Welcome to the second article in our new series exploring Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – a hyper-ambitious upcoming fantasy MMORPG from independent developers Visionary Realms, Inc.

Last time, we published a popular article highlighting some of the most unique and exciting Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen features. These highlights included the NPC Disposition system, climates, atmospheres, and a brief breakdown of its in-depth lore. But frankly, the long-awaited title from Visionary Realms has far too many features to be described in one article alone. As part of MMOGames’ “The Pantheon Series”, we’re back with more incredible Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen features that keep us praying that the crowdfunded fantasy MMORPG will see an alpha release this year.

Classic MMO Gameplay

As an homage to the games that brought the genre to life, Visionary Realms are going to great lengths to fulfil their promise of a classically spirited MMO. What does this mean in real terms? Limited fast-travel options, a bustling open-world, consequences for dying, essential group play in questing and exploration, side-lined questing, and the avoidance of end-game focus. After all, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

The Progeny System

In a system that has been compared to Everquest’s Alternative Advancement (AA), players will be able to retire their characters and continue their legacy through their offspring. While the details are yet to be revealed, the children of great heroes will start again at Level 1 yet inherit some of the traits, stats, or skills of their antecedents.

To ensure balancing, it’s unlikely that these inherited traits will be too powerful, but in a game with a philosophy all about challenge – every little advantage helps. By incentivizing replays and releveling, the progeny system should benefit the title by populating early-stage areas while creating a compelling narrative of legacy. We eagerly await more details on this system, which we could imagine being taking to fascinating places: Will daughters continue the noble heritage of their fathers? Will grandchildren revolt against everything their forbearers held dear? Will players spend small fortunes to buy the offspring of legendary players’ characters? We can’t wait to find out.

The Perception System

Following the proliferation of forums, when players get stuck into a game they typically search online for a solution. While helpful, this removes the elements of discovery and trial-by-error that made early MMOs so appealing. In Pantheon, the race and class of your character, what you’ve done and where you’ve been all affect the ways in which characters experience the world. Every player’s journey is unique.

Players can become “keepers” – granting them with extra-sensory abilities that allow them to spot new routes through dungeons, find unseen quests, or discover hidden lore. The decisions they make will evolve these perceptions in a subtle yet immersive environment-driven level of intuitive storytelling that sits atop more traditional quests. Some of Pantheon’s greatest fans have likened the perception system to an inbuilt D&D dungeon master.

A Climbable World

Ever since Syrian-born Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad parkoured onto our screens in the first Assassin’s Creed, gamers have loved the freedom of being able to climb. The days when small fences and hedgerows locked us into an area are long behind us. Now every gamer has a favourite climbing game, from Tomb Raider and Unchartered to Dying Light and Breath of the Wild.

Pantheon has long been billed as having a majority climbable world, but the true robustness of its mountaineering potential was only revealed last spring when the developers promised players would be able to climb any surface. This hugely exciting feature for an MMO breathes untold potential into exploration, combat strategy, and environmental immersion.

Restrictions are expected to prevent players from climbing ad-infinitum. Whether they will take the form of a climbing stat levelling system and/or via stamina restrictions is yet to be revealed. With such a detailed and exciting environment to explore, seeing how developers and players alike will use climbing in the search for lost treasures or dealing with fearsome bosses will be a true treat. There is little doubt that the Visionary Realms team have the imagination to use perilous peaks and arduous climbs to help both players and the title reach lofty new heights.

Situational Gear

In Pantheon, there is no ultimate weapon or piece of gear for a class. Situational Gear is just that, situational. The ideal loadout for a Ranger crossing a goblin-laden sub-tropical forest alone will be radically different than the loadout he/she would choose were they a member of a party surmounting a treacherous mountain ascent plagued by flying beasts and snowstorms. Similarly, ‘bane’ items are super effective against particular types of mobs.

So why does this matter? Pantheon is a challenging PvE focused game that will require strategy and cooperation at every turn. It forces players into the classic strategy and preparation of hardcore RPGs like Outward. Should a player choose the wrong gear, they are not only losing out on advantages, but may be actively disadvantaging themselves. In the early days of RPGs, the joys of returning to a village to rest and restock were just as joyous as the adventures. Why? Because they felt like they mattered. With extreme environments and challenging gameplay, Pantheon’s gear choices will be more important than ever.

The Living Codex

Think of the Living Codex as a little like a dynamic DnD character sheet for each class. It is an “extraordinary book” that serves as the complete compendium for your class’s special abilities. Here’s an explanation from from Pantheon’s Gamepedia page:

“The first section of the Codex, labeled "Essential", will contain the host of standard abilities that characters can naturally train throughout their lifetime. However, in Pantheon, many of the most powerful and exotic abilities can only be found out in the wilds of Terminus: from heavily guarded treasure vaults, dangerous enemies and unimaginable locations -- these most powerful abilities are written on legendary parchments known as Prime Scrolls. The second section of the Codex, labeled ‘Transcendent’, is built for the scribing and intensifying of these powerful Prime Scroll abilities."

"Once scribed, players will be able to memorize a total of 10 abilities, mixing both Essential and Transcendent abilities as desired. Once memorized, players will be able to place these abilities on their Ability Bar, giving them full access to their use.”

To read about Pantheon’s other most impressive features, check out the first entry in The Pantheon Series. Over the next few months, we’ll be digging deeper into the much-hyped crowdfunded title through interviews, fan feedback, and a more detailed breakdown of the unique aspects that have its backers so excited.

We want to provide a special shout-out to some passionate content creators and Pantheon hype-fans extraordinaire whose brilliant synopses of Pantheon content were highly useful for the creation of this Pantheon series. For great video content on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, be sure to check out the channels of The Nathan NAPALM, BazgrimTV, and PantheonPlus.

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