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How to feed your Heroes of Might & Magic addiction

November 18, 1999
Web posted at: 9:16 a.m. EST (1416 GMT)

by Andrew S. Bub

Action Shots

(IDG) -- Warning: The turn-based tour-de-force known as the Heroes of Might & Magic (HOMM) series is best avoided by gamers without ample free time. It is insanely addictive. It is bad news for anyone with spousal or child-rearing responsibilities, deadlines, or the need to eat and sleep.

And now New World Computing and 3DO have gone and released an expansion pack for the third episode.

HOMM3 took what was great about HOMM2 and added what fans wanted: more. More heroes, spells, artifacts, scenarios, maps and sides. It even offered a handful of massive campaigns, a scenario editor and a stable multiplayer mode. The last thing you'd think it needed would have been an expansion pack.

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Nevertheless, if you're a true HOMM3 fan, you must have Armageddon's Blade -- not because it adds significantly to the game, but because it just plain gives you more of what you already love.

Armageddon's Blade offers one massive campaign and five smaller ones. It adds a new side, the Conflux, which is based upon the neutral elemental creatures. It adds new character types to existing sides, such as accurate marksmen, and three new dragon types. It adds a host of new monsters, like halflings and mummies, and new hero types: the Elementalist and the Planeswalker.

It doubles in number the scenarios offered in the original HOMM3. It adds new rules, like the ability to recruit both the regular or improved armies from upgraded structures. It adds new music, and very good music it is.

In keeping with the series' always-stellar production values and storyline, we return to war-torn Erathia and find a new enemy has beaten Lady Catherine back to her lands: an enemy from Hell itself with the ominous name Lucifer Kreegan. Kreegan seeks to assemble the Armageddon Blade, an ancient and powerful "doomsday" weapon, and this struggle (which can be played out from either side) makes up the first campaign.

It also introduces the Conflux town center as a neutral faction. The Conflux, with its elemental armies and new hero types, is almost worth the price of admission. It's the most challenging side in a random game because, as you'll recall from HOMM3, elementals aren't the hardiest of creatures. But the Conflux evens this out later on when you upgrade to the powerful phoenix.

The bottom line is that this new faction is challenging to seasoned veterans, and just one more dimension added to the mix.

If HOMM3 was your idea of a perfect beer-and-pretzels wargame, Armageddon's Blade is a worthy add-on. In fact, by adding so many new goodies to an already huge game, it redefines "expansion pack." This ought to hold you until Heroes of Might & Magic IV!


  • If you are new to the series, play as the Necromancer or the Knight. Of the hero types, they are the two easiest to grasp.

  • The Conflux becomes very powerful if you can find the time to nurture your armies to a large enough size, and upgrade to the Phoenix.

  • The enemy has an uncanny knack for attacking your Towns on Day Seven. Watch the calendar, buy up any armies (even if you are sure to lose) and protect yourself as best you can towards the end of the week. Reverse this tactic if you can. Attack enemy towns on Day Five or Six. That way, when the new week starts (and the new armies have arrived), you can steal them.

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