Online gaming rules

Introduction

This is a collection of main rules recommended for holding on-line tournaments on HotA.
HeroesWorld rules were used as the base for current rule set: http://forum.heroesworld.ru/showthread.php?t=10593
Some changes were introduced reflecting on the gameplay features of HotA.

Brief overview

The following limitations apply:

  • Ban on hit-and-run;
  • Ban on monster acceptance (with the help of Diplomacy);
  • Restriction on Dimension Door (same as for SoD);
  • Ban on assembling the Cloak of the Undead King;
  • Some additional specific restrictions for each template.

Allowed:

  • Carry a red-rush on all templates;
  • Usage of Cartographers (will not be present in game) and Hill Forts;
  • Bypassing map object and passage guards (which should be impossible to achieve due to game mechanics);
  • Building any city improvements in any castle and upgrading any creature;
  • Selecting any starting hero for all castles;
  • Expert necromancy for Isra and Vidomina;
  • Usage of any Spell Scrolls;
  • Digging for and building Grail;
  • Usage of SoD bugs (all banned bugs were fixed or cannot appear on templates used for online games).

General

The rules are oriented towards a two or more people versus format on random maps.

Terminology

  • Castle (lower case) — any city/town on the world map.
  • Template — graph of zones used by the random map generator as a created map base. The players agree before the game on what template they will play. Selection of a specific template is available in the random map generator settings in HoMM3 HD.
  • The words “passage between zones” on a randomly generated map assume a gap between the obstacles that form zone borders. This gap allows the player to pass into a different zone. An actual game may have several such passages between two zones, even if the template states that there is only one passage.
  • Bugged passage is a zone passage that should not exist according to template. Is distinguishable by the absence of guards. Frequently occur while generating a mine, village, etc. on the border between two zones (the mine guards may block the passage and appear as the passage guards instead). Fixed in HotA.
  • Creature Growth assume troops that spawned in the castle at the beginning of the week, or at the captured enemy castles of both human and AI players.
  • Treasury is the richest and/or the most abundant zone one the template.
  • PG — Primary Guard (Value = 45000) either between starting player zones(2SM4d(3)), or between a starting zone and the treasury zone (Jebus Cross, Nostalgia, Mini-Nostalgia).
  • MG is Mage Guild.
  • Surrender is a chance to retreat from battle through a pay-out to the enemy. As a result, the hero is transferred to the tavern with all remaining surviving force.
  • ST — simultaneous turns: an option of HoMM3 HD, that allows players to make several first turns in game simultaneously.

Castle and color selection

Barter

Barter is the recommended way of castle and color selection. In order to perform barter, HoMM3 HD must be used. Does not fit games with 200% difficulty.

  • In PvP-options the player-server presses Random vs Random, which in result generated a random castle pair and barter starts.
  • Castle reroll is permitted before barter. Each player may pay the opponent 500 gold in order to reroll the castle pair. If the new generated pair has at least one castle from the old pair, the player who bought the reroll may demand another reroll for free. Every player can demand a paid reroll only once. Any castle pair may be rerolled as many times as desired with mutual agreement.
  • As the result of the barter, one of the players will choose a castle from pair (or hero, if castles are the same) and his/her opponent will select the color and play with the other castle (or select the starting hero from the remaining, if castles are the same). The barter winner has a choice between castle and color selection. If it is desired to play with random castles, then color selection is the only option in barter.
  • Any player may start the barter (with null or positive bid). The players declare the desired gold bids in turns. The successful bid is subtracted from the winner’s starting gold on game start, and sent to the other player. Each next bid must be greater than previous. The bid must be a multiple of 100 and cannot be greater than the player’s starting gold amount (including the reroll cost, if any).
  • If a player cannot or does not want to increase his/her bid, the opponent is declared as a winner and makes a choice. As a result, the players figure out their castles/heroes or colors. Starting heroes (if castles are different) and starting bonuses are subject to players’ choice. On Mini-Nostalgia template, blue player makes turn first in selection the castles for AI players.
  • Before starting the game, the server-player must open the Gold transfer menu in PvP-options and based on the barter and reroll total sum select “-x”, for paying player and “x”, for receiving player, where x is the total sum of gold paid by one player to the other.
  • Example of barter:

    Pair Inferno vs Tower was generated.
    John:
    — Do not want reroll
    Peter:
    — Do not want reroll
    John:
    — 0
    Peter:
    — 100
    John:
    — 200
    Peter:
    — 300
    John:
    — Pass
    Peter:
    — I will choose color. I take red John:
    — I take Inferno
    As the result Peter is red color and Tower with 9700 starting gold, and John is blue color and Inferno with 10300 starting gold.

Elimination

In case the barter is impossible, players may perform castle selection by elimination.

  • Players remove the castles (out of 10 available) they do not want to play in turns, until 3 castles remain. A person who was the second in turn to remove the castle, selects his castle out of remaining 3. The other player selects his castle out of remaining two, and sets his/her color (blue or red). Starting heroes/bonuses are selected by player preference.
  • Templates with AI players will have randomized castles for AI (except for Mini-Nostalgia and Diamond templates). On Mini-Nostalgia template, blue player makes turn first in procedure of selection castles for AI.
  • Example of castle selection by elimination:

    John:
    — Conflux
    Peter:
    — Necropolis
    John:
    — Fortress
    Peter:
    — Stronghold
    John:
    — Rampart
    Peter:
    — Castle
    John:
    — Cove
    Peter:
    — I take Inferno
    John:
    — I take Dungeon and red color
    As the result Peter is blue color and Inferno, and John is red color and Dungeon.

General rules

Restarts

The cases listed above explain the scenarios when the players may/must restart the game with new map re-generation. With HoMM3 HD the restart can be performed by the server with the Restart Scenario button in the System Options menu.

Mandatory restarts

Mandatory restart must be chosen. The payers must check for mandatory restart conditions immediately after the game starts within 1 minute. Restart conditions include:

  • absence of the starting castle for the AI/player;
  • no roads lead from starting castle;
  • if PG were generated right next to the starting castle (so that it is impossible to leave the castle without a fight with PG).
Encounter restart

First encounter restart is taken before 115–116–117 inclusively for fast/medium/slow roads respectively.

  • An encounter is considered any battle between the players (battle between heroes, garrisons or mine guards). Castle or mine capture without a fight is not considered an encounter.
  • If the encounter has happened in the given time period, any of the competitors is eligible to demand a restart.
  • If both players agree to continue the game after the first encounter, any other encounter following the first one in the same time period and generation will not give the right for a restart.
  • If the game is re-rolled due to first encounter restart, the periods get one day shorter for the next game. The second restart on encounter would be valid in the 114–115–116 period for fast/medium/slow roads respectively. The third and later restarts on encounter would be valid in the 113–114–115.
Subjective restarts
  • Every player has a right to declare a restart without explanation before the end of his/her turn. It is possible to take 3 first-day restarts (111+111+111) or 2 first and second day restarts (111+112 or 112+111) or one third day restart (113).
  • In game with ST the restarts must be declared in the following order:
    • During the first turn or before taking (starting) the second turn the red player must write “111” or “I don’t take a restart”. After it, if the red player hasn’t taken a restart, the blue player also must write “111” or “I don’t take a restart” before taking his second turn.
    • If the player has taken his second turn, he cannot take the 111 restart anymore. One can notice that the opponent has taken turn by looking at the action line under his timer (it appears when the player takes turn).
    • On the second and third turn the players can take 112 and 113 restarts in the same order. If the player does not take 112 or 113 restart he can just take the next turn and write nothing (still the blue player may wait until the red player takes turn and may ask the red player if he takes a restart).
Block restart
  • A block is a powerful guard of anything that cannot be defeated without heavy casualties in the current roll.
  • Block restart is taken by player’s demand when it is impossible to path around a block that cuts the castle off the main zone part and makes further development impossible.
  • If subjective restarts are left, then player spend one day of restarts (on 112 he uses a 111 restart).
  • If there are no subjective restarts left, then he/she has a right to demand an additional restart.

Restrictions

Hit-and-run

Ban on hit-and-run: while attacking an enemy hero, your hero cannot retreat in the first round if he/she cast any spell. The ban does not apply to the defending hero.

Accepting neutrals
  • Ban on accepting friendly neutrals. They must be either killed, or let go.
  • Diplomacy is allowed only for the purpose of cheaper retreat and for lower level access to the Library of Enlightenment.
Dimension Door

Dimension Door spell:

  • on all templates (except XL+U size) may be used by all heroes no more than once a day;
  • on XL+U size templates it can be use by any hero 2 times per day on Expert Air Magic and once otherwise.
Cloak of the Undead King

Cloak of the Undead King is banned for assembly. All other assembled artefacts are permitted.

Permitted actions

Actions not restricted or banned by the following rules are permitted.

Fair Play

The players should play honestly and respect each other.

Endless combat

In case of a stalemate in combat, the attacker must retreat or surrender.

Example: The attacker has 100 Dwarves left. The defender has 1 Serpent Fly. The Dwarves cannot catch the Serpent Fly, so no one can win this battle. In this case, the attacker with 100 Dwarves should either retreat, or surrender.

If somebody has Shackles of War equipped, the last saved game must be loaded, all turns repeated exactly, and dismiss any troops that were killed during this battle. Next, the attacker should unequip the Shackles of War, engage the other player and either retreat or surrender.

Game intervention
  • It is not allowed to use cheat codes, side programs/trainers and files, exploits and bugs caused by side programs and files that may somehow allow you to have unfair advantage.
  • The save files cannot be open by anyone except for the tournament judge. The only reason to open them is if an untrivial event/situation occurs during the play. It is recommended to put passwords on the save games on game start (option available in HoMM3 HD). If it is impossible to reach the judge at the moment of ambiguous case the game must be popstponed, and all players must create save files until getting in touch with the judge.
  • Browsing the hero levelling tree with side programs is the same level of a violation as map-hacking (revealing the map).
  • It is not allowed to open the played map in the map editor before the end of the game.
  • The game is considered done when one of the players is completely defeated, or surrenders (which he/she must declare openly). When the game is done, it is permitted to open the saved game and map in the map editor.
Passwords

In case of a game with password protected save games:

  • the password for the save game must be told to all players immediately after game ends;
  • the password must be presented to the tournament judge by his/her demand in case of an ambiguity in an unfinished game.
Disconnects

In case of a disconnect (desync), the player who has the turn must save the game. The players continue from this saved game onward. Another option is to load an autosave of a player who was inactive at that moment. If desync happened during a battle, all turns must be replicated as close as possible.

Simultaneous turns

In case of crash or desync during the ST the players should follow the next rules:

  • If the red player has the current turn savegames, he should load the latest of them. After it the red player continues his turn. The blue player has to make his turn from scratch. The simultaneous turns will resume the next day.
  • If the red player has no current turn savegames, the blue player should load his latest autosave. In this case both players have to make their turns from scratch. The simultaneous turns will resume right after the blue player loads autosave and ends turn.
  • In any case the players must repeat their turns as close to the original try as possible until the desync moment.
  • Attention: during the simultaneous turns the blue player cannot save the game. The only savegames that appear for him are the autosaves made each turn after combining both players actions. The red player can save the game as normal, but in his savegames the position of the blue player will always match the start of the turn. Thus, the actions of the blue player are saved only after both players end their turns, right before the next turn starts.

Template rules

It is recommended to follow the general rules described above, with individual adjustments for a specific tempalte.

h3dm1

  • h3dm1 is a mirror template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L-U (underground part will be generated as a copy of the ground);
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • chess timer: (21:00+08:30+01:15);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
    • HoMM3 HD is required.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Starting player castles are the same. They are chosen randomly (with the help of PvP-option Random Town menu). Barter is held for hero/color selection. Starting Bonus is random.
  • Restart specifics:
    • First encounter restarts are disabled.
    • Subjective restarts are disabled.

mt_Diamond

  • mt_Diamond is a mirror template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L-U (underground part will be generated as a copy of the ground);
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • chess timer: (21:00+08:30+01:15);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.
    • HoMM3 HD is required.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Starting player castles are the same. They are chosen randomly (with the help of PvP-option Random Town menu). Barter is held for hero/color selection. Starting Bonus is random.
  • Restart specifics:
    • First encounter restarts are disabled.
    • Subjective restarts are disabled.

mt_Jebus

  • mt_Jebus is a mirror template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L-U (underground part will be generated as a copy of the ground);
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • chess timer: (24:00+08:30+01:30);
    • roads: fast;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
    • HoMM3 HD is required.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Starting player castles are the same. They are chosen randomly (with the help of PvP-option Random Town menu). Barter is held for hero/color selection. Starting Bonus is random.
  • Restart specifics:
    • First encounter restarts are disabled.
    • Subjective restarts are disabled.
  • Additional rules:
    • In order to enter the central treasure from one’s zone, and in order to access other zones from treasure, a specific PG must be defeated.
    • It is permitted to use Dimesion Door spell to teleport to square of guarded zone near PG and immediately attack it.
    • It is permitted to use the Angelic Wings artefact as well as the Fly and Dimension Door spells for move between one of edge zones and central zone, if at least one PG between them was defeated.

mt_TeamJebus

  • mt_TeamJebus is a mirror template for 2 vs 2 game.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L-U (underground part will be generated as a copy of the ground);
    • player count: 4, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 2 (red + tan vs blue + green);
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • chess timer: (19:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: fast;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
    • HoMM3 HD is required.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Starting player castles are the same for red/tan and blue/green. They are chosen randomly (with the help of PvP-option Random Town menu). Barter is held for hero/color selection. Starting Bonus is random.
  • Restart specifics:
    • First encounter restarts are disabled.
    • Subjective restarts are disabled.
  • Additional rules:
    • In order to enter the central treasure from one’s zone, and in order to access other zones from treasure, a specific PG must be defeated.
    • It is permitted to use Dimesion Door spell to teleport to square of guarded zone near PG and immediately attack it.
    • It is permitted to use the Angelic Wings artefact as well as the Fly and Dimension Door spells for move between zones in the following situations:
      • Between one of edge zones and central zone, if at least one PG between them was defeated;
      • Between the two edge zones if PG was defeated between these two zones and central zone.

XL+U templates

  • Standard XL+U size templates: 6lm10a, 8mm6а, 8xm12a, Spider:
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: XL+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (21:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.

Nostalgia

  • Nostalgia is XL+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: XL+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (21:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: fast;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.

Kerberos

  • Kerberos is XL+U size template for three players.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: XL+U;
    • player count: 3, AI players: 3;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 6 minutes, with chess timer — (16:00+06:00+01:00);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.

Jebus Cross

  • Jebus Cross is XL-U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: XL-U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 10 minutes, with chess timer — (24:00+08:30+01:30);
    • roads: fast;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
  • Restart specifics:
    • When the powerful block restart rule is used, the block is defined as a guard (or guard group) that meet all the following requirements:
      • The guard group blocks the roads to both villages;
      • The guard cannot be eliminated without losing more than half of army;
      • The guard cannot be bypassed with spending less than 1500 movement points. The movement points are counted “from road to road” with the shortest path. In case there are any guards on this path which does not fall under paragraph 2, they are assumed to be already eliminated.
  • Additional rules:
    • In order to enter the central treasure from one’s zone, and in order to access other zones from treasure, a specific PG must be defeated.
    • It is permitted to use Dimesion Door spell to teleport to square of guarded zone near PG and immediately attack it.
    • It is permitted to use the Angelic Wings artefact as well as the Fly and Dimension Door spells for move between zones in the following situations:
      • Between one of edge zones and central zone, if at least one PG between them was defeated;
      • Between the two edge zones if PG was defeated between these two zones and central zone.

2SM4d(3)

  • 2SM4d(3) is L+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 6 minutes, with chess timer — (16:00+06:30+01:00);
    • roads: any;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.

Mini-Nostalgia

  • Mini-Nostalgia is L+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (19:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • The castles are chosen by players with standard barter or elimination. Next, the players select the castles for the AI players (their neighbors on the template). Red selects Tan, Orange and Green. Blue selects Teal, Purple and Pink. The castles for AI players are selected by human players in turns (from the list of remaining castles). Blue player is the first to start selecting. All starting castles must be different. Before the start of the game, the player that creates the game sets the AI player castles.

Diamond

  • Diamond is L+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (19:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • The castles are chosen by players with standard barter or elimination. After that, the each player remove one the castles that will not participate in the game (out of 8). The player who created the game sets other 6 castles as AI players in any order. All starting castles must be different.

Boomerang

  • Boomerang is L+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (16:00+08:00+01:00);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • The castles are chosen by players with standard barter or elimination. Next, the players select the castles for the AI players (their neighbors on the template). Red selects Tan, Orange and Green. Blue selects Teal, Purple and Pink. The castles for AI players are selected by human players in turns (from the list of remaining castles). Blue player is the first to start selecting. All starting castles must be different. Before the start of the game, the player that creates the game sets the AI player castles.

Apocalypse

  • Apocalypse is L+U size template.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 6;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (16:00+08:00+01:00);
    • roads: medium;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • The starting town cannot be Necropolis.
    • The castles are chosen by players with standard barter or elimination. After that, the each player remove one the castles that will not participate in the game (out of 7: without Necropolis). The player who created the game sets other 6 castles as AI players in any order. All starting castles must be different.

Anarchy

  • Anarchy is L+U size template for a game without rules.
  • Attention: the template has special object value settings. Is is recommended to look through its settings before the game.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 200% or 160%;
    • turn time limit: 6 minutes, with chess timer — (19:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: any;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Castle is chosen:
      • either by elimination (or barter in case of 160% difficulty),
      • or full random. In this case, after each subjective restart the players change colors. This does not happen after objective restarts.
  • Restart specifics:
    • Restarts on powerful block and on first encounter are disabled.
  • Rule specifics:
    • All rules are off except for the Fair Play rules.

Black’n’Blue

  • Black’n’Blue is L+U size template.
  • Attention: the template has special object value settings. Is is recommended to look through its settings before the game.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: L+U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: strong;
    • difficulty: 160%;
    • turn time limit: 8 minutes, with chess timer — (19:00+08:00+01:15);
    • roads: fast;
    • simultaneous turns through 117.

M200 templates

  • M-U size templates on 200% difficulty: 2sm2с(2), Skirmish(M), Nine-day Wonder.
  • Attention: the template Nine-day Wonder has special object value settings. Is is recommended to look through its settings before the game.
  • Recommended settings:
    • map size: M-U;
    • player count: 2, AI players: 0;
    • teams: 0;
    • water: none;
    • monsters: normal;
    • difficulty: 200%;
    • turn time limit: 4 minutes, with chess timer — (08:00+04:00+01:00);
    • roads: any;
    • simultaneous turns through 115.
  • Specifics of choosing castle, hero and bonuses:
    • Castle and bonuses choice is random.
  • Additional restarts:
    • Restart on the generation with same castles. Is taken on demand of an of the players immediately after the map generation.
  • Additional rules:
    • Players change colors after each subjective restart.