Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven is a role-playing game developed by New World Computing and published by 3DO in 1998. It is the sixth installment in the Might and Magic series, the storyline sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic II and the first of the Might and Magic titles to take place in the same world as Heroes of Might and Magic.
A Limited Edition version of the game was also released, including a cloth map, strategy guide and the first five games of the series on CD-ROM.
The player takes control of four adventurers and starting with the lowest attributes, guides them to be mighty heroes to save the fictional land of Enroth. Might and Magic VI effectively re-launched the Might and Magic RPG franchise, which had not seen a new title since Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen was released five years prior.
Might and Magic VI allows the player full roam over the terrain, as opposed to the grid-based maps of the previous titles. Battles can be conducted either in real time or in a turn-based mode, where the player can take time determining what enemies to attack or what spells to cast. However, the player's movement is severely limited in turn-based mode. As in the rest of the series, all action is shown through the eyes of the party.
The characters improve in ability using a mix of class-based and skill-based systems. Upon party creation, the player chooses classes for each character, which determines their abilities. As characters gain experience and advance in levels, they accrue skill points which make them more powerful in their fields of expertise.
The magic system in MM6 is unique within the series in that many of the more powerful spells are available to low-level players, which can affect the balance of the game. In earlier Might and Magic games, more powerful spells become available as characters attain higher levels. In later games the more restrictive skill point system prevents characters from learning powerful spells until they have completed the necessary promotion quests. MM6 players can choose to concentrate their skill points on spellcasting skills, and, providing that they can gather enough money to learn them, can begin casting the biggest spells at relatively low character levels.
The skill point system also affords the player an uncommon degree of liberty. While most weapon, armour and magic skills are restricted to certain character classes, characters' advancement in their learned skills is not restricted by class: an archer, for example, can become no less skilled at using a sword than a knight can. Also many adventuring skills, such as Repair and Merchant, are fully available to all classes. The skill system was made considerably more restrictive in later sequels.
Apart from the main quest line, there were a couple handfuls of side and promotion quests. Although they are average in number, most of them were very detailed in setup and planning. Because even with a spell imbalance, and being able to take quests and activities in different orders, they have the game life balanced so there is always something fun to do at each stage. After playing through, one can see where each side quest was placed just to solve a probable (in a few cases unlikely) slow point in the game.
While its role-playing side is very hollow; the character development system, non-linear plot, critically acclaimed musical score and the adoption of a fairly modern (for 1998) graphics engine made the game quickly popular amongst role-playing fans
With the problem of the corrupt Guardian, Sheltem, finally dealt with (see Might and Magic 1 - 5), the 1500-year war between the Ancients and the Kreegans spills over into nearby planets. One of these is the planet on which the continent-nation of Enroth lies. Ten years after the end of the Succession Wars, on a day later to be known as the Night of Shooting Stars, meteor-like vessels fall to earth, infested with Kreegans. The king of Enroth, Roland Ironfist, departs north with an army seeking to investigate the strange appearances of these devil-like creatures in northern Enroth, achieving a few early victories. However, betrayed by a traitorous Wizard named Sulman, Roland's forces are ambushed by an enormous Kreegan army. Roland, his Court Wizard Tanir and the noble Sir Ragnar are captured, while the rest of the Enrothian forces are decimated.
With their King missing and his young son, Nicolai, left to rule the kingdom, the people of Enroth begin to fear that the Ironfists have lost the "Mandate of Heaven" (the divine right to rule). The four player characters come from the town of Sweet Water, which was attacked and overwhelmed by the Kreegan invaders. Falagar, a powerful magician, intervenes and saves the characters, teleporting them to safety in the distant town of New Sorpigal. From there, he trains the four heroes until eventually they are ready to take on the demons and restore the Mandate of Heaven.