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Hellgate Updates - 2007/07/19 09:50 Those of you who have been speaking to me in person at this point have heard me rant about Hellgate: London at least once. I'm going to be honest that as much fun as WoW or Guild Wars are, I still don't find either as addictive-fun as PSO was. I mean yeah, now PSO is old so it's not as much fun, but it was open, accessible and exciting in ways neither of those games are. Both of them are too much about watching your character fight while you push skill buttons which is more removed and less engaging in my opinion.

Hellgate takes us back to the action-RPG roots of games like PSO and Diablo, wrapping a bad-assed, DX10 supported (rejoice Vista users) 3D combat engine and slapping a Diablo inspired RPG system underneath it. The game even goes back to those roots of not having a defined "Tank" or "healer" class. While yes, some classes might have properties inspired by those roles, it's not like you will need x tanks, x healers, and x damagers to fill out a group. In fact the game is 100% soloable and even comes with an offline Single Player campaign.

The game will of course have online multiplayer and so far the model seems to follow GW. The combat areas will spawn unique instances for each player or player group and the hub/town areas will support the entire community at once. This is in essence how the old lobby systems in PSO and Diablo worked so I'm okay with it at the moment. If it works to ensure more real-time combat, I'm cool with it.

PvP doesn't sound like it will be there at launch though there are plans to add it later. The word used currently is "Arenas" so probably not the kind of wondering pvp WoW had, which makes sense given the instanced world but is kinda a bummer.

Now we learned a few new things this E3 which I will layout quickly (Source: Gamespot)

  • They sound like they want to make the optional monthly fee open to trial. In other words they want you to feel like you can start and stop paying at any time and not feel penalized. Not sure how exactly that will pan out but that's apparently the goal.

  • Apparently character progression will work like it does in the Diablo games. You will have four stats, like Strength, Constitution, Will power, etc, and you'll get x points to increase those stats. You'll also earn a skill point which can be used to advance down a Diablo style skill tree. Word is you won't be able to re-spec which I feel they've got to change that in a future patch. I'm sure they mean well but players are used to having the freedom to not have to re-roll if they don't like how things went, even if they have to pay for it. I DO hope if they do re-spec it's not as willy nilly free as it is in Guild Wars. Not needing people to fullfill specific rolls and not being limited to 8 skills really should remove the need to have fluid, constantly fluctuating builds, allowing you to more be able to find a "WIN" build and stick to it.

  • The REAL problem with the "no-respec" statement is that they ALSO said free players will have fewer character slots. That's a bit shady...

  • Level cap will be 50

  • Characters will apparently be designable along a "color pallet" and as such your armor will match it as you build up equipment. This should let you customize your character's appearance while at the same time not locking you down to one look at character gen.

  • Elite player exclusive classes might not be ready by launch. This severly reduces my want to pay to play at launch.

  • It still sounds like while free players can be members of guilds, they can't form them or do some undefined administration regarding them. Meh - I tried running a guild once. Unless it's for my personal friends, forget it.

  • Much like in the Diablo games, the difficulty of a region will reflect how many players are there. It will apparently change dynamically as people join or leave areas, so if someone drops from your party, the difficulty/reward of lewt will also decrease. It was also hinted at in the developer interview that that person who drops will be able to rejoin the game later, and doing so re-boosts the difficulty/reward. Being able to freely jump into and quit games will already make this a Much better "instanced world" system than Guild Wars'.

  • The developer interview I watched made it sound like "True Unique" random items might be making a comeback, and the "socketed items" system will be in place on release (except instead of slapping gems and getting power, you are in fact slapping new ammo types into a gun or something). For those of you not familiar, a "True Unique" item is a magic quality loot item with randomly generated stats that often are as good, if not better than the pre-developed ones you can find too. It really encourages you to keep playing the game but not farming a specific area for a specific item, which I like a ton.

  • Elite (pay) players will get hardcore mode. For those of you who don't know, Hardcore mode was an online-only diablo mode where if your character died, your game was OVER for that character and you had to re-roll. I never tried it but it was quite the popular mode for experienced players who wanted to demonstrate just how good they were at the game.

You can watch the dev interview I'm getting this from here
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