GB: Hellgate: London has been up and running for over seven months now. Before moving on to The Abyss Chronicles, can you give us a brief overview of the additions and changes you've made to the game since launch?
Tyler: Looking back, I'm pretty amazed at all of the improvements that we have made in the last few months. Just looking through the patch notes http://www.hellgatelondon.com/patches shows a pretty long list of features and bug fixes. We've added Stonehenge with its repeatable boss runs and wildly different backgrounds, in-game e-mail, the Rank and Expertise system for level 50 characters, an improved party system, shared stash across all of your characters, huge improvements in client performance and stability, a rebalance of half of the skills, a myriad of tiny improvements to chat and the UI, a dueling arena, a ton of new weapons, armor, pets, dye kits, and a huge list of bug fixes.
GB: What can we expect from The Abyss Chronicles? What were your primary goals when developing this particular update?
Tyler: Our Chronicles are designed to be much more than a patch and the Abyss Chronicle is much more significant in scope than our first Chronicle. We've added a long laundry list of new features with this update, but the four big goals were making a new set of levels with new boss fights and some really cool rewards, three new skills for each character class, the Blademaster rebalance and the Consignment Shop. The new levels should give Subscribers a lot of new content to run around in. The new skills really enhance the current character classes and allow for some completely new play styles including the Summoner transforming into a demon who focuses on melee and summons freaky melee fighters. The Blademaster needed some love. He will be doing much more damage and have more viable skills with this update.
GB: Tell us a bit about how the new consignment system will work. Will there be a limitation to the number of items a player can have up for sale at any given time? Are there any plans to eventually allow bids on items rather than just a "buy out" price?
Tyler: The Consignment Shop will let players buy and sell items much like Auction Houses that are common in MMORPGs. You will be able to buy and sell items across our entire shard. You can do things like see all of the level 15-21 swords that are for sale or check to see if anyone is trying to sell that unique gun that you've been looking for. To encourage people to carefully choose which items they would like to sell, we have a limit on how many items a character can have in the shop. I think that the limit might be around 20, but I'm not sure.
I've got a few people starting work on the bidding system, but it isn't going to be ready in time for the Abyss Chronicles. This is what ongoing development is often like. You try to get people features as fast as you can with high quality, and sometimes that means doing things like first giving them a Consignment Shop and then changing it into a full-fledged Auction House later. If we had gone straight for the Auction House, we would have released it at least a month later.
GB: What sort of items can be placed in the new trinket slots and what type of enchantments will these items provide?
Tyler: The first set of trinkets which will be introduced in the Abyss Chronicles will be rings. When you first find the ring, it will have some pretty horrible negative properties and be considered (cursed.) You will need to do a little crafting work to cleanse it, but the rewards are huge. The cleansed rings have some really powerful properties.
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