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Review by: Keith Durocher
Published: July 2, 2004
There’s an undeniable appeal to the idea of a persistent virtual world, a place to return to that’s outside the normal day-to-day grind. As the classic sitcom “Cheers” taught us, sometimes, you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. As many thousands of paying subscribers to online games have demonstrated, it helps if that digital escape carries with it a flashy 3D interface, supernatural powers aplenty and some scantily clad elves. This tried-and-true formula is the basis of NCSoft’s latest massively multiplayer online role playing game, Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle. Time for another sword swinging, spell casting, dragon slaying romp with thousands of people you’ve never met!
Lineage II is the sequel to the single most populous MMORPG on the planet. Don’t feel left out if you’ve never heard of the original Lineage; it was released primarily to the Korean gaming market. With a player population of approximately 2.5 million, however, there’s little room for argument as to its success. Lineage was based off of a Korean comic book of the same name, and looks quite a lot like the grandfather of all graphical MUD titles, Ultima Online. With this in mind, it’s interesting to note that none other than Richard “Lord British” Garriott, the mastermind behind the Ultima franchise, is now an executive producer at NCSoft. The format of Lineage II is a 3D fantasy-based role-playing game that’s played online and carries a heavy focus on player vs. player combat. The experience includes things like good old fashioned monster beat downs, trade skill development, questing and clan wars.
When starting out, the first step is to decide which of the five playable races you want to be. Your choices are Human, Elf, Dark Elf, Dwarf and Orc. Initially, this decision is mostly one of appearance, but as you level forward, their traits become more apparent and what they can do becomes more pronounced. For example, in the early levels, a fighter is a fighter is a fighter; however, once the subclasses come into effect, a dark elf will be a considerably more efficient assassin than an Orc, who will make a better shaman than a human, and so forth. Once you’ve selected your race, you then choose if you’ll be a fighter or a mystic. At first, these are your only options. (Dwarves don’t get this choice; they can only be fighters in exchange for being the only race that can craft items.) Upon achieving level 20, you may then choose a subclass. For example, a dark elf is just a fighter until level 20, when he or she becomes either a Palus Knight or an Assassin. At level 40, these split again: Shillien Knight or Blade Dancer for Palus Knights, Abyss Walker or Phantom Ranger for Assassins.
Once you’ve chosen race and class, it’s time to tweak your avatar’s appearance. You have two to four options for hair styles, hair color and facial features. That’s all there is to character creation; the rest is dependent on the equipment you’re carrying. Everything (and I mean everything) shows up on your toon, so there’s no need to worry about character cloning, at least not in the long run. From here, it’s time to log into the game world, known as Aden. The tutorial consists of a series of pop-up windows that explain the basics of movement. After reading through these, head to the nearest NPC to get a quest and whet your appetite for what’s to come. I ran a Dark Elf Fighter for my sojourns, and the first quest given to me was to collect the teeth of a fox-like creature called a Keltir. This taught me the basics of fighting and generated some Adena, the currency Lineage uses.
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