Monday, June 6, 2011

Hellgate Global closed beta - a quick review

So last Friday at 1830 EDT arrived the moment that was just over two years in the making. Hellgate Global closed beta testing went live... until the server crashed under some probably unexpected popularity. And of course when hundreds of nerds started spamming "NOOOOO!! WHY?!?!" on the T3fun forums, that server also came close to the breaking point. Thankfully for me I wasn't home; enjoying awesome wine and music with a buddy of mine was more important. I told myself I would spend more time with it on Saturday before heading out to the EVE/Mine-meet, and also for my Vegetable Sunday. This turned out to be a good thing. After a late night trek home I slept in, late enough to see that as I was sleeping the Hellgate server had been fixed and beefed up. I couldn't have had a better timing. Coffee and breakfast at hand, I got in on the first shot waiting maybe 3 minutes in a queue that looked a lot worse than it really was.

The character creator is only slightly different from the original game. Having played a Marksman for the past week in the Revival single-player mod, I decided to do the same because 1- it's my favorite class, and 2- I had made a few bad levelling choices on my SP toon and wanted to "bring him up" better. When I finally got into the game world the differences between the regular game and HGG were evident. A different tutorial, which is a quest in itself introduces you to the game. There isn't really any huge changes so I just plowed through it; the ultimate goal is to go meet Murmur, the tutorial guy from the original game. So before you see this guy you have to go through your first hostile environment, mostly inhabited by level 1 zombies and demons... mostly. Here comes La Surprise: a message in 1-inch high font appears in the middle of the screen, giving you a bone-chilling message: "A messenger from Hell has entered". This was followed by the apparition of a T-rex sized Hellmeat monster, with all sorts of "fun" qualities like "vivifying" and "electrifying". This can't be good! Bracing myself I did try to give this monstrosity a shot but the vivifying part was clear because his health kept regenerating, and my puny L1 standard gun couldn't break his tank. Only one thing left to do: RUN COZ RUN !!!

Fortunately I didn't stay in my standard starter gear for long because the loot drop rate was just phenomenal. I suspect this is a beta-only thing though. But those "messenger" guys are a permanent feature and you get to see one or two in every hostile area you go through. They are randomly generated from random monster classes, with random attributes, and after a few level-ups and wearing some decent gear the encounters get to be fun as they are harder to kill than the average boss. But I remember one quest where I had to pick up a book in a place called Aslot's Vault. Aslot himself is already pretty badass, and he's surrounded by a neverending stream of cannon-fodder monsters. But I had the luck to have a small group of rare and epic monsters, and as if this wasn't enough a messenger came to crash the party. I don't have a Templar tank so yeah, I died. But when I came back I did manage to split up the group of baddies: Aslot was the first to go, and then I kited the messenger and a horde of regular monsters. Once that was done I was finally able to tackle the rares/epics and finish the quest. Damn that was satisfying !!!

Aslot, killing me. Smoldering Burning is correct!
Aslot, dead. Notice my tombstone :)

All in all it was a good experience to play online a game that I feel has the best from roguelikes like Diablo, and shooters like Quake. I did play only solo over the weekend, but the next time around, or when open beta starts (me crosses fingers) I will most probably group up with one of my Quake clanmates, who also had access to the closed beta but didn't get to play, and maybe even bigger groups. There were also a few lag issues especially in the first couple of stations due to over-population, but after a while I was far enough into the game that the stations were much less crowded. Of course there were whiners who were bashing the game's state... they probably didn't see the "closed beta" part of the deal :) One thing is certain: Hellgate is back, it's great fun to play, and it will be worth supporting when it comes out of beta testing. Well, back to HGL Revival as we wait for the next phase of testing.

Cozmik's final setup, 2 minutes before the end of CBT

Fight for the living, and all that jazz


1 comment:

Latro said...

I may have to get back into it. I had a pretty good engineer going there for a while before HGL shut-down.