CM diary #37 - 02/05/2023

Hello, hello!

It’s been a long time since last time, indeed. So, for the first diary of the year, without fluff and peripherals, here’s what’s been going on with the now-fabled upcoming expansion.


This time, I feel it’s best to break progress down into three distinct groups. That’s because, even though I’d rather avoid fluff, here I believe some commentary is necessary to contextualize what’s being done.

#1 A better entry point and more loops

First came a setback, implementation-wise, in that we realized the content’s plot and structure needed polish. This was so we better aligned it with the expansion’s goals of providing both solo-friendly content, alongside a St. Paul’s-like experience for endgame solo players, and distinctly party-based content, alongside more gameplay loops to keep players interested. Said loops were also needed elsewhere, so candidates are also being explored for other areas.

So this is indeed a setback, in that it introduces more work. However, we strongly believe this new form will make the new content better and make for a better-structured experience. It also directly translates to more content, compared to the previous version, so there’s also that.

Finally, since this directly ties to the SP/MP dichotomy, here it also bears noting that we very much keep the solo player in mind as well. Older content (including the entirety of the Nightmare playthrough) will become more approachable, hopefully also constructing a more logical ladder in the process.

#2 New assets, old confusion

Second come all the additions and changes we’ve managed to see to. You’ve likely caught glimpses of many if you’re in our Discord server, but consolidating some great examples here should be useful.

  • More minion stats. Minion builds have always largely felt too simple, in that only 3 minion stats exist (and one, +damage, is largely the impactful one). This we’re slowly managing to change, by introducing +minion sfx affixes and +stat affixes for specific minions. Everything is a WIP, of course, but that these have even become possible is a step forward in itself.
  • More clarifications. Despite our efforts so far, bits of the game remain obscure and unclear. Examples of our new efforts here include the distinction between “remote” and regular novas, guns with extra bullet chances displaying this internal element, and weapons with arc displaying this attribute (alongside external modifications). In total, we hope such changes make the game as transparent as possible, so players of all experience levels can accurately know what they’re using or working towards.
  • More items. And finally, a combination of the above allowed us to take deeper looks into new items and their weight in the current game environment. With more options available, we may craft more appealing items for different playstyles and ones which address underperformers without sweeping balance changes. Entire sets along these lines, perhaps.

These assets also include more voice work – not the entire package, as some of us have still not gotten to recording our share, but still more from willing contributors. Friendly reminder here, if you’d like to contribute your share for fame eternal you can find the relevant thread here.

#3 New tools

And lastly, while time is still a luxury, there’s been progress as regards our internal tools. If all goes well, we’ll soon have more (and more efficient) ways to tackle challenges and shape up new content, both the piece in our hands and ones to come.

I understand this may not seem like exciting news, and it doesn’t directly affect players in any way. But it really is a major boon, since a vast amount of work has to be done experientially or manually without even an autofill option for individual fields.

For my favorite example, the addition of Group Attack damage to slower swords had to be done manually, typing out the entire affix definition on each individual sword. That’s why time is such a recurring theme in such progress reports; such work really takes up too much time, and that’s even assuming the approach is deemed acceptable by the game itself. Which is often …not the case.


And there you have it. This thing is indeed taking its time, pun not intended, but it’s steadily shaping up into our absolute biggest piece of work yet. It includes new affixes, enemies, and content, large-scale adjustments, and an array of much-needed clarifications. It’s gargantuan and it’s treading new ground, beyond the expansion itself – and progress is indeed being made, slowly but surely.

Until next time, all the best to you brave hunters.


thx for all ur and ur team efforts to present us the great game :kissing_heart:

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Thanks for the update and continued hard work. I appreciate the consideration you give to solo players like myself.

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Hi. Actually, I didn’t want to say anything negative about the project because I respect the effort and the work that goes into it. But today it has to be. I think it’s a serious mistake to keep dividing the player base into single and multiplayer. I’ve been playing Hellgate since day one and since day one there’s been the conflict between people like me coming from Diablo and those coming from WOW and other mmorpgs. In a way, it’s also due to the indecisiveness of the original design. But Hellgate is an ARPG at its core. And for an ARPG, it’s deadly when content isn’t accessible to all players. I think it’s bad for the project if your design is worse than the original design. It hurts the game a lot when maps like Australia are behind old drafts. If the new content doesn’t improve the quality of the original, it’s better to slightly modify it. Realize that you are tampering with other people’s intellectual property and you have a moral responsibility to stay true to the original concept. It’s not your game. I don’t want to talk about the daily quests :wink: I think we all know that there is no worse game design than daily quests. That sounds harsh, but I have a feeling you guys are crawling down the rabbit hole and starting to work against the idea of ​​Hellgate. Whether new affixes make sense is another discussion. I don’t mean it badly, but that’s my honest opinion. All in all, I respect the work, the effort that goes into the project. That is all for today :slight_smile:

I mean, of course dividing in solo and in group content, not single-multiplayer

Hi there Annai, welcome aboard.

Now, thank you for the words of recognition, for one. I also recognize you’re coming from a place of genuine concern, since this division has been at the forefront of most of the project’s course.

However, I have to take issue with this specific line:

To explain my objection, as well as get a hopefully productive discussion going, I’d like to ask.
Where do you base your belief that the game was an ARPG at its core, or that it was to have all its content accessible to all solo players? Put differently, how do you know Flagship’s vision was that and not our current direction?

To not just end on an open question, let me add my arguments to the opposite. Because we do realize the property is not our own, and staying faithful to the creators’ vision has always been on our minds (example).
From everything we can see, the MP/SP dichotomy we’re treading is exactly what they intended; SH was party content, and to a large extent so was the Abyss. Catacombs specifically were meant to be a raid area, and higher party limits were on the table. All the mechanics we’ve used to promote party play were present and developed; levels scaling to a predetermined party size even for solo players, boss mechanics against solo players, even plain higher levels to ramp up difficulty. The very concept of parties trading and gathering entry fees was well-established, too.
For that matter,

The mechanic of daily quests was also designed by Flagship, not by us.
And finally, Flagship themselves had started to grow concerned over individual player performance, which can be seen in both the famous CCM value reduction and the inherent negatives in the design of TC sets, among other steps.

To me, none of these steps, elements, and observations suggest they intended to make all content accessible to all solo players - quite the opposite.
So, we can by all means discuss the exact desirable balance between MP and SP. That’s the first concession we’ve already made; that solo players indeed have little content to enjoy, which is actively being worked on across the board. But to argue that this direction of splitting content into SP or MP is not faithful to Flagship’s own direction or vision strikes me as flimsy, so I’d very much like to hear where your belief stems from.


This too I’d be interested in hearing more about. I want to hope new affixes do make sense, but the more feedback we get on those the better we can inform our direction.

Hi, I really don’t want to start a big discussion because many questions are more of a philosophical nature. But I want to say I understand what you are doing, why and I can understand certain things even if I think they are wrong. That only in advance.

“To explain my objection, as well as get a hopefully productive discussion going, I’d like to ask.
Where do you base your belief that the game was an ARPG at its core, or that it was to have all its content accessible to all solo players?”

Here you have to understand two things. The first is the gameloop of an ARPG, which consists of a special kind of itemization, strategy, exploration, and combat. The balancing of all these elements only works in its entirety. If you want to balance it for solo and group play you end up with two games in one package. This theme is normal for mmorpgs but not for arpgs. All gameplay elements of Hellgate are based on Diablo 2, there are differences but at heart it is the same concept. In short, the game loop only works if the entire content is accessible to everyone, otherwise you have dead ends in progression and progression means items. Hellgate is no different from Diablo here. Which leads to the second thing: Why is there group content like the Wild and dessi in the game?
It’s in the game because it’s fun to do tasks in a group. It’s fun for me too, but the difference to mmorpgs, and I think Hellgate had a good solution here, is that it’s horizontal progression, in addition to the vertical progression of normal itemization. For example pets as a reward. From this you can see how they wanted to make the most important part of the game accessible to everyone while still being able to offer group content.

The daily quests aren’t the end of the world it’s just that they don’t make the game any better and I’ve never heard Brevik speak well of dailys, at times they were probably market driven and wanted to cover everyone even if it wasn’t good .

To the affixes. The special design and it was a further development of Diablo was not simply to increase the damage bluntly, so that one would only have to rely on singular affixes. New ARPGs do everything wrong at this point. It wouldn’t be good if this +damageX continued to creep into Hellgate. Hellgate’s solutions are so ingenious because the growing strength is spread over many pillars. Out of the depth and connected.

I’ve been playing London2038 for as long as I can and I’ve always enjoyed it. I am sure that you are not intentionally violating the spirit of Hellgate and you are trying your best and I have great respect for that. It’s just a hint. Sometimes one is too focused and loses the overview even if there are only a few things. But they weigh heavily when they end up going wrong.

I think it’s more important to keep the game, even with its flaws, than make it new; because today there are no more games like Diablo 2 or Hellgate. That’s why it’s so important and it doesn’t depend on a new expansion or new quests. The core elements are important. …like I said, if what’s new isn’t better than the core game, it hurts the whole. this is my fear.

Then it seems we mostly agree.

This is why MP content exists, in line with FSS’s vision. In line with player demands, for that matter, since a good portion of the player base comes from Global and does like the MP aspect.
So, we agree there need to be both.

Where we seem to disagree is on progress:

Horizontal progression has always been the key focus of item creation, and it’s been our own argument against Global’s definitionally vertical Forge system.
However, Flagship was not designing an SP game - beyond the actual SP version. The entire premise of locking items behind group content (like they had started to with Mutentacles in the Wilds and SH gear in Moloch, and even arguably TC gear and a raid area within) was to have said content be required to progress in this sense. Which still does not exclude solo players from the fruits of group content, given the CH, exactly as FSS also did with locking skill tokens for lv1 skills inside a midgame area.
So I’m afraid I can’t see the objection here - or more specifically, how we are not following the game’s established direction.

This seems to be tied to the general principle you’re bringing to the table:

This, however understandable (which it really is), does not seem to refute my points thus far. More specifically, it does not prove FSS was designing a pure ARPG or intended to have all content accessible to everyone. If anything, their own course and groundwork seem to be proving the opposite - as you also observe their direction through the Wilds, beyond my own notes.

I understand and I agree, but I cannot see this point applying to anything we’ve done on affixes thus far. The entire purpose of the vast majority of affixes was to expand horizontally, making previously underdeveloped routes more viable or fleshed out. There are no new affixes that simply add damage on top of the current +damage (ie +ele) meta; the examples provided above are exactly that: adding sfx strengths and introducing customizability through specific damage boosters (where a singular one existed before).
However, I may be misunderstanding the point - so examples would be more than welcome here.

I understand a big discussion isn’t your intention, but please understand that your wording does not incite short and casual banter. Case in point,

So if we want this to be brief, we can boil this down to a single question.
What is the spirit of Hellgate?
To me it seems to be the hybrid between SP and MP that FSS put in place and 2038 continues toward. For you to believe we’re “violating” it, even if unintentionally, you likely view it differently - so that’s where the question becomes valuable.

Like I said, I don’t want to make an in-depth argument, so I looked for general examples. I realize that such arguments can easily be refuted with specific arguments. But I think the meaning of my thoughts was transported :wink: Of course, an ARPG is not a single player game, it is always a multiplayer game at the same time, that was the special thing about diablo 1. I would like to say something about one point. What is the spirit of Hellgate? For me, the spirit of Hellgate is something that can only rarely be found, maybe you can still find it in Diablo 2 or today in Elden Ring, demanding decisions from the player, but at the same time giving him all the means at hand.

PS: I was referring to the changes to the evoker in the affixes, for example +spirit damage etc if I remember correctly.

Then we mostly agree on its spirit itself, just not in implementation. Say, “demanding decisions” is substantive; that’s what building systems of choices intends to achieve. “Giving the player all the means at hand” is the gist of the disagreement; I agree with being provided tools, but not with these tools sufficing for all content. For the reasons outlined above, including Flagship’s perceived direction - in this sense also including the sheer scarcity of Retrainers and the incentivization to farm them in groups they opted for.

Such affixes as +spirit/+nature I don’t see as powercreep. They don’t substantially raise the crit/ele meta’s caps, which themselves we’ve attempted to rein in to prevent powercreep, but introduce a choice between specialization and generalization (ie +evocation). The class’s specific context was that it lacks inherent damage modifiers (ie no direct +damage stat), and therefore the gap between achieving the crit/ele meta setup through its RNG hoops and not was too vast. They’re a progression assist early on, and a meaningful element to final build choices if one focuses on them - but not one which in any way outdoes the everpresent meta setup or supercharges it.
To avoid discussing specific affixes, I’ll instead stick to the principle. The new affixes expand on Flagship’s own systems (in this case, of skillgroups), which they put in but couldn’t complete in time. They’re not against the original design, but strictly faithful to it. And their explicit goal is horizontal progression, exactly so that there are more meaningful choices to be made.

This is why I object to the idea of neglecting the creators’ vision, on the whole. The remnants of their vision in the game files have always been our concern, as have the incomplete systems they’ve put in place. We don’t come from a place of retrofitting other games’ systems or features into Hellgate, but from one of improving on what’s there - often explicitly present, but extremely underdeveloped (skillgroups, case in point).
Otherwise, the easiest and most sustainable development loop would be to leave everything alone and just pump up crit/ele values with each item batch. But that’s not what we’re here to do.

All in all, my contribution sounds negative, so I would like to say that there are also a lot of things that I like and changes that I think are right. For example the revision of the Summoner. I don’t care about the details either. It is also clear to me that you will not change your mind about separating solo from group play. In the end you will have to decide on one variant, because a hybrid system does not work. No ARPG player would accept that gear items are out of reach for them. MMORPG players have no problem with that. In the end you have to make a decision. It’s true that Flagship itself didn’t make that final decision.

Thank you for the kind words, for one. And it’s indeed true the issue is substantial, or such discussions wouldn’t need to be had, so I do thank you for all your input thus far. That we disagree is secondary; that we discuss is what’s valuable.

Now, I’m open to changing my mind about it, but I don’t see the reason to make all content soloable. It wasn’t Flagship’s vision, for one, which was the primary point of contention I had, so it has to boil down to benefits versus detriments.
In my books, not having party-based content doesn’t work in an online game’s favor. Never mind Flagship’s presumed visions, or that a solo content pipeline is not sustainable on our end - the consistent feedback we’ve gotten in that regard was that “a solo game with chat and an auction house” was not what players wanted either. Global players, perhaps, who prefer the MMO approach to the ARPG approach, but the point still stands.

Now, can I accept that solo players should have more to do? Certainly, that’s in the works already. Can I see why players would mind not having access to group-based content’s items? Yes, and while they can still buy them off group players there’s the Global blueprint of giving some access to such items through solo play (ie the Coupon boxes) which is a reasonable middle ground. Can I discuss the desirable distribution of SP vs MP content? Absolutely; we have players of both schools of thought to satisfy.
But can I accept that solo-minded players should have the entire game readily accessible to them? No; it doesn’t seem to be the game’s own vision, it doesn’t align with our own vision, it’s not sustainable, and it doesn’t seem to be what (a decent chunk of) players want. Can I “give in” to the solo crowd and eternally displease the party crowd? No, there need to be concessions and a middle ground.
Unless I hear compelling arguments to the contrary, of course, which I’m always open to.

And, of course, this is all just my own view on the matter. I’m perfectly willing to discuss it, since I want to have my views as well-informed as possible - that’s also why I asked for the foundation of your own beliefs and tastes, in case your data conflicts with mine. But I definitely don’t call the shots on the project’s course, beyond casting my vote and sharing my creative views.
This just so my role or “influence” is not misunderstood, since that tends to happen.