David de Jongh's Might and Magic VIII Hints and Tips


    Introduction    The team    The A(ttack) button   Starting Out


    Alvar   Dagger Wound Island     Dragonsand     Garrote Gorge     Murmurwoods     

    Ravage Roaming    Ravenshore    Regna     Shadowspire    the Planes

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I’ve been playing M&M since Clouds of Xeen, so I guess you’d call me a dedicated fan. VIII carries on the tradition (and game engine) of VI and VII but with a number of enhancements that players have been asking for, but also with some of the annoyances that still haven’t been fixed.  Mercifully, they've dropped the contrived science fiction ending (although the blasters were a lot of fun).

One of the great new features is the ability to drop a team member who isn’t performing usefully, and replace him or her with a stronger one. You could swap out team members in previous versions of the game, but they’d be rookies when they joined, so it wasn’t a worthwhile feature.

You can now identify where the teachers are on the main map screen for each area. They appear as blue disks. If you right click on a blue disk, it will tell you the name of the skill and the level taught.

I found two problems with the game, one the occasional tendency to lock up and the other a strange feature where the planes of the background aren’t painted properly after minimizing the game for an extended period then restoring it. This may be a peculiarity of my board, a Viper V550 16MB. 3DO were of little help: get new drivers, exit other programs etc., none of which helped. The only solution is: save early, save often. Fortunately the plane-painting problem goes away when you restart the game, although you do have to exit – just reloading doesn’t help.                     Back to Top

The team

I equipped my team with a knight, a cleric, an archer and a wizard the first time I played M&M VII. The second time I played, I found a second knight was much more useful than the archer. In VIII, there’s no archer class – evidently other players found them as useless as I did – so I picked up a second knight as soon as I could. I replaced the vampire with a knight (Blazen Stormlance) who is a level 50 and a Grandmaster Armsmaster, Sword and Repair. This was definitely an easy choice as the vampire is even less useful than the archer was in M&M VII.  Blazen's only problem is that he's middle-aged and takes more damage than Simon Templar, but he sure can hit!

My final team was two clerics, a wizard and two knights. The clerics are good for Day of Protection, Day of the Gods, Raise Dead, Regeneration and Preservation. They have a couple of hostile spells, including Berserk, which is a lot of fun when it works, and they’re OK melee fighters, particularly if you find a decent mace. The Wizard is good for Fly, Town Portal, Lloyd’s Beacon and Alchemy skill. There are also a number of useful hostile spells, particularly Fireball at the lower level and Mass Distortion at the higher levels. Mass distortion can deliver several hundred damage points at a time when you are at about level 20 Earth magic. My knights are Grandmaster Sword and Spear, which means they can carry one in each hand. Spear means they start to hurt before they get really close in. With a sufficiently high speed and Armsmaster skill level (level 20 Grandmaster), these guys really kick ass! They deliver about 145 damage points every third hit, but they are hitting all the time.                                                      Back to Top

The A(ttack) button

It took me about eight months of on-and-off play to get through M&M VI, probably because I was used to playing in turn-based mode. M&M VII took about two months (unfortunately I have a day job), and I was intrigued by the description of the "awesome power" of the blasters. Because my wizard was able to do so much damage, I was still using turn-based mode so that the wizard was able to switch among spells, and so not suffer the recovery penalty. When everyone had a blaster, however, I discovered that by keeping my finger on the attack ("A") button, they worked like machine guns. Essentially, they have zero recovery time, so although they only delivered about 18 damage points a shot, they were so fast, you could wipe out whole platoons of monsters as if they were standing still.

Although there are no blasters in M&M VIII, the attack button works well when your team members have a high Speed attribute and master or grandmaster Armsmaster skill. My strategy now is to use the wizard to soften up a tribe of monsters from a distance, then go in in melee mode. It’s also worth getting the best bows you can for each member, and of course make sure everyone starts out with the bow skill.

In general, every quest will raise your team one level. It’s a good idea to give everyone the Learning skill, which will boost their experience gained by ten percent. Clearing an area of tough monsters will often raise you by one level or even more.

I made one of my clerics a master merchant, but it doesn’t do much good. I think the best he could do was sell at about 65% and buy at cost. That’s not so critical in this game as it was in earlier versions: I ended up with about two million gold anyway, so was never short of money.                 Back to Top

Starting out

Be sure everyone gets some type of body armor to start with, but concentrate on the armor skill you’re intending to develop long term. For example, don’t waste skill points on leather if your knight is going to use plate.

I found that there was much less damage done to armor and weapons in this game than in previous versions. Nonetheless, use the Harden Item (yellow + green) potion on everyone’s main body armor. It’s very cheap to make and you only need expert alchemy skill to make it.

I don’t remember if it was like this in previous versions, but every chest in this game is trapped, and as you go through, the damage gets worse. Be sure everyone is healed before you open a chest, or you may find yourself having to pay to raise the dead.

Speaking of potions, just about every area has someone who will make you a black potion of some sort, provided you’re carrying the right ingredients. So for example, when you enter the hut of the person who will make the Pure Speed potion, you will need to be carrying four red, two blue and one yellow reagent. Pick up every reagent you see.


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Dagger Wound Island

Dagger Wound Island is a weird place. Everything is in jarring colors, but this eventually changes (once you save the world!). There are a couple of easy quests, and some very low-level enemies. The islands are populated entirely by lizards (who are friendly, by the way) and are subject to attacks by pirates. The pirates can wipe you out, but you have to be pretty careless. Beware of the dark patches on the ground outside the main town – they are areas where meteors / volcanic eruptions fall. The pirates are a useful annoyance – they’re not much of a challenge, but they keep repopulating so you can build up experience points and gold early in the game.

The Abandoned Temple (where you can pick up Simon Templar the knight) is the site of several preliminary quests, most of them pretty easy. There are some funny flying snakes (quetzals) that will make mincemeat of your team if you don’t start shooting as soon as you get in. (They hide behind and beneath the staircase, so shoot over the side). The lizard men are not very strong, but there are a lot of them, so you may need two or three shots to get all the way through. The statue quest is the only one that takes a little patience. There’s a scroll that tells you which square to click on in the room with the red squares, but I ended up clicking on several and taking some minor damage from the traps.

Note that Dagger Wound is one of the few places you can get the Axe skill, and some pretty tasty axes pop up from time to time.  

Thanks to one of my faithful legion of fans for reminding me about the Uplifted Library, which is where you'll find the Lost Book of Khel.  This is on an island in the southeast quadrant of the region, and you won't see it on the map until you can fly or water walk or levitate long enough to find the place.  Once you get there, there's a crowd of Tritons and Boulders, none of which should pose any problems by now (although I think there were quite a few of them).  There are a few spell scrolls in the bookshelves.

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Once you get through the abandoned temple, you can take the boat to Ravenshore. The city is divided into two areas by a bridge. The rich half has all the stores, the poor half has a number of teachers, and the wolf hunter, who (a) pays you for dire wolf hides and (b) gives you the Destroy the Dire Wolves quest. The poor half also has a lot of trash heaps with a lot of useful treasure, including weapons. Use the same person to inspect all of the trash heaps, so you only have to use one shot of Cure Disease when you’re done.

Ravenshore is also the place where you start the main line quests. Visit the Merchant Guild of Alvar to get started. The main line starts with you having to form alliances with a number of factions. You choose which factions you want to ally with, and each faction has an opposite number that will be hostile to you as soon as you form an alliance with the other one. For example, if you ally with the Dragon Hunters in Garrote Gorge, the Dragons will attack you. In the center of town is the big pink structure of Escaton's Crystal, which you can't enter until you are a long way into the game.  On the western outskirts there is the Vault of Time, but again, it will be a while before you get there - you have to solve the Obelisk Quest and figure out its cryptic clue (see spoilers section).

The dire wolves aren’t terribly strong, but there are a lot of them, and they will repopulate until you clean out their den. This is OK, as you can build up points and gold by killing them and selling their hides.

Speaking of hides, you can sell Naga hides (no, not Naugahyde) to Reaver, who lives on the main square in Ravenshore. Remember this when you get to Garrote Gorge and wonder what to do with all those hides.

There are lumps of ore scattered around the Dire Wolf area. Be sure to pick them up. They’re low-grade, but don’t take up a lot of space.

The Smuggler’s Cove is pretty easy, but will probably take two attempts to get through, as it’s fairly extensive. Up the hill between the Smuggler’s Cove and the Dire Wolf den is the Chapel of Eep, which has a piece of cheese and some useful treasure. It’s populated with Wererats and Ratmen, all of which are pretty puny.

The northern area has a lot of Centaurs. They are not very powerful, but they move around a lot, and there are quite a lot of them. It takes quite a long time to chase them all down, and the treasure is so-so. There’s also Lord Brinny’s tomb, which is essentially a cast list. There’s a flute there, that you might want to keep (it’s not completely useless, as the flute in M&M VI was, although it doesn’t play a tune when you click on it).

Lastly, there’s the Oracle, who will give you a clue that will kind of keep you on track for the main line. He will also retrieve quest items you may have carelessly discarded. Most of the scrolls you’ll find are pretty useless, as you’ll visit the dungeons they describe anyway. There is one scroll you should definitely keep, that’s the key to the puzzle of the minotaur city of Balthazar Lair.      Back to Top


As you go through the game, you find that the shops become worse and worse in terms of trading. At least Alvar has the benefit that there are craftsmen who will turn all those lumps of ore into cool stuff you can either use yourself or sell. They are in two communities, one in the south, the other across the river from the city.

Some of the people in this game buy weird things. In Alvar, there’s a guy who buys ogre ears, and another one that buys wasp stingers. There’s also a Royal Wasp Jelly, which you can sell in Dragonsand for decent bucks. The ogres are fairly tough, but there aren’t usually more than two or three together. You’ll probably get an ear for every three ogres you kill. The wasp stingers are a little rarer. The wasps aren’t that strong, but they can cluster together. Watch out when you get into the wasp hive – there are a lot of them, and a lot of them are warriors. Be sure to save frequently and use a couple of different save files – you can find yourself in a trap from which there’s no escape. You’ll also need the Jump spell to get around in the hive. Kill as many as you can from below before jumping to the next level.

The Ogre fortress is relatively tough to get into, because you have ogres attacking from several directions when you enter. I found it best to pick one group and keep attacking it until one or two were killed, then exit and heal before my guys were slaughtered. It’s a long process, but once you’ve got the entrance cleared, you can fight in corridors and rooms and it becomes easier.

The dark dwarf compound is a lot of fun. The boulders are relatively tough, and have some resistance to physical damage, but not enough to be noticeable. The dark dwarves are in small groups, so don’t present much of a problem if you can lure them away from the boulders. The barracks has a couple of traps, one of which is very hard to figure out, unless you’ve squandered your skill points on perception.

You have to get your wizard promoted before you can learn the Fly spell, but you can use Jump to scale the cliffs in this region. To jump up a cliff, set your Wizard’s quick spell to Jump. Face the bottom of the cliff and press shift-forward arrow. Tab to your wizard and press the "S" key quickly (don’t let your finger linger on the button). Keep the shift-forward button pressed and repeat the Jump until you reach the top.

The areas at the tops have ores and reagents, and more ogres. You can also get from Alvar to Murmurwoods from here (traveling west), but be ready to run!    Back to Top


By the time you get here, the various undead creatures roaming the countryside should present no difficulties. Even the skeletal dragons are mere shadows of their former selves. The city of Shadowspire has a lot of minor quests, and quite a few teachers. It also has craftsmen that will make things out of ore.

If you’ve survived the surrounding country, the Necromancers’ Guild shouldn’t pose any problems. Note the interesting elevators in the game. They have transparent floors, so they’re a little hard to recognize at first. Look for a circle of white stone – that tells you the elevator’s ready to go. Get on the elevator, then push the button on the wall.

The Vampire Crypt has quite a few vampires, but you can use corridors if they give you any trouble.

Yaardrake’s cave is another story. The dragons in this game are very tough, very big and they fly indoors, which puts you at something of a disadvantage if you’re relying on melee skills. They also seem to be immune to Earth magic (despite what the book says), so Mass Distortion and Rock Blast don’t help. I found that climbing the walls and getting in close was the best strategy, but don’t try this until your team is pretty strong (at least level 30).    Back to Top


The gogs here are similar to the ones in M&M VII, so you don’t want to dawdle around them. They move fast and shoot you with Fire Bolt, which will wear you down pretty quickly. Like Murmurwoods, this is not a region with a real city, just a cluster of hovels, so you’d better be able to heal yourself. There are several minor quests here, a black potion maker and a few teachers, but otherwise there’s not much happening.

The Troll Tomb isn’t very dangerous (gogs are relatively harmless when they’re inside), but it’s a three-dimensional maze, and should keep you amused for quite a while. Like the other 3-D mazes, it becomes a relief to enter a room with monsters in it, because you know it’s one you haven’t visited before.

The Cyclops Larder is probably best left until fairly late in the game, unless you just fall in love with the vampire and feel you have to promote her. The Cyclopes are tough and can cast Paralyze, which can get you in trouble if your healer(s) are hit. Remember there’s no temple or shops in this region.

Once again, there’s a dragon cave in this region, so make sure your party is tough enough before entering.

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Garrote Gorge

There’s a lot of fighting available in this region, and you can pick your time to start. You must ally with either the Dragons or the Dragon Hunters, but you can build up a lot of experience by fighting the Nagas. They are in hilly country surrounding the Naga Fortress and there are lots of them. Some of them (about one in four) will leave a hide behind when you kill them. You can get about ten in one party member’s pack, but they sell for 500 gold, so they’re worth having. Just remember where the buyer is!

You will probably have to make several trips to Naga country just to get into the vault. The vault itself is a relatively simple maze with buttons here and there. Be careful, though: there is a very powerful trap at one point, so be sure everyone is at maximum hit points and you’ve cast all the protection spells you can before proceeding.

There is also another Church of Eep in Garrote Gorge. These guys definitely have a sense of humor! Just rats and ratmen in here, but there’s a button that’s in a less-than-obvious place.

When you’re feeling strong enough, you can ally with the powerful Dragons or the cruel Dragon Hunters. I allied with the hunters, but ticked them off later anyway and sacked and pillaged my way through their castle. The Dragon Cave is very tough. Save early and often. My strategy was to approach a group of dragons, then turn and run when they started to follow, in the hope that I could turn around and only face one or two at a time. It eventually worked, but it was exhausting. (It’s only a game, right? Sure.)     Back to Top


This is the place to learn the Light Magic skill and buy fabulously expensive Light Magic spells. It’s not essential, but casting Day of Protection and Day of the Gods becomes a habit that you just can’t shake. Murmurwoods village doesn’t have any of the comforts of civilization, like stores, or a bank, or a healer or transportation, so try not to get killed, stoned or paralyzed. It’s a long walk to the doctor. It’s probably best to come here with a lot of money, run to the village, get the Light skill and whatever spells you can affor, then get the heck outa there.

The beasts here look harmless but they’re not. Even the baby unicorns are pretty tough, and both they and the wisps move fast. The treasure is above average if you can get to the chests in the unicorn area. There are also basilisks, which are pretty tame, although they can paralyze you, which as mentioned above is no joke. Unfortunately my wizard got hit just as we were entering the Druid Circle, which meant that my Autosave was clobbered and I hadn’t saved for some time before that. Very tiresome.

I allied with the Sun Temple guys, and didn’t bother going back to wipe them out after saving the world, but the temple looks pretty easy. You’ll need to have Dyson Leland with you if you want to plunder it.

The Ancient Troll Homeland is relatively straightforward. It has Wisps, but they can’t move around much because of the corridor effect, and when they’re trapped they’re pretty easy meat. Don’t get complacent, however, there are quite a few of them and they start shooting as soon as they see you. There are also Thunder Lizards, which don’t really live up to their name. Be sure you kill everything in this dungeon to finish the quest. One of the quests tells you when you’ve killed everything, but I don’t think it’s this one.

The Druid Circle is fairly tough, with the animated boulders and Juggernauts. This is another area where you’re surrounded by beasts as soon as you get in (actually as soon as you go down in the elevator – and you can’t change your mind until you reach the bottom). There are also traps all around that will inflict noticeable damage, so be sure you’re all buffed up before you go in. Again, there’s some decent treasure here, behind secret doors.

Murmurwoods is also the area where you get the key to the vault of time. Back to Top

Ravage Roaming

You can get here by ship, which is the safest method, or you can walk from Garrote Gorge and battle the Ogres, Wyverns and Gorgons (which look more like stone cows than the ugly old broads of legend). There is an excellent collection of treasure chests in open country just north of the village, but you have to get past the Gorgons to get it.

The Balthazar Lair is a nice 3-D maze, and very difficult if you don’t know the key. There’s a scroll that has the key in it, and it’s also in the spoilers section here. The lair is filled with Tritons, but they can all be lured into the narrow passageways and dealt with in fairly short order. There’s no temple here until you’ve solved the puzzle, but the Tritons don’t have any special magic, so just be sure you don’t go too long before healing. You’ve GOT to solve this puzzle if you want to advance, by the way: this is the only place that has a trainer with unlimited levels.

The Church of Eep is on an island in this region, and has a couple of the trickier puzzles (especially if you don’t have anyone with high perception). See if you can figure it out before going to the spoilers section. Other than that, it’s just the usual rat people.

The Barbarian fortress should be pretty tame by the time you get there, just a few Ogres and Mercenaries. There are a number of secret doors, and you have to run around to press the buttons. The chests are pretty strongly trapped, but have good treasure. You will be in too close to use telekinesis, so be sure everyone has full hit points and that your disarm traps guy has some bonus skill points (from a ring or amulet). I think there was so much stuff here I had to make two trips. You should have Town Portal by this time, so return to Dagger Wound to sell the stuff: the shops in Balthazar Lair will give you about half what you’ll get in Dagger Wound.    Back to Top


You get to Regna by submarine, so don't waste your time waiting for a boat!  Once you have allied with enough factions, return to the council chamber in Ravenshore and talk to the guys.  You will get the Sink the Regnan Fleet quest, and the Pirate Outpost will magically appear in the southeast quadrant of the Dagger Wound Islands.  You'll have to fly or water walk to get there.  One of the pirates is the leader, and if you kill him you'll get a key.  Just kill all of them (they're just pirates), take all the treasure and make sure you've got the key.  Find the secret passage and search everywhere and click on everything that has a keyhole.  Eventually you'll hit the submarine, which will magically take you to Regna and, of course, more pirates.   (Before you do that, go back and click on any keyholes you found before you got the key).

Regna is relatively easy, although the pirates are a little tougher than the guys on Dagger Wound, there are lots of them and it's open country.  If you've made it this far, however, your party should be at a fairly high level and tough enough to kick some serious butt.  There are a lot of Grandmaster teachers here for important skills: Sword, Armsmaster, Light and Dark, so be sure your guys are up to level 10 where necessary.

The Abandoned Pirates Keep is only accessible from the passage under Regna, which in turn is only truly accessible from the Pirate Stronghold. 

Old Loeb's Cave is the usual dragon cave, with a fairly small number of dragons.   The treasure is OK, but the real prize is Duroth the Eternal, a level 50 Great Wyrm.  Note that you have to report back to the council that you have Sunk the Regnan Fleet before Duroth will speak to you.  I didn't recruit a Dragon to my team, as the skill sets weren't broad enough, but it's possible I could have done more damage in melee fighting.  Then again, my two knights had some useful non-overlapping skills.  Back to Top

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Level 1 Hints  (Under Construction)

These hints are minor spoilers: they will save time searching and killing entire areas when you are looking for something.  For example, where is Burn's house in the Plane of Fire. 

Cheats and Spoilers   (Under Construction)

These are individual solutions to the tougher puzzles.  The only one I used myself (from the book) was the Balthazar Lair key, as I was getting tired of running around throwing the same levers. 

Maps    (Under Construction)

These are unravelings of the 3-D maps.  As they are simply-connected (no loops), I've used a scheme that straightens out all the corners and just has directions (Left, Right, Ahead) at each room.

All Content Copyright David de Jongh 2000