Shooters (BF2), castle and building sims (Stronghold 2, which has as many issues as EU2, and is almost as fun), and games that are designed to never be modded (Consoles).

In turn based games, 3d has zero effect on gameplay. Neat-o graphics at the expense of performance and moddability? Woo hoo!

Civ1: Anyone can make a unit so long as they can copy-paste

Civ3: 3 programs (some of them are user created) are required for unit creation

Civ4: A graphical studio is required for anything more complicated than a reskin

How is it a good thing to restrict graphical modding to a select few?

How is it a good thing in a game where it serves no purpose other than eye candy and machine slowdown?

I fail to see how I am crazy for decrying the erosion of the layman’s ability to modify the graphics of his game to his liking. But hey, to each his own, right?

I fail to see a great loss in every layman being able to create a great mods, since most won’t actually be great. I also fail to see how shooters have been negatively impacted by the move to 3D when it comes to mods.

Also, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all of the other changes to Civ 4–the Python interface, the XML data, the AI DLLs–will help people create way more interesting mods than were ever created for 2D Civ games.

How is this any different than every other game? Why is Civ4 hurt and others not? As graphics become more complex and detailed the ability of “laymen” to create custom content diminishes.

And how is the creation of custom graphics so critically important to game modding? It’s not supposed to be about eye candy right? Civ4 is the most customizable version of Civ yet.

Hey I love Adventure Construction Set. I could make anything with that. But, yeah, I’d be crazy if I said Neverwinter Nights 2 is going to hurt the series because making models will be harder than NWN1.

Minimal requirements for making mods means a lot of shitty ass mods. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game that is too advanced for someone dedicated to break it open ( perhaps illegally ) and modify to their heart’s content. There’s this belief I have about the human condition where if you increase the challenge, people will just increase their level of effort. Those who won’t probably just wanted to make a Homer Simpson Total Conversion. Why complain about a more complex modding process when everyone’s eternally asking for more complex graphics, physics, gameplay, etc? If what you want is simple, play the older version of the game, then mod the fuck out of it until it plays exactly how you want it.