Might and Magic/Wizardry - What's good, what's playable?

Since it seems I will never find a working copy of Daggerfall, maybe I can find a copy of the Might and Magic or Wizardry games. Which ones are good? Which ones are bad? Which ones end the game by handing you lazer guns and making all your accumulated spells/weapons/skills worthless?

I thoroughly recommend Might & Magic VI which kept me going for literally months and which I for one have found thoroughly replayable. For much of this time you will neither know nor care if there is any hint of laser guns in the offing or if that’s just a rumour. If you absolutely must know, there is one single “creature” that is immune to everything but “Ancient Weapons” - everything else, even in the last dungeon, can be dealt with using swords and sorcery with great success. I’d say give it a try and thenyou will find out.

You have to like a game which starts you off with D&D-style goblins and lets you fight 1000hp dragons, several at a time, before you’re done. And IMO the character-development system, where you advance the skill of your choice with the skill points that your level-training has earned you, and have to find Expert and Master teachers for added benefit, was brilliant for its time.

M&MVII has possibly an even better character development system, where your ability to acquire Expert, Master and the new Grand Master skill ranking is tied to your class and to key promotion quests that you must perform (e.g. no being a Grand Master of Water unless you are a Sorceror, and even then only if you have earned the Wizard and Archmage (or Lich) titles) but the world as a whole is smaller and I don’t like the storyline quite as much, though it’s a good game nonetheless and in some places is really difficult, and of the two games M&MVII has possibly the better spells and certainly the better potion system.

Both boast a huge variety of magic items and lots of odds and ends like the ability to mix your own potions (for free in VI if you can find the ingredients, but as a class skill in VII) and hire & fire miscellaneous henchmen.

Malacandra beat me to it, of course, but regardless of any laser gun related endings, Might and Magic VI and VII are both thoroughly fun to play and completely worth it. I enjoyed VI more the first time through (because of how tightly the story tied in with HOMM2, I think), but VII holds up better on repeated playthroughs.

A “working copy of Daggerfall” is a contradiction in terms. There are no working copies of Daggerfall, at least by any reasonable definition of “working”.

For some reason I’ve never been able to get into the Wizardry series. I’ve tried them all at different points and it just didn’t grab me. I actually tried Crusaders of the Dark Savant again a few months ago and it was a no go for me.

Might and Magic on the other hand I enjoy quite a bit. It’s light, goofy, throw everything at the player and see what happens but I think the game play is a bit smoother and I like the exploration elements more. My favorites are World of Xeen (4 & 5 stuck together into one game) all nice and turn based. 6, 7, and 8 have some interesting things (giant hoards of enemies, a free movement system) but I like the more structured 4 & 5.

I actually didn’t care for MMVI all that much. Well, actually, that’s not quite true. It was a great game if you forget the hack-and-slash.

Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of hack-and-slash. And the AI has two modes:

  1. If AI character has hitpoints above a certain threshhold, take quickest route to party possible and attack. Throw some spells or ranged attacks on the way if enemy can.

  2. If AI character has hitpoints below that threshhold, run away in a straight line.

By the time you’ve killed your 150th religious cultist on the same freaking map, you really begin to yearn for an FPS with enemies that at least show some sort of judgment in their actions. And then you remember you’re actually playing an RPG.

The Ultimate Wizardry Archives is out of print and is currently selling for over $100. It has games 1 through 7 and is fun mostly for people that’ve owned them back in the day. I remember Bane of the Cosmic Forge (Wiz 6) having something like a “lazers” ending. Never played 7 because i couldn’t get it to run.

Wizardry 8 (the last in the series) can still be found, but it sucks. It’s from the earliest days of 3d RPG’s and it shows. The combats were long, dull, and frustrating. The story is not that interesting, the entire game is just blah. Avoid like the plague. If you must know, there were some sci fi elements to it (rocket ships and space travel) but I didn’t find it interesting enough to make it the whole way through.

The Might and Magic games hold up a little better, just because they’re more recent. I liked the older M&M games more than the later ones. I can say the Might and Magic Millenium Edition does NOT work on Win XP. There’s a couple other “collections”, not sure if any of there will run on XP. I don’t remember any lasers or sci fi elements in this series, although there were a few odd things - like a strange goop that fell from the sky and was very hard to kill in MMII.

I’ve played it through a couple of times. The story is indeed kinda thin, but it’s great if you’re one of those borderline-OCD gamers who really likes to play around with character customization. The game is quite well balanced in terms of being able to succeed with different party builds.

But yeah, combat is loooooong.

Wow! I didn’t realize I was sitting on a gold mine!

[Hijack]

Why is the lone targeted google ad at the bottom of the thread showing this???!

I mean, maybe the mentions of lasers if it’s laser sugery, but really it’s a real stretch (pun intended) for an alogorithm to somehow extrapolate circumcision from a discussion of CRPG’s.

There’s a recurrent theme all through the series:Early games are, it turns out, set on multi-generation colony spaceships, and there is a rogue android behind the mischief that’s going on. M&MVI is set on an actual colony world that lost its high-tech civilization centuries ago and has forgotten its origins; the planetary computer is known to only a few as “The Oracle”, and even those who know of it don’t understand it, and the object of the game is to deal with an ancient enemy alien race who have attacked the world. In M&MVII the world is visited by a spaceship from the lost empire of the Ancients and, depending on whether Good or Evil is chosen, the players can either reactivate an interstellar teleport system to put the world back into connection with at least some of the empire, or repair a “Heavenly Forge” replicator, mass-produce blasters, and take over the world.

But it doesn’t interfere much with the gameplay.

I’ve played Wizardry 6-8. May favorite is 7. 6 is a little bland and short. 8 is kind of clunky because it tries to adapt the Wizardry combat to a 3D environment. The biggest problem with Wizardry 7 is also its strength. It’s huge. Really frikkin huge. It’s easy to lose track of the main plot because you’re not tough enough to survive an area and you go off the path to gain a few levels. The funny thing is that you can sometimes get key items without ever having to go through those same areas because some NPC picked up the item you need.

None of them seem to have a problem with uber lasers. A level seven nuclear blast cast by your mage will always be the best way to clear out a large mass of baddies, and a crusaders 2H ax +1 will always be among the best weapons for your front row fighter. Even hands and feet can be great for a skilled ninja or monk without ever seeming too unbalanced.

Wizardry 7 and 8 have some sci-fi elements, including laser blasters. The funny thing is that the laser blasters are at best comparable to most bows and crossbows.

I’ve only played Wizardry 8 among those games, and I had a real love/hate relationship with it. Its main strengths included its great customization and level-up choices, a fairly epic world, and a somewhat interesting main storyline. Its major weakness was the fact that it practically vomits random encounters at you, and the battles are often incredibly long. In one memorable (not in a good way) area, new creatures (I believe they were crabs) would keep joining the battle at about the same rate I could kill them, and I distinctly remember a single fight that took about 75 minutes to complete!

You almost never get a respite from the enemies, and even in friendly villages, you may have to wade through cannon fodder. I remember in one Lothlorien-esque treetop village, a bunch of insects and birds and fairies kept raping my party as we went from house to house. It was utterly ridiculous, considering that I was on friendly terms with the inhabitants, and they were just watching us get slaughtered by forest critters.

It’s really not a game for the faint of heart, but the one good thing about the constant barrage of battles is that they would lead to level-ups and those genuinely fun moments of figuring out how to develop your characters’ skills.

How do the Heroes of M&M games actually relate to the main series? I thought M&M were dungeon crawlers, which I never really cared for (Yserbius and Daggerfall, my two most addicting games in history, aside). Heroes is turn-based strategy, and I know its the same world and same characters, but the storyline has always taken a very distant back seat to the gameplay for me. Anyway, to advise on that spin-off, 1 is a great starter game, but is more primitive in gameplay elements (I never played Kings Bounty, which came before HOMM1 but set it up). HOMM2 and 3 are EXCELLENT games,especially with all of the expansion packs installed, and are still the ones I go back to when I want to play HOMM. 4 isn’t BAD, but they changed a number of elements (making the hero a regular super character on the battlefield, letting you have parties with multiple or NO heroes in them, restricting building in towns) which make it less enjoyable than 2 or 3. The 3D graphics from 5 turned me off so much that I didn’t even give it a chance…

I actually highly recommend Wizardry 8.

I found the game fun, but make sure you take a Bard. They are extremely powerful early in the game and are way better than Bards in most games.

I only ever played Might and Magic I, when it first came out. It’s very difficult, for the record.

I’ve played Heroes 3 (and Armageddon’s Blade, which was a sort of v3.5) and seen Heroes 2 played. Roughly speaking, H2 covers the civil war between Roland and Archibald Ironfist which precedes M&MVI (Archibald loses, is turned into a statue, and begins M&MVI that way, in the Royal library). H3 shifts the scene to Erathia, which is where Queen Catherine Ironfist went to deal with affairs on the death of her father (which is why Enroth is governed by Regent Wilbur Humphrey as Prince Nicolai Ironfist is but a slip of a lad). Armageddon’s Blade covers events between M&MVII and M&MVIII and leading up to the latter… all to do with a doomsday device that was intended to stop the Kreegan infestation from spreading (and ignored the fact that this had already been dealt with quite adequately).

Medieval: Total War has ruined me for Heroes of Might & Magic of any flavour, though. :smiley: