Blizzard broke the bank ten years ago with their Diablo franchise, developed by their Blizzard North studio. Their tale ended the very moment Blizzard turned to printing money with World of Warcraft as their only product in development. Blizzard North was hit by mass resignations over a dispute with Vivendi, Blizzard's parent company, and Bill Roper, who worked either as a producer or a des 2190 igner in all the early Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo games went on to found Flagship Studios, together with numerous ex-Blizzard employees in 2003. Their first product, Hellgate: London, has been under development ever since, with the rabid fans waiting in anticipation.
Hellgate: London is, simply put, Diablo 3 with the setting and other Blizzard-owned intellectual property filed off. It has just enough own ideas to keep Blizzard's legal dogs at bay, but the gameplay is very much the same - venture out, kill monsters, loot shiny things, get levels and experience points. Of course, comparing the games like this, the same could be said about almost every other RPG and MMO title out there - Hellgate: London just takes it all a tad more towards Diablo than everyone else. Yet you can't really blame Flagship Studios, as the same guys were very much involved in cooking up the original design while they still worked for Blizzard.
You start out by creating a character, choosing from six different classes. Except that there is actually just three archetypes - both Blademasters and Guardians are melee characters, Engineers and Summoners dabble with pets, while Evokers and Marksmen prefer to shoot things from range. There are plenty of differences between each six classes, each having their unique skill trees, but in practice playing an Evoker or a Marksman, blasting away stuff from range, is very similar. No matter what class you choose, you start out with a short tutorial set in the near future, at a ruined section of London. Ruins? Well, with the gates of hell opened at the middle of London, there goes the neighborhood.
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