Here is an interesting Q&A from heroes.hardwired.hu to Blackhole Team by Vologya, Hungarian Community Member.
Tell me something about yourself! When did you start working at Black Hole and what is your job?
Isti: We both are founders of Black Hole Entertainment. The company was formed in 2000. My job is to supervise/manage the game development (gameplay, graphics, sounds, music, animation)
Boci: My task is the gamedesign (design + gameplay), I make and put the game design ideas together, plus it’s also my job to make maps or to find the correct balance between each faction.
What do you do to make each faction as balanced as possible? You do a lot of testings, you use your instincts, or is there a special method?
Boci: Of course it’s not up to our instincts. We have some pretty complex table containing the stats and abilities of every creature. These sheets are of course not only about numbers, some of them include serious formulas. They help us to calculate each unit’s „value”, and the effect/impact of their abilities. Each unit has its unique Army Power value that is calculated based on all the abilities and stats of the unit. This value represents the unit’s overall strength, this serves the base for our balance calculations. Of course we still need to test it out in the game, and if it needs any fine-tune, we are changing things. Right now the development is in this phase.
In Marzhin's second Q&A video he told that there will be 8 bosses and 8 neutral creatures. The number of bosses is satisfying, but I think there should be more neutral creature since the main game will start with only 5 factions. Do you plan to increase their numbers before release, or will you add more in later explansions?
Boci: There were no more neutral creatures in the previous games at launch and we don’t feel its not enough.
We've read about the reputation system in some gaming magazines, but could you tell us about this and the basics of the skill system? Anything that we should know?
Boci: The reputation system have two side: Blood and Tears (was mentioned in the previous Erwan interview). It functions similar than the XP from the previous games. If you gather enough reputation point, you can advance to higher class that will also affect the look/appearance of your hero on the adventure map. Ability tree is a parallel system where you have full control spending your points from the levelups on any ability you desire. It’s up to you how you form your hero! Let’s see an example: You are following the path of Tears and you learn the Cure spell at basic level. After that, you reach the first level of the Tears resulting a power increase in Cure (and in all other Tears-based ability).
How does the new area control system works exactly?
Boci: There are territories with borders (marked with signs). Each territory has a town or fort that controls the area. Every single mine and dwelling is attached to it therefore if you capture the town you gain control over all external mine/dwelling in its territory. IMPORTANT, you must capture the mines/dwellings or the town will not have authority over them. If a wandering enemy hero takes one of your mine or dwelling then no need to rush out to retake it, since it will become yours again when the hero leaves it (assuming the town/fort that controls the territory is in your hand).
We know that there won't be any mage guilds in the game. Then how will the heroes learn new spells from the 7 magic school and how will those be placed in their spell books? Any approximate info on the number of available spells?
Boci: Every hero will have some selectable (magic and might) ability. Heroes will gain points after each levelup that they can spend on available abilities. These abilities are either passive (Logistics) or active (Fireball). Active ones go to the respected hero’s spellbook and they can be used on the field. You can choose between magic schools (only if they are available for your faction). There are more than 200 spells (active + passive).
If everything goes as planned, the game will be shipped with a map editor? Can you share any info about it, what it is capable of? Is there a plan to add a Campaign editor or a Random map generator?
Boci: Yes, we plan to ship it with the map editor included. Our goal was to make it hard-coded meaning no scripts needed (unlike in Heroes V map editor). Our main priority at the moment is to make it user-friendly. We might add a campaign editor later, and about the random map generator: its too early to talk about it.
How will Luck and Moral work? What changed in these skills compared to the previous games?
Boci: We changed their mechanic too. Luck and Morale in the previous games were too random and strong. Let’s talk about Morale first: when it’s a creature’s turn to act, you can foresee if it will have a Morale so you can use that knowledge to plan what to do, making it easier to tactic. However after the first attack, the second one will be less powerful. After Morale, the second movement will be limited and the creature’s attack power will be lower too (we are still balancing its %). Now some word about Luck: heroes and units will have their own luck-factor where 1 luck point = 1%. An advanced hero will have around 6-7% luck, while the luck of creatures will top at 6-7% as well. A fully upgraded (level 30) hero + creature will have a maximum of 15% chance for a lucky attack that can be increased further with spells abilities and artifacts. It’s also important to mention that lucky strikes will do +50% more damage.
How many unique buildings will be in the game per faction?
Boci: 4 per faction, each will be different per town and per faction. For example Necropolis will have the Tomb of Heroes building that will make Hero resurrection free and will give temporary bonuses.
Are you planning an open/closed Beta test before release? If yes, then approximately when?
Isti: Yes we are planning a closed BETA before release. Dates are still to be determined. We’ll let you know of course!
Rob and Paul will return with their music. What kind of themes will be there in the game (combat, terrain, factions, siege, etc.) and how long they will be? Any info on their extension (mp3)?
Isti: Yes, there will be different themes… The music together is about 2,5 hour long, approximately 50 tracks (to main menu theme, special menus theme, fraction themes, terrain themes, battle scenes, faction siege battle themes, boss battle themes, campaign themes, AI turn themes, „event” themes and credit theme) and their format probably will be mp3.
In the previous episodes the maximum number of players on the map was 8. Based on a previous pic from the map editor it will be 12, is that true? And any info on the size of the adventure maps?
Boci: The editor is Black Hole Entertainment’s own development. It is capable to handle 12 player (it was written for a different multiplayer game) but for Heroes VI the maximum number of players on the map will be 8.
Could you tell us something about the AI? In hard modes will the AI "cheat" or will play fair?
Boci: In my opinion the game AI will be quite smart. On easy and normal difficulty the computer will not cheat at all. Of course on Hard difficulty some cheating is necessary to give pro players enough challenge, but will not be as noticable as in Heroes V’s case.
You've changed the primary skill system (Attack, Defense, Spellpower, Knowledge), they've been separated into magic attack/defense, might attack/defense etc, why?
Isti: In the same line as the game's name change from HOMM6 to MM: Heroes 6, the answer to this question is related to the unification process Ubisoft is undertaking for all its Might & Magic games.
There's a common "umbrella" brand name (Might & Magic), a common setting (the world of Ashan), a common set of rules (the 7 schools of Magic, the revised stat names and meanings, etc.).
In this world (Ashan), magic power and affinity are not related to knowledge (for instance).
Moreover, it makes sense that the stat names echo the Might & Magic dichotomy .
Every hero will have magic/might attack and magic/might defense, and the same goes for the creatures (the hero’s stats will be added to the creature’s stats upon calculating the final value). For example a might (Crossbowman) creature’s attack will be increased by the hero’s might attack value while a caster unit’s (Priestess) attack will strengthened by the hero’s magic attack stat (it will also increase the power of the unit’s healing ability). This change was necessary because of the new ability-tree system. In previous games magic heroes were stronger than might heroes. In Heroes VI might hero abilities will have the same power and effectiveness as magic hero abilities, making the game even more balanced.
How many new and old artifacts (and combo/set artifacts) will be in the game, and any info on their quantity?
Isti: There will be around 150 artifact in the game including 8 combo/set artifact, each will have 6-6 part. The ratio between old and new artifact will be around 50-50%. And yes, there will be scrolls and potions as you could see on some pic of the day.
If there will be a Town Portal spell, how will it work? Like in Heroes III or in Heroes V? Or if not, then how will the heroes travel?
Boci: There will be basic and advanced Town Portal spell, but they will act differently. They are buildings that you must build first. Basic town portal will help heroes to move from town to town. With advanced town portal, heroes could portal back to the nearest town with town portal building from the adventure map. Combining these two, they will work as the Town Portal from Heroes III (first jump to the nearest town then portal to the destination town using the portal building).
What kind of special abilities the different hero classes will have and how will they work?
Boci: During fights there is a progress bar filling up on the console that has 4 level. Each faction charges it differently, Stronghold for example gains a point with each attack while Necropolis gains a point when enemy/own creatures receive damage. After it reaches level 1, you can use the ability anytime. Since the hero can act anytime during the fight (but only once per round similar than in Heroes III), you can use it whenever you want. Its power increases by its level, and the effects is different per faction: Necropolis can reanimate and heal the dead, Stronghold gets overall attack bonus (rage).
Is there any chance that you will change the name of some creature before release? For example the Cerberus in the greek mythology is a 3 headed dog, but in the game he only has two head that's a bit confusing.
Names won't change. Ashan is a Fantasy world, not our historical or even mythical Earth.
We use references to our own mythologies and folklores for their rich - and immediate - symbolic meaning, but we never copy them 100% - rather we adapt them to Ashan's own laws to make them more unique.
Our Vampires, for instance, are nothing like Dracula, or the Cullens from Twilight
What kind of special things/events will we encounter on the battlefield during a fight?
Boci: There are some campaign and non-campaign specific. One example: rally flags are no longer adventure map-only, we will meet them on the battlefields too. If a creature stands next to it, it will gain increased luck.
Will we meet any special things during sieges (like the ditch in front of the walls from Heroes III)?
Boci: Yes, you will. Their effect will be different per faction: Inferno town’s ditch will cause continuous fire damage to an unit when its turn comes (in the beginning) unless it moves out .
How strong the neutral units will be?
Boci: 0 Core, 7 Elites, 1 Champion Neutral unit.
How will initiative work? What determines the creature’s order?
Boci: Every creature has an initiative value (it differs from speed!). This determines their acting order. It can be changed with spells and artifacts. There are rounds, a creature can only act once per round (unless morale kicks in, but that will be visible before it happens).
On some ’picture of the day’ we saw different colored marks under the heroes/units. What’s that? Each hero/creature will have its own colormark on the battlefield and on the adventure map?
Boci: Don’t get confused by the early pics, they are from the alpha version, and sometimes they’ve been made with the map editor. In the final game, aura colors will be the same as the player’s color. The aura under creatures will change based on which player controls the territory.
Köszönöm a beszélgetést és további jó munkát kívánok!
Thank you for your answers and we wish you good work and expert morale!
Thanks again Vologya for putting those questions together and having the devs answer you!