Heroes 3 - New to series, looking for beginner tips

The old Heroes games developed by New World Computing. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Heroes 3 - New to series, looking for beginner tips

Postby Freeloader » Jan 29 2013, 12:47

Thank gog.com for introducing me to many of these games I skipped over to play FPS games back in the late 90's and early 2000's, I've started with HoMM 3 and gotten friends to play it with me. Few questions I have so far, since beginner Youtube guides are pretty nonexistant and I want to be better than these clowns I play with.

So far (for multiplayer vs 3 computers) the prevailing logic is that one or two heroes is the way to go, maybe a third to mule. But I've read making a couple more heroes and combining the armies to go conquer with while the other heroes gather stuff, is a smarter strategy. Is this tactic map size or faction relevant or just overall better?

Secondly - is clearing out the neutral mobs in your immediate vicinity the way to go in order to level up a bit, or should you just go straight off exploring with the hero you choose? Should you clear just the trouble mobs for your otherwise army-less heroes to acquire treasure, or let them get those later when you can build more units?

Third - is there a specific building order of preference that the HoMM universe agrees is the best way to go initially, or is this resource/race dependent? Leading to the fourth/final question

Fourth - I did look and see a thread on ranking the different factions or "structures" they live in. Seems each faction is playable and decent, except Fortress. I chose the Necropolis first (used Vokial I believe) for no real reason, and thought they were decent. I will play them all eventually, but the one that seem hotly debated to me were Conflux. I've read people think Conflux is either the best, or they're garbage; not sure why the wide range of feelings on them? For now, I will be playing a fair amount of 2-4 player games vs the PC - is there a faction that M-L maps with that many people better? For purely cosmetic reasons - Necropolis and Stronghold appeal to me, even if two of the weaker factions.

Any tips for how to begin, other advice would be appreciated! This game is fun, glad I discovered it. Will have to check out the first 2 games and perhaps Heroes 5 at some point.

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jan 29 2013, 16:14

Always combine armies unless you have no other choice, make a super-hero that can kill everything with a huge army. Generally have one backup hero per city solely to move troops around and claim buildings. Invest in Logistics so the main hero can be wherever he needs to be quickly.

Don't fight neutral mobs unless you are guarding something justifiably valuable or control key strategic points. Mobs often cause more damage to your initial armies than their valuables are worth. Remember that not all resources are equally valuable to all factions and second-guess your projected casualty ratio.

The key thing is to always make sure that your gold growth exceeds your mounting expenses but that you also don't find yourself defenseless in the early game. Get a Capital quickly if possible, they are really worth it. Never overlook fortifications, by upgrading you allow yourself to build capital and also increase your troop production.

To recount in weeks.

1. Build basic creature structures in the first week.
2. Fortify in the second week.
3. Capital build in the third week even if you can't afford the troops
4+. In the fourth week bouyed by the money your new capital produces begin to build advanced creature structures.

The game rewards centralisation. If you have multiple towns DO NOT build anything in the secondary towns except town hall and city hall, they are goldmines and nothing more. If an enemy army decides to come a knocking, simply let them have them and focus on defending your centre. When you retake them you will often find the AI has built them up for you (isn't it kind).

No Fortress isn't completely rubbish, they have lizardmen and serpent flies which are pretty nifty. Conflux I have little experiance with but they were a rushed faction essentially made up of formally neutral creatures because the ghoulish technological Forge faction wasn't found exactly in line with the establish aesthetic of the series. But yes they are generally considered overpowered most because the creatures they are made up of were origianlly designed to go it alone as neutral mobs.

On a final note, focus on aquiring wood, ore and gold as you need an abundance of them in order to fortify and capital build.
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Postby Kristo » Jan 29 2013, 17:34

I'm going to build on what's already been covered here. I think your first week is very important to your overall success. You need to get as many different creature generators built as you can, even if you can't afford the creatures themselves. This increases your available army size later. Also, don't bother with upgrades right away (but see exception below). Unlike H2, there's no cost penalty for buying base troops and upgrading them later. For example, if you had a choice between getting Royal Griffins and Cavaliers on day 7, you should almost always choose Cavaliers. You can always get the Griffin upgrade later, but you can't replace those extra few Cavaliers.

The only troops you really need to buy in the first week are those that will help clear wandering monster stacks. Everything else is a waste of money at this point. Each faction has a key creature or two that severely tips the balance in your favor. Sometimes these are higher level troops that you can skip to due to quirks in the build tree. Note that the key creatures are often upgrades. Some examples:

Castle - Marksmen
Rampart - Grand Elves
Fortress - Lizardmen and Wyverns
Inferno - Efreeti
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Postby Salamandre » Jan 29 2013, 17:50

I will probably go against the previous advices (they are correct but...):

If you play vs computer only and map is enough big and you are not experienced player: go for capitol first. Novice players often listen to advanced players ideas but they don't know how to deal with minimal armies fights, then they fail. First week capitol at least ensures you to have level 7 dwelling on second week.

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Postby Pol » Jan 29 2013, 18:32

#1 One main hero and one mule. Yup. As time will go you may end with more mules and more generals.

#2 You need to clear only mobs which you can destroy with no casualties or which are blocking path to your resources (Not only ore, gems and so on but in general sense.)

#3 Establish functional mini army and economy. Capitol or gold mines or other towns are important. Then develop.

#4 While you are on the surface Fortress is one of the best factions. The only stronger factions are Necropolis and Stronghold. But. But you need to make up in the numbers and often to split armies. They are the only one owning 7th level units serial killer. And their heroes tend to achieve Logistic easily.
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Postby GreatEmerald » Jan 29 2013, 19:23

Whether to go for the Capitol (economy) or dwellings/Castle (military) heavily depends on the map. If you are in no immediate danger, go for economy. You will probably run out of gold down the road, anyway, a lot sooner than you will run out of creatures to buy, especially considering the cost of buildings and heroes. However, if the map is small or there is some immediate danger, or if all resources are heavily guarded, go for military first, as otherwise you would be a sitting duck.

You can also do something in between. You can build economy until you explore the boundaries of your area, then build military until you can defeat whatever is guarding the resources with few casualties, then continue building economy.

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jan 29 2013, 21:15

Salamandre wrote:I will probably go against the previous advices (they are correct but...):

If you play vs computer only and map is enough big and you are not experienced player: go for capitol first. Novice players often listen to advanced players ideas but they don't know how to deal with minimal armies fights, then they fail. First week capitol at least ensures you to have level 7 dwelling on second week.


The wood ore and gold requirements to build all the fortifications and a capital in the first week are beyond what would be available in a normal map. You normally only be able to do that if you already had a huge empire at game start, which would dilute the value of the Capital building.

GreatEmerald wrote:Whether to go for the Capitol (economy) or dwellings/Castle (military) heavily depends on the map.


Actually there is no contradiction. Remember that in Heroes III you must have a Castle in order to BUILD a Capital. This whole system is harmonious, Castle gives troops but allows building of Capita to help pay for them. This is not so in Heroes VI and V. There you can build capital right away without needing fortifications.

What generally must be avoided at all costs is the temptation to buy cool high-level creature structures and then run out of money to buy them all.

GreatEmerald wrote: However, if the map is small or there is some immediate danger, or if all resources are heavily guarded, go for military first, as otherwise you would be a sitting duck.


But fortifications not expensive high level units. Fortifications are at their premium in that small map sitation because the arrow towers do not increase in damage as the game goes on.

Low level units multiplied by a castle production bonus in addition to a fortification will often be able to defend against even more powerful armies backed up with a few high-level units if it is the early game (so total army size is small). Magic also helps here.
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Postby Freeloader » Jan 30 2013, 3:06

Slayer of Cliffracers wrote:
What generally must be avoided at all costs is the temptation to buy cool high-level creature structures and then run out of money to buy them all.


I think that is one of the biggest mistakes I have been making so far, as well as trying furiously to secure a 2nd castle and wasting troops. Rush to get the buildings, but not enough income generated to buy enough of them to warrant buying the buildings. I should know better too, I've played enough RTS games that I shouldn't fall for this. D'oh

Slayer of Cliffracers wrote:Always combine armies unless you have no other choice, make a super-hero that can kill everything with a huge army. Generally have one backup hero per city solely to move troops around and claim buildings. Invest in Logistics so the main hero can be wherever he needs to be quickly.


Ok, you and Pol said that. I don't know why I heard building 4 or 5 heroes immediately for a combine army was a good idea then. Do you upgrade the main fortification first, and then go for regular armies all after that for the remainder of week 1? I was doing a market, blacksmith, and pushing to get my weekly gold upped asap, but this is less crucial if I have a super army on one guy I guess.

I'll have to try combining armies next time, maybe with Stronghold.

The magic aspect of the game will be next on my list in terms of preferences and usage. Thanks folks for these tips, by all means suggest more if you'd like.

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Postby Arret » Jan 30 2013, 6:15

One thing of note, large and XL maps are completely different than small and medium maps because as you go on, town portal, dimension door, and to a lesser extent Fly are completely unbalanced. Magic is incredibly luck dependent for anything past level 2 spells.

Spells of note:
Level 1: Haste, Slow, Bless, Curse, Dispel, View Air
Level 2: Blind, Lightning Bolt, Ice Bolt
Level 3: Animate Dead (if Necropolis), Anti Magic
Level 4: Town Portal*, Clone, Berserk, Resurrection, Chain Lightning
Level 5: Dimension Door*, Fly*, Implosion

There is nothing wrong with going capitol first until you get the hang of the game. If you have magic arrow in the mage guild (which is a very high chance), you will be able to clear wood and ore generators out.

Generally you want to get Earth Magic regardless of anything else. Always get wisdom except on small maps. Logistics and pathfinding are useful for almost any hero.

Mysticism and Eagle Eye are garbage skills that should be avoided at all cost.

Any time you see a hero in the tavern that generates resources (+350 gold, +1 gem, +1 Sulfur) get it immediately unless it causes an interruption in your city building order.

City defense towers for sieges are bugged where they do extra damage based on defense instead of less damage. This means air shield and armorer skill will backfire.

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Postby Freeloader » Jan 30 2013, 15:03

Do the heroes regenerate in the tavern? I haven't even thought to check for that until now, like if they change every week or so. I would think the 350 gold with a hero is such a small amount, you would want the bonus. No?

The magic I really haven't looked deeply into at all. All I've read is Earth and Air is good, water once in a while, and fire sucks. I'll have to pull up a list on them because magic heroes seem to be better than melee ones. I learned that Chain lightning hits your own guys. D'oh. I guess some units are unable to benefit from haste too?

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Postby Pol » Jan 30 2013, 15:42

Yes, they change weekly. Or if you buy one.

Magic is very powerful here. Pay an attention to it. As for Haste or Expert Haste is one of most powerful spells. However it will not affect units with Magic immunit, ...like dragons. ;)
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Postby GreatEmerald » Jan 30 2013, 15:44

Heroes are randomised every week. Also, if you buy more than two, the next ones will not have any creatures in their armies.

All magic schools have their own uses. Fire has things like Armageddon, and that is a killer spell when using Conflux. So it again depends on the situation.

Haste should work on everyone that is not immune to magic.

EDIT: Ninja'd by Pol.

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Postby Arret » Jan 31 2013, 7:42

Freeloader wrote:Do the heroes regenerate in the tavern? I haven't even thought to check for that until now, like if they change every week or so. I would think the 350 gold with a hero is such a small amount, you would want the bonus. No?


On your main hero no, on any others 350 gold pays for the hero in a week. If you have more than a week left on the map (which is almost every time), anything else is profit. If you don't use the hero for anything dump him in a garrison and never see him again until you need troops from that city.

Freeloader wrote:The magic I really haven't looked deeply into at all. All I've read is Earth and Air is good, water once in a while, and fire sucks. I'll have to pull up a list on them because magic heroes seem to be better than melee ones. I learned that Chain lightning hits your own guys. D'oh. I guess some units are unable to benefit from haste too?


As a rule of thumb yes you are right on the guilds, but it is situational like everything else. Chain lightning hits your own guys if you don't use it right, enough time and you will see how it works.

Also somehow on my magic list I forgot to mention Shield (Level 1).

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Postby Artas1984 » Feb 1 2013, 18:38

Hero strategy: always have 3 main heroes:

1) Main hero with logistics, path-finding, wisdom and earth magic.

2) secondary hero who follows the first and in case some creatures want to join the main army, the secondary hero takes those creatures in his space in order not to loose them and keep the morale of the main hero high. The secondary hero can also collect resources and by doing so save time for the main hero to get on with only the most important tasks.

3) third hero must be a hybrid scout/wizard hero with scouting, logistics, pathfinding, eagle eye, scholar, earth magic, air magic and wisdom - he has to have several split very fast units and some very powerful spells. His whole purpose is to venture into enemy territory, abuse enemies by attacking them, causing massive damage with spells, surviving the onslaught for a one or two rounds, learning new spells from enemy, surrendering while he can with at least one of his super fast units remaining and then you buy him again in the tavern - he teaches you new spells, and then ventures into enemy territory to abuse foes again.
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Postby Korbac » Feb 5 2013, 18:15

I did not read the replies, but if you want to see an example of a pro-player gameplay, you could check out this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/user/maretti0

Watch how he does it.

Huge, huge faction-specific guides with a lot of detail are also written by Jolly Joker:

http://www.celestialheavens.com/448

There are lots of different situations and you can't just have a standard strategy. You have to adapt.

P.S. Towns are quite balanced, except for Necropolis and Conflux on larger maps.

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Postby Warmonger » Feb 5 2013, 18:51

The problem with Maretti's style of gameplay are as follows:

- These tactics are possible only on very rich random maps. Stock maps feel completely poor and empty compared to Jebus, for example.
- Prop players take advantage of various implicit quirks, like heroes' movement depending on speed of his slowest troop at the beginning of turn. Beginning player won't understand anything from it, especially not everything at once.

But yes, watching these can be inspiring if you are already familiar with the game ;)

Towns are quite balanced, except for Necropolis and Conflux on larger maps.

I'd say the game is very imbalanced in multiple areas but that's why it's still so much fun after all these years :)
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Postby Korbac » Feb 5 2013, 21:21

Freeloader wrote:The magic I really haven't looked deeply into at all. All I've read is Earth and Air is good, water once in a while, and fire sucks.


People on forums will give you advice on what to build, how many heroes to hire, which factions are strong, which magic school owns. Listen to them, but take into consideration that everyone has a different playstyle, so feel free to experiment and do things the way you want.

More than that - your strategy will differ GREATLY on the map size, difficulty and the map itself you are playing.

While you play you should always ask yourself a question - "is this action profitable for me?" (build a capitol or not. Attack the mobs or not. Hire a hero or not)

Your strategy is always situational:
For example, if the map is rich, it would be better to build an army and gain gold from your conquests. If the map is not, then going for economy buildings would be safer.

Another example:
While mysticism is widely considered a rubbish skill (I agree with that) - there may be a huge custom map with no mana wells/magic guilds on it - then it would be a useful skill.

As for the magic schools, I suggest you check out the Jolly Joker's guides. It has a really great in-depth discussion on the magic schools for each race. The general consensus is that Earth magic is exceptionally useful to everyone, Water and Air are very beneficial but less so than Earth. Fire is situational, but has the most devastating spells - Armageddon and Berserk, so it is far from being useless.


-------------------------------------------------------------------


The problem with Maretti's style of gameplay are as follows:

- These tactics are possible only on very rich random maps. Stock maps feel completely poor and empty compared to Jebus, for example.
- Prop players take advantage of various implicit quirks, like heroes' movement depending on speed of his slowest troop at the beginning of turn. Beginning player won't understand anything from it, especially not everything at once.


I agree. I guess it won't be very useful if you just started playing the game. He should however take a look at these videos after he gets familiar with all the game mechanics.

Still. I highly suggest checking out Jolly Joker's guides. For beginners - they are very well structured and cover the main logic of Heroes 3.

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Re: Heroes 3 - New to series, looking for beginner tips

Postby BoardGuest808888 » Feb 6 2013, 10:12

Freeloader wrote:
Any tips for how to begin, other advice would be appreciated! This game is fun, glad I discovered it. Will have to check out the first 2 games and perhaps Heroes 5 at some point.


Man, I'd be hate to say this, but the best way to enjoy this game is, just forget everything what were written above, just play the game whatever u want & like.

Try it u'rself, perhaps a couple dozen maps with different settings, towns, etc. Play multiplayer with friends, play solo, play campaign.

Found u'r own taste, u'r own style.

Then only, after all that, u go here, see what others did, tell others what u've learnt u'r own, read what others' gonna said/written. Let others' correct u'r mistake, learn from others' mistakes. Make friends, etc.

After that, make u'r own map, see how it fares, and so on.

Heroes 3 is not chess. There be far more than simply pawning u'r opponents. Really, but if u haven't known this game already, and began with asking others for advice, me suspect u'll get more than u needed.

Worse, u'll get into what kind of mindset available and not having u'r own thinking. U'll get the wrong view of the game faster than Ubi'd make another patch for Heroes 6 :D And later realize that be not what exactly u want in the first place.

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Postby Freeloader » Feb 10 2013, 14:52

Korbac wrote:
More than that - your strategy will differ GREATLY on the map size, difficulty and the map itself you are playing.

While you play you should always ask yourself a question - "is this action profitable for me?" (build a capitol or not. Attack the mobs or not. Hire a hero or not)


I am quickly learning map size and resources can drastically alter playstyle. I've been using the Stronghold & Necropolis the most, seemingly very different races with one fairly pro magic in the latter and one fairly non magic in the Stronghold. Stronghold is good for brute force; I like Crag Hack for a hero. Used Ramparts a few times, they are fairly good. The one race I thought I would like - Inferno - I have done poorly with. the Devil challenges the bone dragon for worst super unit in my experiences so far. They hit hard, but they're brittle as hell.

Your strategy is always situational:
For example, if the map is rich, it would be better to build an army and gain gold from your conquests. If the map is not, then going for economy buildings would be safer.


Yeah, I have been pushing for upgrading my capitol first to maximize gold, then unit buildings after so I can start making units and clear out the crap mobs nearby me, harvest all that treasure and level my primary hero up, and then re-fortify my Stronghold to produce more gold. It seems both strategies are used, depending on what is around you, and how quickly you are in danger of being attacked. I get the push to upgrade and get gold inflow as quick as possible, but I also felt that getting unit buildings out quickly allows you to get a full week or units out to get started clearing the trash that is profitable to kill. So I've been making structures to get Rocs and Ogres out before week 2.


As for the magic schools, I suggest you check out the Jolly Joker's guides. It has a really great in-depth discussion on the magic schools for each race. The general consensus is that Earth magic is exceptionally useful to everyone, Water and Air are very beneficial but less so than Earth. Fire is situational, but has the most devastating spells - Armageddon and Berserk, so it is [b]far from being useless


Yeah I'll have to. Using Stronghold, I have used magic a lot less than I would with almost any other race, I believe they have the most limited magic...

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Postby Arret » Feb 10 2013, 19:12

With arch devils you really need to take advantage of the fact that they have the no retaliation ability. Use the wait command and frenzy them.

The big problem for Inferno is that other than the T6&T7 the units are incredibly weak and the specialization of fire magic in the guild is an annoyance for a race with only 1 fire immune unit. The Inferno Gates cost too much to be really powerful and it requires nothing but Inferno cities so the value goes away once you reach into enemy/neutral territory.

Stronghold and Fortress guilds max at level 3. Castle is max level 4. With Stronghold, mass shield works great.


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