Hellgate:London
Autopsy

 By Shamus Jun 6, 2008 55 comments

One of the major reasons I picked up Hellgate: London was because I knew it wasn’t very good.

This is a game crafted by the people who brought us Diablo II, a title which still captivates fans a decade after it more or less created a new genre of game and defied others to supplant it. A title with such fantastic inertia that it is still, right now, on store shelves, even as the shelf space for new PC games dwindles to almost nothing.

Eventually the Diablo II team left Blizzard, formed their own company, and set about to topple their own creation. Their vision resonated deeply with fans: Diablo, but first-person, with guns, fighting zombies, in a post-apocalyptic future. It’s Diablo meets Doom meets Fallout. This wasn’t just a game concept, this was a roadmap for world domination. Would anyone ever stop playing this game? Would there be any point to making more games after this one was released?

The answer came last Halloween when the game lurched onto store shelves and people discovered that it was surprisingly easy to stop playing. Somewhere in the transition the gameplay had lost all narcotic attributes. Somehow they had managed to re-create the game but stripped out the essential components which made Diablo II such a juggernaut. Since I was never able to pinpoint what made that game so good in the first place, I thought picking up Hellgate might help to draw those elements into sharp relief. If I could see what Diablo has that Hellgate doesn’t, then I might have a better understanding of where the magic came from.

So, when I saw Hellgate for $20 I figured it was time to find out. I feel compelled to point out that this recent A-list game is now selling for ten bucks cheaper than the expansion pack for its ten-year-old predecessor. Given the purportedly huge marketing push behind this game, this $20 price tag functions roughly like having the word FAIL on the box in large block letters.

So now I’m driven to play the game, not in pursuit of entertainment, but in a search for answers. The people who made Hellgate:London are talented, seasoned developers with a proven track record. How they managed to not make a brilliant game is something I’m eager to learn. I’ve installed it and dabbled a bit, but this weekend I’ll clock some real hours and try to see where they went wrong. I’m not so much playing the game as performing an autopsy on it.

I will say this: Whatever their shortcomings, the team at Flagship can take comfort in knowing that their cinematic craft remains undiminished. The opening cutscene is wonderfully done.


20201555 comments. It's getting crowded in here.


  1. Deoxy says:

    I feel compelled to point out that this recent A-list game is now selling for ten bucks cheaper than the expansion pack for its ten-year-old predecessor.

    This bears repeating. Ouch.

  2. Dan says:

    Wow. What an outstanding intro, Shamus. You, unlike the developers of Hellgate: London, have outdone yourself.

  3. Solka says:

    We are with you, Shamus. We will feel your pain, and withstand your crushing despair alongside you.

    Good luck

    This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds

  4. coffee says:

    Well, my 2GP is that the reason Hellgate isn’t as good as Diablo 2 is that it lacks woad-covered Barbarians.

    Woad!

  5. Adam Bloom says:

    But Diablo 2 didn’t even HAVE large quantities of woad-covered Barbarians until the expansion pack, and it was inarguably awesome even pre-expansion pack.

  6. Crystalgate says:

    I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on this issue. A popular opinion is that “EA happened”, but I’ll be curious to what a more indept analysis will bring.

  7. Lanthanide says:

    “I will say this: Whatever their shortcomings, the team at Flagship can take comfort in knowing that their cinematic craft remains undiminished. The opening cutscene is wonderfully done.”

    Unfortunately that was outsourced to Blur (entertainment?), a company that specialises in CG cinematics. Apparently most of the artwork and monster design for the game was outsourced to other companies, which is part of why it is all such a big mish-mash.

    You’ll discover that the cinematics done in-house are much poorer – you get to look at a book that has pages being turned. Woop.

    Crystalgate – yes, EA happened. At the start of 2007 Flagship hit some snags and EA came to the rescue, but with an ambitious release deadline of Halloween. Had EA not happened, the game probably wouldn’t have been released at all – they certainly took their sweet time to deliver what they did: IIRC they started FSS in the middle of 2002 – so 5 years spent on HGL, which is at the long end of most game dev time.

  8. Bruce says:

    Never played Diablo, never going to play Hellgate London. Look forward to your thoughts, comments and probably several comics…

  9. Cineris says:

    First person and a post-apocalyptic setting gives me an indication why the game didn’t end up doing so well. Having an RPG that’s primarily first person is a tough move, since RPGs want complex interfaces that require the mouse, and FPS games want precision mouse control. And post-apocalyptic is just generally a setting that I think has less appeal than standard-fare fantasy.

  10. Jadawin says:

    I totally failed to see what made Diablo (and Diablo II) any more than “adequate”- I played through each of them once and never felt any desire to go back.

  11. Phlux says:

    I’ll echo Crystalgate. I’m by no means anti-corporate…EA has published quality titles and it will publish more. It’s also published a lot of crap titles, as have most other publishers.

    Interference by the publisher isn’t always a bad thing. I’m pretty sure that Hellgate was a case of:

    EA: Holy crap guys you’ve been working on this for like 4 years….are you EVER going to have something that’s fun to play?

    Flagship: You can’t rush us…this game is evolving, growing changing, and it’s going to be awesome…just be patient!

    EA: Aren’t you engineer types good at math? The longer you work on this game, the more it costs and the more copies we have to sell.

    Flagship: Our fans love us…this game will sell at least as well as Diablo 2.

    EA: This game cost 4 times as much to make as Diablo 2…is it going to sell 4 times as well?

    Flagship: We’ve got subscription fees…we could be like the next WoW!

    EA: Lets be realistic…this is never going to be a WoW killer…and it shares a huge part of the WoW demographic. We’re just hoping the subscription fees pay for the online service so it doesn’t lose money.

    etc….

    I’m a gamer and a business person…so I kind of see both sides of the argument. In an ideal world Hellgate would have been developed to perfection…but in reality the cost of that perfection would ultimately have made it impossible to turn a profit.

  12. xbolt says:

    I haven’t played either game, but I look forward to your report anyway.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wasnt it diablo 1 that created that genre?Diablo 2 was just a (well) polished version of its predecessor.

    Somehow,none of the EA titles managed to impress me(except fot dungeon keeper,and the first battlefield).I never really liked the sims nor populus,Ive missed ultima(which maybe wouldve impressed me),medal of honor wasnt that good(especially the PC no blood thing).Bards tale was good,but sadly Ive never finished it.Spore was promising,but thanks to the DRM,its under a big question mark(I even had plans to upgrade my machine just for this game).EA pretty much is teh pits for me.

  14. journeyman says:

    Having worn several mice down to little pieces of plastic playing Diablo and Diablo II but avoiding Hellgate on account of the awful reviews, I’m very curious to see what you have to say on it, Shamus.

  15. Stormcaller says:

    Daemian Lucifer:>
    Dungeon Keeper was by Bullfrog – yes bought by EA but produced while they were still independent – they also made Syndicate and the Theme games (Theme Hospital etc)

  16. Jeff says:

    My only complaint about Hellgate is that your skill points can’t be respec’d. Other than that, it met or exceeded my expectations. Keep in mind that it takes concerted effort for me to not like a movie too. I sent my expectations low and am generally surprised. :)

    (Disclaimer: I’m still playing Morrowind instead, while HGL is still installed on my computer though, so…)

  17. Solka says:

    I tried the demo (didn’t liked), 1 of the things I think went wrong was putting it in a 1st-person.

    I know it was the fundementals of this game, but when you don’t know what’s behind you, that’s bad. When you are still limited in the range you can fire a bullet, that’s also bad (at least, 3rd person Diablo didn’t showed the ennemies until they were 30 feets from you. Hellgate simply put an arbitrary limit to guns, which completely wasted any idea of sniping.

  18. Hermes says:

    uhmmm… you can play it in third person… just zoom out. Try the scroll wheel. Took me 5 seconds to figure out.

  19. MechaCrash says:

    Enjoy the writing while you can. It makes a sudden veer into WAKKYTOWN around chapter 2, I think.

  20. Xian says:

    My son bought it when it first came out but I just got around to playing it recently. I can’t put my finger on the reason why, but it just doesn’t have that addictiveness of Diablo and Diablo 2. Those were like digital crack to me. I will be interested in seeing why you think they missed the mark.

  21. Zerotime says:

    Solka: While most weapons have arbitrary ranges, the sniper rifles the Marksman and Engineer classes can use have an essentially unlimited range – you can hit things outside of draw distance if you want to, as long as the random number generator decides it’s within your cone of fire.

    Sucks for every other class, though.

  22. The voice acting isn’t polished … which leads to the rest of the problems.

    Monsters … not as polished or varied.

    Dungeon tiles … not as polished or varied.

    Character classes, several aren’t interactive enough.

    The whole game comes across as massively not quite complete.

    On the other hand, the Korean roll-out should have generated over 20 million in additional cash for the developers.

    Maybe HGL II will get it right.

    It comes really close, just doesn’t quite hit the right balance. If I had more time and interest, I’d have more analysis.

    But the game doesn’t have enough polished texture to it, if that makes sense, and the character classes apparently don’t quite have the right blend.

    For example, the Summoner replaces the Necromancer. Neat idea, but you don’t get Diablo II style necromancer interaction, the character ends up pretty passive.

    On the other hand, for mindless FPS (and you can play it as either first person shooter or third person shooter or some mix) it isn’t bad.

    It is just that there is more to the world than Quake (and the levels don’t have the elegance of a Paul Jacquays Quake level).

  23. I have hope for HGL as I hear good things (though not good enough) about the subscription content design and mix. As if they are finally starting to get the hang of it.

    And the shapeshifter character is still due. The new character classes, when they release them, will tell the tale.

    BTW, the DRM method they have is fairly unobtrusive, yet tends to block piracy. The step of having to register your code on an on-line database to get the first patch, which makes the game playable, is a fairly workable DRM method that doesn’t intrude much thereafter.

    Interesting concept. I’m wondering how well it works against piracy? Seems to have made a major impact for the Korean roll-out.

  24. You know, funny thing is I really LIKE the HGL demo. Of all the things I’ve tinkered around with lately, it’s the only one that’s still kept me hooked into fiddling about with it. I’m really looking forward to further review content.

  25. Smileyfax says:

    I never liked Diablo II as much as the first…in fact, I never even bothered finishing the first area. I stopped right around the moment I realized that reloading instantly repopulated every area with monsters and loot, and my OCD self screamed “NOOOOOOOOO!” and ran away.

  26. Mechman says:

    As I recall, they didn’t actually do the intro themselves. They hired out another company named Blur studios to do it, and from the filedate on my computer, the intro movie was released a year in advance of the game itself.

  27. Corsair says:

    First of all, I was an original Hellgate fan. I bought the Pre-order, was a full subscriber (until last week), I even started a guild with a friend of mine, complete with Website, Forum and Teamspeak Server “obruo-malum [dott] com”. There were parts of the game I genuinely loved. I don’t however, play it anymore.

    Now:

    Saying that 5 years is on the longer end of Game Production is entirely untrue. It may be long compared to some of the content that has been released in the last couple of years, but that is entirely due to a terrible market model that production companies seem to be using. Courtesy of the numerous Movie/Book/Comic/Cartoon/Blech tie-in games that we are seeing, the business model requires the game to be on shelf at the same time, or shortly after, the release of the original material. Otherwise, you miss the hype and the game doesn’t sell.

    Good games, on the other hand, take time. 5 years is not unusual. Also keep in mind the age old problems of “STATISTICS”. When do you start counting? The moment the first piece of code is written? The time you were in that elevator and had a thought about a character who has to overcome a global conspiracy while simultaneously battling social intollerance to his nano-augmented body within the United Nations taskforce he has been assigned to?

    The thing to remember; setbacks happen, technology makes unforeseeable leaps, and the larger you make a game the harder it is to make it work without a hitch. Hellgate suffers from the gamble of it’s huge scope, but it was a gamble. I don’t begrudge Flagship that, and I will buy their games in the future. Hellgate had a brilliant concept, a great storyline, and I don’t doubt that a year or two from now it could be a lot of fun to play. The real evil here is a society that demands everything now. It is not the developers fault, nor is it the publishers fault. It is simply a sign of the times we live in.

    Corsair

  28. Zanfib says:

    You’re right Corsair, HGL did not take nearly as long as Duke Nukem Forever.

  29. Lanthanide says:

    Actually I think 5 years is unusually long, although it is moot in this case, I just checked and they were founded in September 2003, not 2002, making HGL some 4 years in development. Most big-name games are 3-4 years, some are even shorter if they’re re-using engines or similar things. In this case the counting goes back to the same week they quit Blizzard North – they have said in interviews that it was that first week where they sat down at David Brevik’s house and first thought about the idea for the game, which was Halo crossed with Diablo.

  30. Dolleater says:

    I was superhyped about this game, it had everything i loved – post-apocalypse and plenty of nice blends of technology and older fantasy/sci-fi themes. Not a standard cookiecutter (atleast not in its genre).

    Since i loved diablo back in the day i was really hoping for some nice simmiliarites.

    Sadly, the gameplay isnt really all that fun, i dont dislike FPS aiming and stuff, id just rather have a more complex spell/ability casting system. Just because we moved into a new gaming geneation doesnt mean everything needs to be FPSish.

    Ah well, ill probably give it another go after a year or two when i can play it tweaked out on a better computer.

    I also remember it being pretty fun in short bursts, since alot of the missions arent that complex. Would have been fun to play with some friends aswell, since most games like this excel at Co-op playing rather then solo (diablo comes to mind)

  31. geralt says:

    I’ve been playing HGL for the last few hours and I can’t say I’m dissapointed. I suppose that’s because I wasn’t hyped in any way before I’ve installed it, but still it seems quite good.

    I’m playing a templar, so its mostly sword/shield action – although the character can wield some grenede launchers (go figure). Classic RPG games usually offer a mix of sword/shield/bow/magic and I was often irritated by the absence of a decent machine-gun to let those filthy demons have it. Yet again I discarded the marine/engineer option and went for the palladin. So far it’s an addicting game.

  32. kamagurka says:

    I recently reinstalled D2. This may have been a mistake, since I’m discovering that it is seemingly made of digital crack.

  33. BeAuMaN says:

    Corsair: Generally they start counting when the first paycheck is handed out? ;) Well, the investors and publishers, anyway :D

    Also, I do conclude that five years is an unusual time for a game to be in development… it just happens that a number of the most successful games… Actually, having wikied… I take that back… Can people start naming very successful games that were in development for 5 years? “Development”, like Corsair said earlier, is a bit subjective, but eh. I thought Ocarina of Time and Half-Life were 5 year dev cycles, but according to wiki they aren’t. StarCraft II will technically be a 10 year dev-cycle (or so they claim, those bastards), but we’ll see…

    Anyhow, I look forward to this review. I was always hearing great hype before the game came out, and then nothing. Granted, I wasn’t a big Diablo Junkie myself. Sure, I played through the story of both the first and second game, and I played just a bit online… but I never really got into the whole addictive online game of grinding in diablo MMO-style (I still see some people play it at the LANcenter).

  34. When my husband I first played Hellgate:London together, we used to joke that the game hated you for playing it. Bugs aside, the game play had so many elements that felt more like punishment than reward.

    The character skills were very poorly described. Yet there was no respeccing available. If you picked something that you didn’t like or didn’t work with your style of play, you were just stuck with it.

    And then there is this weird “stat feed” requirement. Your various pieces of armor had attribute requirements. This was a particularly painful part of the game because you would often pick up shiny new pieces of armor that you couldn’t wear because you didn’t have enough points in “Strength” or “Stamina” or whatever. And the only time you gain more attribute points is when you level. Talk about disappointment and delayed gratification!

    And finally there was just the weird idiosyncrasies of the game that made no damn sense. Like that silly mini game. I finally found an obscure post on the forum that explained what the heck that was about. And during the “Guy Fawkes” celebration, my character was picking up all sorts of random objects liked baked potatoes and pork chops, for which I never did figure out the purpose.

    It was as if the game was an amazing concept in theory, but was very poorly executed.

  35. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    Leslee, those complaints are more or less the same as in Diablo II: Arbitrary stat requirements for item use meaning you could feel punished for finding something ubercool, character skills without respeccing making pre-planning your character’s development in advance more or less a requirement…

    That’s why when I play DII, I just cheat and give myself whatever the heck I want. Takes a lot of fun out of looting, but I’m never upset at not being able to do something.

    As for Guy Fawkes, that’s a british thing. ^_^

  36. Lanthanide says:

    ShadowDragon – the stat system used in HGL is a lot more restrictive than the one used in Diablo 2. For example in Diablo 2 a shield might take 30 strength to wear and some body armor takes 50 – as long as you have 50 strength you can wear both. In HGL, you would need 80 strength total – 30 goes to the sheild and 50 goes to the armor. This means that if you then find new armor that needs 55 strength and you have 80, you simply can’t wear it unless you also unequip your shield, whereas in D2 you wouldn’t be able to wear it until your next level, but at that point you could still also wear your shield.

    This is actually a VERY good system, as it prevents people from wearing all of the most uber items all at once, as happened in Diablo 2, and forces people to make choices. The problem is that HGL made this far far too restrictive with rediculously high requirements on even average items, so it became more of a situation where you can wear 4 average items, 4 good items and 1 great item, but you can’t wear 10 good items or even 3 great items, unless you start also wearing complete junk. IMO the ideal outcome would have been to allow you to wear 5 great items and 5 good items, for example.

    What further ruins the HGL design is that individual attributes also have stat feeds, and it seems that *all* attributes have stat feeds of some sort, not just the best ones. Often the amount of the feed seems rather high compared to the actual benefits of that attribute. This means that rare items can have 4 really useful stats, and a 5th one that is mediocre but boosts the stat feed of the item up a lot, preventing you from wearing the thing at all. A more sensible system would have been to add stat feed based on the number of attributes, and only have the quality of the attribute make a difference at the very high levels. The way they have it now is more of a zero-sum game – sure, you can use that really powerful item, but it is going to cost you a hell of a lot. That’s not nearly as rewarding or fun as getting to use that really powerful item and only having a minor setback from it.

    That is also essentially the problem with the skill trees. They tried to make “every skill useful” and “useful with just 1 point in it”. So it means that once you’ve put 1 point in a skill, further points really don’t make a big difference at all, to the point that it often becomes questionable as to why you should even bother. The bizarre skill rank system then makes matters worse by forcing you to put X points in the lower skills before you can put 1 point in the upper skills. This forces cookie-cutting builds, and seems like a crutch that they put in because they realised that there was little incentive to put more than 1 point in most skills. Instead they should have just fixed the fudamental problems with the skills in the first place.

  37. ngthagg says:

    I certainly enjoyed playing HGL, but it never grabbed me the way D2 did. It really suffers from the move to 3D. If anyone ever doubts that 3D games are not the ultimate, compare the content between D2 and HGL. My interest in HGL started waning when I realized that I was on the third chapter already and was still running through the same scenery. Occasionally you get a new area, and it’s a lot of fun when you do, but most of the time it’s the same old background.

    The items felt the same way also. D2 is digital crack (as someone said above) for me because of the items. But I never got that same drive from HGL. A big part of the problem is that they made the armor (and most of the weapons, if I remember right) unique to your class. That makes 2/3rds of the drops you get are guaranteed to be useless. Combined with the fact that you have two different ways to upgrade the items you have already, and you stop hoping for lucky drops and instead focus on saving money to upgrade.

    (Someone complained about the stat feed issues. Worst is when you upgrade an item, it increases the stat requirements, and you can’t re-equip it. Oops.)

    The game is fun to play. There’s nothing wrong with firing it up and killing some demons. But long term it will never hold my interest. The creators didn’t really seem to understand why D2 worked. That’s unfortunate.

  38. Yeah, the feed system and the upgrade system get toxic together.

    Also, the lack of clear tool tips really hurts the game. You are in a fog, all the time and it is painful. You spend way too much time not knowing anything.

    First five levels are fun. Anything you can’t use, you take apart for spare parts to upgrade things with. But it bogs down.

    For mindless killing, not so bad.

    But, ngthagg catches what happens once you get going and the scenery doesn’t change. Quake beats it by level design and scenery changes, of all things.

    And it is just a little too drab in appearance.

    Interesting how all the notes and issues come together — none of which bother you the first five or six levels (I enjoyed the game when starting but bogged down and just want some place I can read all the dialog now that I’ve hit 21 or so).

  39. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Also, the lack of clear tool tips really hurts the game. You are in a fog, all the time and it is painful. You spend way too much time not knowing anything.”

    Isnt that part genuine?I mean,you are in london.

    I always found stat and skill requirments to be stupid.I myself aint really that dexterous,but I sure can shoot a sniper rifle(though Id probably suck).Why not use extreme penalties as a better substitution?You want to wear an excelent armor,but dont have the strenght?Go ahead,but youll move at snails speed.

  40. Lanthanide says:

    Daemian – that sort of thing can easily lead to exploits.

    Eg get some armor that normally someone of your level would not be able to wear. Put it on just before you go fight a boss – sure, you might not be able to move very much, but you’re pretty much invulnerable to the boss.

    Same thing goes for weapons, especially things like sniper rifles – get a weapon you normally wouldn’t be able to use, and use it to completely wipe out all of the enemies with little threat of retaliation because it just mows them down too fast, even if it is less accurate / slow cooldown.

  41. SwS says:

    I played the game in beta, I was disappointed honestly – especially after watching that crazy good CGI trailer (that is the intro to the game) – I still however decided while being disappointed the game was still kind of fun. So I ordered anyway.

    I was not a fan of D2 – I played it only for a few minutes before I decided I didn’t like it. Anyway I got a solid 120 hours of playtime out of HGL (thanks to xfire for that), so I can’t complain too much. As has been stated already numerous times, the game just wasn’t that good. The creepy factor kind of loses it’s punch after you’ve seen the same city, tunnel or sewer for the last 15 or so levels.

    There wasn’t really a story either, outside of the basic idea – humans vs demons. No CGI scenes really except the intro and ending, so really any story telling possiblities get lost just by not having CGI scenes (IMO). I mean, on top of that – I figured out who the main bad guy was before I was even onto the third station, it was just weak storytelling all around.

    But like I said, the game did give me 120 hours of play, so it wasn’t like I just flushed my $50 away.

  42. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Lanthanide

    That depends on the implementation.Any system can be exploited if implemented badly.

    Using your examples:Having an uber armour thats to heavy for you would reduce your mobility to crawl,and you will be using your weapons awfully(lets say just 1% chance to hit).Sure,youd be able to absorb 99% of the damage,but no one will ever miss you,and in the mean time,you wont hit anybody.Especially if they have range weapons.

    And if you try using a rifle while untrained,youd have terrible accuracy,and high chance of jamming the weapon,thus rendering it useless unless fixed.So you wont be able to mow down your enemies,since youll hit 1,maybe 2 max.

  43. Lanthanide says:

    Daemian – Ok, so instead of using armor that is 20 levels above your character and makes you 1% of your former speed, use stuff that is just 5 levels above your character and makes you move at 50% of your speed. It still gives you an advantage that you shouldn’t have at that point in the game, and it is very difficult for the designers to account for this.

    If they go and say “any armor that is more than 2 levels above your character will make you move at 1% of your speed”, effectively that means no one will use armor above their character’s level. How is this any different from just disallowing people to use the armor at all to begin with if they don’t meet the stat requirements?

    This also comes down to simplicity, ease of understanding and UI – people can easily grasp that they need 55 strength to use this armor and that they can’t use it until they have 55 strength. It is harder to convey that this particular armor is just too awesome for your character (for no real reason), and that if you wear it, it will make your character move very slowly and fight like crap. This could actually give some people a very negative impression of the game if they happened to get lucky and get the armor much earlier in the game than most people did. The other problem with this approach is that by having stat requirements, you can give the players additional flexibility and control over their character – a sorceress in D2 might want to invest 50 of her first 70 stat points into strength so she can wear a particular piece of armor while most other sorcs would invest those 50 points into energy, but under the ‘no stat requirements’ system she has no ability to do this, which limits the fun and replayability that some people can get from the game.

    Finally (although I can think of several other minor examples of why a stat system is superior), having stat requirements for items allows you to dole out the stat points as rewards, for leveling up or quests or other events. The whole gameplay of Diablo and clones is based on a series of constant rewards for your actions, and certainly in Diablo 1 and 2 levelling up and getting stat and skill points was a very enjoyable part of the game.

  44. Scourge says:

    Lanthanide:
    Finally (although I can think of several other minor examples of why a stat system is superior), having stat requirements for items allows you to dole out the stat points as rewards, for leveling up or quests or other events. The whole gameplay of Diablo and clones is based on a series of constant rewards for your actions, and certainly in Diablo 1 and 2 levelling up and getting stat and skill points was a very enjoyable part of the game.

    Too bad that you enver get any stat points for any kind of quest, to bad that there are no other events. All you get are stat poins from leveling up, at first it might seem as if you have plenty of them, but wait ’till you hit 30, then the real trouble starts since as a Summoner you need strength, dex and con AND spirit to wear your armor. In theory you’d need to even all stats out to wear the ebst armor, problem is taht this renders you useless because you don’t ahve enough Mana to summon enough of your minions to survive.

  45. Zerotime says:

    Scourge: Quests from the Broker give small stat boosts as rewards.

  46. Rayna says:

    Months ago, me and my bf had bought and played Hellgate too, with the same hope as many that’d it’d be incredible. We played to complete the story on the first level of difficulty, only to say we gave it a fair shot. We put it down multiple times and had to drag ourselves back to it out of a sense of obligation, not fun. I love Diablo II, and last week, me and my bf finished playing it through it (again) on Hell level difficulty. Because Hellgate just hadn’t been satisfying.

  47. Scourge says:

    Zerotime: Of course the only quest/quests I never did! *grumbles*

  48. lplimac says:

    FYI there is a scheduled patch to be available today for HG:L that, among other things, will add character respcs. It’s a large (over a Gig, don’t remember the exact number) and address many issues, as well as adding even more subscriber content and cleaning up the shared stash. Didn’t read the full patch notes (was logging in for my weekly group game) so don’t know all that was fixed. I’d recommend if you haven’t played for awhile that to check the patch and see if it fixes what you didn’t like. A lot of the early bugs (random tp’s memory errors and the like) have been fixed and the group experience is much better than when it was shipped (I’ve been playing every week and the change is noticeable). I don’t know what if any changes are going to be made for the off-line as that is generally patched differently than the on-line game.
    There are other quests beside the Broker quests that add stats. I didn’t do many of his quests either, but a number of the side quests gave stats.

  49. I might log on just to get the respec. I want to finish the darn game so it can die in peace.

  50. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Lanthanide

    First,I never said that there should be no stat requirments,I was saying that its stupid that with 54 strenght you cannot wear the armor at all,but with 55 suddenly you can.Its that sudden transition thats stupid.

    So,for example,you have a strenght of 40,and find an armor that needs strenght of 50,you get your speed and accuracy reduced by lets say 50%.Sure,it will give you more advantage than an armor requiring just 40 strengt,but youd have to weigh those bonuses against the penalties to see if youll benefit from it or not.

    Its not any more complicated than the current system,it still would display items you dont have the propper stat/skill for,but that wouldnt mean that you cant wear it,just that you wont get the full bonus if you do.

    And somehow,I think I remember seing something like this somewhere,but I cannot remember where…

  51. Lanthanide says:

    Daemian – Ok yes, that is completely reasonable and I agree that it makes sense. If you go back and read your first post on the matter however, I think you’ll see why I got the wrong end of the stick.

  52. Derek K says:

    I see most of Hellgate as refinements of D2 that went in to the “if it ain’t broke….” category.

    I have no problem with the stat feeds, actually. From playing D2, I know that you should have a pool of 20-25 stat points unallocated at all times, just in case.

    As for the 2/3 useless – that’s true, and it’s not. You can break down every item, or sell it. And I know I *always* have alts that can use it – now that you can trade, it’s not bad at all. D2 was the same way. Sure, maybe your bowazon could use that shield. But she wouldn’t. She was a bowazon! Shields were irrelevant! If you were a barb with maxed axe mastery, a sword was just cash. Etc. But it’s more bothersome in HGL than in D2 for some reason.

    Personally, I enjoy the FPS nature. And I think they did a really good job of allowing different styles. Don’t like to target? Get a rocket launcher, or a fire field generator. Aim in the general region, fire, and wait for stuff to die. Slower, but allows low-twitch gaming.

    I think HGL is another game that generates that “If only…” rage in us – it has some really good ideas. And it could have been AWESOME. But instead, it’s somewhere better bad and pretty good, depending. But every time you play it, you say “Man, I wish….”

  53. jzn says:

    I feel the need to point out that Hellgate London may have a bad reputation, but in reality, it’s one of the best games ever made. It has the most exhilarating combat of any multiplayer RPG. Period! Hardcore Elite mode is just incredibly compelling. Dissect its flaws all you want, but at the end of the day, this game is amazing.

  54. [...] article itself was about Hellgate: London and was primarily posted to point out an excellent analysis of HGL by Shamus Young on his site Twenty [...]

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