Despite some compelling solo play - featuring multi-character parties - and a diverse collection of interesting architecture and landscapes, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising is still a dungeon crawler at heart. And with lead designer - of Diablo and StarCraft fame - Stieg Hedlund steering the ship, it looks like Gods and Heroes' dungeons are heading in the right direction.
We dove deep into one of the first group instances you'll encounter, the Volcanic Vents with Hedlund, and his co-worker at Perpetual Entertainment, Anthony Ruelas. Sure, there's a ton of back story about how Telchine-made automatons - monsters manufactured en mass to help the Telchine reclaim Rome from the gods - have been erupting from the Volcanic Vents like lava. But what really caught our attention was the attention paid to designing what seems like a damn fun instance.
Hedlund led the way as a Gladiator tank, pulling mobs at a breakneck pace while holding all their aggro, while we held on for dear life, dropping light heals with our Nomad and launching our minions at his targets. But the main reason we were able to keep up our non-stop kill-a-thon going was all thanks to Ruelas and his excellent healing skills with his Priest. Together, we passed what seemed like dozens of automatons, standing at attention eerily before foreboding and mysterious devices like soulless statues as we pressed forward through the red hot caves. After entering the depths of the dungeon, we crossed wide rivers of molten lava via giant stone pathways and bridges.
The dungeon's mid-level boss, Eidolo was no match for the aggro holding power of Hedlund, the restorative prowess of Ruelas, and our mediocre skills with the Nomad. We grabbed the key to an area previously blocked off and began our trek back towards the gate leading to Volcanic Vent's final boss. But defeating Eidolo starts an event where one of his henchmen runs wild, flipping switches near each group of the motionless automatons ahead. As he passed each automaton, they sprang to life and began patrolling, looking for invaders.
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