Release Date: April 27, 2004
Pre-order 'LINEAGE 2: The Chaotic Chronicle': PC
Today I got my hands on a beta build of Lineage 2. Now I didn’t know much going into this because I had no idea there was a Lineage 1 to begin with, i've been more of an EQ fan on PC & PS2. So did a little research and found out that Lineage is basically Koreas equivalent to Everquest, so I was on rather familiar ground. The user base has been stated to be over a million. Now I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I had to see what all the fuss was about. To keep it simple, if you weren’t Korean the roaming clans would beat you down, and the only good class was the knight so every one was a knight and they all looked the same. When I heard of Lineage 2 I could only hope they changed it for the better.
MMORPGs as of late have been more of the same in the game play department. Make a guy, hunt, level up, sell stuff, buy better equipment, and repeat. Playing with your clan has consisted of raiding high level areas, or participating in designated Player vs. Player areas.
When I started my character, the creation was quite simple and straight forward, you can customize your appearance to a degree but so far it seemed somewhat limited. You have a selection of Humans, Orc, Elf’s, Dark Elf’s, and Dwarves as playable characters. Again, maybe some what limited. The available class section didn’t get much better as you could only be either be a Fighter or Mystic. It was looking pretty doubtful, but once I started playing I saw where the ”more of the same” and Lineage separated. Rather than classes, you have career paths and while this is nothing new, you don’t have to worry about a certain race not being able to partake in the different classes. When you first start you run the usual newbie orientation, how to play, do a simple quest, and gain your first level. The user interface in Lineage 2 is a point in click system almost completely done with the mouse. You click a spot of land and you run to it, click on the inventory icon to see your inventory and so forth. This is a GREAT feature, saves the wear and tear on your fingers, holding down the up arrow key.
The camera angles are fully 3D, just right click and hold the right mouse button and you can zoom, and rotate to just about any angle. There is one draw back though, while running you can, and will, get stuck on objects that you would think you could step over. Perhaps this will be fixed in the final version, lets hope so. Leveling is nothing new, instead of exp points you are given a progress percentage indicating when you will reach the next level up . The difficulty of creature killing will get tough rather quickly, it’s pretty easy near the cities, low level stuff running around, but as your move further and further away, the likeliness of you receiving a beat down is next to guaranteed, and that’s not including you having to worry about other players.
The combat system is similar to the other MMORPGs currently available on the market, but Lineage II has taken the step that could potentially ruin the game, player vs. player anyone? DAoC took a step in the right direction with the realms and the realm vs. realm combat, where you must siege fortress’s and capture ruins, to give your realm bonuses, but Lineage 2 goes one step further. PVP all the time, anywhere and every where, now I know this sounds like a headache otr an accident waiting to happen, but the developers have consequences built in place if you wish to take the route; for one thing you won’t be allowed to enter any cities and if that doesn’t stop you, they have guardian characters that will lay a beat down on you. Not to mention that if you make a name for yourself as a Player Killer, groups of players might just come looking for you. I for one welcome this addition because its something no other Online RPG has. Not only has this feature affected the game play, it has also affected grouping and joining/making clans. Clan battles are more frequent and clans gain experience. If a clan gets high enough it can capture vital structures and actually control the game, now if that doesn’t show player interaction I don’t know what does.
Audio and Visuals in Lineage II are nothing short of spectacular. As you know Lineage 2 is built on the Unreal engine, so it boasts full pixel shader support, gorgeous high resolution textures, and high poly count models. Every character suffers from what I call the “beautiful people syndrome”, there are simply no ugly people anywhere to be found in this game. Even the Orc women will give the guys something to stare at. The female gender are WELL endowed and scantly clothed and the men would make Fabio look ugly. The character art is very final fantasy like, a refined look. Armor, weapons, and spell effects are ridiculously good looking. The Unreal engine is being used as it was intended. As far as sound effects goes, they are immersive, but if you heard one sword hit, you’ve heard them all.
I totally dig Lineage 2 and can’t wait for the official launch later this month. The next round of MMORPGs is coming and Lineage 2 is a sign of the battle for “the best online experience” that the likes of EQ2, and Middle Earth Online will have to contend with. It’s good to see NCSoft bring some new a refreshing features to the online world of role playing. Pick this game up and give it a go, or hurry up and get the open beta and experience it for yourself. Lineage 2 begs the question “Everquest 2 who?”