:: Heroes VI – Impressions (Day 2) ::
So, picking up where we left off… Duke Slava (our hero in the tutorial mission) has now progressed a little further along the map. He has found and taken over a sawmill among other things, which grants our faction +2 wood per day. There is no having to go collect this wood by visiting it or anything. It just bumps your stockpiles [+2 wood] every day that you maintain control of it.
Moving a bit further down the road, our hero runs into the first group of monsters that want to join our cause (see pic). In previous HOMM games, this occurrence was dependent on numerous things; including diplomacy, faction, strength, etc… I’m not sure how it works in HOMM VI yet, as I’m guessing this joining of the Orcs was hard-scripted into the scenario. Anyway, it gives you a picture of who wants to join you, but I don’t think you can right-click here to see their strengths and weaknesses. Kind of a bummer.
Moving a bit further, we come across a chest which gives us the typical HOMM choice of gold-in-pocket or experience points. I chose XP – which led to our Duke's first level-up. Seeing as this a a big deal in HOMM games, we might as well go through the Hero screens now. The very first screen that pops up shows you your Hero's statistics and how the level-up improved them. I was not given a choice on these attribute bonuses by the way. They may be pre-determined by your Hero's class or something.
The second screen here is labeled as the Army Screen, which shows your hero, his gear slots, his currently equipped gear, his backpack, his artifacts, and of course the current army he is travelling with. I believe
you can right click on just about anything in this screen to get more details of the items, but I'm not 100% sure of that.
Regarding your army, as you can see from highlighting the Orc picture, you are able to see all the statistics for this particular creature stack, as well as their 'Special Attributes', which when you mouse over them will give a description of how they work. We won’t go over them here, but the Orc Maulers have some really cool skills for tactical combat.
The next screen is the Abilities screen, and is quite similar to what I showed you guys on Day 1 – only without the massive amount of points to allocate up front. There is still quite a bit here, so let’s go over some of it really quick…
From top to bottom, you see your hero's name; the fist in the corner indicating he is a Might Hero (I think); the Might / Magic / Tactics icons (of which only Might is unlocked); The sub-categories for the Might set of skills, which include the following: Paragon; Realm; Tactics; Warcries; Warfare. Duke Slava (at least when going from lvl 1 to lvl 2) gets to choose from only the Warcries tree, hence why it is the only one of the five that is unlocked. Below that you see all the Tier 1, 2, and 3 skills under Warcries. He gets 1 point to spend, and they are between the following tier 1 options: 'Stand Your Ground', 'Rush', 'Heroism', and 'Flawless Assault'. Since he started the campaign with 'Stand your Ground', I am going to go with 'Rush', which you can see a description of in the pic below. Let me give my opinion of this method of leveling up your hero: I seriously love it. In a similar way as to Civ 4 & 5, the player is given the chance to decide how his units will grow, HOMM VI takes some of the randomness out of hero progression, and gives it to the player. Now granted, some HOMM games already did this to an extent, but HOMM VI gives even more control to the player, which I personally really like.
Now that we chose that and are back on the adventure screen, the game tells us to open the Duke’s spellbook. His particular book is divided into 3 main sections: Life / Balance / Death. As a quick example, the 'Stand Your Ground' warcry is considered a Life doctrine, while our new skill 'Rush' is considered Balanced. The Duke is again a Might Hero… so I can’t comment yet on how the Magic heroes spellbooks are organized.
Now that we’re done with all that, let’s play a little more before I go to sleep.
So our first week in the tuturial mission is now over, which means it is a new week, which has been dubbed “The Week of Training”. In traditional HOMM fashion, each week brings with it a bonus of some type. This weeks bonus applies to all 1st tier troops, and therefore would allow our town to hyper-produce their first tier troops. I'm pretty sure our sentinels are tier 1. In the town screen, it appears they are tier 1, but I'm unclear as to why it says 'Rank 2' in the picture below, unless that is referring to our town rank. (Probably is). Undetered by such small things, we are going to hire those Sentinels anyway. See the picture below, in which we move the slider up all the way in order to hire all 13 available sentinels. You can also get a sneak peek on this screen of what the Sentinels will eventually be upgradeable to (in this case Praetorians) – as well as looking at what their stats will be. (I didn't snap a pic of that unfortunately)
Next up on our things to do is to continue travelling east – as I saw a goldmine earlier I wanted to envelop into our empire. Along the way, we run into a magical cape that is being guarded by some demon hounds. I think our group is more than strong enough to dispatch them before heading back to our town to pick up those 13 new sentinels. So… it’s time to fight again, and time to see what these Orc Maulers are really made of!
So, without showing you every stage of the battle (this is not an AAR afterall) – we won the fight and galloped off with a new cape. There are a few things I want to show you in terms of the combat screen though, as although they are small, they are cool nonetheless.
First is the initiative bar shown above. Notice a few things that make it helpful. Obviously the first is that you can see the general order in which combat will take place, ie. ‘who goes when’. Of note are the two icons next to the creature whose turn it is. The shield icon is something that is normally open to your creature stack that tells it to not act in an offensive manner, but rather brace itself for a possible attack. This will greatly up its defense for the turn. The second icon is simply a ‘Wait’ command, which will drop the creature lower down in the initiative order. Also of note are the little red and/or green arrows showing next to the creature picture. This shows if the stack has a positive/negative/or both effect on them. You can then click on the creature to see the exact effect on it, be it good or bad. The hourglass in the center of the creature icons simply indicate if they have already taken their action this turn. (In this picture, our crossbowmen have a postive affect on them, a negative effect on them, and have already acted in this current turn).
The above screen is the combat log. This is normally turned off, but can easily be displayed with the click of a button if you want to review something that occurred in the current tactical encounter. Kinda neat, and very easy to read. I love combat logs, so this small feature is a big deal to me.
So, that’s about it for tonight. With our new cape in hand, it’s now off to town to pick up those new troops, and then we're off to capture that goldmine. We were just given another quest as well... something about a horn. So we'll hopefully find that tomorrow as well.