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The Game Archaeologist: When Hellgate London got Flagshipped

It seems that it really wasn’t too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.

There’s no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I’m betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence — how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 or not (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I’m just saying that you can’t judge me.).

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Albion Online retools combination PvP PvE Hellgate maps

As part of Albion Online’s pre-beta overhaul, developer Sandbox Interactive is retooling the game’s existing Hellgates. No, not that Hellgate. In Albion, Hellgates are basically free-for-all PvP zones with seriously badass monsters. PvP inside the gates is unfettered and comes without reputation loss, but the baddies and their extreme loot make it worth the effort.

“While in general Hellgates have been well-received and they are a great source for intense PvP fights, we feel that we can make them even better,” Sandbox explains. “The main issues Hellgates currently have are related to teams dodging fights or pulling mobs to gain an unfair advantage in fights.”

The studio aims to incentivize play inside the gates with a newly designed map, three difficulty levels, and the elimination of mob interference in PvP encounters. But there’s still plenty of reason to PvE inside these special maps:

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The MMOs we lost in 2016

If you thought we lost a lot of MMOs in 2014 and 2015, wait until you see 2016’s list.

It’s easy to shrug off some of these, like the non-MMORPGs, the games shutting down in far-flung countries, or even Hellgate, which sunsets and revives at least a dozen times a year now.

But others sting. Asheron’s Call, due to sunset in January, is probably the smallest MMORPG on the list, but it casts a mighty shadow over the genre and will be deeply missed by veterans. The cancellations of EverQuest Next and Revival still stings. PlanetSide had a long and storied run, while DUST 514 may yet live again. And our youngins will now miss out on introductory games like Super Hero Squad Online and LEGO Minifigures.

Farewell, old friends.

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Hellgate fan project moves toward an alpha build

Work continues on the fan-powered project to bring back Hellgate: London to the masses. The London 2038 team reported that it is working through some game-breaking bugs but is moving forward to an alpha build.

“We are at a point where a few bugs remain which can cause the game to be instantly unplayable and are working hard to fix them. This means we are not quite to an alpha state stability-wise, but at the same time our server is playable enough to get some productive testing done.”

The London 2038 team has added a new member over the past month and is preparing to launch its official website in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out the following video of a recent multiplayer test!

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Jukebox Heroes: Massively OP’s guide to grabbing 120+ MMO soundtracks

One of the most common questions that I’m asked from my adoring throngs on the street is, “Justin, where oh where can I get some of these marvelous MMO soundtracks that you talk about all of the time?” OK, that just never happens (on the street, that is), but people are often curious how they can go about starting to amass an MMO soundtrack collection or where to find their favorite album.

The sad truth is that so much music from these games is never officially released in any capacity, which is why I scour YouTube for fan rips of the music files. However, every so often I do discover a studio release somewhere, and I try to keep an up-to-date log on these to help others in their quest for video game scores.

So in the spirit of Christmas and sharing, today I’m going to show you how you can get your ears on more than 120 soundtracks and scores from MMOs, MOBAs, and other online titles — some of which are free and legal for the taking. You’re welcome; don’t mention it!

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Gamers are trying to revive Hellgate: London – again again again

We all know that Hellgate: London has been revived and used at this point more than your average CPR training dummy. So while we’re not here to tell you that some studio is bringing back this OARPG (again), we do want to point out that some of Hellgate’s most loyal community members are attempting to resurrect the game in some form.

First up is Hellgate: Revival, in which a small dev team is trying to bring back the classic multiplayer Hellgate experience while possibly opening up some of its later areas. It sounds like the project is making progress, too: “As seen above, we have a working Hellgate: London multiplayer server running. At this point, Hellgate multiplayer WILL be returning to the community. It has taken months of work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears to get to this point, but we are at a point where development is accelerating and we are able to actually debug a running MP server.”

Another team called Fledgling Studios is attempting to create a similar game called Hellrift, which Fledgling says is a spiritual successor to Hellgate: London. Fans are encouraged to follow Hellrift’s progress on Facebook, where there are already pieces of concept art and character models.

We’ve got a look at Hellgate: Revival’s multiplayer test in a video below.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 89: The book of Revelation

Today on the show, Bree and Justin tackle the numerous patches that came out this past week across the world of MMOs. They also wonder what they would do if their games accidentally disbanded their guilds. Probably panic and widespread rioting, if Justin is involved.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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The Game Archaeologist: Six Halloween holidays from buried MMOs

There are two things to know about Halloween and MMOs. The first is that just about every online game in the known universe puts on a festival or seasonal promotion of some sort, because devs can’t resist the urge to indulge in a return to their childhoods. The second is that pretty much every said event involves some sort of pumpkin-headed scarecrow, because that is apparently the mascot of the holiday now.

Oh, and one more thing to know? Not every MMO Halloween returns from years past due to the sinister and often premature demise of the game. When an MMO goes down, it takes all of its holidays with it, leaving players with only memories of seasonal activities in those games.

In the interest of preserving the efforts that the developers poured into these events and the fondness that some players had for them, today we’re going to take a tour through six holidays from, ahem, buried MMOs.

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Perfect Ten: My highlights from pre-launch MMO hype

Maybe the hype and anticipation of an upcoming MMORPG leaves you feeling burned out and turned off these days. Considering that some titles can be in development for up to a half a decade, it’s crazy to think that a high level of personal excitement can be sustained. I’ve always loved the build-up to MMOs, although I go through cycles of paying attention and getting really jazzed, followed by taking some time off while the title cooks more in the oven.

There’s just something special to me about the pre-launch hype. Communities are forming, devs are talking constantly, and fans are contemplating their future adventures. For me, the only thing similar is the advent season and counting down to Christmas morning.

Yes, many times the hype wasn’t justified by the gameplay delivered, but I usually enjoy both all the same. I was casting my mind back lately over memories from pre-launch hype eras of MMOs, thinking about those certain moments that got me incredibly eager to dive in and play the game in the making. It’s happened many times over the years, so here are 10 of those highlights to share with you!

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Albion Online’s gateway dungeons offer incredibly flexible adventures

Albion Online is merging the concept of an old-school open world dungeon with its hellgate mechanic to make adventure spaces that feel fresh and challenging.

These gateway dungeons, as they’re being called, have multiple entry points and several “pockets” containing veteran mobs and gatekeepers. Gatekeepers, when killed, will open up a portal to a special instance for you and your four buddies, in which you’ll find even tougher bosses and better loot. Of course, you may never come out again to tell the tale, but that’s the risk you take, eh?

Albion is also in the process of reworking its death mechanic — or to be more accurate, its knockdown mechanic. With this new process, when a player runs out of hit points, he or she will get knocked down and have to wait until one of three things happens: fellow players cast a resurrect, an enemy comes in for the kill, or enough hit points slowly regenerate to allow a return to the action.


Hellgate: London is on Android as a first-person shooter

Back in November, Hellgate: London shut down once again. But now it’s back. You can’t actually shut down this game, it just come about in a new form. So here’s the latest version of Hellgate: London, and now it’s a first-person shooter on Android, because why not at this point? Why should it be anything different?

This incarnation and/or spinoff (whichever you’d prefer to call it) is still being managed by Hanbitsoft, which is relevant with the rapid changes the game makes to its ownership. At this point we may as well just put down the idea that the game is ever going to shut down for real, it just comes back again sooner or later.

Source: Google Play


Hellgate is shutting down its last server in the world

Hellgate is one of those titles that never quite seems to die; the former Flagship title has been resurrected and shut down so many times that you can be forgiven for losing track of all of them. Well, it’s closing again, and this time it feels a little more final than previously.

Hanbitsoft is shuttering the last Hellgate server in the world, which is located in Korea, on February 26th. If you’re shedding tears at this news, then don’t worry; we’re sure its corpse will be dug back up and Frankenstein’d to life again one day.

For example, as a VR game and a mobile title. Which are both allegedly in the works. Why? Why won’t you people let Hellgate die already?

Source: MMO Culture


The Daily Grind: What’s the best pet class in an MMORPG?

I hated pets when I first got started in MMORPGs. Pets in early MMOs had such terrible AI and were such a nuisance to control that they gave their masters bad reputations for years to come.

A couple of games changed my mind along the way, though: Guild Wars 1 and Titan Quest, and maybe Hellgate London too. While not all MMORPGs, they all had extremely powerful summoning classes that basically made the game into a steamrolling experience where the player had to do very little but keep the summons coming. By the time City of Heroes added Masterminds, I was actively seeking out a class I once looked down on.

What pet classes and summoning classes have you enjoyed in MMOs? What’s the very best pet class in an MMORPG?

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