The colorful massively multiplayer online role-playing action game Mythos had a lengthy development history that started back in 2006 when it was worked on by Flagship Studios Seattle. In mid-2008, South Korean publisher HanbitSoft and developers T3 Entertainment and Redbana took over after Flagship Studios shut down. Fast-forward to now, and the European client of the new MMO game called Mythos is now up for grabs and in an open beta stage. We were onto the scene like bees to honey, if said honey were a treasure trove of rare swords and equipment. While Mythos had its share of problems, the game's cheery environment and fast-paced gameplay showed signs of promise.
Players get to choose from four races (humans, satyrs, gremlins, and cyclopes), with their own minor stat bonuses and resistance to a particular element, and three classes. These classes are the spellcasting pyromancer, the melee-focused bloodletter, and the long-ranged gadgeteer. After much contemplation, we decided to start off our loot-hoarding adventures using a red-skinned and green-haired satyr gadgeteer. Since each race has its own stat bonuses to offer, we went for the satyr's 20 percent poison resistance and +3 mana bonuses. Besides, their horns were too stylish to pass up.
Our character, whom we lovingly named GodivaGSA, started off on the farmlands of Windfall Village with nothing more than a rifle and a shabby coat. After dealing with the obligatory tutorial, where we learned the controls and how to craft items, we went from Windfall Village to the Stone Hill Market, where most of the highlighted questing was located. The peaceful area of Stone Hill Market houses 10 dungeons (randomly generated level structure-wise) that cater to both the low- and high-leveled warriors. Since we couldn't go to a high-leveled dungeon called the Hungry Spider Den because of GodivaGSA's low level, we grinded and completed all manner of material-collection quests and boss hunts in dungeons like the Emerald Cave and the Delphino Sanctuary. With each area we traversed, we took about 10 to 20 minutes clearing every nook and cranny of mobs and monsters while acquiring treasures from unguarded chests.
In the crypt-themed stage called the Ancient Warrior's Grave, we fought against shambling zombies and gremlins, both of which moved slowly and were susceptible to our gadgeteer's rifle. We did have trouble dealing with the speedier Boarmen and Ghouls. The former could perform a damaging charge, while the latter could throw a vial that summoned three shambling zombies. Left unchecked, a pack of Ghouls could overrun a beginner. The obligatory skeletons also came in two flavors: swords and bow-and-arrows.
The bosses at the bottom of each of these dungeons are also presented in different forms and functions. The giant goblin orc hybrid called Seanpell Jo can summon snakes and zombies while also performing a tunneling ground attack. The huge skeleton knight Hamahas, who resides in the Ancient Warrior's Grave, not only teleports, but can also shoot an eight-way fireball and pulsates random electric shocks from its opulent figure. It would be foolish for our gadgeteer to collide with these behemoths head-on, so we played to her strengths and used her gadgets, like her lightning turret and grenades, to level the playing field.
Since this is an action RPG, we need to shed some light on the game's skill tree. Each class has three specialization tabs filled with a plethora of skills you can upgrade with skill points that are earned by leveling up. For GodivaGSA, she had the marksman, the grenadier, and the tinkerer specialization tabs to mix and match skill sets with. While the majority of the skills on each tab are locked out, they can be unlocked by allocating skill points onto the right bar called the skill tier. This may seem like a waste of time, but putting hard-earned skill points onto the skill tier gives you permanent stat boosts in small but cumulative increments.
For our gadgeteer, we upgraded the skill tab up to five levels and then focused mostly on her tinkerer specialization tab because summoning lightning turrets and hovering life-leeching tesla widgets seemed more fun to us than the rest of the skills offered. Just for variety's sake, we added in rally from the marksman tab, which beefs up her stats temporarily when she offs an enemy, and noxious grenade from the grenadier tab, which enables her to chuck area-clearing toxic grenades.
Mythos also adds in the ability to wear your achievements as literal badges. As you complete tasks, you will gain a bevy of them, ranging from just playing the game for a certain amount of time to killing a specific boss in an area. After getting one, you can open up the achievements tab and equip them onto the top slot. Not only does your character's title change, but he or she also gets a minimal boost in stats.
You can equip one achievement for each of the 10 levels your character gains, with the added benefit of each achievement stacking up with another. Killing Seanpell Jo enabled the Traitor's End achievement, which granted a +1% bonus to damage, while spending a long time wandering in Uld bestowed the Time Traveler achievement, which gave our gadgeteer a life bonus. Some achievements are hidden and can also be gained not just by combat; failing to craft an item 50 times will give you the Aim High achievement, which grants a 4 percent bonus to your crafting.
Our main issue in the game is lag, or more specifically, the kind which determines for half a second whether you hit a creature with your weapon or whether you are receiving damage. This was made evident when we tried to bypass a flame jet trap. There is no way to get through these traps unharmed without blind luck. Even when we figured out the timing of the jets and passed through when it was down, our gadgeteer still took damage. Speaking of which, our attacks on monsters made them flinch even if it was a missed attack.
Some quests we completed did not trigger, which meant that we had to log out of the world and log in to restart completing them. Other quests which required the collection of 10 or more specific items could not be completed due to a limited number of enemies in the dungeon, which also led to logging out and restarting the quest again. We should also bring up the limited inventory space, but since extra slots can be purchased with real money (converted into the in-game currency, called bones), we figured that this was the trade-off when playing a really good-looking and free-to-play action RPG.
Time will tell if HanbitSoft will fix the aforementioned problems and improve the overall loot-hunting experience during the open beta period, but at the very least, the plethora of options to communicate and group up with other Mythos users seems to prove that the developer and publisher are banking on this to capitalize on the action-RPG space before Diablo III arrives. We're also curious as to what the other regions, like the Bloodbristle Desert, the Umbral Peaks, and Fog Island of Horror, will have in terms of monsters and epic loot, so our treasure-laden exploration of Uld is far from over.