Heroes of Gaia
Heroes of Gaia Overview
Heroes of Gaia is a browser based strategy / RPG hyrbid that has been compared to the popular Heroes of Might and Magic series. Players slowly build up an empire by constructing various structures and researching new technologies. Troops must be trained and powerful heroes hired to lead them into battle. Players can occupy resource generating structures or hunt monsters scattered across the world map to enhance their kingdom. Eventually, alliances must be formed and enemies conquered in this massive MMO. There are two warring factions in Heroes of Gaia:
Unionists - Human and Elf
Separatists - Undead and Orc
Heroes of Gaia Screenshots
Heroes of Gaia Featured Video
Heroes of Gaia Full Review
By, Erhan Altay
Heroes of Gaia was originally released in China and has had enormous success throughout Asia. More recently, Snail Game has brought this strategy/RPG hybrid browser MMO to the Western market. While some of the translations are off and the game’s pace is slower than many of its rivals, it still offers some of the most compelling gameplay features in the browser gaming market. Heroes of Gaia is unlikely to win new fans to the genre but is a solid entry that players should check out.
A New Civil War
The registration page in Heroes of Gaia is simple and painless. Players simply enter their username, password, and email address all on one page to activate their accounts. Email confirmation is not required though a valid email should be entered for the purposes of password recovery. There is currently a handful of servers, all of which have a sizeable playerbase. When creating their character, players are given a total of eight avatar choices. The four playable races are broken into two factions, “Holy” which include Humans and Elves and “Separatists” which include Orcs and Undead. Each race has a male and female version though gender choices have little effect on gameplay. An optional tutorial is available which both new and veteran players should complete since buildings are constructed automatically while running through it.
A Young Kingdom
The players’ avatar doesn’t personally participate in gameplay, instead they serve as rulers of fledgling empires. With a single barren town to begin with players must build up their capital, raise armies, plunder for treasure, and eventually occupy new territories and cities. All this can be exciting but getting through the first hours of Heroes of Gaia can be excruciating. Unlike Evony and other strategy games, there are no auto build features or free ways to speed up building construction. Instead, players must slog through the grind by waiting for various buildings and technologies to slowly research or complete. The tutorial does a pretty decent job at explaining the game’s basics. While inside a city, players have a horizontal view of their city rather than the traditional top-down angle found in most strategy games. The Townhall serves as the city center from which new building orders are placed. Other important buildings include the barracks where troops are trained and the Tavern from where players hire Heroes. Heroes serve the role of generals and lead troops into battle. Players can assign troops to each individual hero’s group and even equip them with equipment purchased at the bazaar or acquired through combat. There are four key resources in Heroes of Gaia: Lumber, Ore, Sulfur, and Crystal. Unlike other strategy games, players don’t construct buildings inside their towns to raise their resource generation rate. Instead, resource generating buildings are scattered across the world map and must be occupied. The scarcity of these mines and neutral cities, which can also be occupied, inevitably lead to conflict between neighbors.
Not Enough to Go Around
While waiting for resources to accumulate or buildings to complete, players will spend their time sending their heroes off to hunt NPC controlled monsters, recover magic gear scattered around the world map, and pick up resources similarly scattered around the map. All of these objects have a difficulty rating measured in stars. New players should focus on one to three starred objects which offer poorer rewards but have weaker monsters guarding them. The units a player can train vary depending on their chosen race but all players start with a few powerful units which can make quick work of the local low-level monsters. The mini-map located at the top right of the screen looks similistic but is actually very insightful. It displays three shapes: squares denote cities, triangles are mines, and stars are neutral buildings. These shapes can come in three colors: yellow denotes unoccupied, red means another player controls the structure, and green means it is under the player’s control. Clicking on any object on the mini map will bring players immediately to it allowing them to then click on it and send their forces to it. In Heroes of Gaia, heroes visibly move to their destinations so the speed stat plays an important role. After completing a task such as occupying a mine or defeating a monster, heroes must treck back to the city from which they were issued before receiving new orders. This can get tedious so it is important to hire multiple heroes and train enough soldiers to keep them all well stocked. Players can a lot more done with multiple weaker squads than a single powerful one.
Combat, Manual or Autopilot
Heroes of Gaia manages to handle combat in an interesting way. Once a hero reaches its target, player are given the choice to manually control their units or simply let the hero give orders on its own, leaving the player free to manage other affairs. The automatic option is the only choice in most browser strategy games like Empire Craft or Tribal Wars but the opportunity to take control during important battles is a huge advantage. Combat takes place in special battle screens in turn based fashion. Units are displayed not individually but in clusters. So for example if a player trains 100 warriors, he or she can arrange them in a single clump of 100 or 5 separate groups of 20. The single, large clump will deal a lot more damage but can only act once a turn while the swarm of smaller groups are more versatile. How to arrange your troops is a key part of the game’s strategy and can have an enormous effect on the outcome of a battle. During a battle, the hero itself does not fight but issues orders such as attack, focus, back off, or advance. When players take personal charge of battle, these orders can be selected individually for each unit. When fighting monsters, players should concentrate on targets weaker than their force and simply let the auto pilot handle the battle. When battling units controlled by other players, be sure to take matters into your own hands.
Buying an Empire
As I mentioned earlier, Heroes of Gaia is a slow paced game. Players can only build one building at a time per city and upgrading the level of a building takes longer than in similar strategy games. Those who want to add extra queue slots or hasten construction time must purchase special cash shop items. The only freebies players receive are gift chests which require special keys to unlock. Besides the regular quests which players can complete, there are daily quests available to provide additional bonuses resources. The game has been compared to the classic PC RPG series Heroes of Might and I find it an apt comparison. The graphic quality is poor but its player interaction that’s the main hook here. Anyone who sticks around for longer than the 7 day grace period will need to quickly make friends by creating or joining a guild. Those who do commit time and effort in the game will have to deal with the fact that every effort is made to try and get them to pay. Players who don’t spend will find themselves in a huge gameplay disadvantage against those who do. The only way to remedy this is by joining a large guild and acting as a single cog in a large war machine. Free players won’t be the military or economic power houses in Heroes of Gaia but can still make useful allies in large alliances.
Final Verdict: Good
Heroes of Gaia is a unique browser based MMO strategy/RPG game that rewards long term commitment. Slowly building an empire and out maneuvering your neighbors can be addictive and challenging though the primitive graphics and sluggish progression rate may deter many players.
Heroes of Gaia Videos
Heroes of Gaia Official Trailer
Heroes of Gaia Tutorial
Heroes of Gaia Gameplay Footage