Foes of Rome: Gods and Heroes and the Competition

Foes of Rome

Gods and Heroes and the Competition

By Darkgolem

Gods and Heroes is in many ways a unique MMORPG.  Its showcase feature is the minion/squad combat system it has.  This system promises to bring a whole new

Foes of Rome

Gods and
Heroes and the Competition


Gods and Heroes is in many ways a
unique MMORPG.  Its showcase feature is the minion/squad combat
system it has.  This system promises to bring a whole new
dimension to playing MMORPGs.  Gods and Heroes also is the first
game steeped in the culture of ancient Rome.  Coming with this
setting are all the interesting legendary creatures of this time,
centaurs, cyclops and all the rest.
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But are these features enough? 
Can Gods and Heroes lever these unique features into something more
than any other MMORPG?  The market for MMOs is undergoing a
change, as World of Warcraft starts to lose players, other games fail,
and other games come into the market.  A MMORPG which comes out in
the next few months has the potential to be huge, if it can attract
enough of an audience.  There are a lot of former World of
Warcraft members who may be looking for a change.
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The Competition

There are several
new games, asides from Gods and Heroes, which are going to be filling
(or are filling now) the online role playing game “niche” over the next
year or so.  All of these games offer different features, and a
comparison of these games might give an idea of how well Gods and
Heroes measures up.

Tabula Rasa

href=""> alt="Faunus Combat"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 250px;" align="left">Right off
the bat, Tabula Rasa has an advantage, in that it is out before the
other games mentioned here.  If anyone out there had some money
burning in their pocket, they are tempted to pick up a copy of this

Another plus to Tabula Rasa is its
relationship to NCsoft.  NCsoft was responsible for City of
Heroes, City of Villains, and Guild Wars, all which were at least
adequately successful.  Since NCsoft has been successful before,
it stands to reason it can bring success with Tabula Rasa. 
However, NCsoft also created Dungeon Runners and Auto Assault, so it
might be a stretch to say the company has the “midas touch”.
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Finally, Tabula Rasa is, perhaps not
unique, but part of a smaller group of games which focus on science
fiction rather than href="">sword
and href="">sorcery
or similar fantasy settings.  This has both the benefit of having
the interest of a small group who like this setting specifically, and
the detraction of repelling those who don’t like that setting

In my estimate, Tabula Rasa will hit
a certain number of subscribers, and stay there without losing much or
gaining much, for at least two years.  Some games do that, City of
Heroes did, and so did Dungeons and Dragons Online.  This portion
of the market will not be going to over to Gods and Heroes, unless Gods
and Heroes grows so much that it’s still dynamic in that time or so.
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Online: Age of Reckoning

This one gets a lot
of buzz from some people.  When I look at it, I try to see what is
unique about it.  Anyone who likes the Warhammer miniature battle
rules (and that is a LOT of people) will have some interest in this
game.  Considering how much one miniature costs in the tabletop
Warhammer game, they probably can afford this game.  However,
aside from the niche crowd for Warhammer (again, a big niche), I can’t
find anything here to differentiate it from previous games.
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The graphics will be better, because
it’s a newer game.  There will a little more complexity to the
classes (professions), and so on.  But I try to think about how
one might feel about the game after about 3 months of play.  I
feel looking at it that a certain portion of players are going to look
at it and say “I bought World of Warcraft 1.5”, whether that is a fair
assessment or not.

One thing that I note that is unique
and I like a lot, is the Tome of Knowledge which seems to be an self
updating personalized lexicon for each character.  That is very
cool.  I don’t know that that is enough to make this game truly
dynamic, though.

Pirates of the
Burning Sea

This is sort of a
wild card to me.  Pirates of the Burning Sea is, if anything,
new.  With ship combat, pvp, a player driven economy (but not
crafting, instead ownership sort of like Grand Theft Auto developed),
and a variety of ways to fight, it seems to be almost its own
class.  Whether that class by itself is a good or bad class
remains to be seen.

New games (in the sense of new
concepts and ways of playing) suffer from issues with bugs and problems
sometimes.  Vanguard had new ways of doing things, such as the
card system for interaction, and it got a bad name in some ways because
of problems it had upon release.  Pirates of the Burning Sea will
definitely had a big following of people who like the new style of this
game, but whether it keeps this crowd or not is almost entirely
dependent on how these features pan out.  World of Warcraft had
some similar qualities, especially in how big it was, and it worked out
great.  Dungeons and Dragons Online did too, with it’s all
instanced dungeon, but suffered the problems of how quickly content was
developed.  With Pirates of the Burning Seas, the success of this
game is a crap shoot.

Age of Conan

href=""> alt="Goddess Fountain"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 250px;" align="right">This game
is getting some buzz.  But in the long run, the only thing I have
seen about it that is different is, to some extent, is it’s
genre.  AOC has all the things other games have, classes,
fighting, an so on, but the Hyperborian world is a bit different than

I do not predict this will be enough
to scoop up and keep a large portion of the MMORPG market,
however.  Because the genre does not allow enough variety from
place to place.  Sure, you will have some snowy places and desert
places, and so on, but the story of barbarians and various decadent
(and otherwise) civilizations at each others throats isn’t one that
will hold players for long.

Don’t get me wrong, I own both of
the Conan the Barbarian movies, I have read all the books in the genre,
and they are all sorts of cool, but the things that captured me for
these stores does not seem to me something that will carry over to the
game.  I expect that AOC will last a year before starting to
suffer a steady attrition in subscribers.  Let us remember that I
did not like World of Warcraft, and that game was (and is) a titan
among MMORPGs.

In Relation to

Gods and Heroes is
facing some competition from some of these products coming out
above.  Personally I think that Tabula Rasa will already have
settled into its player base, lost a few beginning players who tried
and did not like it, and found a steady group of subscribers when Gods
and Heroes comes out.  The remaining players out there will choose
between the other titles listed (barring any delays in release). 
I think a lot will go to Warhammer Online, especially WOW players
looking for something new, and end up leaving after they get bored with
a game that (to me) appears much like what they left.  Pirates of
the Burning Sea will take some of those in the market for a new game,
and then either become huge, or more likely, take a solid share of the
market for a time.  Age of Conan will be a less enthusiastically
growing game.

Gods and Heroes will have some luck
with this.  A lot of casual players will come to href="">Gods
and Heroes, because almost certainly soloing will be big with the
minion system.  

The players who want a sword and
sorcery MMORPG will end up in Gods and Heroes too, simply because all
the other options will seem stale or done again.  It will take a
while for this to happen, since people will be trying Warhammer Online
and Age of Conan too, but eventually they will “come to Rome”.
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How long will Gods and Heroes
last?  Hard to say, but if the product Perpetual is creating is
able to grow new content, then it has the potential to not only be a
success, but be a solid competitor in the MMORPG market.

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