Over at rpgcodex, Wyrmlord has posted a restrospective on Might & Magic III (“Isles of Terra”), IV (“Darkside of Xeen”), and V (“Clouds of Xeen”).

It’s been ages since I played those games, and now recall very little of the details. What I remember most is how pleasantly surprised I was by M&M III. It was a great leap forward from the second game, which was awful (and most of that one has happily faded).

It was with Terra that the series really found its own identity. Before that, it was a bit too much in the Wizardry/Bard’s Tale mode, especially in regard to combat.

However, what really caught my eye in the piece was the mention of errands (which some label “quests”). You’d be asked to do something or find something, and usually had no idea what location to go to.

So your party just kept exploring until they happened on the place and/or item. That was much different from today’s road-map jobs, where you’re usually told exactly where to go (ha) and what to do.

Then again, today’s gamers don’t seem to have much patience. I find it hard to picture any of them taking the time to carefully map the areas (and there were a lot of those) as they went along.

I also think they’d be frustrated by taking on an errand and not being able to get it done quickly. Or even knowing where to go to begin with. Much of what you had to do wasn’t usually accomplished nearby.

Wyrmlord seems to think that non-gamers would enjoy playing these three. I’m not so sure. They were big games in a day when such was the norm, and I doubt that many would want to put in the time, however much fun it might be. I suspect the mapping alone would be enough to turn off a lot of people.

I also wonder about his “The process of creating a character is over in ten seconds.” It always took me somewhat longer than that, though I admit to being picky about numbers, even with the exchange. But yeah, I did like rolling the dice.

Anyway, take a stroll down memory lane and give the article a look. Ah, the days when games were games and gamers were patient!

Might & Magic Retrospective at rpgcodex