Heroes of Might and Magic is a classic turn-based strategy series with a rich history going back to the 80-s. Having started as a spin-off to party-based RPG Might and Magic, Heroes quickly gained popularity due to its simple yet graceful strategic gameplay.
The first game in the series, Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest saw the light of the day in 1995. The story behind the game is as simple as it can get: four generals fight for control of an unruled land, each representing their own faction.
Your General of choice – Knight Lord Morglin Ironfist, barbarian Lord Slayer, the sorceress Queen Lamanda, or the warlock Lord Alamar – leads an army of creatures consisting of 5 unit types that allows them to conquer cities, claim mines, attack and defeat enemy heroes, acquire artifacts and more.
Many gameplay elements were carried over to the following games, including the usage of Heroes, new units spawning on the first day of the in-game week, buildings objects in cities and more. For all intends and purposes, the greatness of the Heroes of Might and Magic series started here.
A year later, Heroes of Might and Magic received a sequel titled Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars followed by an expansion pack titled The Price of Loyalty. The game built upon the foundation of its predecessor and brought the title to the new heights, introducing many gameplay elements that became staples of the franchise.
In addition to the Knight, Barbarian, Sorcerer and Warlock, the game introduced Necromancer and Wizard factions, bringing the total to six. The game also overhauled the system of magic and introduced secondary skills to allow for further Hero customization. Heroes of Might and Magic II for the first time allowed players to upgrade some of their units, improving their combat characteristics and sometimes providing them with new passive or active abilities.
The game also featured a proper campaign where you could support one of the descendants of Lord Morglin Ironfist in their fight for the throne of Enroth, the kingdom built on the unruled soil of the island from the original Heroes: “good” younger brother Roland or “evil” older brother Archibald. Regardless of your choice, the canon ending has Roland winning in the war.
The third and arguably the most beloved game of the series released in 1999 as Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia. The story of the game continued to build from that of HoMMII, this time featuring Roland’s wife Catherine returning to her home kingdom of Erathia to find it in ruins. The Queen set to investigate her father’s death and restore Erathia to prior glory.
HoMMIII received two large expansions: Armageddon’s Blade and the Shadow of Death, each bringing more features to the game as well as a new lengthy campaign featuring old and new characters and epic adventures. Unlike HoMM I & II, Heroes III allows players to take control of seven units up from five. The game also smoothed over the unit upgrade system as well as character progression.
If you decide to dive into HoMM3, check out our modifications highlights to enhance your experience to the maximum.
In 2015, Ubisoft released the HD edition of Heroes of Might and Magic III: Restoration of Erathia with updated graphics and widescreen compatibility.
The fourth installment of the series, Heroes of Might and Magic IV tried to introduce something new to the series and take a few steps away from the classic gameplay canvas of HoMM I, II and III.
Unlike previous games, in HoMMIV Heroes could participate in the battles directly. Additionally, the game made it possible to control armies with more than one Hero at a time or with no heroes at all. The Hero progression system was massively overhauled and provided players with many new options.
Unlike previous titles of the series, HoMMIV also spawned new creatures in the cities and lairs every in-game day.
The story of HoMMIV continued that of Heroes III: Armageddon’s Blade or Heroes Chronicles: with the world of Antagarich destroyed by the Reckoning created from the clash of Armageddon’s Blade and the Sword of Frost, the survivors find themselves in a strange new world known as Axeoth. There are six campaigns dedicated to their respective Factions and centered on its leader.
The game received two expansion packs: The Gathering Storm (2002) and Winds of War (2003).
A new era began for Heroes of Might and Magic after HoMMIV. Following the closure of The 3DO Company, Ubisoft bought the rights to the Might and Magic franchise in 2003. A new page was turned with Heroes of Might and Magic V (2006) that was used as a means to reboot the series.
Taking place in a fantasy world of Ashan, Heroes V does not have any connection to the previous game of the series story-wise. The game features six factions with the expansions Hammers of Fate and Tribes of the East adding another two.
Unlike the previous games in the series, Heroes of Might and Magic V is completely 3D. The general gameplay curve of the game returned to its HoMMI-III roots.
Following HoMMV, the series received name change with the next title in series being Might and Magic: Heroes VI. The game was released in October 2011, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Might and Magic franchise.
Might and Magic: Heroes VI altered some of the long-lasting gameplay staples of the series, for example, changing the mage guild system to personal Hero talents where it comes to magic. The game also streamlined the strategy portion by reducing the number of resources from seven to four. Some of the other introduced features include area control by the affiliated towns, army-less hero travel (that was impossible in HoMMV while being possible in HoMMIV).
The game allows you to choose a path for your Hero between “blood” and “tears” based on your decisions and affecting the abilities you can acquire. For example, “Tears”-type of Hero usually receives more defensive buffs while the affiliation with “Blood” gives an edge in destructive abilities.
The base game contains five factions with the stand-alone expansion Shades of Darkness adding the sixth one, Dungeon. Might and Magic: Heroes VI Pirates of the Savage Sea Adventure and Danse Macabre added more campaigns centered around alter-ego of the familiar characters from Heroes I through Heroes IV.
The latest installment in the series, Might and Magic: Heroes VII follows the story after the events of Might and Magic: Heroes VI – Shades of Darkness, taking place 200 years after it and 100 years before Heroes V.
Might and Magic: Heroes VII sticks close to its predecessor with few new additions. Visually appealing, the game had many critical bugs that soured the impression of the audience. In 2016 the game received standalone expansion Trial by Fire, but 2 months after it Ubisoft announced that further game development was halted.
Heroes VII also included the Lost Tales of Axeoth – two campaigns that were meant to be included in HoMMIV but were left out. It also included 68 new regular heroes, 8 campaign heroes, music tracks from Heroes IV, and artifacts not included with the original Heroes VII.
Since then, the Heroes franchise has been silent in regards to a new turn-based strategy installment. However, Ubisoft works day and night to bring more HoMM titles to mobile, including Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians, Might & Magic Heroes: Dynasty, Might & Magic: Chess Royale and Might and Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos.
While there are no more Heroes titles to play, other franchises might grab your attention. Announced during E3 2019, Songs of Conquest is a turn-based strategy inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic II. The game is planned for release in late 2020 for PC and Mac. Check out its official site to find out more!
Sequel to 2008 title King’s Bounty: The Legend, King’s Bounty II is a turn-based tactical RPG that will be coming to Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2020.
The game boasts the most realistic graphics in the series and classic King’s Bounty gameplay
Check out the official site to find out more.