Pantheon: Great Game or Soulless Shell of Ideologies?

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen had its first debut of sorts. Brad “Aradune” McQuaid showed off a very, very (I’m seriously, it’s disturbingly early) version of Pantheon. About 20 minutes into the video I really started to wonder if showing gameplay of the game this early was smart. I’m from the generation of MMO gamers that can look past graphics and animations, but I was struggling to look past the free Unity assets. Have a look below.

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Let’s cut to the chase. I subscribe to the ideology. I’m a fan of EverQuest — the hardcore version — and I liked Vanguard (the earlier version, and what was actually finished). I like Brad’s overall vision of MMORPGs being actual RPGs and feeling like a virtual world. I like the old school mechanics: death penalties, difficulty, class identity and interdependencies, etc. If you read my blog, you know that’s who I am.

What I’m worried about here is whether or not Pantheon can actually take that ideology and build it around a game that’s actually fun. Mechanics aren’t enough. Without polish and a talented team to execute those mechanics around something playable (a game), you get nothing more than a generic D&D parser.

The idea of where Brad wants Pantheon to go sounds great, but right now Pantheon doesn’t look fun; In fact, it looks like it lacks a soul. I need to see that the team can deliver the game behind the ideology before I can get excited.

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  • I thought it looked like something I could play right now, at least as far as graphics and animations go. I’ve played plenty of MMOs that looked less polished when they were finished and yet were still very enjoyable. My main concern is the relentless focus on group group group. When I played EQ back at the turn of the century I played as much solo as I did group – EQ and Vanguard were both superb for solo play. I’m hoping for that balance again.

  • You know how you watch a movie with a hero and he seems like he’s badass and then the villian kicks his ass for the next hour but then he finally overcomes it and beats the villian to death with his pinkie and a cell phone?

    Yeah I’m still waiting for Brad to get to this last part. The “yes I knew it” part. I’m not sure if he will though. Does he have a mentor to teach him the 5 fingered death punch? It’s unclear at this time.

    This screamed early EQ to me. Which I liked. But you can’t use the 5 fingered death punch 3 times and expect the villains to not know its coming.

  • That’s very, very, very early development cycle? Then they have a freaking masterpiece on their hands. Another few passes on character textures and then maybe some spell effects as well… high res spell icons for quickbars… game is done visually.

    That environment looks better than most shit at release these days.

    So… honestly as long as they have enough zones, and enough classes to keep things interesting… its a win.

    Granted I haven’t even looked at their website or anything to know about the game. This is purely my snap judgement based on the video. But yea, I’m sticking with good fbombing job to them.

  • To be honest i want a much polished combat experience shown before i give in.
    I too have just hopes for the moment but i will definitely agree with you that it lacks soul. Animations and character models are way below average.
    Other than that they are over-complicating the whole relic system for example just for the sake of making it complicated. I really hope they see clear and go though with all those game systems they have come up with but make them enjoyable and fun instead of just dumb, or just have the heart to let some of them go or accept changes.