Heroes No Longer

Heroes No Longer is a game where you direct a party of powerful characters from a top-down perspective, similar to Diablo or Starcraft. They can gain experience, level up, and gain unique abilities as they go on their dungeon crawling activities, obeying your every command. At least as far as the tutorial.

After that, they get fed up taking orders from the mysterious force known as you, and decide to go pursue their own dreams and careers. The problem is, you still need the MacGuffin, and they’re the only ones who can get it for you.

With this in mind, you must find new minions and find ways to manipulate events in order to make the heroes come crawling back to your loving tyranny. Sabotage the warrior’s dreams of glory in combat by arranging treaties between warring sides. Utilize the wizard’s quest for knowledge by making sure the choicest scrolls and spells are stolen and placed in the control of bad guys you need to beat. Arrange for the rogue to be caught mid-heist and freed only on your command. Will you convince the bard to join by kidnapping his family or by buying out all the music venues nearby, thus bankrupting him? The more subtle the control, the more points you gain, and the further you can string them along.

You will have to study each target, formulate a plan from behind the scenes, and execute it using your scant resources. You play as the mastermind, orchestrating everything in their lives without them having the slightest clue. If you are a master player, you can get them all the way to the end before they have any clue what you’re doing, or barring that, without any choice in the matter.

In essence, you must attempt to establish regain control over your heroes without ever letting them know they are furthering your goals. It is as if they are playing their own game of Skyrim but you arrange events so that their quest lines fulfill your goals rather than theirs. You never fully direct their actions as you did at the beginning, but rather establish events to make sure they behave a certain way when you need them to. You alter the circumstances to change their AI parameters.

In the end, of course, after you manage to claim your prize, they will turn on you, but if you’ve been clever enough you can turn them back to your cause, or merely exploit their weaknesses and activate your failsafes. It’s all in how you play the game. Or perhaps I should say, how you play their game.

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