What are the differences between the four playable races? How do they fit into the storyline?
There are both visual and gameplay-effecting differences. Visual ones go as far as unique looks of all the nations’ structures and units. Each nation’s native terrain has both visual and gameplay effects (for example, the terrain of undead is dark bluish, all trees are wane and dry, no greenery etc). The economy differences are immense. First off, the set of resources collected is different for each of them. Secondly, the way the races play is unlike the other (we did this intentionally, so that players could find their favorite kind of nation to play). For instance, undead is a rush-type of nation – units are built very quickly, you can have hundreds of them ready-made within few minutes. Although great in numbers, individually the undead units are weak enough. Mechanics, to the contrary, would be more a tactical kind of nation, where you have few units, they take time to train, however each of them is worth a good dozen of skeletons. So, the way you play each nation to win will be interesting to discover. As mentioned, the story will evolve mainly around the conflict of elves and undead, however other nations will have their cameos as well. Even more than that, the campaign will reveal a nation which isn’t available to play for in Chapter I, but will only show up in the following one.
What are some of the unique units available in the game? What special abilities will these units possess?
Each of the four playable races has over a dozen unique-abled units to play with. For all the nations, there are lower-level units (mere combatants, no magic powers) and higher-level ones (magically-powered, so as good combatants). Let me give you a few unit examples in the game: lady Vampire, good in draining blood from its enemies at close distance, is also able to turn into a bat and fly quickly onto distances, for example to deploy effectively in the middle of an enemy base; Ice Golem, a walking mountain of snow, melts outside of its native terrain; a Mechanics-invented Tank can not only shower enemies with exploding charges from the distance, but also crawl over the trapped units. We can talk a lot of examples here, but I’d suggest players to better discover the scope and variety of units themselves when they get to play.
How many quests will be in the game? What is an example of a typical quest players can look forward to?
We differentiate between story quests (obligatory) and side (non-obligatory) ones, both of which are plentiful in the game. The campaign provides for an average of 25-30 hours of gameplay. A typical story-based quest would be ‘go and cleanse undead encamping at this area and turning all the nearby areas to cemeteries’. The story-based missions are, naturally, more complex and require a lot of player’s efforts. Side quests examples would be ‘save a magical laboratory from the attacking goblins’ or ‘rescue my wife kidnapped by orcs’ – these are the types of missions that you pick up on the way and which are an opportunity to earn some extra reward.
What are some of the spells that will be within the game? How many abilities will the RPG fan be able to utilize?
As mentioned, spells in the game vary in cost and effect. It’s hard to single out some particularly interesting ones out of the bunch, but here are some examples. ‘Hurricane’ is a mass-scale spell which allows you to damage a number of enemies at the same time, while slowing them down simultaneously. ‘Statue of mockery’ is an interesting one – casting such a statue in a chosen spot, you will distract all enemies from attacking your hero, while focusing totally on the statue instead. If you cast ‘Fracture’, one of the most powerful spells in the game, you can throw the entire armies of opponents to pits (the engine supports terrain morphing feature). It should also be mentioned that the power of your hero’s spells grows in line with his/her levels – the higher is the level of your hero, the more damage, the greater is the scope and the longer is the duration of spells cast. There are over a dozen different abilities your hero can develop.
There are a series of novels planned to support the game. When will the novels be released? Will they be necessary to understand the game storyline?
We plan to release five novels to accompany the game. Three of the books are already out (in Russian so far) – two background stories (explaining the game universe and the outset of events) and a novel based on Chapter I of HoAE. All the books are written by a renowned Ukrainian author Ilya Novak who also was involved in creating the game storyline.
What game feature are you most proud of? How will this feature change game play?
I like best the innovative RTS vs RPG concept, I think it really adds something new to gaming. I also think the whole initial idea of creating a game of oppositions has worked out pretty well so far. After RTS vs RPG gameplay expect the trilogy to introduce more of wild oppositions.
How will this game fit into the overall storyline that is planned for the series? How many games will be a part of this fantasy adventure?
The series starts as classic fantasy in Chapter I, however we prepared a rather crazy story twist which will considerably change both the set of playable factions, so as the game world. Keep your eyes peeled as HoAE Chapter II shapes up in our development smelter.
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 27.11.2006
Author: Jonathan Trevisani
Language of publish: english