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Helbreath Xtreme

Talk about Helbreath project in mind. Need your opinion, guidance, experience and knowledge.


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Hello there,

First of all, sorry if I post this here since the r/helbreath is dead, no one can post and need permissions. It might be a long read, but I'm not going to be so deep in terms of explanation.

Another thing I would like to say, it's nice to remember good old times in a game where we played hours and hours in an unhealthy way in our beloved Helbreath.

This post is especially focused for people who played Helbreath or like MMOs orientated for PvP.

I would also like to write all of this or transmit it in Helbreath discords, but for what I talked with some old friends... specially the Helbreath Olympia's discord would delete this.

About me:
I'm Emanuel and used to played Hebreath back in the day around 2004 where I was a little kid and played in a lot of private servers like Nemesis, LMDL and others which are lost in my memories. Also my older brother started a private server with around 40~80 players which was very good in those times... keeping in mind where all the players were divided in a lot of private servers. He's the one who introduced me to the world of programming and teached me all about modifying and customizing Helbreath. A little bit more of context he released the HGServer 2.24d sources with a lot of fixes and features gatherer by the community.

As per today I work as backend developer, also have experience in Android development and Unity.

Short list of things that concern me:
So I will just leave a short list but not detail them, to be honest we can be all day talking about this and is already a discussed topic in the world of MMOs, have in mind this is comparison between some aspects of todays MMOs and Helbreath.

  • there's an excessive pay2win
  • limited content and progression, in some MMOs we are limited to do 2 raids per week? lol (okay Helbreath didn't had too much content or features, but private servers solved some of these)
  • formulaic gameplay, no customization in terms of classes
  • got lazy and boring (remember when you had to seek and hunt Helclaws or Tigerworms in Middleland?)
  • there's no risk - reward (remember when you had to be careful when you where leveling because you didn't had a Zemstone?)
  • now everyone has buffs (remember when you asked Mages to Berserk or AMP you?)
  • socialization (in HB whenever you found someone in a pit you would party to help each other, or talk in a chat to seek people for hunting some Demons or some enemy town players). That's gone. There's a matchmaking now for everything, you join, everyone starts running and goes do their thing, the end.
  • PvP... it's either broken or limited and instantiated
  • Excessive, boring, linear and backtracking quests (what are we? the carriers of NPCs?)

Why is open world and PvP not appreciated today?

  • Most of the reasons are griefing and camping, but in Helbreath map zones where divided by levels and you can't enter a zone for example if you were lvl 180 to a lvl 120 area. You could fight against people 20~40 lvls beyond you without being one shot.
  • The PvP playerbase in MMOs are a very very short % compared to PvE playerbase.
  • Not having instantiated dungeons makes it hard to farm, since imagine you go to explore an end game dungeon where it's stacked of people from your faction and enemy faction, impossible to kill mobs, hunt a boss and you might have to fight against enemies.
  • Imagine having 4 or 5 guys in a Pit, it would be harsh since you can't farm or lvl up correctly, unless the game permits you to share the kill or you party. Quests solve this issue.[/list]

The dead Helbreath projects that tried to migrate to 3D and future ones...
There were a lot of people which tried to start their own project to 3D which died in time.

Most of you might know there were two big projects trying to recreate Helbreath in 3D or were inspired by Helbreath and created their own world.

These projects were Komazo Project by Yoko and Legion: The Eternal War by Cody and were the most successful ones to not die young and had a lot of dedication.

Leading and creating a project of this magnitude requires a lot of perseverance, dedication and time and of course money $$. Lets talk just a little bit on what happen, what they might have done and why didn't succeeded.

Kozamo Project

It was created in Unreal Engine, they might have developed and created features from zero and others might have used Blueprints which is GOOD!

  • The problem which I see is that they didn't do any kind of good marketing campaign, neither seeked for the approval of the community or suggestions and seemed like a short and closed team (maybe 2 guys?).
  • In terms of graphics they were good to be honest for being indies. Having bought assets, own assets etc. they have done a great work.
  • They lacked of professionalism in terms of the team/corporate identity or image, they might not had a proper graphic designer which lead to no attraction.
  • Also... gameplay wise it doesn't seem to offer anything new and it even seems worse in terms of speed and gameplay, it feels clunky.

Legion: The Eternal War

This game was inspired by Helbreath, the owner Cody was a well known person in the Helbreath community. He gathered a team and had a well cared corporate identity which inspired professionalism.

  • I really don't know the reason why they stopped and the project died, but I can imagine that they invested money and if you're going to inspire in a game, orientated to PvP and it's an old niche game... you need to backup in the community and also try to engage newcomers, remember PvP open world MMOs aren't beloved.
  • Also one thing is that they have changed the camera view, which might be a turn down to Helbreath players who love bird eyed camera.
  • In terms of graphics it's quite good and has bought assets same as Komazo Project and gameplay wise it feels more like Skyrim.
  • They inspired in the lore and aspects of an old game... but not the fast phased gameplay which was what engaged people to play hours and hours in Helbreath and what made the game succeed.

One of the biggest problems of the projects that tried to recreate Helbreath in 3D is that they don't bring nothing new to the table... it has to improve what we had and offer new features to engage the player. To play Helbreath with updated graphics but worse gameplay... people will rather play Olympia.

These projects could have succeeded in their way, but there're a lot of reasons why they might have not... either way they tried and deserve a respect for their time and dedication.

What I would like and improve as a Helbreath player:
First I'll list some of the things that made HB addictive, engaging for me but also some of things that falled behind or were dead:

What was engaging:

  • Town vs Town
  • Open world PvP
  • Leveling
  • Hunting bosses for unique items
  • Crusade
  • Heldenian
  • Socialization
  • Drops
  • Fast phased gameplay
  • Simplicity and effectiveness formula, in term of items and gameplay wise
  • Exploring map to find and hunt bosses for rare items

Things that falled behind in time or were actually dead:

Open World might be a downside since griefing, camping in terms of PvP can be frustrating for lower levels, good thing is that we had map zones per level.

  • Lack of stats, there should be more affixes in items but not over9000 like today's games.
  • Upgrading system should be way better than grinding Majestic points
  • Talents and professions like Manufacturing, Alchemy, Mining, Farming etc. were totally dead, no incentive at all.
  • No proper evolution of magics, if you go full Warrior, you didn't had anything special except for auto attack and it was the same animation.

New features I would add:

  • Doubting about instantiated dungeons where you can solo, party or only party, the goal is to farm some of PvE items or ingredients to manufacture PvE armors.
  • Infinite towers where you join a instantiated small arena where you have to kill waves of monsters or bosses, this is for the casuals and dopamine players but the rewards wouldn't be something that you would want to play this all the time. It would also have leaderboards so players can compare e-Pencils and compete for a season reward.
  • Auction House or economy runned by players, each player can have their own store, were other players can buy or trade items.
  • More in depth itemization but not over9000 stats which unbalance the game
  • Magics are obtained for free, based on level and stats, but you equip and orientate your build how ever you want depending if you accomplish the requirements
  • Magics would be upgradable for example up to 3 tiers, remember we had a lot of useless spells? well now we can upgrade them for example we start with Energy Bolt as tier1, we can upgrade it to Triple Energy Bolt as tier2 and tier3 as Energy Strike
  • Combat combo system, you can chain basic attacks and Magics between each other, imagine you have a basic attack where you have 0,5 secs to chain it with a Magic, but for example if you want to you use Paralyze, you have a lot of casting time. This chains could be customizable, depending on the type of Magic it would differ the chain time. Some sort of like TERA style but more customizable and player has decision over what spells he can chain.
  • 3v3 with leaderboards, seasons and tournaments, players would obtain points which you can trade them for skins and you get rewards depending on leaderboard, for example season's skins etc.
  • Deathmatchs such as Fornite or PUBG, you join an area which gets shorter per time and try to be the last survivor. I think PoE did something similar and people loved it.
  • Guild vs Guild with leaderboard, seasons and rewards, the best guilds of each town would decide and reign the town with decisions that affect all the town.
  • Drops of bosses would be diced between the party, instead of creating food like good old times... this would evade stealing items, griefers etc.
  • Maybe individual drops for everyone, if you kill a mob, the drops are only shown to you? Doubting about this
  • Bosses with mechanics etc. not just spamming skills
  • Of course a list of QoL, UI/UX improvements
  • Cinematic story, you watch it once, never again, you start your life in the world with an objective.
  • Skins bought with points that you gain by doing different things like I mentioned before, 3v3, deathmatchs etc. this skins won't be a clown fiesta skins like todays MMOs...
  • Builds armory, where you can switch builds fast depending on what you're focusing that moment, maybe you're going to hunt Fire Wyverns and need your PvE build focused on fire resistance, one click and you have it.
  • Looking for group system inside the game, players post announcement with the target, for example hunting Helclaws lvl X+ where other players can see the announcement, can apply and owner receives notification to accept or not, auto party.

Things that I would improve:

  • Beginners and obligatory quests where they explain parts and aspects of the game, you do them once, do an objective or learn the mechanic, gain your reward and never again, no backtracking. The killing monsters quests would be more like "achievements", you kill 1000 orcs, you gain exp as reward, gold, title or whatever, you don't need to go back to receive your reward.
  • Itemization like it was, but with more and new stats, enhancing the stats without being a craziness
  • Skills only for talents such as Manufacturing, Crafting, Farming, Mining, Alchemy
  • Bring back Manufactruing and make it useful to create sets such as Monster Hunter equipment which affects you in PvE and PvP, where we can add properties like Last Epoch to obtain an specific stat and were you can also change a stat from an item.
  • Alchemy would stay the same, but with a lot of temporary potions that would be useful and players would like to use them, nothing broken.
  • Crafting necklaces and rings, same mechanics as Manufacturing you can change an specific stat a good example would be Diablo 3.
  • Instead of having to enter buildings, NPCs would be outside with safe zones.
  • Dungeons to explore like we had Tower of Hell find bosses, hunt them, fight enemies from opposite town.
  • Upgrading items without needing Majestic points, this was possible with Xelima's Stone and Merien's Stone, but if I remember correctly it wasn't possible up to high grades for example +15 or the chances were very low? correct me if I'm wrong. Seek a new system of upgrading and progress.

Things I would maintain:

  • All items would be selled for low price in the stores, so gold has a huge value and you would prefer to sell a Giant Sword with good stats on your store or auction house.
  • Items drops depending on the monster tier, like it used to be and depending on the tier it can have more stats and better ones. There would only exist normal items + legendary (unique) items with an specific attribute like it used to be, such as Xelima Blade, Sword of Medusa, Demon Slayer etc.
  • Leveling system open world and instantiated things but having the open world be more rewarded.
  • EK which you trade for hero set orientated only for PvP
  • Fast pashed gameplay
  • No classes like it used to be, but more in depth customization. Each player can orientate their character to a more tanky build, to a melee build, to a range build, to a more support build.
  • Maps with the same hierarchy, but the only map that you can drop an item if you die is on Middleland.
  • PK for killing an ally
  • Reputation, Contribution in some sort of way

So this is a short list of a very very long list but these are some of the core.

Need your opinion, guidance, experience and knowledge
So Helbreath was always my dream project since a little kid, but you know creating an MMO as an indie developer is always a NO NO and shot in your... feets, specially in 3D where there're a lot of things involved besides money, marketing, time, team gathering, organization, infrastructure and networking. Games like PoE2, Diablo 4, future Riot MMO can destroy these kind of project's motivation.

Anyways the good thing is that we have the experience and failure of past projects that we can learn from and also what the AAA do good and do wrong.

Creating a Helbreath project as I mentioned before is targeting for an exclusive niche, two reasons why it's a niche:

  • MMO's PvP playerbase is a short % and first it's focused on a specific target -> Helbreath old players and then try to capture other MMO's player attention.
  • Open World MMO's are not well received... because how tedious leveling would be on a stacked dungeon or zone and if you add PvP there's always griefers, campers etc. it would make PvE focused players get mad, but hey... this is an MMO oriented to PvP, you know where you came.

If a project comes true one day, I can imagine a Helbreath 3D with a max of 400 to 200 players only, up to 1000 if there's a good marketing campaign.

If we talk or think if it's worth investing the time and money, NO it might not be, but we're talking about a hobby, a passion and dream project.

Gaining profits from a project like this NEVER has to be the priority or even have it in mind, this is the last thing I would think of.

I don't need money, I already have my job, I can invest and creating is my passion, my hobby.

I would love to have your opinion on several things:

  • What do you think of what I have stated.
  • What do you think about a future project to recreate the world of Helbreath? Would you like it?
  • If you would like it, what would you want it to have? What new features would you need? What do you need to get engaged to a recreation of Helbreath?
  • What do you think Helbreath offered and worked? What ikept you playing it?
  • In which aspects do you think Helbreath falled behind in time and what it had that didn't work at all?

We're very lucky today to have game engines which offer an infinity of tools to create your world, such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Godot as the most known. This means that there's a lot of time saved by having these tools.

Having paid and free assets is a way to save time and focus on other aspects of the gameplay, mechanics or anything else. Imagine if you had to recreate props like trees, chairs, houses, doors or anything too "generic".

Finally, I want to talk about how I would approach this project of recreating Helbreath in 3D.

  • Listening the community, what they want, what they need, what they suggest. Communication is first.
  • Study old projects that tried to recreate Helbreath and study the market of similar MMOs.
  • Investing in assets to save some time and facilitate the development
  • Investing in marketing to improve project visibility
  • Investing in freelance services from platforms such as Fiverr
  • Well cared identity
  • Thankfully I have a group of very good friends, and with good friends I mean real life friends that we live nearby each other. We always talk about creating a project together, they want to create such as me, is their passion, their hobby. The best thing is that they dedicate professionally on their stack, like me. The bad thing is that they haven't played Helbreath, so they will need to play it to understand what the community wants and what we need to transmit to the community (they have played MMOs tho and some of them love the genre).

The team would consist of the next members, each number represents a member:

  • Backend developer with experience in Unity
  • Backend developer
  • Fullstack developer with experience in Godot
  • Fullstack developer with experiencie in Unity
  • Illustrator, graphic designer and 3D designer
  • Illustrator and graphic designer

I might forget things but I think those are the most important ones.

So if you have arrived up to here...

Please, let me know or correct me on anything you would like!

Edited by Sharon
cleaned up
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