Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gods & Heroes -- Beta Testing Initial Thoughts

I've been playing the in the Beta for Heatwave Interactive's new game Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising for a week or so now. As the title suggests, it is set in the world of Ancient Rome and incorporates not only historically accurate enemies such as Etruscans, but also enemies from legend such as Minotaurs and Gorgon. The game is classified currently as an MMORPG, but I have yet to see a system of naming conventions or the like for true Role Playing. I haven't seen many PCs in game, but the ones that I have seen have been very generic and akin to names that one would see in World of Warcraft today, e.g. Zombieassassin.

Character Creation

When you sit down to make your own hero, as is the case in many games, you first have to pick your class. There are four options available on the Beta: Mystic, Priest, Gladiator, and Soldier. It looks like two classes will be available when the game hits shelves, Nomad and Scout. Upon picking your class, you are then presented with two options, which will serve as factions in G&H. You are to decide which god or goddess from Roman mythology you will serve. For example, Gladiators serve either Fortuna or Jupiter. The choice of god or goddess helps to determine what some of your abilities will be. Mars grants a "purifying flame" and the ability to summon a fiery bird of some sort (assuming it's a Phoenix type creature.) I've only experienced Jupiter's "Wrath" ability so far. It's pretty cool.

[caption id="attachment_127" align="aligncenter" width="395" caption="My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius..."][/caption]

The third part of the character creation process is appearance customization. Your options here are fairly broad. There are several base faces per gender that you can choose from. Within that, you're able to completely customize each face. You can create any human race of your choosing. My first Beta character was a female gladiator named Katryona. I'm a big stickler for hairstyles but didn't see many that I actually liked. For Kat, I ended up with a low bun. It didn't really scream "gladiator," but it worked. What impressed me most was the facial features. The faces were pretty realistic, even if the hair left a bit to be desired.

Game Play

As previously stated, the game centers around the comings and goings of wartime Rome. You begin on the shore and you find out that your villa (Latin for village house) has been attacked by the enemy. Through a quest chain, you bring some of these foes to justice and find out about those who can aid you to face them. One part of this game that I find really interesting is the Minion system. The minion can function almost as a combat pet, essentially. There are apparently up to one hundred minions you can use to help defend yourself, as well as go on the offensive. It's definitely a unique system and you can earn minions through loot or quest rewards.

It's beta, so things were kind of slow, but I was fairly impressed with the quests that I've done so far. There was a great story and what drew me in was my love for Roman history. To see elements of Roman life in this game was pretty awesome. I'm not going to reveal any spoilers about the game, but I have been giving favorable reviews for the quests I've been completing based on the story aspect. Aside from the standard "Go see this person." "Go kill X number of bad guys." "Okay, now go collect X number of things." quests, it's been steady and has flowed well. Throughout the early questline, you make your way from one side of the island to the other.

Parting thoughts

I assume that this game will have a subscription upon release. Granted, I haven't played the entire game, but if I were right now to compare it to World of Warcraft, I would say that I would not pay for a subscription versus the fifteen dollars monthly for WoW. This game has its nice qualities, but it is not at this time, anywhere near comparable to games such as WoW, Rift or even Everquest. I would love to play it again on a free trial when the game is completed. I'm sure things will run more smoothly and there will be even more awesome things added in.  Please let me know your thoughts on the game!

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