The crux of Heroes - where all the hard work and exploration on the adventure map comes to fruition. The Heroes V combat scenario provides us with a few innovations, aswell as reversion to some older features.
Perhaps the most significant change from Heroes IV (in terms of movement) in combat is the square combat grid. Yes, the battlefield is now comprised of a certain number of square grids. In recent videos, it has been revealed that a 'smaller' creature will occupy 1 square, while a 'larger' one will occupy 4. The movement shadow has also made a return, but it is not as essential as it was in Heroes IV. The creatures have less differentiation in the direction of their movement, which is what a square grid lends itself to. Nival have chosen a simpler system where 1 creature takes up 1 square. You can see the grid and the movement shadow below.
In the early stages of development, the size of the battlefield would adjust to the number of units being used in combat. However, through the testing phase, the battlefield was changed to a uniform 8 deep x 10 wide squares. The objective in this move was to speed up proceedings in battles, and to create a more 'chess-like' atmosphere. However, considering the standard fully-built army occupies 10 squares, it was alwats doubtful whether such a size is sufficient. Hence, the battlefield size was increased by 50% to a 10 x 12 formation, allowing for almost any army to move with relative ease. Sieges will take place on the 14 x 16 battlefield setting.
- A Square Grid will be used
- A smaller creature uses 1 square, a larger one uses 4
- Battlefield sizes will all be 10 x 12
- Sieges will occupy the 14 x 16 battlefield setting
Heroes in Combat
The most talked about feature in Heroes IV, which many saw as the reason for Heroes IV's failure, is not included in Heroes V in the same way. It will still be possible for some types of Heroes to engage in combat! For the most part, their role is to cast spells and to boost their creatures' attack and defense ratings so they can deal extra damage and receive less. In an interview on Nival Interactive's Russian forums, the development team representative stated that "Heroes of certain classes will be able to directly participate in combat." This participation will be realised through the use of special hero abilities. For example, the Haven's Holy Charge ability will allow the hero to enter the field of combat (and attack all enemy units aside from the hero). To expand on this information, Fabrice Cambounet stated that "They [heroes] will be able to enter the battlefield at some point, for specific actions, which will depend on their race. These types of actions will be gained during their growth in power." It has also been confirmed that Heroes will again become invincible beings, as they were in Heroes I-III. Other than these confirmations, Heroes will act quite similarly to their Heroes III counterparts. Another confirmation is that creatures cannot fight without a hero, and vice-versa.
- Heroes mostly act in the same way as they did in Heroes III
- There are certain hero types that can enter the battlefield for specific purposes through the use of their abilities
- Heroes cannot be 'killed' like in Heroes IV
- Heroes cannot fight without creatures, and vice-versa
Retaliation will act in the same way as Heroes III. This means that the simultaneous retaliation of Heroes IV is abolished. The Heroes III method involves the attacking creature making his attack, and then the defending creature retaliating after the initial attack is made. The terrain that the combat takes place on also has an impact on the outcome fo the battle. There are certain areas where some factions are better, while there are also negations to the strength of an army, too. What exactly is affected is unknown at this time. To compensate for the insufficient size of the battlefield, each hero has the opportunity to re-arrange his/her creatures on the first two rows of the battlefield before combat with the tactics skill.
- Retaliation will act as in Heroes III
- The terrain has adverse and positive effects on respective races
- The Necropolis is stronger on the 'Woodland/Swamp' terrain
- Every hero can organise their creatures anywhere along the first two rows of the battlefield before combat with the tactics skill
There are a number of additional features that make combat a different affair in Heroes V. Already mentioned is the capacity for some heroes to enter the battlefield. Another, as Senior Producer Fabrice Cambounet elaborates, is the inclusion of a 'Dynamic Combat System': "The new mode will not be real-time, but close to it. That is, the enemy will slowly gather action points, so if you do nothing they will attack you. Thus you'll have to attack fairly quickly, or be attacked yourself. This will add pressure to the player in combat, and result in faster battles. And fear not, this mode is completely optional!" Each player has around 10-15 seconds to take action. This new mode promises to suit more action-oriented players, who simply can't wait for their turn!
Combat rounds as you know them from Heroes I - IV are gone, and in their place is a new characteristic called 'initiative'. With initiative, it is possible for a high-initiative creature to attack 2 times before a low-initiative creature has had a turn. An auxiliary feature that will help the player to decide what the creature action order without clicking on every creature is the 'ATB' (Active-Time Battle) bar at the bottom of the screen. It is a dynamic bar, in which creatures move the back of the order once they've had their turn. You can see a screenshot of this feature below.
- A Dynamic Combat System will be an option, being similar to real-time
- The ATB Bar will appear at the bottom of the combat screen to determine the order of movement
Thanks to ThE_HyDrA for creating and looking after the Heroes 5 section of Age of Heroes!