Hellgate London F2P – You're Doing it Wrong

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To fill you in on this game: it’s a post-apocalyptic themed MMO shooter originally released back in 2007 with a paid subscription required to play it and long story short it flopped pretty quickly; not because it was a bad game but because it was filled with game breaking bugs and glitches. These were patched up as time went on but it was too late as the developers of the title, Flagship Studios, filed for bankruptcy and the game was shut down.

Since then a new developing team (HanbitSoft) has taken up the game and redeveloped it as Hellgate London: Resurrection under the publisher T3Fun and made it free to play. The game is already live in Korea but the American version just recently came out of closed beta and into its open beta phase which I joined. There’s just one problem so far; The game is still so horribly bug ridden I have no idea how it is in this state after going through closed beta testing.

It’s normal for some people to have game breaking issues sometimes even after a game is launched but these are issues that almost everyone is having. The time it takes to load the game once you’ve selected your character is about five minutes. Sometimes the game will crash for one of about five different common reasons after that five minutes has passed or even before you load the game. The options button on the launcher causes it to straight up crash. Using portals will sometimes cause you to disconnect and there are issues with inventory expansions and mail disappearing. These are the kinds of issues I would expect from a game that is brand new, not one that has been released twice and is up and running already in another country. The kind of issues or bugs you should find in an open beta of an MMO should be minor at most like balance issues, places where characters and NPCs get stuck or AI not working properly. An open beta should also have more than one server, which HGL:R does not have. Their one server usually has such a full load that playing is near impossible because of the massive lag involved. With most games I could easily venture onto their support forum and find a temporary fix for some issues, but I found literally nothing to help me with the issues I’ve had with this game so far. I’ve experienced just about every bug I’ve seen reported on the forum at different and random times and the developers are not replying to or commenting on any of the issues. I wasn’t too impressed.

Now despite all these issues I still enjoy the game itself. This isn’t as much a review as it is an example of what to not do when you release a free to play game (or just a game at all) but if these issues can ever be fixed the game will actually be very good for a free MMO. The original developers are ex-Blizzard employees that worked on the Diablo series and HGL:R reflects that. The game mechanics are pretty much directly copied from Diablo II and in some areas improved. I would describe it as a TPS version of Diablo II with a futuristic setting. This is a good thing since I loved the rpg and game mechanics of Diablo II and I also love third person shooters and HGL:R doesn’t execute those mechanics poorly either.

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