Every once and a while a game comes along that challenges the boundaries of the MMORPG genre and redefines previously standard gameplay mechanics. This is not that game. Mythborne is another point-and-click, browser-based MMORPG developed by R2Games. This time the game takes place in an environment that alludes to Ancient Greece. There are many familiar names such as Hercules, Hector, Athena, and Theseus; however, most of them don’t exactly look how I would have imagined. Akin to the typical R2Games artistic style, most in-game characters look like body builders or lingerie models. Despite the generic nature of the game, there is quite a lot of content and Mythborne overall has a bit more going for it than the last few R2Games titles I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.
The story isn’t terribly engaging and has the player proving his worth to the various Greek gods while battling hordes of zombies, skeletons and orcs. It’s entirely possible to play through the entire game without reading a word of text. By simply clicking on the quest box the game will literally move your character from quest to quest and only requires the player’s input during battles or when upgrading equipment. Additionally, most quests are level locked so even if you’re entirely capable of clearing the next mission the game holds you back, which can create the artificial need to grind.
While the idea of “interactive combat” should never really be a selling point, since the entire purpose of a game is to interact with the environment and actually be a part of it, there’s been a general trend for browser-based MMORPGs to be entirely automated. In my League of Angels review I overtly made it known that players had zero input when it came to battles. Each fight was essentially predetermined before it even happened because players don’t even have the option of picking skills during combat.
Thankfully, in Mythborne this isn’t nearly as big of an issue and there is a bit of control over what happens during a fight. However, this doesn’t mean that the combat system is fully functional either. On a positive note, players can choose which attacks will go off at any point during battle. Unfortunately, you can’t select which opponent is attacked. At times it seems to default to the closest character, but other times characters will randomly change who they attack. Furthermore, the pool of skills is relatively shallow and even by level 40 I only had four active, and one passive, skills. These consisted of three single-target attacks and one attack row ability. This doesn’t exactly allow for a variety of options, and the best choice is usually to rotate from the strongest attacks, which all have cooldown timers, to the weakest “standard attack.”
Although I’ve had limited time with different classes, based on what I’ve seen every classes has relatively cookie-cutter skillsets. Just like with most other R2Games, each classes starts with a few single-target skills, almost exact copies of each other, and a multi-target ability. Even upon reaching higher levels the amount of total skills available isn’t incredibly dynamic. There appear to be seven total active and four passive skills for each class. The passive skills are also very basic and includes things like a small percent increase to damage or rage accumulation.
The worst part about skills, however, is that in order to unlock any after the first four they have to be purchased with Prestige. Prestige is earned through the arena, albeit at a very slow rate, and attempts are limited to 15 per day. I’ve been averaging approximately 5,000 prestige each day and the most expensive skill costs 300,000 prestige. Not only do skills have to be purchased, but so do skill books that increase their levels. There are various ways to obtain these such as dungeons, daily honor and crafting, but these also become very costly at higher levels. This equates to a significant amount of daily grinding that should probably be expected when playing this type of game.
REPREHENSIBLE MENU SYSTEM
My biggest visual complaint about Mythborne is the ridiculous amount of in-game event icons that always float on the top of the screen. Normally there’s no such thing as too much content, but the way it’s displayed is very convoluted and at times can be confusing. By level 40 there are approximately two pages of 20 event icons at the top of the screen and 15 character customization icons at the bottom. Almost all of these events only take place during certain times of the day and other ones can only be accessed a specific number of times each day.
Instead of having them flashing on the top of the screen, it would have been much better to place them into different categories and create dropdown menus. With everything cluttering the screen I’ve often spent minutes trying to find which event or upgrade screen I was actually looking for because it’s not organized in any logical manner. Despite this clutter, there is a good amount of additional content from the main quest line including dungeons, raids, farms, multiplayer instances, and PvP. However, none of it is particularly innovative and has been used in many other similar games.
QUESTIONABLE PAYMENT MODEL
R2Games has been known for some of the worst pay-to-win systems in gaming history. Generally their MMORPGs are simply who can spend the most money and they win at everything. Although Mythborne does have some pay-to-win elements it isn’t nearly as offensive as similar games. Regardless of how much money you spend, it doesn’t seem like you can directly buy more powerful equipment. However, VIP players do gain a significant amount of additional perks such as increased arena battles, dungeon runs and crafting material. This equates to faster leveling and increased chance of obtaining better equipment through more item drops.
Even though Mythborne isn't the worst MMORPG on the market, there are still much better choices available. If only compared to other browser-based games then this one isn’t too terrible, but the auto questing and limited combat features really hold it back.
Lots of content
No significant bugs
Not completely automated
Lack of innovation
Cookie-cutter character classes