Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Is Probably the Greatest Game EVER

The legendary, the one and only, the amazing Heroes of Might and Magic III is probably not one of the games you keep hearing about – especially if you live in the US, Canada or, basically, everywhere else BUT Eastern Europe.

And why would you? HoMM3 is a game launched back in 1999, so it can be considered prehistoric by many. Well, let me tell you why: because it probably is the GREATEST game ever made!

What makes this game so special?

heroes 3 complete launch screen
The game’s launch screen

Let’s start with a bit of history – although it would be enough to say that Heroes of Might and Magic 3 made history and IS history.

The game was launched back in 1999, coming with a ton of improvements over the previous two games in the series (Heroes of Might and Magic 1 & 2), managing to offer player such a complete and perfect gaming experience that you simply could not ignore it.

For somebody who has never played a HoMM game before, it will seem insanely complex and complicated. And it is. But that is exactly what makes it special – and one of the main reasons why it is still an extremely popular game even today.

For a quick breather, here is the HD Edition of the game on Steam, at the moment of writing this article (and the Steam version is the LEAST popular of them all):

HoMM3 player stats

Over 1,000 players are in the game right now. Not to shabby for a game launched some 25 years ago, right?

And, as I said, this is not the most popular game – we have the “Complete” edition downloadable from GoG, which comes with some extra goodies and all the people I know who play this game play the Complete version (usually with plenty of mods).

This is what happens when you build something amazing. And HoMM3 is exactly that, offering all of the things below, and MUCH more:

  • A complex world with hundreds of creatures to recruit, upgrade, fight against.
  • 8 or 9 playable in-game factions (depending on your version of the game). Each faction comes with a unique set of Heroes (leaders of your armies), creatures and buildings you can create in their main cities.
  • Hundreds of artifacts to get and equip, boosting your heroes’ stats. Some artifacts can be merged into better ones.
  • Tons of skills to choose from, then level up to build perfect heroes.
  • Hundreds of spells to master (including skills related to them, in order to boost their stats).
  • Hundreds of elements on the map – from charming decor ones – to plenty of structures that affect the gameplay (mines that provide resources, structures that give all sorts of boost or creatures, portals, gates and a lot more).
  • A map editor that allows players to create their own maps (and some player made ones are amazing). Some versions of the game also offer a random map generator, for basically endless gameplay opportunities.
  • An extremely active modding community that keeps pumping new content even today.

Of course, Heroes of Might and Magic III is a lot more than what I could list above. It’s a game that I am playing for 25 years now, since it was originally launched (after playing the first two in the series as well).

It is a game that simply can’t be fully put in words, whose complexity is so embraceable that it’s almost a paradox. And mix that together with the charming visual style which remains relevant even today, after so many years, as well as the flawlessly done music score and sound effects and you do get a game that simply can’t be replicated.

heroes 3 complete in-game screenshot
In-game screenshot from one of my many plays

Sure, many have tried to create something similar. Even the franchise itself has seen new games released – but none managed to become as popular and be as appreciated as Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Somehow, it managed to do all the things right. And the rest is history.

The amazing thing about HoMM3 is the fact that even those who have never played it – no matter their age – can find it charming.

I recently introduced my son – a 10-year-old who loves to play Minecraft, Brawl Stars, Chuchel or Hollow Knight (among many others) – to this game. He was reluctant to play it, and I could understand why. I didn’t want to force him to play it or like it – but I truly hoped that he would.

He completed the tutorial and enjoyed it enough to start a new game. With a bit of help from me, he completed the new game too, and declared: “It’s surprisingly good.” I don’t think there are many 25-year-old games capable of getting a similar reaction.

I actually tried to introduce him to some of my favorites from when I was young – games like Dune 2, Another World or Supaplex (trying to cover multiple genres here) but he didn’t like them. HoMM 3 was an instant hit. And I think this tells a lot about how amazing this game really is.

Speaking of amazing games, do check out my list of Dune games in chronological order, as well as my list of the Best Games Like NARAKA: BLADEPOINT.

Heroes of Might and Magic III Versions

HOTA screenshot
Screenshot from the HD & HOTA mods, combined

Since the original release back in 1999, the game received plenty of expansions, both official and unofficial.

From a set of pretty easy (yet fun to play) campaigns called Heroes of Might and Magic Chronicles, to a massive update that introduced a new faction – the Conflux – and plenty of new gameplay elements, to the still alive modding community that launched a series of updates on their own (the most popular being Horn of the Abyss, In The Wake of Gods, Day of the Reckoning and the unofficial HD version), the game kept growing and expanding year over year.

Add to that the thousands of player-made maps that you can download and play for free, and you have enough to keep you busy for a lifetime or two.

If you want to play (or replay) the game, I personally recommend getting the Complete version from Good Old Games, as it has the latest official content, namely the Conflux update. It’s constantly on sale and you will be able to get it for a couple of bucks on many occasions.

Then, you can install the unofficial HD mod (and/or any of the others, as they work together) and enjoy the amazing game. If you’ve never played it before, I would stay away from mods for a while, though – the lore is so huge and complex and there are tons of things to get used to, that any extras brought in by the mods will seem overwhelming.

You can get the official HD version I mentioned earlier. It is available on Steam, but it doesn’t have the Conflux faction, nor the random map generator.

I will be back soon with a retro review of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, offering more in-depth gameplay details and screenshots… but I just wanted to write this article and get it off my chest. HoMM3 is the best game ever and you don’t have to be an old gamer like myself to truly appreciate it.

Do you have anything else to say about the game? Have you ever played it and, most importantly, do you also consider it at least one of the best games ever?

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