September 18, 2012
The triumphant return of "A Brief Jaunt Through"! This time, we're looking at
New World Computing's Might and Magic VII. VII, as aficionados know, is debatably the best Might and Magic game, though there's considerable opposition from mainstay fans who claim VI is the series' peak. It's a hard call to make, given VI's enormous size and VII's graphical improvements, but I'll have to give it to VI because it has more moogles. No wait, what am I even talking about?
Short version: Might and Magic VII is a PCRPG. That's why all the following pictures have swords and shit. Please enjoy this brief LP/intro/tutorial?, and don't forget that this game is available on
GOG.com if y'all want to play it for yourselves. Part 1: Nothing's More Serious Than A Scavenger Hunt Welcome to Might and Magic VII! Nothing like some bitchin' Boris Vallejo artwork to make you feel at home at quasi-medieval fantasy land. Like a certain Asian superpower, that shirtless dude clearly don't care. Okay, there's way too much to talk about here on the character creation screen. I'll prioritize the most important points: Since this is an evil party, I named them all after the rivalvideogamewebsite team (all anagrams of the Bomb Crew, naturally). Classes-wise, I'm going with a normal enough offensive spread here. Archers tend to double as fairly decent mages, and Knights and Monks are the best at dealing out damage. Check out this state-of-the-art 1999 CGI! Sounds excusable, but keep in mind the Phantom Menace came out that year. Saruman here tells us that we've joined a big scavenger hunt, with the grand prize being our own castle and lands in Harmondale. Harmondale, of course, was the original name of the college in Community. And here we are on Emerald Isle, where the scavenger hunt takes place. Looks pleasant enough. Wait, who's this lady? Ah, she's here to officiate and introduce us to the island. That's docent of her! Since we know what we're looking for, our Quest Log usefully updates itself. Pretty straightforward stuff, but then we are on Tutorial Island. I mean, Emerald Isle. In an odd quirk of the game, all characters begin without wearing any of their equipment. Rather, the game provides armor and weapons based on the skillsets of the individual characters. For instance, our monk here began with Staff expertise, so he gets a free stick. Good for him. The NPCs that mill around town are usually fairly useless, but you'll get the odd hireling here and there. Like the exotically-named Gary the Healer here. Since we have a cleric, I'd rather not spend that kind of cash on a one-off daily heal spell. This lady's not.. Holy shit, 500 GP for a lute? Too bad it's a quest item. I'll come back later. Get the hell away from me. No amount of winning lottery tickets is worth contracting leprosy, Scaly. No shortage of NPCs to fleece us on quest items. But hey, it's not like we'll come across a seashell in a randomized chest any time soon. This is more like it! This hireling will, for 5% of the party treasure, get the party 10% more treasure. So, free money. Basically. Since the "ID Item" skill is a drag to level-up, we can now have our items identified (and a sizeable bonus to XP) for 5% of our treasure. Except we already had 5% more thanks to that other guy. So we just have free item identification forever. Cool. After talking to these helpful NPCs, I visited some of the stores around here. The Blacksmith is where you buy weapons and learn weapon skills. No armor, though. What does he look like, an armorer? This guy looks like an armorer. He also looks bummed about being an armorer. He probably wishes he was a blacksmith? These are the inns. You can pick up thief skills here (like Disarm, Stealing and Perception - the last of which makes it easier to see secret walls and traps), heal by staying the night and refill the party's supply of apples. Food in this game isn't really a big deal - you just stop recovering health when camping in the wild if you don't come back to Inns occasionally to restock food supplies. A neat enough compromise between realism and convenience. Completing the trilogy of stores, the magic shop is where you buy rings and gauntlets, as well as the occasional spellbook and one-use scrolls. For specific spells, you're better off checking the various magic guilds. You can't tell, but there's like a bazillion flying whatsits in that swamp. The hand icon indicates that the game has entered turn-based mode, which makes larger battles (and those against difficult opponents) easier to manage. You can also play the game as a real-time action RPG if you want. That's if you consider clicking on enemies to attack them "action", anyway. Works for Diablo, I guess. The dragonflies are a little easier to see in this picture. For one thing, they aren't moving nearly as much. Yahtzee! As with something like Elder Scrolls, every crate and chest in the game holds (mostly) randomized treasure that refills after a few in-game weeks. FUCK! Ah, here we are. Attentive players will remember that we needed a red potion for the hunt. Alchemy's a fairly simple process in this game, so it shouldn't be a problem drumming one of those up with the materials here. It's actually as simple as holding a reagent (I used some red grapes) and right-clicking a flask. The three basic colors of Red (health), Blue (mana) and Yellow (cures weakness, a very basic status effect) can be made by anyone without a basic level of Alchemy skill. With higher skill levels, you can start mixing the colors together and getting all sorts of fun stuff, even permanent stat boosts. So we'll end this Brief Jaunt outside this ominous cave called "The Dragon Cave". It's probably safe. I mean, it's just a name, right?
Stay tuned for Part 2: "It really was just a name: It's actually more of a grotto." Thanks for reading!