Mytheon is unlike any MMO experience out there. Petroglyph’s new game combines traditional RPG elements, collectable card games and wraps it all into an online shell. It’s a tough game to get your head around, so recently, MMORPG.com went down to Las Vegas to visit with the team and find out exactly what they’re up to.
The game starts out like a traditional RPG. Set in a mythological world, specifically Greece, players choose from three classes: Warcaster, Elementalist and Eidolon, but that’s about where the similarities end.
“Mytheon is all about collectability,” said Lead Designer Chris Rubyor.
The game revolves around Power Stones, which players collect like trading cards. From these power stones almost all of the game’s abilities are derived. The classes simply determine the style of play. Warcasters tend to cast lots of minions, Elementalists rely more on buffs and debuffs, while Eidolon are a bit of a hybrid, with a bent towards healing.
These Power Stones are arranged like decks of cards. Players can have hundreds of them, but assemble them into smaller decks for specific scenarios. This allows players to tailor their experience and role in a party.
As of a couple of weeks ago, the game featured 190 stones. Each instance allows only 40 stones on one character at a time. They are drawn at random, like a deck of cards, so there is no telling which specific cards from that deck will be available at any given moment. It creates a disincentive to just toss extra stones in at random and rewards those who build well planned decks.
The Stones come in three basic forms: There are spells, such as healing spells or buffs. There are structures, which are stationary objects, like siege equipment. Finally, there are creatures, which are literally pets that follow you around.
All of these spells only last for a short duration. It is not like someone enters an instance, casts his four spells, then explores like a traditional MMO. Within a minute, that Minotaur someone summons will go away and the player has to bring in something else. It makes deck management important and can create some sticky scenarios when you really need a tank, but seem to have drawn four archer stones.
“I don’t think our classes are as limited as other MMO classes,” added Lead Systems Designer Pat Pannullo. While each has a rather distinct role, they also allow a bit of bleed from one class to the other. Each class is allowed to bring a limited number of stones from the other classes into their decks.
There are also bonuses to players who use lots of stones. For example, the character gains “shield pips” that increase defense for more active stones. So while, in some situations, it may be tempting to just go it-alone, the game actively encourages people to use their decks from the start.
The player character themselves has more about them than just the deck. They are an active part of the team and have their own weapons, abilities and contributions. I played a Warcaster and found him to be a pretty decent tank onto himself.
One odd thing, though, special abilities are not part of the game in the traditional sense. It’s not unsurprising given that players have so much stone management to do. Instead, they have a small number of slots for consumables. These can be what one would expect, say a health potion, or special moves. That’s right, special sword attacks and such can be collected and consumed. They are considered “rare drops.”
My character only had three slots, which is apparently something that can be increased through a micro-transaction.
In a broader sense, Mytheon falls squarely into the “hub and spoke” design, similar to Dungeons and Dragons Online. Players start in a common area, such as the city of Argos, which is where they craft, restock and meet other players. Then, from there, they travel out into smaller instances alone or with a group of up to four other players.
During my time, I played in Echidna’s Swamp. This was a pretty significant outdoor dungeon that brought the player through the first few levels. Combat was fun, and the pace seemed good. Once you get used to the novel combat system, things moved along quite nicely.