GDC 2010: A Look at Mytheon

Petroglyph and True Games mix Action RPG and Strategy elements in their new MMO based on Greek mythology.

The Game Developers Conference always has companies vying for your attention so they can get their product out to the masses. In the case of Mytheon, it wasn't hard to get me to sit down to find out more about this new MMO.

When you hear Magic the Gathering and Diablo in the same sentence, it definitely makes you focus on the conversation. Mixing elements of one of the best action RPGs of all time with one of the best card-based strategy games of all time has a certain allure, and Petroglyph and True Games are doing their best to make Mytheon the best of both worlds.

Mytheon is set in Greek mythology where man can challenge the gods. The game has all the bells and whistles of a traditional MMO with a few twists. Three classes have been revealed so far: the Warcaster (a tank/DPS class), the Elementalist (a caster class), and the Eidolon (a support class like a priest). In the demonstration we saw, players start in a tutorial zone where they learn the basics of their class, then proceed to the Echidra Swamp, a starting area that serves as a combat tutorial. Players will eventually have access to the famed city of Argos, which will serve as a city hub for quests, vendors and exploration.

What sets the combat apart from many traditional MMOs is the concept of the power stones, which brings a certain RTS element to the game. Each class has up to 40 unique stones that they can have in their deck, and six are available at any one time. In the beginning, players start with a smaller deck of stones, but they can find others through questing or looting monsters. Some stones are common, while others are harder to find. When used, the stones can give the players special buffs or allies that will aid in fights. Some will be beasts, like the Pegasus, while others can be structures like a ballista. When a stone is played, another will be drawn from the deck. After the player has used about 85 percent of the stones in his deck, the deck will reshuffle, making the used stones available again. What makes this interesting is that each key boss battle will be different, depending on the stones you have at your disposal at the time.

The game takes some standard MMO conventions and streamlines them for the player. There is no longer a need to return to a questgiver to turn in a quest. Once it is complete, you instantly get credit and any items you would have received are mailed to you. This leads to the next streamlined feature: A mialbox as part of the user interface. Players can access their mail at any time, just by clicking the mailbox icon.

The game is based entirely on Greek mythology, but about 85 percent of the quests were created for the game and can't be found in traditional myth. However, there will be the chance to meet heroic mythical figures such as Hercules, Perseus and Achilles, but the details haven't been released yet. With later expansions and content updates, new pantheons will be released, giving the player access to even broader mythological adventures. The existing level cap is 30, but will expand as new pantheons are added.

The first expansion/update will unveil the Egyptian gods (upping the level cap to 40). New classes are expected to be added after the Egyptian pack is released.

The game is currently in closed beta and will move to open beta in April. The game will be entirely free to play, but microtransactions will be available. Players will have access to potions, elixirs and stones that can apply to the whole party instead of just an individual. There will also be a tiered subscription system, but details are still being worked out on pricing.



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