by Godless / Futility
A fair warning to the reader: this might end up as a long and winding rambling of an old player of HG:L back from 2007.
As, probably, most of you back in the days I have played Diablo, then Diablo II, LoD. I only played softcore and mostly online solo. I remember Diablo, Travincal and Baal Runs; waiting long nights half-asleep for the magic phrase to pop “Diablo walks the Earth.” Eventually I quit and somewhat forgot about it.
Not sure how I stumbled upon the Hellgate website and learned that a new game was being developed by the former Diablo team people. New concept and classes looked weird but they did include a caster, so I was sold on it.
I participated in either a pre-release beta or a demo that was limited in content up to Occulis boss.
I liked the game enough to pre-order Collector’s Edition to get all the bonus gimmicks. The fan-boi in me went even further. Back then, depending on which store you preordered the game from you’d get an exclusive in-game (purely cosmetic) Dye Kit. Pre-order from Best Buy had a Biohazard dye kit, Gamestop - Lava, Walmart – Royal, EA preorder - Wasp. Well, I got them all – not sure if each cost me $10 or if I got the empty pre-order boxes with codes for free after release. But I did have them all. Of course, I bought into Founders offer, as well.
After release I enjoyed the game for a while. I was excited to hit Level 30 and finally get Arc Legion which was awesome. Who cared that its pre-requisite Tempest was broken and did little to no damage.
I remember Blood Moon achievement discussion and the consensus that it had to be done on a Full Moon in October, so it couldn’t be completed in 2007 and we had to wait a year to get it.
I recall public-chatting with Ping0 Community Manager in game I forgot her name but she was nice with everyone, friendly and down to Earth. Found her through Google – Diane “Tiggs” Migliacio.
I remember “Butsecs”, I remember some sarcastic player spamming “Skullsplitter is the best skill in game – Fact!” every 5 minutes. It was fun, I guess.
I remember Fawkes Day event in November which was initially a disaster. Flames animation in certain areas resulted in major FPS drops. A whole bunch of useless and/or unstackable seasonal items – potatoes, anyone? It was somewhat fixed in a day or two. I was proud to have finished all the seasonal quests, gathered all the ingredients and completed the Fawkes Force Five trinket.
Shortly after Tempest was fixed and it was a sight to behold. That’s when I was lured to the Dark Side of Hardcore by one of the players – her game name was Blood-Doll. My build was new, safe and powerful Tempest, Brom’s Curse and bugged Venom Armor that ticked way too fast and healed you in seconds; of coruse, it also killed you in seconds when facing Infested-type mobs. I reached level 48 out of 50 before I quit playing due to other issues.
The game still had a lot of issues – bugs, terrible stat feeds, random affixes and itemization, delayed subscriber/founder content. The number of online players kept shrinking to the point when FSS disabled the in-game /who command to prevent seeing how very few players were online. Last I recall, the count was 1700-2200 people.
Dissatisfaction grew, especially with the Founders crowd who were getting no value from their subscription (other than double stash size). I was younger, cockier and bitter (nowadays - saltier is the term). I made quite a few scathing remarks on Official Forums, created some mildly offensive avatar icons, like Dunce Cap Hellgate Founder Logo, or Flagshit Flag. Well, sure enough some kid they newly hired to moderate (meaning censor) the increasingly negative forums, has banned me without a warning for, I believe, a month. I wrote to support and got no reply or a one-line message stating something like “Banned for: Trolling.”
Here’s the e-mail I sent FSS in early 2008:
RANT START [code]
To whom it may concern
Ref: Forum Access
Acct name: Godless
I have recently and unfairly been denied access to the Hellgate website forums.
While I understand the need for moderation, some of the forum administrators
have been abusing their ban privileges.
I neither used foul language nor personal attacks towards anybody.
I did express dissatisfaction with the treatment of members (founders)
by the game company and moderators.
For you to make an opinion of what kind of customer/person I am, feel free
to examine badges associated with my account and the history of my posts on
the website forum. I've been trying to be supportive and helpful member of
community most of the time. Alas, every patience has a limit, so lately,
I have grown tired of waiting for the promises to come true and stated that
in my avatar/signature.
Please, remedy, the situation to, at least, restoring my forum access rights.
Should you choose to ignore my request, and I will neither receive a response
from your company, nor gain access to forums, I will see no other solution
but to cancel my subscription/dispute charges. Though I hate to do that, lack
of subscriber content provided, aggravated by horrible customer treatment
would compel me to do so. In a time when the future of your product and company
is reliant on continued subscriber support, it would be unwise to let your customers
go so easily. It does remain your choice, however.
RANT END [/code]
Anyhow, I was gagged and blinded at the forums, which really pissed me off.
Stonehenge just got released and it was also messy. Removed /who command was the last straw for me. I saw the writing on the wall and sold my Founder’s Account on Ebay for $200. I think it was a fair price, with all the Dye Kits, Fawkes Force Five, +1 Evoker Skills Helmet (which were rare at the time) and Level 48 Hardcore evoker. It wasn’t a bad deal if the company didn’t go under in ~6 months. Oh, well, if the buyer of my account is here now, I’m sorry, I guess.
Well, that pretty much concludes my reminiscence of the Hellgate Past. I’m glad the dev team brought it back to life. I’m really enjoying my nostalgia in game right now. It is not as bad as I remember despite its flaws. Currently leveling my SC Evoker and re-learning all the mechanics, like Riftcoils, permastun etc. Haven’t seen the new bosses yet. Not sure I’ll want to dip into HC this time. Too much time investment to be insta-killed by some BS mechanics. Plus, I enjoy playing sloppy and leisurely while drinking after a day’s work.
It’s kind of ironic that nowadays something as unfinished as Hellgate is, could very well succeed if released as an Early Access Indie game.
To this day Hellgate still remains a flawed game with some enjoyable aspects. I still believe the HGL vacuum is best implementation of loot pickup in any game. Some of the monsters are quite memorable. Certain locations of the very limited number of tilesets are also beautiful (Ancient Blood). Some NPCs are fun and memorable (Arlo & Tiberius).
I don’t quite know for how long my nostalgia is going to last but for now I’m enjoying the game. Looking forward to seeing end-game content. Thanks to everyone who made the project happen and keep it going.
Please, forgive me being somewhat hectic and sporadic in my recollections.
Futility / Godless
PS Somewhat unrelated piece of history: