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GDC - RPGamer Gets Hands-on Gods and Heroes
03.06.2007

CHRIS PRIVITERE
LEAD PROGRAMMER


Gods and Heroes

RPGamer was invited to Perpetual Entertainment's development studio to have a hands on session with their upcoming MMO Gods and Heroes. We headed to downtown San Francisco and took the elevator to find a nice floor of developers bubbling with excitement over their new baby. Gods and Heroes is poised to let RPGamers experience rich action oriented combat in the mythology of ancient Rome. Today, Perpetual took the wraps off one of the game's unique offerings: the minion system.

But first, here's a refresher on the game. Gods and Heroes is being labeled as an Action/Adventure MMOG. This is due to its realistic combat system. The animations are more than your standard repetitive sword strikes. Some of the normal combat skills, or "feats," include wrestling grapples with sleeper holds and eviscerating sword plunges reminiscent of something you'd see in God of War.

The game's storyline basically revolves around the player being the offspring of a god. The gods reach out to the player as they're about to be sacrificed by minions of the dark gods. These dark gods, the Telchine, are trying to thin out offspring of the gods in order to further their war against the Olympian gods. The player will have a patron god depending on their class. This god will ask their assistance in the war against the Telchine, and will grant the player powers to aid them in this quest.

As Gods and Heroes matures, the developers hope to add expansions that will bring in other mythologies and countries. Some of the ideas on the table are Egyptians, Barbarians, Carthage, Huns, Chinese, and Norse. They also hope to bring in Nation vs. Nation combat as part of these expansions. Whether that's PvE or PvP remains to be seen.

As for the minions, Gods and Heroes currently lets you recruit up to 132 unique heroes into your personal camp. These heroes can be one of a few standard classes: Infantry, Skirmisher, and Spellcaster. The Infantry characters can further specialize in tanking or damage dealing, the skirmishers in ranged damage and a hybrid of close and ranged, and the spellcasters in healing or nuking. In addition to these standard classes, there are mythological creature minions available to the player based on their patron god. Examples of these creatures would be centaurs or minotaurs.

RPGamers won't need to worry about micromanaging the minions as the game takes care of that for you. The minions have their own feats that they will automatically get as they level up with you. The feats are automatically equipped and can level up as well. The player purchases equipment for their minions as a whole. It simulates outfitting an army with equipment, as one can, say, purchase the bronze equipment set and then all the minions will be using bronze armor and weapons.

As a player prepares for an upcoming quest, they can choose whatever minions they feel will best assist them for the task at hand. A gladiator may choose to bring some spellcasters with them to keep them healed, while a mystic might bring a tank along. Orders can then be given to these units one-by-one or as a squad. The minions will also react to enemies with basic A.I. with default settings of aggressive (attack anything around), defensive (only attack when attacked), or passive (donít attack anything).

Recruiting all the minions won't be a simple task. While some of them are waiting in cities for the nearest adventurer to come and recruit them for a simple fee, others, particularly the stronger minions, require lengthy quests to be completed before they will consider their contract to be fulfilled. One interesting twist, however, is that a minion can be fired and its contract traded to another player.

RPGamer also got a chance to go hands-on with the game. The game has a nice realistic visual style. Combat really does have a more action-oriented feel to it, due to its animations. The first time you get thrown down and stomped on by an orc, you'll laugh. Each enemy has at least one interesting animation like that, which keeps combat from looking boring and similar from fight to fight. This is in addition to the character's killer moves which can involve doing things like climbing up onto the enemy's back and putting them into a sleeper hold. Combat also has a combo system. As feats are used, a combo counter is incremented. The higher this combo counter is, the more damage higher level feats that depend on the counter will do. Sadly, the animations do not seem to reflect this increased damage. Hopefully, that will change.

All in all, RPGamer was very excited by Gods and Heroes. The gameplay was fun, the combat engaging, and the mythology deep. There are a lot of cool enemies and powers to play with. The game will most likely be going into open beta in late May, with hopes for a release at the end of the summer. We look forward to a chance to explore the game more deeply and will keep you posted on how it's coming along.



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