Oh, poor barbarians! How the civilised world looks down on them, how they are always restricted and offended! They were deprived of magic already in Heroes III where there have been only three levels of magic towers in Stronghold, but in Heroes IV in the world of tight economics; the barbarians didn't receive any quota of magic at all. The only line of pursuit still opened for the barbarians is the might. Magic is off limits for them.
4th level: Thunderbirds and Behemoths
While playing Stronghold town, I didn't make a final decision about the 4th level creatures, as in my opinion, they are all very weak in comparison with the creatures of the same level of other towns.
Well, these ones didn't have any sympathies from me. They look horrible. Moreover, they lost their main advantage, which has been the trademark of Behemoths in Heroes III to low defence of an enemy. In addition, their speed is now only 6. I am deeply disappointed in them.
These birds were the 5th level creatures of Stronghold in the seven-level system of Heroes III. For me it looks like in Heroes III Thunderbirds were more powerful then they are now in their new place. Yes, they fly. Of course, they are breeding 3 birds per week. Surely, they make lightning attack sometimes, which isn't a solution to any problem by itself. However, even taking all these together Thunderbirds still do not have anything enough powerful in the arsenal to make them really formidable foe on a battlefield.
Example: take Black Dragons against Thunderbirds. The ratio will be about 5 Dragons to 27 Thunderbirds.
For me they do not look like a 4th level creature at all.
3rd level: Ogre Mages and Cyclops
Not the equal choices here either shooters or infantry. Of course, it should be shooters. Do not even think about it. You need Cyclops on the 3rd level in Stronghold.
These giants, in my opinion became the most powerful weapon of Stronghold. My experience of using them in battles showed that you could count on them as the reliable fighting unit. High hit points (95), attack (30) and defence (24) figures make Cyclops a real threat to the enemy. They even managed to raise their shooting abilities to new heights. Now they can cause damage not only to a single enemy unit but also to several of them providing they are standing close to each other, it is called area attack. Sometimes it could be very useful in battle, especially if your opponent didn't think about changing his tactics while facing Cyclops.
One of the most powerful walking unit of Heroes III was significantly weaken by moving to the new world of Heroes IV, though they kept the ability to cast bloodlust on friendly units. Unfortunately, bloodlust can't help them in the battles. They have rather high hit points (85), but low attack (18) and defence (16). Well, even with those disadvantages, they could be counted as a tough guys, but their extremely slow speed (4) is a hindrance.
Therefore, my advice is to choose Cyclops who have lived in Stronghold from the times of Heroes I and always were a loyal and good fighters for the barbarian clan leaders.
2nd level: Nomads and Harpies
It is a wonder whom we meet here. New members of Stronghold. Both are good in their very different qualities.
Flying. Former unit of Dungeon town from Heroes III. Harpies are very efficient in battles, especially on first stages of the game. Their patent tactics of "strike-and-return-without enemy retaliation" caused not one enemy hero to howl from frustration. What else one left to do when two armies simply watch without movement how Harpies fly around and attack in their leisure. Their speed (5) isn't bad too. Harpies could be very useful in sieges because they can fly over the walls and attack targets hidden inside but they do not put themselves in danger by staying inside as they return to the point from which they started. The only minus of Harpies is low hit points (24). Should they have more life strength in them, they would be priceless.
In Heroes III, they have been neutral. They were always very experienced riders and strong enemy. Excellent speed (8) for this level gives them perfect opportunities to move quickly around battlefield. Nomads are quite steadfast and even in few numbers could be very useful addition to your army. First strike is an advantage too.
What can I say. Both Nomads and Harpies are good and the choice will depend on your playing strategy. I used both of them in different situations and scenarios.
1st level: Centaurs and Berserks
Again, we see two new members of the town and one of them is really a burden to the whole army. I am talking about Berserks.
Uncontrollable whatsoever. I don't know what kind of nasty stuff they are eating before each battle to raise their fighting skills (as they claim), but they do not fight, they simply run around the battlefield like crazy maniacs. Whom they would attack next nobody knows, even Berserks themselves. It could be anyone; it could be foe or maybe even innocent bush or rock. Who can understand the mind filled till rims with some unknown potent stuff anyway? Their ability of double strike is nearly useless because you don't know maybe they'll decide to fight with Black Dragons. The effect of whatever they've eaten is passing very quickly and Berserks are standing weak and pitiful on battlefield while enemy quickly dispatches them to the better world even when Berserks are in big numbers. Weak and pathetic creatures. One of the worst possible investment in the game, which is even more terrible because you can't avoid it.
Shooters of the 1st level who definitely have some flaw in their character because they are moving from town to town in all Heroes games. First, they lived in Dungeon (Heroes II), then in Rampart (Heroes III), now we see them in Stronghold.
They are not very quick (4) and not very effective on far distances. Don't forget that they are throwing spears and it isn't the same as bow and arrows.
Well, as you can see the 1st level in Stronghold doesn't impress very much but you simply don't have any choice and will have to find your own solutions and tactics how to play with the cards on hands keeping in mind all disadvantages, especially the crazy Berserks.
What could be said about the Barbarian? He is the Barbarian. I think this explains everything. He likes to swing his mighty long battle axe and smash enemies' heads with it, or maybe his own head.
In order to survive in the world of Heroes where spellcasting is as ordinary as sneezing they developed 100% resistance to magic.
However, in playing single scenario there are pretty good chances that your barbarian hero simply wouldn't live till Grand Master level as some passing by wizard would kill him just like that, out of curiosity or something else.
Therefore, do not wait but force your Barbarian to learn magic. He could yell that it is against his heroic barbarian nature and even throw boots at you but you must persist and drag him to the nearest place where he could learn magic. Or he would be very soon the dead heroic barbarian.
The town became much weaker comparing to old Stronghold of Heroes III. The army is terribly balanced and I doubt that they ever heard about team play concept.
High cost of construction of the Breeding Zone, which give you plus 50% of creatures in the town, in fact nullify all advantages it provide when you play single scenarios.
I didn't like the town. In my opinion, it looks like the most underdeveloped and unbalanced town in the game.