Myth is a game design by hard-core gamers for hard-core gamers and makes no apologies about it. Far from trying to capture the mainstream or casual gamer market that so many companies have tried to court , Myth is a game that would quickly frighten away anyone who is not already familiar with other RTS games and who does not have the quick-clicking skills required by Myth . There is nothing wrong with this, of course, and it is pleasing to see a game that has the artistic conviction to know its audience and to stick to it. Indeed, since the game s developers are among the ranks of the hard-core gamers, it only makes sense that they will best know how to make a game that this audience will like. Often, when hard-core gamers try to make a game that the mythical casual gamer will enjoy, they end up making a game they themselves do not like very much, and that the casual gamer does not care much about either. It is very hard for an artist to make art that appeals to sensibilities that are at odds with his own, the end result often being works that are without appeal to any group or demographic.
But Myth did not have this problem; its developers created a game that no casual gamer would ever be able to pick up. One reason for this is the incredibly sophisticated and challenging set of controls. For instance, consider the control of the 3D rotating camera. As opposed to other RTS games at the time, where the camera could only move horizontally along with the terrain, Myth s camera can move horizontally, zoom in or zoom out, rotate around a point, or orbit around a point. Even experienced game players find it somewhat challenging to get used to this system. However, once the camera s movements are mastered, one finds that they are expertly designed and provide all of the freedom one could reasonably expect given the technology the game uses. The game is also littered with special keys for different commands, such as formations, special actions, and alternate attacks. Again, these commands, once mastered, provide players with a large degree of control over how their units move and attack, but do take some time to learn. Indeed, these keys make the game impossible to play with only the mouse, something almost all other RTS games focus on. The gestureclicking is another interesting feature, used for pointing units in a certain direction when they reach a given location. The system for gesture-clicking is quite powerful yet nearly impossible to learn without being taught in person or by practicing a great deal. Nonetheless, for the hard-core players who are willing to put in the time to learn the controls, the end result is an extremely enjoyable game-playing experience.
Myth is also an inherently hard game. Even for players experienced at RTS titles, the game will prove to be extraordinarily difficult from the get-go. Customarily, games include a few simple levels toward the beginning of the game, in order to give players a fighting chance while they are still learning the controls. Myth does not. Immediately, players are presented with barely accomplishable goals, where one mistake may make the level virtually unwinnable. By streamlining the game to focus on the tactical experience, players have much less of a chance to come back from behind since there is literally no way to rebuild their troops. The loss of a particular unit will often cause seasoned players to conclude that the level is now too hard to beat, so why bother? They will just restart the level instead. The sad thing is that, despite their great difficulty, the levels toward the beginning of the game are the easy levels, with the levels becoming exponentially harder from there. However, this is the sort of challenge that truly hard-core game players thrive on. It is not that the challenges are unfair, arbitrary, or unpredictable, at least not always. In most cases, players can beat the levels on their first time through; it is just extraordinarily difficult to do so.
Myth is the kind of game that many publishers would demand be simplified so that non-hard-core gamers would not be frightened off by its complex controls or sadistic level of difficulty. But if the game were simplified significantly, would it still be as compelling as it is now? Probably not. For whatever small number of casual gamers might be gained , large numbers of hard-core gamers would be lost.