copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle

Rati ng:

Impact: Very memorable


MMORPG (Massive Multi-player On-line Role-Playing Game) has become a very exact formula, and game developers haven't wanted to change much not to loose this addictive formula. The setting for a MMORPG is u usually a mystical medieval world. The player chooses a character out of several races and follows a path to become either an archer, a mage or a melee fighter. The battle is managed by the basic RPG system. That means you start out weak, poorly armed and armored; you fight different creatures (many of whom meant you no harm) and complete quests given to you by the NPCs (computer-controlled characters). Fighting is done by click-and-forget action, which involves clicking on the enemy and then watching your character engage in battle. With every enemy dead (and some quests completed), you earn experience points, which make you stronger in certain characteristics. That, in turn, enables you to fight stronger enemies that will give you more experience upon their death etc, etc, etc. To help you in each fight and decrease the time you need to spend on leveling, potions and other magical items are used that temporarily increase the character's attributes.

That’s almost exactly the formula that Lineage 2 uses. First, you choose your character out of several races and 2 classes: mage and fighter (a ranger is part of a fighter class, don't worry, archers). After choosing your character, you’re thrown into the virtual world, and following an optional brief tutorial, you’re on your own. The majority of the time in L2 you will spend fighting, methodically cleaning different territories of all kinds of creatures. After each sweep you will have to rest to restore your life (which is done by simply sitting down or using different health potions), while the monsters take time to respawn. After that it starts all over again. Creatures, besides providing you with experience points, also often drop money (gold coins referred to in the world of Lineage as Adena) and/or items. Animals dropping gold coins sounds wrong, doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t surprising. Many RPGs seem to have some influential noble beasts living within their animal kingdom. These creatures will be your main source of money and items.

Apart from the simple monster slashing, there are quests to complete in L2, but there aren’t many of them and they usually consist of the same simple slashing, only then you have to kill a certain amount of specific creatures to gain certain items from them. The quest-part of the game, therefore, leaves much to be desired. At two important points in the player's career as warrior, he will have to choose between sub-classes that will trully define his style. He will then take a long path to complete a set of quests to reach the title of the subclass...consequently travel to some remote location and slay a few monsters for their items.

What’s a warrior without his tools? The weapons in L2 vary quite a bit and must be chosen wisely, in accordance with the character’s class. The same is true for the armor. Weapons can be bought in shops or crafted in a smith. Some weapons can be made to be carried in both hands. This, actually, has to be crafted in a smith (well, it’s great art to make an identical sword suitable for carrying in your other hand). Armor varies quite a bit, even more so because armor with the same name looks differently on each race to suit its style. Lineage 2 introduces a system of sets, where certain combinations of armor result in special bonuses for the player. Aside from the endless array of weapons and armor, there are tons of items, most of which are gained from dead enemies. Many of these are sub-parts that can be used to construct other parts that, sequentially, can be used to construct the final product. Since some high-level items are not available in the shops, the hunt for rare items is ruthless in the later stages of the game, and it also makes much of the L2's economy.

At that stage, high-level dwarfs (one of the playable races) become extremely popular among players, as they are the only ones who are capable of crafting the rare items. In a similar way, each of the other races and its classes has their own advantages. It's true to such an extent that, in fact, it also makes a part of L2's economy, as players buy or trade "buffs" (temporary empowering spells) from each other. More importantly, this diversity promotes teamwork. In such a hostile environment like the world of Lineage loneliness is very bad for health. The special abilities that each class has means that teamwork really pays off. Fortunately, there is no shortage of players in L2, and communication is well developed thanks to the chat system. If you find someone you want to stay in contact with, you can add him as friend, and you’ll be able to talk to him from anywhere on the map, as well as be informed when he joins the server. Furthermore, at some point, after the player has familiarized himself with the basics and reached a certain level, it might be a good idea to join a clan. Being in a clan earns the player a few privileges. Apart from the few obvious advantages, like the sheer strength of a group and the previously mentioned individual uniqueness, the clan members can also use the clan vault and benefit from a clan chatting system. Several clans can also be organized into an alliance.

Lineage 2 is really one gigantic interactive chat room, the ultimate meeting place if you like. In this world of good and strong runaway models, at least for the time of playing, great friendships are born. Nothing can kill the joy that one might feel when he arrives in time to help his clan members to turn the tide of battle, and everyone starts cheering him for that, and he drowns in their gratitude and imagined smiles. Many laughs from many adventures will stay in his memory for decades to come. Not all of these memories will be positive, though. It all got so extreme that, at some point, there has been a case of one of the moderator’s girlfriends leaving for one of the players (I can't confirm this rumor). There are even gestures that players can make to other players. Such is the social nature of Lineage 2.

Although the L2 world is packed with creatures to kill, the heart of the game is still person-to-person combat. That's why the players spend days on a diet of coffee, leveling. While on the open fields, prepare to be attacked by a casual passerby for seemingly no particular reason. When the character dies, he looses experience points and, just like monsters, has a chance of loosing an item from his inventory. However, there are "arenas" where players can challenge each other without the risk of loosing any points or items. There is of course some security in the open field confrontations as well. Players who kill other players outside the arena get their name colored red. Red players are not popular among the groups of the training folk, as you might've already assumed.

One of the many benefits of being in a clan is a possibility to become a co-owner of a castle. Castles is an element that the L2 developers threw into the game to exploit the power hungry nature of humans. These castles are first owned by NPCs, and once a clan thinks it's strong enough to defeat the castle guards, it can attempt to siege a castle. The siege commences in stages. It involves breaking down doors and capturing a relic inside the castle. The players can also sign in to defend the castle from the aggressors. The castle gives its owners several privileges, the most important of which is, probably, the right to dictate taxes in town shops of the nearby town. The clan that owns the castle won't be rejoicing for long, as other clans will come to grab the power soon enough.

Near every castle is a town. These towns are meeting places for traders, fighters and simply social creatures. Here is the armor and the weapon shop as well as several guilds. Guilds are the forward bases of different races. In these guilds players can purchase new powers as well as receive important quests. The city is also an important safe zone because here the players can’t attack other players, and the place is free from monsters (if you don't count the occasional bunch of skeletons being brought in by the screaming for help players, who had overestimated their character's strength).

Aside from towns, there are plenty of other environments. The map of Lineage is friggin huge! It's hard to find words that would describe it better. You will spend hours doing some quests, not because there's a lot to do, but because it takes so long to get to the mission objective and back. There are gatekeepers. These mages, who stand in each town, will teleport you to one of the closest located gatekeepers. However, for quite a long time the gatekeepers will be way beyond your means, so you will be walking. I'm not sure whether this was done to justify the space used, so thoughts like "Ooo I haven't been here yet" rise regularly in the player's mind, or for some other reason, but after a while thoughts like "Oh I've been here before a thousand times and I'm sick of it" appear more regularly in the player's mind. There is a possibility to put the character on automatic and let him run forward, but you don't want to do that unless you know for a fact that you’re passing through a non-threatening environment. Even then an occasional weak enemy can still kill you after biting your behind for 10 minutes, all because your character got stuck on a rock. One of the game’s expansions saw the coming of personal dragons. The character could raise them to the point where he could ride on their backs. That’s especially useful when they start flying. Alas, the way to acquiring such a beast is long and expensive.

If you come across a new story-involved structure prepare to be stunned. Not only the land itself, but the structures on that land are huge. In combination with great detail, the magnitude makes these structures look magnificent. In the end, it's up to the player to really decide whether the size really matters and whether it's used correctly.

A little on the controllable beasts. The electronic pet has become quite a craze among the people of all ages on this planet. For these people Lineage 2 has an interesting feature: a pet-system. Unicorns, wolfs and even dragons are available for sale. They have to be fed and can be raised to be formidable fighters, although players did complain about the regularity with which they die.


Lineage 2 does not stand in place. For that monthly fee you pay, you get a game that expands regularly. New items, sounds, movements and even cities are born with time. And as long as there are players playing the game, the replay value is endless. The totally addictive nature of a MMORPG will ensure that those who get a taste of the game will have a very hard time leaving. Teenagers play day and night, leveling to prepare for the next siege, forget to prepare for the school test next morning. Nevertheless, even though Lineage 2 actually takes a smaller fee than some other MMORPGs, it takes a very large fee if you compare it to its value and value of games of other genres. $50-$60 is a lot of cash to pay for a game like Half Life 2, but its gameplay, and specifically its multiplayer, mostly covers the costs for a normal Western consumer. However, if you add up the monthly fees of a game like L2, and then weigh it against its gameplay, a "normal" Western citizen's eyes will roll back in his scull.

About the bugs, well, they are always there, and I'm not talking about the game’s giant ants. The character, at rare occasions, falls through the map. Although he's then unable to attack the enemies (you can't even see the enemies from where he fell), they are able to attack him. Quitting the game and then returning might fix the problem, but your character will be dead by then. Getting stuck on stuff can be bad for your health in equal manner, as explained earlier. No game is perfect, but the problem is that when you die at higher levels, you loose points that are much harder to earn back. Therefore, the significance of these bugs increases a whole lot with time.

What also scares many players away from Lineage 2 is the lack of evidently original things. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before, and what they will be doing for a very long time is push a key-bind to take some potion, point and click at an enemy and then watch as the character slashes away at the enemy with the same two moves over and over again. The enemy AI slashes back with the same one move over and over again. As the characters in the game struggle to kill each other through a mathematical comparison of their attributes, the player struggles not to fall a sleep. After all he has another 654 same monsters to go before he reaches the next level. After that he will move one field to the left in order to fight monsters that are one or two level higher than the ones he fought before. All this effort is, practically, to stay ahead of your human adversaries, so you can stand a chance against them in another clan war.

The previously described process might be too boring to some and yet not boring to others. To many the addictive formula still works. The hair on their back still rises in joy every time their enemy drops a very rare and valuable item. Person-VS-person (from here on referred to as PvP) battles can also be fairly interesting, even though you have seen it all before. There is, however, a grave problem with the balance in the PvP system in L2. The archers and mages rule the kingdom while fighters are left the crumbs. Archers, in fact, are a menace for the mages as much as for the fighters. Archers also seem to level a lot faster than any other class and that only increases their advantage over the other two groups.

Then there are other annoying moments, which are a noticeable in any MMORPG. Some new players who have friends among the powerful players level much faster than the rest. Those who are prepared to spend their real-life currency can buy accounts or simply large sums of adena. There’s also a lot of the so-called “botting”, which means running scripts or using triggers to perform any action while you are not in control of the character. Then there are people who are always ready to spoil your fun. You will be fighting, and the fight will bring you within the inch of your life, but the usage of a special attack buys you the satisfactory victory. Suddenly, another player sneaks up on you and finishes you off. Why? Because he can; or maybe because he likes to hear that question; or maybe he was denied a toy for Christmas... Then there are players who are too weak to attack you themselves but have the ability to fake death, so they make sure a powerful beast is after them, then they run towards you and fake death, and you inherit their unfriendly problem. This last issue usually occurs when there are more players than monsters, and the competition for each one of them gets tough. That competition also often results in PvP fights when two players argue over the right to slay some beast.


For quite a long time Lineage 2 was the most beautiful MMORPG on the market. It might not have reached the levels of high-budget first person shooters, but it sure could hold its own against other MMORPG titles like World of Warcraft. Of course it could all be better and one might dislike the lack of texture in the game. Although every armor piece looks different, a lot of its difference is simply in the drawing that's been placed over the model. A bow that looks heavy from one side, turns out to be, in fact, flatter than a piece of paper when you look at it from the other side. And yet much of L2 still comes across very pretty. Faces, although not very varied within each race, do look relatively detailed. There's a dynamic day and night change with a sky full of smooth warm colors. Things like smoke and fire all appear to be quite detailed and alive.

Environments are incredibly diverse. There are pretty green hills, where the pretty pixies fly free; there are dark misty swamps of the Dark Elven territory with the monster trees; there are deep dried out valleys, and there are gigantic ant houses...The game just keeps surprising. The architecture detail is given a lot of attention. The massive and detailed cathedrals, with the sunlight passing through its windows, look overwhelming. In the end, Lineage 2 succeeds in creating an atmosphere, even though it cuts the corners here and there.


The music is the most remarkable thing about the sound in Lineage 2. It perfectly suits the different places you’ll encounter in-game. If you're into symphonic music of any kind, it is likely that you will want to seek out the composer who created the music for L2 (Bill Brown is the name to save you some trouble).

The rest of the sound in L2, unfortunately, is not remarkable. There are all the basics. When you hit something there's a "clang"; when you run, you can hear footsteps; You can hear the water when approaching a waterfall; Characters moan in effort when fighting. However, the ambient sound leaves a lot to wish for. And yet, looking at some other MMORPGs, it's hard to be too demanding. After all, this type of game is not about sound.


There are several uncertainties about the recommended requirements of the game. They are reported as being very low, but the truth, it seems, has traveled through too many sources to stay just that. Every time one enters a strategically important town his machine is overwhelmed with the amount of player models found on the city’s central square. The effect is even more dreadful during a castle siege when hundreds of players, if not thousands, get together to become a human sea and flood your processing unit. The solution is to lower the world detail. This, in an instant, takes out all the eye candy but saves you the gameplay.


L2 is a typical MMORPG and it suffers from all of the typical MMORPG problems, like the botting and the involvement of real money in getting in-game benefits. However Lineage 2 is also, as most MMORPGs, one of those games that can never end as long as there are people who play it. The totally addictive nature of this gaming style will ensure that those who get a taste of the game will have a very hard time leaving. L2 is, therefore, often a sad sight of a bunch of youngsters whose education might lie in ruins, but they'll make sure that their castle isn’t. Their girlfriends may dump them, but they’ll make sure that their clan mates are there when enemies are plentiful. If to include the social value, the diverse visuals and the impressive music then Lineage 2 is not a game, it's a different reality. When you’re done playing, some elements, if seen or heard ever again, will bring back the nostalgia of a thousand memories of all the good times you had with your friends in your countless Lineage adventures. This feeling is just too immense and too special to merely enclose it in a box and stamp a “6” or "7" on it as its score. Of course this powerful feeling comes at a price both financially and socially. That price is the game’s main weakness, but isn’t that the case with every MMORPG?

Personal thoughts

The reason I came back to review this game, that I haven't played for a while now, is the "6" that's been given to it by Gamespot. I might not be an expert (this was my first MMORPG), and L2 might not be the top of excellence, but is most certain not a 6. And the 6.4 that's been noted under "They say" is, in my opinion, not too fair either. I found hundreds and hundreds of players online in L2 and from many of them I heard how L2 is their favorite from all MMORPGs. I became one of those people. And the only reason I want to destroy this game as well as its makers is that it messed up my life outside of the game. With MMORPGs one of your worlds has to go, either the real one or the virtual one.