Heroes of Might and Magic V (sometimes referred to as Heroes V or HoMM5) is the fifth installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic turn-based strategy video game series. It was developed by Nival Interactive, under the guidance of franchise-owner Ubisoft. It was released in Europe on May 16, 2006 and the United States and Canada on May 24, 2006.
The Academy is a town dominated by wizards and magical creatures since its debut in the second game of the series. Not much has changed besides its location, moving away from snowy mountains of the Tower City in Heroes of Might and Magic III to a vibrant desert scene closer to the original Wizard castle, now filled with Mughal dress. Most of its heroes focus on magic, and their army comprises mostly shooters and flyers. The hero for the Academy Campaign is Zehir, the son of the late Arch-mage Cyrus and the new Arch-mage.
- Units: gremlins, gargoyles, golems, mages, djinns, rakshasa and titans;
- Racial skill: Artificer;
- Hero: Wizard;
Hailing from the underground empire of Ygg-Chall, the dark elves are a group of fallen elves whose society is built around secrecy, plots, and betrayal. They were once part of the Sylvan faction, but became renegades when they made a pact with the mysterious Faceless. They mastered the ability of Irresistible Magic, which made their spells so powerful that even those who had the strongest resistance to magic have little chance to resist. The hero for the dark elf campaign is Raelag, a mysterious and ambitious warlock.
- Units: scouts, blood maidens, minotaurs, dark raiders, hydras, shadow witches and Shadow dragons;
- Racial skill: Elemental Chains;
- Hero: Warlock;
A faction populated by humans and ruled by religious warlords, the Holy Griffin Empire propagates "Law and Order" as their supreme goal. Arising from their military tradition, they have the ability to train their soldiers, promoting them from one level to another. They are the primary protagonists of the game's campaign missions. Their main Heroes are Queen Isabel, and Godric, the king's uncle and the top general for the Griffin Empire.
- Units: peasants, archers, footmen, griffins, priests, cavaliers and angels;
- Racial skill: Training;
- Hero: Knight;
A dark kingdom of demons from the underworld, the Inferno is a faction which uses "Gating (H5)", a method used to summon additional, though temporary, reinforcements onto the battlefield. Making their infernal home on blasted lava terrain. The demons are the primary antagonists in the game, led by their evil overlord, the Demon Sovereign Kha-Beleth. They are the protagonists of the second act of the campaign, where they are led by Agrael.
- Units: imps, horned demons, hell hounds, succubi, hell chargers, pit fiends and devils;
- Racial skill: Gating (H5);
- Hero: Demon Lord;
Once a secret cult flourishing within the dark underside of the Empire, the Necropolis is ruled by corrupted wizards who worship a twisted version of the Dragon of Order, seeking to find everlasting peace and beauty in death that has been denied to them in life. They can use the dark magic of Necromancy to re-animate slain enemies and fill their own ranks with shambling corpses. The Hero for the Necropolis campaign is the shrewd and cunning Markal.
Their unique atributes contain re-animating and neutral morale.
- Necropolis' units: skeletons, zombies, ghosts, vampires, liches, wights and bone dragons;
- Racial skill: Necromancy;
- Hero: Necromancer;
The old Rampart faction from HoMM III in spirit, the Sylvan faction is more distinctly Elvish this time around. Their heroes focus on archery, and so do their creatures, who can finish off their enemies without touching them. Their racial skill gives entire armies bonuses when fighting certain enemies they have slain previously. They are the counterpart to the Dungeon. The hero for the Sylvan Campaign is Findan, a diplomat.
- Units: pixies, blade dancers, hunters, druids, unicorns, treants and green dragons;
- Racial skill: Avenger;
- Hero: Ranger;
Skills and abilities
A hero can learn a new skill, upgrade an existing one, gain a new ability or create combos of multiple abilities upon gaining a new level or visiting special buildings on the adventure map. There are two sets of skills available to heroes: racial skills and regular skills. A hero can have up to five regular skills and always has the proper racial skill.
Skills are divided into four levels: Basic, Advanced, Expert, and Ultimate. Each skill is associated with three to five abilities, depending on the race of the hero. Each level of skill gives the hero a chance to learn one ability under the skill. That is, a hero with Basic level of a skill can learn one ability, Advanced level two, and Expert level three. An ability is not immediately learned when the hero increases the corresponding skill level.
The racial skill that a hero learns is dependent on their native faction. All heroes from a faction learn the same racial skill and racial abilities. Each racial skill culminates in an 'ultimate ability' that can only be gained by learning a very specific set of regular skills and abilities. In addition to the three levels of skills that apply to regular skills, the racial skill can reach an ultimate level when the Pendant of Mastery is worn by the hero.
In 969 YSD, an unexpected demon invasion interrupts the wedding of King Nicolai of the Griffin Empire and Lady Isabel, and soon the forces of the Griffin Empire are at war with the demons of Sheogh. With Nicolai at the front, Isabel is sent, along with her the abbess Beatrice, to the Summer Palace, where they are guarded by Godric, the King's uncle. Isabel persuades Godric to let her take part in the war rather than wait. Godric is to go to the Silver Cities to seek help from Archmage Cyrus, while Beatrice will go to Irollan to get help from Elven King Alaron. Eventually, Isabel raises an army, but when Beatrice returns to lead her to meet the Elven reinforcements, Beatrice reveals that she is Biara: a succubus and assistant to a demon lord, Agrael. (In fact, Biara had the original Beatrice killed and took her guise as soon as she learned that Nicolai had sent Isabel to the summer palace.) She obviously hasn't visited King Alaron at all, and the meeting was a trap by Agrael, who captures Isabel. Isabel escapes Agrael with Godric's help (Godric failed to enlist aid from Cyrus, but returns himself), but they are too late to prevent Agrael from killing Nicolai, who, with his dying breath, proclaims Isabel to be Queen in his stead.
Although Nicolai is dead, Agrael has failed in his mission of capturing Isabel, and attempts to flee the wrath of Kha-Beleth, the Demon Sovereign. Intending to overthrow Kha-Beleth, he decides to capture the Heart of the Griffin, which Nicolai had used in their battle. When he reaches the mausoleum, he is met by a mysterious Elven apparition, Tieru, who reveals that the Demon Sovereign is attempting to summon an apocalyptic Demon Messiah. He instructs Agrael to meet him in the Dragonmist Islands, which can only be reached through the Elven land of Irollan. After a long march and battles with the Elves, Agrael meets Tieru, who tells him about the War of the Eclipse, where Kha-Beleth was banished, as well as the Demon Messiah's links to Isabel. Agrael admits that he questioned Kha-Beleth's plans because he has fallen for Isabel, and Tieru tells him that he must be purified of demonic corruption with the Rite of True Nature. Agrael agrees, and during the ritual, Biara attempts to steal the Heart, only to be sent back to Sheogh.
Meanwhile, in the Griffin Empire, Isabel's position as Queen is challenged by Archbishop Randall and other local lords, who begin a civil war. A mysterious necromancer, Markal, assists Isabel in her fight against the rebels. Markal reveals himself to be the former advisor to Nicolai's mother, Queen Fiona, and offers to help Isabel revive her dead husband with the Vampire's Garment. Although Isabel trusts him and helps him to gather its pieces, Godric is less gullible, warning Isabel that Markal had been banished years ago for his necromancy and treachery. Isabel ignores him, and as she and Markal gather the artifacts, she destroys former alliances with the Elves and the Wizards, whose leader, Cyrus, is killed by Markal for one of the artifacts. When Godric can take it no more, he keeps the last artifact and barricades himself in the Wizard city of Hikm. Markal retaliates by kidnapping his daughter as blackmail, and later defeats Godric, who is imprisoned. Isabel and Markal then begin their march to the Hall of Heroes.
In the Dark Elven nation of Ygg-Chall, Clan Shadowbrand is holding a tournament to choose their new leader. An unknown warlock, Raelag (alias of Agrael, now free of demonic possession), participates and wins, becoming the Clanlord, and now seeks to unite the clans into a single state. With the help of another warlock, Shadya, he assimilates the other clans, except Clan Soulscar, who is discovered to be in alliance with the demons. Raelag then discovers that the Demon Sovereign has sent a demon lord, Veyer, to capture Queen Isabel. Arriving at the outskirts of Sheogh, Raelag routs Veyer and asks Isabel to follow him to Tieru, where she can be purged of the Sovereign's influence. Markal, however, convinces her otherwise and they continue on to the Hall of Heroes.
When Nicolai is resurrected, Isabel realises to her horror that the spell has damned his soul, leaving him a vampire. Stunned by this revelation, she breaks down and Markal seizes the chance to declare himself ruler of the Griffin Empire.
When the Elven king, Alaron, takes in Griffin refugees, Markal's forces begin to raid Irollan, and the diplomat Findan is sent to stop the raids. He is later tasked to find the Emerald Dragons to turn the tide on the Undead, but returns to find Syris Thalla, the capital, besieged. Alaron dies in the siege, but tells Findan to seek Tieru. After defending the capital, Findan travels to the Dragonmist Islands, but is too late to stop Biara from killing Tieru, although the latter's spirit tells Findan about the Kha-Beleth's plan; the Demon Sovereign has placed a mark on Isabel so that she will bear the Demon Messiah. He also instructs Findan to get a scroll back from Biara, which, if used by a powerful mage, will be able to stop Kha-Beleth. The only such mage would be Zehir, the son of Cyrus.
After pursuing Biara and getting the scroll back, Findan returns to Irollan, where the Elves are now on the verge of victory, but now face a terrible foe in Nicolai, who is now a Vampire Lord. With the help of Phoenixes or by destroying all the Spectral Dragons, Findan 'brings the dawn', and puts Nicolai to rest. He then sets off to find Zehir.
With the Silver Cities shattered by Markal's invasion, the new Archmage Zehir seeks to liberate the Wizard nation from the grip of the necromancers and avenge his father, Cyrus. Swiftly, he rallies his troops and retakes the Silver Cities, before forging an alliance with Findan and Godric. The trio manage to defeat Markal, and burn his body to ensure he cannot return as a lich. Determined to rid Isabel of demonic influence, they ally themselves with Raelag and Shadya and successfully get to Isabel, preparing to do the Rite of True Nature.
However, Shadya then reveals herself to be Biara in disguise, and seizes Isabel before fleeing to Sheogh, where the Demon Sovereign waits. The heroes travel there as well, and in an epic battle, they defeat the Demon Sovereign, who escapes with Biara. With Isabel free, they then return to their respective countries.
As Godric and Isabel survey the damage in their homeland, Isabel's eyes light red, implying that she is but a decoy, while the real Isabel is still missing.
In August 2003, Ubisoft acquired the rights to the Might and Magic franchise for USD$1.3 million after 3DO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ubisoft announced their plan on developing the fifth game in the series under the direction of producer Fabrice Cambounet. This news bred controversy as New World Computing under 3DO had already started making the fifth Heroes game. Although, along with the Might and Magic brand, Ubisoft gained access to NWC's developments on Heroes V (which envisioned it as an isometric 2D game on the Heroes IV engine), it was decided to throw them away and create a completely 3D game.
- October 2003: Development began (approximately)
- March 30, 2005: Ubisoft officially announced that the game was being developed.
- A closed beta began in late 2005; it was announced that the game would be released after March 2006.
- On January 10, 2006, Freeverse announced that the Mac port had been arranged. This version has first been presented at MacWorld 2007
- An open beta began on January 23, 2006 for wikipedia:GameSpy subscribers, with non-subscribers able to join on January 26.
- On April 5, 2006, Ubisoft debuted a free minigame related to the game.
- On April 9, 2006, Ubisoft announced the release of a Heroes V Demo sometime in that week.
- On April 12, 2006: Ubisoft decided to remove controversial wikipedia:StarForce CD wikipedia:copy protection from Heroes V. The company stated they will use another form of CD copy protection instead. The game shipped with wikipedia:SecuROM, while the Russian version shipped with no copy protection whatsoever.
- On April 13, 2006, Ubisoft released a Heroes V Demo.
- On April 20, 2006, Ubisoft announced that Heroes V had gone gold.
- On May 19, the game was released in the UK and Russia.
- On May 23, the game was released in the US and Canada. (on limited edition DVD-ROM and on 4 CD-ROMs). The limited edition DVD-ROM contains material not included in the CD-ROM release including the complete game soundtrack on audio CD. The Limited Edition also includes HoMM III and IV remastered to work on computers running Windows XP
- On June 5, the Limited Collectors Edition of the game was released in Poland.
- On June 6, the first patch was released, updating the game to version 1.1.
- On July 20, the second patch was released, updating the game to version 1.2, and adding many new features, but still lacking the much sought-after map editor. A lot of bugs were fixed in this version including a bug that would crash the game after playing it for 2 or more hours. Multiplayer was fixed up and some grammar errors were corrected although some still remain. A 'Hall Of Fame' was also added as a high score table for single player campaigns and skirmishes.
- On September 13, the third patch was released, it contains the map editor and various other features and fixed many bugs, however it also brought back a few bugs, such as the initiative bar being out of sync.
- On November 11, the fourth patch was released.
To market Heroes V, Ubisoft has also created Heroes Mini , a web-based game using the Heroes V units.
- On March 1, 2007, Freeverse released Heroes V for the Mac.
- On May 3, 2007, the fifth patch was released.
- On October 25, 2007, the sixth patch was released, containing no copy protection or CD/DVD checks.
- Main article: Hammers of Fate
The first Heroes V expansion pack, called Hammers of Fate, was released on November 17, 2006 in Europe and November 24, 2006 in North America. It includes a new race, the Dwarves, who have exclusive access to a new kind of magic, known as Rune Magic. Other features include the much-awaited random map generator and the return of the Heroes IV caravans. This expansion pack requires the full version of Heroes of Might and Magic V to play.
- Main article: Tribes of the East
The stand-alone second expansion pack is called HOMMV: The Tribes of the East and was released on October 12, 2007 in Europe and on October 19, 2007 in North America. Tribes of the East includes the new Stronghold faction, alternate upgrades for all units currently in the game (bringing the total number of creatures to over 180), as well as new artifacts and spells.
- Official Heroes of Might and Magic V website
- Heroes of Might and Magic V website
- Official Teaser Site
- Official Forums
- Nival Interactive