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Might and Magic IX

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Might and Magic IX
Developer(s)New World Computing
Publisher(s)The 3DO Company
Director(s)Keith Francart
Producer(s)James W. Dickinson
Designer(s)Timothy Lang
Programmer(s)L. Dean Gibson II
Artist(s)Kate Vanover
Composer(s)Paul Romero
Rob King
Barry Blum
Steve Baca
SeriesMight and Magic
EngineLithtech (1.5)
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Genre(s)Role-playing video game
Mode(s)Single player

Might and Magic IX is a role-playing video game, the last developed by New World Computing for Microsoft Windows and released in 2002 by The 3DO Company. It is the sequel to Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer. It is the first to feature a significant game engine overhaul since 1998's Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. Powered by the Lithtech 1.5 engine, it was also the first game in the series to feature fully three-dimensional graphics. During production, it was known by the working title of Might and Magic IX: Writ of Fate,[2] and it is usually referred to by that title by fans of the series.

The music soundtrack is by Paul Anthony Romero, Rob King and Steve Baca.


Might and Magic IX features a party of four player characters, each of whom is selected at the start of the game. Each character has six statistical attributes: might, magic, endurance, accuracy, speed, and luck, and the number of points assigned to each attribute is based upon the race of the character: three of the four available races have both a strong attribute, which reduces the cost of advancement in that area by half, and a weak attribute, which doubles the cost of advancement in that area. Dwarves are proficient in endurance, but lacking in magic; elves are proficient in accuracy, but lacking in endurance; half-orcs are proficient in strength, but lacking in speed. The final race, human, has no natural affinity for any particular attribute, but similarly suffers from no penalties in any category. In addition to the six primary statistics, there are a number of secondary statistics which cannot be adjusted manually by the player, but are instead calculated based on other factors. Examples include armor class, which is determined by combining a character's endurance with the protectiveness of whatever armor he or she may be wearing, and hit points, which are directly related to a character's endurance rating.

Promotion system[edit]

Base class 1st promotion 2nd promotion
Fighter Mercenary Gladiator
Crusader Ranger
Initiate Scholar Mage
Healer Priest

Additionally, each character is assigned a particular character class. At the start of the game, there are two classes available: the fighter (might-based) and the initiate (magic-based). At various points throughout the game, the player will have the opportunity to complete certain tasks to gain a job promotion. Each character can be promoted up to two times, and there are two possible promotion paths for each class at each level. For example, a fighter can be promoted into either the mercenary class or the crusader class. A crusader can then be promoted into either the ranger class or the paladin class. Consult the chart at left for a complete listing of all possible promotion paths and classes.

Skill system[edit]

A typical gameplay screen.

There are a total of twenty three unique skills available in the game, divided among four distinct categories. There are six attack skills, such as blade or unarmed combat, that determine what types of weapon a character can use, and how effective that character is when using them. The three defensive skills, armor, dodging, and shield, determine what forms of armor a character can use, as well as his or her ability to parry enemy attacks. The four magic abilities correspond the four schools of magic available in the game (dark, elemental, light, and spirit) and determine a character's ability to cast particularly magic spells in each school. The final category covers miscellaneous skills, such as the ability to disarm traps, or to repair items that have been broken. Each skill comes in four levels of proficiency: normal, expert, master, and grand master, and the class of a character affects the skills that he or she is capable of learning. For instance, the Gladiator class can only attain the expert level of the thrown weapons skill, while the assassin can reach the grand master level.[3]



The game's main questline takes place a short time following the destruction of the world of Enroth - the location of Might and Magic VI through Might and Magic VIII - as depicted in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, and deals with the attempted invasion of the region of Chedian by the army of the Beldonian warlord Tamur Leng. The player controls a party of raiders from the town of Ravensford, who are shipwrecked on the Isle of Ashes and told of their fate by a hermit, Yrsa the Troll. Joined by another shipwrecked warrior named Forad Darre, they travel to the six clans of Chedian, uniting them against the threat of the Beldonian Horde.

Forad Darre is sent to lead the armies of Chedian against the Beldonian Horde while the party performs a task for Yrsa, but they are slaughtered to the man. The spirit of one of the six slain Jarls, Sven Forkbeard, reveals that Darre is a double-agent working for Leng, and the party is sent to the Otherworld of Axeoth to recover the dead warriors from Skraelos, the god of death. Before doing so, they are sent to the ethereal Dark Passage by the gatekeeper of Hallenhalt, Hanndl, to obtain a Writ of Fate from the Wyrd, Igrid. Returning to Chedian, they find the Beldonian armies occupying the city of Frosgard, and slay Forad Darre. Confronting Tamur Leng, the party learns that Leng possesses a second Writ of Fate, which contradicts the party's destiny.

Returning to Hallenhalt with Tamur Leng, the party speaks with Krohn and Fre, the leaders of the gods, who reveal that the god of chaos - Njam the Meddler - has been orchestrating their destiny from the start. Disposing of the Wyrdes, influencing Leng to send Forad Darre, and taking the forms of Yrsa the Troll and Igrid, the god of chaos plotted an elaborate coup against Krohn, coveting Fre and desiring rulership of the denizens of Axeoth for himself. Krohn sends the party to imprison a pursuing Njam in the Tomb of a Thousand Terrors, and they succeed, encasing the malevolent god in a shell of impenetrable frost. The gods present them their true Writ of Fate, stating that their true destiny all along was to imprison Njam in the Tomb.


The game takes place on the fictional world of Axeoth, in the Chedian region of the continent of Rysh. The previous three games in the series had taken place on the world of Enroth, the land of Heroes of Might and Magic. The change to a new world with little direct connection to previous storylines was prompted by the destruction of Enroth, as depicted in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, which also takes place on Axeoth. Unlike Heroes IV, however, Might and Magic IX makes only passing reference to the series' previous setting. Only one character from previous games in the series, Nicolai Ironfist, makes a return appearance, though King Roland Ironfist and the Kreegan are also mentioned.[4]

A map of the land of Chedian.

The land of Chedian lies upon the east coast of Rysh, and is divided into several towns and cities ruled by six disagreeable clans, with the nations of Framon and Beldonia further to the west. Time in Rysh is calculated according to years following the Great Cataclysm, an event in which the enigmatic sorcerer, Verhoffin, unleashed a destructive spell of such power upon the continent that its entire geography was reshuffled, crippling the Ursanian Empire from which the Beldonians are descended.[5] Each clan is ruled by a Jarl, and uniting the clans under one banner is a major objective of the game. Many themes, characters and location names, such as the gods, the Frost Giants, Lindisfarne, Arslegard and the Otherworld, were directly inspired by Celtic and Norse mythology.[citation needed] The continent upon which Heroes IV takes place, which was settled by refugees from Enroth, is located far across the sea,[6] and is not referenced in-game. In a break from tradition, very few elements of the series' science fantasy theme are prevalent in the game itself, though they are present in the backstory.[7]


Development on Might and Magic IX began in 2001, following the release of Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer. It was the first game in the series to be designed by Tim Lang, and the first in which Jon Van Caneghem, the series creator, was not involved in game design. As the first title in the series in which New World Computing received a deadline for completion from 3DO, Might and Magic IX's developers were faced with a lack of time and resources during production. This, coupled with limited employees due to staff cuts and ongoing work on Legends of Might and Magic, forced the game's developers to cut corners and eliminate features originally planned to be retained from previous games. Tim Lang has since commented that the game was "pre-alpha at best", and would have required another six months of development to be satisfyingly playable.[8]

Information on Might and Magic IX's was first published on the Norwegian website Gibme.com, and its development was later confirmed at GameSpot by a 3DO representative.[9] Jon Van Caneghem, the series creator, had minimal involvement in the development of Might and Magic IX. In 2004, he stated in an interview that if it were his decision, the game would not have been shipped in its present state.[10]

During the production of Might and Magic IX, Tim Lang began designing a preliminary storyline for a possible Might and Magic X.[citation needed] Potential story elements of a sequel had already been hinted at in the game itself. The game was planned to take place in Beldonia, and Nicolai Ironfist and the Jarls were to return as major characters.[11]


The game received "mixed" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[12]

Several critics expressed disappointment over the title, which was amplified and highly publicized considering the series' previously acclaimed success. The game was widely lambasted by critics, citing lack of environment interactivity, uninspiring graphics, and a general lack of polish.[18] AllGame stated that the game "suffers from rushed production (the "save game" screen is primarily made up of huge blocky text and boxes) and a flawed engine. It's a considerable departure from the previous games in the series, which were released virtually bug-free and widely regarded as full of 'heart and soul.'"[13]

As a result of its hasty development, a number of potentially serious software bugs were uncovered shortly after the game's release.[23] 3DO ultimately released a single patch (version 1.2) for the game that addressed some, but not all, of these problems. Shortly after the release of the patch, 3DO declared bankruptcy and was dissolved, eliminating the possibility that remaining problems would ever receive an official fix.


The game was a runner-up for the "Most Disappointing Game on PC" award at GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002 Awards, which went to Civilization III: Play the World.[24]


  1. ^ "3DO SHIPS MIGHT AND MAGIC® IX". The 3DO Company. March 28, 2002. Archived from the original on August 4, 2002.
  2. ^ Vox Clamant (December 31, 2004). "Might & Magic IX". Celestial Heavens. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Flamestryke's MM9". FlameStryke. Archived from the original on December 30, 2005.
  4. ^ New World Computing. Might and Magic IX (Microsoft Windows). The 3DO Company. Nicolai Ironfist: My father Roland always told me it's my duty to put my wishes aside, and lookout [sic] for the welfare of the people!
  5. ^ New World Computing. Might and Magic IX (Microsoft Windows). The 3DO Company. Yrsa the Troll: Five hundred years ago, the Dark Mage Verhoffin stood atop his tower on this very island, and cast a spell that rent destruction throughout most of the Ursanian Empire. Most believe that is what destroyed the Ursanian Empire.
  6. ^ Peterson, Dag (October 21, 2001). "Interview of: Might and Magic IX". ToTheGame. Archived from the original on February 15, 2008.
  7. ^ New World Computing. Might and Magic IX (Microsoft Windows). The 3DO Company. On Visitors from Space: ...have read from many credible sources that we have, in the past[,] been visited by monsters from the stars who arrived in a flying boat made of metal. In many of the cases they handed strange devices to people who would eventually lead armies and become rulers of nations.
  8. ^ Angelspit (December 31, 2004). "Tim Lang Interview". Celestial Heavens. Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  9. ^ Walker, Trey (June 21, 2001). "Might and Magic IX update [date mislabeled as "May 17, 2006"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  10. ^ Setzer (February 23, 2004). "Jon VanCaneghem interview in CGW". The Heroes Round Table. Archived from the original on April 27, 2004. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  11. ^ ""[spoiler]Might and Magic IX : the ending". The Heroes Round Table. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Might and Magic IX for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Hunt, Drew. "Might and Magic IX - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  14. ^ Liberatore, Raphael (August 2002). "Might and Magic IX" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 217. Ziff Davis. p. 70. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  15. ^ Todd, Brett (April 12, 2002). "Might and Magic IX Review [date mislabeled as "May 17, 2006"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on January 18, 2005. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  16. ^ Rice, Kevin (May 6, 2002). "Might & Magic IX". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 8, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  17. ^ Suzi Sez (April 20, 2002). "Might & Magic IX Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  18. ^ a b Brenesal, Barry (April 12, 2002). "Might & Magic IX Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  19. ^ pilou (May 10, 2002). "Test: Might And Magic 9 [sic]". Jeuxvideo.com (in French). Webedia. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  20. ^ Klett, Steve (July 2002). "Might and Magic IX". PC Gamer. Vol. 9, no. 7. Imagine Media. p. 62. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  21. ^ Thomas, Damian (April 30, 2002). "Might and Magic IX". RPGFan. Emerald Shield Media LLC. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  22. ^ Jackson, Jonah (June 21, 2002). "'Might and Magic IX' (PC) Review". Extended Play. TechTV. Archived from the original on August 6, 2002. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  23. ^ Vox Clamant. "Bugs". Celestial Heavens. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
  24. ^ "GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002 (Dubious Honors: Most Disappointing Game on PC)". GameSpot. CNET. 2002. Archived from the original on January 13, 2004. Retrieved July 10, 2022.

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