J.R. Sutich saw Gods and Heroes and in his last GDC article, he looks at what this minion-controlling mythology MMORPG has to offer, including one of the cooler in-game visuals he's seen in an MMORPG.
Based on hands-on time and presentations
Article by JR "razor" Sutich
I started off my GDC experience this year in the best possible manner: getting to hang out at Perpetual Entertainment and playing Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising.
I've always been a huge ancient history geek, so every chance I get to see this game is a lot of fun for me. This time was no different. But this wasn't the same Gods and Heroes I was used to, for it had changed and for the better.
Character creation is still pretty cool. After picking your gender and class, you select between one of two gods who is actually your parent. Remember, if someone asks you if you are a god, you say yes. There are plenty of options to customize your character to suit your tastes, one of which is a choice of colors to make your starting clothes. While this may seem like a trivial thing, it actually has long lasting effects as any of your minions will use those colors on armor and standards. I think it will be cool to identify enemies from a distance based on that.
After all the choices are made, you will start in a tutorial instance with some other players, but not too many to make starter quests a problem to complete. This is where the game changes started getting noticeable for me. They have refined the new player experience to make it a little easier to get into the game, and you become involved in your story earlier. It's during this stage of the game where you get your first God Power.
God Powers are like fire and brimstone type events that can be used on your enemies. Part of what makes them so cool is that every character gets to use them. In a majority of games, melee types got hosed on being able to make huge flashes and crashes because casters got all the love. Perpetual wants to help alleviate some of that "particle effect envy," as Perpetual Co-Founder Chris McKibbin called it. These are basically calling upon your parent to help you out, so don't expect to be using them every fight. My dad usually got irritated when I bugged him, I'd expect Jupiter to be no different.
After learning your destiny, it's time to venture out and start making a name for yourself, and as you do, you will start to gain followers, or minions. Minions are one of the features that make Gods and Heroes stand out. These are more than "pets" like you will find in other games. I don't know of other MMOs where you not only are allowed to have 100+ followers, but also determine what combat formations and attacks they will be using. The opportunity to interact with other players and their squads has me looking forward to getting as many people together at once as possible.
For those of you saying "But this is Roman Mythology! Where are the epic battles?" All I can say is be careful what you ask for. We got a preview of some of the possible end game content, and you will not be disappointed. Watching a max level, fully geared character stand next to a Titan-sized warrior that was easily 20 times the size of our little hero was truly a "holy crap" moment. Then Hormenius, the Telchine (a group of exiled gods from Greek myth who are making a comeback in Gods and Heroes), attacked and sold the game to me right there. I don't think that I will ever be able to face one of them alone, as the max level character got destroyed in short order, but then again, he also didn't have his squad of minions. And the squads of minions belonging to all his friends. This game will have some truly epic battles, don't you worry.
I was extremely impressed by the game yet once again. One of the things that I'm sure that will be different the next time I see it will be the interface. It was explained that much of the UI will be streamlined and made more intuitive. Also, it will be fully customizable by the community.
Currently the game is in Seekrit Squirrel Beta, otherwise known as Friends and Family, but as soon as I get the chance to make a real character, I'm making a Gladiator. And I call dibs on the name Titus Pulo.
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