Time certainly flies, hm. Quite a few things happened since the last entry, so let’s jump right into it.
We’re being watched
To start this one off, it seems we’re being watched. Jokes aside, to know of both of these spectating parties filled us with pride and joy.
One is Gamebanshee; it was brought to my attention that they consistently report on these diaries, which I’ll admit I hadn’t noticed. As I’m sure is the case for at least some of you, Gamebanshee was among the very first sources we ever used for information on the game, a… decade ago. Time does fly. So needless to say, it was a very unexpected honor that they now report on our humble project – and my daft ramblings.
The other is none other than the old Gods. We had already been mentioned by name by Sir Bill Roper before, but since the last entry we were graced by the presence of another Architect. This too was an honor beyond words; Hellgate has been a lifelong passion for many of us, so being recognized by its makers in any way was an unforgettable experience.
…I wanted to have a Raid Shadow Legends, or Tomb Raider, or R(a)iders on the Storm joke here to lighten this up, but no. Let’s be professional.
Last weekend, then, we got together with the team to hang out, discuss, and blow some demons’ heads off. To do so, we temporarily (and experimentally) increased the party size cap, which worked without a hitch. Well, it wasn’t perfect – not all character portraits displayed, for example. But it works, and sometimes that’s all you need. Unless you’re the healer.
But that it’s even possible in practice presents a great opportunity to actually consider proper raid content for the future. Much like Flagship intended for Catacombs, at that. Of course this doesn’t mean we’ll grasp this opportunity immediately, as our table is very, very full. But it does mean the option is there, and we do like that it is.
On the subject of the future, then, I’ve already outlined how much strenuous work our latest tasks require. In my case specifically, this might very well be because… deep breath …I’m not a dev. But the tools we use for content development are not quite user-friendly either, and Hellgate’s innards are less than welcoming.
So, partly to address this, MarcNet has resumed hammering away at a tool that will help streamline this process in the future. So this too will serve as an excellent asset when it’s complete… especially considering the expansions that are in the works.
Again, please note that these are prototypes. Raw Meat Hide has already become a Unique since, for example, so those may very well not be their final forms on release.
What I wanted to hint at with these was our renewed focus on skillgroups, which stems from a specific mindset; Hunters arguably have the best-defined skillgroups, while Blademasters and Evokers (mostly) just had a single skillgroup to worry about. This is not a matter of tastes, either, as skillgroups directly inform builds. Grenadiers, for example, can now stack +Grenade damage, +Combat damage, +Tactical userate, and so forth, choosing which skillset assets to prioritize and having a relatively lower RNG threshold for satisfactory performance. In contrast, Evokers notoriously have to jump through nastier RNG hoops for those ele/CCM and ele/CDB relics, making their endgame gear massively harder to acquire, while also having nothing to diversify one build from the next outside of potential sfx. Blademasters never had this option either, only ever having +swordsmanship affixes to augment their skills. And Strength and/or ele/CDB, yes - but these, much like Evokers’ affixes of choice, don’t care for skillsets; they just apply to the entire skillset, which does not many builds facilitate.
To test the waters, then, we’re slowly introducing some new skillgroups and affixes. To address the above examples, Group Attack skills will, naturally, include AoE skills, giving Blademasters a stackable affix one can choose to go for. Similarly, the Evoker skillset will be divided into “Naturalism” and “Spiritualism”, in line with the tabs’ names and themes – while offensive skills will still also be Evocation ones. Both of these will mirror the Hunters’ stacking +Grenade/+Combat damage, allowing these classes to stack +damage affixes to boost specific skills of choice – and carve out more unique builds, that are hopefully easier to bring up to endgame speed.
Now, that’s not all we’re doing with skillgroups, but it should serve as a good starting point. As always, your feedback on this concept too will be most appreciated.
…I must bid you farewell. I do wish I had more to share, but these two weeks have been extremely demanding IRL, which does slow down development. Nonetheless, I hope you’re as excited as we are for what the future brings, from new stories and baddies to new skillgroups to build around.
Until next time, happy hunting