Flagship Responds to Hellgate Subscription Issues

Following reports of serious issues plaguing Hellgate: London subscribers, such as multiple mistaken credit charges and the inability to access membership content, developer Flagship Studios has responded to the matter.

"We've contacted every single one of [the affected users] to work out the problem," said Flagship's Ivan Sulic to Shacknews. "We should be sailing a lot smoother from here on out."

Hellgate senior community manager Kaiser Hwang issued a statement on the official forums further explaining the situation.

"After burning several drums of midnight oil, we have resolved all current billing issues with our payment processing partners," wrote Hwang. "We've completed our payment reconciliation process and players that were incorrectly billed will see paybacks credited to their credit card accounts in the next few days.

"There is also approximately an equal amount of players whose subscription status has been approved, but their cards were uncharged as we did not process their payment until the issues were resolved. Again, we're sorry to those of you who were affected by this."

While it appears the credit charge issues have been widely resolved, some users are still claiming to have problems with the cancellation of subscriptions and access to subscription features.

"We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, although it impacted just 3% of people that requested to become subscribing members," added Hwang.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 8, 2007 12:21 PM

    Did Ivan Sulic and Kaiser Hwang used to work for IGN? Or some other game site? Am I correct in remembering Sulic as a very violent/crazed reviewer? Guy was pretty funny.

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      November 8, 2007 12:25 PM


      If he pissed off IGNs management he's my new hero!

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      November 8, 2007 1:34 PM

      I wasn't familiar with his IGN workd, but I'm not sure his skills translated over to the writing part of video games. I find the writing to be one of the weakest elements of Flagship.

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        November 8, 2007 1:53 PM

        I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the text.

        I've heard plenty of complaints about the "story." Most imply we didn't deliver the sorts of cutscenes and branching dialogs and full voice work people may expect from RPGs, but I've heard surprisingly little about the actual written text one way or the other.

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          November 8, 2007 2:04 PM

          Yes.. that's why a lot of it was changed in patch0 ... whatever dude = )

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            November 8, 2007 2:06 PM

            Follow up: Props from leaving IGN though, that place is a cesspool of wanna be writers and game aficionados.

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            November 8, 2007 8:03 PM

            I'm afraid that's not true.

            I changed almost no text in Patch 0. I couldn't, actually. It would have been impossible given our localization deadlines.

            It works like this (a little lengthy, but I think it's pretty informative):

            Every bit of displayed text in HG:L is contained in a string. Change any part of that string and the entire string must be resubmitted for approval and localization, which goes against the total word count cap and estimated localization turnaround and QA time. A single quest dialog can be between 50 and 250 words, BTW. So... No changing existing strings. That was rule one for Patch 0.

            What I did do, however, was add text. Specifically, I added three disparate gossips for every storyline quest. These made direct mention of the end boss, elaborated on current objectives, and tried to tell a little more of the backstory. This, granted, is a hard thing to get right with 50 to 250 word monologues. Anyway, an additional string is far easier to deal with than a changed one. So gossips became a priority.

            I also sat down with a coworker and went through all NPC voices. This is where the most dramatic change occurred. We found people were complaining vigorously about how awful or inappropriate the story was, but these same people couldn't give specific examples...

            Which dialog did you take issue with?
            "That one guy is a total asshole!" Or whatever.

            We discovered that this perception was largely attributed to NPC voices, which were designed with uniqueness in mind. For instance, a voice would be "Crazy Mumbler." That voice would be unique. Additionally, the lines that voice spoke would also be unique. This, unfortunately, led to some pretty off-the-wall NPCs just because I desperately struggled to make each character: 1) sound different from every other, and 2) say different "entertaining" things.

            So, realizing the mistake, we went in and edited the spoken lines, cut entire lines, rearranged lines, redistributed lines, redistributed voices, and even cut entire voices. This involves no localization work. It's a pretty simple data change, but was very time consuming.


            Presto! Most folks stopped complaining and appreciated the "change" to the storyline. Well, "most" doesn't include those players who valued the "Merchant Sexy" and "Taskmaster Enthusiastic Stalker."

            Anyhow... No changes to the "writing" were made in Patch 0.

            p.s. Every voice actor who sounds British is actually British. And, the accents they do are almost always their original, unaltered accents.

            We went to London for two weeks of recording. When there, I commented that the authentic actors actually sound faker than people faking it! Now we get comments like, "Way to get some dude from down the street to pretend he's British. It doesn't even sound like a Londoner!" Hilarious.

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              November 8, 2007 9:45 PM

              Less Talkie-Talkie.... more Fixie Buggie

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                November 8, 2007 9:46 PM

                nm... writer.... go ummm type something. wait that's what your doing. aw F it.

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          November 8, 2007 2:06 PM

          I was talking about the actual written text. Diablo didn't have branching dialogs either, I don't really care about that kind of thing in a game like this. Full voice work would be nice, but not too big of a deal as far as I'm concerned and a separate issue regardless.

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            November 8, 2007 8:06 PM

            Oh. Well, sorry you didn't enjoy it. I do listen to feedback, though. And I am trying to incorporate as many suggestions into our next update as I can (post eval, of course). So feel free to comment as you like. I think you'll find we're pretty approachable devs at Flagship.

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              November 8, 2007 9:50 PM

              Yeah, believe me I hope you guys do well. I really want to see Hellgate do well enough to get better, and we plan to revisit it with coverage down the line once there's new content, etc.

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      November 8, 2007 1:37 PM

      You're not incorrect. He's also known for his "Who gives a fuck" answer to the question of LAN play in Hellgate.

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        November 8, 2007 1:50 PM

        I said "whI said "who gives a fuck" in regards to LAN play? That seems highly unlikely. And yes, Kaiser and I both used to work at IGN. Kaiser also worked at Future's PSM while I helped launch 1UP.com.oI said "who gives a fuck"? That seems highly unlikely. gives a fuck"?

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          November 8, 2007 1:55 PM

          Wow. That post did not come out right at all... Let's try it again.

          I said "Who gives a fuck?" That seems highly unlikely. And yes, Kaiser and I both used to work at IGN. Kaiser also worked at Future's PSM while I helped launch 1UP.com

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            November 8, 2007 2:03 PM

            Post less on Shacknews. Spend some time fixing your broken game.

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              November 8, 2007 2:31 PM

              yay for shack being dicks to a developer, way to be classy :)

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              November 8, 2007 2:32 PM

              calm down.....

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              November 8, 2007 2:42 PM

              According to his profile, he's writer, not developer or programmer.

              Something tells me he's probably not responsible for fixing these issues.

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                November 8, 2007 2:59 PM

                In these cases I think it's best to let PR communicate instead of a writer.

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                  November 8, 2007 3:04 PM

                  ... which has what to do with mourningstar telling him to "spend some time fixing your broken game"...?

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                    November 8, 2007 3:43 PM

                    I was responding to your post, you were defending him because he's a writer. I was merely pointing out that's not a great idea to have the writers on your game defending your game on a forum.

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                      November 8, 2007 3:51 PM

                      You really, really need to read my post in the context it was written. Taking it out of context will probably lead you to interpretations I did not intend. I'm not going to try to argue you if you refuse to interpret my posts correctly.

                      My statement was made in direct response mourningstar's assertion. You can respond with whatever inane bullshit you want, but it's ultimately meaningless if you refuse to consider my posts with the context they were written.

                      For the record -- I wasn't defending Ivan Sulic. I was merely pointing out he probably has nothing to do with "fixing [the] broken game." If you have issues with that, then please blow them out of your ass. I don't care.

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                        November 8, 2007 5:28 PM

                        Relax man, it's ok, you win the internets...

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                          November 8, 2007 6:45 PM

                          man back in the day you used to get banned for being assholes to develoeprs here.

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                  November 8, 2007 5:18 PM

                  Typically, yes. But I do two jobs at Flagship. I manage the Marketing & Communications group and I do quest and story writing / design work.

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                    November 8, 2007 10:26 PM

                    Perhaps it would be better for you to handle marketing only and hire a full time professional writer for Hellgate? Besides the bugs it's definitely the weakest part of the game.

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                      November 9, 2007 12:56 AM

                      Sorry you didn't enjoy the text. If you do have any specific comments, feel free to email them to me. I'd love to hear 'em. Honestly.

                      I really don't get many comments regarding the actual words. Story-centric critiques usually focus on voices and various methods of conveyance.

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                        November 9, 2007 1:15 AM

                        And... I didn't include my email address.

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                      November 9, 2007 9:51 AM

                      This is why developers generally prefer to be anonymous on Shacknews, albeit with a few exceptions. I may not like the game, but I admire Ivan's balls to come on here and field questions and criticisms.

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              November 8, 2007 5:16 PM

              A game development team is comprised of many different people fulfilling a wide variety of roles. I am no programmer nor am I an engineer, but I do manage the Marketing & Communications group and I write quests and help Dave Brevik with various design relating things whenever possible.

              So... Yeah, I think I have one or two minutes to formulate a quick message board response, especially for a site I've been frequenting for years. And most especially when it concerns the product I work on.

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            November 8, 2007 3:42 PM

            Here is a link to your quote Ivan. http://www.hellgateguru.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3756

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              November 8, 2007 4:20 PM


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              November 8, 2007 4:45 PM

              Nice dev response there, seems like he will fit right in with the HGL dev team.

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              November 8, 2007 4:51 PM

              He's right about LAN though. Can't remember last time I wanted to LAN a game.

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              November 8, 2007 5:29 PM

              Wow. Looks like I really did say that. PMS maybe? Wait... Do you absolutely need ovaries for that? Can't it just sort of happen by osmosis?

              I can see how I was trying to be lighthearted, but yeah, it doesn't read well. It's funny, though, I actually do play LAN games fairly often. Pretty much Rainbow and Ghost Recon, but still.

              I will tell you this... We do have legitimate reasons for no LAN support. A big one is that with server code, unscrupulous people can setup fake versions of our game and swindle users out of their cash.

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              November 8, 2007 6:47 PM

              Ivan Sulic got busted!

              Who is Ivan Sulic?

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              November 8, 2007 10:23 PM

              if you read his post his attitude is actually not bad and he has good reasons. it's not an angry "fuck" it's an emphasis "fuck"

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