Heroes of Might and Magic III: Horn of the Abyss (abbreviated as HotA) is a fan-made full scale add-on for Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death, designed to continue the classical Heroes III add-on series of RoE/AB/SoD.
The aim of the project is to create an add-on for Heroes III with lots of new features, but stay true to the formula and vision of the original game. The main focus 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 developers, and a considerable amount of new content, like new campaigns, new map objects and a new playable faction — The Cove. The project is lore-oriented and attempts to keep connected with the original Might and Magic universe.
Latest version — 1.6.1 (1.02.2020).
New faction: The CoveEdit
The Cove is the tenth castle which is a calling card of the project. Unlike WoG-based modifications, HotA provides a complete tenth castle without replacing any of the existing ones. Moreover, it saves the original game's functionality, unlike the VCMI platform, and is fully standalone, meaning it does not interfere with the original game, and they can both be run normally once HotA is installed.
The Cove is a town represented by the Regnan Empire which is often mentioned in Might and Magic VI and Might and Magic VII, and featured in Might and Magic VIII as the Regna Island location. This is in contrast to the Foolhardy Waywardness campaign in Armageddon's Blade, where 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 from the other games of the series, like Astra, appear in the Cove's hero roster.
The Cove lineup is represented by pirates, sea sorcerers and various sea creatures which are allied to them.
Below is the list of the Cove creatures:
- 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 to those of the ballista, and costs 4000 gold. The Cannon cannot be bought anywhere except the Cove town or the Cannon Yard, a new global map object.
The Cove faction is mainly attack-oriented, 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 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 brings new map objects, some being reskins of existing ones (such additional monoliths and terrain-wise hill forts), and some new, like decorative objects, Conservatories, Shrines and more. Water terrain playability and water objects are treated with special attention, due to the pirate theme of the new Cove faction. Added in version 1.5 was the Highlands terrain, native to the Conflux faction.
Amongst other developments, HotA also brings some careful adjustments to the vanilla Heroes III mechanics. For instance, the creature dwellings are able to accumulate creatures, necromancy skill has undergone a major reform (the percentages are halved in comparison to those of SoD) and some heroes have their specialties reconsidered.
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 III for online gaming. There are some tournaments being maintained by the team and the wide gaming community.
Frozen and/or cancelled contentEdit
In the early stages of the project, some features were announced which are now "frozen" by the team, but still are lively discussed in the gaming communities. Some of these features are:
New factions: Forge, Cathedral, KronverkEdit
The Forge faction, a concept based on the cancelled Forge concept by New World Computing, was supposed to make a return in Horn of the Abyss.
The Cathedral faction was to be inspired by Europe of the XIV century, particularly the Inquisition period.
The Kronverk faction was to be a snow-dwelling faction composed mainly of dwarves.
Inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic IV, alternative lineups were once planned. Examples of such creatures are the Satyrs, an alternative for the Pegasi in the Rampart faction, and the Squires, an alternative for the Pikemen in the Castle faction.
- 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, with some of them being the new combination artifacts.
- 12 new spells
- New terrain types: the Wasteland terrain (similar to that in Heroes of Might and Magic II).
- Town Keepers: also inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic II — the player would be able to hire a new unique unit to protect his town. This unit would be the only one for a single player and will be used only during the siege of the defended castle.