Heroes of the Dark is an MMO strategy game developed by Gameloft, that’s set in Tenebris, a land where humans, vampires, and werewolves have been at each other’s throats for the longest time. For example, the vampires have gone as far as shattering the moon in their bid for power. You play as Birsha von Meremoth, a vampire who was forced to sleep for 40 years after objecting to the plans of his fellow night-dwellers at the High Council; he awakens to find Tenebris in chaos. Needless to say, you have a lot to overcome before uniting the land.
Compared to other MMO strategy games, Heroes of the Dark has you sending smaller groups of heroes to do tasks in lieu of massive armies, so managing your forces is significantly easier. Once your castle has been sufficiently upgraded, you can tackle the campaign to restore order to Tenebris, or you can butt heads with other players and rivalling guilds. The crown jewel of any guild is the Heart of Tenebris, the ultimate source of power in the land.
When you are not sending out parties to roam Tenebris, you will be producing resources to upgrade your heroes and castle rooms, along with patching up any heroes that have taken too much damage during their missions. Some heroes can even help out with resource production, so even those that are ultimately outmoded by newer heroes still have a purpose in your castle instead of staying idle.
With the introductions out of the way, stay with us and check out our Heroes of the Dark beginner’s guide for some much-needed tips, tricks and strategies!
1. Gothic Warfare
The tutorial opens when Birsha is awakened by a human ranger named Stamatus Abernathy. Abernathy helps Birsha fend off some would-be assassins after getting the castle in order. Combat in Heroes of the Dark involves two teams that can have up to five heroes on each side. Though the starting fight is a 2v3 in the enemy’s favor, Birsha and Abernathy are more than capable of handling them. Before a fight, both teams can arrange their heroes by placing up to three in the front row and up to two in the back.
Battling is automatic once the fight starts, and the player has no way of influencing hero behavior during the battle. You can only hope that your hero composition wins against the enemy’s team, unless the balance of power is significantly in your favor.
All heroes can have up to five abilities, but newly-acquired ones, either through the gacha or through story progression, will start with only three of these unlocked. These are split between perks, passive, and ultimate abilities.
- Perks will only take effect after certain conditions are met and while primarily for combat, can also affect resource gathering on the field or resource production back at the castle.
- Passive abilities are geared towards combat and can activate based on hero movement and after a set number of attacks. If a hero has an aura, it will also go here.
- Ultimate abilities are very powerful as their name would suggest, but they require energy to cast. Energy is only generated during a fight. Depending on the power involved, one team may be defeated too quickly for any Ultimate to be cast.
Hero placement determines which heroes get into the fight first, so it is best to place melee-oriented heroes like Birsha up front so they can meet enemies sooner. Ranged heroes like Abernathy should stay in the back row to safely shoot their targets. Your second fight should start around this point, where you spot some hunters delivering a caged werewolf. Abernathy suggests that you should rescue the werewolf if you plan to butt heads with the High Council.
This battle will let you position your heroes before freeing the werewolf, and will suggest that you put Birsha directly in front of Abernathy. This is because Abernathy has an aura that affects up to two allies in front of him and lets their attacks ignore a percentage of enemy defenses. This battle will be an easy one and before you know it, you can now add Kha’alil to your ranks.
Heroes have different roles, indicated just below their portraits, right next to the icon that shows whether they are a vampire, a werewolf, or a human. There are six roles in total and they are listed below:
- Bruiser: Your basic melee scrapper with balanced offense and defense. Birsha falls in this category.
- Ranger: The earliest ranged option you can field, sporting reduced defenses in exchange for attacking from a distance. As we mentioned earlier, Abernathy is classified as a ranger.
- Tank: Melee fighters who sport improved defenses and get most of their energy from taking damage. Their abilities focus on keeping themselves alive for longer or holding enemies in place. Kha’alil goes here.
- Nuker: Typically composed of spellcasters, Nukers specialize in wiping out enemies with their magic at range., as their defenses suffer as a result. You will get yourself a free Nuker as you progress through the game’s campaign.
- Assassin: Much like the Nuker, the Assassin sacrifices defenses for increased offense and critical hit chances. Being a melee unit, this requires the Assassin to get close to their target.
- Support: Heroes in this category provide buffs to their team, and include both ranged and melee heroes.
You get heroes primarily through the gacha system, which comes in two categories: free and premium. Both gachas award Hero Fragments that unlock the selected hero once enough Fragments have been collected, and excess fragments can be used to level them up. The free gacha can be rolled using power cores found through the store or as daily rewards, but will only reward heroes up to a certain rarity.
Meanwhile, the premium gacha requires the game’s premium currency, Lunar Gems, to make a roll but it has access to the rarest heroes available. Both gachas can be rolled one at a time or ten times if you have the resources. After ten accumulated rolls on either gacha, your next roll is guaranteed to be the highest rarity the selected gacha can manage, though there is no guarantee which hero you will get.
2. Castle Cleanup And Connections
After freeing Kha’alil, you locate Birsha’s old castle. The rooms are in a state of disrepair since Birsha was imprisoned for the past four decades. Birsha reluctantly agrees to seek help from his sister Daeva, who agrees to aid Birsha’s cause, provided the castle is restored to working order. The game will give you some tasks to complete which will reward you with some resources and, more importantly, Daeva’s Fragments so that you can take her to missions.
Now, the castle’s throne room is still intact, and upgrading it will upgrade the entire castle. The throne room has prerequisites for that upgrade, which the game will guide you towards. The first rooms you will restore produce “Crystals.” There are three types of crystals for each race of Tenebris that are used to upgrade your heroes:
- Vampires use Blood Crystals, produced at the Vampiric Ritual Room. This particular room is introduced much earlier to you when Abernathy wakes Birsha up, given that the newly-awakened vampire needs the power boost. The rest of the castle does not come in until later.
- Werewolves use Lupine Crystals produced at the Lupine Purification Facility; and lastly.
- Humans use Battery Crystals produced at the Human Lunar Laboratory. Abernathy’s perk reduces the costs of Battery Crystal production, and he recommends that you have him man the Laboratory when you first build it. Each resource-producing room in the castle has two related heroes that can improve its output.
All Crystal production buildings can produce up to five tiers of Crystals, with higher-tier crystals taking longer to produce and requiring more resources. You will need these higher-tier crystals since these are required to rank your heroes up further. Gaining access to the later Crystal tiers requires you to upgrade those rooms accordingly. For now, the basic Crystals will suffice. The Crystals must be selected by the player and production must be started manually.
Outside of Crystals, there are two main resources gathered and utilized in Heroes of the Dark: Gold and Moondust. These are produced through the Gold Foundry and the Moondust Factory. Both of these resources are used in purchasing and upgrading rooms in your castle, as well as any pieces of equipment you can find in the overworld later on. These buildings also determine how much of each resource you can stockpile, and upgrading those rooms increases both their rate of production and the amount you can store.
Unlike the Crystal production rooms, the Foundry and Factory will generate their respective resources passively, though you will need to manually collect their output regularly. You should be able to upgrade your throne room at this point to level 2, unlocking the following buildings:
- Vault: As Heroes of the Dark is an MMO Strategy game, other players can send out raiding parties to steal your hard-earned resources. The vault protects a portion of your resources from being stolen, and boosts both your Gold and Moondust stockpile limits. Upgrading the vault increases the number of resources protected as well as the stockpile limits.
- Infirmary: Your heroes are tough but not invulnerable, and they can only take so much damage before they have to recover. Any damage they take during missions adds up, with “deaths” eating up a large portion of their health. The Infirmary lets injured heroes tend to their wounds in exchange for Moondust. When first built, the Infirmary can only patch up three heroes at a time, but upgrades will increase both the rate of healing and eventually the number of heroes that can simultaneously rest.
The last room you will need to build is the Guild Hall, which requires you to join a guild. You can view a list of guilds through the Guild button at the bottom of the screen. You can sort out the available guilds based on their preferred languages, as well as any Strength requirements the guild might require if you want to join. Strength is calculated by the number of heroes you have on hand, any upgrades and equipment you have used on them, and the overall upgrade progress of your castle.
Guilds allow players to coordinate attacks against rival territories, and give access to a special Guild store that lets you purchase some goodies in exchange for a special, guild-only resource. If you join a guild for the first time, the game will give you the option of teleporting close to the guild leader’s location in the overworld, making it easier to send reinforcements between guild members. The Guild Hall affects how many heroes you can send to guild members, and how many heroes you can receive from your allies. You may even receive or send requests for resource donations.
Once the Guild Hall is built, you should complete all of the tasks that Daeva has given you. In turn, this will give you access to the overworld and unlocking Daeva as a usable Hero. Similar to Abernathy, Daeva reduces the costs of producing Blood Crystals for future vampire heroes; assign her to the Ritual Room as soon as you can.
3. Touring Through Tenebris
You can view the world map by selecting the Map button on the lower left corner of the screen. From there, you can zoom out to get a better view of the map, and any nearby castles and resource deposits such as gold mines. The map is split off into regions separated by bridges that you will have to besiege in order to cross. These bridges are controlled by the AI, so it is only a matter of overpowering the garrison through superior formations or massive power differences. All locations will take some time for your heroes to get to, and you can only send out a set number of parties affected by the level of your castle.
You will notice camps that consist exclusively of heroes based around a single role (such as Ranger Camps or Bruiser Camps). These camps are the main source of class tokens, which are used to level up the stats of your heroes along with the Crystal that matches their species. This level up is independent of using Hero Fragments, giving some heroes a means of catching up if the gacha results are not in your favor. These camps also drop equipment that provide stat boosts.
Heroes can equip up to six pieces of equipment (head, torso, legs, necklace, weapon, and ring), though some rarer equipment may require a minimum hero level to use. Much of the equipment you can find is tied to the class camp that drops it (for instance, a weapon found in a Ranger Camp can only be used by rangers), but necklaces and rings can be worn by anyone regardless of class.
Defeating camps can also reward some additional gold and moondust. However they can also reward dungeon keys which are used to access world dungeons throughout Tenebris. These dungeons are divided according to species instead of class, and involve sending out a party to explore the dungeon to gather any treasures within.
The dungeon is laid out as a grid of platforms separated by bridges, and your party must make it to the far end of the dungeon, which can reward Hero fragments, equipment, and Catacomb Gems used to purchase things from the Catacomb shop. The platforms will have enemy parties guarding them, and the player cannot backtrack. In addition, any damage your heroes take will accumulate during the dungeon crawl, meaning that their next encounter could be their last for the expedition.
You will have to decide whether to take longer paths with less powerful foes, or consider paths with treasure guarded by stronger opponents. The reward for completing the dungeon has three requirements to get the best rewards, ranging from beating the dungeon with a certain class in your party or only taking a set number of casualties. The first “requirement” simply involves beating the final encounter at the end of the dungeon.
Guilds will have to keep an eye out for two additional landmarks, which will see heavy disputes:
- The first landmark is the Regional Crystallix, which provides region-wide bonuses to the Guild who has control of it. You can expect Guilds to cluster at the Crystallix in order to reinforce their control over it, and by extension the region.
- The second landmark is the Heart of Tenebris itself, located at the very center of the world map. Controlling it naturally provides significant bonuses to the reigning guild, so expect very heavy resistance near the Heart. Proximity to the Heart also affects the potency of camp and dungeon rewards; the closer you are to the heart, the more lucrative the loot you can find in the area.
Of course, you will have to watch out for rival players that may have set up their castles near you, either by choice or by chance. You can send out a scouting party to probe their defenses and see what their overall strength is, or you can launch an attack as soon as possible.
Be wary, as your potential enemies can do the same. If things are getting too much, you can teleport your castle to a different part of the map using Teleport items that let you move around in Guild territory or to any location of the map you prefer. However, take note that the items that let you move to any part of the map are much harder to find.
Lastly, the game has a campaign where Birsha and company start making a name for themselves across Tenebris. Similar to dungeons, completing campaign missions will give you additional rewards based on meeting mission requirements, and your rank in each mission also affects your prize for beating the chapter as a whole. These typically involve fending off a wave or two of enemies.
4. Fang, Fur, And Flesh
Now that we have gameplay basics out of the way, we can share with you some tips to be one of the best in Tenebris.
- Remember your hero formations: Try to keep melee-oriented heroes up front while ranged heroes whittle down the enemy from the rear. Ranged heroes tend to have lower defenses so they will crumple once the enemy gets too close. If your selected hero has an aura in effect, position your team so that the aura affects as much people as possible.
- The right man, bat, or wolf for the job: All heroes have a perk that improves resource collection or generation. Assigning a select hero to the right castle room, or sending that hero out on a resource-collecting expedition, can easily save you resources or get you some extra loot.
Early on, you will not be able to send out full parties to scour for resources, but once you start building up your roster, you can send out dedicated expeditions to collect Gold or Moondust when needed.
- Picking the right battles: Remember, class camps only reward things that only a single class can use. Do not focus too much on Bruiser Camps otherwise your non-bruiser heroes will lag behind.
- Crystals and Equipment: Do not forget to use crystals to rank up your preferred heroes, and give any appropriate equipment to them. For example, if you want a passive that is triggered after a set number of attacks to go off more often, give them compatible equipment that increases attack speed. Crystal upgrades will give heroes much-needed stat boosts, allowing you to take on more difficult content.
- Guild duties: When it comes to your choice of guilds, read their descriptions to check whether they are focused on guild conflicts, or just want to hang out with fellow dwellers of the night. Your selected guild may have requirements not only to enter to guild but also to retain membership. Guild leaders can kick out anyone who is not pulling their weight or has become inactive. If all else fails, you can create your own guild if the ones available are not to your liking.
And that concludes our beginner’s guide to Heroes of the Dark. We hope that the information and advice provided here help you reunite Tenebris in no time. If you have any suggestions you would like to share, let us know in the comment area! Good luck and game on!