Acquiring a hero in Master of Magic© is not a particularly difficult task. The game provides a number of methods for joining heroes to your army. What is difficult, however, is getting the heroes you want and getting them early enough to start increasing their experience. This is the key to creating a custom army which will ensure your victory. This section explains how to collect heroes using the three methods available: solicitation, rescue, and summoning.
Occasionally, a hero will offer their services in exchange for gold. This is known as a solicitation, or a request for a job. The chance of a hero offering their services is based on several factors:
Like everything else in Master of Magic©, the chance of a hero asking for work is based on a mathematical formula. The chart shown below details your chances based on the variables listed above. By using this chart, you can better prepare your wizard to be approached by a hero:
Number of Heroes Wizard's Fame in your army 0 20 25 40 50 60 75 80 100 -------------- ------------------------------------------ none 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 1-2 heroes 1% 2% 3% 3-4 heroes 1% 2% 5 heroes 0% 1%
Before we discuss the chart, remember that gold also plays an important part in hiring heroes. Why is this? Because almost every hero has a base hiring cost (refer to the Hero Compendium) which you must have on-hand before a hero will even approach you! Example: on your turn the computer determines that you are eligible to be approached by a low-level hero with a 100 gold hiring cost. However, you only have 75 gold in your reserves. Because you are short on gold, the hero doesn't even approach you. You wouldn't even know that you were eligible for a hero since you didn't have enough gold!
Now, what does the chart tell us about attracting heroes? First, the higher your fame, the better your chance. Second, the more heroes you already have, the lower your chance. Third, no matter what, these are pretty crappy chances. This is why solicitation is ranked the least valuable method of acquiring heroes. Not that you shouldn't try to attract a hero, but there are more reliable methods available.
In most cases, the only time you will be interested in hiring a hero is at the start of the game. Chances are, you will not have the spells Summon Hero or Summon Champion, and heroes are usually rescued from the tougher lairs. Therefore, solicitation is your only real alternative for collecting a hero at the start of the game. To make matters worse, you will only be approached by low-level to mid-level heroes. "Why even Bother?", you ask. Because some of these heroes are excellent candidates to help you get on your feet at the start of the game. Don't worry about keeping them throughout the game, because they are "disposable". You will use them until their usefulness has run-out, and then disband them.
What do you look for in a "disposable" hero? Look for the following attributes:
Should you always dispose of these lower-class heroes? Not necessarily. If you are playing a short-term game, or prefer to rely upon normal units instead of heroes to fight your battles, let them hang around and move up in rank. Any hero, no matter how useless they seem, is formidable when they have achieved a high rank (Super-Hero, Demi-God). This is especially true when you begin adding enchanted items. However, if you prefer to play the longer, more difficult games, it would be wise to let these heroes move out of the way when you can afford a better one.
You've just finished hacking your way through a lair filled with Giant Spiders and Earth Elementals, and your army has taken some heavy losses. After wiping the blood and gore from your weapons, you look into the lair to claim your booty. Lord knows you could use some gold to help pay for that new Ship Yard you're building in New Haven. And you really went crazy with the spells during this fight and could use some mana crystals to boost your reserves. But as you wipe away the cobwebs all you find is some washed-up hero whimpering like a puppy! "Damn", you think, "If I had to get a hero, why couldn't it at least be a GOOD one?"
Sound Familiar? Rare is the occurrence when you are able to rescue a hero from a lair. Even more rare, however, is the chance that you will want to keep the hero and join him/her into your ranks. But by following a few simple guidelines, you can often turn this situation to your advantage.
Let's review the situation. First, Unless you have an empty position in your list of heroes, this situation will never occur. So if you are hoping to gain a hero by rescuing one, make sure you have one or more slots available. You can improve your chances by disbanding all the "disposable" heroes from your ranks. Second, heroes are usually rescued from the tougher lairs. The tougher the lair, the higher the quality of the hero found within. Every lair, node, and keep offers a base 6.7% chance of having a hero inside. Not much better than solicitation, right? Also, you can only rescue heroes, not champions. That's a major drawback to rescuing heroes. By the time you are able to tackle these tough lairs and nodes, you don't need a hero. You need a champion.
If the hero you rescued does not fit the bill, use the following tips to try and change your luck:
This trick takes patience. Lots and lots of patience. That is why rescuing heroes is ranked the second most valuable method. It is tougher to do, but you can probably get a better hero than you could through solicitation. The fact that you can reload the game and try again for a better hero is what makes it so valuable. Plus, you get the hero without paying the hiring cost!
If you are a serious Master of Magic player, such as myself, you know that the first two sections of this chapter are just fluff. More like a random chance of getting a hero or two, but you don't rely upon them to win the game. You wait. You research. You save mana. You bargain and trade spells. And once you get it, you go hog wild. I'm talking of two of the most valuable spells you can possibly possess:
Let's take a look at these two spells. To begin with, they are both arcane spells. This means that regardless of what spell books you pick, you can possess and cast these spells. Does this mean you always get them? Not necessarily. Depending upon the number of spell books you picked, you might not get Summon Champion. That is why trading spells with other wizards is so important. If you do not get Summon Champion in your spell book, trade for it as quickly as possible.
What is the difference between the two spells? The obvious is that one summons heroes and the other summons champions. There are a total of 25 heroes that can be summoned, and 10 champions. Refer to the Hero Compendium for more information. The spell Summon Hero gives you the ability to summon all 25 heroes. However, with the Summon Champion spell, some of the champions can only be summoned if you possess Life or Death spell books. In addition, the 10th champion, Torin, can only be summoned with the Life spell Incarnation.
In most cases, you will get the Summon Hero spell first. You should start putting it to good use immediately. It has a spell cost of 500 mana, and will take a few turns depending upon your wizard's skill. As you are casting this spell, you should start thinking about what type of hero you need at the moment. Are you in a defensive position with enemy troops near? Think about trying to get a spell caster. Are you on the offensive, trying to take over neighboring towns and nodes? Think about trying to get a fighter. Do you have any enchanted items, but no hero to give it to yet? Try to make the hero fit the item. This will give the hero a powerful boost to help your cause.
But how do you ensure that you get the hero you want? It is so easy, it is almost considered a cheat. I simply like to call it taking advantage of the rules. When casting the spell, pay close attention to the number of turns the spell will take to complete, then save the game. After enough turns have passed that there is only 1 turn left before completion of the spell, save the game again. To make it really easy, make sure you save the game after all units have taken their turns. When you take your next turn, the Summon Hero spell will finish and you will be presented with a hero which you can accept or reject. If you like the selection, you simply accept. If you don't like the hero, you reload the game. Since you saved it one turn before the Summon Hero spell completes, you only have to pass one turn before you get another selection!
Eventually, the Summon Champion spell will come into your possession. Once again, you should put it to use immediately. It has a casting cost of 750 mana and takes more turns to cast. By this point you should have at least one or two heroes in you army. If you have positions available in your ranks, fill them with Champions and keep your heroes. Use the same guidelines and "cheat" mentioned earlier for the Summon Hero spell.
You will quickly notice that Champions usually receive a larger number and higher quality of attributes. They also receive more random selections which offers the possibility of Super attributes. The "Super" feature increases the benefit of an attribute by 50% over the normal benefit. For example, a Champion with the Legendary attribute increases your fame by 3 for each level of the attribute. With Super Legendary, your fame would be increased by 4.5 for each level of the attribute. This can make quite a difference as that attribute increases.
What are some of the best attributes to look for in a Champion (or a hero for this matter)?
As you begin to play with this "cheat" you will often find that the computer wants to present a particular hero/champion over and over again, even if you reload the game. This can be quite frustrating if the hero is not to your liking. However, a friend of mine taught me a trick, an expensive trick, to avoid this situation. When your Summon Hero/Champion spell presents you with a hero you do not desire, accept the hero and then march him/her into certain death. Certain death means a lair or node which contains enough creatures to easily kill this hero. The death of this hero means you will never be solicited by, rescue, or summon this hero again, thus increasing the chance of your acquisition of a better hero. However, since you accepted the hero, you had to pay the mana of the summoning spell and the time necessary to cast it. These are not things a serious player can afford to lose. I wouldn't recommend this tip during a serious game, but it is useful to know.
If you have read all of the sections in this page, you will come to the realization that summoning is the best means to acquire your hero. As for which heroes and champions you should pick, it is dependent upon your style. You will soon learn which heroes suit your offensive/defensive attitude. Once you become comfortable with a set of heroes and champions, make it your first priority to add them to your army.
Once all six of your positions are filled, you need to stop and take a serious look at what you've got. Chances are, you will have a mix of experienced heroes, and novice champions. Any "disposable" heroes should be long gone by now. The next step towards winning the game is to determine which heroes you should keep, and which you should let go. This selection can depend greatly upon the spell books you selected, your style of play, and the opponents you are trying to kill. However, use the following guidelines to help make the best choices.
To begin with, remove any low, mid, and high-level heroes which have not reached the experience level of Champion. By the time these heroes have reached a more valuable level, you could have advanced a better champion. The only exception to this rule is a hero with an outstanding quality such as Super Arcane power, Super might, Super Arms Master, and so on. Since the chance of a Super ability is so rare, it would be best to keep these heroes and let them reach their full potential. Remember, before removing a hero from your army, make sure to take back any enchanted items you might have given to him/her.
Next, fill in the open slots with desirable Champions. True, they will start out as rookies, but Champions can often acquire experience faster than heroes and will advance quickly. Don't be too eager to accept just any Champion. The Champions you decide to accept will require some serious thought. Think about your wizard's situation and the opposing wizards attitudes. I always seem to get Ruthless/expansionist or Chaotic/Militaristic opponents who throw every warm body they have at my fortress. These should be the factors that determine which Champions you decide to accept.
Finally, start sending your new Champions out to attack simple targets such as small lairs, neutral cities, and small bands of enemy troops. Be very careful to avoid attacking your opponents troops or cities until you have beefed-up your heroes. It is extremely easy to kill a hero, even a Champion, if they are of low experience and unprotected. This time spent on small targets will begin accumulating valuable experience points for the new Champions and help to increase their experience level.
Once your slots are full of heroes and champions which you have decided to keep, you are ready to take over both worlds of Master of Magic. Only your strategy and skill will determine if you win or lose, but you will find more tips on how to use heroes to get the job done in the following sections. Good Luck!
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