Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rome Falling: Abortion of an MMO

The big news of the day is the 'indefinite hold' that Perpetual has put on Gods and Heroes.

I've been in the beta for 2 months and to be honest, it didn't really capture my attention. I played for at most 10 hours, and only got to level 7 with a Gladiator character, so any information I have to share will be limited.

I was actually very excited when I got a beta acceptance email for Gods and Heroes. It was the first beta I had been in since starting this blog, and though I couldn't make posts about the game due to the NDA, I had plans to keep detailed notes about my perceptions of the game as I played, so I could post a nice writeup once the NDA was lifted. But alas, the game couldn't hold my attention for long enough! I played maybe 10 hours total over the past two months, and never more than two hours at a stretch.

There just wasn't anything especially engaging or different. Class-based? Check! Talent-tree like system to semi-customize your character abilities? Check! Quest-oriented with floating symbols over quest NPCs? Check! Static combat that mainly involves pushing buttons as they light up? Check! Crafting? Er... no... Guild Support? Er... no idea... PvP? Again.. no idea...

What did G&H have to offer that was new or different? Well, I guess their defining characteristic was the minion system. But really, they were little more than some fancy pets. The minion system was an interesting idea that should definitely be explored in future games (anyone remember being able to hire fighter NPCs in Ultima Online?). The game does do a good job of introducing you to the minions early on. I had a front-line fighter and a healer available. I never tried using the healer. I just took along the fighter, spent points on talents that gave us attack boosts and waded into the melee! I never really did figure out how to more precisely control your minions. She just kind of tagged along, always staying in strict formation out of combat, even if it meant that she ran over the edge of a cliff. Luckily, it seemed that such an event had little effect on her health or personality, and she quickly returned to my side once I moved away. Perhaps there was more to it at later levels...

The UI was just kind of strange in many ways as well. For example, all of the icons to open your spellbook, character screen, etc etc, were hidden to start. You had to click on a tiny sliver of color over your character portrait to show them. Very non-intuitive and it took me a while to figure it out. The option to hide them is great... choosing to hide them from a new user is not.

It also had that sort of drab graphics theme that Vanguard had. Can't we get some color here?! Is this because some people thought WoW graphics were too cartoony? At least they were interesting to look at. In addition, I experienced graphics stutter every few steps while running through a town. And there were no more than a handful of players around.

Here are a couple of other short reviews. Interestingly enough, they don't really have any more info than I do. I have to wonder if any external beta testers got very far in this game.

Link #1

Link #2

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