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Might & Magic is a Science Fantasy cycle of first person party-based PC RPGs, later spawning some spinoffs such as the Heroes of Might and Magic Turn-Based Strategy games.

Jon Van Caneghem created the first game in 1987, and it became the first series to seriously compete with the Wizardry and Ultima franchises amongst role-players. The first five games were introduced under his New World Computing company, before they were bought out by 3DO and Executive Meddling began.

The games' definitive trait has always been Science Fiction elements beneath the surface of an otherwise Standard Fantasy Setting game. Usually, the climax reveals that ancient Precursors are responsible for lots of what is going on in the world, and the Big Bad is a robot or an alien. Indeed, as it overlaps with HOMM universe, it turns out that Devils from HOMM3 are actually aliens. How Unscientific.

The first game of the series had a rather non-linear plot for its time (though it lacked most elements of the modern Wide Open Sandbox). Its maps were flat areas made of discrete tiles, and all movement happened in the four cardinal directions, one ten-foot "step" at a time. The engine used sprites to simulate a 3D view, and combat was turn based.

In the first two games, the action was set on flat, square worlds orbiting in space. The third moved the action to a "round" (actually toroidal) planet. M&M 4 and 5 were set on XEEN, another flat platform, with a twist: the world of M&M 5 was Darkside of XEEN, literally the flip side of the world from number four. All these games have the player pitted against Sheltem, a Planetary Guardian constructed by the Ancients, who went rogue and decided to protect his homeworld by blowing up all other worlds. Sheltem is finally defeated in M&M 5, bringing an end to the whole plot arc.

M&M 6 rebooted the series, leaving only minor connections to the previous games. It switched to a different kind of graphics: instead of flat tiles it became a true 3D world, with 2D sprites for characters and monsters, and the option of real-time combat. (Think Doom, but with large outdoor areas.) The setting moved to the world Enroth, where HOMM2 had taken place, joining the continuity more tightly with that of Heroes of Might and Magic.

The plot of this one concerned an invasion of the world by Devils. Said Devils turn out to be alien enemies of the Ancients, and defeating them involved unearthing some of the Ancients' Lost Technology. Along the way this plot traded points back and forth with the HOMM games. For instance, Archibald Ironfist, evil mage defeated in canonical ending to HOMM2, was freed in Might and Magic 6, returned in Might And Magic 7 and helped free a character who then showed up in an addon to HOMM3.

Might and Magic 7 was effectively more of the same and was tied very closely to Heroes III. So did Might and Magic 8. But you could have dragons in the party in 8, so this makes it cool.

Might and Magic IX almost happened, but what we got instead was such that many fans wish they hadn't even bothered. The same goes for a number of failed spinoffs, such as the action-RPG Crusaders, the Kings Bounty remake Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff, and the Counter-Strike clone Legends.

Heroes of Might and Magic V represented a complete reboot of the series after Ubisoft bought the rights from the bankrupt 3DO, with a new developer (Nival Interactive), and taking place in a new, purely fantasy-based universe with no ties to previous games. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a first-person hack & slash action game that takes place in the same world as HOMM5.

Heroes of Might and Magic V was eventually followed by Clash of Heroes and Might & Magic Heroes VI, but there have yet to be any RPG Might and Magic games in the new continuity in the style of Might and Magic I-IX.


This video game series contains examples of the following:

  • Affably Evil: Archibald in Might and Magic VII.
    • It probably helps that he does something approximating a Heel Face Turn: personally helping free his brother from the Kreegans and bringing him back to his wife, despite the fact that Archibald knows full well that Catherine Ironfist wants him dead[1], and that the last interaction the two brothers had was Roland sentencing Archibald to be transformed to stone for some future generation to take mercy on. He ends up promising to stay peaceably on his little island off the coast of AvLee, and apparently kept that promise, as that is the last we heard of him.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: 6 in the original DOS-era games (I to V), 4 in VI to IX. In VIII There can be anywhere between 1 and 5.
    • VI, VII and IX all provide reasons for why those four characters stick together: in VI and IX, they are childhood friends that grow up in the same village, while in VII the driving force of the plot for a good chunk of the game is a shared noble title the four got in the prologue. VI and VII fail to explain why you can only hire two Hirelings, however.
  • The Archmage: Kalohn in II. Also a Sorcerous Overlord.
  • A Winner Is You: II pointlessly gives you 2 million experience for finishing the game. Thankfully, most of the others had satisfying conclusions.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The third game mildly involved this. The plot involved the Big Bad disrupting the balance between Good and Evil. However, the alignment of your party members was not really all that relevant. At one point you have to choose between an evil king, good king, and neutral king, and the choice turns all your party members into that alignment. This, again, has no effect on gameplay.
  • Bag of Spilling: the end of the first game is the titular Gate To Another World that brings you to the second (and you can import your save in the second game). But, doing so resets your level to 7 and wipes all your equipment.
  • Big Bad: Sheltem in games I, II, and V, Xeen in IV, and the Kreegan in games VI to VII as well as Heroes of Might & Magic III. The third game doesn't really have a big bad; while the villain is still nominally Sheltem, he doesn't really make an appearance at any point other than the opening movie.
    • The Kreegan are borderline in VII: we are told they are a threat, and the chronologically next game[2] backs that up, but in the game itself they don't actually do much of anything. Kastore and his faction of Terrans, on the other hand, take an active hand in ordering minions to do Bad Deeds, especially if the Lords of Harmondale are their minions.
  • Bonus Boss: In the fifth game, the Big Bad's castle has an unlocked back door that you can reach at a very low level. It's guarded by the MegaDragon, who has sixteen times as many hit points as the strongest non-bonus boss, and an attack that will instantly kill characters and eradicate their bodies.
    • Also in V, if you make too many puzzle mistakes in the Temple Of Bark, Barkman will be released to kill you. He has nearly as many hit points as the MegaDragon-- though he turns out to be much easier at high level (or at a lower level if you know the trick), because he lacks that instant-death attack or any ranged attack at all; this can be taken advantage of.
    • Might and Magic VI has an area called the Temple of Snakes, which contains some medium-level enemies and a lone Gold Dragon. But if you know about the secret panel or are unlucky enough to accidentally hit it, you find a small alcove with a few treasure chests and a fat peasant named Q. He has approximately 8 times the HP of the next toughest monster in the game, and continuously casts Finger of Death against you, eradicating a character when it hits.
      • Buff up beforehand, and hope he doesn't hit your cleric with it. Besides his Finger of Death, which has a low hit rate, he doesn't do anything noteworthy. He just has a crapton of HP, so it will take some time to get him down. But he is not remotely difficult, especially when compared to the MegaDragon of MM V.
    • Theoretically, the MegaDragon from MM 2 counts if you choose to fight him yourself.
  • Bow and Sword In Accord: Just one possible combination. Everyone can learn to use the bow in addition to their primary weapon (with other weapons being very class specific, the primary weapon is often something other than a sword).
  • Came Back Wrong: a word of advice: asking a necromancer (from the "evil" temples in VII) to revive your dead teammates is a bad idea.
  • Dark Horse Victory: The main characters' efforts to restore Harmondale in VII leads to Erathia and Tularea going to war over the area again. The war has three possible victors: 'Humans' (that is, Erathia[3]), 'Elves' (Tularea) and Harmondale. Turn the Gryphonheart Trumpet over to the Arbiter and the area ends up as an independent kingdom.
  • Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good: Some of the spellcaster hirelings in Might and Magic VI talk about Light and Dark magic, and they point out that despite the stereotype that light is good and dark is evil, magic is only as good or evil as the use to which it is put. Also, see Grey and Grey Morality below.
    • Perhaps as a nod to this, the editorializing of the narrator/historian in VII tends to skew opposite of what one might expect depending on which side the party aligns itself with. For the path of light, the historian is very skeptical of the motives of the party's new allies and questions your every move; align with the path of dark, however, and this tone changes to disturbingly bright optimism and blind, almost oblivious acceptance.
  • Day Old Legend: Several of the games feature ores of various quality which can be found and brought to craftsmen to make equipment. It's possible to craft items in this way that are not only allegedly ancient, but even unique and legendary. The sixth game also contains the "antique" modifier which multiplies an item's value by ten, and it's possible to enchant your own items into being antiques.
  • Deader Than Dead: it's possible to not only be killed in battle, but to have your body completely destroyed (eradicated). Getting this problem taken care of is a bit more difficult, to say the least.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Archibald is deposed as king of Deyja in Might and Magic VII, he is quite friendly to your party even though your quests led to his defeat (whether you're working for his Worthy Opponent Resurrectra or his Dragon with an Agenda Kastore.)
    • It probably helps that your involvement wasn't that central - the tensions between Kastore and Archibald was there before you showed up - especially not in the Light path, and that if one did the Dark path, one also helped arrange Archibald's back-up plan in case he was deposed. Unwittingly.
  • Demonic Spiders: Shows up in nearly every game. There are enemies that age your characters (nigh-impossible to reverse), enemies that drain your MP to empty in one hit, and enemies that flat kill you (or worse) in one shot.
    • Instant death effects should not be a problem once you level your healer, in VII and VIII at least, to cast master Protection from Magic. Just keep an eye on the spell icon in case it ends prematurely. Mana drain effects, however, can very swiftly neutralize your ability to heal your party, turning moderately threatening enemies into this.
  • Disc One Nuke: An exploit from World of Xeen: start game, go to the Darkside right out the gate, make a new party. They'll start at Level 5. Take this party back to the Cloudside and start emptying the world into your loot sack.
  • The Dragon: Lord Xeen in IV, who serves Sheltem of V. Xeen himself also has a Dragon (both literally and figuratively) in the form of his pet.
  • Dronejam: averted in the 3D games by providing a button for yelling at NPCs to get out of your way.
    • Somewhat averted, anyways. This feature didn't work very well (although it was occasionally useful in getting NPCs to move to a secluded area where you could murder them without anybody else noticing).
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: played pretty much straight in all of the games. Particularly bad in VII, as your party actually rules the town where your own subjects treat you like dirt. The latter is somewhat justified by the town's complete lack of faith in your ability to rule being a central plot point, but their attitude doesn't improve as much as one might expect after you have clearly asserted your authority. Their dialogue does change after you've cleared out and renovated Castle Harmondale, but you can't put the last of their doubts to rest until you choose a new arbiter and end the war.
  • Dummied Out: VII has quite a bit of it. There are unused NPC portraits and voices found in the data files, there are three Manticore type monsters that were fully coded but who don't have sprites. There's a door in the Temple of Light blocked off by a fallen pillar.
    • Thanks to the programmers failing to completely dummy out the Manticores, their presence in the files but lack of sprites can cause a bug: they can spawn in the Arena, but due to being spriteless they are invisible, hit-detection is iffy and the game crashes if you right-click on them.
  • Dump Stat: Intelligence has no effect on classes lacking elemental spellcasting abilities, while personality is useless for classes that can't cast self magic. Very few classes (Druids and Rangers) make actual use of both.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: generally encountered whenever the series needs a reboot (see Armageddon's Blade, the titular artifact of a Heroes 3 expansion of the same name).
    • For a milder version, refer to the dark magic spell, "Armageddon".
    • Occurs as a bad ending for VI, if you didn't free Archibald to get a protective spell.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The final dungeon in several of the games is one of these, being the sci-fi corridors beneath the fantasy world.
  • Empty Room Psych: IX was loaded with these, due to the game being largely unfinished at the time of release.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Archibald may be a tyrant, a usurper, and a bad brother, but he does not like what the Kreegans do to Roland. It probably helps that his own position as king of Deyja was usurped by Kastore by the time you get around to rescuing Roland.
  • Fake King: Alamar is Sheltem. He does it again in V, but it's a bit of a subversion as "King Alamar" is obviously the Big Bad from the get-go.
  • Floating Continent: The titular Clouds of Xeen in IV, which orbited over each tower, and the Skyroads in V. The latter almost qualify as a World in the Sky, as the Skyroad level is as big as the world map itself.
  • Genre Busting
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The Necromancer-Church of the Sun War in VIII is surprisingly nuanced, given how Necromancers and Light-aligned Clerics are presented in the other games; the Necromancers' Guild of Jadame is fairly live-and-let-live, or at least not out to conquer the continent anymore, and the Church's Jadamean branch has some pretty strongly implied tendencies towards Corrupt Church.
    • It's not only implied, it's explicitly mentioned by Dyson Leyland (a plot-critical hireling). Then again, he hates both sides, so probably doesn't care who you end up with.
  • Grid Inventory: VI, VII, and VIII had this.
  • Guide Dang It: The identity of the "missing brother" in Might & Magic III could be one of these, or else an example of Viewers Are Geniuses. (Hint: The other brothers are named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Zeta.) (Answer: Epsilon.)
    • The location of the replacement arbiters in VII. They make it perfectly clear in the game itself that Judge Fairweather is in Bracada and Judge Sleen is in Deyja, but not where in Bracada and Deyja.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: II. The manual leads you to believe that Gralkor will be the Big Bad. Actually, saving King Kalohn from the Mega Dragon is the penultimate quest. The actual final enemy is Sheltem, who resides deep within Square Lake Cavern and will be a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere if you haven't played the first game.
  • Hive Queen: The Kreegan Queen, the final boss of Might & Magic VI.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • It is entirely possible to do this to yourself by using the artifact Splitter in VII. Artifacts and Relics are supposed to differ by Relics having drawbacks, which is technically true... but Explosive Impact doesn't count as a drawback, despite the fact that Splitter is a melee weapon, and there is no way to completely protect yourself from Fire damage.
    • The Regnans in VIII first are infiltrated by the heroes by means of a Regnan submarine the party hijacked while on a supply run. Then the party uses a Regnan prototype super-cannon to sink a good chunk of the Regnan fleet.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In V, trying to face Sheltem in combat gets you automatically pwned. The only way to win is to recruit a more powerful ally and watch an awesome cutscene battle. The MegaDragon from II is also supposed to be a hopeless fight, though it can be defeated by insanely over-leveled characters using powerful spells.
  • Hour of Power: Trope Namer.
  • Hundred-Percent Heroism Rating
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Most of the Shout Outs are these.
    • Hell, M&M6 also reversed the names of the Enterprise crew to use as passwords.
  • In Name Only: Heroes of Might & Magic V and Dark Messiah of Might & Magic are a complete reboot of the series, taking place in an entirely different universe, with none of the Science Fantasy plot elements of the original series.
    • Pretty much every M&M title released following the fall of 3DO has tended towards this, actually. Don't even get me started on the recent DS title.
  • In Spite of a Nail: For obvious gameplay reasons, the world of Might & Magic II is not dramatically changed if you alter the world in the past and save King Kalohn from the Mega Dragon. The only difference is that he, not his daughter, rules in Luxus Palace Royale.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Monsters and townspeople simply ignored each other in Might & Magic VI. This was corrected in all later games, where the two would fight if they crossed paths.
    • Of course, this caused other issues. Namely that great fun could be had in VII by luring monsters back to town for the sole purpose of watching them slaughter the inhabitants.
      • Not the sole purpose. If they killed the man trying to give you a fireball wand for a future favour, you could take the wand for free. Also, civilians have gold.
      • Most of the time. Some civilians in Might and Magic 8 don't have gold. Although they tend to look quite ragged, so...
  • Justified Tutorial: the scavenger hunt in VII served as both a tutorial of sorts, as well as an introductory stage to set up the plot for the remainder of the game.
  • Larynx Dissonance: mostly unintentional, due to many NPCs often being assigned the (ambiguously) incorrect gender. Don't even get me started on that... thing who runs the Mind Guild in VII. When talking to peasants and other NPCs, a voice will say "Hello" or an equivalent greeting, and if you don't know that it's the voice of your currently active character (not the voice of the NPC he/she's talking to), it can seem like this as well.
  • Let's Play: A rather well-done version of the first two games by Thuryl can be found on the Let's Play Archive. Thuryl mercilessly points out how obscenely broken the second game can be if you do things right.
  • Lost Colony: The apparent fantasy world setting of each game is typically revealed to really be one of these towards the end.
  • Lost Forever: Up to V, if you open a chest with a full inventory, items are reported to be picked up but are actually lost forever. Even if it's a weapon required to complete the game.
    • It's still there you just have to empty the chest and open it again. Out of nowhere the missing items will appear
  • Made of Explodium: Gogs. Also, less notably, golems and light elementals, and Boulders, as well as arrows when fired from bows with the "of Carnage" enchantment.
  • Meaningful Name: In VI you can find Artifacts and Relics at random from high level monsters. Artifacts are special, very strong items named after characters from the King Arthur saga (like Lancelot, Galahad, Parcival etc.), while Relics were even more powerful but almost always had an additional drawback. Relics are named after characters from the greek mythology (like Ares, Hermes, Minerva) etc. The properties of the relics were related to those of their patrons, like the Ares mace having additional fire damage, or the Hermes boots increasing your speed.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The Ancients seem to have vanished from the face of the galaxy, leaving the inhabitants of their various artificial worlds to deal with the likes of Sheltem and the Kreegan.
    • In their defence, they did send Corak (a Corak, anyhow) after Sheltem... though they apparently didn't bother to check-up after he failed to return with Sheltem on schedule. And as VIII makes clear, they are fighting the Kreegan... they just don't have the resources to save their lost colonies and experiments from the Kreegan most of the time ( or, for that matter, to destroy most infested colonies), what with the ongoing galaxy-scale war.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Lord Xeen in IV can only be killed by the XEENSlayer sword. In Swords of Xeen, the final dungeon enemies require one of six specific items to defeat.
  • Nintendo Hard: The earlier games in the series embody this, due to the general high difficulty of RPGs of that era (when finishing a game was considered a major achievement, not a given). IV averts this, mostly because it's essentially the first third of a whole game.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In Might and Magic VIII, the Plane of Air at night is just a black, empty void.
  • Not Quite Flight: Levitation in III to V. You can float over pit traps and hover over clouds, but you're not flying, and in IV, V snd VII, you can't levitate in the sky without a cloud to hold you up (requiring you to use other methods to reach certain Floating Continents).
  • Obvious Beta: Might and Magic IX was cited by the developers themselves as being "pre-alpha at best".
  • Old Master: In the first game (if not the entire series) a character grows a year older for every level of experience they train up to, so a player's entire party could be pushing 60 or 70 by the end of the game. This carries its own risk, however: once a character hits a certain age, they'll die in their sleep every time you visit an inn.
    • There are fountains of youth to fix this, of course. There are also curses of aging, too, so watch out.
  • Old Save Bonus: Might and Magic II allowed you to import characters you used in the first game. The feature was dropped in subsequent installments though. Might and Magic V however introduced another feature: If you had both Might and Magic IV and V installed, you could combine them into one massive game called World of Xeen which allowed you to travel between the two sides of the titular world featured in each of the stand-alone games, as well as introducing some new content and an exclusive new ending.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Sheltem's main M.O. involves crashing planets into their suns.
    • In V he wants to move the world of Xeen like a vehicle, so he can return to Terra. The fact that everyone on the planet will freeze to death in deep space is a nice little bonus.
  • Palette Swap: In M&M7 they didn't even swap palattes, they just re-tinted the already animated sprites. A fan made patch later corrected this.
  • Precursor Heroes: In M&M7 you learn the mysterious Visitors from the Stars that most of the plot centers around are in fact the heroes from the first three games, who never managed to catch up with Sheltem and ended up crash landing on Enroth instead. The party ended up splitting up between the Good and Evil members, with the Good members wanting to build a Stargate to find the Ancients, and the Evil members wanting to use Ancient weapons tech to carve out a galactic empire.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Somewhat lampshaded in-game, as the item descriptions for a lot of the uglier equipment often tends to describe how awful it looks.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Kalohn in II is over 300 years old as of the battle with the Mega Dragon, and is alive 100 years after that if he wins the fight.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Notably played straight in VII, where your party inherits the kingdom of Harmondale after the first quest.
    • In addition to the campaign of Heroes II, where you take control of either Archibald or Roland in the final scenario.
  • Save Scumming: The games make it very easy, for the most part. Land a good hit, save, opponent misses, save, something bad happens reload, and with patience you can beat things you have no business trying to fight. There are a few exceptions, though - for example, saving in the Arena in M&M7 actually saves you to outside the Harmondale stables on Monday, so you have to win on one try.
    • This was particularly abuseable when it came to looting, as there is a bug in VI thru VIII that will occasionally cause a just-looted corpse to remain in the game where you can loot it again with exactly the same loot tables. By repeatedly saving and loading any time this bug doesn't cause the corpse to remain, you can outfit your party several times over (with Artifacts and Relics, too, if you're looting a strong enough enemy) and get a ton of gold as a bonus (especially if combined with periodic trips to town and back to the corpse when your inventory fills). Of course, this is really only worth doing on enemies that drop good loot in the first place, like the dragon on the starting island in VII that you can beat by running around it in circles so that its fire breath never hits you...
  • Saving the World: Your goal in most games. Averted in VII, where the world is in no imminent danger, and the "evil" ending actually allows you to Take Over the World.
  • Science Fantasy: M&M games commonly start out as apparently pure fantasy world, but towards the end it is revealed the world is actually a Lost Colony, and Lost Technology is brought into the plot. Later games would introduce the Science Fiction elements earlier; Might & Magic VI and VII, for example, allowed you to mow down Liches with your blaster pistols.
    • Or be a lich. With a laser pistol.
  • Schizo-Tech
  • Script Breaking: a particularly glaring example is often encountered in VII, due to a rather poorly thought-out triggered event. When you first travel to the Land of the Giants, a dehthroned Archibald Ironfist telepathically contacts you and begs for your help. The problem is that you will very likely trigger this event long before Kastore overthrows Archibald Ironfist. The game will continue normally and the latter event will not come to pass until properly triggered by the storyline, rendering the former event somewhat nonsensical and contradictive.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Corak, the Planetary Guardian created by the Ancients for the purpose of stopping their previous, rather defective Planetary Guardian, Sheltem. Promptly ends up stuffed inside a small box by Sheltem, with the player's main goal to unseal him in games II and V.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Might and Magic VI and VII, as well as Heroes of Might and Magic III deal with an alien invasion. It turns out that the ancients who originally colonised the world also made a robot who would go to worlds attacked by the aliens and eliminate the threat at any cost. In VIII, he has arrived and his programming kicked in and started the self-destruct mechanism of the entire world, even though you already defeated the aliens.
    • The endgame of V: Corak initiates his own self-destruct to (finally) take down Sheltem. It works.
    • A minor one in VI; if you aren't paying attention and forget to pick up a vital scroll before going to the demon hive to destroy it, the resulting explosion destroys the planet in a rather well-done cinematic.
    • In the spinoff Swords Of Xeen, you need to use the mechanism to destroy the alien spaceship. One spell lets you teleport outside, since the timer is linked only to attempts on exiting the spacecraft.
  • Shout-Out: Oh so deliciously many. For instance, in VI the passwords of the spaceship are 'krik', 'kcops', and 'yttocs', and from the found journals you can deduct that the ship could have been...
    • After you complete the Black Knight promotion quest in Might and Magic VII, if you go back to visit the guy who gave you the quest, he'll say "None shall pass!"
    • The grandmaster of Unarmed fighting in VII is (Chuck) Norris. You can achieve grandmastery if Body Building from a troll named Evander Holifield. The grandmaster of Mind Magic is (Professor) Xavier. Mastery of the Disarm Trap skill can be learned from a crazed redneck named Leonard Skinner. Several NPCs are named after posters on the 3DO forums. The list goes on.
      • Also, the person who trains to become a Villain is called William (Bill) Setag (read it backwards)
    • From the intro video to IV: "When times were good and there was much rejoicing..." "Yay..."
    • Might and Magic II's game world is basically a collection of shout-outs, from the many-colored Bishops of Battle to a familiar starship captain running a transport service. Basically any time there's text in the game, its a reference to something.
  • Soul Jar: In Might and Magic VII and VIII, this is how necromancers transform themselves into liches.
  • Star Power: The Starburst spell.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Ancients, who create all sorts of planets and bring inhabitants to them for fun.
  • Super Drowning Skills: in most of the 3-D games, water acts as little more than a flat surface that drains your life when you stand on it without the aid of a Water Walk spell or potion. This is particularly jarring, as it is entirely possible to walk on water without the aforementioned spell - your only penalty is listening to your characters yell "ow! that hurts!" repeatedly while the water slowly eats away at their health.
    • IX was the first (and only, unless you count that one stage from VII) in the series to give characters the ability to actually swim (i.e., to go down beneath the surface of the water instead of treating it like solid ground). Due to other issues, however, this ability was completely worthless for a lack of any reason whatsoever to go swimming.
  • Take Your Time: Double Subverted in II. The game warns you that the world will end in the year 1000 (you start in the year 900), and your characters can age, but rejuvenating your characters at least is trivial. Oh, and if you play through 100 years...nothing happens.
  • Theme Naming: Every game starting with III has a temple with some animal-related name: Temple of Moo (III), Temple of Yak (IV), Temple of Bark (V), Temple of Snakes (VI), Temple of Baa (VII), Temple of Honk (IX)
    • VIII had the Grand Temple of Eep, the Chapel of Eep and the Church of Eep, all part of a quest to find rare cheese - the followers of Eep are wererats.
    • Every "trainer" in Might and Magic VII is named after a Roman emperor.
  • The Three Certainties in Life: Some NPCs state that there are only three certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and that you'll hear the comment about death and taxes sooner or later.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Thanks to the 3D engine, you can mow down entire villages full of helpless villagers in games VI onward.
    • Within five minutes of starting a new game in VII, you can "encourage" a swarm of vicious dragonflies to slaughter an entire town... and get away with it totally blameless. And get an awesome item AND save quite a bit of money by taking stuff you'd ordinarily have to buy from the peasant's corpses.
    • The Armageddon spell in games VI-VIII would cause massive damage to anything in the current outdoor map, if it was not immune to magic or darkness damage. This meant that, while weak enemies and civilians would be instantly killed by one casting of the spell, stronger enemies and the party would generally take multiple castings. And yes, the party *was* vulnerable to the spell it would cast. The cruelty potential comes from the fact that the spell was the quickest way to get the worst reputation, if used on the innocent. The reputation was needed for ranking up in Dark Magic and being able to cast Armageddon more times each day.
    • Even as early as the second iteration you could commit genocide, though it was limited to enemy races. Specifically, it was possible to find peaceful goblin villages and wipe them out.
  • Video Game Geography: Type 1. In III, the world is a toroid, and in I, II, IV and V it's flat. (Actually, only the setting of 3 is set on a planet at all; the others are spaceships.)
  • Virtual Paper Doll: the 3D games all had a graphical interface for equipment, although the best of it tended to look awful.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The first three games don't really tell you where to go. You're expected to explore the game until you pick up enough clues to stumble into the real final quest. Most Egregious in II, where the backstory in the game manual is almost entirely a Red Herring and the real villain is a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere unless you've played I.
    • In all games, there's far more material in the sidequests than in the main quest, and often, the difference between sidequest and main quest can only be determined in hindsight.
  • You All Look Familiar: In most games, encountering a shopkeeper or dungeon doorman will display a nifty animated shot, but shops of a given type use the same art.
  • You Call That a Wound?: NPC hirelings in the early 3D games were entirely immune to whatever perils the rest of the team was facing, even though they were always standing right there with you. Though it is possible for your characters to use a dark magic spell that would sacrifice an NPC hireling to restore that character to full health.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: one of the puzzles in MM 5 is figuring out the true name of the big bad (who calls himself Alamar). It is conveniently written on a dungeon wall somewhere, but if you've played MM 1 or 2 you will already know this.

Notes

  1. He was probably - and correctly - gambling on Roland interceding in his behalf... but, of course, if he hadn't brought Roland back himself he wouldn't have been in a position to be executed by Catherine in the first place
  2. Armageddon's Blade
  3. Both sides have human and elven citizens
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