Artifacts are special items that can be equipped or worn by a hero. Artifacts are usually found on the adventure map, but they can also be bought from special structures, or taken from defeated foes. There are in total 93 artifacts in the game (including the Tear of Asha), and they are divided into 3 classes based on their relative power.
Artifacts are useful for the following reasons:
- They increase hero stats
In a game where the hero decides the outcome of a scenario, boosting their stats is one of the main objectives of a player.
- They improve hero skills and abilities
Also, some abilities give "fixed bonuses" whatever the hero level, so having the artifact makes the abilities a little better.
- They improve hero's spellcasting
Certain artifacts "add" spells to hero's spellbook, allowing the hero to cast those spells in combat (provided artifact is equipped), or help in hero spellcasting by reducing mana or increasing spell damage. Considering that there are moments where you just cannot get certain spells somehow, these artifacts give the hero another way to "equip" those spells (note that spells "equipped" this way CANNOT be traded via the Scholar subskill)
- They bless the hero's troops during combat
Some artifacts allow the troops (and War Machines) to be blessed in certain ways, such as increasing Initiative, damage, or granting protection/immunity from certain spells. Increased initiative and damage are generally good bonuses, as is spell protection/immunity, considering might factions are generally vulnerable to harmful magic (to the extent that Stronghold needs shatter magic skills).
Remember, your hero is not (and should not be) an army, they are the general of the troops and so the blessing of troops is important.
- They curse enemy hero's troops during combat
Opposite to the above, some artifacts affect the enemy's troops, such as reducing their morale or luck. Generally, knowing that enemy heroes often have good morale and positive luck, these artifacts will help to counter those happening-too-often act-again-morale-moves and really-happening-often luck strikes.
- They aid the kingdom in adventuring and resources
Certain artifacts only work on the Adventure Map; they allow the heroes to travel further, to scout further or to gain more resources per day. The artifacts mustn't be underestimated just because they are useless in combat. A strong economy is the basis for a strong army and increasing travel distance can just work wonders. Besides, beginning a turn with these artifacts already grants the entire bonus for the rest of the turn, so they can be replaced with the heavy critters when engaging in combat.
- They provide some special advantages and surprise the enemy
Some artifacts prevents the enemy from fleeing, while some allow the hero to gain more experience; some can even level the hero during combat or to increase his/her line of sight. These artifacts can give your opponent a nasty surprise.
All in all, artifacts are necessary because your hero just cannot have ALL possible skills/abilities, so they help to buff or improve stats and abilities.
Artifacts can be classified by slot.
The artifact must be equipped for its effects to be active (artifacts left in the backpack provide no bonus). The spellbook has its own slot, and it can't be removed or replaced.
Based on this criteria, there are ten slots:
- Weapon - It is used for offensive items, such as swords, clubs, maces, staffs, or for wands. Barbarians cannot use wands.
- Shield - It is used mainly for defensive items, such as shields, or for scrolls. The Moonblade is a weapon, but goes in this slot.
- And two Ring slots.
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