A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S

Collecting Artifacts

By Robert

There are 43 Artifacts, Relics and Special Items in Might & Magic 8 and, unlike MM6 & 7, you don't need to rely on looting Dragons to get them all. The game has two different sorts of these named items -- those which are always at the same location and those which are randomly allocated when you first enter a Region or Dungeon.

This article will explain the way that this process works. Please note that the term artifact is used to refer to Artifacts, Relics, and Special Items. The term chest refers to anything that looks like a Chest when opened. Information about the locations of the fixed items and the potential locations of the randomly assigned items can be found on the Artifacts page of The League of Might & Magic site.

I want to express my special thanks to Bones, who edited and thoroughly revised the texts, added valuable aspects and declined being mentioned as coauthor of our work.

A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S

Fixed Placement

Certain artifacts always appear at the same locations. In addition, these artifacts are replaced with every respawn, so it's possible to get more than one of each

As you would expect, all of the artifacts that are affiliated with Quests or major puzzles have fixed locations, but several others are also fixed. Here's a list.

Noblebone Bownone
Ring of Planesnone
Snakesomeone tells you where to find it
Mace of the Sunyou are told where it was last seen
Scepter of Kings,
Foulfang, and
the Obelisk Puzzle Treasure
Judicious MeasureTreasure of the Dread Pirate Stanley
Sword of WhistleboneDestroy the Dragon Hunter
Encampment (Wyrm Promotion)
Axe of BalthazarFind Balthazar's Axe
(Minotaur Lord Promotion)
EclipseRecover the Shield Eclipse
EbonestRecover the Spear Ebonest
(Champion Promotion)
GlomenthalWin the Arcomage Tournament

A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S

Random Placement

What the game does with the remaining artifacts is much more interesting than what it does with the first group. This is also where MM8 adds to the process that was used in MM6 & 7 and may indicate what we should expect in future Might & Magic RPGs.

When you start a game there are 31 artifacts available to be randomly generated in response to certain events. Each time one of these is generated it is removed from the pool of available artifacts.

Looting the corpse of a Monster which is an L6 source of treasure has been the classic way of getting an artifact. There are 12 such Monster types in MM8. Stalt-laced Ore, introduced in MM7, is an L6 source of treasure, but it will not generate artifacts. Now, however, there is another way to get the Named Items we want.

In MM8 there are at least 31 distinct locations -- in chests and on floors -- that have the potential for generating one or more randomly placed artifacts. Whether or not these locations are filled is determined when you first enter the Region or Dungeon in which each is found. Any artifacts that are assigned to these locations are removed from the pool and it will be impossible to get them elsewhere, even if you don't find them. Any artifacts that are unassigned when you get to Escaton's Palace will be placed on the floor there.

Two of the artifacts that have fixed locations -- the Mace of the Sun and the Noblebone Bow -- are also contained in the pool of randomly placed artifacts. This means that you'll be able to get two of each of these without waiting for the fixed locations to refill. The randoms' pool does not get refilled, so that, with the exception of these two, you'll only be able to get one of each. Once all of the random artifacts are placed (or found by looting), it is impossible to get any more and the places for randoms in areas entered later will be empty.

A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S

Positioning Problems

The content of a chest is determined when its map is entered, but the arrangement of that content is done when the chest is opened. If a chest has too many predetermined treasure positions or if the items are too big, then it may happen (and it happens often) that there won't be enough space within this chest to position all the items.

If this is the case and the chest contains assigned artifacts, then one (or more!) of the artifacts might not appear. Any artifacts that have been assigned to but don't appear in a particular chest are still removed from the pool of randoms and you won't be able to find them anywhere else.

This is not solely a problem of the randomly placed artifacts. It can happen with any chest that has pre-assigned treasure, especially if the chest is crowded. Many people have reported this problem with the quest item Eclipse, one of the fixed-location artifacts.

The only way to get around this problem is to save your game before opening the chest and reload if the expected treasure doesn't show up. In this way it's possible to get a better arrangement or to have the desired item appear instead of another.

At least one artifact chest (in Castle of Fire) can hold up to three artifacts together with a lot of other stuff, so it's not easy to get them all. You may need to reload several times.

A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S

Respawn Problems

As mentioned earlier, the random and fixed artifacts are placed when we first enter a Region and Dungeon. However, if an area respawns -- ie, its Monsters regenerated and its treasure replenished -- before a randomly generated artifact has been retrieved, then it will be impossible to get that artifact anywhere else.

There are two places where it is common for this to cause a problem. The first is with Ironsand Desert, which has a respawn time of one year. There is a hidden chest in this Region which will contain a random artifact. If you don't find it before it refills you'll be out of luck.

The other common area is the Dragon Cave in Garrote Gorge, which has a respawn time of only six months. There are three random artifacts in this Dungeon. It may take some ingenuity to get them before they disappear for good.

Please note that respawning areas also give you more chances to collect additional artifacts from the sites you've already found. As mentioned earlier, the fixed artifacts reappear with every respawn. New (and different) random artifacts will be assigned to respawned sites as long as there are some left in the randoms pool.

A N A L Y S I S  -  N A M E D   I T E M S


At the end of my first game I was missing 6 artifacts. Out of the total of 43 artifacts offered by the game, this was too few to assume that there was a fixed limit on the number that could be obtained. It seemed more likely that I had missed some locations. In order to know when a random artifact had been assigned I needed a way to track the contents of the randoms' pool throughout the game.

A particular kind of random artifact location is needed to do this easily. First, it needs to be available early in the game before too many areas have been entered. It is also helpful if more than one artifact is present. The best location is in Ilsingore's Cave in Ironsand Desert. The chest there contains 2 artifacts and to access it only Invisibility and a sufficient Disarm Skill are required.

Upon entering this cave, two randomly chosen artifacts from the randoms' pool are placed within a chest. Proceed to the chest and record the artifacts. Loading the autosave (from just before the cave is entered) and repeating the process gives another selection. With a sufficient number of tries all artifacts still available at this point of the game show up.

When using this method it helps to reduce the number of artifacts in the pool by first collecting those in Ravenshore, Alvar, Garrote Gorge and Ironsand. This will decrease the number of tries needed to reveal all the artifacts left in the pool. Between 50 and 100 tries are needed to check the contents of the pool when 22 artifacts are left.

Don't save and play your game after entering Ilsingore's Cave. Instead, now that the available artifacts have been determined, you will go back to the cave and recheck artifact availability after entering each new Region and Dungeon for the first time. (Of course you'll want to save your current game before making the trip. Lloyd's Beacon comes in handy.) Any artifacts that don't show up must be contained somewhere within the newly entered area. Then you have to find them. ;-)

© 2001 The Erathian Liberation Party