Heroes of Might and Magic IV General

Heroes of Might and Magic IV

by Harukaba

Heroes of Might & Magic IV was released on March 28, 2002 and had many major changes from Heroes of Might & Magic III. Heroes of Might & Magic IV is organized around the six types of towns; nature, chaos, death, might, life, and order. Each town is connected to two others and has a unique magic school aside from the might town. Each town has a might and magic hero but unlike Heroes of Might & Magic III, they don't have a specialty which makes each of them unique but instead every hero starts out with the same starting skill. When a hero gets two or more skills they will become an advanced class that provide a bonus. The logic behind this was to have the heroes start out the same but become vastly different as they gain in skills unlike the heroes in Heroes of Might & Magic III which start out different but end up with similar skills.

There is a total of nine skill classes the heroes can learn which has four skills; combat (archery, resistance, melee), nobility (diplomacy, estates, mining), scouting (pathfinding, seamanship, stealth), tactics (defense, offense, leadership), chaos magic (conjuration, sorcery, pyromancy), death magic (demonology, occultism, necromancy), life magic (healing, spirtuality, resurrection), nature magic (herbalism, meditation, summoning), and order magic (wizardry, enchantment, charm). Each hero can learn five skills each of which has five levels (Basic, Advanced, Expert, Master, Grandmaster).

The six campaigns introduce each of the towns and have nothing to do with each other and so there is no bonus level.

  1. The True Blade consists of five maps and is the Life campaign as Lord Lysander proves that Sir Worton isn't the last remaining Gryphonheart.
  2. The Price of Peace consists of eight maps and is the Order campaign as Emilia Nighthaven creates the kingdom of Great Arcan and defends it from being taken over by the Immortal King.
  3. Elwin and Shaera consists of five maps and is the Nature campaign as Elwin wins Shaera's heart and prevents the Elven kingdom from collapsing.
  4. Half-Dead consists of five maps and is the Death campaign as Gauldoth creates a new kind of Necromancer kingdom.
  5. A Pirate's Daughter consists of five maps and is the Chaos campaign as Tawni Balfour becomes Pirate Queen of the Gold Sea.
  6. Glory of Days Past consists of four maps and is the Might campaign as Waerjak unites the warring Barbarian tribes into one united kingdom.

H4MG (Heroes 4 Map Generator)

The Heroes 4 Map Generator is an advanced options map editor for Heroes of Might and Magic 4, created by iLiVeInAbOx05.

What can it do?

  • Create, open, and edit .h4c (Heroes 4) map files.
  • Paint terrain as you can in the H4 editor, but with significantly larger brushes and different shapes (circle and square so far). The utility here is to be able to quickly and efficiently paint an entire map. It makes level design, as far as terrain, fast and easy.
  • Paint "void" terrain. This is the completely black terrain that gets painted when using the rock or cave tool in the H4 editor. In the H4MG, you can paint that type of terrain without the rock or terrain boundaries, and on any elevation. Just make sure you place all of your objects first, since we can't yet place objects with the H4MG.
  • Gives quick and easy access to all map events and all objects which can contain events. Some fields on the events and objects are editable and some remain to be implemented. Most script types can be edited.
  • Copy / paste events between maps or objects.
  • Copy / paste scripts between events.
  • Save / load events to / from file. Rather than have to open a map with the scripts you want to copy, you can create an event group, copy the scripts to the event group, and save that to file. All event groups are loaded when the H4MG is started and the events can be copied / pasted to any map.
  • Save / load quest huts, gates, and guards to / from file. Have a cool item shop or quest hut? You can save the scripting to file, and load it to any quest hut type.
  • Viewing scripts in an event has been overhauled. Now scripts are in a Tree View, so you can navigate to any script you want, regardless of whether it is nested inside another script (such as inside a conditional script). You can create a new script at any level, and you can even drag and drop scripts to new locations, which can be extremely useful.
  • Easily navigate to custom triggered events from a script which calls said event. For example, if I have a script which calls a Custom Event "Blah_1", then I can edit the "Trigger Custom Event" script, and there is now a button to open the custom event. This is especially helpful for getting to custom events on objects which can be spread out around a map.

Current limitations (that I can think of):

  • It doesn't know how to create smooth boundaries between different terrain types, so the H4 editor is still needed to smooth things out.
  • It can't edit conditional requirements.
  • It can't edit or view all fields of objects with events.
  • It can't edit all fields of all scripts or events.

What features are planned? In order of priority:

  1. Area selection tool with advanced options such as copy and paste. Copy a part of the map, and paste it either in the same map, or on another.
  2. Elevation features such as cliffs and plateaus.
  3. AI difficulty adjustments, using scripts, based on this forum topic.
  4. Zoom in / out (right now you see the entire map).
  5. Change map size without having to create a new map.
  6. Random map generation.
  7. Convert H2 / H3 maps to an H4 map.
  8. Convert picture to map. (This is being worked on by others, thus the low priority).

How to setup:

  1. Download the mod here.
  2. You will also need to download and install the Java JRE from Oracle.
    • For Windows with a 32bit Operating System you'll want the i586.exe, for Windows with a 64bit Operating System you'll want the x64.exe.
  3. Unzip the .zip file with the mod and put the H4MG folder wherever you want.
  4. Double click the "Heroes_4_Map_Generator" icon inside the H4MG folder.

 

If you have any questions, want to request features, report bugs, or whatever else, please visit this forum topic or send me (iLiVeInAbOx05) a private message.


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"Ssh! Do you remember the fervent discussions about what could have been, when we left Enroth and escaped to Axeoth? When one world ended and a new one was born? Never ending quarrels and nitpicking about the lore?"

We have something for you. Thanks to our members, who formed secret detective brotherhood. And which we may name just at the end. They found a secret, hidden in dark places of the Internet that cannot be named (ever): "Jennifer Bullard's Lost Manuscript Files".

Once there was a gap between Heroes III and IV—there is still, just we learned how to live with it—one world died in flames and a new one was born, but all of that happened really hastily. Let's take a look under the lid, thanks to Heroes writer Jennifer Bullard, at what all could have been in the cutscenes, as new lore, or new heroes. Also let's read some lines from General Kendal's diary. Just don't say "Ouch" too early.

gking1 Wherever these documents were for all that time, credit for digging them up goes to Corlagon, iLiVeInAbOx05, Erwinner and Karmakeld. Guys, accept our humble thanks!


You can read more about Jennifer Bullard in her Interview from Astral Wizard site archived on our site or the one from Acid Cave.

Note please, that images are for illustration purposes only and were not part of the original files. Click to "readmore" to continue..


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This collection of maps contain scripts that can be copied directly into you own map and used "as is"; or modified to suit your needs. These can be helpful for beginning and advanced mapmakers for both time-saving and learning purposes. Most require that you only copy an object over to your map, but a few also require that you manually duplicate parts of the script from the Map Properties events, which are not directly transferable. Notes for the uses of the scripts are included in signposts on the maps, next to the appropriate object. Feel free to contact the author if you have any questions on how to use them. You may find the H4Util program useful for copying and editing scripts, though it can be a difficult program to learn. More information about these scripts and their uses can be found in this topic, where you can post questions and comments about this Library in general.

Script Map and Description Author Version

AI Attack Tool This system of scripting makes the Heroes IV AI forces much more aggressive, even when undermatchred against human or computer opponents. You can customize your map using the techniques in the scripts to make H4 maps much more challenging. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WoW
Multiplayer Script 2.0 This script gives the inactive player(s) in Multi-Player or Hot Seat games control over any neutral stack that the active player has encountered. In other words, all fights with neutrals will be Human vs. Human. Very simple to use and includes a detailed tutorial. An example of how it plays can be found in Olorin's "Battlestar" map. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
Quest Huts A set of simple quest hut scripts that include things like returning peasants to their homes, stores to buy artifacts, a place for heroes to sleep and gain strength, and many others. There are sixteen quest huts on the map, and they can be easily modified to fit your own quests. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. TGS
AI Boosts Some scripts that boost the AI with creatures and randomly boost AI heroes. It is easy to use with a guide and easy to adjust to your particular map. To use the creature boost you just need to know basic scripting, but advance scripting for the hero boost. The hero boost is partly in the main menu, but all creature boosts are on towns, so you can just copy the town to your map. Version 1.2 Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
Carryover Variables and Bank With these scripts you can use carryover variables (using carryover heroes) to keep track of data between scenarios in a campaign. The bank example lets you deposit up to 10999 gold, and in a later scenario visiting the bank returns that gold, plus 1-5 times that amount due to 'sucessful investments'. You can use multiple carryover heroes to process even more data. A simple, but very time-saving method for campaign makers. Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WoW
Change Army Alignment This script will turn an army (strength equivalent to 752 PEONs) to the alignment of its owner on day one. Just drag and drop the leprechaun to your map and give it a color. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
MegaDragon Dwelling This fake dwelling will generate one megadragon per month. It can be used by the computer using placed events (details in the map). It cannot be owned by a player. Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WoW
Sea Monster Dwelling This fake dwelling will generate two sea monsters per week. It cannot be owned by a player. Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
Necromancy Script This script shows how to summon creatures according to the number and type of casualties on the battlefield. Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
Necromancy Script This script shows how to summon creatures according to the number and type of casualties on the battlefield. TGS version includes expansion creatures. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. TGS
AI Creature Portal Script This script will allow the computer players to buy creatures from the creature portal in nature towns. The script is set on random towns. Drag and drop towns to your map to use. Discussion Topic This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std
Commander Script Copy of a script from WoG 3.58. It has many fuctions: more than 100,000 experience or 25 levels, commander may have 6 of 15 skills, support of any number of enemy (up to 2 millions) and more. With this script you can write to any map using the scripting map or Slava Salnikov's utility. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Std

Campaign Editor Hidden Objects
Hidden Objects (WoW) These are the objects that are not included in the editor palettes, but which can be used to decorate your map. None of them are functional, except Hexis' Dark Castle, which acts like a garrison. Simply copy the objects over to a custom palette for your own use. You can also copy them from this map directly to another. Thanks to Thomas Robenhagen for putting this together.

If you would like to submit a script map of your own to the Library, please contact us first. There are certain requirements for submissions, and not all scripts will be deemed useful to other mapmakers.
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During game, hit [TAB] and type any one of those cheats, then press [Enter].

 

Cheat / Description     

  
nwcAmbrosia - free materials   
nwcGoSolo - auto play   
nwcAres - win combat   
nwcAchilles - lose combat   
nwcHephaestus - elven chainmail   
nwcEtTuBrute - dagger of despair   
nwcNibelungenlied - sword of the gods   
nwcTristram - crusaders   
nwcLancelot - champions   
nwcStMichael - angels   
nwcSevenLittleGuys - dwarves   
nwcMerlin - magi   
nwcCronus - titans   
nwcBlahBlah - vampires   
nwcHades - devils   
nwcUnderTheBridge - trolls   
nwcKingMinos - minotaur   
nwcXanthus - nightmares   
nwcFafnir - black dragons   
nwcDoYouSmellBrownies - sprites   
nwcFenrir - wolves   
nwcFixMyShoes - elves   
nwcTheLast - unicorn   
nwcRa - phoenix   
nwcValkyries - ogre magi   
nwcGrendel - behemoth   
nwcPoseidon - sea monster   
nwcPrometheus - shroud fow   
nwcAthena - gain skill   
nwcThoth - increase level   
nwcIsis - learn spells   
nwcRagnarok - lose scenario   
nwcHermes - unlimited movement   
nwcValhalla - win scenario   
nwcSacrificeToTheGods - max luck   
nwcSphinx - reveal puzzle map   
nwcPan - max morale   
nwcCityOfTroy - build all buildings   
nwcImAGod - access cheat menu (beta version only)  
nwcAphrodite - tatooed white trash (combat screen only)  
nwcOldMan - old man jack (combat screen only)  
nwcExcalibur - saves the entire adventure map to main game directory in bitmap
Comments (2)   Add comment   

I. Intro

Heroes IV (H4) is everything you'd expect out of a new game designed for today's technology. The graphics are simply amazing. Designers intent on producing quality maps will likely be producing works of art at the same time. The creature appearances in-game (and animated) are much better than some of the stills we saw pre-release.

Sound? The only word that remotely fits is "stunning". The most excellent musical scores I've heard in a game combined with good creature and interface sound effects put H4 in a very elite tier. Some songs may motivate players to turn the base and volume on their speakers way up and just listen for a while.

Those used to H3 will think things are not as intuitive in H4 when they first install and fire it up. They should keep in mind that H4 IS a new game and not just another add on or expansion to the previous series. The best recommendation for new players is to just take the time and get used to it. Play will become nearly as innate in H4 as it was in the past.

One of the BIG pluses in H4 is that the game forces players to micromanage much less. The days of leaving 2-4 "pack-mule" heroes scattered around the map just to collect resources and creatures is over. Windmills, Creature Habitats and other such buildings now automatically send their resources to you every week once they're flagged. Monsters aren't quite the same but building a "Caravan" structure in a town allows you to purchase them directly from their habitats. It takes them a day or more to show up, depending on distance, but it's much faster than if the armies in question physically made the trip. Transfers between towns with caravans can also be done even with entire groups containing heroes.

Another big change in H4 is the fact that armies no longer require a hero to escort them; though, there are benefits to doing so as one would expect. You wish to reinforce your main hero? No problem. Just buy the creatures at the closest town and send them on their way. You can have up to eight separate armies, with or without heroes, traversing around the map at any given time.

Added strategy comes to the game with the new Fog of War or Shroud. At the start the black, murky haze will hide all aspects of the strategic map save whatever your town(s) can see, just like the old game. Once a hero moves over an area one can see what's around as expected; however, once the hero leaves the area the terrain is shaded into a darker color scale and enemy heroes and armies can not be seen. Given this, it will now be possible to sneak up on your opponents if you move stealthily enough. Buildings of your flag have a short scouting range so an approaching enemy would do well to avoid such structures to keep from sounding the alarm.

II. Towns and Creatures

In H4 there are only six town types to choose from: Academy (order), Asylum (chaos), Haven (life), Necropolis (death), Preserve (nature) and Stronghold (might). Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses as well as a unique unit load out. Many towns have likenesses to those from H3; however, the destruction of Erathia seems to have scrambled things a bit.

Another important change is the fact that though there are now eight available creatures per town, only five can be produced. There are two types of creatures per level in each town. Of the four separate creature levels, only the weakest (L1) creatures can be produced simultaneously. A choice must be made of which habitat to build at each level from two to four. This means that capturing a town of your primary type is not a guarantee to be an exact match to your capital's habitats.

Lastly, it's important to note here that there are now no upgrades to any creature type in towns. Thus, the crimp on your resources is a bit lower but they need to be considering the top gold output of any town is now 1000 a day barring the Grail Structure.

The Academy

This town, given the units available, most resembles H3's Tower. Many units like the powerful Titans and spell casting Genies have returned. There are fresh faces too like the Dragon Golem who, despite a comical appearance, is a worthwhile combat unit.

Each town, save the Stronghold, has it's own "School of Magic". The Academy boasts the "Order" side of the magical spectrum. There is a small amount of direct damage in the forum of "Magic Fist" and "Ice Bolt". This is not where the school gets it's strength though; instead, a powerful array of combat affecting spells such as Illusion, Berserk, Hypnotize and Mass Slow make such armed wizards a formidable enemy. See the CH Spell List for info on specific spells from all the schools.

The average Academy unit statistics are a bit below average but not to where the town is unplayable. The units you know from the Tower are still formidable and the newbies are worthwhile also. So which creatures does one choose to produce? That is what will be covered for each town:

L2: Gold Golems They are very tough on hit points and do more attack damage than any other L2 unit. Combine this with heavy magical resistance (75%) and it's very worthwhile. However, they are very slow and getting them into a fighting position is sometimes difficult.

L2: Magi These aren't the plane Jane shooters you remember from H3; instead, they come with a small repertoire of powerful spells that they can inflict upon the enemy. You get some nice damage out of these units and good longevity since you can protect them in the rear of your battle line.

My Vote: Magi. The L1 Dwarves and L4 Dragon Golems (if chosen) give you all the tanking action you could need. Any more detracts from your combat potential.

L3: Genie Once again, the Genie is a potent spell caster, but this time you get to control where "she" casts. They can shoot for big damage or create Illusions (copies of any stack on the battlefield). The Illusions may not sound so powerful but they deal out and absorb real damage which is a great way to reduce casualties. Genies are quite brittle for L3 units though so it's not a good idea to have them on the front lines where they can easily be pummeled.

L3: Naga Just like you remember them: Nice damage, No Retaliation and decent toughness. While she is no speed demon, she's not a slug either.

My Vote: Somewhat close but I definitely lean toward the Genie. Their Illusion spell and direct spell damage are just too cool to pass up.

L4: Dragon Golem One of H4's brand new units. They are formidable melee creatures with their First Strike ability as well as the fact that they cancel out enemy first striking. Their speed is good so despite their large size it's fairly easy to get them where they're needed.

L4: Titan How can one not like the big guys?! They were always a favorite in H3 and they don't disappoint now. In addition to being high damage ranged units they now come with "Chaos Ward". It's an ability which reduces the damage they take from troops and spells of that alignment.

My Vote: Has to be the Titan, though the Golem isn't a bad choice either.

The Asylum

It's hard to say which H3 town the Asylum mirrors given a broad mix of units now makes their home here. This town boasts "Chaos Magic" which offers a multitude of nice direct damage spells like Chain Lightning and Implosion. There are also some potent creature affecting spells like Blood Frenzy (+25% to all friendly melee combat creatures) and mass First Strike. The offense from this school is very potent to say the least.

As far as units go, the L1's are somewhat weak but that's to be expected. Less "utility" here than the Academy but what they lack in spells, they gain in brawn.

L2: Medusas Like in H3 the Medusa is a shooter with an added kick; however, she no longer turns things to stone that she touches. Instead, the old Mighty Gorgon "Stone Gaze" ability yields her extra kills in addition to her normal ranged damage. Not bad at all.

L2: Minotaurs Detuned from the heavy axe swinging creatures you remember. The key change to this creature though is their brand new ability to block both melee and ranged attacks. It kicks in a decent percentage of the time and stops all incoming damage before they retaliate. Once again... not bad.

My Vote: The best offense is a good offense (I love tautologies). I'd rather have a unit that can shoot at things and get more kills than something that may or may not be a bit more survivable. Plus, they are the only real range units you get given the L1 Orcs are not very effective. Medusas are the way to go.

L3: Efreeti Displaced from their old home of the Inferno, these units are a worthwhile choice. They are very fire based which means they can resist such attacks but also can be resisted at the same time. Their fire shield is a small but noticeable kicker to their offensive potential.

L3: Nightmare Nightmares are very tough (most hits out of any L3) with good speed and damage. They can cast terror on a target which effectively nullifies a creature's actions for several rounds. Nice if you NEED to shut something down in a battle. Another thing is that these guys just look really cool. Kudos to the artist that designed him.

My Vote: Pick 'Em. Either one will serve you well.

L4: Black Dragons There's a lot to be said for being the biggest and the baddest. The BD is exactly this. They have more hits and damage than any creature in the game. BD's are also immune to all spells just like in H3 which can be a curse and a blessing. So... "what's the problem" you might ask? Quantity and cost. You get one of these a week for production and they are a whopping 8000 each plus a small amount of sulfur. Still... even just a few of these wyrms will add SO much to your army.

L4: Hydras Big, slow and anything (unfriendly) next to it just gets whacked with no chance to retaliate. Because the Hydra is limited to ground movement it sometimes is hard to get them into a good attack position. Despite getting twice as many per week as one does BD's I don't think there is a real comparison here.

My Vote: Big, nasty Dragons. (and no I'm not biased just because I'm the "plaid" variety)

The Haven

The Haven is very much like the H3 Castle given the majority of those creatures made it to H4 in this town type. It's a good town for those who enjoy being able to protect and/or revive stacks of their troops in order to better maintain critical mass. Various spells from the Life Magic school as well as Haven creatures will better ensure the survival of your armies.

The potential to select three, quality ranged units is one of the Haven's better points; however, one of them, the Ballista has some serious drawbacks.

L2: Ballistae This war machine is mechanical and thus is immune to certain spell effects. Also, it can fire through walls and obstacles with no penalty; even at great distance. Once again one could ask "what's the problem?" This time, there is an answer that some won't like. The Ballista is one of the slowest units in the game both strategically and tactically. Of course, the tactical move is much less important given it's firing bonuses, but though actual experience I'll say this unit DOES slow your main army down by anywhere from two to four spaces a turn. Does that overcome its good points? Maybe.

L2: Pikemen As an alternative to the Ballista, you lose the ranged attack with the Pikemen but not entirely. They can strike creatures melee but can do so up to two units of distance away on the combat screen. The defending unit does not retaliate given the Pikemen actually have the space to move out of the defenders range.

My Vote: I lean towards the Pikemen but claim the Ballista has its merits. Towards the end of the game in which I first used the big machines I got tired of toting them around so I left about 120 of them in my capital with a newbie hero. An enemy snuck an army to my gate, and from the center platform the Ballistae annihilated the attacking force, which included Faerie Dragons and a few other high level stacks.

L3: Crusaders He's tougher than you remember him and he carries a larger sword. Other than that the Crusader's function is about the same with average speed and double strike. Add a built in Death Ward for defense bonuses versus death aligned targets and it's a worthwhile choice.

L3: Monks If you opt to go against the Ballista it'd probably be wise if you chose Monks instead of the Crusaders. The Monks are the last chance you'll have for a ranged unit in this city type and they still fare pretty well in the roll. Like their Crusader counterparts, they too have Death Ward. (Additional Note: Monte Python fans will get a kick out of seeing their animation. Just move the cursor over them and they'll do it.)

My Vote: Pick 'em. Once again I'd say it depends on your L2 choice. If you pick the ranged unit in L2 then take the Crusader for L3 and vise versa.

L4: Archangels Very fast and very deadly, the Angel still comes with his Resurrection spell. Be careful where you use it though since it's a one shot deal no matter if you resurrect 5 hit points worth of creatures or 500. You can't make a mistake by picking these guys.

L4: Champions By far, the Champion is the weakest of all the L4 units. So why pick them over the Archangel? What you lack in quality you make up for in quantity. Four Champs a week is greater than some L3 creatures even. They work about the same here as in H3. The farther they move before striking, the more their damage bonus will be.

My Vote: The Angel by a wing. A flying unit with Resurrection beats out a ground-pounder despite getting only two a week. You can have fun with the Champs no doubt so picking them isn't a mistake... at least not a bad one.

The Necropolis

Given the H4 Necropolis is mostly a conglomeration of the H3 town of the same name as well as the Inferno, perhaps they should have named this town the "Necroferno" or maybe the "Infernpolis". Regardless, this town is the center for Death Magic as one would expect from such a title. Some of the more potent spells involve reviving dead or nearly dead stacks to fight for your side during a battle. Good spells to mention would be Vampiric Touch which gives the targeted stack the Vamps life regain ability for the duration of combat, also there is the spell called Sacrifice. This version is better than what you remember from H3. You still must target one of your own stacks but it now revives twice the number of hits that the live stack had prior to the spell. I used this on a number of Imps once to revive some Venom Spawn of mine that had been smashed. A nice exchange.

Some very powerful units reside in the Necropolis. Some would argue they are the best in the game. Some of the less notable undead creatures come with affixes like "Skeletal" and "Insubstantial" that offer significant defensive bonuses.

L2: Cerebri The three-headed dogs are back again to prove their bite IS, in fact, worse than their bark. It's fairly easy to maneuver them into positions where they can hit multiple targets. They are a great candidate for the Vampiric Touch spell given their affinity to be mass mugged by the computer. The spell definitely helps keep them alive.

L2: Ghosts I know what you're thinking. You played H2 and remember how big you could make your Ghost stack. Sorry. Not this time. These particular Ghosts do not have the ability to grow like the H2 version. They simply are fast flying units who can "Age" their opponents by dropping their defense and speed values when hitting them.

My Vote: For a potent town, the L2 units are sort of bland. Either one is a pretty good choice but I prefer the Ghosts since their numbers can be augmented by the Undead Converter town structure as well as a hero's Necromancy skill.

L3: Vampires Fast, Flying, Undead, No Retaliation, Life Sucking. All in one package? Whoo Hoo! The only problem is that only three are produced a week. Of course, the converse to this is, that a like number of Venom Spawn are produced so you don't lose anything quantity-wise. In addition, just like the Ghost, skills and town structures can help get you more Vamps.

L3: Venom Spawn Many look at the L3 choice for this town and don't even give a second thought to these disgusting blobs. Well, those people should think again. The Spawn boasts the top amount of damage for any shooter in the game barring the Titan. The only L3 that does more damage than the spawn would be the Nightmare. In addition they have a nasty poison effect that melts away the hits of any affected stack every turn until the end of combat. Consider again that the Spawn is the only ranged unit the Necropolis has to offer.

My Vote: This one will be the topic of debate for the duration of the game's popularity. It's looking like the early consensus leans toward the Vamps but I'll go out on a limb and say the Spawn closely competes. Who would I chose personally? Um... errr... [cough] Vamps [cough]. Live opponents will be motivated to concentrate fire on the Vamps so the Spawn may be more popular in multiplayer games.

L4: Bone Dragons Much improved over their H3 predecessors, the Bone Dragons are very tough (second only to the Black Dragon and tied with the Phoenix) and now strike without retaliation. In addition struck creatures will run a short distance away which can help if you wish to break up someone's formation.

L4: Devils The cataclysm that swallowed Erathia left these tortured soles without a hand. Apparently the prosthetics available in Axeoth were few and far between. I'm talking about the trident-like thing that passes for one of his hands. Aside from that, the rest of the Devil's appearance is fine and his performance is outstanding. The teleportation skill can put him anywhere on the combat map he wants to go which is potentially unbalancing. Life ward keeps him from being hurt as bad by Haven creatures and they can summon a number of Ice Demons equal to their own stack once per combat.

My Vote: Devils. Easy. Until (if at all) the teleport skill is nerfed they will be very superior to the Bone Dragons.

The Preserve

The Preserve is the center of Nature Magic. Most of the spells associated with this town are one kind or another of summoning. This type of spell lasts only for the duration of combat, so don't count on magically creating permanent stacks of whatevers this way. Mass First Strike and Mass Speed are a couple other nice spells the school has to offer.

The Preserve gets a bonus that no other town does in the form of a summoning portal. This gate will allow you to summon a nice array of nature creatures in varying quantities. Unlike the summoning spells, these creatures are permanent. The types available include various low and mid level creatures, the Elementals (nicely improved in most cases) and even the new Waspwort which is a decent ranged unit that infects it's targets with weakness for the duration of combat.

The towns regular units are fairly potent.

L2: Elves Double Shot and First Strike. Why would one not want to field them? No good answer. Still, it must be pointed out that their hit points are below average when compared to other L2's and a weekly quantity of six is the lowest you can get in the bracket.

L2: White Tigers Don't tell Sigfreed and Roy about this game. They may complain that fielding these cats in battle is an animal rights violation. In all seriousness the big cats are decent units having nearly twice the hit points that the Elves do. Their damage is double the Elves level but it evens out given the cats only strike their opponents once.

My Vote: I think the Elves are a better choice here since higher level Preserve selections WILL yield you some nice melee creatures in the form of the Griffon or Unicorn and potentially the Phoenix at L4. First Strike for ranged is important given other ranged units won't immediately fire back since combat is simultaneous now.

L3: Griffons These Castle off-casts somehow ended up here after the long trip from Erathia. Obviously only the stronger members of their species survived as they are now very tough and do much better damage. They still come with unlimited retaliation

L3: Unicorns Slightly weaker than in H3, the Unicorn still is a worthwhile unit with its Blinding skill.

My Vote: The Birds win. Getting one less bird a week than Unicorns isn't that big of a deal. Their initiative is high enough to have them wait well into the turn so they can attack after other friendly units have absorbed the defender retaliations. I actually had a fair sized stack of these units in a game where I was playing Haven as my primary town. I flew them over the wall on a city attack and after the enemy decimated them (taking heavy casualties in the process) I had my Archangel stack resurrect them. The AI had to be cursing and swearing at that point.

L4: Faerie Dragons Not the plushy purple butterfly-winged dragons you remember from H3, but they still come with a lethal spell compliment. A stack of as few as ten or so of these will wreak havoc across the battlefield. One thing to do with them (provided the space is available) is split just one off into it's own stack. While the big group of them fires away with lightning or other direct damage spells, the lone dragon will cast Confusion to shut a key enemy stack down every turn. Watch their Magic Mirror skill too. I nearly killed my own stack of Magi once given I forgot what that the Dragons would reflect a portion of spell damage back at the caster. Nasty.

L4: The Phoenix Ever want to know what a BBQ'd chicken would look like provided the chef forgot to de-feather the bird in question? Bring on the Phoenix! Despite the bird's silly appearance they STILL are the fastest units in the game. Give them Fire Breath and Rebirth for skills and they are just as alluring to use as ever. As with any breath weapon creature you must be careful where you place them as the AI has a knack for making your Birds (Black Dragons too) fry your own units.

My Vote: Pick 'em. Sometimes I really wish I could have both units from a given town. This is one of those cases. Though the "Fire Chicken" is more of a solid combat unit, the Dragon is about the nature town's only source of direct damage magic.

Preserve Summonables: I won't go into the L1 or L2 creatures you can summon through the portal since I suspect that none will really be a popular choice.

L3: Air Elementals These are nothing more than really tough (and fast) flying units. They are Insubstantial which means their over-all defense rating is doubled for physical attacks both melee and ranged. Not bad but nothing to do cartwheels over either.

L3: Fire Elementals They are slower than their airy counterparts, but have the advantage of a ranged attack. Fire Elementals, as one would expect, have a fire-based attack which means they resist fire attacks as well as can have their own salvos resisted. If you're looking to bolster your ranged attack don't bother with these guys. See the "Waspworts" section below as to why.

L3: Earth Elementals They are slower than an Air Elemental but have magic resistance and do more melee damage. Slow tanks are nice in some situations but I'm always more willing to sacrifice a little toughness and damage for better speed.

L3: Water Elementals Instead of being ranged like in H3, Water Elementals now come with a short list of spells. Direct damage from magic is sometimes preferable to physical ranged attacks since there is no retaliation. I like these units a lot and are one of the top three portal choices in my opinion.

L3: Wasports Do you like your salad with Italian dressing or napalm? These leafy, moving plants are very deadly shooters and come with a built in Weakness spell versus whatever they target. A base quantity of six a week means you can stack up large quantities of these in a very short time. They are over 50% tougher than the water elementals but are slower on the strategic map. A nice heavy hitter if that's what you're looking for, plus they are a good alternative to the Water Elemental's direct damage spells if you're facing a heavily resistant opponent.

L4: The Mantis A big, giant, fearsome bug. His Binding skill keeps creatures he strikes in place as well as minimizing their damage. They're SLIGHTLY brittle at 210 hits a piece but that's not that bad of a detriment. Their cost per average damage point is a bit high as well. The ability to hold things in place is somewhat useful, but I've found that the AI likes to beat on the bug with everything possible until the bug either lets go or is dead. A weekly quantity of one just isn't enough either. I'll take Black Dragons with that same quantity because you get SO MUCH more with them. The binding utility just isn't worth it.

My Vote: Water Elemental, Salad Slicer or Mantis. The two L3 units are both very worthwhile. If, however, you'd like to field another L4 in addition to your Faerie Dragon or Phoenix then the Mantis is the way to do it. The L1 and L2 choices just aren't worth it and the Fire and Earth Elemental don't give enough bang for your buck.

The Stronghold

Magic? We don't need no STINKIN' MAGIC! That's right, this town has exactly zero access to magic of any type save a potion or two. Instead, the town concentrates on brute strength, magic resistance and large army sizes for it's success. At the town tavern you may hire heroes from any of the other five town types EXCLUDING those who come with any magic or spellcasting skills. What you CAN do with those other hero types is find yourself one with "Nobility" to augment your creature production. See Section III for more info on that skill.

The Breeding Pit town structure is very important to the Stronghold because of the 50% bonus to creature growth it bestows. Imagine how big of an army you could create with the Pit, a hero with Grandmaster (GM) Nobility and a grail structure. That would be +150% creature growth total.

L2: Harpies They have the same functionality as they did in H3, striking without retaliation after which they fly back to their original position. Their move rate in combat puts them in a very elite tier of creatures that move across the entire battlefield and attack in a single turn. Not bad for a measly L2 creature.

L2: Nomads The Nomads only slightly slower then the Harpies but are about twice as tough doing around 50% more damage. The fact that they have First Strike adds to their survivability.

My Vote: The Nomads are second to only the Gold Golems in toughness and are quick enough to move over ground without much problem. I'll take them over the Harpies most of the time. Choose either way and you get a good unit though.

L3: Cyclops One of the creatures I've learned to hate (at least when the enemy has them) is the Cyclops. Their damage is not extraordinary but the fact that they do it to a wide area of effect can be extremely devastating. A quantity of three a week isn't that much of a problem considering the various means you can use to augment the number. In fact it's most likely a good balancing factor. Be careful with these critters as it's possible to damage your own stacks if they are close to the target area.

L3: Ogre Magi The Ogres are very slow and have a magic arsenal of the Blood Lust spell. Other than that I don't see how they compare even when you get twice as many a week as you do Cyclops. I doubt even the AI in it's current state would make the mistake of fielding these guys.

My Vote: If it's not obvious I'll reiterate. Take the "One Eyed Rock Hurlers" unless you like mediocrity.

L4: Behemoths AKA "Gorilla Mutants". These lumbering beasts do amazing damage with their strength bonus; however, their primary problem comes from the fact that they are so large and so slow at the same time. Smaller creatures can fit in tighter places, which helps them get around obstacles and such. I recall in one battle I absolutely needed the Behemoths to attack and kill a specific stack or my hero would be killed and get no experience. The Behemoths couldn't fit in the small space between the ground-clutter and tried to walk all the way around ending his turn with effectively no action. Result: Large amount of swearing and a dead hero (not quite in that order).

L4: Thunderbirds Given the glowing review of the "Gorillas" you'd think the T-Birds would hands down be the winner in this case. Well, you'd be right. They're damage isn't quite as good and they are definitely more brittle but this is overcome by a nice lightning effect as well as a starting quantity of three a week instead of two. The fact that they fly and move about double the Behemoths distance should also be mentioned here.

My Vote: Thunderbirds obviously; however, if you don't mind dealing with the immobility of the Behemoths go ahead and take them. Their Strength ability combined with an already high damage total makes them VERY dangerous... given they can actually get into the fight.

III. Heroes and Skills

One of the biggest differences between H3 and H4 is that heroes now actually are part of the battlefield rather than passive, spell-casting spectators. This means they can fight, kill and be killed. Don't worry, though. If you win a battle in which a hero is slain you'll notice a tombstone in place of the hero's picture in the army list. Bring that group back to any friendly town and he/she will be resurrected for free. Generally, it's a good idea to avoid getting your hero's killed because they will get no experience from a battle in which they are slain.

You can also have multiple heroes per army group in this game. I think two is the optimal number. Any more and you detract from the number of big armies you can field along with them. Any less and you miss out on either combat benefits or spell casting.

The skill system in H4 is remarkably different than in H3. In the old game a player would get a choice of two skills whenever a hero leveled and was restricted to any 10 skills total. In H4, this has changed. The skills are broken out into "Primary" and "Secondary. Each primary skill has three secondary skills associated with it. As one would expect the all the skills in each primary group are at least loosely related to each other. Every hero can have up to five primary skills as well as all three secondary skills that go with each primary. Each skill has five levels of expertise in the following order from lowest to highest:

1) Basic
2) Advanced
3) Expert
4) Master
5) Grandmaster

Each level gains certain bonuses and abilities beyond the previous one. I won't go into all the skills here because they are adequately covered in the user manual. I will, however, key on a few specific ones that I feel are worth mentioning.

First and foremost is a skill that I feel no one can live without. That is "Nobility". This skill, as was mentioned in section II, augments the weekly creature production in a town. For this to occur the player must simply bring the Nobility hero to the town he wishes and select the appropriate control to get his hero "elected". Then the town's production will instantly increase. The percentage ranges from 10% to 50%.

What good is it, one may ask, to get 10% more Black Dragons a week given only one is produced. In H3, fractions would be truncated but this is not the case for H4. That extra 0.1 a week of a black dragon is cumulative meaning that once every 10 weeks, an extra Black Dragon will show up for hire. Thus it's easy to see why getting the percentage up to 50 as quickly as possible would be advantageous.

I reiterate, every player needs at least one hero with the Nobility skill. Those who don't have them will be at a serious disadvantage.

As if one needed more motivation to use Nobility, the secondary skills that go with it allow for greater gold production "Estates" and greater resource generation "Mining". Nobility is the gift that keeps on giving.

Another "must have" skill would be "Tactics". What this does is allow for increasing levels of combat speed as well as initiative in battle. This skill alone can really help you get big, lumbering units like Behemoths into the battle a lot faster. Other skills that go along with tactics are very worthwhile. They are "Offense" which lets your creatures do more damage, "Defense" which allows your creatures to take less damage in combat and finally, "Leadership" which gives all your troops bonuses to Luck and Morale.

The various magic skills such as "Chaos Magic" are all relatively similar. They all allow either allow you cast higher level spells and/or augment existing mana points or spell casting effectiveness. Generally, I'll have one hero be a true mage and the other the tactician. That way you get the best of both worlds in some nice helpful spells as well as fast creatures with high combat initiative.

There IS good argument though to have your two primary heroes both as heavy spell casters. This allows a player to blanket the battlefield with helpful (or harmful in the enemy's case) spell effects more quickly. You lose out on skills like tactics but each school of magic has a spell or two that you'll find to be worth it in its stead.

IV. Combat

One easily noticeable feature to combat is the Isometric Combat map. In a nutshell, "Isometric" means that there is no hexagonal grid and that though it won't appear this way, the map is taller than it is wide.

As was mentioned in section III, heroes are now physically part of the battlefield. They can take damage and die like any other unit. There are certain things one can do to help prevent this such as potions. Immortality potions allow a hero to instantly come back to life if killed in a combat. The potion can be consumed at any time and will last until his first death (this will happen pretty much every game at least once). The game does not allow you to consume multiple potions but many may be carried and consumed even during a battle if need be. At 1000 each from each town's Alchemists (name of structure will vary from town to town) many would think these potions are way under-priced as well as too readily available.

City Sieges are another very different aspect to the game. Gone are the days where a catapult magically appears out of thin air for every town assault. Gone also are the three auto-shooting, uncontrollable towers that defended each city given a castle was built.

The walls of a city now are pretty much indestructible. The main gate, however is not. It takes three shots from any creature (or hero) stack that does 50 damage or more to break down the door of a city with a castle. Once this occurs anyone may cross the threshold and get inside provided it's not blocked.

In cities with Castles built the defender will get three "shooting" platforms to place creatures on. Such creatures may be targeted from the outside and may shoot/cast outside also. If a creature is not on one of these towers the only other way for them to be in combat is to "man the walls". In other words they must be directly adjacent to the outer wall and can thus give and take ranged fire or even melee with enemy troops directly on the other side. Any creature not on the front wall or on a platform cannot be attacked. It may be a bug or oversight right now but the attacker CAN cast certain offensive spells like Curse and Poison over the walls of a besieged town. Defending heroes may always cast beneficial spells on friendly creatures inside the walls regardless of their position.

I'll mention again that attacks and defenses in combat are now simultaneous which makes abilities like "No Retaliation" much more worthwhile. Some attackers have the ability, "First Strike". As one would guess from the title, the skill lets the attacker function much as he/she would in H3 where the defender retaliates after the attackers damage has been fully applied.

V. The Strategic Map

Other than the aforementioned shroud as well as the amazing graphic detail, not much has changed on the strategic map. Heroes must still delve deep into the wild trying to find resources, power ups, artifacts, other cities and (of course) the enemy.

Players now may notice that weeks are no longer announced. Instead of weeks we have "The Month of the..." whatever. The creatures that are randomly seeded around the map every month are no longer so random. Instead of being in random locations they will now be placed in front of your flagged resource points and creature habitats. Only a small percentage of structures will be covered this way. Any such "blocked" structure will not contribute resources to your economy until the monsters are cleared out. I've found this annoying on occasion but it's a better feature for the game than just sporadic placement all over the map.

VI. The Map Editor

I won't say much here since I am only getting my feet wet using this tool. I worked on about four total maps in H3 and only finished one; however, the absolute beauty and realism that can be created on these maps motivates me to get into it more.

The single most important comment I can make here deals with something a mapmaker does at every map's very inception. If you want a two level map make ABSOLUTE SURE you click that option in your initial map setup screen. If you don't do this and then start working on the map there will be no way later to make it two levels. Does this come from personal experience? Let's just say that trashing about four hours of work was a very hard thing for me to do.


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Patches for Heroes of Might & Magic IV

These patches are now available for download directly from our site. You no longer need to go to FilePlanet for them. Our server is quite fast, so download is fairly quick for broadband users, but please note that the files are large. If you use a dial-up connection, things could take a while, and you'd better grab a magazine and crack open a big pack of snacks.

Many people encounter a problem while patching, receiving an error message saying: "Old File not Found, but another file with the same name exists. No update was performed." If you encounter this error, the problem may be trying to patch with the incorrect language version. The list below shows the language version of your installed game in the Windows registry under the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/New World Computing/Heroes of Might and Magic IV/1.0/

Language Keys
409 = US
809 = UK English
??? = Czech
40c = French
40f = German
??? = Hungarian
410 = Italian
40a = Spanish
??? = Russian

If you still encounter this problem and you have the correct patches, the error may be caused by modified .exe files (cracks=bad), or altered maps. In this case the best solution is to reinstall the game before patching. If you are comfortable with editing the registry, then uninstall your game, and delete the entire New World Computing key and all subkeys before reinstalling. Also delete any remaining Heroes IV game folders, making sure you back up your savegames and custom maps first.


US Standard Patches US Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.0 to 1.3 Std US  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std US  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std US Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 GS US
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std US Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 GS US
Heroes 4 ver 2.3 Std US MACINTOSH  

UK Standard Patches UK Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.0 to 1.3 Std UK  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std UK  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std UK Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 GS UK
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std UK Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 GS UK

Czech Standard Patches Czech Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std Czech  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std Czech  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std Czech  
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std Czech  
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 3.0 Std Czech (full install) Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 GS Czech

French Standard Patches French Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std French  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std French  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std French Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 GS French
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std French Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 GS French

German Standard Patches German Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std German  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std German  
Heroes 4 ver 2.01 Text Patch German  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std German  
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std German Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 GS German

Italian Standard Patches  
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std Italian  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std Italian  

Polish Standard Patches Polish Gathering Storm Patches
Heroes 4 ver 1.0 to 1.3 Std Polish  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 1.3.1 Std Polish  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3(.1) to 2.1 Std Polish  
Heroes 4 ver 1.0 to 2.1 Std Polish (full install) Heroes 4 ver GS Campaign Patch Polish

Russian Standard Patches  
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std Russian  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std Russian  

Spanish Standard Patches  
Heroes 4 ver 1.1 to 1.3 Std Spanish  
Heroes 4 ver 1.3 to 2.0 Std Spanish  
Heroes 4 ver 2.01 Text Patch Std Spanish  
Heroes 4 ver 2.0 to 2.2 Std Spanish  
Heroes 4 ver 2.2 to 3.0 Std Spanish  

All Languages - Standard Campaign Editor Patch
Heroes 4 Campaign Editor ver 2.0 to 2.1 (not needed for GS)

UbiSoft patches
Heroes 4 Spell Book Fix
Heroes 4 v1.0 to v1.2 Patch
Heroes 4 v1.2 to v1.3 Patch
Heroes 4 v1.3 to v2.0 Patch
Heroes 4 v2.0 to v2.1 Editor Patch

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Tips for Siege Battles

In multiplayer and single-player alike, siege battles are almost inevitable, for the simple fact that towns nearly always need to be taken over at one point or another. How you do it is entirely up to you, but following some of these suggestions might increase your effectiveness in such battles.

The Medusas need to go down first

Attacking

Attacking a fully built-up town that contains high-level heroes and large stacks of long-range troops is never an easy task, even if you have the same. Despite their great expense, the Citadel and Castle vastly improve the defender’s effectiveness in siege combat. Unfortunately for you, the sieger, there isn’t much to help you other than what you bring with you. Here are some general tips:

  • Never attack a ranged stack on a Castle tower with one of your ranged stacks, unless there is either a way to get full damage (like Ballistae, Precision, or Master Archers) or the defending troop you are shooting at is puny (a group of 147 Elves won’t take much damage from the three Halflings you’re attacking). But generally, the stack on the tower will do 4-8 times as much as you will do if the stacks are of equal strength.

    Avoid attacking a strong stack on a castle tower

  • If you have a chance early on, and there is a Hero on top of a siege tower with no long-range capabilities, kill it if you think you’re going to win the battle. If you don’t think you can win, save the Hero until later, because it will just get resurrected in the town after the battle ends.
  • When playing against the AI, don’t open the drawbridge until none of their units can hurt you from where they are (i.e., no Heroes, spellcasters, or long-range units), because if the drawbridge isn’t open, or if none of your troops are in the moat, they usually won’t come out. However, in multiplayer, your enemies won’t show such mercy, and will often come out to attack you soon. In that case, send out any double-attacking units you have (Berserkers, Crusaders, Wolves, etc.) to knock down the drawbridge. Remember that in one strike a hit to the drawbridge can do no more than 50 damage points, but a double-striker can do 50 x 2 = 100 in one attack.
  • Do whatever you can to stop the ranged units/spellcasters on the towers from doing anything useful (or at least limit their usefulness).
  • Don’t stay in the moat too long. Your defense and damage are lowered there.
  • Once you break into the town, get your troops onto any empty towers. You still gain the benefits from them, although you’re defending. The same goes for staying right inside the castle walls.
  • Never underestimate the effects of Poison, Plague, or any mass cursing spells.
  • Any area-effect spells/attacks targeted at a castle tower will also affect nearby units on the ground surrounding the tower.

Defending

When you’re defending, everything’s playing out in your favor. Just don’t do anything stupid! No, but seriously, if you act like, say, the AI, you’ll do considerably worse than you would otherwise. Here are some general tips for siege defense.

  • Consider buying the Citadel/Castle only if they’re needed for a creature dwelling (Thunderbirds, Griffins, Titans, etc.) or if you know you’ll get attacked. Otherwise, it’s a waste of 7500 gold each.
  • The Castle’s towers are your best tools in siege defense. Ranged troops attacking you only do one-quarter to one-eighth of their normal damage when attacking troops on the towers, while your own ranged troops always do full damage. However, they are more vulnerable to spell effects and (weakened) ranged fire. Do whatever you can to keep important ground/flying troops off the towers, and reserve those spots for Heroes (with offensive magic or ranged capabilities), offensive spellcasters (like Faerie Dragons, Magi, Genies, and Evil Eyes), and ranged troops.
  • Remember that Fireballs, Clouds of Confusion, Cyclops attacks, and other area-effect spells or attacks will affect not only troops on the towers but also ground troops surrounding that tower. Make sure you spread out your troops on their first turn.
  • If you become poisoned, either have the poisoned troop kill whatever it can before it dies or heal it (Dispel, Exorcism, Anti-Magic, and Bind Wound don’t stop Poison).
  • When should you leave the confines of your town walls? It really depends on the circumstances. Generally, due to the defensive bonuses obtained from remaining inside them, it’s best to stay in as long as you can. However, if you think that you can win with fewer losses by going out, by all means go for it!
  • In Citadels and Castles, the defending troops just inside the wall get a defensive bonus. When attacking troops in the moat, don’t go all the way around; stay inside the walls to do some extra damage.
  • Don’t let your enemies climb up onto your own Castle towers. They will receive the benefits you could’ve gotten.
  • With Forts and Citadels, any ranged troops or Heroes will be automatically placed right next to your walls, regardless of front/back rows. Spellcasting troops don’t get that luxury (or is it a bad thing...?).

Town-Specific

In Heroes IV, each town is unique in its theme, spells, and creatures. In this section I’ll highlight the troops and spells that perform the best in siege combat, and how to use them more effectively.

Haven

The Haven, the town of defensive and healing spells, is quite good for siege defense. With Ballistae, Crossbowmen, and Monks on the towers, the enemy troops will have a fun time trying to get you without dying. Of course, in most situations you won’t be choosing both Ballistae and Crossbowmen; in that case, you can replace the missing ranged troop with a Knight with the Archery skill (or an Archer, if you hired one of those). Also, remember the helpful mass Ward spells. Since your enemy’s army will usually be mainly of one alignment, having the right mass Ward spell will make it much harder for your enemy to kill you. Combine that with Celestial Armor when need be, and if you picked up some Order or Nature Magic, try casting Precision, Slow, Displacement, and Create Illusion (on a ranged troop, preferably). Taking over a town with only Life troops is a different story. Due to their defensive nature, you’ll be hard-pressed to do that much damage to the enemy troops. Song of Peace is a helpful tool against enemy ranged-attackers and spellcasters; against the AI, they will often take the ranged troops off their Castle towers and bring them right next to the wall for some reason. While that’s the only “curse” spell in the Life spell book, Monk heroes will be happy to use some of their Order spells against the enemy, including Forgetfulness, Displacement, (Mass) Precision (always do full damage, plus a 25% bonus!), Blind, Berserk, Hypnotize... take your pick! Remember that Crusaders can do two blows to the drawbridge, and that Pikemen can sometimes attack through the walls without standing in the moat. Angels’ Resurrection ability should be used with great care, and when the enemy least expects it!

Preserve

This town just wasn’t built for siegin’. While Waspworts, Elves, and Fire/Water Elementals can be useful on the Towers, they’re often too slow to want to take with you elsewhere. Giant/Dragon Strength can be used to pump up your ranged troops or Archer Hero (hopefully with Grandmaster Archery), but everyone knows that Nature’s strong point is summoning. Until you get to the higher levels of Nature Magic, you won’t summon too much useful for defending sieges. If you do in fact get the chance, summoning Faerie Dragons, Fire/Water Elementals, or Waspworts and placing them on your towers can be a great boon to your defense. In fact, Faerie Dragons are one of the few saving graces the Preserve has in siege defense. Being able to cast Confusion several times, these guys will keep strong, reflecting harmful spells and taking little damage from ranged troops. Good luck in attacking. With primarily ground troops, the Preserve sieging army will have to make do with the less-effective ranged attackers it has. Use the Faerie Dragons’ Confusion and Fireball as much as possible (remember that Fireball effects both troops on towers and surrounding them), and also the Druids’ Wasp Swarm. Summon Phoenixes or Griffins, if you get that much expertise in Nature Magic. Also, when attacking, get Griffins (preferably with Snake Strike cast on them) to go up on the Castle towers. They just won’t die! Also keep in mind that Wolves can attack the drawbridge twice (if you have enough to do 50 damage points each time...)

Asylum

With everyone’s favorite Black Dragon residing here, the Asylum has many tools for both attacking and defending. For defending, get your Orcs up on those towers to do up to eight times more damage than normal, surprising your human enemies quite a bit. If going for Medusas, get them up there too, to take out first their Heroes, then their high-level troops. Sorcerers/Sorceresses can cast (Cloud of) Confusion to disable their enemies, and hopefully cast Cat Reflexes on the Medusas. Minotaurs are not a good idea for siege defense, since Medusas are so darn effective. Bandits are practically useless, except as fodder. While both Efreeti and Nightmares are useful troops, due to Nightmares’ Terror ability and higher durability, they are the better choice for siege defense. As for siege attacking, it’s back to the Medusas again. While it breaks my general rule concerning never attacking another ranged troop, you might want to with Medusas. Attack Heroes, Cyclopes, Monks, and Titans first, while Terror-izing and Confusing their troops at the same time. Black Dragons’ Breath Attack will sometimes allow you to get the drawbridge and another unit simultaneously; go for it! Don’t even think about using the Orcs’ ranged attack on anyone on the towers!

Necropolis

The “Infernopolis,” this town isn’t the best for siege defense. Most people overlook the Venom Spawn in lieu of Vampires, so that leaves most Death-aligned armies without a ranged attacker except a Death Knight with a bow or Archery skill. Death is also surprisingly without a disabling spell. However, Mass Weakness/Curse and Plague are some really nice harmful spells, and you might even want to go with an occasional Raise or Animate spell to add some lost troops. Don’t underestimate the use of Imps on an arrow tower; they’re easy fodder that give your Necromancers some extra spell power. Make sure you don’t do anything stupid to waste your Vampires.

On the contrary, the Necropolis is quite effective in starting the sieges. While Death itself is without disabling spells, a Shadow Mage might find Order’s many disabling spells (see Academy) quite useful. Devils (especially with Aura of Fear and/or Vampiric Touch) are awesomely effective, being able to Teleport over the walls on turn one to attack whatever enemies might be on the Castle towers; still, Bone Dragons are very nice units with built-in Fear. Vampires and Venom Spawn are nearly equally effective in this respect, with the Venom Spawn’s poisoning ability giving it much higher points than normal in the usually-lengthier siege battles. Imps’ Mana Leeching is especially helpful in these long sieges, potentially wiping out some mana-dependent creature abilities: Resurrection, Terror, Rebirth, and Summon Ice Demon, to name a few. This ability also gives your Necromancer some extra spellcasting time, or possibly gives your Devils another chance to Summon Ice Demons.

Victory, at last!

Academy

While only two normal ranged attackers, the two spellcasting units also give Order a slight edge in the field of siege combat. Unfortunately, Halflings, Magi, Genies, and Titans won’t fit onto three Castle towers, but chances are you won’t get all three of the aforementioned units. If you do, keep the Magi on the ground to Poison the enemy, or keep the Genies low to Create Illusion after illusion. Magi have a wide range of helpful spells for siege defense, including Mass Slow, Mass Dispel (sometimes), Berserk (always nice, regardless of the combat), and some borrowed spells from Life and/or Death. However, the Academy’s strength lies not in siege defense, but siege attacking.

Order is probably the best faction when it comes to pillaging a town. Genies’ Song of Peace and the wide range of disabling-type spells (Forgetfulness, Blind, Berserk, Hypnotize) plus the silent killer, the level 1 Displacement to kick ranged troops off of the towers, aid in attaining this high rank. Mass Blur is also good to assure that even if the ranged attackers can attack, they won’t do much. Precise Halflings and Titans will do a surprising amount of damage, in surprising numbers due to the Lords’ Nobility. You may choose to purchase Golems, for their durability, or Magi, for their Magic Fist, Blur, and especially Poison. It’s really based on the player’s style. But pretty much regardless, the Academy is an excellent sieger.

Stronghold

The mighty Stronghold can be a very nice defending town. By placing Cyclopes and Centaurs (x8 normal damage) on the Castle towers, you have one free spot you may choose to devote to an archer Hero, or to Harpies to slowly pick away at the enemy while still maintaining their spot guarding the enemy from stealing the tower. Whether you choose Behemoths or Thunderbirds, wait until the gate is knocked down or until there are enemies in the moat before you come out and attack, because of Thunderbirds’ fragility and Behemoths’ tendency to be targeted. It is also good to note that Berserkers won’t attack anyone until the gate is knocked down or there is a troop within the walls.

While not great in sieges, Might holds its own. Cyclopes can attack both a troop on the tower and on the ground without fear of retaliation. Harpies can either go for the drawbridge or if lucky, get some troops behind the wall. Berserkers, once they finally reach the drawbridge, can deliver two mighty blows to it. As for the Centaurs, they will do practically no damage to anyone on the towers, so don’t waste their 4 shots. Instead, bring them closer so once the drawbridge is down, they can do half or full damage to the enemy, rather than one-eighth.


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