Interview of Might and Magic IX (PC)
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UK RELEASE: 28-Mar-2002 (Released)  | NORDIC RELEASE: 28-Mar-2002 (Released) |  US RELEASE: 28-Mar-2002 (Released)
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  Interview of: Might and Magic IX | By: Dag Petersen
21 Oct-2001
 

Dag Petersen asked the developers of Might&Magic IX 11 interesting questions, and got 11 interesting answers. Might&Magic IX is expected to be in stores march 2002. Now, read on for the goodies revealed here.

  QUESTIONS  
Q: The change of engine gives you loads of new and exciting opportunities. You've stated that some terrain might be modified to make the world seem more alive. Can you specify what kind of changes have been made possible for the player, and how this affects the game?

A: The most important change in regards to making the world seem more alive was the enhancement of the AI scripting. We can now script monsters and NPCs to react differently based on several environmental actions, including time, date, where the player is in the plot, etc. Another change we made to the Lithtech engine was the inclusion of dynamic day/night transitions.

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Q: Another feature that will enhance the feel of the game is the fact that NPC's now follow a daily schedule. How will this affect gameplay, quests only given or resolved at specific times, cities all but deserted at night and a completely new set of citizens awake at night? Can the player enter and interact with houses and interior etc?

A: The NPCs will be following a more human schedule. They may get up in the morning, go to work, and retire in the evening. A player could, if they wished, follow an NPC around for the entire day. We've taken included many time-specific events in the game this time. For example, if the player needed to get into a particular vault, they could wait until closing time, when the accountant takes a load of money to that vault. From there they could assault the accountant and take the key from him, gaining access to the vault.

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Q: The basic plot is as far as I've gathered: You are supposed to unite 6 clans and at the same time save their world. All this is placed in a world new to the M&M series. What can you tell us about this new world?

A: The new world is called Axeoth, and it's a big place. MMIX takes place in a region called Chedian, on the continent called Rysh. We are across an ocean, and several thousand miles away from the continent Heroes 4 will be using. Around 500 years ago, the entire continent was under the control of the Ursanian Empire who, at the time was waging a war with a sorcerer named Verhoffin. In response to an attack on his tower, Verhoffin cast a spell that spewed fire and rent earth in an event that has come to be known as the Great Cataclysm. This event had terrible effects on everything from economics to culture. It pretty much spelled the end of the Ursanian Empire. Since that time, survival has been a struggle in most of the former provinces of the Ursanian Empire, with the exception of the province known as Beldonia. Beldonia was a western province that was affected the least from the Great Cataclysm. The prince of this province has begun taking his armies east, claiming to be a descendant of the last Ursanian Emperor. In a short time, if he is not stopped, his army will overrun Chedian.

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Q: Four races are available for the player to choose from. Can you describe which differences there are between them, and how much a certain choice will affect the game?

A: Each of the four races has advantages that make them excel over their peers in certain classes. The Elf for instance will have a better time being a Mage than would the Half-orc. However, the Half-orc will make a better fighter. That isn't to say that you would be foolish to make a Half-orc mage, if you chose. Excelling at magic would be more challenging to the Half-orc than it would be to the Elf.

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Q: There is said to be eight classes to choose from. 4 of might and 4 of magic. How different will they all be?

A: In total there will be fourteen classes, 7 might and 7 magic. Most of which are an extension of the others. When you begin the game, you will have a choice between following the path of might and becoming a fighter, or following the path of magic and becoming an initiate. When it comes time for your first promotion, you will have another choice to face. If you had chosen the fighter, you would have to choose between being a mercenary, or a crusader. From there you would face another two choices to become your final class.

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Q: You have in earlier interviews stated that the same skill will be different according to the classes, how will this work and to what extent?

A: The same skill working differently has been primarily focused on when the character reaches the level of Grandmaster. For instance, with the blade skill, the Paladin may get a bonus to hit or damage, whereas the Assassin would get the bonus of extra attacks, or an extra crit.

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Q: The new magic system will require certain skills in one or more of the 4 schools of magic to be cast. You have also stated that depending on these skills the spell may have different effects. Are we just talking different amounts of damage and resistance chances, or will the same spell produce completely different effects depending on the different skills?

A: Usually the spells cast have a few different properties, those being damage, duration, range, etc. With the new system, points in each of the skills required to cast the spell would affect a different property. For example, a few points in Elemental Magic would affect the duration or range of the spell, while a few extra points in Dark Magic would affect its damage.

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Q: Much of the fun of the M&M series have for many players been the diversity of equipment available. Does the weapons and armour still have lots of different abilities, are there any new ones and will they be subject to modification by players either by skill or magic?

A: We've included hundreds of weapons, armour, and other items, as well as a whole slew of new artefacts. The entire item system has been, for the most part, unchanged, except for the addition of the new item stat, quality. Quality will affect several different item stats from its ability to withstand breakage to additional bonuses to hit. We've kept the enchant item spell, and added a new NPC to interact with called the Tinker. The player will be able to spend hours tweaking and fiddling with their items.

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Q: Will the skill system of MM9 resemble that of the earlier games or do you have something new to surprise us all with?

A: Except for the addition of skills doing different things for each class, we've left the skill system unchanged. We've talked about spending some time revamping it, but that will have to wait for the next instalment.

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Q: You've stated that the NPC's of the game are going to feel more like the people of a real world because they have things to do rather than walking back and forth in the same area. How about your monsters do they have an agenda too, or are they just waiting for the player party to come crashing through the bushes?

A: Monsters will most definitely have their own agenda this time around. In fact, we've spent more of our time giving monsters things to do than we have NPCs. Sometimes you may stumble onto a group of liches making skeletons, or guards beating a prisoner. Due to the limitations of completely 3D engines, we've had to include fewer monsters than in previous instalments of Might and Magic, but what we've lost in quantity we've made up for with IQ points. Every monster this time will be smarter, and if you're not careful, might outwit you.

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Q: Finally, which question would you have liked me to ask you and what would the answer be?

A: I think the question I would have liked to be asked is this, "are you excited to play Might and Magic IX?" To which the answer is yes, I am very excited to play this game. It's been a long haul since we started working on MMIX, and it's very excited to see all the things we've done finally coming to fruition. I think I might be almost as eager to play this instalment of Might and Magic as our fans are. The only difference is that I am fortunate enough to be able to watch it evolve into a game. If our fans are half as excited as I am about this game, I'm sure it will do well.

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