Since the release of Heroes of Might and Magic III, franchise fans have created several mods and released many unofficial patches. Sometimes they were so global that they changed the game beyond recognition – new artifacts, units, heroes, and even whole races were added. Enthusiasts and simply dreamers have formed dozens of concepts of new cities, ranging from ancient Greek mythology to futuristic cyberpunk. It is about the most unusual castles that we will talk about in this article.
In the most popular and stable version of Horn of the Abyss at the moment, there are ten cities: “Castle”, “Hold”, “Tower”, “Inferno”, “Necropolis”, “Dungeon”, “Citadel”, “Fortress”, ” Pairing ”and“ Berth ”. Few people know that when the authors of HotA just started developing the mod, they also had the concepts of two more cities – “Cathedral” and “Kronverka”.
The “Cathedral” was conceived as a castle of religious inquisitor fanatics practicing torture and magic. The city with Gothic architecture was located against the backdrop of the autumn landscape and was supposed to convey to the players the oppressive atmosphere of horror, characteristic of the souls-like genre. Warriors of the Cathedral fully corresponded to the chosen theme – among the castle’s units there were patrol dogs with dogs, torturers, executioners, undead fighters, inquisitors, Templars, etc. According to the authors ’initial idea, the strategy of the Cathedral focused on attack and combat spells – as opposed to weak defense and low speed of troops.
Subsequently, the original concept of the “Cathedral” was implemented by the developers of the VCMI mod, for which this castle became exclusive.
Overview video “Cathedral” can be seen here.
Kronverk was to become a city of gnomes, highlanders, giants and various mythical creatures from Scandinavian mythology. This castle had two features – the absence of flying units and a special school of runic magic, which opens a special branch with spells. The appearance of the city was a mixture of Romanesque architecture and structures made of ice and snow, and among the units of the Kronverka there were skalds, fighting rhinos, yetis and wendigo.
Work on the Cathedral was postponed until better times, and Kronverk was frozen at an early stage of planning. Instead of these castles, the authors of Horn of the Abyss turned their attention to the Factory.
Last year developers Horn of the abyss presented the concept of a new castle called “Factory”. The authors of the mod have already added the city’s special soil to the game, showed one of the cut scenes for the campaign, and also announced several new units. Among them are armadillos, flamethrowers, and the Dreadnought robot. Seems to be, HotA team rethought the idea of a technological city, adding elements of desert, western and steampunk to the concept of the canceled “Forge”.
The concept of this city was proposed by the developers of the original Heroes of Might and Magic III in addition to the Armageddon’s Blade. The castle was a futuristic city with an army of robots, cyborgs and warriors with high-tech weapons. This unusual theme came into play from the original Might and Magic universe, where elements of science fiction were successfully intertwined with classic fantasy. Nevertheless, Heroes III fans did not like this contrast with other locks, so the robots were replaced at the last moment with “Pairing” with elementals. Subsequently, the concept of “Forge” was revived by the authors of the VCMI mod.
Overview video “Forges” can be seen here.
The developers of the add-ons “In the Name of the Gods” and VCMI have released a number of other interesting castles, many of which are available in both mods.
Grove is a beautiful forest castle inspired by the night elf race of the fantasy universe of Blizzard Entertainment. To create some models, the authors of the idea even used graphics and texts from Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. Among the Grove units there is a moon hunter resembling Illidan, as well as fauns, dryads, druids, dragons, and other creatures. In the process of developing the city, several design teams changed. In the end, the castle was completed by enthusiasts from Poland – they released it as a separate mod in which “Grove” replaced the original “Fortress”.
Overview video “Groves” can be seen here.
This castle was inspired by the mythology of ancient Egypt, therefore it is made in an oasis setting in the middle of the desert. Among the available warriors are scarabs, camel riders, priestesses of the goddess Sekhmet, war elephants, the monster Amat and the soldiers of Anubis. In some mods with the Bastion, the castle also has sphinxes and priestesses of the cobra goddess Uadjit.
The overview video of the Bastion can be seen here.
Harbor is an alternative view of the Harbor from Horn of the Abyss. The concept of this castle is also built around the theme of water and marine inhabitants, but instead of pirates and thugs in the “Harbor” there are newts, mermaids, sirens and hydromancers. Among units there are also fighting animals – crabs, kraken and sea wyrm.
Harbor overview video can be viewed here.
An interesting continuation of the marine theme is the “Puchina” castle – its creators decided to more deeply (in every sense) reveal the theme of the underwater world. As the name implies, this city is located under water, and its army consists exclusively of sea creatures, real or fictional. Will have to fight with crabs, seahorses, jellyfish, octopuses, mermaids, charybds and other inhabitants of the underwater world.
An overview video of the “Deeps” can be seen here.
Another city in the theme of the magic forest, which stands out for its well-developed concept and beautiful design of the castle. Judging by the composition of the army, its developers were clearly inspired by the novels of John Ronald Roel Tolkien. Among the units of the Reserve there are hobbits, hornets, druids and hippogriffs, and the ancient Ents are the strongest creatures of the castle.
Overview video “Reserve” can be seen here.
Some believe that in the case of Covenant, the authors’ imagination went too far, since the concept of this city looks too ambiguous in the usual fantasy setting of the game. The design of the buildings in this castle is more suitable for the theme of Eve Online or some space shooter than for the world of sword and magic. The composition of the troops at Covenant is also unusual – in the army of this castle there are cybernetic soldiers, flying drones, metamorphs and even spaceships.
You can watch the Covenant review video here.
Fairy City has not the most thoughtful design, but an interesting concept with an emphasis on female characters. There are no male heroes in this castle, and the whole army consists of various fairies, sorceresses and fairy-tale dragons. It is noteworthy that almost all units of this castle are able to fly.
Overview video Fairy Cities can be seen here.
Death Valley is a rethinking of the Necropolis from the original game. This castle is also made in the Gothic theme, with elements of the other world. Units in Death Valley differ from the classic castle of the restless, although they share some common features. For example, you will have to fight with various spirits, mummies, banshees, bone hounds and ghostly giants.
Overview video Death Valley can be seen here.
Ruins is an interesting castle, which at the same time is somewhat similar to the Oplot and Citadel. His concept was laid in the early Middle Ages with elements of ancient Scottish myths and legends. Among the units of the “Ruins” you can find creatures from the universe of Dungeons & Dragons – Coquatrix and Periton. Players will also have at their disposal witches, kelpie water spirits, pygmies and walking guard stones.
Overview video Ruin can be seen here.
The authors of the city of “Mythology” also emphasized myths and legends. The network has several versions of this castle, but the main point is that the player is offered to lead an army of magical creatures that are familiar to us from the myths and legends of Ancient Greece – minotaurs, cyclops, titans, etc. The design of the city’s buildings is dominated by traditional architectural style with columns and growth statues.
Overview video “Mythology” can be seen here.
The Kremlin is an interesting castle with an unusual emphasis on ethnicity. Despite the name, this city has nothing to do with politics, but it perfectly reveals the setting of Old Slavic myths and fairy-tale heroes. So, instead of traditional knights, crossbowmen or dragons in the Kremlin, you can hire brownies, a cat Bayun, a goblin and a Babu Yaga. The strongest unit of the castle is the hero.
Unfortunately, the development of this castle has been frozen for several years, and its concept exists only “on paper”.
This is only part of the cities created by enthusiasts and fans of the Heroes of Might and Magic III series. On thematic sites you can find several dozens of interesting mods of almost any genre. It is worth noting that not all of the listed mods work stably. Usually, debugging them takes a lot of time and can take years, and to try out all the non-standard locks, you will have to install several different versions of HoMM3 and unofficial add-ons. However, can such a trifle stop devoted fans of the game? Good luck on the battlefield!