Dark Messiah of Might and Magic Profile Preview - The Archer and the Mage

Learn more about the archer and mage classes in Dark Messiah, and study up on the skills you can unlock over the course of a campaign.

Multiplayer in first-person shooters usually means battling it out in a series of matches online that have little meaning, apart from whichever side can wipe out the other side first. That will change when Dark Messiah of Might and Magic ships later this year. This upcoming action game from Ubisoft features a promising new multiplayer mode called crusade that will put some meaning back into battles, as you fight for ultimate victory.

The crusade mode is an online campaign that will pit one team playing as the humans against another team playing as the undead. However, instead of offering a random series of missions, crusade mode has persistence, as the goal is to win a series of battles and advance into the enemy's territory and capture its stronghold. Over the course of a campaign, you'll be able to level up your character, unlocking new skills and abilities and becoming more powerful. Once a campaign is won or lost, another campaign will begin, and everyone starts at level 1 again.

Dark Messiah's crusade mode features an online campaign that lets you become more powerful the longer you play.

There are five multiplayer classes in Dark Messiah, each of which is highly specialized. The fighter is the frontline warrior, the assassin is the fast and nimble striker, the priestess is the healer, the archer is the sniper, and the mage is the heavy spellcaster. In this preview, we'll take a closer look at the archer and the mage, the two primary ranged classes. They're not particularly suited for melee combat and instead like to stand off in a battle and attack from afar. Dark Messiah is scheduled to ship in October.

The Archer

The archer is the "sniper" class of Dark Messiah's multiplayer mode. It's also the class that offers an experience closest to that of a traditional first-person shooter. However, hitting a target with an arrow won't be easy in Dark Messiah. The game's physics model means that arrows in flight behave like the real thing, so you have to compensate for range and movement when you aim. If the target is far away, you should aim high, and hopefully the arrow will arc into your target. If your target is moving side to side, you should lead your target. It'll take practice to be able to hit a target reliably, but once you do, you can inflict a large amount of damage with a single shot. You'll be able to upgrade your skills throughout an online campaign, and your choices are listed below.

Burning Arrow What's more destructive than an arrow? A burning arrow! The burning arrow does more damage and may set targets on fire.
Composite Bow Level 1: Increased drawing capacity means longer range and higher damage.
Level 2: Tauter bow string translates into even more damage inflicted on the target.
Level 3: Range and damage are increased thanks to special battens bonded to the bow.
Level 4: Bow is reengineered with magical materials to become the most powerful archery device in the game.
Double Arrow The double arrow skill lets you draw and loose two arrows at a time, increasing the chances of a hit but at the price of reduced range and accuracy.
Triple Arrow The triple arrow skill lets you draw and loose three arrows at a time. This is very inaccurate, but, like a shotgun blast, it's powerful at close range.
Drill Arrow The arrowhead has a spiraling steel tip that can dig through armor and flesh, inflicting greater damage.
Eagle Eye Level 1: Lets you zoom in on distant enemies.
Level 2: Lets you zoom in on the most distant of targets.
Fast Reload Level 1: Greased arrows slide right out of your quiver, increasing reload speed.
Level 2: The quiver is spring-loaded, so arrows really leap out for fast loading.
Flare Arrow If you need to mark a target for teammates or determine range, use this arrow with a bright flare attached to it. It does not increase damage.
Poison Arrow Level 1: Disorient your target with this poison arrow.
Level 2: Make your enemy really sick with a double-doused poison arrow.
Bramble Arrow Slow down fast opponents by hitting them with this arrow. The barbed tip causes extreme pain and slows movement.

The Mage

If the archer is the sniper, the mage is more like artillery, as there's little finesse required to hurl powerful spells across the map. The mage can cast area-effect spells, including fire and electricity spells, and can call upon a magic shield, if the ability is unlocked. The downside is that the mage is fragile and is a favorite target of assassins. Mages can specialize in either fire or lightning skills, which are the two main offensive spell schools. However, specializing in one school makes spells of the other school less effective. There are five levels of mastery. Fire mastery (pyromancer) means you gain a large fire bonus at the cost of most of your lightning skill. Fire affinity means you gain a bonus using fire, but your lightning abilities are hampered a bit. Elemental balance means you can use fire and lightning equally. Lightning affinity gives you a bonus with lightning but a penalty when using fire. And lightning mastery (stormcaller) gives you devastating lightning abilities, but at the price of most of your fire abilities. The spells are all listed below.

Magic Affinity The magic affinity skill increases magical strength, allowing you to cast more spells.
Quicker Regen Recover your mana faster, so you recharge quicker.
Chain Lightning When loosed, this lightning bolt can leap from target to target if aimed properly.
Eldritch Arrow Who needs a bow and arrow when you have magic missiles?
Fire Orbs Level 1: The beauty of fire orbs is that if they hit the ground, they explode like a grenade, but if they hit a person, they kill.
Level 2: Lets you cast two fire orbs.
Level 3: Lets you cast three fire orbs.
Fireball Just what it sounds like: a guided ball of flame.
Fireblast This guided ball of compressed flame is like the fireball on steroids. When it hits, it ruptures and ignites all nearby targets.
Flame Arrow Release a stream of fiery missiles. You can guide the flame arrows by holding down the fire button.
Lightning Bolt Release a powerful bolt of lightning, but do not hold onto this spell too long. Overcharging it can be unpleasant.
Lightning Shock Level 1: Release small bolts of electricity.
Level 2: Hold down the fire button to release more powerful bolts.
Level 3: Holding down the fire button releases even bigger bolts.
Lightning Sphere The lightning sphere is like an electrical cloud that zaps anything near it, including teammates if you're not careful.
Magic Shield If you're under attack by magic, the magic shield protects you from magical effects. However, do not try to cast spells while inside a shield.

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Discussion

41 comments
Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

Awesome stuff for both characters. I always usually hate playing the mage in these kind of games. But it looks really appealing now.

Nuclear_Kernel
Nuclear_Kernel

Cool Chain Lightning When loosed, this lightning bolt can leap from target to target if aimed properly. Zapp a entire squad on enemies the see how teammates hack them to death

Whiteknight1981
Whiteknight1981

Definitely like the visuals of the mage. I wonder how the servers will be able to handle the load of 20 mages all shooting lightning at each other? I like the archer too, but only because it will finally take true skill to be a sniper. Now players that are really good will be able to finese the archer class into a league of its own, to be truly feared.

-Ed-
-Ed-

um pretty @#$% vid but they look like some sweet abilities. lol

_Sam_
_Sam_

I might get this game

Darthus
Darthus

Yeah... Oheson's post is a bit... strange. This is not the next gen MMO we're looking for? Yeah, neither is Halo 3, does that mean it's going to suck? This has nothing to do with MMOs. And the reason he's whining about mages is they do get large area affect, one hit kill spells at high level. But they're hard to control and often kill about as many of your own team as the opposing team. Not to mention, as people have mentioned, Assassin's eat mages for breakfast. It's just that so far Assassins' stealth as been not that great (it's being improved), so Assassins aren't popular, meaning mages run free. And Godless, yes, Assassins can stealth, sort of a predator invisibility that makes you easier to see the faster you move. And no, archers can't reveal them, but priests can see them all the time and can mark them for other players to see.

sangoanuta
sangoanuta

really, really nice. im already seeing all the noobs and lazy people as mages.

rykaziel
rykaziel

I'm personally excited about the game, I love magic classes, and the mage in this game is a blast! Although, I have a tough time killing in the multiplayer. The mage only gets that one limited range offensive spell, but once you get to level two, the mage really starts to shine. Just got to get better I suppose.

stuckboy
stuckboy

Oheson didn't learn even after the fifth unsuccessful attempt at charging a mage as a warrior They didn't say it hadn't been done before, they said that this game's multiplayer will have more meaning than most FPS. It'll be better than wasting your life on pointless deathmatches anyway. GFofgaming you are wrong, it isn't a ripoff of oblivion because JRR Tolkien invented orcs and goblins so there

tobleronian
tobleronian

GFofgaming... have you played the demo? Its more like say Thief mixed with HL2... with RPG elements. Its all about the combat system in this game which is fantastic from what I played in the demo.

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Hm... so far looks another oblivion cutdown to me, gonna see a review first and than buy. Hopefully its something more than that.

godless_b
godless_b

well Ohseon think if the assasins can become stealthed? then they would be perfect against mages, and rangers can detect stealth.

SlyMarbo
SlyMarbo

Oheson, I don't believe I've ever read a less informed post in my life.

Oheson
Oheson

I played the multiplayer beta. The only class you need to be is a Mage. No way to kill them before they 1-shot you. Very unbalanced. Not worth the time. The single player is very good however. Very Oblivion-like. Might be worth it to play the single player but if you are not a Mage you will get frustrated at the multi-player. This is not the next generation MMO we were looking for. We need someone to make a game as engaging and deep as Everquest or World of Warcraft but as fun Battlefield2. That is the holy grail.

AlexTaldren
AlexTaldren

They make it sound like this Crusade mode has never been done before. Has anyone heard of Battlefield 1942s Conquest mode and, more recently, BF 2's Conquest mode? RTCW: Enemy Territory had a Campaign mode where players were able to keep their stats for the remainder of the campaign too. Unless Ubisoft has 80% of the multiplayer game content unreleased still, I don't really see how it is going to be great. You don't even get multiple models for each character class. There doesn't seem to be any kind of weapon/armor system either. Instead, we are given a basic and boring skill tree.

rwbojorquez
rwbojorquez

True if not worth his time why write about it?

LGC
LGC

I don't like to complain.... but I have to say that this "article" is just a long list of characters abilities, it would be nice to get some actual thoughts from Gamespot on the playability/pro-cons of the classes or just how they think they are shaping up in the Beta... This stuff should be posted on the games own website, not on Gamespot... Maybe I'm wrong, but, given the circumstances, "We take a closer look...", for me at least, entails something more than just an information pamphlet.

slash1988
slash1988

He obviously read the preview to find out whether its worth his time or not

Kryptonite_000
Kryptonite_000

xBALOx--- If it's not worth your time then why are yuo here spending your time reading the preview? You are smart.

xBALOx
xBALOx

bah this game isnt worth my time...

slash1988
slash1988

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

winterymint
winterymint

Burning arrow DOES not do more damage..it does less damage than a normal arrow..

TheMightyLemon
TheMightyLemon

I fear that the mages pwn too much. The mages can get direct, one hit, ranged kills. They usually have the most kills. Archer and Assassin is hard though. Archer is almost impossible, while Assassin is actually half decent. I remember this one time..... There were 4 mages sieging the crypt in the beta. I decided to go around. They were in plain sight, unguarded. Lets say, 4 mages, 1 archer, downed in about ummm.... 20 seconds :).

Z34L
Z34L

Oh noz! arrow physics are realistic, I have to play the game?!?!?!?

Roland123_basic
Roland123_basic

wytefang..... how in the world is source not good for online gaming? Counterstrike source is one of the most popular FPS online.... get a clue man...

SHAZ101
SHAZ101

Nice. Going to have to get this one!

Darthus
Darthus

I have to disagree with Wytefang. Archers (along with Assassins) are probably the hardest classes to play, but I've seen archers tear up a map. Yes, multiple times be the person with the most kills on the server. As the preview says, it's different than an FPS, not just keep your crosshair on your opponent, but actually have to compensate. That requires practice, but once you're good, you're amazing. As for Mages, I'm not sure how long you played the beta to say Mages don't work. Aside from having relatively weak spells early on Mages were often targetted as possibly the most overbalanced of the classes. Their high level spells are some of the only abilities that reliably kill in one hit. Mages were almost always at the top of the kill charts.

c_bass
c_bass

Probably a personal fav of a few at GS...

wytefang
wytefang

Played in the beta, it was pretty crappy. In theory, it sounds cool to play an archer or mage class, in reality they just don't work. The reason why they don't work as viable classes in this type of game is that arrows and even spells don't travel at the instantaneous speed of a bullet (like in a modern FPS), and take time to reach their targets. In this game, however, you can move pretty quickly so the ranged classes can't get a bead on you virtually ever, thus making ranged classes mostly useless. Even the melee classes are pretty basic and uninteresting. This is coming from someone who was quite interested in the game, originally, so I'm not a specific "Dark Messiah" hater, by any means. It's just kind of broken. Then again it's based on the Source engine which is pretty crappy for multiplayer gaming (for the most part) so it wasn't unexpected, I guess.

Master_Chef08
Master_Chef08

Looks like Ubisoft and Arkane are pulling all the touches and cool moves they can. This game is gonna be sweet! I can't wait! :)

Sentinelrv
Sentinelrv

You guys sure do get a lot of previews on this game. :P