Pantheon: Rise of the fallen the latest MMORPG spearheaded by Brad McQuaid, who you might remember for his earlier works such as EverQuest and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Brad has been working with his very dedicated team at Visionary Realms to build the MMORPG that is going to be “Your Game”. I would like to think that Pantheon is like the little engine that could; with every hurdle that has been thrown their way Visionary Realms has shown their true colors as a professional team with no intention to ever give up. It’s great to see that not only have they done this with a strong demonstration of their passion and desire to make a great game, but they have done it with a graceful style.
What is Pantheon RotF? Here’s a brief description from Visionary Realms themselves:
“Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen takes place on Terminus, a high fantasy world of powerful deities, valiant heroes, insidious enemies and fantastic creatures. What makes Pantheon unique is that in addition to traditional fantasy races and classes, the world of Terminus has been formed from the “shipwrecked” fragments of many different realms and worlds, bringing their unique civilizations and Celestial deities with them. It is into the current age of this wonderful and mysterious world that players will step foot for the first time. Realms long lost, explored anew. Peoples and cultures striving to gain a foothold in this unfamiliar world, forming alliances and vying for power. Uncovered civilizations and awe-inspiring locales that offer new and incredible adventures for you and your friends to experience. Enter a world where the environment itself tells the story and where content is always king!”
Working from the bottom to develop a high quality title on only their vast and varied experience, the lack of early funds for Pantheon forced the Visionary Realms team to work pro bono, and of course working for next to nothing is a hard sell when keeping a team motivated. The roster changed a bit at first within the studio, but not a tremendous amount. Over time more came and went until the team of only the most dedicated to the project was assembled.
My goal has been to keep Pantheon alive no matter what and to ride the storm out. Instead of joining the debate and argument, especially when it got ugly, I focused on building a new team. It so happened that I had a friend who had been working on a religious niche MMO for years using a volunteer only team. I tapped into her knowledge of volunteer and remote team building and much to my amazement was able to start reassembling a team far more rapidly than I thought possible. -Brad McQuaid
With a new team and a goal to show that Pantheon was not going away, Visionary Realms began dropping periodic new screen shots on their Facebook page of their demo build to keep everyone enticed. We all know that these were very early build ideas, but I didn’t see anything that I had not seen before in other games. I had to go on the precedence that graphics were not everything and knowing Brad’s past this was going to be a fantastic story instead. Pictures will only go so far of course and just like many others I wanted to see more.
The team was constantly in touch with everyone and promised that we would see more very soon. In August of 2014 they put together a small and very rough video update of their progress. I would assume that these were more or less to show people that Pantheon RotF was indeed moving forward. My first impression was this is very much like Vanguard Saga of Heroes or EverQuest possibly a child of the two. Every thing from the UI to even the design of the environment. Many of the VG fans would love nothing more than to see a 2.0 version of this game, I myself thought it was a fantastic game. Of course When making a new project, especially with a new team, they don’t want to be shadowed by the past. After seeing comments like these and the desire to see more, the team began to pump out lots of updates and with considerably more content to show what they had in store for Pantheon. Still most of these updates were not very polished and looked a little crude, leading to a bit of good and bad attention from the community – but it showed that Visionary Realms was indeed pressing on to build “An MMO developed by gamers who aren’t afraid to target an audience of like-minded gamers”.
Most of the early content showed us that the world of Terminus was very large and was geared towards exploration something that Brad emphasized over and over again would be a huge aspect of the game.
He also warned us that exploration does not come without some risk but if a group of adventurers were willing to take that risk the rewards would be great. I can argue this till I am blue in the face but I love a game with risk from death penalties or freakishly overpowered mobs that I have never seen before barreling down on my party. This gives that game a feeling of purpose your not just plopping down in your computer chair for grinding time, killing the same mobs over and over again. Perhaps you like running the same dailies repeatedly, or doing meaningless quests in a hub that has you trudging back and forth killing even more time keeping you confined to a small zone – that’s not me. This is why I like that feeling of exploring and finding places that I have never been. I cannot count how many times in Vanguard I would make a wrong turn, pop up over a ridge and find some new village or haunted mansion dungeon that I have never seen. We do know that Pantheon will not be a seamless world, meaning it will have zones, but this is simply because this makes the building processes a little easier and quicker to complete. This will give the team more time to focus on building more lore and story driven content. Something that the target audience would like to see come from this game.
We’re not just building a game, but a virtual world you can call home. -Brad McQuaid
By November of 2014 The team has been hard pressed to keep pumping out large quantities of content almost every week, with even more pics on Facebook, and two more video’s. This last video shows us more of the world of Terminus with a glimpse of weather conditions in game, mobs, and some of the combat system.
Much would be quiet for the holidays in 2014, with a few updates here and there until mid January 2015. We were presented with the first developer round table where Brad McQuaid, Chris Perkins, Branden Snowberger, John Diasparra, and Justin Gerhart would fill us in with Pantheon’s new trajectory for the new year. They talked about music, is they game going to be subscription based or free to play and so on. Perhaps one of the biggest parts that stuck out to me in this was when they informed us that now was the time to swing the pendulum back a bit away from mass content and more over to quality content. Brad said several times that this swing would only be a nudge though. Either way this is great news because now we will get to see what the Unity engine could really do. You can check out their latest video here.
I look forward to more updates and more surprises from the team at Visionary Realms and while they still seek funding I am confident that with the talent and drive they show they won’t be seeking funding for much longer. For more information on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, head over to the official website at www.pantheonrotf.com and keep looking for more updates right here on PowerLeveled.