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Heroes of Might and Magic IV
General Overview
Written by Lady Dragon the Image Weaver
the 1st of May, 2002
Heroes IV bears great many differences, compared to Heroes III. Some think that the change is for the better, others decide it's for the worse. I, for one, am inclined to think as the second party, and below I'd like to explain why it is so, both in the game and the Editor.

Reasons applied to the game:
1.          Towns 
2.          Creatures
3.          Skills
4.          Spells
5.          Cross reference titles
6.          Little details

Reasons applied to the Map Editor:
1.          Objects
2.          Help section

Of course, this is but my opinion, and I wouldn't want to spoil the pleasure of gameplay for anyone. But personally, I don't intend to play. I'll better wait for the expansion pack, perhaps it will be better there.

Game reasons: Towns
Before, in Heroes III (if counting the expansion packs along) there were 9 towns  Castle, Rampart, Tower, Necropolis, Dungeon, Inferno, Stronghold, Fortress and the Conflux. Everyone was glad and happy wishing for some more interesting new towns. People on the 3DO Community had various ideas of their own  Pirate Town, Jungle Town, Underwater Town, Sky Town, etc. I also expected new cities to be invented, really wanting for the Rampart to grow stronger. It would be my dream-town: Centaurs, Dwarves, Elves, Pegasi, Unicorns, Phoenixes and Faerie Dragons. 

In Heroes IV, there are 6 towns, number nine upside down. Like there was in the initial Heroes I. In my opinion, the new 9better say, old) towns should be rated like this:
1.          Asylum
2.          Preserve
3.          Haven
4.          Necropolis
5.          Academy
6.          Stronghold

There are no new towns, only the old ones with mixed creatures and some new creatures like the White Tiger and Pirate.

The Preserve (even if I wanted it to be powerful) has an unfair advantage because of its summoning portal, which suddenly made it a "double" town  a town with a double amount of creatures. It's unfair to other towns, especially Stronghold, which had been stripped from all magic buildings whatsoever. Now, to learn magic, the barbarians need to have a magical town to be conquered. In Preserve, there are 16 creatures to choose from! While other towns have an average of 9-11. Even if one must choose, the Preserve heroes have an uncanny ability to summon creatures by themselves, without even exerting themselves to loose their spell points. Sleep, sleep, then boom! You got a White Tiger in your ranks. Or a shooting free water Elemental. Of course, to do this, one has to learn a particular skill. All others can too. However, Preserve is more likely to do so than anyone else.

However, enough of this Preserve. Let's look at Stronghold. The town got no magic (on the contrary to Heroes III, where it had at least up to level 3 spells), and a completely useless first level creatures under the name of "berserk". What's the point to buy these rascals, if they attack on their own? It's like having a hostile computer in your ranks. This is an interesting idea, I agree, but in my opinion, totally inefficient.

Game reasons: Creatures
There used to be such a thing like neutral Creatures, I think. Now half of all the creatures are aligned to some particular town, without the option to actually buy them inside the town, except the Preserve, of course. Funny about that, in fact. There isn't much difference between aligned creatures, and neutral, I think.
There are some new interesting creatures  the Leprechaun, for example. Or the Pirate. Some are great, and some are not. It's all a matter of opinion.
 
Game reasons: Skills
The fact about five tutelage on each new skill makes me shiver. 20 skills. Each to Grandmaster. Wonder if that's possible without cheats? However, I don't know for sure, perhaps it is possible in the campaigns, which I didn't play.
And I also noticed the need of one, two or more skills before you can progress in something else. Personally, I find this rather hard to do with the obvious lack of experience, especially in the beginning of the game (scenario maps). There might be many monsters, but you got far too small an army. Or the other way around.

Game reasons: Spells
This isn't all vitally important, really. Many new great spells appeared, like Create Illusion or the spell of Summon Ice demon.
However, I miss the good old Town Portal. Or Fly with Dimension Door. Those were fantastic spells, able to quickly give you the upper hand in a game. Yet, this isn't big change.

Game reasons: Cross reference titles
Don't know about other players, but I find this difficult. Far too many titles to choose from, and little opportunity to do so.

Game reasons: Little details

          ~ Hero's fighting in battle
What's the point, if you have a good spell, just whack the other hero, and be done with it?

          ~ The grey fog
For me, this is annoying. With all these monsters capable to move, it's tough to remember everybody.

          ~ Font size
Anyone noticed the text size? My eyesight isn't that sharp, so I had to squint at the computer all the time to read everything or wear glasses. If the resolution goes lower, the text size is slightly bigger, but the objects start to be gigantic! Far too big, they don't even fir completely to the screen.

Map Editor reasons: Objects
One of the worst things. Well, at least, I haven't found a way to do it other way.
When putting some adventure miscellaneous object on the map, like a tree, you can place it only in one exemplar. One tree only. Not like in Heroes III Map Editor, simply a diagonal (well, fine, okay, okay, not so diagonal, but nevertheless) a line of trees. Here, you place it one at a time, even if mountains are placed in "lines". Found this strange and uncomfortable.
Map Editor reasons: Help section
As I understood, there is NO Help section. Perhaps, I speak for myself only when I say that's bad. It's all new there. How am I supposed to know what three new event lines mean? How to use everything? Where it's located? It took me a long time to understand Heroes III Map Editor. I don't know about this one, but it will definitely be longer.


Well, that's it. What I don't like about Heroes IV, I mean. Some might think that U judge the game too much. Maybe I do. However, it's only my opinion, after all!
And one of the things that I truly like is the colourful interface and the detailed objects like the Mill, the Oracles, etc. the grandiose variety of trees, flowers, etc.
And I absolutely adore the White Tiger!