Massively Multiplayer Hack 'n Slash - A Mythos Closed Beta Preview

From its mid-2006 announcement to a 2008 change in developer, Mythos has finally found its way back in to our lives with new content, features, and fixes.

From its mid-2006 announcement to a 2008 change in developer, Mythos has finally found its way back in to our lives with new content, features, and fixes. Having played Mythos briefly in its Flagship days, I was excited to be among the first to test the game in its current incarnation under developer HanbitSoft and publisher Frogster Online Gaming GmBh (Redbana is publishing the game in North America).

After logging in I was prompted to make my first character in the world. Mythos’s character creation options are akin to WoW’s, , just with fewer choices. All Mythos characters within a race are pretty much the same size, and aside from a handful of face, hair color and style options, players are able to chose among different accessories ranging from horns (for goat-like Satyrs and Cyclopses) to glasses (for Gremlins) to facial hair (for human males) to earrings (for Human and Gremlin females).  Each race has two racial bonuses as well – an elemental resistance plus stat buffs like a to-hit bonus (Gremlins) or a defense bonus (Cyclopses).

mythos

mythos


After the short creation period and debating which class was for me, I made my Human Blood Letter since I like to use melee and some spells to hack my way through enemies. Other options included the Gadgeteer, a pet-based ranged attacker, and the Pyromancer, a ranged fire magic caster.

"The pattern of gameplay in Mythos mirrors another Travis Baldree-designed game – Torchlight. You have a hub and get quests that take places in dungeons a nearby portal away."
I was dropped into the tutorial village with a basic weapon, quick strike ability, and two paragraphs of ominous-sounding lore. The tutorial area its self was pretty basic. It’s a small town with a couple of quest givers, yet the area covered just about every aspect of the game:

  • The Diablo-style interface
  • Entering dungeons
  • Using items such as the identifying stones (to learn about the magical properties of unknown items)
  • Achievements
  • Combat
  • Crafting
  • Levelling

Each level awards you skill points that you spend in your talent trees. Each class has three trees to pick from, allowing plenty of opportunity to mix and match between the three trees. Along with talents, with each level comes points to spend on the three core stats:  strength (melee),  dexterity (ranged), and intelligence (magic). Since each class can perform each of these attacks to some degree, stat point decisions can get pretty complex as you level.

mythos

mythos


The achievement system is reminiscent of Aion’s title system in that achievements give you stat boosts that you can equip at will. I got my first, “Battle Start!” (there’s a fair amount of half-translations still in the beta) with my second kill, when my master Deah conducted me to a giant bear’s lair with remarkably little fanfare. After slaughtering scores of spiders (true to form, in Mythos combat is fast for bosses and faster for common mobs), the bear fell with a dozen or so hits, never posing a real threat to my health.




Back in the village, Deah had me try out the general merchant, and I took the opportunity to try out “MMO view.” Mythos offers “isometric view” – the more or less top down view familiar to games like Lineage and Diablo, and “MMO view,” a close-in view that attempts to recreate the third-person, , monkey-in-a-tree camera view familiar to RPG and MMOG players. Unfortunately, you have to rotate the camera manually by holding in the left mouse button and dragging – it doesn’t spring into place behind the character as you move. And for that reason I can't see myself using it for anything other than taking screenshots.

I finished the tutorial pretty quickly, and after levelling up I left to continue in the land of Uld. Leaving the area, I was surprised to discover a small video that was actually put out as a trailer a while ago. The infusion of lore was welcome, since neither Deah nor any other character I met in the tutorial was forthcoming about why I’m in Uld and what I’m doing.

mythos

mythos


"Mythos offers “isometric view” – the more or less top down view familiar to games like Lineage and Diablo, and “MMO view,” a close-in view that attempts to recreate the third-person, , monkey-in-a-tree camera view familiar to RPG and MMOG players. Unfortunately, you have to rotate the camera manually by holding in the left mouse button and dragging – it doesn’t spring into place behind the character as you move."
The graphics and user interface were definitely the highlight of the game for me – Mythos has aged well. Character animations are smooth, environments have a definite atmosphere, and weapon effects compare favourably with games like Magicka and Trine. The UI is well-proportioned and did a good job of displaying lots of information in a small space. Some of the menu icons were a bit small, but I quickly learned their function by trial and error.

Right after the tutorial, I found myself in a different town that was under siege from the local fauna – wolves and bears in particular - and in need of help. Conveniently, a quest giver is beside you ready to set you off on what turned out to be the first storyline quest of the game.

The pattern of gameplay in Mythos mirrors another Travis Baldree-designed game – Torchlight. You have a hub and get quests that take places in dungeons a nearby portal away. Dungeons have a set number of floors and they are filled with plenty of mobs and loot for you to find, along with reward objects like chests. . The most interesting thing about dungeons is that they never the same layout; they’ll always be different every time you enter. It certainly keeps them fresh but the bosses will always be the same. Once in a while you’ll get the odd over world quest which will either consist 1) of going to new areas or, 2) talking to people, or 3) killing a few pesky mobs

mythos

mythos


Combat in the game works like Diablo (sorry, but the comparison continues to be apt). You have one attack bound to your left mouse button and another to your right mouse button. The rest of your skills are can be accessed via hot keys on your hot bar. A stack of health and mana potions, some provided gratis at the start, help when things get hectic in the dungeons. Some amount of blood will pile up, but those who are sensitive to this can turn it off in the settings.

By this point, after saving this small town I definitely felt some sense of being immersed in the game. At times though I kept getting lost, it could have just been me being silly but I could not find any directions what so ever to my next objective. The map screen could do with a bit of work as well.

Finally after about 15 minutes I found my way to the Sky Captain, who gave me a lift to Heaven Island - the game’s main city. It’s more Orgrimmar than Millenium City or Metropolis, but it certainly packs a lot of activity into it for its size. In addition to plenty of portal-producing quest givers, you’ll also find crafting quests.

mythos

mythos


Crafting itself is pretty old hat, but with a twist. You gather your ingredients and distribute them in your crafting window, buying new recipes to make new items. Here’s the twist: as you craft you gain points that you spend in the crafting tree to gain more progression in your desired route. When crafting an item you can also occasionally set some stats. However adding more stats to the item increases its risk of failure when making it, so you’ve been warned!

Mythos is most certainly a fun experience and covers most of what I like about dungeon crawlers. One big question that remains is how the game fares as a multiplayer game; in other words, how Mythos the single player dungeon crawler becomes a social combat experience. As more players enter beta I hope to explore its massively multiplayer dimensions. If you’d like to test out Mythos too, Ten Ton Hammer has a limited number of beta keys available here.

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