Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising review
Gods & Heroes is a classic MMORPG set in a mythical version of the Roman Empire, where gods aren’t just a set of rituals and statues, but real people who let you ride their horses. You’re a demigod, a powerful hero – which is just as well, as there’s a lot of very quickly respawning wildlife to kill.
You’ll be instantly and intimately acquainted with the classic MMO setup. WoW-style controls. Missions where you go there, go there again, kill that named mob you noticed. A sparse but functional four classes fill the inevitable MMO archetypes. Gladiators are the melee class, with a combo system that WoW Rogues will know well. Soldiers take the tank role, while Mystics deal ranged damage. Priests remain priests, and your choice of god gives you a second string of missions. Choose Trevia, a tri-headed goddess of magic, and you’ll find yourself grubbing around for rat carcasses.
There’s no PvP, yet. Along with a few other bits some would consider part of the core experience: crafting, gathering, auction houses. These are part of the post-release timeline. Instead, Gods & Heroes brings something new to PvE: minions.
Early on, you’ll find people that swear loyalty to you, and you can slowly build an army of these AI companions. They serve in damage, aggro-attracting defence, and healing roles. They’re not as powerful as other players, but they do make you a balanced solo unit.
It gets chaotic in groups, not least because the AI is baffling. My AI healer was flawless – he healed – but my defender would brazenly pull off idle animations while I dealt with the aggro from a single fireball. Minions also give you a lot of visual clutter to worry about: even a small group begins to feel like a raid.
This – or the unfriendly chat system – may be the reason for an unfortunate side effect: Gods & Heroes is the least sociable MMO I’ve played. It wasn’t until level 12 that I managed to get someone to talk to me. I tried everything. “Hello! Bonjour!” I even tried a cheerful roleplaying salutation. “By Neptune’s gills, ‘tis a fine night to be punching spiders!” I was ignored.
Even with the nice touches, such as your estate – an instanced homestead with its own mission chain of rebuilding – and your growing band of minions, the world as it is now is too... well, Spartan. With too much left for post-release, cities are filled with vendors selling useless grey loot. A few friendly and generous features are in place: quest objectives are marked on maps, and there’s a fast-travel system that teleports you to any Pegasus statue you’ve visited. But that’s not really enough.
The fact I’m playing Gods & Heroes this early isn’t ideal, either for me or Heatwave Interactive. But this is the product that’s being sold, and that’s not ideal for you. All I can do here is appreciate the potential, roll my eyes at the utterly expected chains of killing and fetch quests, and thank the two Frenchmen who eventually grouped up with me to take on the instances. Hopefully, enough people will play that the developers get the chance to fill their world. And hopefully they’ll do it while people are still there.
Doesn’t wander far enough from the path to make it worth picking up over other, more content-filled MMOs.