My Opinion on the Decline of Necropolis and HoMM Lore in General from HoMM3-7.
**Disclaimer, these are my personal thoughts on why the old Necropolis was far more interesting and just plain cool before it got a hard on for its Spider Mother. View them as nothing more than the crazed ramblings of a particularly stupid individual**
As MMH7 stands now it will have (by my reckoning) 3 "Good" Factions, 5 Neutral Faction, and 1 Evil Faction. Also every faction is FAR too religious but I will get back to that later.
Academy--Neutral leaning towards Good--Sar-Elam
Fortress--Neutral leaning towards Good--Arkath
Necropolis--Neutral leaning towards Good--Asha The Creator of Ashan
Stronghold--Neutral--Mother Earth and Father Sky although in MMH6 Ylath was implied
Dungeon--Neutral just trying to survive as they put it--Malassa
Now this leaves a huge vacuum, there is no real threat other than renegades and splinter factions. This coupled with the fact that EVERY faction is now incredibly religious leaves the campaign story feeling a bit uninspired. The Ubi team need look no farther than the governing Dragon God to find the reason for conflict. It just feels lazy and lackluster to me.
Compare this to HoMM3 where you had 2 "Good" Factions, 4 neutral Factions, and 2 evil Factions, none of which were too heavily religious. To me it left the campaign story more alive and interesting. Plus when Shadow of Death came out you got to play what was probably the coolest campaign arch I have ever seen. It was focused on playing as four faction all hired or otherwise compelled to find a set of evil artifacts and destroy them. However as it turned out all of the Heroes you just played as were being manipulated by Guess who? Sandro. After you beat those 4 campaigns it allowed you to play 1 campaign as Sandro with all of the artifacts you just gathered and by God it was satisfying.
What I am trying to get at here is that it is FUN to be the bad guy occasionally. This is something that the Ubi team does not seem to grasp. The MMH6 campaign was IMO the most dull and repetitive campaign in a Heroes game that I can recall, because every faction was just trying to do the same damn thing and Demons were ALWAYS the big bad guys.
Read this general description of her and tell me how it fits in with a race of exiled Wizards who basically sold their soul for power.
"While she is well-known as the "Dragon of Order", Asha appears in many different forms. Asha and Urgash fought against each other in the Genesis, during which Asha banished Urgash into the heart of her world. However, she was wounded in that battle, and hid in the moon in order to heal herself."
"Asha renders the fate of all mortal beings—she spins forth their destiny upon their birth, measures it throughout their time in the physical world, and then embraces their life force upon death. Asha is neutral; she shows favor to neither good nor evil men. She does not bless any race above another. Angels, Faceless, Elves, Dwarves, Humans and Nagas, all stand before her in equal measure. She does, however, hold her twin brother, the Dragon of Chaos, in eternal disdain and is opposed to the principles that drive both him and the demons, the beings he created to oppose her own."
"Today, Asha is worshipped by the Blind Brothers, Silent Sisters, White Weavers, Dragon Knights and Necromancers, in different forms and aspects. Asha herself rests in the moon and doesn't really know what happens on her beloved world. Every creature, except the demons and (mainly) the wizards of the Silver League, respect the worshiping of the Dragon of Order, except her aspect as Spider goddess."
They gelded the Faction to make room for them to tell a story of a "good" Necropolis. They decided that Sandro, who was the very essence of what an undead should be, needed to become an exile in order to make room for their Spider God.
Necropolis used to be a group of wizards that were exiled for using the darkest forms of magic possible for power. They were not united. They did not have a native country. They would only wage war in order to either gain more "recruits" or gain access to an artifact that they desired. They did not even work together unless they saw a way to use each other for power. This is something that I think MMH7 Desperately needs, a Faction with no qualms, ethics, or religion. A random card, unpredictable and devious, manipulative and sinister.
All of the religion that the various factions have gained of late leaves no unknown element. No wild card. Sure you can have internal conflicts in the various factions but their will end up being no outside influence, no surprises, and no mind-blowing man behind the curtain moments unless it come from Sandro. Sandro is the character this game needs. But they just keep trying to cram the Spider cult down our throats.
I still hope that maybe they will realize just what potential they have with him. Just what a goldmine of a character they have. For the right reasons they could make Sandro do ANYTHING. I will admit that they have used him quite well in recent games, but they need to allow us to BE him. He would NEVER worship a being other than himself and the lineup they are proposing just kicks you in the teeth with spidery goodness.
There is so much more I could say, and may eventually. But if I continue right now this will just degenerate far beyond its already low levels of cohesion. I have not even touched on the pure unmitigated gall of the MMH team in using the exact same models for units they KNEW we hated.
So I leave you here a few brain cells shorter than you were before. Understand that our criticism really does come from love. Love of the franchise that we grew up on. We do not hate just because we can. We do it because we care, we care deeply.
Ok after taking a break and getting a good nights rest I figure it is time to explain what I have wrong with the models and units they presented us with. Again just my opinions and it is up to you if you care enough to read them.
Ok so this is where I have the single largest problem with a unit, worse than the lamasu, Lich, and Spider rolled together.
Let me start with explaining the playstyle that Necropolis has always favored. Quantity over quality. Necro has always been about massive number of inferior units. It makes them very entertaining to play as because they have such a unique style, and bringing back old-school Necromancy pleases me to no end. With it you will end up with literally thousands of skeletons raised through the skill.
So why do the skeletons have more impressive armor than my end-game lvl. 60 full raid gear paladin in WoW had? You are raising the corpses of the enemy off of the battlefield. When did you get the chance to equip them with what surely must be an expensive suit of armor?
The pauldrons are freakin huge and needlessly embellished with MORE skeletons.
The helm has these weird points that serve ABSOLUTELY no purpose other than to catch the enemies weapon therefore helping said enemy dispatch of the poor Skeleton.
The sword has a weird bend that I originally took for a scimitar shape (which would be awesome) but it just turned out to look like a very strangely bent dirk type weapon. Its shape is both impractical and again overly-ornate.
There are some MORE weird pointless spikes that either come out of the pauldrons or the back of the skeleton.
And bringing it all together is a nice custom-made shield and pair of boots.
If it were up to me I would scrap the upgrade, Make the old base the new upgrade, And modify the new base with maybe a broken sword and splintered shield or just less armor.
Ok I have never liked a ghost. At all. Ever. So this is more or less what I was expecting. Maybe change a few colors but all-in-all, it is fine.
I am a rather rare breed of Sandro that would be okay with the spider if they fixed the skeleton, lamasu, lich, and vampire. Although I WAY prefer the base to the upgrade. The base is actually kind of cute.
There is so damn much laziness going on in the elite section it hurts. And not only laziness but just plain disregard for the wishes of the fans. We told Ubi time and time again that the Lamasu is a freakin abomination. AND THEY GO AND NOT ONLY BRING IT BACK, BUT USE THE SAME MODEL????
Having said that, all I really want it a redesign. I would LIKE a new unit. Maybe a Flesh Golem or bring back the H5 Reaper and change the head and weapon of the grim rider. But I would be fine with an altered lamasu.
THIS IS NOT A LICH.
Let me start a list.
1. Your average Lich (not only in HoMM, but everywhere) has a skeletal face. They just DO. It makes them look badass and soulless. I mean just scroll up a little and look at my profile avatar. The fleshy face makes them look like a cross between someones Grandpa and a Meth addict. Maybe an addicted Grandpa. Not very impressive.
2. Take a look at its staff. He is not holding it like your average staff, more like he is about to beat on a kid he found on his lawn. It make the Lich look less regal and intelligent and more aggressive and violent.
3. Why is he floating?
4. With the floating combined with the spider legs on his back it makes them look like wings. Weird scrawny wings.
5. Any good Lich should have a book of the dead/spellbook.VAMPIRE
All I can really say is that it looks like Arthas got a set of botox injections.
I would prefer either a noferatu type vampire or a female as mediczero suggests.
Ok now this is just awesome and proves that they could make an awesome Necropolis lineup. Its brilliance just rubs the mediocrity of the other units in your face.
I am very, very scared about what the other dragons are going to look like now.
Ok so now I have exhausted everything I had to say. Thank you for sticking with it if you read all of it. But if you didn't no problem I had to get this off my chest anyway. These are just my personal observations on why this Necropolis is just dissapointing. Feel free to agree or disagree as you want.