Ten Ton Hammer had a chance to preview style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon
at GDC, the upcoming action RPG meets real-time strategy meets a
Bulfinch-load of ancient mythology MMOG from the folks at Petroglyph,
many of whom cut their teeth with sometime game development powerhouses
like Westwood Studios ( style="font-style: italic;">Command and Conquer:
Tiberian Dawn series, style="font-style: italic;">Battle Tech)
and Strategic Simulations or SSI ( style="font-style: italic;">Panzer General, style="font-style: italic;"> Silent Hunter, style="font-style: italic;"> Stronghold).
Needless to say, style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon
builds in a comfortable level of real-time strategy (most through
decision-making surrounding the use of stones as described below), but
the game is definitely an action RPG at heart. And while grouped play
not a part of our hands-on preview, co-op play as well as 1v1 and
4v4 player vs. player (PvP) scenarios are in the works as well.

At the start, players will have their choice of three classes in style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon:
the Eidolon (described as a utility healer), the Warcaster (a tankish
melee DPS class), and a Warcaster (ranged DPS in the classic
spellcasting nuker sense). Each class will have a unique set of stones
to pick and choose from. The friendlier gods have sealed a number of
helpful powers in these stones, and their proper use is the core of style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon
gameplay. A stone can represent a static structure (such as a healing
shrine or Mytheon’s
take on an auto turret – a self-firing ballista), a pet-like
minion (such as the ever-entertaining, bumblingly powerful Cyclops), or
a temporary combat buff or power (like Warcry, which temporarily boosts
the offensive powers of your group).

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We began our game experience in Argos, an ancient city teetering on the
brink of disaster. Thanks to the recent exploits of Jason and his
Argonauts, Argos is protected from the wrath of the gods by virtue of
the golden fleece. It’s a good thing too, because the gods
are feeling wrathful – they see their godlike status
threatened by man’s pride and a handful of the gods,
demi-gods, and supernatural villains have thrown down the gauntlet,
challenging man to an all-out war.  While the friendlier gods,
Athena and Zeus among them, have elected to give mankind its chance and
have even provided the collectible stones mentioned above to level the
playing field somewhat, characters like Medusa, Hephastus, Hades, and
Poseidon stand in opposition to mankind’s ascendancy.

You’ll first encounter backstory tidbits like these with
clickable pedestals in non-combat areas scattered around Argos. Later
the story is also relayed through progressive and one-off quests that
guide you through instanced combat areas. The presentation
unfortunately lacks cutscenes – Design Director Chris Rubyor
explained that, for launch the team would much prefer to put the time
and money required for cinematics into more foundational aspects of the
game, like graphics. And the graphics of Argos alone are enough to
dissuade anyone that this is a run-of-the-mill free-2-play game.

The art and animation are first rate, and nowhere is this more evident
than in the Temple of Athena instance, where hoplite infantry are
frozen in stone in a variety of combative poses. As you probably
guessed, Medusa has replaced Athena as the resident supernatural power
in this temple, and though we didn’t experience the boss
fight, we’re told she reanimates these soldiers to great
effect during the epic boss fight. Aside from the boss encounter, these
stone figures are a great example of how style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon
weaves excellent graphics with appropriately ominous art and scene

One boss we did cross paths with was Echidna mother of all monsters, in
the level 1-5 tutorial instance, Shattered Isle. Since this level is
meant to be the tutorial, the difficulty was toned way down, but I was
able to learn more about what Chris described as style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon’s
rock-paper-scissors approach to combat. Actually there’s
multiple levels of rock-paper-scissors going on, with many minions,
structures, and enemies using the four elements which do their own
cancelling and crit-ing, but the primary way bonuses to combat are
resolved is by the attacker-defender-ranged system. Each unit fits into
one of these categories, and each category beats out another category
but is susceptible to another. For example, attackers are good against
ranged but susceptible to defenders. Defenders are susceptible to
ranged, but good against attackers, and so on. The upshot is that if
you’re thinking, you’ll use stones that correspond
to your enemies weakness (it’s clearly represented on the
UI), and if you’re really thinking, you’ll want to
stack your stone deck to exploit the weaknesses of your enemies in
subsequent playthroughs. And while it’s possible to stack
your deck by choosing at least 15 stones from your collection, what
stones you have immediately at hand are limited to four slots of stones
chosen at random as stones are used.

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Two features that traditional MMO gamers might be loathe to learn about
are the lack of WASD movement (the game is click-to-move, with no plans
to allow keyboard movement), and the mouse buttons are the inverse of
what you’d find in other action RPGs, like style="font-style: italic;">Torchlight.
Petroglyph has its reasons for these deviations from the norm, but the
game does initially take some getting used to.

Petroglyph also made concessions to the game’s
micro-transaction driven nature. For example, health does not
automatically regenerate as players wend their way through combat
instances. You must take health potions or find your way to a health
shrine, which itself has a limited capacity to heal and must regenerate
healing power over time.  Chris was quick to point out that
items such as health potions can be purchased with currency earned
in-game too, so Petroglyph isn’t forcing you to buy potions
using real money - they’ll just make it convenient to do so.

In the final anaylsis, when you get past some of the interface quirks
and take time to luxuriate in style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon’s
setting, story, graphics, and overall presentation, I think
it’s fair to say we have not just a new breed of online RPG
on our hands, but also a new breed of free-to-play MMOG.  It
would be a titanic mistake (get it?) not to add style="font-style: italic;">Mytheon
to your list of free-to-play MMOGs worth checking out when Petroglyph
and True Games take it live later this year.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Mytheon Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.