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HGL - Underground Communique, Issue #5 : FPS / MMORPG / RTS Discussion

Posted: May 6th, 2008, 7:32 pm

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Underground Communique #5
Week of May 5th

Return of the Mack

Hooray for references to 90s music. Welcome, Hellgaters, to the fifth installment of your Underground Communique. This issue comes after skipping a week due to the nonstop updates brought about by the launch of Patch 1.3 and its subsequent fixes. In the interest of producing a fresh and accurate newsletter, it was decided to hold off until the dust settled before writing this one. Recent events include the launch of Patch 1.3a, the recovery of more than 7000 in-game mails, Max Schaefer discussing the Action RPG genre, and then some. Read on!

Max Schaefer Speaks About the Action RPG Genre on IGN.com

IGN.com's RPG Vault has started a new series of articles titled RPG Vault Focus in an attempt to capture the candid and informal nature of conversations with game developers experienced at conventions and expositions. The inaugural article focused on the Action RPG genre and invited Max Schaefer, Flagship Studios' COO and co-founder, to speak on the subject.

What is an RPG? Taken literally, it simply refers to a game in which you play the role of one or more characters. But in practice, I think the term means different things to different people, and from my experience in making them, it's a topic of considerable passion for many gamers. At times, it can resemble a religious war. I was fortunate enough to work on all the games in the Diablo series, a title that is today most commonly considered an action RPG. The arguments about how to classify it were strangely heated, with some people insisting that it was a full-fledged RPG, and others who refused to accept that it was an action RPG... or even that such a category was valid.

The full article can be found here and also polls Gas Powered Games' Steve Bauman about the genre as well.

Patch 1.3 Patched

Patch 1.3 introduced some hotly-desired features including emotes, shared stash, the ability to inspect other players, a Premium Item Merchant, a Donation system, and the new Ranks and Expertise system. However, some widely-experienced bugs cropped up shortly after the patch reached the live servers. One of most prevalent bugs caused players to lose experience earned towards Ranks when leaving a party. Another caused weapon mods to become "unequipped" when the modded weapon was loaded into the game. A third major issue that many users reported was that in-game mail was not being received and items attached were being lost.

The following Monday, Patch 1.3a was released, solving the majority of these and other issues players were experiencing. This patch fixed the main causes of Rank experience loss and weapon mods unequipping themselves. In addition, it reduced the Donation goal and adjusted the Buddy List font size for readability. Tracking code was added to in-game mail in order to help determine the cause of in-game mail system lag: the source of the problem.

Vast quantities of lost mail were recovered and returned to senders this past week. 4050+ items and 385+ palladium transfers were recovered on the Shulgoth (US) server and 2300+ items and 155+ palladium transfers were recovered on the Sydonai (EU) server. Support is continuing to monitor the servers for lost mail.

Patch 1.3b is currently on Test Center and addresses some of the less immediate issues from Patch 1.3. The patch notes for Patch 1.3a can be found here. The preliminary patch notes for Patch 1.3b can be found here.

Test Center Database Restored

This weekend, a number of players reported that they were being sent straight to the character creation when logging into to our Test Center server. Fearing a character wipe, they came to the forums and found that no intentional wipe had occurred. After some sleuthing, Ping0 was able to use a backup of the Test Center database to restore characters from before the time they started disappearing at about 2:00 AM PDT on Friday morning. They'll be keeping a close on eye Test Center and will be investigating the cause of the database trouble.

For details on the current build on Test Center, check out the latest patch notes.

Sydonai (EU) Subscribers Now Receiving Subscriber Benefits on Test Center

One of the fixes that Patch 1.3b introduces allows players with subscriptions on the Sydonai (EU) server to be able to access subscriber content on the Test Center server, previously limited to Shulgoth (US) subscribers. Special account badges have been made to allow EU subscribers access. In order to gain this badge, you need to create an account on HellgateLondon.com for the Shulgoth (US) server using the registration key used to create your Sydonai (EU) subscription account.

After creating your account, select Test Center from the pull-down menu on the Hellgate: London login screen and enter your account name and password. The client will update to the current Test Center build and after restarting the game and signing in once more, you will be able to access subscriber content on the Test Center server. There is still some content that is not yet working for these subscribers such as Essences but this is slated to be fixed.

April Showers Bring May Flowers...and the Abyss Chronicles

We are most assuredly in the month of May and eager Hellgaters everywhere are itching to hear the latest lowdown on Patch 2, estimated to reach the live servers later this month and Test Center before that time. Titled the "Abyss Chronicles", Patch 2 introduces a laundry list of succulent features. Some of the most enticing offerings include new bosses to test your mettle against, new skills for all classes, new monster types, new weapons for all factions to use on those new monster types, a consignment house, the ability to switch station instances, and lots more. A more thorough detailing of what the Abyss Chronicles will bring is not far off and will be posted along with plans for subsequent patches.

Bon Voyage, Scapes!

Thus, the fifth issue of the Underground Communique comes to a close. A quick note to those who have been asking what I was up to last week that kept me less active than I normally am on the forums: I was capturing footage and editing together a few videos for Hellgate: London and Mythos before departing on a wee vacation. Where am I going? Why, Japan! Kyoto to be precise. Should be immensely fun and I promise to bring back photos and maybe even a souvenir for the forums.

I suppose "Sayonara, Scapes" would have been a more fitting title for this section but I decided against it.
-- Scapes

http://www.hellgatelondon.com/undergrou ... ue-issue-5

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