General & Combat Tips
One of the important things to know about Hellgateís combat system is the way in which status effects apply themselves, as well as what they do. There are five main status effects in the game.
Stunning an enemy prevents them from moving or using any abilties, including attacking. Itís a handy effect when it can be applied, although itís also greatly annoying when it happens to you. Physical weapons and spells can stun opponents.
Fire-based weapons and spells have a chance to ignite your foes. Ignition will cause an enemy to drain 5% of their total health every second for four or five seconds. Since this is a percentage-based attack, it retains its effectiveness against almost any opponent, meaning that if you can apply it to a boss, youíll likely be able to do a lot more damage to them than you would with your attacks alone. Many boss-level enemies will be resistant to ignition, but if you can bust out two or three ignitions over the course of a long fight, it will often be enough to turn the battle in your favor.
Since ignition does percentage-based damage, though, itís not going to be nearly as handy when used on groups of smaller, weaker opponents, at least not when compared to the amount of damage that your attacks will hopefully be doing.
Poison effects cause a minor life-draining debuff, but also prevents you from healing yourself while the debuff is applied to you. This is mostly going to be something youíll need to worry about being applied to yourself, since most enemies arenít going to be healing themselves (although the odd Rare or Epic monster may be capable of doing so). The damage drain usually isnít fast enough to make this something you want to push for on your own weapons.
Note that the debuff prevents you from using health injectors and other direct heal effects; things like Surge of Restoration seem to work through the debuff and let you keep gaining life.
Spectral damage will sometimes cause your enemies to phase. While theyíre phased, theyíll deal 50% less damage and take 50% more damage from all sources. This is probably the second-most important status effect for boss fights, after Ignite, but still remains relevant for normal enemies, since itíll let you burst them down much more quickly. It can be applied to your character, as well, of course; when you see yourself glowing purple, youíll want to immediately pop a health injector.
Shocked enemies are afflicted by a short stun, which wears off quickly, and then remain shocked for a few seconds in which they canít use any spells or special abilities. They can still attack and use their weapons, however, which means that this wonít help you out in most fights. This seems to primarily be a debuff that you need to worry about getting applied to your character, as it can quickly shut down your useful abilities. Youíll still be able to use health injectors while shocked, however.
Donít Knock The Explosives
The levels of Hellgate: London are littered with crates and explosive barrels. They contain gold and items, sometimes, but the explosives are also capable of damaging any enemies that are nearby when they explode. However, they canít hurt you. If youíre fighting a tough opponent, try luring it over to a bunch of explosives then blow them while you and it are standing as close to them as possible. The damage from the barrels will often kill or seriously wound your foes.
Remapping Keys and Buttons
You have twelve main shortcut keys for using with your abilities here, the 1-10 number keys and the Q and E keys, which are nestled around your main movement keys. Your left and right mouse buttons are generally assigned to individually fire your weapons in alternate hands.
The problem with the default setup is that most characters will probably either be using a two-handed weapon, or will want to be attacking with both weapons at the same time. Luckily, if you open up your skill screen, you can drag a useful skill (like Tactical Stance for Marksmen) to the right-click slot at the bottom of your screen. If you do so, you can drag the icon with two guns in it to the left-click slot. That will let you fire both weapons you possess (or a single weapon if thatís all youíve got) with the left-mouse button while using the right-click button for often-cast spells or abilities.
Likewise, having the number slots all filled up with spells can make it difficult to hit the far-right buttons in the middle of combat. You may want to try remapping the 6-10 buttons to the R, Z, X, and C keys. Thatíll result in your spells being a bit closer to your left hand while you play and hopefully being more accessible to you.