Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising

Sony Online Entertainment has released a massive load of new screens of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, its newonline RPG,which will be released for PC this winter.

Set in a fantastical vision of ancient Rome, Gods & Heroes charges gamers with the defense of the Empire, which is constantly under threat from neighboring civilizations and mythical creatures such as Gorgons and Minotaurs.

Gamers will enter the world as an exiled hero and their first task when creating their character will be choosing a god to align with. This choice influences the type of powers your warrior will have and later in the game willaffect which other units can be added to your squad -your character can assemble a team of up to eight additional AI characters to help them out.

In fact, this is a huge part of the gameplay, and it circumvents a huge problem that plagues many existing MMOs - the fact that, even in the six million-strong World of Warcraft, it's a huge logistical problem to get 40 players in the same place at the same time to go on raids. And that's assuming they all cooperate.

This problem is alleviated in Gods & Heroes. Because it's possible for each player to recruit up to eight underlings and put them in various battle formations, a small group of only five players can command a total force of 45 combatants (five squads of nine members each). This makes it easier to meet up with one another, make a battle plan, and whack the various phoenix, medusas, hydras, chimera and other mythical nasties into taxidermy.

The gameplay basics have a lot in common with EverQuest but developer Perpetual is attempting to implement a more complex, real-timefighting system (complete with parry moves and cataclysmic, God-powered blasts)to encourage gamers to be more discerning with their choice of attacks.

There will be over 1,000 different story-driven missions to undertakeand you'll beable toexplore what looks like a beautifully realized Roman Empire.

May 15, 2006