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Hellgate: London Subscriptions Set, Explained 56

Posted by Zonk
from the werewolves-of-london dept.
1up is reporting on a letter directly from Bill Roper to Hellgate: London fans on what the subscription fee is all about. The letter, reprinted by the site Hellgate Guru, suggests that the premium content unlocked by the subscription fee is meant to give players options on how to play the game. " Hellgate: London is completely free to play online, out of the box. Anyone who buys the game can not only play through the fully randomized, storyline-driven gameplay offline, but they can also go online and share that experience with millions of players from around the world. We're excited to be able to bring gamers an amazing, free online experience that is included with their single player game ... Gamers also want choices, and we have so many great ideas for Hellgate: London, and the concept is so extendable, that we know we can keep adding to this game for a long time. We want to continue moving Hellgate: London forward in some really exciting directions, and to support ongoing development we've created a subscription service to give players access to new content as we go along. This commitment to our gamers was also a part of our plans for Hellgate: London from the very beginning."
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Hellgate: London Subscriptions Set, Explained

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  • Will this be similar to Bethesda's "Official Plugins" you have to pay to get for Oblivion, only on a monthly pay schedule?
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Talgrath (1061686)
      No, you're not "readint" this right, if you did, you would have gotten: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0.
    • Not quite...

      You can either:

      A. Buy the game, play single player & online ala Diablo 2 for the cost of buying the box. No problems. (and free online players share the server/s with paying customers)

      OR

      B. Buy the game, play single player & pay $9.95 for ENHANCED ONLINE content, I.E. particiate in the MMO portion. You get updates, more character slots, fancyer looking items (it has been stated the Elite players items only look different, not statistically different to a free players items.) and a few oth
      • So do you just wait a year, buy the game for a budget price, pay a one month sub fee and get access to a years worth of extra content? Play it for a couple of weeks and then put it back on the shelf.
        • Indeed you could, in the same fashion as you can go buy WoW now and play with all the extra content that has been added on since the cd's/dvd's were pressed :)
  • orly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aichpvee (631243) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @06:55PM (#19076167) Journal
    I'll believe it when I see it. I don't even know what this game is, but the idea of paying a subscription fee for content that will be available "as we go along" has got to be the stupidest idea I've ever heard, from a customer point of view. Even paying per addon is better than this, because at least then you'll know what you're getting and when. Though just waiting for the expansion pack is the only real safe bet.

    Maybe they'll surprise me and put out regular content updates, but I wouldn't count on it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by toleraen (831634)
      This article [ign.com] probably should have been linked in the summary. It explains what else the $9.95/month gets you. And before people freak out, the 'unique' gear is supposed to just be shinier, not statistically better.
    • For $9.99 a month, you can subscribe to Elite, which will give you access to ongoing content (more on this in a bit), about twelve or more characters, a larger stash that can be shared between characters, a level cap that increases as content is released, access to a special train that takes you to Elite areas, and the ability to form guilds and choose different gameplay modes (PvP, Hardcore mode, and so on). "Ongoing content" is made up of stuff like new locations, quests, enemies, item drops, player housing, and even character classes. Flagship is estimating that about 40% of the development team will be focused on just creating new content for Elite subscribers.

      It looks like there is a lot more than just "as-we-go" content for the 9.99 price tag.

    • by Zelucifer (740431)
      I'm pretty sure you mean a MMORPG.... like World of Warcraft, that's exactly what they do.
    • by malsdavis (542216)
      "but the idea of paying a subscription fee for content that will be available "as we go along" has got to be the stupidest idea I've ever heard"

      I take it you've never heard of World of Warcraft then?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Krilomir (29904)
        "but the idea of paying a subscription fee for content that will be available "as we go along" has got to be the stupidest idea I've ever heard"

        I take it you've never heard of World of Warcraft then?


        Except that wow patches are free for everyone (even non-subscribers), and you are actually paying for access to their online world. Besides, you are still paying for expansions on top of the subscription.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Thaelon (250687)
          Their patches have only the most minimal content despite having promised "free monthly content updates" and the expansion was the price of a full game on top of that.

          Their "free patches" were mostly bug fixes and balance corrections, not content.

          I was extremely disappointed in them for that. I bought the collector's edition when it first came out and was eagerly anticipating the Honor System, the Dishonor System and Battlegrounds from day one. Both of those things were promised to be already in the game b
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      There's more to the subscription than the content updates though -- more game modes, more kinds of items, 24/7 game support, priority if there would be server queues (although they've states they hope it won't come to server queues in the first place).

      Though just waiting for the expansion pack is the only real safe bet.

      The thing here is that they plan for content updates about every third month or so. (their own words)

      Maybe they'll surprise me and put out regular content updates, but I wouldn't count on it.
  • But what's the price?
    • $9.95 a month. You can wait 6 months and then pay for a month and get everything that's been released up to that point. One would assume you lose access to all of those things if you don't pay the next month.
      • by Jugalator (259273)
        Yes you do, and the current plan seems to be to have any subscription-only items to be re-locked again too, so you can't just farm for that and then unsubscribe. It should be noted that the subscription items is more about different looks than "better stats".
  • Another Interview (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @07:00PM (#19076241)
    Gamespy's interview seemed to be more detailed:
    http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/hellgate-london/786714p1. html [gamespy.com]

  • by coldcell (714061) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @07:22PM (#19076521) Homepage Journal
    Is this really where we're going? Paying a subscription to ensure we'll get the latest stuff? Doesn't that just serve to piss the folks who don't pay/can't afford it off, seeing other players in their game running around with way more glitz than they can ever quest for? I'm all for providing more content, but a monthly price for unreviewed, unguaranteed content seems way off base.

    I can see in a few years we'll have subscription sets to whole development houses/publishers - "My Ubi-key gets me the latest titles as soon as they're out!". 90% of them are terrible games that get rushed out of the door, and you end up paying for more than you use, but that's the ideal scenario right? For them, yes.

    The great games IMO are the ones that are solid from the outset and where extra content is easy to make by the fans. Then you have a review system to easily sort away the crap stuff. Some of the best fun I've had has been on custom maps/levels/mods from the community.

    It all stinks of lack of confidence in their product to me. Why do I need monthly expansion packs? Didn't you make the game rich enough for me? I have titles (and I'm sure we all do) that are still massively fun today. If the company feels they have more to offer, MAKE A NEW GAME instead of giving the player a world with a financially tinged divide in it's player base. It seems the only need here for a subscription-based update system is to secure funding for the devs, which means their dev house isn't giving them confidence/funding for the extra goodies they want to produce until they see substantial investment and response. I don't think signing up a drip-feed from clients' wallets is the way to do that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tibike77 (611880)
      In Guild Wars, you buy the expansions (and if you play GW, you'll probably buy them).
      Expansions come once a year or so, and cost as much as a full game.

      In this game (that supposedly is basically Diablo 3 in future-day London with a 1st person view, as opposed to isometric), you get the game the same way you'd get any other single-players game (yeah, unlike GW, this one is offline too, just like Diablo 1&2)... and instead of waiting ONE year for "new stuff", you pay a subscription fee and get all "new st
      • The Sims 2 is just like that.
        Every few months we trundle off and get a new pack and I don't see the missus for a couple of days afterwards.
    • I can see in a few years we'll have subscription sets to whole development houses/publishers - "My Ubi-key gets me the latest titles as soon as they're out!". 90% of them are terrible games that get rushed out of the door, and you end up paying for more than you use, but that's the ideal scenario right? For them, yes.

      There is already something similar:
      The "Station Pass" of Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) that gives you access to several MMORPGs with one subscription. And yes, they have a reputation for maki

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      Is this really where we're going? Paying a subscription to ensure we'll get the latest stuff?

      The closest game to HGL is Diablo II, and the only free content updates we got there was basically Patch 1.10 and the more minor Patch 1.11. The developers of that game that now works on Hellgate has claimed the want to make more "Patch 1.10"'s, and that's why they're doing this.

      I'm all for providing more content, but a monthly price for unreviewed, unguaranteed content seems way off base.

      Then don't pay the fees and
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Why do I need monthly expansion packs? Didn't you make the game rich enough for me?

      It's a typical game that have taken perhaps 4 years or so in heavy development. What more do you want? Them to wait for 7-8 years before releasing it to you? Would only that please you? Isn't it good they're trying to make it even better than what went to RTM by continuing to support it with content updates? Sure, the difference here is that you don't purchase frequent expansions, you subscribe instead. But you're entirely fr
  • Hum... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mishotaki (957104) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @07:45PM (#19076735)
    So we're basically paying for patches...
    Well content patches... are we going to play a MMO? nope...
    Are we paying for the servers? nope...
    We're supposed to pay for a promise of more content... and that could be a lot of horse armor...
  • This is the team that created Diablo II for Blizzard back in the day, so I'll give them a chance to prove that this can work. If done correctly, it could draw in fans from many different gaming demographics. Personally, I've come to expect a monthly subscription with my online games, so as long as they are able to provide a good reason to pay, I will gladly do so. The game itself looks solid from what I've seen of it so far. Similar business models are quite common among Asian MMOs. Distributing the gam
    • Similar business models are quite common among Asian MMOs. Distributing the game for free, or for a one-time purchase, while making the bulk of their money through in-game "purchases" has proved to be a very effective strategy for many other games. It also helps to squelch the RMT market when similar services are provided by the company itself.

      Totally agree. Maple Story [nexon.net] is a good example. The extra paid items in the game are not ones you cannot play without, they simply make you look more funny, or play a little easier. And you cannot have them forever - they last for three months, and you have to pay again if you need them.

      On the other hand, what the TFA says doesn't sound good. Monthly fee for extra content? Monthly fee?

  • Clarifying info (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's $9.99 a month. Content updates are guaranteed every 3 months according to other interviews. Subscribers also get access to things like alternate game modes (whatever those may be), more characters, more item storage, more comprehensive guild support (like guild housing) and more. I like this more than dropping 50 bucks on an expansion a year later because while the cost is about the same in the end, it's nice to be able to have a constantly expanding game rather than the possibility of getting into a p
  • Of course, the guns/weapons/items/etc in the subscriber premium content will be hugely powerful compared to the stock standard non-subscriber gear, presumably so that only paying customers can compete (please don't tell me MMO's aren't competitive).
    • by malsdavis (542216)
      This isn't necessarily the case. Look at Battlefield 2, it has paid add-ons (which, given their frequency of release, became pretty similar to a subscription). Although the add-ons allow the player to choose from a greater selection of weapons, few would say they get any real advantage, they simply get to use a different weapon.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Nope, they've specifically claimed this will definitely not be the case.

      Ivan Sulic, community manager at FSS, recently claimed ( exactly because of pessimists like you ;-) ) that the differences would be more graphical than statistical.
  • I was interested in Hellgate: London, but if there's some sort of subscription fee to get the good stuff, I'm not interested. I wonder how many other folks will think the same way as me?
    • by jfodale (1032534)
      I'm in the same boat. Directly paying the company to get a better character than those that do not pay... pretty lame tactic to score some extra bucks. I hope the rest of the gaming industry does not take lessons from this.
  • Anyone ever play Myth: The Fallen Lords, or Myth 2?

    If you didn't already know: Bungie, the developer of these games, ran bungie.net [wikipedia.org], a multiplayer game server with game lobbies and chat rooms similar to GameSpy or the like, but exclusively designed to give people a place to organize/host games and chat. The servers also tracked game stats and scores (there were both ranked and unranked "rooms" to play in).

    Bungie kept the bungie.net Myth server running for years. The first game launched in late 1997, and fin
    • Bungie kept the bungie.net Myth server running for years. The first game launched in late 1997, and finally closed in November 2001

      Blizzard too via the Battle.net online service; beginning with Diablo in 1996, and then adding Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III. They even took the old DOS version of Warcraft II and ported it to Windows and Battle.net. These games and Battle.net are still supported today.
      • by necro2607 (771790)
        Yeah, actually I was really surprised (and of course glad) when they released WC2 Battle.net edition (another "bnet" ;)) ... After playing Diablo I had always wanted that larger-scale multiplayer in WarCraft 2... and they did it! Damn cool.

        I guess they've got lots of good karma to burn while taking over the planet with WoW.. ;)
  • Wow. And I thought people complained alot about the contents of and time between WoW patches. Imagine if you weren't paying to play the game at all, but were rather paying 100% of your subscription fee ONLY to download and install said patches...
  • "go online and share that experience with millions of players from around the world." They seem pretty optimistic that the game is going to be a hit. On all the sites that I went people are just bitching about the game saying that they won't buy it. I am pretty sure that it is going to be a good game but I wonder if it is going to be a hit or not. People who knows about the game are all mostly hardcore gamers that follow gaming news a lot. Most people don't know at all that the game was created by the peop
  • http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/ [penny-arcade.com] Paying Player vs Free Player
  • These fees, and a growing trend aswell. It's a pretty sneaky strategy, and I can see the logic in a small fee not being a problem - well until everything has a small fee of course - which is where we're heading.
    I liked the Hellgate concept, but I'm certainly not going to be their consumer whore, so I'll just skip it instead.
  • I played a lot of Diablo 2 when it came out. On Blizzard's official message boards, a portion of the player base used to beg Blizzard for the chance to pay a monthly fee for things like more bag space, the ability to share bags between characters, enhanced guild functionality, etc.

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