Online gaming rules

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: Some changes were introduced reflecting on the gameplay features of HotA.

Brief intro for those familiar with HeroesWorld rules

The following limitations apply:

  • Restriction of red-rush (with all nuances like in SoD);
  • Ban on hit-and-run;
  • Ban on monster acceptance (with the help of Diplomacy);
  • Restriction on Dimension Door (same as for SoD);
  • Ban on detours shifted passage guards (same as for SoD);
  • Ban on assembling the Cloak of the Undead King;
  • All additional specific restrictions for each template (same as for SoD).


  • Usage of Cartographers (will not be present in game) and Hill Forts;
  • Visiting map objects without fighting the guards (which should be impossible to achieve due to game mechanics);
  • Building any city improvements in any castle, 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 (however, in the latest edition of rules it is allowed in SoD too);
  • Usage of SoD bugs (all banned bugs were fixed or cannot appear on templates used for online games).


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

Main terminology and abbreviations.

  • 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. Popular templates and useful info may be found here: (link to Russian site; use tranlator to read it)
  • 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).
  • 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 or 30000 and 20000 on the Balance type template for L+U and M-U respectively) or between starting player zones(2SM4d(3)), or between a starting zone and the treasury zone (Jebus Cross, Nostalgia, Mini-Nostalgia, Balance).
  • MG is Mage Guild.
  • Surrender is an 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.

Castle and color selection


  • 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.


It is possible to perform barter for castle/color (or hero/color in case castle being same for both players). In order to perform barter, HoMM3 HD and HW_Rulez plugin must be used. Does not fit games with 200% difficulty.

  • In Castles section in HW_Rulez 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 HW_Rulez 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.

Common rules for all templates


The cases listed above explain the scenarios when the players may/must restart the game with new map re-generation.

  1. 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).
  2. First encounter restart 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Restart on account of a player whose only road leads to PG (for templates 2SM4d(3), Jebus Cross, Balance, Nostalgia). Is taken at the day of finding out, or not later than 115. If subjective restarts are left, then player spend one day of restarts (on 11x he use a 111 restart). If there are no subjective restarts left and a player discovered that the only road leads to PG, then he/she has a right to demand an additional restart.
  5. Powerful block restart up to 112 inclusively. A block is a powerful guard of anything that cannot be defeated without heavy casualties in the current roll. A 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 use a 111 restart). If there are no subjective restarts left, then he/she has a right to demand an additional restart.

Permitted actions, bans and restrictions

  1. Red-rush.

    1. All templates except XL+U and mirror templates prohibit red-rush: it is prohibited for red player to attack immediately using the first weekday grown castle creatures: a) blue castle (even when it is unguarded); b) heroes and protected mines of blue player, if the growth army can influence the outcome or casualties in the battle for any of the players.

      Clarification 1 The following are not considered as growth and may be used:

      • the leftover creatures from last week;
      • the creatures from captured neutral castles this week;
      • forces that come with the hired hero, or hero freed from prison;
      • forces from the outer dwellings and summoning portals;
      • forces from Pandora’s Box, Griffin Conservatory, Experimental Shop, Red Tower, Dragon Fly Hive, Wolf Raider Picket, Seer Hut, Refugee Camp.

      Clarification 2. Any troop can be upgraded.

    2. The red-rush concept does not cover the case when, while attacking, the rival player heroes end up on different sides of the Monolith/Portal or Subterranean Gate, if red player does not see where blue player is located.

    3. In case of inability to distinguish old troops from the newly grown (if they were merged in hero slots or at the castle), it is assumed that the growth perishes in a battle with neutrals. New troops are considered a growth until they get merged with the old troops, regardless the old troop casualties. For example, if on day 121 4 Cavaliers were bought to existing 2, and 3 were lost in a battle with neutrals, then during a battle with an enemy player only 2 Cavaliers can be used. 1 Cavalier must be fired/left at castle/transferred to another hero. However, if on the way home the old army had 1 Cavalier as a casualty and only after that merged with growth, then only 1 Cavalier can be used in the battle against another player.

    4. In case there are more than 2 players in the game, the rule applies consecutively to all other colors (blu-rush, tan-rush, etc). In an allied game, ally growth is considered growth as well.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. Zone passages. The following limitations and restrictions apply to all templates except XL+U, Diamond, Mini-Nostalgia and mirror templates. (for Nostalgia and Mini-Nostalgia, the listed limitations apply only to PG):

    1. In order to pass from one zone to another through a specific passage, the passage guard must be eliminated. If the passage is guarded by several guards, it is sufficient to destroy any one of them at player’s choice.

    2. It is permitted to pass into the guarded zone in order to destroy the selected guard of this passage in case passing to zone and attacking the guard is a single action without intermediate stopping or ending turn with hero and without interaction (wisiting, collecting, eliminating guards) with any objects of guarded zone before eliminating the passage guard.

    3. It is permitted to pass into the neighboring zone without fighting the guards to visit an object that belongs to the zone the player is currently in.

    4. It is sufficient to destroy the guards of the Monolith/Portal or Subterranean Gate entrance when passing through (not obligatory to destroy guard at the exit).

    5. If the zone guard is missing, it is permitted to move between zones freely.

    6. It is permitted to get into the neighboring zones with the help of Angel Wings, Dimension Door and Fly, without fighting the passage guard. 2.5.7. It is permitted to move into the zone avoiding passage guard without fighting them, if

      • the player has already travelled through this passage at least once (i.e., fought at least one passage guard before);
      • the player has seen the guard being defeated by another player, or another player passing through;
      • there is some other undeniable proof of defeating the passage guard

      It is always permitted to pass between zones on XL+U size templates, Diamond and mirror templates without fighting the shifted guards.

      This rule only affects the zone passage guards. You are allowed to path around any object guards by the means allowed by the game.