HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC III
Here you can find advises of the Author, which are founded on his many years of Heroes playing as well as opinions and strategy reviews of the other experienced players known on the 3DO Community of Heroes fans.
Please, keep in mind that all these suggestions are only the personal opinions of the authors and in no way are the ultimate recipes for playing the game.
This Manual is written for the new players in the Heroes of Might and Magic III (and playing single game against computer as a MultiPlayer game against other human players is a more difficult thing); for those who want to understand and explore the game deeper, and to recieve the full amount of pleasure it can provide you, should you only want to take it.
Before you will begin to play, read the original 3DO Game Manual from the first page to the last. That way, you will have an idea what are you facing here and what to expect. The Manual will be needed many months before you'll know every hero and structure figures by heart. So, keep it, and treasure it.
When you'll read about towns in the Manual, you'll notice that some of them apparently have big disadvantages before others. It is shown first of all in the number of the Mage Guild levels permitted for construction in the town.
For example, Stronghold and Fortress can have only 3 levels, and Castle has 4 levels, while all other towns have the complete set of 5 levels, and Tower can even have the extra spell for each level with it's Library structure.
Nevertheless, it is a grave mistake to presume that these towns are better and stronger, and those are worse and weaker. Such a presumption could cost you a victory on the battlefield.
The disadvantage in the town's Mage Guild could be covered by special magical abilities of its creatures (like in the Fortress), or by pure attacking strength of the units (like in the Stronghold).
Absolutely each town till the last one in the game has its advantages and disadvantages, and you can argue until you lose your voice which one is better, but it is a futile task as the game could be won or lost by any of the towns, everything depends from the map, and of course, from the player.
That's why there is a special section called 'Towns' with the description of every Heroes town. There you will find everything about the creatures of the town, including their statistics, images and history, and opinions of other players about the town.
When playing diffirent maps, try to explore the uniqueness of every town as when later in the campaigns (and in some single scenarios too), you will not be able to choose the town type and will have to play with what will be given to you. As every town requires the special technique and order in construction of its structures, you can't just build everything in every town by a single plan for every occasion. Therefore, you must become familiar with absolutely all towns, no matter that you prefer only one or two of them. Do not consider this excercise as a waste of time, as the only way to understand an opponent is by playing with the enemy's army and learning intimately his heroes and their capabilities.
Might or Magic?
The next thing to select after the town type is the eternal question of Heroes of Might and Magic - might, or magic. Which direction to choose - the path of pure physical strength or the path of magical spell casting.
The desicion is crucial as it would reflect on the whole future game strategy.
Surely, the game permits to have "mixing" heroes, something like a halfbreed, but it would be perhaps more difficult for you to analyze the development of a game with such a hero, though it could give you some advatages as well. However, it is better to recieve a clear understanding of what a magic and a might heroes are capable on practice, before experimenting with the skills set.
In the 3DO Game Manual, you can find the description of all Heroes's heroes with their statistics and basic skills. Players who are playing Heroes a long time all have their favourite heroes as you can see by yourself in some of their opinions.
Don't think that the hero of the might path doesn't know magic at all; no, on the contrary, he/she can and will use it more often than not (for speeding his/her own units or slowing the enemy, for example), but he/she surely doesn't consider it as his/her primary weapon. When raising up the levels, Might heroes increase first of all their attack and defense statistics as well as the special skills connected with combat, such as:
Logistics, Pathfinding and Leadership are also could be often seen among the Might hero's skills. The wise Might hero would learn Resistance to protect his troops from powerful magic users aswell as Diplomacy in order to recruit other wandering creatures and increase the strength of his/her army.
Generally, the Might hero of ab. 12th level is with the following primary statistics:
6 (meaning that he/she has 60 Spell Points)
Of course, there are always artifacts that could increase any of these statistics and significantly, as well there are some objects that can negate a possibility of using High Magic (higher than the 3rd level), on the battlefield, or not permit to use any magic at all. Such artifacts can be extremely valuable for the Might Hero in his/her fight with the spell-casting Magic Hero.
Magic is an elusive power, though extremely effective in the capable hands. The secret lies in not wasting it for small things, but to know when and which spell to cast with the outmost advatage for your enemy and the most excruciating damages from the enemy's units. The magic requires patience and knowledge.
It is a known fact that a strong spell caster with a small army can defeat a Might hero with a big army, but in order to do this, the magic user must be adept in his art.
In the game, especially at the beginning, the Magic hero will be developing skills connected with spell casting, such as:
~ All schools of magic (Fire, Air, Water and Earth)
Usually it is not the case that the Magic hero knows all schools of magic, as it is necessary to learn some of the important not-magic oriented skills as well, for example:
~ Necromancy (A must to learn skill for the Necromancers)
The exact set of skills is always depending on the player's style and strategy as well as the particulars of the map.
Depending in what magic school the hero will be expert, there will be diffirent spells for him/her that are more effective on the battlefield.
Generally, the Magic hero of the approx.12th level is with the following primary statistics:
18 (meaning that he/she has 180 Spell Points)
All artifacts that increase the attack and defense strength of the Magic hero are extremely important as it is always a possibility that your opponent will have an artifact, which would prevent any use of magic on the battlefield, and all your spells will be no good then.
Might and Magic!
As you can see, both of the paths have advantages and disadvantages, the same way as towns and nearly everything in Heroes III. (Personally, I think that the one more thing that makes this game so great - because everything is interconnected in it, every move has its consequences, both bad and good, the same way as in real life).
Actually, you can have both paths - one of your generals could be the Might hero, and the other could be the Magic hero.
From my point of view, the biggest diffirence between these paths is seen when sieging/defending a town. There the Magic hero has the clear advantage, but some players could have a completely diffirent opinion about this, and it doesn't mean that they or me are wrong or our views even if they contradict each other are worthless, no, on the contrary, they are very valuable as they can show how this game could be played million diffirent ways.
Levels of difficulty
You have chosen the town type, and your main hero to play with, and are ready to begin the game. There is one more thing that requires your attention. In Heroes III, you can always choose the level of difficulty on which you want to play on. It changes from Easy to Impossible. What does that mean? It means that on Easy level, you have an abundance of resources (gold, wood, ore and the
four precious ones: crystal, gems, mercury and sulphur), and the computer has very few and is playing "stupid". The higher level of difficulty, the more the situation is reversed (with the exception of the "stupid" part of course), until on the Impossible level you begin the game without any resources whatsoever and the computer shows the best of its abilities in killing you.
The Impossible level is for really expert players as you begin only with a small army of the starting hero and the only point for leverage is your town and your experience. But as you remember, Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world." Be assured, that the game is playable on every level, including Impossible. I am the living evidence of this as for the last two years I am playing only on the Impossible difficulty, as all easier levels don't have the same challenge.
Here lies one more plus for Heroes III: every player can choose the most comfortable level of difficulty according to the level of experience and recieve fun from solving problems of the game.
The Easy level is very useful as a teaching tool with the help of which a player becomes familiar with the basics of the game, the towns and the heroes' skills, with all the objects and moves both his/her own and the computer moves as well, with combat tactics and spell effects, with structure requirements and diffirent terrain (remember, we speak about a single, not a MultiPlayer game here). All these tasks will keep you more than busy, and it will be really very helpful not
to worry about any resources at the beginning, and concentrate on what you need to learn.
Scenarios or Campaigns, small or X-large maps?
Before you enter the game, you choose what you will be playing - campaign or single scenarios.
If you are new to Heroes, my advice is always begin with single scenarios as in the campaign you can't usually choose the town type or more often than not the starting hero can't be changed as well; also the campaigns are generally more difficult than the single scenarios, and require certain familiarity with the game from a player. The campaign for a beginner could bring frustration a dissatisfaction when for an experienced player it will be a welcomed challenge. Wait for your turn to save the countries, don't be afraid, it will come pretty soon!
Again, if you are a novice, then never choose the small maps until you'll not be comfortable in the game, as the small maps by definition provide the smallest territory for exploring and the fastest confrontation with an enemy, for which you can simply not be prepared for. Small maps are among the toughest, so ignore them for a time and choose maps with the size of medium and up.
Pay attention to the terrain on the map. Each town has its home terrain.
Depending on the terrain and from what town your hero is, he/she can move as fast as a racing horse or as a tortoise.
The speed of your hero moving around the map is an extremely important factor. Always look for the special artifacts (boots and gloves) that dramatically increase your movement on the land. There are two skills that increase your moving speed:
Logistics is a more general, and therefore usually more popular when Pathfinding is more specific and could be used when the map has a lot of rough terrain types.
The terrain type has its influence in battle too, by giving the native to it creatures one extra point in for their combat speed (for example, the creatures of Inferno will move +1 faster in battle on the lava terrain). There are again artifacts that could increase the battle speed of your units, and they are extremely useful as even the barkeepers know that who has the first turn in battle usually has an advatage before an opponent.
Don't forget, that it could be water on the map and therefore, sea travelling would be required. If it is really extensive, then a special artifact and the Navigation skill are the subjects to consider.
Structures not aligned with a town
Apart from the immediate objects on the map around a town, such as:
~ Resource mines
~ Water and wind mills
~ Objects that:
> give skills
> increase statistics (attack, defense, spell power, knowledge)
> Luck or Morale
> teaches a particular spell
> dwellings of some neutral or town creatures that could be flagged
There is still a lot of other structures that could play a crucial part on your way to victory.
You must learn what every one of them means and what can it give to you.
~ Small Trading Post can save you with the resource problem;
~ The Hill Fort can save a lot of money on upgrading your army;
~ The Refugee Camp can offer every week some new recruits to your army;
~ The Cover of Darkness will hide everything is black smoke for everyone except your own heroes
~ The Altar of Sacrifice can give your hero the next level in exchange for artifacts or creatures;
~ The Dwarven Treasury can give you a donation to your town resources;
~ The Griffin Conservatory and the Dragon Fly Hive can give you either Angels or Wyverns;
~ The Dragon Utopia (altogether the rarest building on the map) can give you not only money, but a whole pile of valuable artifacts as well;
~ Visit the shipwrecked ships in the ocean - they can give you money, and sometimes an artifact;
~ The Naga Bank will give you money and sulphur
~ The Cyclops Stockpile will give you resources
~ The Imp Cache will give you money and mercury
~ The Medusa Stores will give you money and sulphur
And the list is going on and on. All these objects are important, all can be useful, all can be the small bricks on your road to success. Do not underestimate their importance, do not exclude them from your tactics.
by BES the Black Dragon