Hellgate: Plunder

By John Walker on November 9th, 2007 at 10:42 am.

Poor old Hellgate: London hasn’t been off to a splendid start. One Wednesday it was revealed that customers were having their credit cards billed repeatedly, then to rub salt in that financial wound, even after paying people still weren’t getting access to the members’ benefits.

Give me your wallet!

In the early hours of this morning, Hellgate developers Flagship posted this to their forum (I link to the unofficial forum, as the official site requires a login to even read it – sigh).

Tact doesn’t appear to have been at the forefront of their approach, informing those who had been charged three or four times in the space of a couple of days, “We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, although it impacted just 3% of people that requested to become subscribing members.” That presumably doesn’t provide much comfort to the 3% it’s aimed at. However, Flagship assure players that the problem is now fixed, and they are reimbursing players now.

Senior Community Manager Kaiser Hwang put up a second post to attempt to reassure players who were still unhappy, not only with billing issues, but also other gaming issues. Most of these fall into the category of “to be expected” for an MMO launch, and it’s refreshing to see the developers stating the issues, rather than staying tight-lipped until a patch appears.

It reads:

Dear Customers,

We realize many of you are experiencing a variety of problems. We at Flagship and Ping0 are working hard to address these issues.

Our current top priorities are:

* Resolving any remaining problems related to billing and subscriptions.
* Fixing two known bugs which cause players to sometimes lose items (one related to dual focus/dual melee, and one related to loading issues).
* Making improvements to memory usage in order to reduce “Memory Exhausted” crashes.
* Fixing a known issue with the user interface which causes the application to lock up intermittently.* An issue which occasionally prevents characters from being able to load or switch instances.
* General chat interface improvements. (Many improvements are in the works).
* Random disconnects and lag.
* Allowing higher resolution textures and models for other players.
* Various known problems with being able to continue interrupted side quests.
* Remnant quest items not getting destroyed and “clogging” up inventory.
* Continued problems with saving / loading Engineer Drone items.
* Invisible party members.
* The nanoforge not correctly improving rare and better armors.
* Getting stuck on collision.

Some of these are issues which will be fixed as soon as possible and go live in upcoming patches, some will be in our upcoming content patch, and others are issues on which we will make gradual improvements to on a continuous basis.

Of course we also have a more extensive bug list as well as lot of general improvements and new content in the works. Everyone here is working full-time to support Hellgate. We appreciate your patience.

-The Hellgate: London team

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20 Comments »

  1. Watcher95 says:

    Why do I get the feeling that in 3 months this game will be a distant speck in the rear view mirror?

  2. Johno says:

    Wow some Hellgate coverage at last.

  3. CrashT says:

    Funny… I’d have said that in three months all the people who were holding off until it was patched will be buying it.

    Most of what I’m hearing is “Good Design terrible implementation”. A sentiment I’d concurr with.

  4. restricted3 says:

    I’d say “Good design terrible implementation NO LAN”

    Guess this is what happens when they think primarily about the money

  5. Joonas says:

    My experience has not been remotely this bad. I’ve been stuck on scenery once, I’ve had one crash to desktop (not losing any progress in the process) and the framerate is inconsistent. My biggest gripes are lack of variety and the dumb and dumber enemies. It’s an ace game regardless, been playing it a lot more than I should have.

  6. Kwan says:

    After all the hype that was Hellgate London and it’s subsequent failure at being a “WoW-Killer” and RPG, which in the latter case has been beaten by The Witcher, the gradual disappearance from the radar isn’t surprising.

  7. Lorc says:

    I’m not sure Hellgate London was ever supposed to directly compete with either WoW or The Witcher. It’s a pretty different kind of game.

    Why does Hellgate London get mistakenly pigeonholed so often anyway? It almost seems that “online” has become this season’s “first person” when it comes to non-genres.

  8. Kwan says:

    It’s a controversial thing, but you can see for yourself by searching “hellgate “wow-killer”" on google, obviously a lot of vocal people were saying it was, as well as the fact the game was designed partly by ex-Blizzard employees who didn’t like the endgame aspect of WoW.

    And while I haven’t played HGL (I’m a sucker for propaganda), if it follows it’s Diablo-esque design by being a point and clicker, then the Witcher has taken that concept and revamped it fairly well.

  9. Flibster says:

    I’m sure this has put off quite a fair few people from paying the subscription and obtaining the extra content, not that the “ViP content” was a load of bollocks in the first place, not worth paying anything for. Could the situation get any worse?

    I fear the MMO genre has lost it’s way a bit, what with the “Action Oriented MMO with shooter elements” Tabula Rasa (which ended up being yet another grind fest with little to no skill involved) and now rumors that Warhammer online will be just another WoW clone like LOTRO was.

    Atm, until someone can finally produce this genre breaking mmo, i’ll stick to WoW and Planetside ;)

  10. Piratepete says:

    i didn’t think Planetside was still going tbh

  11. KingMob says:

    I was in the beta for this one.. but the memory exhausted crashes, inventory lockups, and problems with Engineer drones hit me hard. Chalk me up as somebody waiting for them to fix the problems before I’ll actually pay for it…

    It’s unacceptable that crashes and lockups should be happening in a game where you can actually lose an hour of work from a crash… this is the reverse of the Blizzard emphasis on polish. Obviously they were so in love with the Halloween release date that they couldn’t put the game off for a month or two to fix the serious bugs.

    It’s a really fun game, so when they fix things I’ll buy it for the single player experience. But these kind of issues at launch usually cripple a game’s long-term prospects, so I won’t subscribe or count on many other people being in the game with me.

    Good to hear the CM is being straight with their public about their ongoing problems. That’s pretty much the only thing that’s going to win them back their mindshare going forward.

  12. Garth says:

    I still can’t get over how fantastically ugly the demo for Hellgate was. I mean, I don’t particularly care about graphics, but jesus it was ugly. Like, PS2 ugly.

  13. GeorgeR says:

    I was in the beta, and bought the game at launch.

    Yes, there are a few problems (my friends and I haven’t been able to see each other in some instances but we can still beat up the same thing.) but its a nice game.

    That’s the emphasis. It is fun. I’ve been playing a guardian and an engineer and its an enjoyable experience. Quests don’t take long, instancing is nice, and while I haven’t had the problem of losing items, I replace my stuff far faster than the rate at which such an issue would hurt me for long.

    I’ll agree though, this was rushed. They wanted to get it out before the blitz of releases. They wanted to have it out before Retail Holiday season, and so it got shipped out before it was completely done.

    That said, they’re being incredibly supporting and the game itself is fun, so *shrug* I don’t have much to complain about. But I wasn’t expecting it to be a WOW killer, Diablo 3, or the second coming of Jesus. So there weren’t many expectations to be shattered when it turned out to “just” be good.

  14. AbyssUK says:

    I was on the beta test too, this game was no way ready for release. I hope they get screwed over for not listening to people, I bet there QA manager is laughing in there faces right now. Stupid suits always ruin games.. when will they learn!!

  15. Pesh says:

    Definitely not a finished product. Loads of bugs (primarily MP bugs) and lots of crashes. Skills aren’t nearly as important as they were in Diablo 2, and the classes aren’t very unique when put up against one another.

    The melee classes feel uncomfortable to play, but all the others are simply fantastic. The levels are boring, ugly, and repeated. It isn’t a very simple game, the interface is unfinished, playing multiplayer seems like everyone is having a grand ol time while you’re stuck without a group (thankfully I have 2 friends to play with), and there isn’t a whole lot you can do if you mess up your skills the first time around.

    But that doesn’t really matter, because skills hardly do anything to improve your damage. I could, if I really wanted, go through till level 15 (where I am now) without spending a single talent and do just about as much ass kicking as I do with them. It’s heavily item dependent, and everyone online seems to be an asshole.

    Even my friends seem to be assholes when I’m playing with them. There’s no real explanation, everyone just seems so separated from everyone else. This is reinforced with the idea that Guardian auras should only affect the Guardian, and no one else on the team.

    If you’re thinking of buying this, consider what you could do in the 50 hours you’ll be spending regretting the class you chose to level up.

    For no reason other than a sheer lack of point and click RPGs, though, I’ve played it a lot. It makes me want to play Diablo 2 again. Really badly.

  16. malkav11 says:

    Saying that Hellgate is in the same (sub)genre as The Witcher simply because they both involve clicky combat is…well, wrong. There’s a huge difference between the sort of hack-through-hordes-of-monsters for shiny and ever increasing loot Monty Haul gameplay of Diablo and other games that have followed in its footsteps (Hellgate among them) and The Witcher’s focus on plot and meaningful moral choices.

    And despite their monthly fee aspirations, Hellgate isn’t an MMO and isn’t meant to compete with WoW, either. It *is* competing with the likes of Titan Quest and Depths of Peril, though. And it kinda comes up short, unfortunately. Though it’s still fun.

  17. Thelps says:

    I too have serious issues with the game’s skill system. To clarify, you can put up to 10 points into a skill (receiving 1 point to spend per level). However, all the skills do when they receive a point is increase the effectiveness of their secondary effect (i.e. greater chance to stun/phase/ignite etc.) which has no impact on the skill at all BECAUSE the monsters become proportionately more resistant to these secondary effects. Basically, you just spend points on a skill to allow it to remain useful. It’s like swimming just to stay still, nothing like WoW’s frankly beautiful Talent Trees that genuinely had a real influence on how you played and equipped your character, and a damn sight worse than Diablo 2′s skill system, broken as it was.

    Apart from this, the game seems very fun, if rather repetitive. Sadly, because of the skill issue it gets old really, really fast since every time you level, the futility of your grinding is shoved in your face.

  18. Caiman says:

    Although not the worst game of 2007, it’s certainly the biggest disappointment for me given that I expected so much more from this team of developers. I want to believe they’ll fix the problems, however, but I’ll probably only pick this up in 6 months or so when it’s in the bargain bin.

  19. Thiefsie says:

    Nothing like a character wipe to change your soft praises into vehement spewing of hatred for a game?

  20. ianwest says:

    er, will the forthcoming patches do something about how very boring this games is? I’m not even at the end of Act 2 and I’ve already stopped playing it. Hardly any variety in enemies or tile sets for locations, really linear, small levels – Christ, it’s tedious!
    To think that some of the developers of D2 spent 7 years on Hellgate. They shouldn’t have bothered.

    Really, really piss poor…