Saturday, January 31, 2009

Farewell to Hellgate: London

They just shut down the Hellgate: London servers. No more Hellgate. My two brothers and I stayed on till the very end, till the network crashed. Everyone was gathered in Stonehenge, jumping around, opening portals, summoning pets, emoting (crying, cheering, begging, flexing, etc.)--essentially everything that you're allowed to do in the "station" areas (no fighting). Some people were running around naked. I was there with my Mantawraith pet (cute demon that looks a bit like a mini manta ray), hopping and sprinting around.

It is sad when a game comes to an end. The games that I play tend to have story lines that can be completed, and once I finish the story, though I feel happy with my accomplishment, I also feel sad that I will never be able to play the game again for the first time. But most of my games have good replay value, so I'll play through again a number of times. Eventually, I'll set the game aside, go onto something new and different. But the game is still there, the characters I created preserved in my many saved games. If I get it into my head that I want to play through again, I can start up a new character. Or, if I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic, I can load one of my old characters and revisit the world that I once inhabited through that character.

With the closure of the Hellgate servers, this will not be an option for Hellgate: London. The game will still function as a single-player game, but the characters on the multi-player server are lost, and some of the areas, such as Stonehenge, are not available in single-player mode. All of the items I collected, the skills I honed, over hours upon hours of play are gone. It's a (virtual) world and a life that is now closed forever.

Some have recently breathed words of hope, that the various companies who own the rights to the game (I think it's a quagmire of legal stuff I don't want to bother reading about) may be able to sort things out and reopen the servers. But I have little hope at this point. And all the material included in the huge patch that Flagship Studios was roughly a month away from unveiling at the point of their collapse will never be seen.

HGL was not just a game to me, it was quality family time. I have mentioned before that I played with my two brothers, and as we slaughtered demons we would chat about life. It was a bit like old times, when we lived together as siblings who got along perhaps abnormally well. Perhaps we will find a new game to play online (I think whenever Diablo III comes out, we'll all be jumping on it), but Hellgate will always be the first, and it will be missed.

Well, I should go to bed. I am tired and much distressed and not writing very coherently. Good night.


Dobblesworth said...

I was really gutted to hear of the fall of Hellgate. I'd read a lead-up preview article and interview in PCGamer, back in 2007ish, and it perked my interest.

I saw it got a decent review, not WoW-beating, but credible.

I buy HGL shortly after release, but found it couldn't install for toffee on our wrecked Windows XP desktop, so it's confined to the rack alongside SupCom, and Civ IV which I could never be bothered to play.

In advance of university in late '08 I'd bought a decent quality gaming performance laptop, but never got round to bothering with Hellgate. I wish I had. I hope there's some single player content to enjoy before the box hits eBay for a fiver to partially compensate the loss.

Eleni said...

Yeah, that's too bad. The game is good as a single-player game. It's just that it was really cool on multi-player.