There’s no gamer in the world who hasn’t played or at least heard about Might and Magic. It all begun in 1986 with Might and Magic: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum, the RPG that started the madness. The first game had 9 more sequels and finally in 1995, the Heroes of Might and Magic spin-off was launched. Just like it’s ancestor, this turn-based strategy proved to be a total success and unlike the original series, it’s still alive and kicking today.
As MMOs are becoming increasingly popular, the next logical step was going online. And thus, Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms (MMHK from now on) was born. Whether it is up to the renown of its predecessors it remains to be seen.
As this is a free MMO browser game and it’s not in any way meant to replace the PC version, MMHK is only a (over)simplified version of the games that you used to know. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing. It just is something else. For starters, there are only 4 factions to choose from: Haven, Inferno, Academy and Necropolis. The veterans should already know all about them, but a brief explanation is always welcome. Haven is the embodiment of a classic feudal society. On the other hand, Inferno is the again classic representation of hell. Academy represents the wizards and Necropolis, as the name suggests, is the home of necromancers. Each faction has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. You may choose any of those in the beginning, but Haven seems the most appropriate for the ones not familiar with HOMM series.
Another thing that has sadly been simplified is combat. Remember the square grid on the battle map? Well, forget it. The game went from turn based to real-time. Everything from traveling to building requires hours, minutes, and seconds. In fact, combat is so simple now that even a child (no offense) could do it. There are 3 kinds of troops, archers, infantry and cavalry. Based on rock-paper-scissors, archers have attack bonus against infantry, infantry against cavalry (this one doesn’t really makes sense) and finally, cavalry against archers. All the player has to do before combat is set the order of the troops that are going to fight in order to gain from the advantages they have. Furthermore, each faction has a small variety of troops, each with its correspondence in the other two. So, combat isn’t one of MMHK’s strengths.
Then what is? Well, the short answer is everything else. First the heroes. In the other games, they had a critical role, and it was obvious they would be important in MMHK too. You need heroes to lead your armies and fight battles, to construct buildings inside the city and upgrade mines. There are 13 possible classes, each with its own skills. A hero can thus be created to aid you in almost anything you want to do: recruiting, building, trading, fighting, finding treasures etc. Unfortunately, their number is limited either by the development level or the subscription, or to be precise, the lack of it. The free account is limited to only 3 heroes and 3 cities at least at first, whereas the paid account is only limited by your development speed.
The cities in the game are almost identical to its offline brothers. Each type has a background specific to the faction of choice with slots where you can develop different types of buildings. Around the city there are mines that if freed of mobs can be used and upgraded. At first, some might feel lost. Fortunately, your personal assistant is there to guide you at each step and explain the game mechanics. The tutorial is actually one of the best I’ve seen in a free browser game. She also gives you quests that should not be ignored considering the rewards. Even if you choose not to complete any, you still get a reward for logging in daily.
MMHK is an online game so a lot of attention was given to the player interaction. Simply put, playing alone is not an option. In order to finish the game (yes, the game actually ends and everything starts over) your guild must collect 13 Tears of Asha. Once this is done the game ends and it stars all over with the winning guild gaining certain advantages in the new round. So being in a guild is absolutely necessary if you ever think about victory.
The graphics, again, will look familiar to those that already played the other games. Everything has a cartoonish look just like in Heroes of Might and Magic 5 with the creatures and menu icons being almost identical. The screen layout was however borrowed from the older games with most of the menus on the left side of the screen.
Although it is not as complex as its predecessors, Might and Magic Heroes Kingdoms is certainly a game that must not be missed by Might and Magic fans who want a bit of multiplayer interaction. Despite the lack of turn-based combat and oversimplified battle mechanics, MMHK is definitely worth of the Might and Magic name and hopefully the first step towards a stand-alone Heroes of Might and Magic MMO. The sixth installment is still in development, so who knows?
by Sicaru Adrian