So Hellgate: London is about to launch and you are unsure whether to quit World of Warcraft to play that. I have a level 12 Cabalist on Hellgate: London Beta. And the demo.
HELLGATE: LONDON DEMO
The demo isn’t really worth downloading in my opinion. It takes approximately 1.39GB space and all it has is about 10 quests or less. Unless I missed something you can only play on the Holborn Station area. Re-playability of this demo is null to be honest.
The demo could be useful to those who wish to find out if their computer and graphics may withstand the game, or if you wish to see for yourself the quality of the game’s graphics, the basic functions such as inventory, stash, talent tree, etc. /end.
HELLGATE: LONDON BETA
Now on to the beta criticism. Hellgate: London is far from anything I thought it would be. Maybe I haven’t played as many MMOs as others and that might be a reason. Been a World of Warcraft player since July 2004 Closed Beta I am used to roam the world either on foot, or on an epic mount. In the case of Burning Crusade, even an epic flying mount.
On Hellgate: London, what you may call the world, is Holborn Station, Green Park Station and Covent Garden Station. That’s where other players meet up, sorta like a small Inn with vendors, stash bank, weapon upgrade machines, and teleportation hubs that send you to other distant stations.
Everything else is an instanced zone. So imagine that Razor Hill, Sen’jin Village, Crossroads, Ratchet and Camp Taurajo are instanced. Instead of running from point A to B, you use Orgrimmar (Holborn Station) as a portal hub to jump into each village as an instanced location.
Yup, you got it right. Enter location A. Loading screen. Play in that area. Enter Portal to Location B. Loading Screen. Finish quest, use Hearthstone (Relocation Device). Back to Holborn Station. Next quest you are sent to another zone. Find the portal to that zone. Loading Screen …
I think the way the world of Hellgate: London was built doesn’t cut it for me. There isn’t much immersion between the character and the world if the whole place is instanced and require a loading screen of 15-30 seconds or longer. /rantoff.
With Diablo II, the world seemed bigger and you could walk long areas without having a loading screen. Of course, there were dungeons, and subterranean smaller caves. That’s part of Diablo II. Same with Hellgate: London.
The instanced zones/areas are at least somewhat cohesive to understand when pressing “M” to view the map. You see each zone as a square connected by tunnels.
Adware is present in the game. Not so invasive. You see posters on the train stations. I was curious to see a horse on a poster. Itched my curiosity, knowing I had seen that logo before. But couldn’t place where. It was Dark Horse comics logo. Nvidia, Alienware, YouTube, WETA Collectibles, Pocketbook posters are displayed too. Advertising is subtle and almost unnoticed. Adware isn’t really the issue. The issue is you accept in the EULA to have EA gather info about your computer and internet protocols. Some fans are worried about EA sniffing through their hard drive. More on this issue at Voodoo Extreme (IGN) and Slashdot.
I chose the Cabalist out of curiosity being the closest to a World of Warcraft Warlock. I liked the ability of the Cabalist to use either a big weapon using both hands, or two smaller weapons (one on each hand) plus to be able to summon pets. You can summon a big dog-like pet and it auto attacks anything within 25 yards that you are shooting at. Sometimes it has a mind of its own and even if its out of sight the pet goes and hunts it down. Not always a good thing specially if its health is low. Once the pet dies, you can summon him again after 20 seconds. You can summon a smaller minion simultaneously: a tiny fire elemental that adds some extra damage for bigger fights. The dog-like demon pet gains abilities as you gain level talent points. You can make it heal itself by tapping earth energies. Or go into a frenzy mode for 10 seconds making him grow in size, gain extra damage, run and attack speed. The Cabalist may heal itself if there are nearby corpses. Pretty cool class. It can fear mobs if you are surrounded allowing you to escape. Shift key allows you to run faster for 5 seconds (All classes do).
All classes can either break weapons or gear into smaller parts. Sorta like disenchanting. Each component may be used later to build special runes, batteries, rockets or other mechanisms that serve to mod your weapons if the weapons have mod slots. I found that fascinating. There are machines at the Meeting Stations where you can place your weapon item to remove its mod parts. You can then replace a mod. And keep the old one. In World of Warcraft once you add a gem to an item, you can replace the gem, but you lose the old one. I guess that was done so people would always need a jewelcrafter.
In Hellgate: London you can’t target a mob, you simply point your focal point at a mob and shoot in that direction. Common in games such as Farcry and Half-Life. However, not been able to target a mob to see its tooltip before engaging in battle to look at its name and stats takes away some of the RPG feeling.
Sometimes you find epic or rare mobs, and after 3 minutes of shooting you don’t remember its name afterwards. Sometimes I don’t even get to see its name, they just ram at you and you have to walk backwards shooting at it till it dies. In World of Warcraft I can still remember Van Cleef and what he meant to the world. I can remember I killed him in Deadmines, for example. In Hellgate: London that RPG feeling where you know each mob’s name is somewhat gone. I don’t know how mobs are named and won’t remember where I killed them since each area is instanced.
The Quest system is very similar to that of World of Warcraft. You can also keep track of the quests by clicking a check mark to the side of their title-name. The quest name is then displayed onscreen asking you to kill X amount of Y-unit. When you complete the quest, the onscreen tracker updates and asks you to return to Z-NPC at A-Station.
At level 12, I have somewhat enjoyed these three days of gameplay. Sometimes I have logged off from World of Warcraft, drawn to playing the Cabalist and advancing through stations. As for the storyline through the major quest chains, it is revealing and interesting in a strange way. You find some kind of angel entity named Truth which leaves a cryptic words. There are others like her. The invasion of London is not just bound to Earth. It is an invasion to many worlds across the galaxy. A madman ally who was once captured years ago by the demons and tortured in Hell, is helping you discover who Truth is, and how to topple the invaders by merging a dead demon oracle with a Techsmith to learn from its memories. Hard to explain. Entertaining to play and to unravel the story as you progress.
Overall, the demo sucks for requiring 1.39GB space for only 5-10 quests and one station. Plus the adware. However, it shows you the basic functions of the gameplay UI, quest system and Station UI. Beta gameplay: Interesting Storyline and gameplay. Intuitive inventory and quest system. Aweful loading screen times between zones.
For a single-player and entertainment Hellgate: London may offer an alternative. At level 12, I haven’t still grouped with other players. Traveling from station to station is easy, by finding the Station Travel Terminal which teleports you to any station you have visited.
Personally, I prefer to stick with World of Warcraft and my guild raiding schedule. And play Hellgate: London in a casual schedule. The free-based gameplay model it is. I don’t think I can commit to the subscription model of Hellgate: London. You will be familiar with many elements found in Diablo II there, don’t take me wrong. And even a few easter eggs such as the Wart’s leg. I recommend buying Hellgate: London single-player and from there you may decide if you wish to commit to the subscription model. You decide what caters to you most.