Fanstratics – Update #8 – Stoutbluds faction

This month’s Troop concept sketch is the Bile Worm.

Fanstratics Faction #3: Thornwood

This faction rounds out the three ‘good’ cultures. Elfin in origin, the Thornwood inhabit tribal towns throughout the enchanted Spring Lands. Where most cultures resist nature’s merciless cycles of birth, life, transformation, and death, the Thornwood zealously embrace them. If you are familiar with Heroes 3 ‘Rampart’, you should find comfort in playing this fierce, wild, and virtuous faction. Representing the Thornwood is the Elfin Sharpshooter, which can be viewed in the Fanstratics Gallery.

When Heroes 3 was in development, did the team think Eagle Eye would be a viable or competitive secondary skill? I’ve seen players say it was meant to be a bad one to balance out with the good ones, but things like the boosting artifacts, a few pre-made Seer Huts and Witches high learning chance tell me otherwise.

Regarding Eagle Eye… it was a holdover from Heroes 2. While we knew it was a ‘lesser’ skill, we didn’t consider it ‘useless’. In hindsight, I should have cut it, but like I said… it was a legacy skill from Heroes 2, and there was a desire to maintain some consistency between Heroes 2 and Heroes 3. So, to directly answer your question, we never intentionally created ‘bad’ skills to balance out ‘good’ skills.

Originally, the concept of Eagle Eye was simple. An Allied Hero ‘sees’ an Enemy Hero use an unlearned Spell, and upon seeing it, the Allied Hero learns the Spell. In practice, it didn’t work out so well.

First, there was only a ‘chance’ to the learn the spell. Second, an Allied Hero typically fought and defeated lesser Enemy Heroes, thus rarely saw a Spell the Hero didn’t already know. Third, Enemy Towns are not necessarily difficult to acquire, thus Enemy Spells are not necessarily difficult to acquire. Also, big maps tend to give plenty of opportunities for learning ‘other’ Spells.

I’ve given Eagle Eye a lot of thought, but ultimately… I’m discarding its equivalent. Once it is gone, I strongly doubt most people will miss it.

Astrologers from HoMM3 but have long been a meme. Will they proclaim weeks and months in the Fanstratics?

Fanstratics will have weekly and monthly Astrological events.

The story you related for the Forge faction sounds great, a pity that it didn’t come to pass. From what you say, it nearly seems that in AB, destroying the whole world was born from frustration coming with the cancellation of the Forge.

Regarding the Armageddon’s Blade story, it was written well before the cancellation, but was oddly prescient.

Gamers in Russia and the CIS countries are very fond of HoMM3 and are one of the most active community of the game. In this case, have you thought about adding creatures from Russian/Slavic mythology and fairy tales or about creating a faction in the Slavic style in the Fanstratics?

Truthfully, I have investigated Slavic mythology, but shied away from it. In my estimation, one of the reasons why HoMM3 was successful, was in how it embraced stereotypical fantasy creatures: dragons, unicorns, dwarves, elves, etc. Worldwide fantasy tropes are largely driven by Western and Central European mythology, specifically Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of Rings’ (which largely inspired ‘Dungeons & Dragons’). Other fantasy tropes… Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, North/South American, Russian/Slavic, etc… have for the most part… stayed regional.

With this in mind, there is a fair amount of visual crossover between Central/  Western / Eastern mythology. For example, if outside of Russia or East Europe, I showed most people a picture of a Zmei… they would tell me it was a Hydra. Another example would be the Psoglav (human torso, horse legs, dog’s head, one eye), which most people would see as a weird-looking, cyclopean Werewolf (which, by the way, is a lot of fun).

In the end, when you have 60+ creatures, quick identification and natural assumptions, are especially paramount. So, it’s safer to embrace common stereotypes, and avoid any potential for confusion. This being said, I’ll take another look into Russian/Slavic mythology, and see if I can’t sprinkle a couple creatures into the Neutral roster.

Fanstratics is currently in pre-alpha production. For future updates, please subscribe to newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: