HoMM3: Day of Reckoning update – Viking and Einheri

Happy 25th anniversary, fans of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 worldwide! To celebrate this event, the Day of Reckoning team has prepared another project update, which, just like the New Year’s update, will contain something special. Make sure to read this update, and stay tuned!

The Viking and Einheri

Real-life Vikings have carved out quite a reputation for themselves in modern folklore – one of ferocity and valor, but also appreciation for the beauty of the raw, Nordic nature, aptitude for creative arts and a sophisticated religious system that to this day resonates with many. The vikings in Day of Reckoning borrow heavily from all of these tropes- and while they were an obvious choice for inclusion in a Norse, winterland faction for the above reasons, they do in fact already have a precedent in the M&M universe, nay, on Vori specifically – they have been alluded to in the flavor text for the unique broadsword Terminus, found in the pirate outpost in M&M8:

“As a child, before he carved his barbarian kingdom in Vori, Lars Eilief found this sword deep in an ice cave. When he died, it was set adrift with him on his funeral barge. How it ended up in Jadame is a mystery.”

Although considered “barbarians” by outsiders, perhaps owing to their comparatively crude-looking equipment and architecture favoring wood over stone, the Vikings of Vori predate their Krewlish namesakes, and are in fact ancestral to them. But as it often tends to be the case, the descendant group has diverged so far from their progenitors that very little remains in common between the two peoples – today much more sets them apart.

The myriad differences can all boil down to a single thing, though: philosophy. While the human barbarians of Krewlod are ferocious and offense-oriented (ironically, embodying the berserker archetype often attributed to real-life Vikings), the barbarian settlers on Vori never really abandoned their ages-old religion and traditions.

hey believe in fulfillment though falling in honorable combat, so in death they can become worthy of the halls of Valhalla and, by extent, Reincarnation. To this end, they employ a deliberate, defensive style of combat – reminescent of the coming of winter itself – slow, but inevitable. Their outlook on life is also markedly different from the opportunistic, brutish and might-worshipping Krewlodians – the Vikings value honor, valor, camraderie, the warmth of the hearth and defense of the land – while remaining largely unconcerned with conquest or expanding their personal influence. This translates to them being the single most defensively impressive and tanky T1 unit of all, surpassing even the Pikeman.

If you have paid attention to this update thus far, you might have noticed that the Vikings have been called a level 1 Palace creature. Weren’t the Nisse and Tomte Palace’s T1 creature, you might wonder? That’s true, but that’s only half of the story. The Day of Reckoning project is meant to be a full-scale, true expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and thus far, each and every one of the game’s expansions has introduced entirely new game mechanics: Armageddon’s Blade introduced the concept of “elite” creatures like Enchanters and Sharpshooters, which can be upgraded only by certain heroes and from “regular” creatures, whereas Shadow of Death added combination artifacts to the game.

The main such mechanic that DoR introduces, however, is that of alternative creatures. In a way, this is meant to answer the question of what NWC would have done if they continued to make addons for HoMM3, in a similar vein as it happened for other old games, like Age of Empires 2. It is not unlikely that, in order to answer both gameplay and thematic needs, as well as freshen up the older factions, NWC could have decided to add HoMM4’s concept of alternative creatures, and adapt it accordingly to HoMM3, without the inherent flaws or “uniqueness” present in the former.

Thus, in DoR, you will see alternative creatures in every faction. Do not worry, however, for behind the addition of each and every one of them are many hours of studying the design of the faction, its color palette, its themes, the creatures it lacks and so on, while keeping in mind the town’s associated feeling and atmosphere that HoMM3’s players love so much. This is also paired with the need to answer certain gameplay concerns or even open up new strategies for certain factions, some of which were otherwise harder to play with on most maps. As such, any of the new creatures will be instantly recognizable by most players, and would not be far-fetched ports or inclusions of certain creatures just for the sake of referencing another game in the series, or satisfying the tastes or whims of someone in particular.

Some of you might be wondering if this would mostly be a port of the Tides of War mod, but that is not true at all. Some of the creatures will make a return, but with noticeable changes for the sake of the graphical and even conceptual quality and, in many cases, even gameplay. However, the other half have either suffered a change in factions (Neutral “faction” included) and major design overhauls, or have not made it at all. Even in terms of UI, DoR will feature more conservative (and also unprecedented) interface solutions for picking the alternative creature, whether in the town tree or when beginning the game. In the end, this feature in DoR is more of a spiritual successor of that mod, and will finally bring an accessible and thoroughly polished version of ToW’s alternative creatures mechanic.

But this is enough on the mechanic itself, which will be reserved for a future post.

In other words, the Viking is Palace’s alternative creature of level 1, being able to be picked instead of the Nisse. Yes, it can be chosen as the creature to be prebuilt in the player’s starting town, and without resorting to silly pop-up dialogs. Rather, the option is seamlessly integrated into the map selection menu, together with the other starting options, such as towns and heroes.

Thematically, this gives the player the option to choose either a winterland creature, or the classic viking. This is meant to serve HoMM3’s iconic and flexible storytelling power: in one map, the Palace town might represent a sophisticated civilization of ice mages living with various creatures from the winterlands, whereas on another map it could really be a viking town. Respecting such trends set by the original game is something of great importance for the DoR Team.

As you will notice, this trend also extends to the design of the hero models, the heroes themselves, as well as all the other aspects of the town.

Last but not least, the creature’s visuals. The creation of the viking was very straightforward and relatively quick. It was, to be, a viking. Thus, he would feature a round shield, an axe, a viking attire, as well as a horned helmet (we are aware that this is not historically accurate, but that is the trope itself, for better or worse). The upgrade itself was diversified a bit by the addition of a norman shield instead of a round one, a chainmail, as well as the presence of the classic helmet.

Thanks for reading, I hope you liked this update. Have a great day, fellow people!

In keeping with the overall motif of Palace, the Vikings also have a mystical aspect to them. Sharing in the presence of some virtually divine dwellers of the realms of Norse legends seals their convictions, but not only – upon dying honorably in battle, the vikings are reincarnated by the Valkyries into Einherjar, virtually immortal defenders of Vori. This closely parallels the Norse myths, where the only main difference is that the Einherjar guarded Asgard instead, the realm of the gods.
Gameplay-wise, this only means that one of the new spells, Reincarnation, is more effective when cast on the creature. This is more of a flavor ability, just like that of Pikemen taking less damage from Cavaliers.

Source: http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=47267&pagenumber=18

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