With the weekend giving me enough time for research, I'm continueing my series of previews of MMORPGs expected to come out in the second half of 2007. Today, as we already discussed it a bit in the comments, is Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising (G&H) by Perpetual Entertainment. Publisher will be SOE, although it isn't clear whether it will be included in the Station Access. It should be, since they increased the price of that one to $30. SOE might have lost market leadership to Blizzard's World of Warcraft, but they are gathering an impressive collection of second tier MMORPGs which might well be worth the cost if those games are all included.
Gods & Heroes has it's own Wikipedia entry, a section on the IGN portal, the official website, lots of movies on Fileplanet, and of course fansites. Don't expect me to do that much homework for each of my posts. :)
In Gods & Heroes you play one of six character classes in a mythical version of ancient Rome: Soldier, Gladiator, Mystic, Priest, Scout and Nomad. In many aspects gameplay apparently will be very similar to classic MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, only that the setting is pseudo-historical instead of pseudo-Tolkien. There will be quests, you gather experience points and treasures, you level up. It seems that you need to choose a god at the start of the game (out of 2 possible for your class), and in what Perpetual calls "Story-Driven Adventures" you acquire special powers by doing quests for that god. So far, so good, but now comes the innovation: Minions.
In classic MMORPGs there are a few classes that have pets, usually just one at a time, although in City of Villains you can have several pets if you play a Mastermind. But most classes in these games don't have pets. In Gods & Heroes *every* character gets to control minions. You get something called a camp, and there you can collect up to 130 different minions. Gotta catch 'em all! Wait, that's a different game. Presumably you can't take all of them into combat with you, but as they announced "Revolutionary Squad-based Combat" you definitely get to control more than one minion at a time. Man, that is going to be busy. A 5-man group will look like a Molten Core raid.
My personal take on it is that I'm not so excited about this game. I might try it, but don't see me playing this for very long. True, the graphics look top notch, better than the ones from PotBS, which I presented yesterday. But the gameplay doesn't seem to be that much different from the same old classic MMORPGs, just with lots of pets. And personally I was never really fond of pet classes, although I liked the WoW Warlock. Just like in real life, pets in online games can get messy. But as I said, that is just my personal feeling, that doesn't mean that Gods & Heroes doesn't have potential to be a very good game and attract a large number of subscribers.