Gaias Retaliation II - A small Preview

Hello folks and fellas.

I'd like to give you a quick preview on what you can expect from a potential Gaias remake somewhen later this year.
Just to be clear:
  • I can't make any promises about when I can get a working, playable version out, but I'll try to nail down the core features as soon as possible, to give you a playable demo
  • I can't make any promises about if this will ever see the light of day either. I have a lot less time at my hands now than I had years ago when I worked on legacy Gaias. The basic design philosophy behind Gaias Retaliation II will be centered around minimizing the work I have to do to create new content, but that doesn't mean it's not a lot of work to get it playable. Also I don't even know if I like Reforged yet
  • The current version of Gaias Retaliation will be discontinued. It's still working in Reforged as far as I have seen, but there won't be fixes or updates for it

That being said, here's what is planned in terms of features:


Heroes

Gaias Retaliation II will work with a much more flexible class system, allowing to combine two of a basic set of classes into a single character to build the class they like.
Players will be able to pick a race, then pick class levels as they progress in the game:

  • After the creation of your character, you gain a class level which you can allocate into one out of a set of base classes like warrior, thief, cleric, mage, archer, etc., which will define your first class
  • At each level, you gain another point which you can either use to upgrade your class by one level or pick a second class at level 1
  • At certain level milestones of these classes, new class abilities will be unlocked
  • Of these unlocked class abilities, you can freely select your set of active abilities on your Hotbar
  • Class combinations will also provide a small pool of synergy abilities that are exclusive to your class combination (For example, selecting cleric and fighter will provide a fighter/cleric exclusive self-heal ability)
  • Every invested class level boosts a set of base stats suited for that class, for example, a level in warrior boosts your health pool more than a level in Mage
As always, there will be more abilities to pick from than what you can have on your Hotbar. So players won't be able to pick all the abilities from both classes.
Also, the character level determines the maximum combined level of both picked classes.

For example, a level 50 character can be a 25 Warrior / 25 Cleric, being able to select a kit of 10 abilities out of all class abilities available for warriors and clerics (plus their respective synergy ability pool) until level 25.
A level 50 character could, however, also be a 40 Archer / 10 Mage, being able to pick from almost all available archer abilities, but only lower level mage abilities (plus synergy ability pool).
Someone who doesn't like multiclasses at all could also simply invest 50 levels into a single class and never pick a second.

There will be a much bigger focus on spell synergies in Gaias II. This will be achieved by streamlining some of the debuffs/buffs existing in the game.
For example, there will be a universal "bleed", "burning" or "poison" effect in the game. Spells can then provide extra benefits for hitting a burning or poisoned target, etc.



Stats and Equipment

Basic stats in Gaias Retaliation II will be a bit more flexible than what they were in legacy Gaias to accommodate for the enhanced focus on hybrid classes.
For example, spell power and attack power will be merged into a single stat to avoid putting a tax on physical/caster hybrids.

Armor will now be split into two different values:
Protection and Armor. Protection provides a percentual damage reduction, armor provides a point-based damage reduction just like in legacy Gaias.

Equipment will be semi-randomized by design. This means that stats might be allocated by RNG, but there are limits to what an item can have or not have. You will only pick random stats out of a pool of stats that actually make sense for that item. So you won't see useless drops in the game.

There will be different levels of quality just like in legacy Gaias, although the quality levels might get another layer or two to make up for the ability to enhance or level up items.

Item drops in dungeons will also only be semi-random to not shrink the game world artificially.
What this means is that in order to get a level 50 armor of a certain quality level, you need to kill a specific boss in a specific dungeon. You won't be able to get that armor class/quality level/item level combination at other sources.
So, no, just spamming the easiest endgame dungeon won't get you your loot.

As you can equip every piece of equipment in the game, item types will offer certain basic bonuses that will always be present to varying degrees. For example, heavy armor will always provide a certain amount of Protection and Armor that is exclusive to heavy armor. Cloth armor will always provide a certain power boost to offensive abilities, wands will always provide a ranged magic attack, etc.


Souls

Souls in Gaias Retaliation II will no longer be passive stat bonuses, but will basically replace the mercenary mechanic in legacy Gaias. There will be a big variety of these souls for all kinds of purposes.

Basically, players will be able to build a deck of souls that they can summon at any time. If a soul is killed in battle, it will go on cooldown and can be replaced by a quick summon of another soul of your deck.
Players can either have 1 soul out permanently or summon 2 souls at the same time for a limited time span.

Souls will always be the same level as your character and can only be obtained by clearing certain challenges in the game (dungeons, quests).
Souls can be ranked up, which improves their abilities and stats. This provides a certain amount of unlimited progression for souls beyond the maximum character level.
To rank up a soul, you need to find more of this specific soul and merge it with your soul.

Souls will be controlled by AI just like in legacy Gaias, but players will have better control over their behavior in combat. For example, you can put souls to passive mode, call them to your side as necessary, order them to only use ranged abilities, order them to stay at a certain point, etc.
And even if a soul dies in combat, you can always just summon a different one afterwards, so there is no need to babysit these 24/7.

The game will be balanced around the fact that players have and can use these souls in both solo and group content.



Randomized Dungeons

While the overworld of Gaias Retaliation II will be hand-crafted, dungeons will be randomized in both layout and challenges.
However, unlike Blackfire Deep, they will be a bit more rigid and stylized in design, increasing the visual fidelity while also reducing the amount of potential bullshit that can happen.
Final bosses of dungeons will always be hand-crafted.
There will also be random minibosses and rarespawns scattered around the overworld map, similar to the rarespawn mechanic of legacy Gaias.






Final words and design philosophy

As you can see, Gaias Retaliation II will offer both a bit more freedom on how to play, but also a more focused, tighter experience without as much feature bloat as the original game.
Features like crafting, gathering, souls (the old ones at least) and artifacts will be gone, to make way for faster creation of content and expanding on the features that define the core gameplay loop instead of providing distractions on the side.

This also means that once all the systems are up and running it will not take long for me to add new content everywhere and maybe even provide a tutorial on how fans can build their own content with the tools I provide.

Keep in mind that all these designs here are not final. I might add more systems later in development. This is just what the first beta release of the game will have.


To give you an insight into what will happen in chronology, here's a small feature roadmap I put together for the first couple of alpha releases:

Alpha 0.1 - Class System:
- Basic game UI done (inventory, stat screen, skill menu and group UI)
- Warrior and Cleric base classes selectable and playable with 3 abilities each
- threat system
- respawn system
- basic items with basic item stats implemented
- A barebones starting zone with some mobs for testing and leveling up

Alpha 0.2 - Soul System:
- Soul UI done
- 2 souls for testing purposes implemented

Alpha 0.3 - Item System:
- Loot UI done
- Shop UI done
- Shop NPC for testing purposes implemented
- item quality grades, item levels and random item stats implemented

Alpha 0.4 - Quest and Content:
- actual design of starting zone done
-
first quest implemented
- Mage base class selectable and playable with 3 abilities
 
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Question: Are you going to leave the maps player size at 6 players? With Reforged games can go up to 24 now, and while that is perhaps overkill, it would be neat to see a larger player selection in game and you can still only limit dungeons to 5/6
 
Question: Are you going to leave the maps player size at 6 players? With Reforged games can go up to 24 now, and while that is perhaps overkill, it would be neat to see a larger player selection in game and you can still only limit dungeons to 5/6
No, i will probably cap the player number at 12, but dungeons will be limited to 5 players as usual.
 
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No, i will probably cap the player number at 12, but dungeons will be limited to 5 players as usual.

12 player cap seems very reasonable. It is enough to have a solid team even if 50% leaves. Legacy Gaias always suffered from being very risky to host for random newcomers as 1-2 leavers could basically mean that much of the game content was soft-locked.

What about mob ai? I think it wouldn't hurt to give all but the lowest of the (tutorial-esque) level 1 monsters some sort of minor "tactics" feature - even if such encounters would be very simple. This could be for example: an aoe spell to be dodged, aggro-switch spell that requires taunting/immobilising, super short dps burst that requires a defensive spell to be used or similar. Each of these little additions will make sure that every fight is - if not rocket science - at least not a complete no brainer as in most RPGs (including how many trash mobs are in Legacy Gaias). I am by no means suggestion that every fight should be complicated but just a little spice to most encounters would be appreciated and unique in a good way to keep players at the very least awake.
 
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Totally looking forward to first alpha to see your general idea of the UI, i bet its going to be so much more streamlined than current gaias.

Also i was going to ask how saving/loading would work? as in will there be slots for multiple characters? will 1 slot be able to cover all characters? and will there be ways in game to reset skills/classes once you hit max level? that way you would not be forced to start completely from scratch if you did not want to.
 
As I can freely implement codeless save/load now Gaias will no longer need individual savecodes but load characters directly from a single encrypted file.

So, yes, we can have a char menu.

Yes, skill resets or reallocation of skills will be possible and easy.
You will not be able to reallocate class levels on demand though. But you can unlearn a class entirely, losing all levels invested into that class (effectively also losing the character levels from that class).

So if you have a 25cleric/25warrior and you unlearn cleric, you lose all cleric levels and the stats gained for the cleric levels permanently and need to grind xp for those lost 25 levels again.

Your soul collection will be shared among all your characters.
 
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Sounds like a solid design. However, will races make a difference?
Will we be able to unlearn all classes and thus be reduced to level 1 ? (But save one's stash and items).
 
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Sounds like a solid design. However, will races make a difference?
Will we be avle to unlesrn all classes and thus be reduced to level 1 ? (But save one's stash and items).
Races will be primarily visual fluff. It might also take long for anything else but humans to be implemented as the game design requires universal hero models (models that have all animations for all classes) and these take long to create.

There is no stash in Gaias 2.0 because we will get an actual inventory with more than 6 slots.

You can unlearn everything and reset back to level 1, yes.
I am still undecided if your individual class progress gets saved after unlearning. So if you unlearn a level 50 class and relearn it later, you immediately get all 50 levels back. So a bit like in final fantasy.
 
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Races will be primarily visual fluff. It might also take long for anything else but humans to be implemented as the game design requires universal hero models (models that have all animations for all classes) and these take long to create.

There is no stash in Gaias 2.0 because we will get an actual inventory with more than 6 slots.

You can unlearn everything and reset back to level 1, yes.
I am still undecided if your individual class progress gets saved after unlearning. So if you unlearn a level 50 class and relearn it later, you immediately get all 50 levels back. So a bit like in final fantasy.

I would love to see the final fantasy method put into gaias ive been playing that rpg so much here lately solely because of that i think thats one of the best ideas ive heard so far!!

btw any update on progress so far for ui design? or anything in general really.
 
Currently planned classes so far:

Defender (phys. Tank)

Fighter (phys. Damage)

Rogue (phys. Damage, utility)

Archer (phys. Damage, ranged)

Elementalist (Fire, Water, Lightning)

Geomancer (Earth, Plants)

Shaman (summons, healing)

Illusionist (Mind, utility)

Alchemist (utility)

Necromancer (Summons, shadow)

Cleric (healing, light)
 
First UI elements have been coded. Progress is going nicely. About time for a first multiplayer test.
 

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Currently implementing hotbar hotkeys.

Any suggestions for default keybinds?

I prsonally like Qwert-Asdfg for the bottom bar and 1-10 for the top bar.

Keys will be customizable but the default should still be something people are immediately comfortable with.


Also: Gaias 2 will require HD mode. Unfortunately, this is neccesary because I care about visual design and dont want "messed up" optics when people play on SD mode.
Also light environment will be designed for HD Lighting.
 
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Hey, I played this map many years ago and really enjoyed it. I recently got reforged and i've been playing the heck out of it. I'm super excited about GR II and I have a few suggestions.

re: binds, I'm not sure if it's just me but one thing that really bothers me about the combat system with keys in the current version is the inability to use "A" for "Attack" while in the abilities hotkey screen. I would love for this bind to work here as switching attack targets mid fight is important. I also find myself accidentally getting dismissed out of the abilities screen mid-combat. Would be great to architect this view such that deselecting the champion or whatever causes this doesn't dismiss view; like a more robust state check or a in-combat check.

Other suggestions:
-better tooltips for new players and guides (can easily outsource this to fans if you want)
-link to discord in tooltips and forum if possible (if it's not already in there)
-add a view to tab/main view (DPS, char stats, etc.) to see all players in game: lvl, class, etc.
-is there a reason vault is limited to 7 (can save and load multiple vaults right? it's just annoying)
-date on map version loading screen (when last updated)
-more rare monsters (placeholder mobs with low % chance for name monsters to spawn from)
-more in depth itemization; would love more uniques and item variance at all levels of the game
-really love how TKoK had an randomized itemization system that mirrored diablo's magical item generator (like you do with souls); more of that would be great
-secret item recipes that are super rare would also be dope
-more secrets and quests; would be so cool for there to be easter eggs in game that only get found months or years later; would be dope for a rare drop from some mob to turn into an epic question progression (eg some lvl 5 mob drops a "a sword hilt" with some obscure clue about what to do next, starts a quest, and by lvl 40 you get some epic sword)
-this is getting really niche but like the idea of being able to level lock (toggle disabling of xp whenever) and a reason for doing so; my thinking here is like creating the perfect party at some lower lvl and doing the boss/raid challenges that are available at that tier
-don't love the level reqs in the game for quests and items; seems like if you can get a group of say 4-6 lvl 10s killing lvl 17 stuff or doing a dungeon, that should be fun and encouraged, even rewarded; could make it so killing something with a char 4-5 levels higher than intended means no drops in addition to no xp
-also seems like xp rewards should be proportional to how strong the things you're killing are
-love the hybrid class idea, however the core classes feel a little stale to me; one archetype I loved from EverQuest I & II is the shadowknight. A plate tank with sort of undead affinity (but any race can be one) that casts spells and whose defining element is life leeching. eg spells and combat abilities that deal dmg + heal caster, and a dmg shield buff that heals caster and hurts atk when hit
-hardcore more? o_O
-add an RNG dice roll element to initial character rolls? like DND? except maybe add really rare odds like 1/1000? something rarer than D20? Could be for better base stats or a chance at better base gear? I'm probably just being annoying now :X

As an RPG fan I can't tell you how many things I love about this game. The repick system, the class challenges, the beauty and detail of the world, challenging boss fights. This is so epic, thank you for making this. :)

Some of these suggestions may seem esoteric but one thing that frustrates me about playing this game so far is that so much thoughtful work was put into early-game content but most ppl just want to power level past all of it. Some of this feedback is an effort to think about what incentives could be created to entice players to progress more slowly through the game, or revisit/reroll to early game content, while still getting maximum enjoyment out of it.
 
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Currently implementing hotbar hotkeys.

Any suggestions for default keybinds?

I prsonally like Qwert-Asdfg for the bottom bar and 1-10 for the top bar.

Keys will be customizable but the default should still be something people are immediately comfortable with.


Also: Gaias 2 will require HD mode. Unfortunately, this is neccesary because I care about visual design and dont want "messed up" optics when people play on SD mode.
Also light environment will be designed for HD Lighting.

If there's someone who can make HD look fine it's you Zwieb, I fully trust you to make a high quality rpg on reforged.
 
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Wait, what? Not only are you "alive", but you're actually re-creating Gaia's from scratch?!
 
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This looks so amaizing, wanting to pay gaias again for a long time. Zwieb, when can we start some testing games? maybe get a disc channel? im ready any time
 
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This looks so amaizing, wanting to pay gaias again for a long time. Zwieb, when can we start some testing games? maybe get a disc channel? im ready any time
 
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This looks so amaizing, wanting to pay gaias again for a long time. Zwieb, when can we start some testing games? maybe get a disc channel? im ready any time
You can join the existing one and sign up. Zwieb will hit you up, when testing is about to be.
 
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I don't like RPGs that much, but this project is huge and its quality can't be denied. I'm always interested in game mechanics and Wc3 modding anyway, even in respect of games that i will/most likely will not end playing at all.
Also, lots of people here are either quiting the mod scene (or atleast are saying so), beign overall very whinning, or even doing voluntary "hunger strikes" of modding because of Reforged, the EULA and such. You have continued it's development over all this years, and i hope atleast your game-vision becomes real. Anyways, i just posting here to watch the thread.
 
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Implemented the basic interface and basic gameplay mechanics: Combat is functional, so are the spell and ability framework, cooldowns, hotkeys, tooltips, castbars and basic enemy behaviour.

Holy s***! Graphics aside, the UI doesn't look like WC3 at all, it really looks nice still

Also, is there a chance that Gaias 2 could be accessible to single player? I mean, Gaias 1 was a forced multiplayer, and some ppl doesn't even have the original WC3...
 
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Implemented the basic interface and basic gameplay mechanics: Combat is functional, so are the spell and ability framework, cooldowns, hotkeys, tooltips, castbars and basic enemy behaviour.
I'm curious: how did you tackle multiple hotkeys outside of the A-Z range for abilities? Did you replace the default WC3 ability mechanics with a completely-custom spell system?

I feel like there's a trick I missed as I ended up with a convoluted package that maps dummy abilities and real abilities with ForceUIKey. And that was a lot of over-engineering to get 1-4 to work, kek.
 
I'm curious: how did you tackle multiple hotkeys outside of the A-Z range for abilities? Did you replace the default WC3 ability mechanics with a completely-custom spell system?

I feel like there's a trick I missed as I ended up with a convoluted package that maps dummy abilities and real abilities with ForceUIKey. And that was a lot of over-engineering to get 1-4 to work, kek.
I think Oskey is the commonly used thing for that; Oskey - Player Key Event
 
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I think Oskey is the commonly used thing for that; Oskey - Player Key Event
I have that included, but I was hoping there'd be a better way to get ability functionality without having to trigger default abilities (e.g. ForceUIKey activates a hidden dummy ability on the unit). The problem with ForceUIKey is there is a few frames of delay that is actually quite noticeable, especially with targeted spells.

This would have all been easily solved for my use case if BlzFrameClick friggen worked on command buttons.
 
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I have that included, but I was hoping there'd be a better way to get ability functionality without having to trigger default abilities (e.g. ForceUIKey activates a hidden dummy ability on the unit). The problem with ForceUIKey is there is a few frames of delay that is actually quite noticeable, especially with targeted spells.

This would have all been easily solved for my use case if BlzFrameClick friggen worked on command buttons.
What I've been doing is using different Channel abilities, each one with it's own Hotkey. Then I adjust the properties of the Channel ability using BlzSetAbilityInteger/Real/Boolean to modify cast range, cooldown, costs, targets allowed, targeting type, etc...

For example, when the player assigns a skill to the "Q" slot in their hotbar, I figure out what skill it is, and modify the properties of that unit's "Q" ability to match the properties of the new skill. Then I assign a function to be called when you cast that ability.

Here's some example code.
Modifying the Channel abilities:
Lua:
--Target Types: 0 = Instant, 1 = Target Unit, 2 = Target Point, 3 = Target Both
--Options: 1 = Visible, 7 = Visible + Targeting Image
local u = YourHero
local a = ChannelAbility
BlzSetAbilityIntegerLevelField(BlzGetUnitAbility(u, a), ABILITY_ILF_OPTIONS, Level, SomeValue)
BlzSetAbilityIntegerLevelField(BlzGetUnitAbility(u, a), ABILITY_ILF_TARGET_TYPE, Level, SomeValue)
BlzSetAbilityRealLevelField(BlzGetUnitAbility(u, a), ABILITY_RLF_CAST_RANGE, Level, SomeValue)
BlzSetAbilityRealLevelField(BlzGetUnitAbility(u, a), ABILITY_RLF_AREA_OF_EFFECT, Level, SomeValue)
Assigning functions to the Channel abilities:
Lua:
Abilities = newAutotable(2) --This calls a function I use that creates an X dimensional Array

--Let's assign Storm Bolt to your Hero's "Q" ability
local u = YourHero
local id = FourCC("A000") --This would be the "Q" Channel ability id
Abilities[u][id] = Cast_StormBolt --So now when your Hero casts "Q" it runs the Cast_StormBolt function

function Cast_StormBolt(u)
    --Do the spell effects
    local t = GetSpellTargetUnit()
    print(GetUnitName(u).." cast Storm Bolt targeting "..GetUnitName(t))
end

--This creates the trigger that will run your Ability functions
local trig = CreateTrigger()
TriggerRegisterAnyUnitEventBJ(trig, EVENT_PLAYER_UNIT_SPELL_EFFECT)
TriggerAddAction(trig, function()
    local u = GetTriggerUnit()
    local id = GetSpellAbilityId()
    Abilities[u][id](u) --I pass the casting unit as an argument into the parameters
end)
 
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