Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle
Score: 7.0 / 10
Reviewing a MMORPG takes a lot out of a person. I was planning to have this review done a while ago, but I decided to wait and try a couple of Castle Sieges since they were recently added to the game. There is a lot of ground to cover in Lineage II. Some of it is fun and interesting, and some of it is either boring or a pain in the ass. I admit that I could not have covered all the areas that I have by myself, but I was fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who also have the game. Whatís the advantage of that? The advantage is that I was able to use their characters to cover two areas of the game with only half the effort! As soon as they saw something intriguing, I could rush to their house to check it out. By doing this, I was also able to participate in more Castle Sieges (even though they werenít all in the usual server I play on).
After starting up an account at NCsoft and installing the game itself, players will have a choice from five different races that includes humans, elves, dark elves, orcs, and dwarves. When creating your character, you can pick between a couple of faces and hair styles. You are quite limited, but at least the character models look very nice and detailed. Playerís will also have to pick their characterís class. They can pick between a fighter and a mystic. (Be forewarned, dwarves can only pick fighters though later on they can become craftsmen.) Now that youíre all set, prepare yourself for an uninspiring adventure.
The world of Lineage is pretty big with a sub-par story. You will find that the only part of the story thatís interesting is the feuds between each race. For example: things used to be good between the elves and the humans. The humans aided the elves in their time of need so, as appreciation, the elves taught the humans how to use magic. However, peace didnít last long. Conflict after conflict followed and humans and elves went their separate ways. Thatís just a short summary on one of the storyís many events. Perhaps the main story could have been better than average, but because of the fact you have to track down and talk to every damn NPC to find a nugget of information instead of the usual gibberish, players will find themselves slowly caring less and less about the story.
Fight, kill, collect money and repeat. With a few simple words, Iíve managed to explain how repetitive Lineage II really is. Oh, notice that I didnít include leveling up in the list because after a while it's easy to forget that itís even possible. It takes what seems like eons just to get to level 20. Enemies do not give enough experience points when killed, and players will find themselves camping for hours. Also, if you die you lose 10% experience, which could
even result in leveling down!
seems that camping in one area killing monster after monster is the key
to success in Lineage II. Players who think they can go solo and do
quests, etc. by themselves will sadly be mistaken, as partying is an
essential key to the game. The odd thing is that even though partying is
essential to complete certain tasks, it wonít take players long to
realize that they wonít make much money staying in a party. This will
force players to go solo and slowly kill monsters until
they finally have enough money for what they need. This could take hours
but again, itís essential since itís the only way to obtain the
overpriced weapons and armor within the game.
worst things about Lineage II are players who "farm" items to sell
for money on eBay and the bots. Some high level players will
intentionally die to level down. Why? Itís because the enemyís names
appear in different colors. For example: if the enemyís name is in red
he is beyond your characterís current level and should be avoided. If
the name is in white however, then you have a good chance to win the
fight. If you are too strong for an enemy though, their name appears in
dark blue meaning they wonít drop money. What farmers do is
intentionally die and level down so many times so that they can drop
levels and still be able to use their equipment from when they were at
higher levels. They will also steal your kills and if you get in their
way, sometimes they wonít think twice about killing you too. How could
this get any worse? Well,
some players input macros on their characters so they become bots. While
some dedicated players are spending hours leveling up, other players are
sleeping or watching the TV while their character automatically farms
around one area killing everything in sight, hogging all the experience
and money. There have been many people reporting these issues but so far
hasnít done anything about it as of yet. Perhaps they should take this
issue more seriously because this could be a major turnoff to many
people (including myself).
Thereís nothing really impressive or outstanding with the battle system. Itís a hack and slash game, but not as satisfying. For example: run up to an enemy monster and double click to attack. You will find yourself watching your character and the monster striking each other back and forth for a while until one of you finally drops dead. This gets old really fast but at least you can use some special skill attacks to help maintain some interest within each battle. Being a Mystic is not so intriguing either. You stand at a distance, charge up a spell and wait. The thing thatís most irritating about battle is recovering HP/MP (hit points/magic points) between battles. When your hp/mp runs low you can use potions or sit on your ass to recover. Sitting takes up an awful lot of time and I found myself staring at the landscapes or watching other players battle it out with monsters (or each other) to pass the time.
Youíll battle in order to level up or to complete a quest. The majority of quests involve collecting things from slain monsters. Youíll find yourself battling an awful lot for not so great rewards (such as little experience points and money). The worst part about quests is that they donít feel engaging and the instructions aren't straightforward. Quests also arenít very different from just roaming around and killing things at random. Out of all the quests Iíve tried, the best one was a quest where the reward was a baby dragon that you can take care of (and over time it will grow). Sure, having your own dragon may seem really badass, but you can only mount them in Castle Sieges.
Sieges was definitely the biggest commotion and selling point for
Lineage II. A lot of people anticipated it to be the most outstanding
feature of the game, but unfortunately Castle Sieges and other features were not yet
completed at launch so NCsoft developed an updated patch that could be
downloadedÖa couple of months later.
Perhaps if NCsoft delayed the release date a bit and added these
features at launch, Lineage II mightíve gotten better reviews. Now that Castle Sieges are here, players will learn that
they can have a great experience if they are in a clan or a guild. Nobody quite has the hang of it yet, but that could be
due to the fact itís still under its earlier stages. Rather than a
siege, it feels more like a huge clan war. Players should note to stay
away from castle sieges until theyíve at least reached level 40.
Another popular feature was Lineage IIís PVP (player vs. player) system. If a player kills another player, their name will appear red instead of the normal white. When a playerís name has turned red then they have become a convict. Being a bad guy might sound cool and all, but youíre in a lot of trouble if you go into a village. The villages are like the hangout places and letís just say a red marked player wonít last very long without being killed. They also have a higher rate of dropping items. However, if a player hits somebody without killing him or her, then the playerís name will turn purple. Only if the purple player kills his opponent will his or her name turn red. If the player under attack retaliates, then both their names turn purple and no matter who wins, their names will turn back to normal white a little while after the battle.
Graphically, Lineage II is the most gorgeous MMORPG Iíve seen. The environments are richly detailed and beautiful. The atmosphere truly puts you into a fantasy realm. Character models are also very well detailed. I just didnít like that I found my clone within my first two minutes playing the game though. NCsoft shouldíve been more creative and added more features to character creation.
sound effects in the game are pretty good. When you swing your sword and
make contact it sounds realistic. I also like the sounds that come from
enemies and the ambient, environmental sounds. When you charge up your magic
and then execute it, it sounds pretty cool. The music isnít bad but I
hate how it loops and only plays every once in a while.
would not give a second thought to saying Lineage II isnít a game for
everyone. Sure it starts to build up interest when you reach level 40
but it takes forever just to get to level 20.
Some dedicated playerís with a lot time on their hands might find
something in the game worth paying the monthly fee ($$$), but I doubt the average player will
find that something before they get bored of the tedious game play. Lineage II might be a very pretty game to look at, but it
doesnít play as good as its looks. Castle Sieges prove it has
potential so maybe NCsoft will learn from their mistakes and fix things
up with further updates.
- Jí Tonello
(September 8, 2004)
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