Hellgate: London, an online game developed by former members of Blizzard Entertainment that was shut down in 2009, has returned from the dead and is now free-to-play.
T3Fun will now operate the game now that the original studio is defunct. Many members of the team behind Diablo, a smash-hit online game, left Blizzard Entertainment to found Flagship Studios and begin work on Hellgate: London. The game originally came out in 2007, but the development studio filed for bankruptcy shortly after that. The game ran on a subscription-based model that cost players $10 a month, with an option to buy a lifetime subscription for $150.
Hellgate: London still had a “free” element to the game, but players that didn’t by a subscription were severely weakened when compared to premium players. Premium players had access to player-versus-player content and could bypass lines to get into servers and begin playing the game. Free players could carry fewer items and could not create player communities like guilds, for example
It was another online subscription-based game that became a casualty to supergiant online game World of Warcraft, which now has around 11.4 million users. World of Warcraft came out in 2005 and quickly became the most popular online game. The game cost players around $12 a month, making it hard to justify paying for a second game’s monthly subscription.
Here’s how the free-to-play, or “freemium”, model works: players are able to play online games with persistent worlds like Lord of the Rings Online for free but must pay for additional perks like armor or becoming more powerful at a quicker pace.
Other online games have had a lot of success converting from a subscription-based model to a free-to-play model. Revenue from Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online doubled and its player base increased by 400 percent in the month after it went free to play last fall. Revenue for the company’s first experiment in going free-to-play, Dungeons and Dragons Online, jumped by about 500 percent after the shift.
Hellgate: London was a first-person shooter (FPS) online game that featured several elements from games like Diablo. It includes randomly-generated dungeons, monsters and loot that are designed to add a lot of chance to the game and encourage players to continue playing. It also features role-playing game elements like leveling up to become more powerful.