Impressions: Lineage 2 levels 1-40

Two weeks have passed since I began playing Lineage 2. I was sucked into the game pretty hard and pretty fast, and my post count suffered becasue of it. But hey, let’s call it research.

The fact that I’m still playing and still talking about it two weeks later is a good sign, as I’ve been known to be rather A.D.D when it comes to getting into a new game. I will usually know within the first three days if I will stick around. With Lineage 2, I definitely knew within just a few hours that I wanted to start playing it as my main MMO. The trial sold me and I was at the store picking up the retail box the next day.

I’ve had an adventerous first two weeks in game, meeting some very friendly people all across the world, joining a clan, leveling a handful of characters to lvl 30+, and a scary encounter with the Demon Sword Zariche. I’ve put off writing this till I was at least 40+ on the character that I wanted to stick it out with as my main, which happens to be 1080, my Gladiator. I have some alts I will level when 0-vitality leveling gets me down (think rested xp in WoW, but in a game where every exp point is crucial) but I’m on a mission to get my Gladiator to 75, dammit. When I talk about Lineage 2, I may use some lingo and Lineage 2 terms that are foreign to anyone who doesn’t play the game, but there is so much depth and unique mechanics to Lineage 2 that are different from other MMOs that It would be a novel itself just trying to explain every one in detail. I’ll try to keep it simple.

Before I get into a categorical breakdown of the game, I felt I had to share an epic experience that was bestowed upon me late last night. I was on my Glad, just grinding away on Alligator Island, naturally just auto-looting everything that drops, when my screen begins to shake furiously and everything turns blood red. I’m transformed into some demon named Zariche who posses the Demon Sword. At the time I had no idea what madness was going on, as I stumbled to take a few screenshots and examine my transformed character. After I was hunted and killed by other players longing for the demon sword, a helpful player that I happened to take down before falling myself, filled me in on what the hell had just happened. Apparently the sword is a random drop that transforms the owner into an uber raid-boss type player. It buffs your CP (combat points) and bestows the epic weapon in your hands that will allow you to hunt the hardest monsters in the game solo, when they usually require full groups of lvl 75+ characters. Once the demon sword has dropped, every player can see it’s location on their map, so that they may track him down and take him out for it. I was told it usually takes a handful to take a Zariche player down, but I was pretty much fodder because I was 1.) a scared noob with no idea of what was going on and 2.) lvl 41 without the S-Grade ability, so I was facing debuffs just by using the S-Grade weapon. Nevertheless, it was a heart-pounding experience and it got my blood flowing. After understanding it, I just thought it was a really unique addition to the game. It adds in a sort of tag/tackle-loco type of pvp minigame into game world but still sets itself in the overarching lore of the world still.

And now the breakdown:

Presentation: What sets my current Lineage 2 impressions apart from my experiences with the game four years ago is the addition of much need polish and streamlining of the presentation. Four years ago Lineage 2 was a blatant Korean MMORPG with very little substance but a ton of grind. It was just another Korean MMORPG grind-fest where no actual sign of a game was present until you had invested a few months of killing mobs aimlessly. Over the years the dev team must have been hard at work adding content and general polish to the entire game, as it finally resembles a AAA game that is worth the retail shelf space.

The UI still feels a bit archaic, but it’s nothing you can’t get accustomed to. It doesn’t have the overall customization options or bells’n’whistles of a UI like that of World of Warcraft, but it’s minimal sleek design gets the job done once you have learned where everything is.

Graphics: Amazing. The Unreal 2 engine really shines as it shows how well it ages over time. The graphics in Lineage 2 still hold up as some of the best MMO graphics on the market, not much else to say about that, but I’ll let the screenshot gallery at the bottom of this post speak for itself.

Sound: A mixed bag, but it does the job. The actual sound design is excellent, from the sound of a soulshot loading up on your weapon to the trademark Lineage 2 critical hit noise. It may just be my nostalgia for the souns of Lineage 2, but I think it does the job. The music on the other hand is passable, decent at best. It rarely queues up and it has a tendency to just restart again whenever you enter or leave an area. I just muted the music and load up my custom MMO playlist in winamp consisting of the soundtracks from Blizzard, EVE Online, Diablo 2, Plenetside, and other various instrumental stuff on shuffle.

Gameplay: Lineage 2 is a hardcore Korean MMO, let’s get that out of the way. Similar to Final Fantasy XI, it’s going to take you a while to reach a point where you can call yourself “high level.” At the same time that this may be daunting, it also makes the feat of leveling up all that more rewarding and a feat to flaunt. One is meant to play Lineage 2 for the long haul, providing years of entertainment, as opposed to weeks or months of quick and simple gratification like more casual MMOs provide.

Lineage 2 utilizes a unique click-to-move control style that adds an old-school feel that I think of as a throwback to Diablo 2, but realized in full 3D. A player will love or hate this movement method, but there is also a clunky WASD movement option, but I would still recommend just getting used to the click-to-move. Once you get used to it, it frees up your left hand for hotkeys and chatting.

I can’t go too much into the real beef of the gameplay of Lineage 2 because the majority of the gameplay content opens up the higher you get, more so around lvl 62+.

Conclusion: I have been sucked in and addicted to Lineage 2 for the past two weeks, and I can’t think of a simpler way to convey whether or not I am enjoying the game than just saying that. That’s really the best thing a player can say about an MMO. If I barely make time to blog daily, a MMO must really be doing it’s job well.

I’ve encountered an overall friendly community both on my server and on the message boards, despite the inevitable snark and negativity towards NCsoft on the message boards, but really that’s par for the course in an MMO community. I dare you to name a single game where there arent’ angsty players venting their disgust for the developers on the official message boards.

I’ve fallen in love with the way the in-game player driven economy works, it’s like a meta-game in itself just trying to work the market and make adena (L2 currency). Some bitter long-time players may tell you the market is all corrupt with ebayers and exploits, but I haven’t been victimized by any of the corruption yet, so I really don’t mind. If some exploiter is selling a +16 D-Grade weapon for 200 million adena, how does that really effect me? I don’t care what he does with that or if he sells it, I’ll be over there having fun.

So as I progress in Lineage 2, I’ll continue to make update posts about my progression and my characters and treat you all with any exciting screenshots or tales from an in-game happening when the time comes.

Enjoy the screenshots and if you haven’t given Lineage 2 a try recently, try to get a hand on a free trial code!

Lineage 2 Screens

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