My party composition playing the game the first time consisted of a knight, paladin, ranger, archer, cleric and sorcerer. I played through the game and it wasn’t too hard, but I had some issues and annoyances.
There’s a lot of freedom to party composition in Might and Magic III. There are no combat ranks, so you get to pace your guys wherever you please, though the guys to the left get attacked more, so they should have more health. That being said, here’s what I’d go with.
Two classical melee characters.
One of them should be a paladin, so you get an extra healer. As for the other guy, you could go with either a barbarian or a knight, though many people agree barbarians are outright better. Their lack of armor means less and less as the game progresses and the higher quality materials make up for straight armor type. Their extra health and attacks also become better and better as the game goes along.
A robber or a ninja
I played the game without either, but you’ll end up missing on a lot of items and gold if you do. Out of the two, I’d go with ninja. All you need is someone who’s able to pick locks, not someone who does it without triggering traps. Don’t get me wrong, not triggering traps is great, but you can rest or heal around that. There’s no healing past a locked chest. A ninja may be weaker at thievery, but they have it and more than make up for it with offensive strength. They get a lot of attacks and can do damage that rivals the two proper melee guys.
One of each spell casters – clerical, sorcery and nature magic.
For clerical spells, it’s a bit weird. You already have a paladin, so you may as well go with a pure cleric here, though a paladin is just as good with clerical spells and also is able to melee effectively.
As for sorcery, that’s even weirder. Spells are great and they can be very useful, but an archer could do both spells and melee damage just as effectively – they just have less spell points. That being said, you don’t really need a guy that’s good with both that badly, so you may as well go with a sorcerer and focus on the magic alone. It makes things simpler.
Finally, for nature magic, just make peace with the fact that character will probably suck. You’ll want to have him to try out the unique spells of the school, but due to the fact they depend both on personality and intellect for spells, they’ll end up being mediocre at best. You might just want to go with a ranger, give them just enough magical stats so they’re able to cast the few spells you’ll want and then focus on their physical attributes.
An effective party consists of a barbarian (or knight), paladin, ninja (or robber, but better ninja), ranger (or druid, they both suck), a cleric and a sorcerer (or archer, it’s a valid option).
What would I do?
So what would I go with now that I’m informed?
Probably a barbarian and a paladin for melee, a ninja for thievery and backup melee and finally a ranger, cleric and sorcerer for spells. I’d give the ranger just enough intellect and personality so they’re able to cast their unique spells and then focus on their might, speed, endurance and accuracy. I don’t even know why I’m mentioning endurance. EVERYONE should focus on endurance.
Some people swear by an all archer or 3 archers and 3 paladin party. Why? Because unlike Might and Magic Book One and Book Two, in Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra, hybrid spell classes can cast ALL the spells. They simply have less spell points and end up being less effective due to spreading their stats too much.
Don’t forget the hirelings
Early on, hirelings will be expensive, but as time goes on, you’ll end up being able to afford them easily and they’re a good option to complement your existing party. I prefer not to use them, though.
Things to look for in the game
Unlike the first two games, Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra differentiates between natural and unnatural aging. As time goes by, your characters do age naturally and there’s no reversing that.
Some monster’s attacks and possibly some in-game events (I can’t really remember) also cause unnatural aging. This is far more dangerous, because it can add up quickly if you aren’t careful. It’s extremely easy to reverse, once you unlock that ability.
How to unlock the Fountain of Youth in Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra?
First of all, you’ll need 50 might on your first character, or possibly the first two. You can have it naturally, or by finding a fountain. There’s a suitable fountain at B-1, coordinates 4-9. This one increases might by 30 temporarily.
With might above 50, you need to go A4, coordinates 15-13. There’s a box here that needs to be broken (which is why you need the strength) and contains the Golden Pyramid Key Card. Among other things, this opens the Forward Storage Sector in A2, coordinates 5-2.
Enter the Forward Storage Sector (hopefully, you’ll be able to fight off the few robots in there, and get to the statue at 9-11. Entering the password YOUTH here will raise the sunken island at Piranha Bay, containing the Fountain of Youth.
If you want to figure out the password legitimately, it’s within this pyramid. From the central room, take the southeast door and follow the long hallway through the Central Control Sector, all the way to the Aft Engine Sector. The password will be on one of the statues there (14-4).
You’ll want Town Portal, Lloyd’s Beacon, Wizard Eye and Walk on Water. Everything else is optional, it really is. Even Teleport isn’t as useful as it once was, since blocked teleportation in an area is more common now.
Wizard Eye can be bought in Baywatch (the mirror portal password is SEADOG). Lloyd’s Beacon is in Wildabar (password is FREEMAN), as is Walk on Water. Town Portal is in Swamp Town (password is DOOMED).
That being said, Holy Bonus, Heroism and Bless are amazing. They aren’t a requirement for completing the game, but they are amazing. Cast them on your melee fighters and see how much they kick ass.
Obsidian equipment is the strongest in the game, by far, so if you ever get any of that, hold on to it. Outside of that, it’s all about as high quality materials as possible. Keep notes, use the identification function at the shops and go for the best thing available.
The guys to the left get hit more often than the guys to the right in your party, so keep that in mind. The first two guys also do the door bashing, so their Might should be the highest.
When a character gets knocked unconscious by having their health reduced to 0, via an attack or a trap, there’s a good chance their armor will break, which costs money to repair and forces you to go back to town. Avoid that if possible. Save the game often. I’m stating the obvious here, aren’t I?