Hi all,

I may not be one of the best Gaia players anymore, but I'm still among the most experienced ones. Gaia has been my main god from the first day I started playing Age of Mythology in 2013. I would like to reflect with you guys on how she has evolved over the years due to the Voobly Balance Patches. I will focus on Gaia specifically and not on Atlanteans in general; I will not get into every Fire Siphon buff or nerf for example. Let's jump in.

ESO Patch 1.03
Without any Voobly patches applied we play on the latest ESO patch, which is version 1.03. Gaia offers the following benefits:
*Economic upgrades are 30% cheaper;
*Buildings spread lush, on which enemies can't build;
*Buildings regenerate hitpoints;
*Fishing ships and caravans are 10% cheaper and have 25% more hitpoins;
*She gets four Gaia tree god powers. Wood is gathered faster from Gaia trees;
*She provides you with the Channels upgrade, which makes your citizens move 20% faster.

The economic upgrades discount was nice, but you couldn't really make a big advantage out of them, because you were limited to the age in which the upgrades became available to you. Lush was something unique and you could do something cheesy with it once in a while. It is kind of underwhelming though compared to Oranos' military units speed buff. Building regeneration wasn't
anything more than a gimmick: it was too slow to really rely on. The fishing ships and caravans buff was nice, but not game breaking. There is only so many water maps and you start making caravans in the game by the time cost is no longer as big of an issue. The tree god power was very nice and versatile. Not only could you use it for economic benefits, but also for defending towers, town centers or closing map gaps with an unbreakable wall. Later it would also be used on enemy gold mines for offensive purposes. The Channels upgrade wasn't bad, but the gold cost and the fact that it could be researched from the town center only made it rarely used.

Overall her benefits were cool, but they weren't set up in a way that you could get a big advantage out of them. Because of this it usually made more sense to play Oranos, unless you had some hidden love for Gaia. The fact that she has no access to Prometheus made her very weak against myth units as well and so an easy target for for example Loki. This problem still hasn't been fully solved to this day.

Voobly Balance Patch 1.01
In this patch there were no significant changes for Gaia.

Voobly Balance Patch 1.02
Gaia's heroes were made 30% cheaper, giving her an easier time against myth unit abuse. This buff was a good step forward for her, but she was still pretty vulnerable. Even with cheaper heroes Atlantean heroes still make you pay at least double for a unit and you lose the initial military unit as well. In this patch Centaurs were nerfed as well, making them unable to kill an Atlantean citizen in one hit. Because of these two changes she became more resistant to Centaur raiding as well.

Voobly Balance Patch 1.03
Contarius got a pretty big buff in this patch. They got 1 extra attack combined with a great increase in the defenses. Because of this more Gaia players started to do Contarius hero raiding with Lance of Stone in team games.

Voobly Balance Patch 1.04
Atlanteans now got the medium cavalry upgrade for free, so now there was more reason for Gaia players to consider Contarius hero raiding. However, the biggest change for Gaia in this patch was the Leto buff. Volcanic Forge now gave a 10% pierce armor increase for her heroes and units as well and the Automaton's movement speed was increased. The Spider Lair god power got a lower recharge time and the eggs didn't take as long to hatch anymore. Most importantly though, the spiders were able to catch Hersirs from now on. Where Oce**** had been the god of choice for many Gaia players over the years, we now saw a huge increase in players choosing Leto instead.

Voobly Balance Patch 1.05
This is the patch that changed Gaia forever and made her more viable than every before. Gaia's economic upgrades could now be researched in any age, similar to how the Thor armory works. Finally she was able to turn her traits into a significant advantage in games. Due to the discount and the ability to research the upgrades at any time, she was able to stack upgrades very fast and so she would be able to exceed anyone in early and midgame economy from now on. Not unimportant was that Channels could now be upgraded from the Economic Guild as well, making players able to research it without town center idle time. Also, Channels now affected fishing ships and caravans as well, making Gaia's caravans the best in the game from now on. The fishing upgrades also got the 30% discount in this patch and the Contarius food cost was reduced, so Contarius hero raiding became abundant in team games. Loki's Hersir speed boost was no longer automatic and needed to be obtained by the Eyes in the Forest upgrade from now on. Any nerf for Loki is a buff for Gaia naturally. Enfin, this patch helped Gaia finally thrive in the way the developpers intended: with crazy strong economy.

Voobly Balance Patch 2.0
The fishing economic upgrades could no longer be upgraded in any age, which was a significant nerf, but nothing that would break Gaia. Leto got another big buff in this patch: Automatons got a 10% increase to their pierce armor and Leto's upgrades were greatly reduced in costs. Leto became the primary choice for Gaia players now. Contarius hero raiding went from abundant to a rare occurance in this patch, because it was greatly nerfed. Lance of Stone now gave a 150% bonus damage to buildings instead of 200%, the attack buff from Voobly Balance Patch 1.03 was reverted and Contarius heroes now were affected by Crenellations.

Voobly Balance Patch 3.0
The Channels upgrade gold cost was replaced by wood, making it easier to research in the early game. Now you saw Gaia players integrating the upgrade in their archaic build in order to move more efficiently between hunting spots and to be less susceptible to raiding. Gaia's economic upgrades were now an additional 5% cheaper and they researched 25% faster. This made it again easier for her to stack them up fast in order to achieve a great economic advantage over her opponents. At this point I personally started experimenting with my double Economic Guild builds, with great success. I called my strategy the Forge of Olympus of Gaia. The 30% cost reduction for Gaia's heroes was reverted in this patch, giving her a harder time against Loki again. Not to mention, Loki's speed mechanic changed again. All in all this patch was good for Gaia. Sure she became more vulnarable to Loki again, but the buffs helped her develop the traits she excels at even more.

Voobly Balance Patch 4.0
In this patch Automaton's bonus damage to myth units was increased, but more importantly the Bite of the Shark and Weightless Mace upgrades now gained a 150% and 250% bonus damage to myth units for Murmillo and Katapelt heroes. Against Loki Oce**** became the primary choice for Gaia players. Gaia players started doing full Murmillo builds with Bite of the Shark against Loki, giving her an almost fair chance against Loki for the first time.

Voobly Balance Patch 5.0
Gaia's heroes got 30% cheaper again, making her again more resistant to myth unit abuse. The Bite of the Shark hero Murmillos became now more easily accessible. There was another nice treat in this patch for Gaia players: Lush radius was increased by 25%. We didn't really see an increase in strategical Lush usage because of this, which was unfortunate. It was still a pretty cool treat though.

I hope you all enjoyed my little Gaia story time here. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have an amazing experience in your next Age of Mythology match.

All the best,