Friday, March 7, 2014

Heroes 3 vs. Heroes 2

So I want to examine two of my favorite games of all time (and possibly my favorite Strategy series). I have played the shit out of both Heroes 2 and 3 so much I can't honestly decide which one I like better (or which one I've played more). Both games have their merits. Heroes 2 has an awesome look and feel, with a killer soundtrack. All the towns (while unbalance as shit) feel unique and have their own unique style of play that goes along with them. And most importantly each one is fun to play with.

With Knights and Barbarians, you want to play aggressively and pick off your opponents before they build up. Wizard and Warlock, you want to sit back and snatch up resources so you can get your tier 6 units (You've basically won the game once you get a stack of about 15 black dragon, unless of course someone else has dragons), and the sorceress is all about having a quick strike force of shooters and fliers backed up by dwarfs and unicorns. The Necromancer's units are unremarkable save for two of them: Skeletons and Vampire lords. While Skeletons have no special abilities stat-wise they are are the best level one units and due to the necromancy skill you get a fuckload of them. Vampire lords are able to drain the life off of an enemy stack and replenish themselves.

In Heroes 3 the towns are lot more consistent in power at the cost of the uniqueness of the towns . The general strategy for each town feels very much the same. Each town didn't lend itself to any particular style of play due to the fact that towns were given access . Every non-neutral unit has an upgraded version of itself. The upgraded units definitely balance out the game creature-wise and resource-wise, but at the same time the upgrades feel very arbitrary. On the other hand, the upgrades in Heroes 2 were more logical, but alsomore flavorful. How do you upgrade a wolf or a dumbass peasant? Upgrading an ogre with better gear or giving elves better bows makes more sense. Ima end this here since I don't remember what else I was gonna say.


  1. I like your analysis of this. I can recall more than one conversation about the merits of Heroes 2 versus Heroes 3. I'm going to have to say I like 2 better because of everything you mentioned. The look, the soundtrack, and the unique towns make for IMHO a better experience. While 3 is more balanced, 2 has more personality which I find more important than a technically superior game. I can't get enough of that fantasy setting and flavor and 2 has a lot of it.

  2. Also this:

  3. I disagree about the towns in heroes 3 not having a unique feel and strategy, it is just a bit more nuanced and less hit you over the head unbalanced compared to heroes 2. Each town has it's own uniques that are the best for it's class and that you will often most want to focus on being the backbone of your army. How powerful and how resource intensive your highest level unit is made a big difference at whether you can rush to the upgraded version right away or . Also, the overall speed of your best units can make a big difference in how fast your hero can move and how you might want to split up your army. For example the necromancer heroes always have to deal with skeletons in their party, so they don't get to move to fast. Other towns like the elementals with great shooters can revolve around a strategy where the sit back and defend while the shooters pick off smaller units. The strategies are less flavorful and less obvious, but there feels like a lot more strategic depth to heroes 3 to me considering how well balanced everything is and how much better the AI is. The upgrades do feel a bit arbitrary for every unit from a flavor standpoint, but from a strategy standpoint, I feel like giving the player more choices is rarely a bad thing and makes the game decisions more complex, whereas in heroes 2 you had a set build order that you would do about every time the same way.

    Also, while I am disagreeing with parts of what Tommy is saying, I will throw out there that you should almost always go for the experience as opposed to the gold when you open up treasure chests! Experience is a much more scare resources and so much more important to having a powerful force than gold.