Bloke with axe is tough, bloke with magic is weak. So goes the stereotype, anyway. So you stand axe-bloke at the front chopping away merrily, and you stick magic-bloke at the back dealing out enormo-damage from afar without ever getting in harm's way. Thus has it ever been.
Free-to-play, Diablo-esque MMO Mythos disagrees. I'd resisted playing its magic class - the Pyromancer - at first, because frankly I dig hitting monsters with big axes. Eventually, I figured I'd better give it a look, so I created a new character - a lady Gremlin (cuter than it sounds) Pyromancer. Thanks to the game's no-time-wasted immediacy, I was off killing goblins and spiders within seconds. I'd expected to cough out of a few lame fireballs or a pathetic electro-zap. That's what RPG magicky types do, right? Instead, flames poured from my hands, like a lit match held in the path of a petrol spray. Enemies died in droves, popping brutally like bugs in a microwave. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed - more pyromaniac than Pyromancer. And this was while my character was just Level 1. By level 2 I was raining lava on my foes; by level 3 summoning insects made of fire to help me. I'd already suspected Mythos was going to be a success. When I realised how it made even the most basic MMO actions so powerful and so rewarding, I became sure it'd be huge.
"Mythos is free, Mythos is fun, Mythos is an MMORPG," goes the game's tagline. As well as being catchy, each of those statements is heavy with meaning. So, free? Yep, absolutely. Your account creation and subscription don't cost a penny, and you can access all of the game's areas and enemies. Money is, of course, involved - micropayments, to use that insidious term, buy bonus gear. The claim is that these paid-for items won't grant significant buffs to those that indulge, but rather be something decorative or entertaining. It's a bold and crazy plan - albeit it one that's worked very well in other markets for the likes of Maple Story - and we can only wait and see if it pays off. But right now let's go with the definite positive - Mythos is free.
Mythos is fun? Well, the Flaming Fist example above is a pretty good paradigm of this. Mythos isn't terribly interested in being original. In simple terms, it's a straight mix of Diablo, World of Warcraft and Fate, the freebie, super-cute action-RPG to which it's a spiritual sequel. You meet a lot of monsters, and you hammer the mouse button to kill them. You collect a lot of loot, and you equip it to become steadily more powerful or flog it to buy better trinkets. You develop sleepless nights obsessing over finding rare drops. That's really it, though of course here you have the option to partner up with other players, known or random, for your dungeoneering. There's also crafting, but again that's more a matter of collecting drops for parts and recipes by killing lots and lots and lots and lots of monsters, not by faffing around looking for bits of rock to mine.