Hellgategate

We’re hearing contradictory reports as to the success of the oft-maligned Hellgate: London. Well, we know it’s not doing so well over here, but grindfest-lovin’ Korea’s another matter.

Developers Flagship have chucked out a press release claiming it’s the most successful online launch in Korea in three years, rising to become the ninth most-played online game in the country. Which, in a country with a lot of popular online games, is a pretty big deal. Anti-fansite Flagshipped.com, however, links to a Korean site charting the game since launch, which reveals it slipped to 20th most-played online game within a month and a half of release. Then comment-folk at Flagshipped angrily claim the chart’s inaccurate. Oy gevalt. Anyone here still playing HGL, by the way?

37 Comments

  1. Jacques says:

    I’ve got a founders sub, the game’s definitely improving with the new patches and the Stonehenge area. Patch 2.0 looks like it’s going to be fun too.

  2. UncleLou says:

    Anyone here still playing HGL, by the way?

    I am raising my hand, shyly.

    Bought it on release and played it through once, but I recently (3 months ago maybe) subscribed – and played it pretty regularly since then. It’s not a game I can recommend, really, it’s just a 6/10 which I happen to love, and which is the only kind of game I am often in the mood for to wind down in the evening.

  3. Stew says:

    I play it, but only on occasion. It’s D2 with guns, good for a couple of hours when I just want to kill shit and CoH is requiring me to think.

  4. RLacey says:

    I actually bought this just the other week when it was on offer at CD-WOW :S.

    It’s okay. Not the best game in the world, but it’s still fairly fun if you’re after some mindless action. And it doesn’t seem nearly as buggy as the initial reviews said, so I’d guess that the patches have done their job.

  5. 18Rabbit says:

    Now that it sounds like it’s playable, I may pick it up. It’s still a game I want to own, I just couldn’t see forking over the cash for a broken product at release. I don’t see me subscribing to the online content though.

  6. RLacey says:

    Yeah. Currently, I don’t see anything except Stonehenge that would make me want to hand over any cash, and that just isn’t enough to justify £6.99 a month.

  7. Zhal says:

    I just bought the game recently and I really enjoy it, even though I haven’t been a fan of Diablo-esque games.
    I guess the whole setting and different style of action got me hooked.

  8. Jacques says:

    RLacey, the abbyss chronicles should be adding a bunch of new content as well.

  9. Chris R says:

    I LOVED D1 and D2 to bits…. but HGL just doesn’t do it for me the same way that D1/D2 did… not sure why. I got my Evoker up to 50, and have very decent stuff for him, but for some reason there’s no pull for me to continue playing like I did with D1 and D2… meh.

    Not a subscriber by the way, and never saw the Stonehenge area. Like RLacey I couldn’t see a reason to pay $10 a month for that part of the game. I might check it out again in 6 months to see where they’ve gone with it.

    *edit*

    Oh yeah, haven’t played since December 07 btw.

  10. Optimaximal says:

    I think they lost a lot of their original built in fanbase with the whole subscription thing, then the revelation that you don’t actually have to aim the guns in the game, then the awful demo released did nothing to change anyones minds anyway…

    Anyone who bought the game after the shear about of lies, money-grabs, the demo and other monumental fuckups leading to the release either was very stupid or had a lot of faith.

    There’s a reason the term ‘flagshipped’ has entered common usage to describe a company fucking over its consumers.

  11. Jonathan says:

    A month and a half? Didn’t Starcraft need 5 years or so to kick off? I think Flagshipped are being a little bit massively biased. Also the idea of an anti-fan club is all kinds of bizarre.

  12. RLacey says:

    I think it helps if you’re one of the people, like me, that is picking it up now rather than at release. I agree that the developer-player relationship seems pretty terrible at the moment, but the actual game does appear to be a lot better than it was at release.

    And I agree that the subscription system is fairly idiotic at the moment. There’s not enough subscriber-only content, so the subscribers whinge about not having enough stuff to set them apart from the ‘free’ players, while those who aren’t paying extra complain about the developers releasing extra stuff for subscribers without ‘fixing’ the main game further.

    The forums (which are only accessible if you have an account) really do produce the image of a fractured community doing its level best to tear itself apart. Ignore them and play the game, though, and there’s certainly some fun to be had.

    Sheesh, I’m beginning to sound like I’m on commission…

  13. neoanderthal says:

    yep, my girl and i both still play it. As RLacey mentioned, the forums are strife-filled, but the developers have rolled out a number of improvements and bugfixes, and the game is the same sort of easy time-sink that diablo 2 was. I don’t know what all the fussing’s about – it’s a pretty fun game. Of course, I also think that Crysis falls into the ‘poorly-written’, not ‘cutting edge’ category, so YMMV.

  14. Dave says:

    It doesn’t have the charm of Diablo2 for me, but gunning down demons and setting zombies on fire is good for a few chuckles every so often.

    I was never a subscriber though; I followed the advice that non-subscribers have more fun because they expect less.

    I would dearly love it if they’d release a single player patch that fixes the interface awkwardness and addresses some of the balance issues they’ve tackled in multiplayer… because I basically play it with the chat window closed, and grit my teeth in stations or when my connection drops.

  15. Butler` says:

    As a big, big Diablo fan, i’m still recoiling from the dissapointment of the HG:L release. It’s a piss poor attempt from Flagship IMO and they’ve got a lot to prove with their next title (assuming they’re doing any more).

    They’ve really gotta earn that “WE MADE DIABLO LOL” tag they brandish so proudly.

  16. Jacques says:

    Butler, the game has improved a lot since release…

    The HGL forums are really quite hilarious though, free players wanting everything subs are getting and subs being pissed off with all the freeloaders.

  17. RLacey says:

    Dave, the singeplayer has a new patch in beta, which brings it up to v1.2 (the current MP version, but not for much longer, since 1.3 is in testing).

    Haven’t tried it, mind you. I just log into the MP game and then play solo. Particularly as I don’t need the CD in the drive to do that. Crazy that they’re not using a unified client, though, if you ask me, since they basically killed off the singleplayer game by not patching it for yonks.

  18. Alex says:

    Isn’t Korea the land of the supergrind- MMO’s?

    I mean, Korea seems to have different tastes as to what makes a fun game to the west. What’s great for Korea, might not be so great to the rest of us.

    Maybe I’m horribly wrong, ofcourse.

  19. KaaN says:

    I am still playing HGL with lots of fun ; O

  20. UncleLou says:

    I think they lost a lot of their original built in fanbase with the whole subscription thing, then the revelation that you don’t actually have to aim the guns in the game, then the awful demo released did nothing to change anyones minds anyway…

    You don’t have to aim the guns in the game? That’s news to me. You have to aim them as marksman or engineer. You don’t really have to aim them (at leats not that accurately) with other classes. That wasn’t exactly a shocking relevation, but was said from day one.

    But then 90% of what you can read about Hellgate on the internet is made up stuff from people who have never played it, so I am not that suprised.

    Anyone who bought the game after the shear about of lies, money-grabs, the demo and other monumental fuckups leading to the release either was very stupid or had a lot of faith.

    Typcial internet hyperbole.

    Shock horror – maybe they just liked the demo.

  21. UncleLou says:

    And I agree that the subscription system is fairly idiotic at the moment. There’s not enough subscriber-only content, so the subscribers whinge about not having enough stuff to set them apart from the ‘free’ players, while those who aren’t paying extra complain about the developers releasing extra stuff for subscribers without ‘fixing’ the main game further.

    Yes, it’s entirely idotic – and a big part of the problem is the silly idea of the lifetime subscription they sold to some people – that’s the one reason why they can’t do what they have to do – cancel the unjustified submodel, and release addons from time to time.

  22. Jacques says:

    I’m one of those lifetime subs though ;)
    I agree though that they’d probably have been better off either choosing to make everyone sub or releasing yearly expansion packs, as it is the extra content for subs probably isn’t worth the money.

  23. Down Rodeo says:

    I remember seeing a flatmate play this in the beta and one thing that really turned me off was the fact that the guns were a bit… shit. I mean all over. It was a sense that really they weren’t doing much… this is kinda hard to articulate. Also the infinite ammo, no reloads thing. I got the feeling of being one step removed from it. And it didn’t look like much fun really.

  24. UncleLou says:

    I’m one of those lifetime subs though

    I don’t blame you, I blame the Flagship Studios and/or EA. ;)

  25. Jacques says:

    DR, in the beta the vast majority of people were limited to level 22, and there’s a hell of a lot of different guns that you can’t use before hitting higher levels, so sure, a few might seem underwhelming at low levels but they’re all fun.
    Especially the 7 slot templar machine pistols.

  26. malkav11 says:

    For the record, there’s gotta be some decent talent there, ’cause however flawed and broken Hellgate is (and I still had some fun with it), Mythos is looking very promising indeed.

  27. Gawd says:

    Imagine HGL looking ugly; then the lack of decent gameplay would be über obvious…

  28. the_apologist says:

    I was thinking of jumping back in now it’s been fixed up a bit.

    I started playing it on release, and wasn’t sure what to think what with reading mediocre reports and having never played Diablo (and yet I’ve played Baldur’s Gate:DA. I know, I know…).

    But I was enjoying it and only gave up after endless crashing. Interested to see how it’s getting on now.

  29. UncleLou says:

    Imagine HGL looking ugly; then the lack of decent gameplay would be über obvious…

    No, the core gameplay mechanics are what is spot on. As a Guardian, it plays like Diablo 2. With a marksman, it’s like Doom with upgradeable weapons and stats. It’s all the bugs, niggles, the subscription system and the lack of graphical variety that are the problem.

  30. Thelps says:

    For me, the game-breaker was simple: equipment and skill progression. I thought the skill trees were appalingly designed, I found very little point in investing more than a couple of skill points into each skill (just so I could use it, that’s all) and the equipment upgrades rarely made a noticeable impact on how your character played.

    Diablo 1/2 and World of Warcraft managed to achieve a system whereby equipment and skill upgrades really changed the way you played your character. Your playstyle would shift depending on how you specced and what gear you were using. Hellgate is just one big lengthy grind where you’re doing largely the same things at level 15 as at level 50 with no real uniqueness or customisation defining how you behave. Sure, an evoker specced for Hellfire plays differently to one specced for Spectral Lash, but crucially EVERY Hellfire evoker plays that way.

    I just don’t see how a game with an essentially repetitive gameplay premise can even think of getting away with such a system without at least fostering variety, potential and adaptability in its character design options. I just didn’t feel proud of my character, and when I leveled up it just drove home the futility of the game, since there was barely any difference except for a couple of points more in my HP/MP.

  31. dhex says:

    for me the dealbreaker was the obligatory “we’ve spent xx hours teaching you one mode of play, now play an rts!”

    why do gamedevs do stuff like that? i’m not saying everything has to be monochromatic, but the rts segment in the single player is so absurdly difficult – and utterly removed from the bulk of your solo zombie chopping/shooting experience – that it felt like punishment. that’s when i gave up. (anyone want my copy, btw?)

  32. Jacques says:

    The RTS thing is piss easy, you just need to abuse the system :\
    Granted, not the best balanced thing, but you can always play with an evoker, bling past the barrier and port to them so you can kill the boss yourself.

  33. KingMob says:

    I didn’t have a problem with the RTS thing. The repetitive gameplay put me to sleep.. but that was okay, it was a nice break sometimes. I quit playing when I realized the AI for Engineer drones was really broken and wasn’t going to be fixed for a long time.
    Occasionally they email me with notes that they’ve patched one class or another, and when they finally patch Engineers to be useful (being able to tell your drone to CHARGE would make the game a lot more playable for that class) I’ll pick up the game again.

    Never made it to the end and never subscribed, by the way, so this is the viewpoint of an entirely casual player. However I am really happy they fixed the crash bugs.

  34. Down Rodeo says:

    Jaques: Fair enough, I think he went on to buy the game in the end. It’s just not my cup of tea; I guess I’m too much into the first-person style of having a few unique guns rather than some kind of progression up the tables as it were. I still stand by my comment of them lacking “oomph”. :P

    But then, I’m quite into CounterStrike’s GunGame… which makes me a hypocrite and a bit of a twat, I suppose.

  35. Mario says:

    I am a hater of Hellgate because of the lack of single player patches that are well overdue, and what they did with the pay per multiplay shit. Hope they never make another game again. Yes I am a bitter PC player. Don’t hate me!

    I live @ http://www.taxi583.com

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