The aim of the project is to create an add-on for Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death with lots of new features. The main focus of add-on is the quality of every single aspect of the modded game. This includes the careful fixes of the original game balance, removal of the graphical imperfections left by the developer, and of course, a huge amount of new content, like new campaigns, new map objects and even a new playable faction - The Cove. The project pretends to be fully lore-wise and keeps connection with the original Might and Magic universe.
New faction: the CoveEdit
The Cove is a 10th castle which is a calling card of the project. Unlike WoG-based modifications, HotA provides a complete 10th castle without replacing any of the classical ones. Moreover, it saves the original game functionality unlike VCMI platform and is a fully standalone development.
The Cove is a castle represented by the Regnan Empire which is often mentioned in Might and Magic VI and Might and Magic VII, and even featured in Might and Magic VIII as the Regna Island location, despite in the Heroes 3: AB Foolhardy Waywardness campaign the Regnan Empire was represented by the classical castles without adding of any new creature.
The HotA project fills the empty space on the Regnan topic, and provides new related campaigns for players to know more about the Regnan Empire and the Cove faction in specific. Several heroes familiar from the other games of the series, like Astra, appear in a new incarnation in the Cove castle hero roster, with their biography thus being enriched.
The Cove lineup is represented not only by pirates, but also the sea sorcerers and various sea creatures which are allied to them. Brief description of the castle creatures (the 3rd level creature, the Pirate, is available to be upgraded twice):
- 1. Nymph/Oceanid
- 2. Crew Mate/Seaman
- 3. Pirate/Corsair/Sea Dog
- 4. Stormbird/Ayssid
- 5. Sea Witch/Sorceress
- 6. Nix/Nix Warrior
- 7. Sea Serpent/Haspid
HotA invents the new type of the war machine - the Cannon. It cannot be put in a backpack, and replaces Ballista in the Hero inventory. It possesses greater combat statistics than those of the Ballista, and costs 5000 gold. The Cannon cannot be bought anywhere except the Cove type castle or the Cannon Yard, a new global map object.
The Cove faction is mainly an attacker, with its heroes having their primary skills growth prioritized like 45/25/20/10 for Captains and 15/10/40/35 for Navigators before 10th level; with 30/30/20/20 for both classes after the 10th level. The playing strategies often concern the Accurate Shot ability of the Sea Dogs, Revenge ability of the Sea Serpents and Haspids, and often the good defensive stats of the Nixes and Nix Warriors. In addition, the new Cannon war machine native to the Cove faction is also considered a very helpful addition to every army due to its advantages over the classic Ballista.
HotA invents a huge amount of new map objects, both with the same functionality (additional Monoliths, terrain-wise Hill Forts, etc.) and new, like lots of new decorative objects making the maps looking more lively or brand new Conservatories, Shrines and more. Water terrain playability and water objects are treated with special attention, due to the pirate alignment of the new Cove faction.
Amongst other developments, HotA also brings some careful adjustments to the vanilla Heroes 3 mechanics. For instance, the creature dwellings are able to accumulate creatures, Necromancy skill has undergone a major reform (basically, the percent values are halved in comparison to those of SoD) and some heroes have their specialties reconsidered. However, the project team claims that the possibility to return to the game classics is desirable if it is not contradicting with the overall balance.
The HotA Crew (a semi-official name of the team) also claims the project to be heavily multiplayer-oriented. In other words, HotA is designed to become an ultimate version of Heroes 3 for online gaming. Currently there are already some tournaments being maintained by the team and the wide gaming community.
Frozen and/or cancelled contentEdit
The early stages of the project were promising various new features which are now claimed "frozen" by the team, but still are lively discussed in the gaming communities. Some of these features are:
New factions: Forge, Cathedral, KronverkEdit
The Cove castle was once not the only one to be planned to be in the add-on. There were several other projects with exceptional graphics which were once included in the HotA development, and frozen later on. Some of these projects are: the Forge faction, a concept based on the cancelled Forge concept by New World Computing; the Cathedral faction being a somewhat mirror of Europe of the XIV century with inquisition, plague doctors anв such; the Kronverk faction thought as the snow-dwelling faction composed mainly of dwarves. Various screenshots and sprite graphic examples are spread throughout the Internet; however, nothing of that content is expected to appear in the closest HotA releases.
A somewhat legacy of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, alternative lineups were once planned to be a huge tweak of the gameplay, expected to form a selection of new gaming tactics for players and provide an overall refreshment of the classic gameplay. Some examples of such creatures are the Satyrs (an alternative for the Pegasi in the Rampart faction) or the Squires (an alternative for the Pikemen in the Castle faction). Although the once posted examples of new creature graphics were of exceptional quality, the feature of the alternative creatures is also claimed frozen by the team.
In the early stages of HotA development it was considered as a WoG-based modification. Although currently HotA separates itself from WoG, there are some graphic examples left serving as a proof that the situation once was drastically different. However, HotA Crew claimed high standards in their work even at that time.
- New artifacts: the early forum posts cover up to 150 new artifacts with unique qualities and appearance. The additional positions were expected to appear for every artifact class (Treasure, Relic, etc.), with some of them being the new combination artifacts.
- New spells: about 12 new spells whose destiny is currently unknown.
- New terrain types: the Wasteland terrain (a Heroes of Might and Magic II legacy). The destiny of this development is also uncertain.
- Town Keepers: also a part of Heroes of Might and Magic II legacy - the player would be able to hire a new unique unit to protect his town. This unit will be the only one for a single player and will be used only during the siege of the defended castle.
- Many other developments, which are now considered frozen or cancelled.
- Complete list of HotA features
- HotA v1.3.3 English installer, requires Heroes 3 SoD or Heroes Complete to be installed
- HotA v1.4.2 (as of Jan 2016) English installer, requires Heroes 3 SoD or Heroes Complete to be installed