For those of you who donít know, Hellgate: London is the MMO style RPG made by the former Diablo II team at Flagship Studios. It was released on Halloween 2007 to an eager fan base who, for the most part, were disappointed. I do not count myself among the disappointed Diablo II fans who thought Hellgate would be the second coming. I eagerly purchased my lifetime subscription as soon as I could and began playing right away. Months later, my girlfriend and I still play this game regularly.
Unfortunately, even though the game is improving all the time, Hellgate is losing players daily it seems. Iím sure itís just a vocal minority but the Hellgate forums have no lack of posts about people leaving the game for whatever reason. I wrote this blog in the hopes that more people would give this game the second look it deserves. Without further adieu, hereís my clichť internet list:
3. It is not a ďrealĒ MMORPG
The thing I hear RPG players complain about the most is that Hellgate is not a ďtrueĒ MMO. This is because of the hub system employed in Hellgate. The way it works is simple. There are areas known as Stations that act as typical towns. From here players can see other players, trade items and join parties. Inside each station are several portals to monster infested dungeon areas. These areas are instanced so only you and your party can access them. In this sense, itís not like WoW or Everquest where you have a huge open world that everybody shares. This initially turned a lot of players away but I personally enjoy the privacy. If I want to play with other people I can do so, but I can also take my time and go it solo if I feel like it.
2. It was released in beta form
I blame EA for this personally. I have love for the Evil Empire but they screw me over on the regular. Itís an abusive relationship. Anyways, the release date for Hellgate: London was Halloween and somebody at EA or Flagship was desperate to hit that date because Hellgate was broken when it came out. As a former beta tester I can tell you that very few of the problems in the beta were fixed for the retail launch of the game. Disappearing characters, items that were upgraded only to receive worse stats, glitchy quests and a broken subscription service were just a handful of the problems Flagship should have ironed out before shoving Hellgate out the door. While it has been vastly improved since then, I donít blame anybody who avoided Hellgate in its formative months.
1. You play too much World of Warcraft
Iíve never played WoW myself but chances are if youíre into MMOs you play or have played a lot of WoW. Even if itís not WoW itís Everquest or Tabula Rasa or any number of other big name RPGs that youíre playing way too much of. Hellgate is a growing game and it needs support from subscribers and non-subscribers alike, so even if you donít want to pay the $10 a month for the subscriber content, I encourage you to buy the basic game and check it out, you wonít regret it.
5. Itís free to play online and just about anybody can run it
Not only does Hellgate: London feature an offline mode, you can also play through the entire story online for free. Take that WoW, with your shitty 1-month free trial. So buy the basic game, play through with a couple of characters and if you like it, subscribe and get all the cool bonus stuff and if not, you havenít wasted money on subscription fees. In addition to the low low price of free, Hellgate: London is incredibly scalable. It will play on most older machines while still looking incredible on high end rigs. There is really no reason every RPG fan shouldnít play this game.
4. Itís been patched, a lot
From the very beginning, the guys and gals at Flagship have been working hard to improve their game and make it everything it can be. Recent additions make it easier to find parties looking for members and chat with your friends. The forthcoming patch 1.2 will introduce a new Email system that will allow you to send items from character to character which will make it much easier to mule. The game is where it needs to be and getting better. Your support can only make it grow even more.
3. Unique Armor
This is really my opinion more than anything else, but the armor in Hellgate: London looks really cool. Check out my Blademaster and my girlfriendís
Engineer to see for yourself:
2. Original Setting
Going along with the cool armor, the setting in Hellgate London is really fresh. Sure the post apocalyptic, demon infested world has been done before but Hellgate: London has a certain style about it that I just love. Iíll admit that in the beginning Flagship didnít provide nearly enough tile-sets but they are including new ones with every patch and the ones they have are really beautiful. It sounds weird to say that about Hellgateís endless sewers, basement hallways, decrepit streets and creepy forests but itís honestly how I feel. This original setting also breeds original character classes. People who like to swing a sword will be at home with the Guardian or Blademaster while first person shooter fans will like the Marksman and Engineer. Magic fans can do their thing with the Evoker and Summoner classes. Notice the lack of a dedicated healing class? Thatís because Hellgate: London is a lot like Diablo II in that the characters are all about dealing out massive amounts of damage. This helps to break up the Healer/DPS/Tank party mechanic of most MMOs.
1. The Subscriber content is really badass
If you take my advice and check this game out you may find yourself wondering if the subscriber content is worth the $10 a month. Let me just say, hell yes it is. I bought a life time subscription when I had the chance and while you canít get that anymore I recommend doing the monthly thing because the extras in this game are awesome. The biggest subscriber only addition is the Stonehenge station. It is the biggest station in the game and the place where most people hang out to form parties and such. It is also the only zone which features farmable bosses, a feature lacking in the beginning months of the game. Stonehenge wonít be the last of the subscriber only zones either. Thereís already another one in the works for patch 2.0. Other things in the pipeline include new character classes, which I personally cannot wait for. Like I already mentioned, Hellgate has really unique character classes and the prospect of more has this gamer drooling.
Hopefully this blog convinced you to give Hellgate a second look. It got a lot of negative press when it first came out and Iíve always wanted to contribute some positive press for the game, in whatever small way I can. RPG fans, youíve been warned. Play this game or miss one of the most under-appreciated online RPGs of all time.