Heroes of Might & Magic IV Walkthrough :
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Walkthrough - Strategy Guide
Heroes of Might and Magic IV Strategy Guide v.1.1 Tan Chia Han May 04 2002 firstname.lastname@example.org Table of Contents ----------------- I. Introduction II. Planning your Campaign/Scenario III. Starting your Campaing/Scenario IV. Useful Spells V. Other Tips VI. Contact Info VII. Special Thanks Revision History ---------------- 1.1 - Added contributions from Jon, Peter Davies and ScotT. I've not edited much of what they had to say, and i've basically quoted them. Thanks to all for these excellent contributions, learnt a lot myself from them! Sorry if I took a while to add them, cos I've been busy preparing for exams. Ugh. --------------- I. Introduction --------------- I feel that the guides have been lacking in the element of strategy, so I decided to write one. Hopefully, with contributions from other readers, the strategy guide will be filled with more interesting ways to play Heroes IV, and help people improve their gameplay. This guide is mainly designed to help players bring their game to a higher level. ----------------------------------- II. Planning your Campaign/Scenario ----------------------------------- Planning your campaign or scenario is a very crucial aspect of the game. It is always a nightmare to discover that you've learnt the wrong skill, that you do not want your super-hero to have the stealth skill and waste five levels upgrading it. The key thing to note in planning is that in almost every campaign and scenario, the highest levels your heroes go up to are usually about level 30, or maybe 35, but seldom beyond that. In those levels, you wish to make the most efficient use of skill selection to ensure that in these 30 levels, you are able to have grandmaster in the skills that you want. On a quick calculation, if you are expecting your hero to be level 30 at the end of the campaign, without any special boosts, you are looking at only 6 grandmaster skills. Alternatively, you could have 10 expert skills. The way I see it, 6 grandmaster skills are definitely much better than 10 expert skills. The next step is, which skills are THE skills? I have read quite a few guides on the web, and they often recommend about 5 primary skills for your hero, which would probably mean you could at most reach grandmaster in 1 skill or 2. What we should be looking at is only at most, 2 primary skills, and preferably 4 secondary skills, giving you a total of 6 skills. Why? This is because for single scenarios, you are seldom able to upgrade your skills on the map or in other towns. The only exceptions to this rule is for the Order and Life campaigns, where every town you go to can have a university or seminary builts, which gives you multiple bonuses to your skills. I will touch on that later. The reason why I suggest only 2 secondary skills for each primary skill, instead of 3, is because the last secondary skill is usually not necessary to upgrade the primary skill to grandmaster, and more importantly, is seldom vital. If you learn grandmaster archery, there is seldom reason to learn grandmaster melee and vice versa. Keep those 5 levels on something else precious. Grandmaster summoning for Nature magic is very useless if you are not playing Nature alignment, because they will introduce many low level nature creatures into your army which are not useful. In summary, choose the skills you wish to learn wisely, and remember that each skill you start learning will require 4 more levels to reach grandmaster. In general, to get a really effective army, I usually have 2 heroes in the same army. 2 or 3 heroes are better than one. Although you gain 1/2 or 1/3 the experience if you have 2 or 3 heroes, having more heroes will help you more tremendously than you can imagine. However, note that although you can choose heroes from 3 alignments, do not ever choose 2 from opposing alignments. For example, if you are playing Life, you can have nature and order heroes, but they are of opposing alignments and will have a -5 morale effect on each other if they are put in the same army. Choose either life and order, or life and nature. Why 2 heroes? One hero can learn tactics, which help your creatures tremendously. Tactics is basically a mass stoneskin, mass haste, bloodfrenzy cast on your creatures, IMHO, one of the best skills. Best of all, for Chaos, it does have an effect on black dragons! If you are playing death, do not bother to learn leadership, don't think undead can be affected by morale, which wastes half of the beneficial effects. This leaves the next skill to be scouting. Scouting is very important, only because it allows you to learn pathfinding. In some maps, where there are swamps, snow and desert, pathfinding allows you to speed through these areas, and at grandmaster level, gives you a 50% boost to movement. Now that dimension door has been removed, this is the next best thing to it. Note that it is not necessary to learn stealth or seamanship to learn grandmaster pathfinding. This leaves one skill slot, which I would probably recommend Combat, and maybe Melee/Archery. The other hero would usually be my archmage type, who would learn about 2 magic types at least, and maybe combat for protection, but not melee or archery. It is always tempting to want to create ONE SUPER hero, but this is seldom the case, unless you are Lysander. Other than that, if you were to be a mage type, you want to deal damage with spells, so why waste skills on being a melee or ranged fighter? It is better to learn Implosion, or Disintegrate, Inferno, Hands of Death etc to deal the damage. So, that would probably take about 6 skill slots, if you wish to learn magic resistance as well (which is important against large groups of water elementals, mages or genies). These are general strategy tips, and are in no way the golden rule to developing your characters. In the Life campaign, you would most likely wish to make full use of the seminaries to learn basic levels in the secondary skills and if I'm not wrong, advanced levels in the primary skills offered (except Nature summoning, and charm). For charm, I find that if you are able to outnumber a group of creatures, you don't need them. Waste of skill points. The seminaries should give you about 15 levels worth of skills. Try to do all these early so that you can benefit most from the basic skills, instead of learning them through leveling up. Nobility is often recommended, but I seldom believe in having your main hero learn nobility. This is because it does not benefit your army or you in combat, and is hence a waste of skill points for a hero in the main line. The trick to using Nobility is to have one Order hero, with only nobility, pick up chests and such to gain experience. At the early stages, training is easy, and cheap, and with a few chests, you can easily reach level 10. With 2 levels of skills at the beginning, you can easily have expert nobility, estates and mining, which should be sufficient for most maps. Alternatively, add him in the main army, and let him learn combat as well, with grandmaster archery, so that he can earn lots and lots of gold after reaching grandmaster estates and mining, and still be useful as a "unit" rather than as a hero. One other important point to note is that estate is only useful if your hero is not in town! Check your kingdom overview by putting a hero with estates in town, and out of town to see what i mean. If you are going to have tonnes of heroes with estates to generate gold, do not leave them in town, but instead group them together and put them in a quiet corner of the map to sleep. Doesn't having too many heroes weaken your army? No way! However, having 7 heroes is silly. You'll take forever to level all of them up, and they just cannot beat 20 black dragons. The thing is, in an army, you can take up to 7 army slots only. If you have 3 heroes, there are still 4 army slots left. Enough space for a 4th level unit, a 3rd level unit, a 2nd level and a 1st. The reason why I only listed one 4th level unit, when there are always 2 available is because you do not wish to build 2 types of 4th level units, 2 types of 3rd level units, and miss out on the tonnes of 2nd level units that are being produced each day. By concentrating on just one type, you can have the best of numbers. With grandmaster tactics, your units effectively upgrade by one level. Another thing about having 2 heroes is the artifacts that are available on each map. One important thing to note, 2 warlord's ring on one hero is cumulative, but not on 2 heroes. So, if you have 2 warlord's ring on one hero, and 2 rings of protection on another hero, you have +40% to attack and defence for each friendly unit! There are almost always too many artifacts on one map for one hero to take. So, it is always best to have 2 heroes, or maybe even 3 to give the best benefits the artifacts you collect have to offer. ----------------------------------- III. Starting the Campaign/Scenario ----------------------------------- Now that you've given serious thoughts as to how you wish your heroes to develop, the next step is to actually start. The starting is always the most difficult, especially at high difficulty levels where the monsters come in companys (hundreds), and your hero is level 1. This is where you will need to depend on skilful maneovering. There are a few tactics that you can employ, but these are only useful for the advanced levels, not for the champion level. First of all, conservation of troops. Although 1st level troops are often thought of as sacrificeable and disposable, this is not true for more advanced level games where you will have to wait for a week to regenerate your army before you can fight the hundreds of troglodytes guarding the woodmill. Time is of prime importance in such games, and by winning battles with minimum losses, you save time. For starters, the best tactic is often to let your heroes absorb the retaliation damage and then letting your troops move in for the attack. Retaliation in combat works slightly differently now. If a monster has retaliated, it does not regain its retaliation until it has had its turn, which means that sometimes, the same unit can get to attack the monster before it retaliates. This can be done by using wait effectively. If your hero has a higher speed than your creatures, then you should not let your hero wait, because of the reverse order for waiting. Basically, once it is your hero's turn, he/she should attack the enemy if they are within melee range, and then your troops (which should have been positioned nearby) will follow up on the same unit to take it out without incurring any retaliation. Your hero should attack from the middle, towards the outermost enemy unit, while the troops should attack from the outside, so that your hero effectively shields them from damage. 100 hp should be able to soak up quite a bit of damage from your troops. This tactic only works on middle sized groups of creatures, because larger sized will kill your hero outright. In the pirates campaign, this was the tactic that I used in an advanced level setting to beat the wandering monsters at the start, losing only at most 1 pirate or 2, by using the 2 heroes at the start to absorb the damage. Replaying battles in which you feel you could have minimised losses more effectively is another useful trick in conserving your army. The first battle you fight often gives you a feel of the enemy army's movement. Having known the general tactics they adopt, you can then formulate a better way to position your troops to surround enemy units and not be surrounded. The next tip is, always use potions of restorations! (The white one that casts guardian angel on your hero, costs 1000 gold in town). They are the one of the most useful potions in the game. First of all, enemy units like to go for your heroes, and with a potion of restoration used before batle, if your hero takes up damage and dies, he'll come back to life and still be able to earn the experience for winning the combat. Furthermore, he can cast it in battle, so if you have 10 of such potions, it will take the 2 enemy units to kill you twice before you die more permanently. Crossbows are minor artifacts that can often be purchased from the blacksmiths, very useful for starting out heroes, along with a sword, shield and armor. It will probably cost quite a bit to outfit your heroes, so in a scenario with low resources, you may want to think twice about it. After a while, I usually run around with only 4th level and 3rd level units, which are generally much more durable and faster, giving you more movement on land as well. Each day less you travel gives the enemy one day less of gold and army to purchase against you. This could mean one less black dragon to fight! If you have learnt nature magic, make sure you use the useful adventuring spells they give you, like town gate and terrain walk. This will save you loads of travelling time when you are returning to town to learn spells or pick up armies. The caravan is another very useful tool for shipping armies, especially to a town which you have just conquered, so that you can replenish and enlarge your main army. The other use of the caravan is to send away troops before an approaching enemy hero can reach your town, so that he has no troops to purchase and cannot use your army against you. By shipping troops from town to town, you can sometimes accumulate a strong garrison, before launching a counter offensive. ----------------- IV. Useful Spells ----------------- I do not like to state the obvious ones, like direct damage and mass beneficial spells. This section is meant to touch on using the minimum of resources to win the battle. Sometimes, direct damage or beneficial spells may be tempting in a battle against powerful creatures, but there is one spell that I think is useful over all others, which is the confusion spell. It does not depend on the level of the unit it is casted on, and basically, can be used on a lot of creatures. Although it must be added that quite a few 4th level units are immune to confusion, either partially or totally. In the event that you can use it, for example, against 100 sea monsters or behemoths, they are unable to do anything while your ranged creatures attack them every round, slowly killing them. Of course, you must have enough spell points to carry it off, but most of the time, you should be able to cast quite a number of times before you run out of spell points. Needless to say, cloud of confusion is even better. Against a mix of creatures, the toughest unit can be taken out, while the weaker ones are killed by the rest of your army, before concentrating all the firepower on the last unit. This basically splits the battle into 2 separate battles, which could be much easier to do. Town Gate, can be used to half the distance that you will need to travel from one town to another, or even more if the path is not a direct path. All it takes is a bit of estimation and trial and error to get the point to cast the town gate spell to reach the town of your choice. Jon - "Town Gate(an Order spell) can become like town portal in HOMM3 if you occupy every other available town with a hero. It's also very good for hit and run tactics if clearing a mine near a castle. Attack the monster stack, then charm/disintergrate/magic fist etc and town gate during battle." Quicksand can be used more effectively than slow when you are using ranged units against fast moving high level melee enemy units. By spreading the quicksand just in front of the enemy units, they have only about 1 movement per round. SCotT mentioned that it is very useful to use summoning spells during seiges. "The thing about using beneficial spells before attacking a castle. I think you should include summoning spells. In many cases like that I have just sat outside and summoned a vast amount of elements then attacked." On that note, this tactic could be used to draw out enemies so that your ranged attackers can take them down. For example, if you could only summon one sprite, send that sprite to the gate, and the defenders will rush and attack that one sprite, probably killing it, but leaving them open to your ranged attackers. Works well when all you can summon are low level creatures. Peter Davies mentioned - "I found in the Life campaign that Martyr can be cast on enemies who have been hypnotised. With this, all hypnotisable enemies can be used as human (or otherwise) shields." Very evil indeed! Though you would require to have grandmaster order and some life magic. ------------- V. Other Tips ------------- Split angels into two groups. One to soak up damage, while the other to attack without retaliation. Towards the end of the combat, the angels that have not taken much damage can resurrect the ones that have, while the resurrected group can resurrect another unit that may have suffered casualties. Using Bone dragons or pikemen, against slower enemy units, wait, then strike, then move back, then wait, then strike, then move back. If you have quicksand or slow, this tactic can be used very well, as these units do not allow retaliation. Pikemen are quite slow, so they may have to be hasted to allow for such tactics. In sieges, it is sometimes very useful not to knock down the doors first. This is especially the case if there are 4 groups of black dragons in the siege, and who will hang around inside until you knock down the door, after which they will rush out and decimate your heroes. Cast all the beneficial spells you want before doing so. If you have flying creatures in your army, wait at the wall together, before flying over to attack. This way, you gain one attack. Instead of attacking the door, you have attacked a unit. It is very useful to count what happens to understand the effectiveness of this tactic. If you knock down the wall, 4 enemy units rush out and attack your unit, and they attack you 4 times, while you retaliate once. If you fly over the wall and attack one enemy unit, 4 enemy units attack you. Counting retaliations, that's 2:5, a much better ratio than 1:4. Money in some stages is very important, and not in others. It is very useful to think about the value of money before deciding whether to donate it for experience or keep it for money. If you have a grandmaster estates hero lurking somewhere, by all means, use the money to build up another hero. Also, you recoup the money if you are using it to train a hero in estates. Jon - "Thieves are very useful in the early start. A thief with advance stealth can just sneak pass all the lvl 1 creatures to flag mines, pick up loose resources etc. Level him with a dwelling or two to Expert Stealth and he can go explore your enemies terriory." And I always thought stealth was a lousy skill. Seems like it can be a major pain in the arse, especially in multiplayer. "Nature and death have the fastest lvl 1 creatures. Depending on the map, You can use 4-5 armies of 1 sprite/imp and just fan out to pick up all loose resources. Bandits are slower but again they have basic stealth which lets them go pass all lvl 1 creatures." "The spellcaster type creatures generally have a spell thats independent of the number of creatures in the stack(eg: water elemental/slow, genie/song of peace etc). You can rearrange your genies for example into 2 or more stacks. 1 main stack to cast the offensive spell(ice bolt etc) which counts as a non-retaliatory attack, the smaller stack(1-5) to occupy the enemies attention. This also works with creatures with abilities like terror(nightmares) or bloodlust(ogre magi)." "Last thing is to consider available resources when choosing your creature of choice. Eg. For Preserve, to choose between elves and white tigers or griffins and unicorns may not be very difficult. While Elves are amazing as ranged troops, their dwelling is a lot more expensive to build then that of white tigers. The same thing applies to griffins/unicorns. On a small/medium map, the loss of a few days waiting to build the ideal structure can be costly." ---------------- VI. Contact Info ---------------- If you have anything you wish to add to the FAQ, you may email me at email@example.com If you wish to use this faq for private use, please go ahead and you do not need to inform me. If you wish to publish it, this is not copyrighted, but I would like to be informed of such publications of my work. ------------------- VII. Special Thanks ------------------- Gamefaqs for posting this FAQ. 3dO for making such a great game. The people who have emailed me with contributions
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