It's a familiar formula, but the approach is one of speed and constant reward. There's not a lot of waiting around, and while many - in fact most - of the game's actions could be described as traditional MMO grinding, it's all so quick and cheerful that you're onto the next task before the ennui hits.
Mythos rips out the downtime to focus on the raw, action fun of role-playing games. It's really only about killing monsters and collecting loot. This makes it shallow as all hell - but very deliberately so, and hugely entertainingly so. Again, it shows in the three character classes - much as the Pyromancer's almost a melee character on the quiet, the real melee character, the Bloodletter, can also summon a horde of demon thingies to fight for him. You're not boxed into the traditional single-purpose existence, but rather given a stuffed box of very different toys to play with. The combat itself is ridiculously fast and sparky compared to the invisible dice-rolls of WOW, Lord of the Rings Online et al - you're out there definably smacking stuff down yourself, utterly involved in the fight. Mythos is fun.
Mythos is an MMORPG? Well, in many ways it's not. It's focused a lot more on the Diablo experience - one character carving a path of destruction through a series of linked outdoor areas and instanced dungeons - than on WOW-style roaming and grouping. You're allowed to be selfish. You're all but encouraged to be so, really. Until the most recent major beta update, you'd barely even bump into anyone. There'd be a few folk lurking around the quest-and-shop hubs, and constant chatter over the chat channel, but generally you'd be carving up imps and skeletons on your tod. It was fun, but a little disconnected.
Just recently, however, there's been a change. The hubs have been replaced with the Overworld, a large, massively multiplayer bunch of landmass that links all the instanced dungeons. And yes, it's got monsters in it. So, you can carve up beasties with other players, group with random helpful folk or, if you're on the player-versus-player server, kill anyone on sight. Or even, if you're on the Hardcore PVP server, perma-kill anyone on sight.
Yep, Mythos panders to the fiercely dedicated player as much as it does to the casual. Final Death, and the total loot loss that goes with it, is a frankly terrifying prospect, but it's likely to add real gravitas to each and every fight. While most players will stick to the infinite magical resurrections of the standard servers, it's nevertheless a reflection of the pop nature of Mythos. Your character isn't necessarily a lifetime contract. They're there for a spot of fun - when you're bored, move on. Or, as the case may be, if you're brutally murdered by another player, move on.
So, is it Diablo but massively multiplayer, or World of Warcraft without the boring bits? It's both, and it's going to be huge. The looming threat of potential Diablo III announcement at the Blizzard invitational weekend this weekend might put a crimp in Mythos' plans - but there's still that crucial Free thing...