Introduction to HoMM III in 2020

by Vesa Piittinen

Table of contents

  1. Heroes of Might and Magic III
  2. VCMI: HoMM 3 Remake
  3. Fan extensions of the original game
  4. Communities and more information

Heroesof Might and Magic III

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 is a fantasy adventure strategy game originally released in 1999 that is still popular today with lots of activity by players and modders. This page focuses on providing information and resources for the original game and fan developments, but ignores Ubisoft’s “HD Edition” that was published in 2015.

How to get it?

The best way to get the game these days is to buy it from and thus get it free of digital rights management (DRM). Complete Edition of HoMM 3 includes Restoration of Erathia (the original game), Armageddon’s Blade (first expansion), and Shadow of Death (the last official expansion).

At GOG the game is available in English, French, Polish, and Russian. Should you need other languages it is possible to find the game in Finnish, German, Italian, Ukrainian, and maybe some other languages too? Send me (Merri) a message at Twitter, Heroes Community or /r/HoMM Discord if you know of more! I’m happy to update this page to include links to more localizations.

VCMI: HoMM 3 Remake

VCMI is a re-implementation of Heroes III game engine, but with modding and extensibility built-in! Also multiple platforms are supported: Windows, Linux, Mac and Android. The downside of VCMI is that it is still work-in-progress and depends a lot on available free time of able developers.

Changing the original game is hard as the source code is not available, thus doing more specialized changes requires a very high level of skill which is out of reach for most modders. This is why VCMI exists: to make it possible for more people to do mods that provide more variety than what is possible within the limitations of other fan projects (Era II, HD Mod).

VCMI requires the original game files to function.

Fan extensions of the original game

HD Mod

HD Mod is an essential addition to the original Heroes III experience! This project does not change gameplay. Instead HD Mod adds support for larger resolutions than the game’s original 800×600, fixes usability issues, and removes a few bugs. However it also supports plugins (or packs) which can modify the game.

Heroes 3 HD+ Mod logo

Visit HD Mod download page

Horn of the Abyss

Horn of the Abyss or HotA is a fanmade “third expansion” to the game and is of a very good quality!

City screen of Cove

The way everything is built feels like a true expansion pack to the game with high production value. HotA adds Cove, an entirely new town and does so by not removing any of the originals. They’re also working on adding a second new town, which may or may not be complete by 31st December 2020… That is the cost of projects made with the spare time of pros :)

Read more about the Horn of the Abyss project

Horn of the Abyss
Download Horn of the Abyss!

Era II

Era works similarly to HotA in that it modifies the original game, but instead of being a fixed single expansion project it aims to provide a common platform for user made mods. Normally mods would be totally incompatible and very challenging to make, but with Era multiple mods can co-exist at the same time. The project includes editor and custom scripting language.

Main Era II thread at Heroes Community

HoMM 3 HD Edition War Unicorn

HoMM 3 communities and more information

Heroes Community is a discussion forum for all things Heroes of Might and Magic.

There is also an active Reddit community: /r/HoMM. They also have a Discord chat!

For anything more official the best place today is probably GOG’s HoMM forum.

I can also recommend Heroes III Wiki which is an excellent resource that treats Horn of the Abyss as a first class citizen alongside the original expansions.

Patches for the original CD releases

In the old days it was size efficient to release patches to change existing files rather than sharing all the changed files. This also made one to require the original files as you’d do nothing with only the patch. In modern times patches have become unnecessary as we simply re-download gigabytes worth of data on each game update… so in reality we’ve become awfully wasteful of computing and network resources.

I have seen the trouble of finding and putting together a list of all the English patches released for the game. You don’t need these patches if you are playing a release, but I did the research and collected these together for localization purposes to find out how the game text has evolved over time. Tracking down the files one by one was awful!

Game release Filename Description
Restoration of Erathia
Version 1.1
H310TO11.EXE Patch from 1.0 to 1.1
Restoration of Erathia
Version 1.2
Patch from 1.0 to 1.2
Patch from 1.1 to 1.2
Restoration of Erathia
Version 1.3
Patch from 1.0 to 1.3
Patch from 1.1 to 1.3
Patch from 1.2 to 1.3
Restoration of Erathia
Version 1.4
Patch from 1.0 to 1.4
Patch from 1.1 to 1.4
Patch from 1.2 to 1.4
Patch from 1.3 to 1.4
Armageddon’s Blade
Version 2.1
H320TO21.EXE Patch from 2.0 to 2.1
Armageddon’s Blade
Version 2.2
Patch from 2.0 to 2.2
Patch from 2.1 to 2.2
Shadow of Death
Version 3.1
H330TO31.EXE Patch from 3.0 to 3.1
Shadow of Death
Version 3.2
Patch from 3.0 to 3.2
Patch from 3.1 to 3.2

All the above in a single file: all official 16 HoMM 3 patches (28 MB)

In case wondering, you need 7-zip to handle 7z files.

See also

Some related content that you might find interesting.