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 H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup

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Sir Albe
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PostSubject: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 02:56

This thread shows the creature lineup for the Dervish faction for Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Succession Wars. The new Dervish class belongs to the desert and the creatures consist of several H2 neutrals as the Rogue, Nomad, Medusa and Genie, but also new creatures as the Acolyte, Manticore and Anubite takes home in the dry lands. Here you can see the stats for each creature, their abilities and their price. The thread will be updated with new sprites, stats and possibly new creatures when changes are made. Feel free to write comments about the lineup below Smile

Level 1
Rogue

Attack: 5
Defense: 1
Damage: 1-2
Health: 4
Speed: 6
Base growth: 10 (+5)
Abilities: No enemy retaliation
Cost: 60 Gold coins


Level 1 upgrade
Bandit

Attack: 6
Defense: 1
Damage: 1-3
Health: 4
Speed: 7
Base growth: 10 (+5)
Abilities: No enemy retaliation
Cost: 75 Gold coins


Level 2
Acolyte

Attack: 6
Defense: 2
Shots: 12
Damage: 2-4
Health: 10
Speed: 4
Base growth: 9
Abilities: None
Cost: 125 Gold coins


Level 3
Nomad

Attack: 7
Defense: 6
Damage: 2-5
Health: 20
Speed: 8
Base growth: 6
Abilities: None
Cost: 220 Gold coins


Level 4
Medusa

Attack: 7
Defense: 8
Damage: 4-8
Health: 30
Speed: 5
Base growth: 4
Abilities: Stone gaze
Cost: 340 Gold coins


Level 4 upgrade
Medusa Queen

Attack: 8
Defense: 9
Shots: 4
Damage: 4-8
Health: 30
Speed: 6
Base growth: 4
Abilities: Stone gaze, No melee penalty
Cost: 445 Gold coins


Level 5
Manticore

Attack: 8
Defense: 8
Damage: 7-12
Health: 40
Speed: 7
Base growth: 3
Abilities: Flying
Cost: 535 Gold coins


Level 6
Anubite

Attack: 10
Defense: 10
Damage: 12-16
Health: 70
Speed: 6
Base growth: 2
Abilities: Non-living, Immune to mind spells
Cost: 885 Gold coins


Level 7
Genie

Attack: 10
Defense: 9
Damage: 20-30
Health: 65
Speed: 11
Base growth: 2
Abilities: Flying, 20% chance to age enemies
Cost: 1000 Gold coins 1 Gems


Last edited by Sir Albe on 2017-03-07, 09:39; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: DESIGNER'S NOTE - Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 03:06

DESIGNER'S NOTE

This text relies on the Designer's Note for Canonical Faction Lineups and Designer's Note for Witch Faction Lineup. Please make sure you've become familiar with the source text before making conclusions about the information presented below.

1. Are Heroes 2 Neutrals So Special?

As discussed before, Heroes 2 in fact doesn't need new factions because all of the general archetypes are covered and there are only a few popular mythology/fairy tale concepts left, barely available to form a whole new faction with its own unique style and harmony in its lineup. The Dervish (The Gipsy in former versions) is a faction which left as a legacy of Mister Kalu's team, which I still tried to preserve because of my childhood dream to make a faction for Heroes 2.

Well, there are definitely factors which unite at least some of the creatures. The Nomad and the Genie are archetypes of Middle Eastern fairy tales and fit to each other perfectly. The Rogue in Heroes 2 is looking more like an anglo-saxon brigand, while for Heroes 1 this creature even had a Zorro's mask, not fitting to the general concept of Heroes 1 Knight, and, to be honest, not fitting to Heroes 1 concept at all. The Medusa is generally a swamp creature with its dwelling being surrounded by lianas or another type of green vegetation. Still, the Medusa on sand is imaginable due to the fact that snakes don't look so alien in desert; but the gamma of the Medusa doesn't hint that. Finally, the Ghost is undead, although not completely fitting to the Necromancer's gamma, and in Heroes 2 the Desert is pretty much characteristic to the undead due to some related map objects and the Mummy dwelling. To sum up, not very much could be done to make all of them fit together in one faction, but the old team nevertheless did it, probably because of discussed Heroes 3 mania of adding new castles. Another argument for mixing them all together in one faction is probably the desert-styled background which was used for Heroes 2 neutrals.

Still, an idea of a desert faction is not that bad. None of classic Heroes games had any, so this idea was in the minds of everyone who thought about a new faction - with such projects as Bastion for WoG 3.59 to be the most mentioned until recently. This niche is still empty.


2. Filling the Lineup

Although the niche of a desert faction for working Heroes 1-4 mods is empty by the current moment, there are not much options left to fill the lineup of a such conservative game like Heroes 1-2. Yes, we have Arabian tales, but the Nomad and the Genie are pretty much everything summing it up, with all other concepts in turbans and/or wielding scimitars seem to be a copy of the above.

The once discussed options for the Dervish were:

- The jaguar-headed spearmen (reference to Hexen II where they were equipped with swords and shields) who could use darts in ranged attack, which is a weapon not used in Heroes 2 by far, but still can be considered pretty popular and "contemporary", so to say. The trouble with this concept is that there is no such mythological or fairy tale creature with a clear name in popular culture by the moment of 1996 (No, don't suggest Skyrim). The Lizardmen is already pushing the limits far beyond, but at least they were in H3/MM6 and are the most popular antropomorphic animal concept in modern fantasy after probably the Werewolf. The suggested level was 2, for the Rogue is 1 and the Nomad is clearly 3.

- Any kind of desert mage for level 2 or 3 as a shooter (not perfect option due to the presence of the Mage who is pretty much the same already). Yet, working fine as a low-level shooter and neighbour of the Rogue and the Nomad, being part of Dervish heroes standard lineup.

- The Scorpion (reference to Fallout 1-2), the main disadvantage of which is that it's an obvious filler and didn't fit to Heroes 2 general creature design where creatures are more or less bulky, while the insectoids are usually thin and composed of sticks. I went ahead and suggested to implement...

- ...the Manticore instead. In fact, it's relative to the Sphinx and the Lamassu, being a Persian concept in origin. Due to the fact it was in H3 (and even was in MM7 beta) I decided to choose this option, because there definitely are chances to fit it in the general box size of 2-hexed Heroes 2 creatures, and in fact, it is much more mythologic, although not as popular as some of other new creatures characteristic for H3SW. We required a tanky creature for middle levels which generally contributes to the attack style of the Dervish, and I think it's the most successful decision.

- Any creature from Egyptian mythology fitting enough under the description of "popular in modern fantasy culture". There are, however, only Egyptian god impersonations, like Ra, Anubis, Bast and a few others. Not a perfect option also, and I already met comments like "ANUBIS IS A FREAKING GOD Y U PUT IT IN THE LINEUP U CANNOT INTO HEROES 2".

- Leaving the Ghost intact, for sure providing a unique playing style for the faction, but completely ruining the atmosphere, balance and the concept of the Necromancers at the same time who were once the only faction to be "the ultimate evil" with all undead. Leads to problems with morale and its interpretation for Dervish's creatures, hard to fit in the other creatures' gamma, etc.

- Sphinx, Lamassu, Rakshasa. The first is already existing as an adventure objects with riddles, while the second one is pretty much a copy of the latter, also not being presented in any of older Heroes and MM games. The Rakshasa is a somewhat similar case, yet we still have a draft for it just in case. The problem with the Rakshasa is that no one in 1996 could ever tell its name after looking over a saber-wielding leo erectus. It's just not about popular culture at all.


3. Might and Magic Saves the Day (again)

Like in other cases when we cannot bring truly popular mythological/fairy tale concepts to the table, here comes MM6 which once again features some convenient concepts and allows us to build the game's story using its assets and plot as inspiration. So, the Anubites (originally the guardians of the Tomb of VARN) are in fact the most popular Egyptian god impersonations, not being gods themselves regardless of what some people on the forums could say just because they don't like to read and know much about the project and our problems on the way before they say something. Same goes for the Acolytes or Mystics, as they will be in Russian localisation (originally Followers of Baa, namely, members of a new cult appearing in Enroth prior to the arrival of Kreegans, and stylized under some kind of pilgrim traveling to a religious place as an archetype of a mid-century Arabian Muslim going for a hajj). To stylize the Rogues under the desert setting more, the upgraded form has some further adjustments of the concept to fit more to Arabian Nights setting.


4. Conclusion?

The v0.8 beta lineup is generally the best option we could ever serve with such limitations of Heroes 2 concept. With the already posted statement about Heroes 2 not allowing to implement new factions without going beyond the concept limitations, I still think we've done pretty well with these and were still able to save the ideas of the old team, yet, with a lot of redesign on the way (hell, "kobolds" with Wolf's head and Orc's body were no less than bizarre). Haters gonna hate, but that is life.

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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 07:35

The Dervish lineup looks great. I especially love the Rogue and Medusa upgrades. The Rogue was never an exceptional character in my eyes. It had good speed and could be serviceable in great numbers, but all in all I feel that it simply looked fiercer than it really was.

I am also interested to see how the new Acolyte, Manticore, and Anubite play. New units! What a joy that cannot be understated!
It is true that "haters are going to hate". You really can't please everyone, no matter how wonderful something is. It is always much easier in the short run to simply say that something is "this" or something is "that", without factoring in the amount of work it takes to actually create something. Whatever choices you make in regards to the new units should be applauded. This is new content added to a 20+ year old game, and it is obvious that you guys are taking it seriously. There is room for "creative license", in my opinion.

Did the Genie upgrade get scrapped? I remember seeing another version of the Genie from before, which looked quite interesting.

Just some thoughts I had on the neutral characters in general (feel free to disregard):

It kinda seems to me that many of the neutral characters in HoMM2 were left over ideas that the developers liked enough to preserve, but did not feel fit into the balance or the ethos of the Hero classes. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ghost, for example, was originally intended to be a part of the Necromancers' army, especially seeing as she and the Vampire Lord share a similar power. Included in the Necromancers' ranks, the Ghost could seriously have thrown off the balance of things, but it seems that her unique ability of assimilating enemies was left over with the Vamp. Lord (just to a lesser degree).

Another reason that I think that this may be the case, in regards to the neutrals being leftovers, is that there is no "elite" character for them. The neutrals may never have been initially intended to be included in the game as they were; rather, after a time of swapping ideas in and out, the leftovers added a bit of optional depth to the game.
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 07:47

I think you did a great job with this town. Most of my objections are personal and i know you guys have a particular design philosophy in mind. I would like some special abilities, something to set the town apart...

Anyway, I think there is still room for improvement in 0.9 or later. You didn't use the most iconic warriors of the "desert town" stereotype: dudes with turbans and spears. Psyhic/magic elementals from h3 have some great heads/helmets, would have loved something like that. Curved swords also fit the theme perfectly, but i see none.

1)The rouge doesnt fit but the bandit is perfect. I would keep the rouge as a neutral, maybe add the h3 ability and increase his stats.

2) the acolite looks good and its a nice unit!

3)the nomad had an ability,"sandwalkers" i knew what it does but right now i cant remember... whats the logic behind removing it ?

4)i think you could change this with the nomad, it would give a stronger mobile unit. Otherwise it looks great!

5) maybe a lamassu or a sfinx would look better, depends an ragoon's magic touch :d but i still like this creature. However he needs some kind of poison or on hit effect, maybe that of the rust dragons(weaker if it seems too strong). Seems like a waste, such a huge stinger but no poison.

6)really cool creature! I know you feel proud of him Orzie! I also liked the red one, both look cool i think.

7)good choice and strong! Nothing much to say. Curios how he would look on a carpet like H1

My thoughs. Overall this town looks really good. You guys can be proud!
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 07:55

robizeratul wrote:

3)the nomad had an ability,"sandwalkers" i knew what it does but right now i cant remember... whats the logic behind removing it ?

The "sandwalker" ability is from the H3 nomad and it ignores movement penalty on desert/sand terrain for the hero. It is rather useless for our nomad since all dervish units native terrain is desert and thus the hero can move without penalty when on desert terrain Smile
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 08:45

To clear things out - all units have this ability, but only as long as there is no creature from other faction in the army.
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 17:18

Aescule wrote:
Did the Genie upgrade get scrapped? I remember seeing another version of the Genie from before, which looked quite interesting.

For v0.8 I decided simply to finish Heroes 2 assets first, with very little additions like the new unnecessary artifacts. The additional content must be thought out with care if we want quality before quantity. For now, all artifact visuals suggested by Uhm fit generally good though. However, all rips from Palm Heroes/Palm Kingdoms will have to go (same for map objects). They don't fit absolutely, although I personally know the creator of Palm Heroes and can even ask permission for any asset of their older games (like I did with the elven house with the green roof - but Agar modified it decently anyway).

The Master Genie is not cancelled despite not present in v0.8. It still can be discussed. The only factor here is that Heroes 2 factions usually have conscious creatures (mostly weapon-wielding or having technology behind them, like the Golems) who can be upgraded, while unconscious (Boar, Gargoyle, Griffin) are just magical servants. The only exception from this rule is in fact the Dragon trinity and level 1 creatures which are not upgradeable by design (but if we will feel a really strong need to implement level 1 upgrades, we still can do it like we did with the Rogue where we needed to fit the creature into the desert setting more, so here comes the arabian-looking bandit). This can be somehow manipulated as well though, like explaining that the Dragons are "clever enough" - for they are surely conscious due to the cutscenes of Archibald's campaign where he caught the Dragon King and became able to join all Dragons on the map. Hell, Dragons even live in Dragon Cities and "wish to join".

The Genie seems to be a magical creature, but still conscious, so in general it's possible to implement an upgrade. The abilities and the exterior will be discussed in this thread a little later upon the development of v0.9 or v1.0.


Aescule wrote:
The neutrals may never have been initially intended to be included in the game as they were; rather, after a time of swapping ideas in and out, the leftovers added a bit of optional depth to the game.

The neutrals in fact possess several abilities which may have been deemed too strong by NWC, and for good reasons, like with the Ghost and the Genie. That is why our Genie doesn't have "halve stacks" ability, having a much softer variation of it called "aging" from H3 Ghost Dragons where the "aged" stack loses a percent of its stats until dispelled. The no-retaliation ability and the stone gaze were later considered "normal enough" by NWC so that we had a lot of them in Heroes 3. It's also funny to see how Armageddon's Blade neutrals in fact represent the legacy of Heroes 2, with Halflings being self-descriptive (implemented as native population of Eeofol), Sharpshooters representing Heroes 2 shooting system, Enchanters resembling Heroes 2 Warlock in exterior, Nomads being self-descriptive, Boars ditto, Mummies ditto, etc.

We will have our own neutrals in the long run - the creatures which serve the similar purpose: abilities which are too strong to be available for a conventional unit, design which doesn't have to fit under existing factions which makes us more free in drawing, specific niche in the lore of new campaigns, and, of course, specific flavor which you mentioned. One of such neutrals will be the Pirate, a creature having its dwelling in the ocean (which will enrich the water object variety and add some flavor, too), inspired by Heroes 3 HotA Cove faction. Something like a "sea bandit" since the Rogue now is a conventional unit. Smile
The Pirate is actually already animated, looking good enough and ready to be put into v0.8, so probably we can add him regardless of what I said about having strictly Heroes 2 basis for the upcoming beta.

Another neutral which I planned to make is the Cockatrice, also an Agar's creation in lore (not our Agar, but still it might be him who will draw it Very Happy), but too strong to fit in a faction because of its ability to cast Berserk randomly on enemy stacks (a very huge reference to Might and Magic 6 where Agar's creations are related to madness just like Agar himself). The associated plot will be also present.

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Last edited by Orzie on 2017-02-09, 17:45; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 17:21

Sir Albe wrote:
robizeratul wrote:

3)the nomad had an ability,"sandwalkers" i knew what it does but right now i cant remember... whats the logic behind removing it ?

The "sandwalker" ability is from the H3 nomad and it ignores movement penalty on desert/sand terrain for the hero. It is rather useless for our nomad since all dervish units native terrain is desert and thus the hero can move without penalty when on desert terrain Smile

I guess we won't be adding the text description of this ability to the Nomad since there is such thing as terrain bonuses in Heroes 3. Yet, I am still in doubt if we should ever save this terrain bonuses feature for the whole game.

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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-09, 19:15

I'm voting for saving this feature, it would make it unfair for rough terrain factions otherwise, like when witch would have 1/3 of the knight speed if put on "their" respective terrain.
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PostSubject: Re: H3SW: Dervish Faction Lineup   2017-02-10, 06:00

Just a thought. Smile

Concerning the Bandit, I would add some space between the spikes of the sword and the knife, they now appear to be "united".
(There is also the same problem with the Death Knight, the sword is too close to the bottom of the shield, they seem "tied".)

The Acolyte is much better now, but, and I do not know what, something seems wrong. And the feet are too small compared to the body and arranged in a bizarre way.

Apart from these few details, really a great job!!!
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