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Introducing Fanstratics

Gregory Fulton, the lead designer of Heroes of Might and Magic III, has introduced his latest project Fanstratics, a spiritual successor to the legendary entry.

The game is currently in pre-alpha production and details about the game are very limited, but the latest newsletter reveals some intriguing info about the upcoming title:

 

– The Adventure Map will be built on a tile based, square grid.
– The Battlefield will fill the screen and use a hex grid.
– Factions, heroes, troops, spells, skills, artifacts, and adventure destinations, will all be ‘familiar but different’.
– Built for PC, ‘no mobile shenanigans’.
– There will be a map editor.
– Crowd funding most likely in the future.

You can read the latest newsletter Q&A below and sign up for upcoming updates from the official Fanstratics website.

Fanstratics isn’t the only game to call itself a ‘spiritual successor’ to HoMM3. Why should I believe you?

Trust me, I understand. Many different games have called themselves ‘spiritual successors’, while falling far short of their promises. Some of these same games have even claimed to be a ‘spiritual successor’ to HoMM3, in one form or another.For me, ‘spiritual successor’ is more than a catch phrase or marketing slogan. It’s a game directive.Few people remember, after Armageddon’s Blade, myself (lead game designer) and John Bolton (lead programmer) left the company, while Phelan Sykes (lead artist) moved onto a different project. David Mullich (production director) was the only lead to carry over from HoMM3 to HoMM4. Fanstratics is the only ‘spiritual successor’ to HoMM3, to actually involve anyone from the original team.

Hopefully, as Two Point Hospital is to Theme Hospital… Fanstratics will be to HoMM3.


Is it really going to be like HoMM3?

Yes.

The Adventure Map will be built on a tile based, square grid.

The Townscape will fill the screen and have interactive structures.

The Battlefield will fill the screen and use a hex gird.

Currently, the game is being built in 3D, but the presentation is entirely 2D. For an example of this approach, I typically point people toward ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’.

Please keep in mind… I cannot ‘rip off’ HoMM3. Gameplay mechanics cannot be copyrighted, but Ubisoft owns the ‘look-and-feel’ of HoMM3.

I mention this because… there will be changes to the creative landscape. Factions, heroes, troops, spells, skills, artifacts, and adventure destinations, will all be ‘familiar but different’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… a refreshed approach offers the potential for revision, refinement, and evolution. This is what happened from HoMM2 to HoMM3. This is what I want to happen from HoMM3 to Fanstratics.

Ultimately, what I want, is for a casual observer to mistake Fanstratics for HoMM3. A passing conversation would hopefully go something like this…
“Playing Heroes 3?”
“No. Fanstratics.”
“What’s Fanstratics?”
“The reincarnation of Heroes 3.”


Will Fanstratics deliver on the HoMM3 expectations? Is it even possible?

For the past 20 years, the HoMM community has been clamoring for a true sequel to HoMM3. With Fanstratics, my goal is to give them what they want… and more. Anyone with any knowledge concerning video game development, knows the opportunities for failure are far greater than the chances for success… but I am hopeful.


I don’t like the game name. Fanstratics is a mouthful. Can you come up with a better name?

I agree, Fanstratics can be a mouthful, for some people, but so is… Subnautica, Factorio, Valorant, Brawlhalla, Nier Automata, Blasphemous, Stellaris, Chrono Trigger, etc. It’s unusual for a product name to not be criticized.

Remember when Nintendo announced the Wii? What? Is Nintendo making toilets?

Remember when Apple announced the iPad? What? Sounds like an Apple branded tampon product.

Remember when Star Wars announced the chapter titles of ‘The Phantom Menace’ and ‘Attack of the Clones’?

Considering the number of games being published today, arriving at a unique name is very difficult. All the easy names have been claimed. Don’t believe me? Imagine your own game name, then search for it in the Apple or Google App stores, then search for a ‘.com’ domain name.

When I was crafting potential game names, my requirements were… it needed to be something no one else was using, easily readable as a Twitch category, and reflective of the genre. In the end… Fanstratics stuck. It’s unique, it’s memorable (for better or worse), and I was able to claim the domain name.

All I ask is, please keep an open mind, and give it a chance. You never know, it might grow on you. If not, don’t let it prevent you from potentially enjoying the final game. Besides, it’s only a matter of time before a nickname is coined. I’m already calling it ‘Strats’.

All the above being said… I am open to suggestions. 🙂


Will the game be completely unbalanced and need fan mods to play competitive?

To be fair, network play in HoMM3 was an afterthought. In 1999, no one ever expected, twenty years later, people would be playing the game online… competitively. HoMM3 was never intended to be an eSport.

My intention is to reach out to current HotA internet players, and assuming they are interested, have them play Fanstratics and get their feedback. Similar to Starcraft2, I suspect there will end up being two separate sets of game stats: Single and Multiplayer. Upon shipping, the Single and Multiplayer numbers will match. After shipping, Multiplayer will probably diverge from Single, as network players discover unanticipated exploits and abuses.


What is target platform?

Windows PC. HoMM3 was built for the PC, and the audience is still largely PC based. Fanstratics is a PC game, being built for the PC. Also, no mobile F2P shenanigans.


Will there be community friendly Map Editor?

Yes. I designed the HoMM3 Map Editor, and I will be designing the Fanstratics Map Editor. For those who don’t remember, Armageddon’s Blade shipped with the Map Editor, seven months after HoMM3’s initial release. I expect this will be case with Fanstratics as well.


Who did the Cavalier concept art?

Justin Gerard. You can check out his work at Gallery Gerard. At this time, it’s unknown how much concept work Justin will be contributing. I’m very happy he’s interested in supporting Fanstratics, but as you might surmise… he is in high demand. I’ve got my fingers crossed, and we’re doing our best to take advantage of his ‘windows of opportunity’.


Will Rob King and Paul Romero being doing the music?

I have been in touch with Rob King about he and Paul doing the sound effects and music.


Will David Mullich be involved?

David is currently directing another game, but I have told him, once Fanstratics reaches critical mass, I would very much like to have him produce it. We’ll see what happens. Walking away from a steady job, to take a chance on a crowd funded project… is asking a lot.


Other than concept art, do you have anything more to show?

Unfortunately, not at this time. Design is being finalized and program functionality is being built, but unless you like seeing colored blocks move about a grid textured environment… there isn’t much to see.

Please understand, the Landing Page was created to support David Mullich. Occasionally, David is invited to talk about HoMM3 in various Russian, Polish, and other East European cities. When I revealed to David, my work on Fanstratics, he offered to ‘stealth announce’ the project to potential fans, while avoiding the mainstream game press. I didn’t think it would hurt, so I quickly fashioned a landing page, commissioned Justin for some concept art, and laid the foundation for an eventual Newsletter.

Well, on 2020-06-09, Game World Observer cited David, during his talk at the Talents In Games Conference, as mentioning a ‘HoMM3 spiritual successor’ was in the works. Someone saw the news article, put 2+2 together, found the landing page, and tipped off Heroes3Wog.Net. Suddenly, there were hundreds of people signing up for the Newsletter.

In short, the game’s announcement was something of an accident, and I’ve been scrambling to accommodate the sudden momentum.


Why not promote the game to larger game news sites?

If we were 90 days from launching a crowd funding effort, I would be pushing a press release to anyone willing to listen. At this stage, because we don’t have much to show, it doesn’t make sense to promote the game to larger news sites. I’m happy with the current ‘slow burn’ limited to hard core fans, and hopefully, the word will spread and the community will grow organically.


Anything I can do to help?

As of this writing, the Newsletter has over 700 subscribers. Not bad for an ‘accidental announcement’, but for a successful crowd funding effort, I estimate we will need at least 50,000 subscribers. Why? My research shows, around 20% of Newsletter subscribers (10,000) will convert into paying backers. With some mainstream publicity, I expect an additional 5,000 ‘non-newsletter’ backers. This turns into 15,000 supporters, which puts us within reach of my low end budget approximations.

As we are very early in development, we have time to grow the community. Most Newsletter subscribers reside in Poland and South Korea, but there is clearly an absence of subscribers from Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, USA, etc. So, if you want to help… tell your friends and spread the word.

If you are an ‘influencer’ (streamer, youtuber, etc.), and would be interested in helping promote the game, I’d like to hear from you.

GOG.com HOMM sale

While the Steam Summer Sale ends today, GOG.com responds with a Might & Magic sale of its own.

Price cut goes up to -85% depending on the games selected. The sale lasts until July 15th.

» GOG.com

Steam Summer Sale

This year’s Steam Summer Sale has arrived, and with it come hefty -75% discounts to all games in the Heroes of Might and Magic series.

Discounts include:

Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East $2,49/€2,49/£2,14
Might and Magic Heroes VI: Complete Edition $7,49/€7,49/£6,49
Might & Magic Heroes VII Complete Edition $12,49/€12,49/£10,49
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes $2,49/€2,49/£2,14

Steam Summer Sale runs until July 9th.

HoMMdb.com goes social

You can find HoMMdb.com now on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow us for all the latest on Heroes of Might and Magic!

HoMMdb back online!

For a long time HoMMdb.com has been experiencing serious issues with its file and article publishing features, ranging from bandwith problems to limitations in file storage capabilities.

We have finally resolved all the problems, and are accepting new map and mod submissions once again! We’ll continue to clear the publishing queue and release all the submitted files and articles during the coming days.

We deeply apologize for the prolonged down time, and although the official support for the Heroes of Might and Magic series has been discontinued, we still hope to help the fan community to keep the games alive.

Breaking: Ubisoft drops Limbic

One era comes to an end, as Ubisoft has announced that its four-year partnership with Might & Magic: Heroes VII developer Limbic Entertainment has been discontinued, thus ending the future support and patches to Heroes VII.

The sad news arrive only two months after the release of the first (and only) Heroes VII expansion Trial by Fire. A myriad of bugs that still remain in both the base game and expansion will remain unfixed by the official team, and only time will tell if the fan community is able to step up and try to patch the uncomplete game.

There’s no word currently on where the franchise will end up, but we here at HoMMdb.com will be following the future of the series very closely.

MMH7: Hotfix 2.2.1

Might & Magic: Heroes VII has received yet another small patch, and it should be downloading automatically via Steam and Uplay.

However, no details about the contents of the patch have been released.

MMH7: Patch 2.2 available

Might & Magic: Heroes VII has received yet another big update, featuring fixes and improvements for multiplayer, level design, combat and general gameplay.

Patch also includes new balancing changes for the Champion creatures, and you can find more details in the full patch notes.

As always, the patch should be downloading automatically via Uplay or Steam.

Wryn Pendragon: Umbramancer

We’re happy to bring you news about a new fan project for Heroes VII, Wryn Pendragon: Umbramancer. It is an ambitious expansion to the game, started by the Czech Heroes community at worldofheroes.cz. Featuring a brand new world with new story, maps, units and heroes, Umbramancer is looking to be the most comprehensive Heroes VII mod project to date.

Wryn Pendragon: Umbramancer is being developed mainly in Czech language, but the project is also being translated in English.

The expansion includes a new custom faction, and majority of the new units have already been announced. You can find more information and videos about the new creatures from the project website.

The developers are also looking for people to help with the project, including model building, scripting, sound and map design.

We’ll be following the project closely here at HoMMdb, so stay tuned for more updates.

MMH7: Hotfix 2.1 released

Ubisoft has released a new patch for Might & Magic: Heroes VII today. The hotfix should download automatically through Uplay and Steam, and it includes following fixes:

GENERAL
* Fixed missing neutral Fortress stacks in Might & Magic Heroes VII.
* Fixed minor issues in localization.

SAVE/LOAD
* Fixed some skills missing after save/load in games with random skilling.

MULTIPLAYER
* Fixed Mana being fully restored after combats
* Fixed Inventory Items not being obtained properly or granted in multiple copies when defeating an enemy hero

MMH7: Trial by Fire released

A standalone expansion pack Trial by Fire has been released, introducing the new Fortress faction with two new campaigns. The feature list includes:

– Fortress faction with new heroes and 16 new units.

– Two new campaigns with over 30 hours of gameplay.

– Six additional skirmish maps.

– Dozens of new artifacts, abilities and achievements.

– Patch 2.0 (available for all MMH7 players) with revised skillwheel and ingame random map generator.

As a standalone version the expansion pack does not require the base MMH7 game to function, however accessing the original MMH7 campaigns do require the first game. Ubisoft has also released a Complete Edition of the game which includes both the original game and Trial by Fire.

Latest in Might & Magic: Heroes VII

While we here at HoMMdb.com have been on small hiatus for the past few months, Ubisoft and Limbic have been continuing their support for Might & Magic: Heroes VII. Here is a brief summary on what has been going on lately in the world of Heroes.

Patch 1.8 introduces several fixes and improvements, and the second part of The Lost Tales of Axeoth is released.

Ubisoft releases a small modding guide with instructions on how to use the The Lost Tales of Axeoth content on custom maps.

Patch 2.0 introduces the long-awaited features, random skill revision and ingame random map generator, among other improvements.

A standalone expansion pack Trial by Fire featuring a new Fortress faction is announced.

MMH7: The Lost Tales of Axeoth and patch 1.7 released

After a small delay, Ubisoft finally released Unity, the first part of the new story campaign The Lost Tales of Axeoth, along with patch 1.7. The Lost Tales of Axeoth: Unity features five new maps taking place in the universe of HOMM IV. The campaign adds new units, heroes, artifacts and buildings. You can read more of the included content at Ubi.com.

Patch 1.7 brings once more a bunch of new features and bugfixes. The biggest changes are the removal of level cap in skirmish maps, some balancing changes (eg. a cap in necromancy skill), and improvements to online connectivity. Read the full patch notes for more information.

MMH7: Patch 1.7 information

After a long silence, Ubisoft has finally provided an update for the upcoming 1.7 patch for Might & Magic: Heroes VII, se to release in early February. Here are some of the biggest changes:

– First campaign of Lost Tales of Axeoth.

– Level cap will be removed in all skirmish maps.

– Improvements for online connectivity, including STORM (automatic port forwarding).

– Fixes on balancing, bugs and editor.

More details on the 1.7 patch contents will be shared with the full release patch log.

Learning the Heroes 7 Editor

We’re happy to announce that in collaboration with WorldOfHeroes.cz, we are launching a new multi-part guide series for the Might & Magic: Heroes VII Editor.

During the series we will introduce the basic functions of the editor and go through step-by-step instructions on how to create a scenario map with different landscapes, objects, scripts and events. We hope the articles will inspire new and returning players to get started on this creation tool and result in many creative map authors!

 
The first part of the article series has been published and more will be available in the near future. Have fun with the editor, and feel free to ask anything that’s troubling you in the comment section.

MMH7: 1.6 and Steam Workshop available

Along with the previously announced 1.6 patch, Might & Magic: Heroes VII has finally received Steam Workshop support!

Steam Workshop is accessible through the Steam client and allows Steam players to play and share new content for the game, including maps and mods made by other Steam users. The MMH7 editor has also been updated to allow map publishing straight to Workshop. Unfortunately Steam Workshop and its content is available only for those who have purchased the game via the Steam platform.

In addition to the new map “Global Cooling” introduced in the 1.6 update, the Ubi.com article features also a custom scenario map called “Blood on the Bay”, published also in the Workshop.

As always, full patch notes are also available in the official blog post.

MMH7: Patch 1.6 information

It’s been a few weeks of waiting, but finally there’s some new information about the contents of the next patch for Might & Magic: Heroes VII. Here are the outlines that are addressed in the upcoming update:

– Various bug fixes and improvements, including missing Skills/Spells bug introduced in 1.5
– A new Skimirsh map: “Global Cooling”
– Tutorial map
– First batch of game balancing
– Random Map Generator now compatible with multiple tile sets

As always, more details about the improvements can be found in the Ubi.com article. The patch is expected to be published during the next week.

MMH7: Patch 1.5 released

In addition to previously announced new content, the newly released patch 1.5 again includes a huge amount of bug fixes and improvements, this time focusing on multiplayer and out-of-sync issues. Full notes can be found in the Ubi.com article, but here are the top features:

– Further improved multiplayer in combat and on adventure map for out of syncs
– Additional content: 2 new Maps, 12 additional Heroes, 5 additional Neutral creatures.
– Fixed long loading times experienced by some of the users, which were caused by recompiling low quality shaders
– Improved animation system for smoother combat animations
– Improved AI, Editor and other various Gameplay/Level Design elements (173 fixed bugs)

MMH7: New content in 1.5

Ubisoft has revealed that shortly to be released patch 1.5 will feature new game content in addition to ordinary bug fixes and improvements. The additions are:

– 2 new maps (1 skirmish & 1 scenario)
– 5 new neutral creatures (Kappa Shoya, Mermaid, Darkness Elemental, Light Elemental & Shadow Panther)
– 12 new heroes (2 per faction)

More information about the additions can be found in the Ubi.com article.

MMH7: Patch 1.4 released

Article edit: The patch 1.4 has been released and should be downloading automatically at Steam and Uplay. The original article about patch fixes is below, and the full 1.4 Patch notes can be found at Ubi.com.

Like with every patch so far, this one too comes with some new issues, so a hotfix 1.4.1 has already been released. The hotfix deals with a problem with AI difficulty setting not saving properly.

The official MMH7 blog has posted a comprehensive article on the upcoming features of the game, many originating from the feedback gathered from all around the active MMH7 community. Here are the key points discussed in the article.

Presentation: Saturation, contrast and color levels will be readjusted. The distance fog can be disabled. Screenshots can be seen in the Ubi.com article.

Tutorials: Four tutorial videos have been posted on Youtube, covering Basic gameplay, Townscreen, Battles and Skillwheel. A tutorial map will also be implemented in the game.

Performance: Loading times will be cut roughly in half, and RAM usage has been significantly improved.

Heroes: Level cap is being discussed, also more specializations and unique hero abilities are planned.

Balancing: No details were discussed, but the team promised to implement major balance changes based on the community feedback.

Multiplayer: Now that most game-breaking bugs and crashing issues have been resolved, the multiplayer issues are being addressed more thoroughly. Out-of-sync issues should be getting first big improvements in the next patch.

Editor: The map-making tools are also going to be improved, and Steam Workshop support is being looked into.

While many problems (like AI issues) did not get addressed in this update, the future still looks very bright for Might & Magic: Heroes VII.

MMH7: Patch 1.3.1 now available

Might & Magic: Heroes VII has received yet another quick hotfix, this time it’s dedicated to a particular crash happening when loading a save with a high diplomacy skilled governor appointed to a town.

Disappointingly that’s the only fix in this update, but a bigger 1.4 patch is currently in the works. The 1.3.1 hotfix should be downloading automatically on Uplay and Steam.

MMH7: Update 1.3

The M&M Team has been hard at work, and the next update is already out in the wild. Patch should be downloading now automatically in Steam and Uplay. Main points in the update:

– General and performances improvements
– Few multiplayer fixes
– Various level design improvements and bug fixing (skirmish, campaigns etc.)
– Some Editor fixes and improvements
– Gameplay mechanics fixes & balancing improvements
– SFX & audio fixes

The full patch notes can be found on the official site. The team also confirmed that version 1.4 will be released in the coming weeks.

MMH7: Version 1.2.1 released

Well that was quicker than expected!

Might & Magic: Heroes VII has been patched to version 1.2.1 and the update should be downloading automatically via Uplay and Steam. Not much to be excited about though, as the update seems to fix only an issue related to a memory leak with game saves.

Ubisoft reconfirms that they’re working on the 1.3 patch and more information on it will be coming soon.

Site update

HoMMdb.com has been updated with some new features:

– Maps and mods can now be filtered and sorted by different options, such as map size and underground availability.

– Registered members have a public profile which can be used to share all maps and mods sent by the user. You can edit your information at your personal profile page, where you can also find the link to your public profile. You must have published files in order to have a public profile.

– Users are now able to follow the file discussion by subscribing to the file comments. Non-registered visitors can also subscribe with their email address.

– Registered members can now delete their submissions via the My files page.

If you experience any problems with the new features, please report them via the contact form.

MMH7: Patch 1.2 released

The long-awaited patch for Might & Magic: Heroes VII is now finally available, and the 1.2 update should download automatically through Steam and Uplay. Ubisoft has posted the full release notes on their website, but here are the main points of the content:

– Fixed Campaign & Scenario Maps walkthrough blockers
– Improved AI speed and decision making process
– Improved global compatibility and performances of the game
– Fixed Load, Save & Autosave corruptions in various circumstances
– Fixed Skills and Abilities effects and values
– Many bug and glitch fixes
– Improved multiplayer experience and stability
– Improved Map editor feature and fixes
– Improved Localization in various languages

Although many bugs still remain, the first impressions are very positive. AI speeds have improved significantly, many of the critical campaign bugs have been fixed and the overall game performance seems to be better. The development team has stated they will continue to provide more fixes in the near future.

Site update

Hi!

Just a quick note that we are now accepting map and mod submissions for earlier Heroes of Might & Magic games aswell.

When uploading content, you may choose the game your file is made for. We are currently building the ability to sort files based on game, map size, player number etc. That feature will be added in the near future.

Patch information

While the gameplay aspects can be argued, when it comes to bugs, Might & Magic: Heroes VII can definitely not be regarded as one of the “best in the series” as Ubisoft has widely advertised. Two weeks after the release, the game has yet to receive a post-launch bug-squashing patch fans eagerly wait. However, new information about the content of the upcoming update have emerged.

In addition to Ubisoft’s official statements, the developer Limbic has commented on the upcoming patch at reddit:

 

AI is constantly being Improved. With out giving to much a way I can tell you that it’s getting a MASSIVE speed increase for a start. Multiplayer is also getting a significant upgrade.

AI will be improved, yes. For the upcoming patch we focused on fixing AI-related bugs (such as suiciding empty heroes a lot or disregarding some armies on the map, hindering progress) and AI performance (thinking time on adventure map). Dan is not exaggerating about the speed. I urge you to try it out yourself when the patch is deployed 🙂

Combat AI got some tweaks, too, but the most substantial changes to the combat AI will come in subsequent patches. We’ve made some tweaks to make it manage its units better and completely revamped its targeting logic when it comes to picking the most profitable action, but we’re not entirely satisfied with it yet, so it’ll have to wait a little longer. One thing we need to focus on is definitely the spellcasting with Magic heroes, and this will take some time because we’d need to go over spells on a case-by-case basis.

The patch will also address issues on multiplayer, overall performance, campaign scripts, saving/loading and balancing. There’s no clear word on the release date yet.