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Warfare in Might and Magic 6 is best compared to a living chess set. While that may sound dull to some trust me, it really grows on you. Placing your soldiers couldn't be easier and there are all sorts of units you can take advantage of. Your generals can help out every now and then too if you use some of your hero's abilities or faction's abilities. It is really satisfying to see when you have a well-rounded army how much each unit harmonizes with one another. My only complaint would be the emphasis on sheer numbers to claim victory.
The beta truly shows that a great game is on the way despite the nagging anti-piracy measures. Perhaps Ubisoft will fine tune the DRM issues upon release but even with them the game is still insanely addicting. With all the bugs I mentioned above I have had unimpeded and enjoyable gameplay. Therefore I gladly give Might and Magic Heroes VI four out of five stars. Not everyone may have the same experience and it is up to Ubisoft to correct this if they truly want this to be another hit in the franchise.
Meanwhile PC World offers a less peculiar but equally informative preview, based too on some hands-on time with the beta:
For those who have played before, there's a good deal that is reminiscent of HOMM 3, and much that's similar to HOMM 5, but the resource management has been revamped. More than ever, gold is the primary resource for you to gather, but instead of seven total resource types, there are now just four wood, gold, ore and crystal. This coincides with the elimination of the magic guild. Magic spells are instead learned as skills.
Now, instead of a simple choice between a couple of skill options that your hero has to select the moment they level up, you can save skill points and apply specialisations when you're ready. This comes in handy if you suddenly discover a major castle siege in the finale, and you need to max your catapult skills, boost your ranged weapons damage and poison the castle well. The skill points apply across spells you can learn, passive skills and active skills. The new tree system for skilling up takes a little getting used to, but keeps many of the old skill types and feels very much in keeping with previous instalments despite the new approach.
During gameplay, I found the pacing and strategy required very similar to that of HOMM4 and HOMM5. It's easy to lose three or four hours at a time without noticing, and the beta version campaign and scenario maps alone lasted close to 50 hours. While the battle mechanics have altered slightly, there's little that won't be easily mastered by anyone who has played previous instalments in the series. As a long time player, I found it engaging, and with enough difference from previous versions that I could rethink some of my longstanding tactics.