GDC 07: Hellgate: London Updated Impressions - The Blademaster and Guardian Classes

Flagship reveals the character-class system in Hellgate: London and shows a couple of examples of it.

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It seems like Flagship Studios has been working on its debut title, Hellgate: London, for a long time. That's because it has, but the launch of the game is finally in sight, and Flagship is showing off even more of the game at this stage. Now, the company is laying out some of the never-before-seen character classes in the game. In this case, it's the blademaster and guardian classes of the templar faction, futuristic knights who do battle with the demons that invade London in the game.

The templar faction is one of the three factions in Hellgate: London, along with the cabalist and hunter factions. The templars are warriors, the aforementioned future knight, while the cabalists are magic users and the hunters are high-tech assassins. And for a long time, it was believed that those three factions would represent the three classes in the game. However, it turns out that each faction features different class types, so you can specialize in the type of character that you want to play. And to demonstrate, Flagship is using the blademaster and guardian.

The blademaster is an offensive specialist, with skills designed to get him in the middle of a fight quickly and, once there, unleash a huge amount of damage quickly to multiple opponents. The guardian is more of the traditional "tank" class, heavily armored and capable of absorbing lots of damage. When you create a templar in the game, you'll be given a choice between the two up front, and Flagship hopes that by doing that, it'll avoid a lot of the frustration found in role-playing games. For instance, often in an RPG you'll create a character and select a lot of cool-sounding skills, but when you get halfway through the game, you realize that you chose the wrong skills for your preferred style of play.

Each class has its own unique skills and abilities, selected from the 240 or so in the game. The blademaster, for instance, has a lot of powerful attacks, such as the sword of justice, which focuses all your strength into one blow but leaves you temporarily vulnerable afterward. Charge boosts the blademasters speed, letting him close the distance with an enemy or flee if the battle goes badly. The throw sword mastery lets the blademaster hurl his weapon through the air to strike down a distant foe, and this is the main ranged attack for the class. In fact, blademasters aren't allowed heavy firearms, and the only gun they can use is a pistol.

On another topic, Flagship CEO Bill Roper also reiterated that the game will feature a single-player and multiplayer component, and that the multiplayer will consist of both a free service and some kind of premium content service for those who want more. Details, though, are still being ironed out. Flagship continues to work on the game, and Hellgate is nearing its beta test. However, if all goes well, we can expect Hellgate to ship sometime this summer.

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