The developers behind the upcoming fantasy MMORPG Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen have made it clear that their ambitious title is not a game for everyone. They have seen fail the MMOs which attempt to be one-size-fits-all, mass-appeal titles. Pantheon is not a casual game, it is intended to be a challenge and makes no apologies for it.
Won’t these choices affect their player-count and population? Perhaps. Yet Visionary Realms, much like CCP Games’s approach to EVE Online, will rely on their social focus and the good will of experienced players to welcome new players aboard. It’s not difficult to see how this would happen; Pantheon is only in its pre-alpha stage, and yet already has some of the most passionate fans around, trust us – we know:
This thread is like watching the Sci-Fi movie "Attack of the Fantheons!"
— Jim on Cape Cod💚💛🌊 (@Nagasakee_Waa) February 3, 2021
— MMOGames (@MMOGames) February 3, 2021
With that in mind, as part of MMOGames’ “The Pantheon Series” we asked Pantheon’s greatest fans “the fantheons”, most popular streamers, and biggest backers about just why they are so excited. All aboard the hype-train.
“I started playing MMOs at the age of 5, along with several other members of my family. It quickly became a way for us to bond and make memories together. Through that, I also learned the importance of working together, organization, and perseverance — all in a very fun way. This literally helped me develop skills that I then applied to my life outside of games in many ways. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for those many hours spent in MMOs. That’s not something I take lightly. And from conversations I’ve had with other players, many people have had similar results."
"It seemed to me that, over the years, MMOs in general started placing less and less of an emphasis on those traits that I found so valuable, like cooperation, exploration, and patience. For a while, I wondered if maybe I had witnessed the last generation of MMOs that really taught players those hard but crucial lessons. Needless to say, when I found Pantheon and learned that those qualities were built into the DNA of the game, it had my immediate attention. It feels like a world with a soul. Even on the journey to launch day, I’ve already had a lot of excellent experiences just by engaging with this community. I hope that by making memories and friendships in Pantheon, many more lives can be changed for the better.”
“Why am I excited about Pantheon? To begin with, the team at Visionary Realms is truly an under-dog unit working hard off of passion for a genre they love and want to bring back to its roots. While the project was initially headed by Brad McQuaid, a name synonymous with EverQuest and MMORPGs, make no mistake that this was truly an indie team with a grand vision. This true group of underdogs are leading a charge against the current MMORPG standards of solo play and meaningless leveling, and they are bringing back a truly meaningful group experience.
To me, I have always loved MMORPGs because they harken back to the days of sitting around a DnD table, working together against unsurmountable odds to discover, grow in power and conquer enemies hand-in-hand with your friends. That’s what MMORPGs were to me back in the day, and that’s what I believe Pantheon is bringing back to the genre. With group focused gameplay, meaningful leveling and character growth, and classes whom stand on their own identities, rather than giving everyone the ability to do everything; this dependance on one another, I believe, will reignite the social experiences missing in today’s MMORPGs.
While Pantheon harkens back to the olden days of MMORPGs however, I believe this game will also forge its way to being something new and exciting for fans of the genre. With a huge climbing system, akin to games like Breath of the Wild, exploration is taken to a new level. Add to that interesting climates that will challenge the player to adapt, and mystical atmospheres that allow the world’s most dangerous foes to take charge, and truly challenge the player. To me, Pantheon is truly player vs environment in a way that no other game is currently representing. Adding in other great features like perception, dispositions, progeny and more, Pantheon will truly stand on its own two feet in the genre, giving players an experience like no other MMORPG has before.
It’s not about fitting every genre into an MMORPG as we see so often, it’s about enhancing the qualities of what make a great core MMORPG for Visionary Realms, and I simply cannot wait to get into Terminus.”
the Nathan NAPALM:
“The world of Pantheon is being built to be a real place, somewhere they want you to feel is lived in and a place that is ancient and full of history, a place you don’t want to leave, somewhere to call home and unravel it’s mysteries. This is what has me most excited : the perception system : which is an entirely new idea for quests, yes there will be your standard quests (however no giant exclamation points above npc heads) but there will also be natural organic quests that happen like a Dungeon Master leading you on, things you notice, things that grab your attention and when you start to inspect leads you on a completely new adventure, and the more you do these, the more perceptive you will become and the more perception quests you will find. Imagine a really cool prop you’ve seen in an mmo however there was no interaction with it, no way to learn more about it, in Pantheon you can! Or imagine asking your DM a question about something and you roll for perception, that is how this will work except in Pantheon, these perception quests may have many secrets so you may see the info and your friends may not, why? Because of your race, your class, someone you have spoken with they they have not, because of your response to someone before that they dropped a hint on, and many other reasons. Then there is an entire gameplay system called becoming a Keeper behind the perception that means you can log all of these perception quests as well.
Also, of course Pantheon is the only MMO in development that is focusing on being social. Grouping up, looking for more, that is what Pantheon is all about: difficult content, open public dungeons, synergizing with your party, teamwork, meeting people, building social bonds, just like the golden age MMOs. They were fundamentally better games back then for so many of us but we have 0 representation in MMOs, even our favorite classics have been tainted and are now frankensteins as the devs all tried to twist their gameplay loops into a more WoW formula. Brad McQuaid of EQ fame saw us being ostracized and decided to do something about it. Many might complain that they want a solo experience and you CAN solo in Pantheon, but it will be very hard, very slow and you will die more often and eventually I’ll bet you end up in groups, playing with others. Please understand solo players: we social players have nowhere to go as modern MMOs all favor the solo player, pantheon is for us, solo players have every other mmo on the market, let us have our one opportunity.
This leads to memories, social bonds and a place that I will want to log into every single day: not just because it is fun, not just because I have things I want to accomplish, or raids to learn and defeat, not just for loot or for progression, but because I have genuine friends waiting on me. Some of those friends I have already made but there are thousands more in that world that I have not met and I am dying to not miss a single social interaction. This is how I used to feel about MMOs, what drove me to think about the game all day, 'I wonder what my friends (that I met in the game) are doing? Am I missing something cool? I wonder what adventures await me when I get home?' I can’t wait to return to having a real MMO home, and full social impact on every design decision that Pantheon has, builds that experience us old school MMO players crave and need, especially in a word of this pandemic and isolation, Pantheon couldn’t come soon enough for us.”
But wait, there’s more:
Well Done @MMOGames ! Excited to see: rewards tied to risk, an emphasis on the social grouping aspects, Brad's "Vision" without corp. interference, accessible Devs!, superb crafting that isn't grindy or dull, and fun exploring without in game maps, + a GREAT community of players!
— Jim on Cape Cod💚💛🌊 (@Nagasakee_Waa) February 3, 2021
Class identity. That feeling of meeting a specific need in a group, and having a world built around that design. The return of playing with others in an MMORPG, rather than just beside them. Making community truly matter.
— Therek 💚 (@PantheonTherek) February 3, 2021
I like how it is focused on roaming the world freely and finding secrets. I like that you'll be able to climb, that is something very new in MMOs.I have the sense that you're not going to be forced to rush the end game. (1-2)
— ☄Gaming Phanatic☄ (@Vampero) February 3, 2021
An MMORPG that doesn't follow the modern trend of being easy, solo-able, on rails, over-commercial, etc.
I want a challenging MMORPG where I *need* others to help me adventure and explore.
I want to feel I'm living in a dangerous fantasy world, not sitting in a theme park ride.
— Disposalist 💚 (@Disposalist) February 3, 2021
Yep, and the progeny system, atmospheres, climates, artifacts, glyphs, faction discovery, climbing...
— Jim on Cape Cod💚💛🌊 (@Nagasakee_Waa) February 3, 2021
I’m excited about the Perception system, meaningful class identity and group reliant gameplay. Let’s bring the massive multiplayer back to MMOs. AND CRAFTING! There’s a stream tomorrow showcasing pantheons crafting on their twitch channel. https://t.co/I212b3zAmY
— WalkingWaste (@WalkingWaste) February 3, 2021
A gaming world where choices matter, where classes are more than just mindless dps, heals or tanks. I am excited that Pantheon is more of a difficult (in a good sense) MMO, where things are not just handed to you on a silver platter. Really looking forward to Pantheon!!
— Valheru (@Valheru20) February 4, 2021
An in depth questing system that focuses on the personal yet requires a social aspect. Individuals involvement from the creators within the world instead of a entirely hands off approach that exists within games like WoW.
— Josh (@JoshuaA1304) February 3, 2021
For the previous two entries in “The Pantheon Series” where we dig into the game’s most exciting features, click here and here. The next piece will be out soon, where we take a deep dive into Brad McQuaid’s vision for an MMO that makes MMOs social again.
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