Hellgate: London Updated Q&A - Random Loot and Vicious Monsters

Flagship Studios' chief visionary officer David Brevik discusses the random loot and encounters you'll find in this upcoming hack-and-slash game.

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Back in 1996, computer game players everywhere became hooked on Diablo, a simple action role-playing game in which you played as a fantasy warrior and defeated your diabolical enemies by repeatedly clicking your mouse button to attack. One sequel and countless destroyed computer mice later, the creative forces behind the original Diablo games have reunited as Flagship Studios to create the soon-to-be-released Hellgate: London, a futuristic hack-and-slash game in which you'll fight against a demonic invasion in a postapocalyptic version of London, England. Over the course of the game, your character will amass huge piles of randomly generated loot, much of which can be crafted together to assemble powerful weapons and armor. However, you'll also be hacking your way through many areas that will be randomly generated themselves, and populated with random squads of hellish beasts. We sat down with chief visionary officer David Brevik for more details.

Hellgate: London will have randomized levels that won't be the same area twice.

GameSpot: We understand that randomization will play a key role in adding variety to Hellgate: London's gameplay. For instance, tell us about the role it will play in creating adventure environments for players, with different types of monsters scaling to players' experience levels. How will the game offer a new experience each time without disrupting the experience (such as by having a key enemy spawn inside of a wall, or having the entrance and exit too close to each other)?

David Brevik: The monsters do not scale to the players' experience levels. They are a set level range for that particular section of the game. We just try and track your level with theirs to keep an even difficulty.

That being said, we spent a lot of time designing and implementing random level generation in the game. We have designed it in such a way that we create rules to govern the look. These rules are run in an order to ensure that the level is a size we like. We can run rules a variable amount of times and loop and skip and all sorts of stuff. We can design exits and entrances to be right next to each other or start by placing it at the beginning, and then grow it, then add the exit at the end. It is an extremely flexible system--one that I believe could create any random level you could imagine.

As far as making sure the level is playable, we stick quest set pieces in the level generation, as well as many other layout props and nodes to ensure that things can look OK. Many of those layouts have random levels associated with them as well. There are layers and layers of randomness associated with the way we generate the levels.

GS: We understand that random loot will play a huge role in what should be the addictive pastime of treasure hunting. What kind of item variety should players expect to see in-game? Will it be possible for players to randomly find items that are much more powerful than regular items suited for their current level? How will players avoid looking like motley clowns if they're wearing armor from 12 different sets?

DB: Random items are the bread and butter of our game. The whole game is designed around the addictiveness that the random items systems possess. There are many looks associated with the different armors that you can find; each class has several complete sets of armor.

Even the good old Thames River may take on different forms.

It will always be possible to find random items that will increase your power. That is the most exciting aspect of what you are doing. Trying to find that one magic item that makes you a little overpowered is always a blast.

As for the clown suits, we don't have any. Instead of a particular item having a particular color, each item has a color set associated with it. You can right-click on any item you are wearing and set your suit of armor to use that particular dye. We also have a slot that you can put rare dyes into and have suit colors that are difficult to obtain.

Random Encounters

GS: Tell us about how randomization affects the type of creatures you'll face in the game. How in-depth will the game go in terms of matching enemies to your character? Will the game automatically spawn enemies with ranged attacks if you're playing a templar character who's more likely to get into close combat, for instance?

You can expect to see random monsters appear in different areas, as well.

DB: Many of the monsters in the game are set to appear in specific areas of the game, so it has nothing to do with your class or your character.

As for the randomness, we have "named" rare and legendary monsters in the game. These are more powerful than your normal monster. They have random attributes assigned to them to give them more powers. They can have unusual skills, crazy artificial intelligence behavior, healing, and a variety of other things. When you encounter these random monsters, you will get a much different experience than [with] other monsters of the same type.

GS: Can we expect to see a kind of in-game ecology with respect to how environments relate to monsters? Will there be a species of zombie that favors subway tunnels, or a species of demon that favors graveyards, for instance? If so, how well will players be able to change or adapt their weapon loadouts and strategies if they know they're in for a skirmish against a certain enemy type?

DB: We don't really go as far as "this particular monster type is at this location all the time." The replay value really takes a hit when you go through a level for the 10th time, fighting the same monsters you have always fought there. We like to spice it up a bit more than that. There are monster types in certain sections of the game, but you can have rare spawn types in levels and get a radically different monster grouping.

There will be certain sections of the game that focus on a particular resistance and damage type. You will have to take that into consideration when donning your gear.

GS: How well will different enemies work in unison? Can we expect to see different enemy types working together? How will monsters' abilities and strengths otherwise complement each other on the battlefield?

DB: When laying out which monsters go where, we did try and complement and mix the types of monsters you get. There are monsters that work together in different ways. Some have powers that will wear you down with "curse" abilities, while others will take advantage of that. We often put melee [enemies] with ranged [enemies], and many other combinations.

We also have "monster masters" that work with their minions. For example, there are zombie summoners that heal and "buff" (strengthen) zombies in the area, an imp shaman that can spawn up monsters...and many others.

Lastly, we have monsters like the "orbile," which can pair with any monster and work together. They suck the energy out of dead monsters to buff themselves.

We also have templar non-player characters with AIs that let them work together and run around killing monsters. There are some levels where you will see them wandering around helping out.

GS: Give us an update on the game's ongoing beta. How is the final round of balancing and tweaking coming along? What have players seemed to respond to most?

DB: The beta is going incredibly well! We have had over 150,000 people sign up on our Web site. There is a lot of interest in the game. We are still making some significant but controlled changes to the balance. People seem to be having a really good time playing and we have a fantastic group helping us out! We are incredibly lucky that we have such passionate players.

The randomized levels and monsters will hopefully keep you coming back for more.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about randomization, environments, loot, or monsters in Hellgate: London?

DB: I think that randomization is the soul of Hellgate. It really makes such an incredible difference in the gameplay. Not knowing where to go, what beasts are coming next, or what magic items are going to drop for you--it adds a level of excitement and addiction that lasts a long time. It has always been a major part of what makes our games fun and unique.

GS: Thank you.

Discussion

63 comments
angkawsw
angkawsw

the game is awesome.. loving it!! ^^

Nosak
Nosak

Kason Blue Byte War better than crafted War by the settlers

tegororn
tegororn

played the demo.looks really cool.im gonna buy the game

ZJohnnyZ
ZJohnnyZ

Looks awsome. It has a Fallout dark like feel to it except undead demons instead of mutants lol!

Boxfire
Boxfire

Godly plate of the whale here I come !!!

KrueLnMe
KrueLnMe

god i was playing the demo and was totally getting confused when i went into the same portal but kept comin out in different instances

Pothy
Pothy

....that's really sad, splintercellsc2.

SplinterCellSC2
SplinterCellSC2

I just want to see more of the chick in the black spandex....

RanXer0x
RanXer0x

There is more than enough wine here to fill several barrels. Seriously, the game isn't out yet. Wait, never mind, keep complaining I would appreciate if the servers weren't all lagged up the first year of release.

patrickkkk
patrickkkk

remember, diablo 2 only got a 8.5 and this gets a 8.9, diablo 2 IMO is the best rpg hack and slash

steelsoldier666
steelsoldier666

Engineer will be able to have drones which we can attach Melee and range weapons to them now thats awesome,From my knowledge over this game i watched about 12 different videos. Only watched it and i am pretty impressed with what i have seen from the developers in both movies and trailers and other stuff from beta testers I think the game will rock Even thought you people say some things about the graphics heres something i have to say: "Gameplay>Graphics" Gameplay influences game and graphics too, but i really dont like exploration games but more hack and slash, and this one is a mixture between rpg and action and some fps which is a bonus to my personal tastes.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

the graphics are not old and outdated ... play the game then say that lol :( My only gripe with the game is blandness of levels, its always dark and dreary which can get old kind of fast but other than that its a great game.

Mortal_Medic
Mortal_Medic

"It's a sad thruth that companies design for the masses." What would be the point of making a game that 50 people REALLY like as opposed to a game where 5000 people like it?

alcari
alcari

Gwarpup, that sounds absolutely perfect and I would play the hell out of it. Unfortunatly, most people wouldn't. Most people don't like 90% of all their characters to die before level 30. the GWTWOD is not something that's good to have in a mainstream RPG. It's a sad thruth that companies design for the masses. That said, I've always liked Hell mode in Diablo and will probably like it in HGL, judging from how hard they say it will be.

Vasot
Vasot

Graphics look poor and outdated Remind me the old Unreal 1

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

Gwarpup you are old school man my hat is off to you my older bother played Nethack.

erkin6666
erkin6666

i don't hate this game but from videos (in game) that i have watched i can easilly tell you that this game will be huge dissapointment starting from graphics and gun effects

osleyee
osleyee

wow the random enviroment looks really neite concept to the game also the ai monsters

gaz-420
gaz-420

Demo up already!!!!!!!! (single player) Played the Beta, it was pretty cool. This game is not going to suck.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

Here's a simple concept that would fit this game perfect. Take what was in Nethack / Rogue. And put that gameplay into your pretty Hellgate London engine with great abilities, multiplayer capabilities like Diablo, and that is all. What I mean is. Create AI monsters that play through the levels very much like the players do. Let them loot dead bodies, use random weapons, potions, abilities, etc. So that you NEVER know what your up against. In rogue, a little pixie could have a deathly Lightning Rod that could incenerate you before you knew what was happening. Many items were unknown/cursed in ways that created so many unknown factors occuring in combat. And those same curses effected the AIs. The world constantly randomly regenerated, and with all the interesting AIs you never knew what could happen. You could get blinded, poinsoned, confused, teleported, polymorphed, or many dozens more of strange ailments, though they could work out good, like polymorph into dragon. Theres so many 100s of ideas for gameplay put in that simple game. Put that into Hellgate London. They are all simple ideas but so many it makes every time you play vastly different.

Nminator_236
Nminator_236

ohhh wow! Why do you haters even bother posting here? Seriously you guys provide no proof or reason why this game would suck. You guys don't even have a logical explanation for your posts. "It sux I hate it, because I dont want to pay, it sux because I hate diablo and anyone who associates with it, and blah blah blah!" Post something that provides more information instead of showing your hater attitude!

erkin6666
erkin6666

probably will be a big disapointment

Simeon_Crane
Simeon_Crane

The beta is pretty good, and people forget that it is beta and it is not going to offer the content and features of the final game. I'm looking forward to seeing some further changes. Overall it is as fun as D2 was but better becaseu it is not fantasy related. The new sci-fi post apocolyptic environments are pretty awesome.

crestfallen
crestfallen

"nodnarb77: it isn't less than a coffee at Starbucks. Our Starbucks here dont' charge you 10 bucks for a latte, but i don't know what yours charges..Willing to bet it isn't 10 bucks every month for a cup of coffee sometimes, though." - Chernnunos Actually Starbuck's Coffee here is 2.09 with tax for a cup. Almost 4$ for a latte. I could play everyday for 10$. so let's run with that... 1 cup of coffee/day for 28 days (Feb is the shortest month so let's go with that) = 56$+ How much are you "Willing to bet it isn't 10 bucks every month for a cup of coffee?" because, yes i'd take that bet.Oh yeah, and Hellgate:London is fun.

Sprozelth
Sprozelth

Looking good, love the hellish environment.

Ba0ng89
Ba0ng89

The beta sucks from what ive seen but since its only the BETA, i wouldnt be guessing anything yet. Well just see how the games gonna turn out when it comes out and hopefully its gonna be a good game :]

Nminator_236
Nminator_236

Dug44 I'm 100% with you! People should stop bashing on a game that didn't even freaking come out yet! Plus you guys can go play your retarded fantasy rpgs with the same **** all over!!! Elfs, Humans, Orcs, Dwarfs have been done to death after death! With the same stupid setting, some caves here, some ruins here! Well I am going to subscribe, I've pre-ordered it and can't wait to get in to the beta. So have fun killing goblins with your elf or shooting people in same old thousand times played out maps in CS and Battlefield!!!!

dug444
dug444

Awww Chernn... Still trolling the Hellgate posts I see. With the amount of time, effort and sheer spiteI have seen you put into your crusade against this game I'm really starting to wonder if you are some kinda of viral anti-marketing ploy by Blizzard or whoever makes that snooze-fest Titan Quest. Then I read your tinfoil hat exposition of how Gamespot reviewsare rigged o.O Anyway... Please ignore the troll, the instances are great, the one he is describing is the noob first instance, more advanced ones are great, well designed and challenging without being butt-numbingly long. Graphics... I have a mediocre computer at best, and everything runs and looks great with the exception of the know bug issues (and the graphics downgrade they sometimes run during betas). Most of what he says about the subscription is pure speculation or blown out of proportion, many of the details haven't been released. Anyway, the VAST majority of the game is free, including online, and subscriptions are optional. You sound like a broken record Chernn, same old, questionable or downright misleading arguments. We don't even know yet how expansions and such are gonna work, so everyone calm down. Finally, if you don't like sci-fi/futuristic this game is not for you. Fine, to each their own. But some of the hater(s) need to realize a lot of us are sick and tired of fantasy rpg's etc, its been done to death. Blah blah blah all the streets look the same, well you know, every frickin forest cave and elf looks the same to me and I'm sick f it.

Rickyt93
Rickyt93

seriously this game is one of the few i have seen that offers more than the shooting. its like an r.p.g and action thriller in one i played D1 and D2:lod and i must agree limit the cheating its just fun anticipating this one for Halloween I'm gonna preorder now

Chernnunos
Chernnunos

nodnarb77: it isn't less than a coffee at Starbucks. Our Starbucks here dont' charge you 10 bucks for a latte, but i don't know what yours charges..Willing to bet it isn't 10 bucks every month for a cup of coffee sometimes, though. What if you bought a cup of coffee, and then they said "oh by the way, to get sugar and cream with it, the ELITE cup, you have to give us more money, even though you thought you were buying the entire ensemble." As far as my graphical settings? All set to the max possible setting, with no framerate drop, so, the issue is their art design, not my computer. We're talking 60 bucks for the game, THEN you turn around and give them 10 extra dollars every month...that's 120 bucks a year, just to have some more weapons and armor, and to get to play classes that should be included to begin with. If Blizzard pulled that with Diablo II, it would have failed miserably.

moncealyo
moncealyo

That hard core mode worries me a little. I remember there was this guy a few years ago that killed himself because he was playing everquest and his character died which was a permenant death like the hard core mode on hellgate and he couldn't take it so he killed himself. I'm sure there was other underlying issues in that guys life but I don't think that EA and flagship should have included that mode for that reason alone however I think it would be very frustrating to build a character for months then have it one day die. Of course you don't have to choose that mode but you will eventually because of the challenge.

nodnarb77
nodnarb77

I am in the same boat with anarchy 77. I've been playing Guild Wars for years and Hellgate is a good fresh transition. As long as they deliver with the monthly fee it's less than a coffee at starbucks. For the hours of fun it's a great value! What's a movie ticket cost these days?...

anarchy77
anarchy77

Well if you watch the interview, you probably have bad graphics because your computer specs, it sure sounded like the game sets the detail based on your hardware. they also said you wont have to pay unless you want the extra features, not sure what you are complaining about, options is a good thing, if money is rolling in they will take their time to improve the game, and as you say maintenance wont cost them much, then i bet they can use that time to implement more fun cool stuff. Anyway I play GW, but starting to look for something new, I bet there are alot of people like me that will give it a fair try.

thestrateger
thestrateger

cool weird game, but where all the demons i saw just zombies but i like the graphic, it very good, and it sounds great :P

Chernnunos
Chernnunos

radtutor: nah, I'm not. Definitely not alone. People who agree with me just don't want anything else to do with Hellgate: London so they don't comment. I comment so that their sales drop and they will REMOVE the $10/month BS fee. And yes, it IS like Guild Wars in that respect, ar4devil.....but Guild Wars doesn't charge you a monthly fee. This game does, and it does it with lower par graphics and gameplay. Plus, this game uses mechanics (non-MMORPG) that require very little server maintenance compared to true MMORPG's..hence they require less staffing and money to keep up to par, but yet they still charge a $10/ month fee.....Totally ridiculous, IMO.

ar4devil
ar4devil

Yes, it isn't a persistant world and yesthere are miniservers. But look at the brightside! Imagine a small subway station with 500+ people inside of it and the only way to reach the shopkeeper is to log off and do it offline! As for the persistant world, the game prety much is like guild wars, you find a party in the town and you go on a rampage to slay monsters. The only big difference is that in guild wars you could be stuck in a single mission for weeks due to a lack of players wile in Hellgate the dificulty is scaled to the number of people playing. I cant wait to play the game!

hemregul
hemregul

i have been waiting quite a while (like many other gamers) for this game to come out...I am both very excited and sort of worried since its has simply taken too long for this game to decide to come to actually have a release date.....:-). With most of the games that have taken this long most of us have been disappointed to to the level of expectation it has created. The one thing that i cant stand is being crushed because a game that can be could have been really good turns out to be something else. As i said I have my hopes for Hellgate and ill be one of the first to buy and play the game..so good luck to all who have been waiting.....

radtudor
radtudor

Well you're certainly alone on that one Chernnunos.

weirjf
weirjf

This is sounding awesome! Can't wait, and hopefully they have a demo/trial version coming out. As for the $9.95/month... WHO CARES. Seriously, I probably lose more change than that a month in my couch.

Chernnunos
Chernnunos

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with most people on this forum, in that this game is not what I expected from all the hype. The entire game plays on a dirty trashy street, and the "instances" are one big platform with a gazebo and a demon under it sometimes. Major disappointment, but find out for yourselves..just trying to save you all $60...and $10 every month for content in a game that should be included, like every other game before it in its genre. By the way, it isn't a persistent world. It isn't an MMORPG. Each time you log into a server, it places you into a different "mini" server, and to see another person who is your friend, you have to party with them if you happen to be on different "mini" servers. Plus, you get access to 6 character classes. There are 9 total, but the last 3 you have to pay 10/month to get...Imagine if Titan Quest or Diablo II charged you 10/month back when they came out to have access to the characters you spent $60 for in the first place...The "cities" consist of a dirty underground subway station, every one of them, and your characters don't ALL meet in that one subway station...since they are all instanced. So are the places you fight. When you enter a "portal" it puts you into your own instance unless you are partied, then it lets you play with that ONE other person. There aren't people randomly running around killing world-placed mobs out in the streets, hence this is NOT an MMORPG and it is NOT a persistent world, and there will never be world events or a city where everyone goes to it and everyone on that server sees everyone else in that city.

NuZZ01
NuZZ01

IBEX: It is an MMOG, a persistent world... There is NO duping. Most likely the security will be more advanced than alot of other mmos whithout duping and hacking and therefore will not be an issue. This game looks disturbingly good... Jeez... I want they to hurry up and release them so I can grab the trial (or free play) and play these wonderful next gen mmos! Im sick of these crappy outdated pieces we have from asia and such! Hah...

mismajor99
mismajor99

I preordered and been in the beta. I would highly suggest that anyone that want's to play the game now should go ahead and preorder from either Gamestop, Best Buy, or Walmart for a beta invite. All I can say is, Halloween is fun again...

Succumbus
Succumbus

hmmm seems like a lot of people are REALLY looking forward to this over any others. I just hope that it isnt like the WoW drop loot system with parties or guild wars. Grrr.

KnightsofRound
KnightsofRound

I've been playing the Beta, it's really fun so far. I think I'm gonna have to upgrade my video card though... I can run the game fine but I want it to look better. I can't wait for the retail package, I pre-ordered the Collector's Edition :)

IBEX333
IBEX333

One thing GS forgot to ask DB, is "WHAT IS BEING DONE TO PREVENT THE MASSIVE DUPING, CHEATING AND GRIEFING THAT MADE MANY GOOD PEOPLE STOP PLAYING D2:LOD?"

thanatose
thanatose

I already pre-ordered it and can't wait to get the retail package. :)

Pete5506
Pete5506

Can't wait for this game