RL Aggro

Haven’t had too much time to jump into any MMOs the last week or so, besides some Lineage 2 here and some World of Warcraft there. I’m still facing the dilemma in WoW where I can’t pick a damn character to stick with even having pretty much one of every class, most above level 30. Lineage 2 is fine and I usually have fun when I find a time to play. I hammer out a quick “kama” and try to find a spot to grind in, but I usually have time constraints and find myself having to log off by the time I get out to a grind spot and start to get in a flow.

My “real life distractions” have just been normal blips like car problems (needing an oil change and new tires badly), school (9 A.M. class doesn’t agree with late night gaming sessions, my usual habit), and monetary issues (needing to work more). Oh, the life of a college student struggling with student bills and keeping a roof over my head and food on the table. But, wait, this has nothing to do with gaming or massively multiplayer online roleplaying!?

Hey, look – I got a haircut.

Playing Lineage 2 in Windows 7 (Gameguard Fix)


If you’ve tried to play Lineage 2 on Windows 7 you’ve probably been bummed out to find that you get that pesky “GameGuard” error that has been plaguing pretty much every game in Windows 7 that uses GameGuard. What purpose GameGuard serves I have never bear witness to, it’s only given me problems, and this definitely is not the first time.

There is a solution that works for both Aion (not sure if you even need it anymore, they may have patched Aion) and Lineage 2, and probably any game in Windows 7 that needs GameGuard. I guess I should give a little disclaimer and say that you should “do this at your own risk” because you are technically messing with files in the game directory, which is usually against the TOS/EULA, but in reality you’re not doing any harm and without this fix you wouldn’t be giving them $15/mo and playing their games. Since they don’t want to fix it themselves (yet), this is the only option for playing Lineage 2 on Windows 7.

I’ll try to make this simple. You’re basically replacing the “gameguard.des” file (one small, measly file) so that the game will launch correctly, with the trick being that you need to replace it after Lineage 2 has gone through it’s auto-update routine in the patcher. Full details after the jump.

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So, about Aion and its Beta Weekends

I felt like I needed to write about how I am not taking part in the Aion beta events and haven’t since the first weekend of beta despite having it installed and servers being up. I have had a pre-order of Aion since they hit my local Gamestop and I’ve been in the beta since the first weekend, so “not having it” is not my problem.

A common folly of mine is that the gamer inside of me wants that sneak peak, pre-launch, hands-on that betas give you the privilege of enjoying, but the MMORPG gamer inside of me needs the character attachment and goal-setting drive that is just not possible in a beta, when characters will be wiped and fear of burn-out before the game even ships keeps me from wanting to play too much in the first place. Add in my disappointment that Aion turned out to not be the game I was expecting at all, and this makes for one unenthusiastic gamer.

While I’m at it, why don’t I just give examples of the things that totally bum me out about Aion.

I can’t stand the Asmodian race. One thing I will say is that I always hate the “bad side” in a game that lets you choose sides. It’s not that I can’t play the role of a heel, but it’s because I can’t stand the majority of those that always flock to the “bad guys,” you know, the teenage-angst teens listening to Disturbed and the “hardcore pvp” elitist asshats. Sure you could call it generalizing, but my time spent as an Imperial in Star Wars Galaxies, Horde in World of Warcraft, and Destruction in Warhammer Online totally cements and backs up my stance on this demographic of players. Just look at the Asmodians (pictured below), I can see the Slipknot shirts and hear the My Chemical Romance from here!

My bigger gripe with the races is that, well, there is technically only one race to choose. They split them into Asmodians and Elyos, but any non color-blind person can tell you that they are just simply pallet swaps. The character customization is deep, I’ll give them that, but it’s depth is honestly just smoke and mirrors. In the end you’re still going to end up a pretty-boy light skinned half-elf-looking-human with wings or a pretty-boy blue/purple skinned half-elf-looking-human with wings.

So I’ve created my pretty-boy with wings, let’s see if I like the game any better when I actually star playing. Short answer: more disappointment, but with a very pretty and polished wrapping. I’ve said this to my friends and thought this to myself a thousand times now, but Aion is the biggest “WoW clone” you will ever see (well, Runes of Magic actually is, but for the sake of my hyperbole Aion is). Aion takes the “themepark MMO” philosophy that WoW has popularized, polished the hell out of it, and plopped it into an Eastern-MMORPG shell. It’s not only the linear gameplay that Aion has copied, but the controls, UI, and combat all scream “oh hai WoW…I c wat u didd ther.” Aion takes all that Korean/Eastern MMORPGs have come to represent (what gave them appeal and charm) and totally defecated all over it in red, white, and blue.

Just thinking of how Aion has disappointed me (emphasis on me) makes me want to go log into Lineage 2 and engross myself in what a “Korean MMORPG” should be. When I have that “Korean MMORPG itch,” I want to grind monsters in the same spot for an hour, I want click-to-move to be the default control scheme and WASD to feel broken, and I want it to be a niche game where it stubbornly stands by what it represents in the face of the post-WoW MMORPG landscape.

Taking the time to truly rant about my disappointment with Aion has made me even question if I should keep my pre-order. I’ll need to be in the midst of a big-time MMORPG drought (like I am now, for instance) to get the drive to even go pick up my pre-order on launch day. I have no real MMORPG I’m attached to at the moment, but even that isn’t enough to make me want to log into the Aion beta.

(Hell, I’m reinstalling Lineage 2. I wonder if my account is still active?)

Letting out some Lineage 2 steam

I’m not sure if it’s the reroll-train that I’ve been riding on or just burnout from the level grinding, but I’ve felt pretty lethargic about playing Lineage 2 lately. My main gripe with the game so far would have to be the class dynamics and the combat skills. I feel like every class has but a small handful of active abilities and skills in their disposal that are rarely needed while leveling up, leaving you to just auto-attack with soulshots on auto as well. It’s no wonder bots do so well in the game, the grinding/combat is completely automated just by nature of the mechanics.

I partially blame my rerolling on the fact that I’m having trouble finding a class that really hooks me and is interesting to level. Of course I realize that the bulk of the game doesn’t come to life till A-Grade and on, but I’m not going to accept that overused excuse. This is a tangent in itself, but way too often do I hear “it takes a few hours to get to the fun stuff,” or in the case of MMORPGs, “a few weeks.” Since when is this acceptable. I’m not directing this entirely just at Lineage 2, as I’ve obviously had plenty of fun so far, but I do question this staple of “time investment:fun” in MMOs and MMORPGs.

I get urges to reactivate some old accounts and check in on some other online universes. Age of Conan, World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, and Guild Wars all spark some interest. What’s everyone else playing these days?

What I’m Playing

Having a strange night of games tonight. Started out with leveling a(nother) character in Lineage 2. This time, a Light Elf Scout, in which I can’t decide what role I want to harness at 40 because of how testing leveling with a bow can be both on your mana and your adena (currency in Lineage). After I got my L2 character to about 22, I gave Requiem: Bloodymare a try. Totally not my thing, and itt’s obnoxiously excessive with the gratuitous blood. I still don’t see how or why it is marketed as a “HORROR MMORPG.” Adding unnecessary blood and silly decapitations of reindeers (I kid you not) does not make your game a horror game. Uninstalled.

After that train wreck I went back to some Lineage 2, got level 24 on my Scout and now I’m in the middle of patching Atlantica Online to give that a first shot after hearing such praise. I’m not expecting much, becuase I honestly haven’t found a free2play game that is worth money, hence perpetuating my stance of “you get what you pay for” when it comes to MMOs. No monthly fee? Don’t expect much. We’ll see how Atlantica Online goes.

Besides that, I’ve been jamming out to some Final Fantasy soundtracks on shuffle in my playlist, in lieu of watching all the Final Fantasy Retrospectives.

Update: Atlantica Online: not half bad! I was imagining it to be a Guild Wars type game where you *always* have henchmen instead of them being optional, but it’s actually way more than that. In the hour or so I played it, I would simply sum it up as a a JRPG meets Guild Wars meets strategy RPG. I could totally see the appeal to it, but I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing I would want to go play every night. I’m keeping it installed though, was surprised by it to say the least.

Tera: The Exiled Realm of Arborea

http://tera.hangame.com/ for the HD version of the trailer and game’s homepage, albeit in korean

The most breath-taking, amazing, and technologically insane looking MMORPG I’ve ever seen.

I literally just found out about this game so my information pretty empty, but I read that it’s being developed by past Lineage 2 lead developers. No idea what it will play like or if it will ever see a North American launch, but it’s eye candy nonetheless. It’s like Aion on crack, which is funny because Aion is built on what most see as a more graphically intense engine (Crytek engine) while Tera is being built on Unreal 3. Speaking of the Unreal 3 engine, this has probably the most unique art design of any game using the engine, even tops the more recent Square-Enix console flops that used Unreal 3. And holy #*%@ at the red panda looking race. MUST. PLAY.

Lineage 2 has shown me the light of Korean-style MMORPGs again, and it makes me happy being able to look forward to things like Aion, and now this Tera game. At the same time, it makes me sad that Korean MMORPGs seem like they will never catch on in America, so my passion for them will always leave me in a niche, often misunderstood, MMO scene.
So, go to the site and watch the trailer. Be sure to have tissues in reach to wipe your drool off your mouth.

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

Tons of Lineage 2 stuff to write about

So much happened tonight. So much to write about. So little time.

I should be making a post or two later divulging on my Lineage 2 experiences from tonight (by then, last night). From dinging 40 and becoming a Gladiator in C-gear, to looting the Zariche, the Demon Sword and being transformed into a demon of bad-assery. Was a fun night.
Expect a big gallery of screenshots too. Here’s a teaser:


Update on Lineage 2


So it’s been like 2 weeks and still no impressions post about Lineage 2 yet! Well don’t worry, that’s a great sign…I’ve been too addicted and busy playing the damn game.

I’ve caught a minor re-roll bug, but I’m not reallycalling it that because I’m enjoying trying out a few classes before I invest and commit to getting one level 40+. I’m on my 5th character, and he’s got the staying power for me. In all I have a 29 Scavenger, 36 Palus Knight, 32 Warrior, 32 Wizard, and 28 Trooper. The Kamael Trooper is my favorite yet, and I’m really feeling like he’ll be the one to make it pass into C-grade (level 40+).

I don’t consider it re-rolling, because for me, re-rolling is usually a sign that I’m getting bored and/or exhausted by the grind that the higher levels get. This is not the case, however, because I haven’t lost one grain of interest in Lineage 2 yet. I’ve actually grown to love it even more now and I’ve made a nice little fortune leveling up all 5 characters.

So, a zomg impressions post is coming up, but I’ve postponed it to a 1-40 first impressions post, so I can sink my teeth in to a little more of the content before preaching.