Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle Preview

Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2004-04-28
  • Massively Multiplayer,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • First-Person,Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
And there's the rub. If you want a casual gaming experience, especially a solo one, Lineage II probably won't be what you are looking for. To experience the most amount of content for your gaming dollar, you're going to have to stop being a wallflower. Most of the high level content involves joining castle sieges and becoming a part of the complex political and economic systems. To expect to have any kind of success in a castle siege, you'll need to be in a clan, and you'll need to be able to put in time devoted to making it strong.

If you want to participate in player versus player combat with any regularity, you'll want to have some online buddies, too. Lineage II's high level content is based around PvP and the PvP system takes on the ambitious goal of both allowing uninvited combat to happen between players at any time, and discouraging random Pking by offering harsh penalties to those who kill neutral players. Sounds like a good thing for soloers who don't want to be RPK'd while hunting, right? Unfortunately, it actually supports griefing of solo players in other ways.

The system breaks down like this: you are out hunting and another player takes the last shot on a quest monster you were fighting, stealing a quest item that should have gone to you. Despite repeated pleas and/or warnings, the player continues to do this until you take a swing at him. Now, because you took a hostile action toward another player, your name turns purple, letting everyone know that you've recently been hostile and indicating that you can be killed with no penalty. Now, if the (kill stealer) you attacked hits back he will turn purple as well and should the fight continue with both players attacking, the loser will face the risks of dying, which include losing around 10% of his exp and the slight chance that he will drop an item. The winner will receive no penalty for participating in a duel, and may be rewarded if the loser does drop an item.

That's the way PvP combat is supposed to work, and in castle sieges it probably will work that way. Unfortunately, going back to our scenario, more than likely what will happen is that the grief player will hit once or twice and then stop attacking, hoping that his name will become white again before you have killed him. So, if you press the attack and kill him after he has stopped attacking and become white again, you will be considered a chaotic player who has unjustly killed a neutral player. This means that your name will turn red, alerting everyone in the area that you can now be killed with no penalty (white players who attack red don't even turn purple) and have a much higher probability of dropping weapons and armor.

The conventional wisdom has become that red = dead. Because it takes so long to earn the money to get good weapons, even normally fair-minded players are often willing to hunt down players with red names, not caring why they became red in the first place, just to get the chance to upgrade their equipment without grinding for days. If you're soloing and go red in a crowded area, you'll have to be extremely skilled to get to a secluded one where you can work off enough karma by killing monsters to become white again. So, the most probable end to our scenario is that after attacking the grief player and realizing that he won't fight back, you'll stop attacking too and resignedly move on to another area.

Of course, if you have friends who can protect you while you work off karma, you can kill griefers with impunity. If you have a whole clan that can come to your rescue, so much the better. And that's pretty much the bottom line. Lineage II looks great, has fun combat and a player-driven economic and political system. But to enjoy it completely, you'll really have to be willing to view your clan as more important than yourself. Not an easy thing for American players to do, apparently, but the rest of the world seems to understand and enjoy the benefits of this style of play. $49 and $15 a month may be too steep for those who just want to give the game a try, but with World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 expected in the fall, the next few months will pretty much belong to NCSoft, so it might be worth the price of admission to find out why. If you've got friends who game, though, it's a no-brainer: get in, get hooked, and earn that dragon.