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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In the third game, is the faction seeking independence for the Contested Lands right that this is necessary to prevent war between Erathia and AvLee? Or are they opportunistic and self-serving, not to mention blind to how they're causing a war?
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The final mission of the first game's campaign has you taking a Dragon City, which is guarded by 20 Dragons, split up into five stacks of four. While Dragons are the most powerful units in the first game, the group you face isn't as strong as the garrisons of the other faction strongholds in the preceding three missions; Lord Alamar will likely have at least twice as many Dragons by the time you face him, as well as dozens of Hydras, Minotaurs, Griffins and Gargoyles.
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    • In the first mission of the Dungeons and Devils campaign of III, you're tasked with killing the Gold Dragon Queen. Does that sound difficult? Not when you consider that she's just a single Gold Dragon, who won't pose much of a threat to you if you've fought your way through the dozens of Green Dragons in her lair.
    • "For King and Country," the final campaign mission of the third game, is this. Despite being set to Expert difficulty, the two Necropolis towns you face are easy to defeat if you rush them at the first opportunity with Queen Catherine.
    • "Independence", the last mission of the third game's secret campaign, requires you to build a Capitol in your home city. This is harder than it sounds, since wood and gold are frequently stolen from you, but if you think carefully and plan ahead, you can finish the scenario in roughly a week.
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    • You can do this to yourself - in fact, if you like winning the game it's recommended - in the final scenario of The Pirate Queen in IV. If you know Pete Girly is going to betray you, you can make sure to give him as many abilities that don't have anything to do with combat, like scouting and pathfinding so that during the final battle he's a pushover. That's him personally, mind you - he'll still have a gigantic army with 50 black dragons in it, but those dragons are a lot easier if they're not backed by Pete with Master Chaos Magic.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The campaign in III says outright that the Inferno faction represents the Kreegans from Might and Magic, a race of Planet Looters who look somewhat demon-like and are erroneously thought to be demons and devils by the unknowing inhabitants of planets they invade. Besides the story fragments in the campaign, everything else about the art, lore descriptions, hero biographies, unit design, etc. of the Inferno makes it clear that the people on the development team who cared about the plotline of Might and Magic had absolutely no say in the design of this faction, as the Inferno are a bunch of generic demons and devils from Fire and Brimstone Hell with no resemblance whatsoever to the Kreegans. This was actually a good thing for the Game Mod community and the appeal of III to a wider audience, but it's pretty jarring when playing through the campaign (as well as the Mandate of Heaven scenario, which is set in the map of the sixth game and has the Kreegans control an Inferno town).
  • Ass Pull: V has quite a few that pretty much pull apart the entire premise at the seams upon rewatching:
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    • The idea of the Demon Messiah. A demon hybrid that can walk on Ashan freely without having to worry about being sent back to Sheogh is indeed terrifying, so that's why Kha-Beleth started the events of the game for a half-human and half-demon hybrid. Only one problem. He already succeeded with Agrael, a dark elf demon cultist who can freely walk the earth and bringing in demons freely while being immune from being banished back to Sheogh as demonstrated with his battle with Nicolai. All Kha-Beleth needed to do is to repeat the same method as he did with Agrael and he will have demons walking all over Ashan in no time. Kha-Beleth already won without even realising it.
      • Um, the idea of the Demon Messiah is that he will be capable of freeing demons from their prison. Agrael is definitely not capable of that.
    • The Reveal that after being rescued in the base game's finale, Queen Isabel is with Raelag in Hammers of Fate while half of her soul is stored in another city in Tribes of the East at the same time. Not only it doesn't make any sense narrative-wise, it also destroys any sympathy for her as even if she is ignorant of Biara masquerading as her, she is effectively knowingly neglecting her duties as queen, the same duties that she fought tooth and nail for while resorting to employing Markal in the base game. There's a reason she is considered The Scrappy for quite a while on this very list.
      • While the former was supposed to be explained by Word of God that the switch was only noticed by Raelag who set free the real Isabel after the battle with Kha-Beleth and Sheogh isn't exactly a place you can just walk to on the map meaning that returning to the Holy Griffin Empire isn't going to be easy, this explanation wound up being a Voodoo Shark to most people as it raised the question as to why Raelag didn't just tell the other heroes that they were bringing back an imposter after the battle with Kha-Beleth. Meanwhile, the purpose of the soul splitting is to make Biara be able to disguise herself as Isabel on a spiritual level, which allowed her to fool everyone else except for Raelag. However, it's noted that both of these explanations are not stated or shown properly in-game and are from looking up interviews and wikis, making players wonders why weren't they added in the script itself.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Colossal Cavern, from the second game. You have a year to get a million gold by exploring a large dungeon, capturing towns, claiming gold mines and acquiring resources and treasures to fund your way to the goal. It's a very long mission, but it's also quite well-designed.
    • The Mandate of Heaven, in the third game, is a replica of the eponymous sixth Might and Magic. It features all sorts of references to the RPG- from towns and dungeons to the monsters you might find in the various region of the game- and includes impressive attention to detail.
  • Broken Base:
    • Heroes IV: An interesting unorthodox take or a Dork Age best forgotten?
    • Even the overall well-liked third game gets this occasionally for its Art Shift from the more fairy-talish visuals of the first two games(more the first than the second) to a Real Is Brown palette.
    • There's a large sect of fans who despise anything that's even slightly different from Heroes II and Heroes III.
    • The Shadow Council element for the Heroes VII blog has been... rather venomous.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Kalibarr, once The Mentor to Gauldoth, got separated from him, but Gauldoth frees Kalibarr from prison years later. Having all his previous good qualities gone, Kalibarr starts with sending his old apprentice on dangerous missions in hopes of getting rid of him. Later, Gauldoth learns that Kalibarr was worshiping a God of Evil and under his orders, he wanted to destroy the whole world. He also kidnapped many children from the kingdom, fully intending to use them as human sacrifices to his God.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V:
      • Kha-Beleth, the Demon Sovereign, is the Big Bad of this game, the Greater-Scope Villain in the expansions, and the secret antagonist of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Kha-Beleth's main aim during the game is to kidnap Queen Isabel and force her to bear a child that is half human and half demon. Kha-Beleth initiates a war with the Griffin Empire to accomplish this objective. When the Demon Lord Agrael, who has betrayed the Sovereign, defeats Erasial, Kha-Beleth executes him. Kha-Beleth sends Biara to join forces with the purged Agrael, now Raeleg, and infiltrate his ranks. Kha-Beleth sends reinforcements to the Soulscar Clan, expecting them to be slaughtered. Kha-Beleth then takes advantage of Markal's invasion of Irollan to send Biara to get the scroll and kill Tieru, wanting revenge on the Dragon Knight for interfering. When Godric, Raeleg, Zehir, and Findan attempt to perform the Rite of True Nature, Biara summons Kha-Beleth and kidnaps Isabel, taking her to Sheogh. Once Isabel is secured, he rapes her, and uses his magic to age the child up to force her to deliver it early. When Raeleg arrives, Kha-Beleth reveals he raped Isabel and gloats to him about it. Upon being defeated, Kha-Beleth flees, and needing time for his son to escape tells Biara to create a distraction that the factions will have to spend time fighting her, and when Biara and most of the armies of Sheogh are destroyed, Kha-Beleth writes it all off as acceptable losses. Years later when Sareth is knocked unconscious, Kha-Beleth reveals his lineage and orders him to release him. Should Sareth choose to imprison him for eternity, Kha-Beleth will scream and curse him. Evil, smug, and a sadist, Kha-Beleth will do anything to escape his prison and destroy the world, even if it means starting a war just to rape a woman to bear a child.
      • Markal, who also appears in Clash of Heroes, is an evil necromancer who, learning that King Nicolai is dead, schemes to gain the trust of his grieving love, Queen Isabel, and raise Nicolai as a vampire lord. Marching to the Griffin Empire, he defeats a rebel army and persuades Isabel that he can resurrect Nicolai, knowing fully well what the result will be, and persuades her to attack the Wizards. Slaughtering the wizards who stand in his way, Markal restores the citadel of Lorekeep and ransacks the town of Hikm to gain the Amulet of Necromancy. Vowing to reunite the Vampire's Garment, Markal storms into the Silver Cities, turning the Wizard cities into Necropolises and converting the citizens—including children—into undead puppets for him to throw away as he sees fit. After killing Cyrus to gain the Ring of the Unrepentant, Markal kidnaps Freyda, Godric's daughter, when he rebels. Once Nicolai is resurrected as a Vampire, Markal decides to take command of the Griffin Empire, and he immediately orders Nicolai to attack Irollan, leading to the deaths of thousands of Elves, including their king Alaron. After Zehir breaks Godric out of prison, they attack Markal at his citadel and, after a close battle with the necromancer, defeat him. He tells them that killing him will ensure he can return, laughing all the while. When Zehir burns his corpse to ensure that cannot happen, Markal decides to get revenge on Zehir and lures him into the Ring of the Unrepentant, hoping to take control of his body. Ambitious, power-hungry and vengeful, Markal will do anything to further his desire for power and gain revenge on those who wrong him.
      • Hammers of Fate & Tribes of the East add-ons: Alaric is the new Archbishop of the Griffin Empire, the leader of the Red Church, and The Dragon to Biara disguised as Queen Isabel. "Isabel" appoints Alaric as Archbishop and the leader of the Red Church, and he very rapidly shows himself to be an absolute fanatic. Ruining negotiations with rebel leaders when they disrespected his "Saint", Alaric endorsed a policy proposed by Laszlo to burn and kill off entire villages simply because some of them were helping the rebellion. He nearly orders the rebel leader Duncan executed for mocking Isabel, and is only stopped because killing him will make him a martyr. Upon recovering Prince Andrei, Alaric abandons their allies to be slaughtered by the rebellion, and orders anyone who disrespects Isabel to be executed. After killing Andrei, Alaric routs the Orcs and kills their Warchief, but then departs the battle when he is ordered to meet with "Isabel", leaving his soldiers to be slaughtered. When Biara is exposed as a demon, Alaric goes completely insane and kills anything he encounters, believing it to be a demon. A fanatical Knight Templar, Alaric shows that even a follower of Elrath can be an irredeemable monster.
      • Hammers of Fate (primarily): Laszlo is the new commander of the troops of the Griffin Empire appointed by Biara disguised as Isabel. When first introduced, he demands the rebel leaders surrender, and when one of the peasants informs him that the peasants are supporting the rebels and their Elven allies, Laszlo burns him and his entire village alive. Laszlo then tortures an old war comrade to get Prince Andrei's location, and is envious and disgusted that Freyda will be commander, as he sees her as not understanding his version of war. When Freyda goes to negotiate with the dwarves for Andrei's return, Laszlo attacks the dwarves in the hope that the dwarves will kill Freyda, and also simply to fulfill his bloodlust, only stopping when Biara-as-Isabel negotiates a peace. When Laszlo discovers Freyda has rebelled, he orders Godric to be executed while he engages the rebel leaders in battle. A sadistic Blood Knight, Laszlo shows that even a knight of the Griffin Empire can be a complete and remorseless sociopath.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Phoenixes in V. Fast, powerful, and a permanent fire shield that damages any unit that attacks it. Even worse, when the stack is destroyed, it resurrects on the spot (because, you know, phoenix).
      • The spell version can be even worse, though without the resurrect part.
    • Ghosts in I and II. Every time a stack of ghosts kills a creature, it adds a ghost to the stack. These are especially difficult early in the game, as a half dozen ghosts can hit a bunch of peasants, kill 20, and suddenly you're up against triple the number of ghosts you started with. Because of II's "flying enemies have no movement restriction" mechanic, it was impossible to protect yourself from ghosts. You just had to wait until you had a high level army that could take the ghosts with no casualties.
    • Vampires. Reasonable stats everywhere, can fly around you, upgrades can prevent you from retaliating, and resurrect based on dealt damage if they're fighting living creatures. If it weren't for the fact that half the Necropolis' army is garbage in any game, they'd be much worse to stop.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending of Tribes of the East is pretty much this for V as a whole. Sure, Biara is dead or is going to punished by Kha-Beleth for her failure and demons as a whole are purged from Ashan while everybody laughs at the prospect of Freyda and Duncan's upcoming wedding and family life. However, as Aratir and Zehir noticed, the Demon Messiah aka Sareth is born from Queen Isabel's rape as foretold. Not to mention, pretty much all of Ashan except for Irollan and Heresh is in ruins from the demons' rampage and schemes. Finally, if Sareth chooses the wrong side in Dark Messiah, all of the heroes efforts will be a collective "Shaggy Dog" Story.
  • Even Better Sequel: Heroes II and III are often regarded as the pinnacle of the series, and for good reasons. II is an Expansion Pack to I that expands on the scope of the gameplay and defined many of the features later games would implement such as more involved heroes. III improves on II in the best way possible, implementing tons more content and some new features like hero specialties and a dramatically expanded magic system. It's telling that III is still frequently displayed as being among the most top-selling games on the GOG.com storefront even to this day.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans don't want anything to do with the entries that came after Heroes III. However, in light of the even more poorly received VI and VII, IV and V were Vindicated by History. However, it's noted that V is often paired with mods to make gameplay less frustrating and the AI less dumb.
    SsethTzeenatch: Heroes V is a fantastic addition to the series, and probably the last good game it will ever have. Since I'm fully convinced that Heroes VI and VII don't actually exist. I'm just having a bad dream. One that I can't seem to wake up from.
  • Funny Moments:
    • Sir Christian's campaign in Armageddon's Blade. The tale of a perfume salesman with some military training trying to get home after being shipwrecked on an island chain populated entirely by nutcases. A rare case of a Nintendo Hard Funny Moment.
    • If you visit the tavern often enough in the third game, the tavern keeper will get annoyed and tell you that he's out of rumors, something he says is your fault.
  • Game-Breaker: Here.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • III is one of the most popular games in Russia and eastern Europe.
    • V seems to have a cult following in China, with a separate MMORPG based on it released, including a Chinese-esque faction.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Sprites in the first and second games. They're a Fragile Speedster unit without very good offense, even for a first tier unit, but they can fly across the battlefield and it's impossible to retaliate against them. If you face enemy Sprites, expect them to go straight for your ranged units, especially since their turn will likely come up first.
    • Ghosts in V are incredibly annoying. They're not that tough, but they have a 50% chance of avoiding any non-magical damage. A pretty big issue early on, when your heroes probably don't have any potent attack spells.
    • Imps and familiars are pretty crappy as far as tier 1 creatures go, and are officially considered the weakest unit in the gamenote , but become fairly annoying as large stacks of imps can smash through your mana on their first turn.
    • Most factions have some sort of Goddamned Bats too, if not as bad as the ghost. For instance, pixies and cerberi, which move fast, act often and strike multiple targets that can't strike back. Or the assassin, which can decimate any valuable stack with their poison. Magic users dread the magnetic golem, which is not only immune to pretty much anything, but they even heal from damage spells and protect allies from area spells. Their annoyance factor declines in larger battles but they are dreaded as neutral monsters you want to deal with without taking too many losses.
    • Neutral Shooter stacks in early game, especially those guarding resources, are horribly annoying to deal with. Unlike melee units, shooters will always get a shot off, which usually will kill a handful of your units since you gotta slog it across the field. It doesn't help that most early game units are slow and melee, meaning not only will you get shot at, but chances are you will get shot twice as you slowly make your way across no-man's land.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The Sacrifice spell in III is reasonably rare and does not look too hot on paper (kill your own unit to heal damage to another). Fine. However, there is a bug that means that you can kill any unit to heal your own, including enemy units.
    • Another one in III was that a hero with the Tactics skill (that lets you arrange your units before battle) and a stack of cyclopes could get a free shot at an enemy town's towers or walls in the Tactics phase.
  • Idiot Plot: The Script Fic Heroes V in a nutshell invokes this for Heroes V by utterly tearing into the overall plot complete with a ton of Lampshade Hanging. Overall implications boil down to how the whole situation went to hell in the first place was because the Good Is Dumb trope was taken to extremes for the sake of drama and fulfilling scenario quotas, the complete package of Idiot Ball and Villain Ball combined with Forgot About His Powers being pretty much held by the entire cast even the Dragon Gods to the extent that the number of characters not doing so can be counted with one hand. Any players who went through the actual story after reading this can pretty much certify this by saying: "Yeah, this is pretty much how it went down."
  • Joke Character:
    • The Walking Dead in III. Slow, weak, and hardly used, it was more effective to turn them into skeletons instead.
      • Peasants in it's expansion Armageddon's Blade. They have 1 in every stat except speed, which is 3, which ties with the Walking Dead above. The game manual outright calls them useful, and mentions they're only good for being turned into skeletons. Even their Idle Animation has them facepalming.
      • The Peasants in the first and second games aren't any better, since they're similarly weak and can't be turned into skeletons. Most Knight players will leave them out of their army once they gain access to Paladins.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Sandro in The Shadow of Death. He manages to trick heroes into giving him powerful artifacts, kill all of his competitors, creates a comfortable position for himself as The Man Behind the Man to his puppet king Finneas Vilmar, and nearly conquers the world. Even when his first attempt at world conquest is thwarted, he still singlehandedly lays the foundations of the Restoration Wars. Near the end, his title is stolen from him by his "puppet" king. Vilmar tricks Sandro into attacking an innocent Deyjan lord, giving Vilmar an excuse to imprison him and then take all of the credit for Sandro's plans to conquer Erathia.
    • Vilmar, however, botchers it when he proves to be too incompetent to rule the necromancers without Sandro to tell him what to do. Sandro, on the other hand, proves to be quite a Karma Houdini, like the best Magnificent Bastards out there, paying for his crimes with just a bit of jail time. However, he seems to get a bit of a change of heart. He keeps being evil, but in Might and Magic VIII he seems to become the leader of the Necromancers Guild of Jadame and proves to be an effective protector of the necromancer's right to study dark magic. His motives once in the world of Axeoth are unknown, but his hero description points that it probably orbits around recovering the power he had on Colony.
      • To be fair to Vilmar, the necromancer campaign in the third game gives no indication that he was a lousy king. True, he wasn't capable matching Catherine Ironfist's tactical prowess, but since she's established as a brilliant commander there's no shame in that. He only makes one really stupid mistake: reviving King Gryphonheart as a powerful lich in the hopes that this lich could defeat Catherine. The Gryphonheart lich immediately kills Vilmar and seizes power for himself.
      • Sadly (if you happen to be one of his fans), if the Sandro mentioned in the fifth game is the same Sandro from previous games, then he was Killed Off for Real in the game's backstory. His apprentice Markal, though he does a good job manipulating Isabel in his bid to take over the Griffin Empire, is too much of a Complete Monster to be a Magnificent Bastard.
    • Sandro gets called so by his first apprentice Lucretia at the end of "Danse Macabre" after he admits to manipulating her for his own purposes.
    • Kha-Beleth, Demon Sovereign from Ashan universe. Let's see: he plans to capture Isabel and impregante her in order to produce the Dark Messiah, who is predicted to break Sheogh and free all the demons. Heroes defeated him? The boy is already born, and the saved queen is succubus Biara, his Dragon, who is ordered to bring as much misery to the Griffin's Empire and the world as possible, all to distract heroes from finding Sareth... which is done quite flawlessly. Only Sareth's choices in the Dark Messiah of Might and Magic can avert his victory.
  • Memetic Mutation: GRIFFIN ETERNAL! *casts random spell* Explanation 
  • Misblamed: There has been quite a substantial portion of players who consider IV the reason why 3DO and New World Computing went bankrupt. In actuality, it is due to rampant game piracy that crippled sales combined with many other factors, with Heroes IV not being one of them. More details from a former employee here.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: A significant proportion of the gigantic Heroes fanbase never played the original RPG series. This factor led to the scuttling of the Science Fantasy Forge faction in Armageddon's Blade, as Heroes had been almost strictly fantasy prior to then and the sci-fi elements of Might and Magic were seen as foreign to the franchise.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: III has so many of them. It's not an exaggeration to say half of the sound effects are absolutely wonderful..
  • Narm Charm: The first installment had some pretty silly looking creatures, but some of the sound effects, such as the druids and turret sounding like TIE Fighters, and the peasants' monotone "Ah!" when they get hit just take the cake.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • In the first three games, if you lost a map, you'd be treated to a scene of your own execution, either by the guillotine (I and III) or the sight of your abandoned skeleton in a cage that was hanging off a tree (II), complete with music to further emphasize your failure.
    • Also in the same tune is Heroes II's battle defeat scene. I shows the defeated Hero walking away from the battlefield in a rather gloomy tune. II shows the Hero running from the scene like a coward while vultures immediately pick on the flesh of his freshly-killed army. The music doesn't help either. The one from III is similar to the one in I, but a lone soldier runs towards the hero with a flaming arrow in his back then promptly falls dead.
    • Several map objects in Heroes 3, such as the Warrior's Tomb, many creature banks, and the Dragon Utopia, give off Scare Chords which can be quite startling to an inexperienced player with their volume turned up. The wailing of a Subterranean Gate is also unsettling.
    • The Heroes 3 Necropolis theme, which is why many fans like it so much.
  • Obvious Judas: Lord Haart being a traitor responsible for poisoning King Gryphonheart in III is a lot less surprising if you check his biography and see that he was rumored to have ties with a necromantic cult.
  • Sacred Cow: Heroes III has gained this legacy in many places throughout the world, especially in Eastern European countries where the game was exceptionally popular. It's lasting impact basically sustained the Heroes series for four more entires by itself for four more games, and it's widely looked at as both an incredible strategy game and an exceptionally fun game in it's own right. This, looking down on it for any reason isn't taken lightly.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • A series-wide example. If you are aiming to obtain or improve a hero skill upon levelling up, you have to pray to the Random Number God that it will show up instead giving you skills that you don't want which will mess up your build. For example, III only offers two options, one of which is usually a pre-obtained skill. IV is like III but it has three options instead. V dials back to two options for main skills and abilities each, which is dangerous for those aiming for the Ultimate skills. Outside of Save Scumming (a luxury that cannot exist in multiplayer), you usually can't change the skills offered upon levelling up. There is a reason for the existence of Memory Mentors in V.
    • Certain tiles have scripted events that will force the hero that steps onto the tile into an unavoidable battle. There's no way of knowing when you'll be ambushed, so you can be in for a nasty surprise. For example, on Griffin Cliffs, you might try to attack the lightly defended cities to the north, only to face an encounter that you can't win.
    • When you start a scenario in the first game, your faction and (in some scenarios) your starting point are randomly chosen for you. This can be frustrating for those with strong preferences when it comes to their starting heroes.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The second game, in comparison to the first. While the first game had Claw, a fairly easy level for new players, there are no obvious missions for beginners in the second game. The campaign also starts off more difficult and stays that way, culminating in Roland's final mission.
  • That One Level:
    • Castle Alamar in the first game, the penultimate mission for non-Warlock players. There's a giant maze in the middle of the map, and while the game hints that the Gargoyles will show you the way, you'll have to kill a lot of them in order to make your way to the enemy city. Castle Alamar is extremely well-defended, and is probably more of a challenge than the actual final mission.
    • The final mission in Roland's Campaign in II is an absolute MONSTER. First off, normally, campaign missions will give you a choice of one of three bonuses to assist you in the scenario. Just to show how you are getting NO help in this scenario, the choice between three bonuses is actually a choice between getting one of three artifacts that will hinder your army instead. Next, the developers put an enemy hero right next to one of your starting castles, but just out of sight. If this is your first time playing this mission, it WILL catch you offguard and essentially force your first of many restarts. But the most difficult part by far is the magnitude of the armies you will face in this mission. Your opponents have no less than TWELVE towns, (technically thirteen, but one of them simply exists to amass troops for the epic final battle, which compared to the rest of the mission is a cakewalk.) backed up by more than enough resources to fund every single one of them. By comparison, you have 3 towns. Yeah...A playthrough on Youtube took roughly EIGHT HOURS to beat this mission. And that's a single attempt. Account for failed attempts and we're easily talking FIFTY HOURS of gameplay on This. Single. Mission. And as if that isn't enough, the fact that The AI is a HUGE cheating bastard in this game means that you can't just abuse the AI. You'll have to fight tooth and nail for every single castle on the map, and sometimes even that won't be enough. It is impossible to describe the pain, time and amount of attempts it will take to finally put this monster of a mission down. The only redeeming factor is that this IS the final mission, so an epic battle is what you would expect. And boy, does it deliver.
    • Steadwick's Fall in III, which, as the last mission of the first Evil campaign, is a severe Difficulty Spike. The goal is to conquer Erathia's capital of Steadwick within 3 months. The catch? It's guarded by General Kendal, a very powerful Campaign-exclusive hero, who also has an incredibly large army. Not helped by the fact that the city's barricaded by heavy garrisons and extra cities surrounding the entire map.
    • Tunnels and Troglodytes in III, the last mission of the second Good campaign. It's a large map, making it difficult to control territory. You start with a Castle, a Rampart and a Tower, making it difficult to field a large army of a single type. The enemy, however, has five Dungeon towns, and there are creature dwellings all over the map, making it easy for them to outproduce you if you're not careful.
    • The Lord of Heresh mission in V can be pretty damn absurd in terms of difficulty. Sure, you get two cities and you only enemy has just one... but in order to even get to him you need do aquire a specific artifact, which requires winning two battles against a large number of high-tier units. Due to how the scenario is designed, you get at most two months to build up your forces, while Haven troops keep leaving you, your mines get randomly captured and two enemy armies invade your teritory. Before the time is up - and assuming neither of your heroes got killed yet, which is an automatic failure - you have to confront your opponent right in his city, where he has a huge army and maxed-out fortifications at his disposal. But there is one more thing which can make this scenario downright impossible - the hero defending the city is Godric, who was one of your main heroes in two earlier missions. If you developed him well, then you might suffer a case of Hoist by His Own Petard, where you are defeated as a result of your own abilities.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Part of the reason the fourth game wasn't so well received was because it completely retooled everything in the series. Combat, unit production, and hero development were all changed. Oh, and it blew up the previous games' setting. The fifth game saw a return to the third's style of gameplay — and was promptly criticized for removing the few changes that were well received in the fourth, such as caravans (these returned in the expansions).
    • The AI was absolutely atrocious. Often it would not have even fully explored its home area by the endgame, and you would often find the mass graves of dead heroes who kept futilely attacking the same powerful neutral stack. The worst? There is chance that you will find the hero you need to kill already dead. This is reason why people at Gamefaqs add instant win cheats in the walkthrough — you might need it.
      • Speaking of the AI, check here if you want a laugh.
      • Some of the criticism of the sixth game is in this vein (for instance, criticizing the reduction of the number of resources).
  • Tough Act to Follow: Every game post III has to deal with being a successor to it, and that is a massive pair of shoes to fill. Not only is III one of the most popular and beloved strategy games of all time, but it has a massive and still active playerbase that loves it to pieces. Thus, each game post III is looked upon with scrutiny for different reasons. IV changed too much, V changed too little (and what it did change is often considered poorly planned, such as the lack of caravans from IV), VI is a glorified reskin of V and has some of the worst DRM in any game ever, and reactions to VII range from "poorly written, buggy, but fun" to "unplayable nightmare". Most diehard fans stick with II and III.
  • Vindicated by History: In light of the even more poorly received VI and VII, IV and V were considered as such.
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