Blood and Sand An Updated Preview of Gods & Heroes at GDC 2011
be the first to admit that when Heatwave Interactive
announced they had bought the rights and assets to the Roman
Mythological themed style="font-style: italic;">Gods & Heroes:
Rome Rising MMOG, I was
cautiously optimistic. I enjoyed the game years ago for the brief
amount of time I had spent in beta when it was being developed by
Perpetual Entertainment. However, with all of the events surrounding
its closure back then I had to wonder how Heatwave could bring the game
back to life and have it stand on its own two
feet—particularly given that the client was already a little
dated before Heatwave even got a chance to start working on it.
Shortly after the acquisition announcement the game entered into a
playable beta stage. At this point some of our Ten Ton Hammer Premium
members were on our Elite Testers list and began their job of providing
feedback and bug reports for the game. I have been a part of countless
beta tests for a myriad of games, but Heatwave presented style="font-style: italic;">Gods & Heroes
in its new and evolving state at GDC this year and I couldn’t
help but be thoroughly impressed.
All of the early feedback was considered by the developers and of that
pretty much every single major point of concern was addressed. I was in
awe at the amount of work these folks have put into the game and had I
not seen it with my own eyes, it would be hard for me to believe. From
combat animations to an introduction of a crafting system to epic group
battles, Heatwave has made it abundantly clear that they are not only
taking their beta testers’ feedback seriously,
they’re also going above and beyond to ensure that the game
will launch with enough flavor and hook that even today’s
expectations are met. This is quite an accomplishment for an original
game client that was already dated before Heatwave even got their hands
It's safe to say that our Elite Testers program here at Ten Ton Hammer
has several gamers who are crazy about MMOGs. They've seen it all. They
know what works and what doesn't work. And to be candid, when the group
was first introduced to style="font-style: italic;">Gods & Heroes
the feedback started up fast and hard. They were pretty merciless in
their reporting of features that were missing and bugs that were
" style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";"> style="font-style: italic;">All of the early feedback
was considered by the developers and of that pretty much every single
major point of concern was addressed. I was in awe at the amount of
work these folks have put into the game and had I not seen it with my
own eyes, it would be hard for me to believe."
Often in cases like this it would be far easier for the developer to
take the feedback with a grain of salt and touch on some of the
concerns but label the others as 'unrealistic,' or as vocal minority
reports. That's the easy way out. But Heatwave did the exact opposite
here. They read and addressed every single issue. Features have been
added and fleshed out, bugs have been squashed, and the interface and
animations have been polished. Heatwave took the feedback very
seriously and went through major game design changes to address these
concerns. We're not just talking about quick fixes for some graphical
glitches here. They've added whole new feature sets, like an entire
crafting system, to ensure the game launches in the best state it
possibly can and make an impact on today's market.
This is no small feat. Launching a game is challenging enough.
Launching one that was taken from an old client which didn't have
support for modern technology and was in some regards quite dated
already, is a quest of epic proportions. But this is the type of
challenge Heatwave has embraced. Not only have they done it, but
they've done it with grace.
These are developers who love their game and it's apparent at every
turn. The IP is taken advantage of in every cool way imaginable, from
battling giant cyclopses to channelling the power of the gods and
visiting mythical landmarks and personalities. I even got to see a
glimpse of Archimedes Death Ray in the demo. Put simply, the essence of
Roman Mythology has been captured by the passionate individuals behind
the game's development.
One of the most alluring new features coming to a beta near you is the
removal of player camps and an introduction of Player Estates.
Functionally, the estates have all of the same amenities as one had in
their camps previously (merchants and NPCs to offer services for
equipment, trainers for skills, etc.) but Estates offer so much more.
Buildings and NPCs will populate these instances and quests and
achievements throughout the game world will contribute to improving the
player’s estate. Not only that but the estate is bound to an
account so all characters on that account will be able to enjoy the
benefits the player has already unlocked, and continue to unlock more
on their alternate characters, should they have any.
The Estates are large in size and will be able to accommodate
everything a player may need; from statues of their deities to quest
NPCs to housing and crafting options.
Did I just say crafting? Yes, Heatwave Interactive has committed to
adding a crafting system to the game. There aren’t any
details yet to be had, but I was told that when the proposed system was
introduced at a production meeting the room was filled with
“Oh my god, that’s so COOL!” It will be
different from other crafting systems we see in many MMOGs of today but
as for the specific details, we’ll have to wait just a little
longer before we learn that.
Another highlight for me at the demo was some of the great new
animations added to combat. When I had first had some hands-on time
with the game back in the fall of last year animations were one of the
top concerns of the players. They felt dated and disconnected. Well,
that’s all changed. I was shown several battles with
different types of high-level mobs, and the animations had me giggling
like a school girl. I watched in glee as the player character was
picked up by a giant Cyclops and then thrown to the ground. I laughed
heartily as the player character was stomped into the ground and butted
out like a cigarette. I was also told of other animations involving
being picked up and wrung out like a wet dish rag. All of these types
of combat animations make the game that much more fun to play.
The end result of the meeting at GDC: I’m once again very
much looking forward to the launch of style="font-style: italic;">Gods &
Heroes: Rome Rising. I
strongly believe the right team is on the job as it’s a team
committed to listening to feedback and implementing it well. There is
no half-assed work here. Everything that has been added has been done
so with care and thought. Well done Heatwave!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising Game Page.