Gateway is the first scenario of A Strategic Quest, the official playable campaign of Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest. A near-symmetrical map, it is the first official campaign scenario in the series, and serves as the playable debut of the world of Enroth. It is followed by The Archipelago.
A medium-sized map, Gateway is nonetheless functionally small, as the majority of its geography is covered in inaccessible water. Though not perfectly symmetrical, it is relatively balanced: each faction starts in a zone guarded by low-level creatures and blocked off from the map's hub by Gargoyle stacks.
Victory is achieved by capturing the town of Gateway, which is of random alignment and guarded by a single Dragon. There is no special loss condition. The ultimate artifact can also be located on the map, with its only obelisks situated just north of Gateway, guarded by another Dragon.
Ironfist's Knights begin in the southeast of the map, with the Barbarians, Sorceressess and Warlocks starting in the northeast, southwest and northwest respectively. Each faction has early access to a Sawmill and an Ore Mine, with the only four precious resource mines situated with Gateway in the hub.
Terrain is mainly grassland with dirt tracks. The map's stacks are not random; aside from the Gargoyles and Dragons, only Peasants, Archers and Goblins are initially present. The four Archer stacks, one to each zone, guard the map's only artifacts.
Because it serves as an introduction, Gateway is undoubtedly the easiest map in the game, and can be completed in under a week by any of the four factions, with enough skill and sparing tactics. The AI opponents are equally focused on capturing the town but will not have the power to competently do so early on, so the player should concentrate on obtaining plenty of gold and the central precious resource piles. Only the Gargoyles present a challenge, and should be combated after a Mage Guild is built.
After the Gargoyles are destroyed, the player should create as many dwellings as possible and purchase all available creatures. Up to four dwellings are within each faction's gold budget, and more than enough to take on the Dragon. Luck and strategic micromanagement are necessary in the battle if the player is attempting a quick conquest, considering the Dragon's huge damage range and immunity to magic.
With the Dragon defeated, only the standard random low-tier stacks within Gateway itself need be defeated for success. The Ultimate Artifact is not necessary for victory, but those who take the time to claim it should already have access to plenty of troops, leaving the final battle almost impossible to lose.
"You have established a foothold in the new land. This small island is fiercely contested by three other factions, all vying to capture the strategic town - Gateway. The town is located in the center of the island, and so dominates its surroundings that the other factions will surrender to the lord that captures it. Beware the Dragon guardian of Gateway!"
"Gateway has fallen! The other lords have abandoned their castles and fled. They have alerted their homelands and now gather their forces. Speed is of the essence."
- Despite its status as the introduction to the world of Enroth, the island the map takes place on is never referenced again or seen on later world maps.
- For unknown reasons, the events of Gateway are not recounted in the Letters from Lord Ironfist.
|Heroes of Might and Magic I|
|Gameplay||Adventure map - Adventure map structure - Artifacts (list) - Campaign - Combat phase - Creature ability - Creature attribute - Creatures (list) - Damage - Dwelling - Experience - Growth - Hero - Hero class - Luck - Morale - Primary skill - Puzzle map - Resource - Scenario - Spell list - Spell memorisation - Terrain type - Towns - Week/Day/Month system|
|Factions||Farm (Creatures) - Plains (Creatures) - Forest (Creatures) - Mountain (Creatures) - Neutral creatures|
|Heroes and characters||Knight (Individuals) - Barbarian (Individuals) - Sorceress (Individuals) - Warlock (Individuals)|
Lord Ironfist - Lord Slayer - Queen Lamanda - Lord Alamar - Ragnar - Guthbert - Ewine - Queen Ironfist
|Scenarios and campaign||Scenarios - A Strategic Quest (Gateway - The Archipelago - The Wounded Land - Free-for-All - Castle Ironfist - Castle Slayer - Castle Lamanda - Castle Alamar - King-of-the-Hill)|
|Related||Enroth - GBC port - Jon Van Caneghem - New World Computing|