The Forge town was planned as ninth city, but finally in AB there was released Conflux. There was a project of recreating the forge town by replacing all graphics associated with conflux town, but the project was later abandoned
As you see, The Forge has to be brand new, futuristic town in the might and magic world, which is Erathia. Ancient's technologiest existed there, has to give a possibility to produce powerful artifacts, full of gears, racks, futuristic lasers, cyborgs as from future, and other things which anyone haven't seen yet. Tell it Yourself - introduce that Forge looks, just has to elicitate fans reaction (which, as You already know, was not *nice* :P), and especially of these, which played Homm3 as just fantasy game. It was unbelieable that knights, dragons and goblins could fight with robot, cyborg, or even other machine. Much fans was wrath, after watching first drafts and screens! They started to send a mails to 3DO (HOMM and MM series distributor) and developers of HOMM&MM - NWC. Some of mails was just gently ask about change Forge to another town, other mails were vulgar, there even were some with imminence of death!! Authors told that these mails weren't so much, and they would be surprised if more than 5% of players could boycott game, but they consider that 5% is too much. That's how this famous town was removed from the "Armageddon's Blade" expansion, and soon was replaced, by already known, Conflux.
Where that idea come from? Such a futuristic town in the world of goblins, pixies and dragons? To understand this You must read something form the M&M world storyline... In all games from Might and Magic series, You are in a world of Ancients - creatures older, than any already known world. Ancients wield huge powers, powerful magic, but they also use ancient technology, which grants them much more power and skills! By their discoveries, Ancients can rule worlds, and even create new ones. Unfortunately their enemies - Kreegans, broke the net of space-time tunnels and gates which connect these worlds, and by this, they started the time of Silence. These worlds without any help and inspection died out, or fell to the barbarian level. One of these worlds was Enroth. That means before time of silence Enroth was full of Forge Towns, cyborgs, robot, and strange artifacts, and Erathia ruler was emmisary of Ancients - Gubernator Padish. A lot of artifacts from these times, with Gubernator's armor in, saved, and it even are in MM VII.
Also in this part of MM, to Enroth coming traveller's team from the other world. By using their technologies, they discovered existance of ruins and rest of ancient civilizations on planet. WIth help of this technology they can realize them objectives. Unfortunately they split to two gropus. One group want use these wonders to open gate, like this destroyed by Kreegans, which could allow them to contact the Anciets, second group want use it to re-build Forge Town, and take control of Enroth with it's help.
In MM VII Player chooses who wins, but in 3DO's storyline evil wins, and thats how first Forge Town come into being. Comers from MM VII couldn't produce so much new warriors, so they convince other creatures to fight for them. Monsters received new weapons. In MM VII You can even find goblins with laser-gun
Including Forge to AB had to unify HoMM and MM series storyline, and its existing interrelations in many parts of Might and Magic games. With Forge's dismissal many questions have lost any answer. Conflux town introduced in AB, does not represent anything special, and give anything for storyline. Forge could give something news for this equality, repeating fantasy world, like MM series from the first part. Unfortunately fans did not want to risk a attempt ot make something really new. Maybe some things really shouldn't be mixed...
As it already known, original AB storyline have much interrelations with MM VII. There, with the help of powerful artifact wins these "evil" newcomers from the other world, who ally with Archibald Ironfist and his guild of necromancers. Forge re-build is being. Newcomers now have only to make own army. Convincing goblins, and modifying zombies was not a big problem. They even made some of minotaurs, nagas and ogres to fight on them side! With this army they began their conquest. Their primary objective is to own Erathia. Catherine Ironfist and her husband, Roland, could not fight against such powerful army, but they follow the old legend about sword called Armageddons Blade. Mysterious elf named Gelu help them, to protect his country - AvLee, but he knows that he must help Erathia too. They finally find mighty sword and destroy all Forge Towns. We dont know what happens to Archibald on orginal storyline (in MM VII he is traited by newcomers, and condemned for live onsmall island till the end of life, but we dont know maybe this part of storyline was changed later too) but for sure Archibald have to fight in AB. The end is known and not changed - Armageddon's blade is gaven to Gelu, Catherine and Roland went back to Enroth. Rest of AB campaing was only changed a little bit (mainly changes on text signs)
Units in Heavenly Forge mainly are already existing units with new weapons. Probably they would have better stats, than non-mechanized units (for example Jump Trooper has stats a little bit better than simple minotaur, and he can fly of course). As we can see from the screen, mage guild has 3 levels, because this town had to bemoved to the might side more than stronghold! Forge, next to the Dungeon, Necropolis and Inferno was fourth *evil* town. Later Conflux as *good* town, had to restore balance. Forge heroes were Cyborg (Might) and Technician (Magic).
Here is descripion of Units:
Grunt Soldier and Foot Soldier - Existed already in MM VII goblins with laser guns, they had ranged attack and were as strong as all other first level units Cyber Dead and Cyber Zombie - Zombies with hands changed to chainsaws. Meele attack. Upgraded zombie have two chainsaws Pyro and Pyromaniac - Humans with flame-throwers. We can suspect, they were a weak link of army. Stinger and Bruiser - Ogres with rocket launcher. Range attack. They do same damages as other fourth lvl shooters. Jump Soldier and Jump Trooper - Mighty minotaurs with Jet-packs and huge claws. Meele attack of course. Tank and Heavy Tank - Most controversy Forge unit. Naga on tank base. Meele attack. Juggernaut and Dreadnought - Pure mechanical units, which make huge damage. Meele attack, and upgraded is stronger even that archangels!! Maybe they could fly.
So, Forge has two shooters (1 and 4 lvl), two fliers (5 and 7 lvl) and three "walkers" (2,3 and 6 lvl) so its something like castle. Forge with it's power, would be a very strong town, even used by not expierienced player.