The developers describe the game's genre as "RTS vs. RPG" – the game can be played as an action role-playing game with a solo hero unit or as a traditional base-building real-time strategy game. The game engine uses a 3-D world map with 2-D unit sprites, although larger units and the heroes are fully 3-d models. The small units are sprites to save processing power as there can be upwards of several hundred present in large battles. Heroes of Annihilated Empires features four playable races and twelve neutral races. The game supports up to 7 players via LAN or Internet.
The game's setting and storyline were created by Ukrainian novelist Ilya Novak, who received an Encouragement Award at Eurocon 2005. Novak describes the game's genre as "epic dark fantasy". A series of five novels are planned to support the game; as of November, 2006, three have been published in Russia.
The Game tells the story of Elhant, an Elven Ranger and his chronicles to save the Elven land from damnation by conflict. The main story is divided into 16 in-game missions.
The story begins when Lana the Amazon, the daughter of the Elven chief Monfor Bylal, starts to evacuate Argos the city of Dawn. Which was attacked by the undead. Her plans are interrupted when a Young Ranger named Elhant comes from the south kingdom and urges her to save the civilians. Lana, infuriated, fights back with words. Heedless of her words Elhant replies that he had come only to help them out of distress from the Orcs. Lana, frustrated, tells Elhant that it is the Undead warriors that had attacked them. Elhant feints deafness and moves on, while Lana shouts in the background. In the City, he urges the retreating warriors to fight back. Some warriors insult Elhant and move on, while some others follow him. Elhant sights an Elven tower where he urges some warriors to take refuge, when he is faced with the Skeleton hordes. Elhant defeats them and moves on to find Zombies settled on the path. He then clears them out using his new found apprentices. Further north, Elhant encounters an Ent who rewards him with a bow for his help in clearing the Zombies. Elhant accepts the gift and moves on only to be stopped by more and more armies, till it becomes clear that he cannot move ahead any longer. When the situation seems hopeless, he calls the warriors back and goes back to the watch tower. The undead horde with Catapults trails him and unleashes an onslaught against the tower. Moments before destruction, Lana saves Elhant on a Griffin. Elhant is then taken to Monfor.
Monfor seems impressed with Elhant's bravery but questions him of his choice in killing warriors to save civilians. To test Elhant, he sends him to the fortress of Hardstone to find and recruit warriors. Elhant arrogantly expresses his disgust but obeys. In Hardstone, Elhant meets a Druid who offers him a Magic Spell (Tree of Life). Elhant is reluctant at first to accept the spell, but the druid manages to convince him of its powers. Soon he finds a party of warriors near a settlement. But their leader sends Elhant to scout the forests to find his wife. He goes with the new recruits but is amazed to find Necromancers truing dead bodies to undead skeletons. He finishes them and returns to tell the sad tale. The leader rewards the Ranger with war equipments. Elhant then moves south to find more warriors, who ask them to finish the Goblins near the camp. Elhant quickly does as asked and the warriors follow him. To his path East he discovers the tracks of a modern day tank, which he refers to as "somekind of beast". The troop is suddenly halted by cries from scattered civilians. They move in only to find hordes of Zombies. Elhant uses his newfound magic to defeat them and acquires a new Ability from a stranger. The troop moves further east to discover Elf allied Centaurs, who join their cause. He then takes one of two possible paths to reach the fortress where Fairies are being held by Necromancers. He annihilates the Necromancers and saves the fairies. But Elhant is interrupted by a messenger from Monfor who orders the them all to go back to him. But Elhant learns from the fairies that the local master of the Undead horde resides in the Cemetery. He disobeys the order, but the recruits follow the messenger.
Elhant is offered help by the Fairies who claim that they can build for him. He then appoints them to the work only to be stopped by Goblin Shamans. They start to resurrect the goblins finished by Elhant. But Elhant, quick to his bow, finishes all the shamans. Eventually the undead senses the new Elven settlement and begins to send troops to attack it. Soon the Goblin settlement to the south also sends goblin troops. Elhant takes his newly made warriors to destroy the Goblin settlements and then moves west to destroy the Undead Cemetery. He is quickly stopped by Ursas(Bipedal Bears). The warriors help Elhant to defeat them. Further west they encounter Mummies and Skeleton Chiefs. Amazed at the diversity of Undead he discovers that the Chiefs make the Skeletons strong and uses this knowledge to battle them. Finally he makes his way to the Cemetery where he finds a Lich Lord. The Lord taunts Elhant and runs away into an underground cave, Elhant runs after him. But Blindmen tribes begin attacking Elhant, unable to defend himself he runs away but finds a sword stashed in a chest. He grabs hold of the sword and finishes them. Deep into the caverns he finds the Lich Lord. A Boss battle sequence ensues and Elhant defeats the Lich.
Angry at the insolence of Elhant, Monfor confronts him and orders him to move to the Evergreen Grove and ask the Master Druids for assistance. Lana fights with Monfor, as no one has ever returned alive from the grove. Monfor calms Lana and claims that only a true warrior will survive the trip. Meanwhile, Elhant and four Elf-Pikemen reach the grove. There they meet a druid who gives them a magic spell (Acid) and warns them of the Rats that dwell there. But the rats soon make their way to Elhant who quickly burns them with the Acid spell. He and his troops then move east but finds a gate blocking the way to the Druids. Elhant shouts but the Gate keeper Ents tell them to find the key. Beaten, he retraces his steps but sights an Artifact Merchant. Elhant approaches the Merchant. The Merchant is quick to show off his goods but among them, Elhant finds the Gate Key. The Merchant agrees to give Elhant the key if he can give the merchant a pair of "Hammerer's Gauntlets". Elhant goes and finds the Gauntlets which he exchanges for the key. He opens the gate but is interrupted by a plea for assistance from an old druid. He helps the druid and moves on south. Soon he sees the Arch Druid. When asked for assistance, the Druid refuses and cites that Pegasus will be needed to clear the undead but for that they'd need to open a portal, the druids cannot do this because of a Gravedigger that settled in the grove. Elhant offers to help; the druids gladly accept the offer and teaches Elhant how to call the Forest folks (Call of Nature) and the Celestial Light (spells). Elhant manages to finish the Gravedigger and is teleported to the Pegasus Lake, where he is told a fisherman could help him.
Elhant manages to reach the Pegasus Lake but doesn't find any fishermen at all. Elhant stops to ask the fairies settled there. The fairies speak the sad tale of how the undead raided the place and offer their assistance to build a new Settlement and Shipyard. Elhant agrees but is instantly attacked by Death Knights, Lichs and Ghosts of the Undead horde. Astonished he barely holds on. Soon the fairies setup a shipyard which Elhant uses to reach to the Pegasus Island. The leader Druid of the Pegasus Island is reluctant to give pegasuses to Elhant's cause (the cause of all the elves). But finally agrees, if Elhant could clear the Lich Tower from the north-east of the Island. Elhant agrees and is allowed a Pegasus. He uses the pegasus and takes care of the Horde there. Glad that the Horde is taken care of, the Druid gives pegasuses to the cause and transports Elhant to Monfor by a pegasus named Tryol.
Elhant quickly discovers that the chief's camp is out of resources to continue. Mofor has a plan to ask the surrounding tribes for assistance. Elhant agrees to carry out the plan if that would help the Elven lands to be freed. He quickly moves to the western edge and asks the tribesman for assistance, but the tribesman cannot aid Elhant unless the undead Ghouls are destroyed. Elhant quickly destroys the Ghoul settlement and frees the tribes. They give Iron in return. Elhant soon moves north where he finds the Woodcutters. But because their forests are covered with Harpies, they are unable to assist Elhant. Elhant moves to the forests and takes care of the Harpies which earns him Wood from the village. Elhant then moves east where he comes to the Crystal Miners. The Crystal miners too are in despair, all because of Stone-Eaters which eat crystal deposits off. Elhant kills the creatures and wonders what upset the equilibrium of the land. He then gets crystal supply for the camp. Elhant then moves south where he meets the Gatherers. They are unable to help Elhant because of the Ogres that have settled in their Apple Grove. Elhant obliterates the ogres and gains food supply to the camp. He then returns to the camp only to find that matters have slipped out of control.
Elhant finds Monfor wounded and in need of help. Lana is already with the chief, so Elhant asks Lana to help the chief. Lana says that the Elder Druid will come to their assistance and that they'll have to hold on till then. But they are interrupted by Centaurs who claim that a Huge army of Undead is coming from all directions. Lana agrees to fight, yet Elhant stops her. Persistant, Lana takes of some of the attackers. Elhant takes on the attack from the other side. The settlement is soon under threat from the stronger armies and buildings are raized to the ground one by one. When hope seems frail, the Elder comes to the settlement with undead trailing him. The Elder introduces himself as Draelnor. He offers Elhant and Lana his assistance. He begins to seed tree sprouts which starts growing. After sometime the tree sprouts become Ents. Even with this additional Ents the elven forces are unable to hold on. Draelnor suggests that they use a portal and escape to the World Mountains. Though not fully functional, all among them uses the portal.
Soon Elhant finds himself teleported to the wrong place. He sights the World Mountains afar. Elhant quickly sets to the world mountains. He recovers several of the lost squads and they all join him. On his way, he encounters Draelnor. Draelnor is upset and Elhant questions for the reason. Draelnor talks of his quarrel with Monfor and their split from the council. Elhant asks Draelnor whether all battles with the undead are pointless. Draelnor, who too thought the same is now relieved. Elhant seems a bit baffled that each death of the elven army goes only to strengthen the Undead. Draelnor suggests that he should ask the Oracle in the Ravine of Winds for help, who will answer 3 of his questions. Elhant nods in agreement. Draelnor then warns Elhant of a large Undead base between the mountains and his path and he moves on. Elhant then meets up with a group of fairies who offer him help if he defends them against the undead base. He agrees and they setup a settlement and slowly fight their way off to the Council on the Mountains. Lana meets Elhant. Lana is delighted that he came back. They all attend the Elf Council. Monfor orders a full scale direct assault which Elhant describes as treachery to one's own people. Agitated Monfor expels the Ranger from the council. Elhant decides to meet the Oracle.
Elhant soon arrives at the Ravine of Winds. He is greeted by a coastal village which offer him assistance if he would take care of their 'Goblin Problem'. Elhant solves the situation and is ferried across the river. On the other side, he meets a Druid who studies Dragons and is in dire need for a Dragon's Egg. Elhant uncovers one for him and in return he gets an Anti-Magical Cloak. Elhant presses on through the narrow ways until he finally reaches the Oracle. Suddenly a flying vessel hisses past him, unknown to ranger it's a modern era Fighter Jet. The Oracle addresses Elhant by his name, upon hearing which he is surprised. Elhant asks the oracle how the undead can be defeated. The Oracle faithfully answers that only with magic this can be done. And for this he should seek the Crown of Octon. Elhant presses on to ask who Octon is. The Oracle replies that he was the Grand Mage of all the 4 magical guilds (Ice, Fire, Death and Mechanics) and that he ruled over the entire continent. He continued that when Octon wanted to hide his crown (christened the Crown of Elements) from the disciple mages, he took it under the World mountain only to be followed by Necros Horron (Head of the Death Magic guild). Octon escaped pursuit and hid the crown under the World Mountains. The Oracle stopped. Elhant continued and asked where this crown can be found. The Oracle answered that no one knows its location and that once thousands of undead raided the place for the same but it never yielded to them and that the crown chooses its owner. Elhant then asked what he should do with the crown, but the Oracle having answered three of his questions now stood like a lifeless rock.
Elhant soon made his way to the Caverns under the World Mountain. But he was greeted by Chaos. Undead were battling with the Dwarf residents there. Elhant jumped into the battle and helped the Dwarfs there. The Dwarven chief thanked him for his kindness. Elhant didn't hesitate to ask the chief about the Crown. The chief, rather old, told the tale of how they once came with Octon to the island and settled under the world mountain and how Necros tried to get the crown. He recollected the story of how the Lava Demons and the Undead have been under conflict since. The Mage lead Elhant to darker territories further deep, where Blindmen had settled. Elhant fought them and cleared the area. He then moved further south to the Lava Demon's lair. Lava Demons started to put up heavy resistance for the solo Warrior. But in the end he managed to defeat the demons. He then went up the old cavern where faint breaths and winds whispered danger. Elhant then made his way to the Main chamber where he found the statue of Octon with the crown under it. He went close and took the crown only to be interrupted by a Loud Roar and fireballs.
Startled Elhant looked back. He found a megaton Devil just behind him. A Boss fight ensues in which Elhant defeats the giant. He then mounts a teleporter and is taken out. Elhant now sets to go towards Draelnor to figure out how to rescue their people. On his way he meets Lana and aids a village to fight the native Orcs and Neutral Mages. They both finally make their way to Draelnor. Elhant hands over the crown to Draelnor who marvels at its beauty. Impatient he asks Draelnor to help the people. But Draelnor replies that he cannot do anything with it. When asked why, he replies that there are 4 Magical gems which are needed for the crown to work. Elhant asks about the gems. The Old druid began to recollect the tale of the four magical workshops and the four elemental gems connected to it and how they focus the 4 types of magic. Broken, Elhant asks if there is anything that he can do with the crown, to which Draelnor says a solid no. Draelnor speaks further about the impossibility of finding all the four gems. He tells that one belongs to Necros himself and the only place where the Ritual of Crown can be carried out is about to be destroyed by the Undead. Desperate Elhant asks where he should begin his search. The Druid points to North and speaks of the Island dwelling Mechanicians who has one of the gems. He asks Elhant to enquire with them where to head next.
Impatient and Quick, Elhant sails to the Land of Mechanicians. He quickly gains favor of the Dwarfs of the island by fighting against the Sols. Elhant asks about the gems. The Mechanic warriors request Elhant to take them to their commander, the Enforcer, who could help him and them. Elhant agrees, but finds himself stranded as the entire Island is invaded by Sols. They finally make it to the Enforcer. When asked about the gem, Enforcer confessed his ignorance. He told Elhant that he could ask the master Mage for Elhant if he and his troops are escorted there. Elhant agrees. He then takes them to the main Island. The Mage is pleased to see someone from the World Mountains, where part of his tribe once left with Octon. Elhant asked him of the gem and explained the entire story, the Mechanics were glad to give the gem to him. The Mage then showed Elhant a Zeppelin and allowed the Enforcer to help Elhant to his next destination.
They then make their way towards the Northern Lands of Brita but they are stopped by the Flying Island of Sols, named Shambala. However Elhant escapes pursuit. But he is stopped by Dragons. They explain themselves to the "Ice folk". Convinced that Elhant is not the enemy, the Dragon rider agrees to take him to the Capital. On their way, Elhant asks the conjurer about Octon. The Conjurer gladly speaks of the legend of Octon and the 4 magical gems. How each guild inherited each gem so that none would rule over the other and how their lands split into 4 nations. It is then they sight the 'Shambala' attacking the Capital. Elhant is dropped off to the ground by the rider and he is left to choose one of the 3 possible paths to the capital. At the capital Elhant sees that the Ice regent has been mortally wounded and the Ice gem stolen. Before the regent dies, he hands over his Dragon so that Elhant may reach the Shambala and make it inside the Universum where the sols have taken the gem.
Elhant lands on the Shambala and presses towards the Universum pyramid. On his way he meets Tor Gilong, a Slave who used to work inside the Pyramid. Elhant helps Tor and moves on to find Priests battling with Clerics. Elhant quickly assists the Priests and gains their favor, he then whispers a secret mantra used to open the Pyramid from its back doors. Elhant moves on to the back of the pyramids but finds a broken Mechanic Zeppelin which has lost an important screw. Elhant recovers the screw, the dwarfs in gratitude promises to come to the Aid of Elhant when he gets out of the Pyramid. Elhant makes it into the Pyramid through the back door.
Inside the Pyramid he is quickly confronted by waves and waves of Sols. Elhant starts to fight through a large detachment of Giant Scorpins and Sphinxes. Finally he reaches the Flame Master. The Boss sequence initiates and Elhant defeats Flame Master, gaining the Cold and Fire gems. He then gets to the pyramid's top where the Mechanics were waiting with their Zeppelin. Elhant is boarded and they fly towards Atlans. Accompanying their ship is an Arc to board the Dwarfs living under the World Mountains.
Elhant Lands near the Tomb of Octon. There he meets Lana and Draelnor. Lana tells the sad news of Monfor's death and the conquest of Undead. She also informs that these are the last lands left unconquered. Elhant gives the gems to Draelnor and informs him that the only gem needed is the one with Necros. The battle sequence initiates. Army after Army the Undead and Elves clash. The tomb of Octon barely survives the Onslaught. In the Chaos, Elhant sights Necros. A Boss sequence initiates. Necros and Elhant fight each other but in the end, Necros gives way to his own death. Elhant acquires the gem and gives it to Draelnor. Lana's negotiation with the Arc crew is successful. The Elves are taken aboard as well. The last sequences initiate and the last armies of undead begin to fall. In the commotion to the horror of everyone, a modern day tank arrives at the scene. It loads and then takes a shot at the Tomb of Octon, instantly destroying it. Water begins to engulf everywhere. The rising water destroys everyone. In the commotion, Lana asks for Elhant, to which a Pikeman replies
|“||I saw a Ranger near the Tomb. When an Iron Demon devoured it||”|
Lana searches out and manages to find Elhant. In the background the cry of Necron Lord echoes and fades away. Inside the ships, Ranger laments at the loss of Draelnor and their lands, forever engulfed by the Abyss. The Arc moves away to the horizon, searching for a new land, with Lana and Elhant as the Heroes of an Annihilated Empire.
Heroes of Annihilated Empires has four playable races: the Elves (Sylvan Folk), the Undead (Legions of Ashes), the Mechanicians (Dwarves who use machines), and the Cryo Race (barbarians with a specialty in cold magic) also a fifth race is available through a mod from the GSC forum called Sols (Egyptian Fire Magicians). The player can also select one of three hero types: Warrior, Ranger, and Mage. When a game begins, the player can cast a spell called "Rally Troops" to turn the hero into a statue for 30 minutes, and in return gain a few builder units, or sell the spell for 2100 gold coins. If the player sells the spell, the game plays as an RPG; otherwise the game plays as an RTS.
RTS mode involves the usual RTS elements of games like Age of Empires and StarCraft. The Main focus of RTS involves only around base building, resource collection and defeating the opponent. There are also scored games where both players focus on increasing the overall score to achieve victory. The RTS mode allows for battles in ground, water and air levels though naval warfare remains effective only in multiplayer as the AI is unable to build Ports and Ships. The Main resources include
1) Elves - Food, Wood, Crystal, Iron
2) Undead - Stone, Gold, Crystal, Iron
3) Mechanicians - Stone, Gold, Crystal, Iron, Food, Wood
4) Cryo Race - Stone, Gold, Crystal, Iron, Food, Wood
5) Sols (Obtained by Mod) - Stone, Gold, Crystal, Iron, Food, Wood
The RTS battles are huge with thousands of units. Many units like Were-Wolves, Vampires etc. are capable of transforming into entirely different units. Were-wolves, for instance, can transform into Archers and Vampires can change themselves into Bats. Along with numerous infantry, Big 3d units are also there, though they are limited by numbers.
A sequel for the game titled "Heroes of Annihilated Empires chapter 2" was planned and partially developed but due to lack of profits, the development team was scattered in 2007.
- Heroes of Annihilated Empires – Official site
- GSC Forum – Official Forum
- HoAE.net – Unofficial community modding website
- ↑ Aihoshi, Richard (July 26, 2006). Heroes of Annihilated Empires Update Interview. RPG Vault. Retrieved on 2006-09-21.
- ↑ Features. Heroes of Annihilated Empires official website. Retrieved on 2006-09-21.
- ↑ Eurocon 2005: Glasgow - Scotland. The European Science Fiction Society (April 29, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
- ↑ Novak, Ilya (4 March 2006). Questions to Ilya Novak. GSC Gameworld official forum. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
- ↑ Jonathan, Trevisani (27 November 2006). Heroes of Annihilated Empires Q&A. Computer Games Online. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
- ↑ GSC Gameworld Administrator announces the series being frozen.. GSC Game World (August 6, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-08-06.