Disciples III: Renaissance Preview

Continuing with the RPG/strategy hybrid news, GameSpot has also published a preview of Disciples III: Renaissance, during which we learn about a new graphical style that Akella has recently implemented into the game.
Disciples III previously had a pale, washed out look to its graphics, but Akella has brightened up the look of the game considerably, going so far as to add day/night cycles to the game that progress each time you end your turn from morning to noon to evening to night. For the most part, time of day doesn't really affect the gameplay experience aside from making the maps look a bit more vibrant, though time will apparently have subtle effects--the dreaded werewolves (the weapon-immune minions formerly of the undead faction) of Disciples will be even stronger after nightfall.

In addition to these tweaks, Disciples III will make additional changes to the series' formula that should offer some more strategic flexibility. For instance, while your hero unit and standard units can still gain experience levels (and your minions can still "change class" as they gain levels along a branching profession tree you build out with profession-specific buildings at your home city), your hero can now learn additional skills along a "skill board"--a tile-based board of branching skills that include passive enhancements and new magical powers, such as turning a powerful enemy into a harmless peasant. With each new experience level you gain, your heroes will earn two skill points that can purchase two new skills. In addition, while all factions will still have numerous choices for units to join your hero, including basic foot soldiers, basic wizards, and larger heavy-hitters, all units will take up only one slot in your army and require only one leadership point from your hero to recruit. Previously, certain larger units were so big and powerful that they occupied two unit slots in your retinue; now these powerful units take only one, but will cost substantially more money to recruit.