Several months after its initial release, apart from being a good deal more attractive on the eye, the word on the street is that EverQuest II offers much the same sort of experience as the original game. Whatever the truth in these often-misinformed summations (I've barely played it myself), this may not be a bad thing. However, having played Lineage II, I can categorically state that apart from being a good deal more attractive, Lineage II probably has more of the original Everquest about it than the official sequel, and not in a good way either.
Much like every fantasy online role-playing game that's ever existed, Lineage II offers up the usual mix of fantasy mannequins (humans, dwarves, orcs and elves), on which you must hang a soul and strive to make a name for yourself in a vast world populated by likeminded others. As befits the genre, the means without end requires you to earn coin and experience points until you can take no more and cancel your subscription, hopefully before which time you'll have met other like-minded individuals and forged a friendship that the developer hopes will stave off the inevitable.
If this sounds rather negative, then that was my intention. This is because Lineage II has clearly been designed to appeal to the hardcore online role-player, the power gamer' if you will, and being a rather sedate fellow who likes to amble through life (whether online or off), I find the whole process rather dull and transparent. I've been here before and should I wish to do it again, I'd rather return to old haunts. Even if Lineage was my first MMO, I'd much rather cut my teeth elsewhere.
Do The Grind
The problem with Lineage II is that it takes the process of grinding your way through the levels beyond what any reasonable human can take. Killing rodents, wolves, goblins and hybrids thereof is all very well, but at least make it interesting. I mean, clicking on an Al monster and then simply watching a series of blows play themselves out is not what I call exciting gameplay. To do this for two solid weeks in the hope of picking up some coin or special item along the way until some online guild will even look at you is just an exercise in tedium, the like of which I've rarely experienced before.
To maker matters worse, loot drops are rare and the cost of equipment is way too expensive. After ten hours of incessant wolf- twatting, I was still mincing around in my nOOb threads swinging the same piece of bulbous wood I was issued with at the start. I tried alleviating the drudgery by trying to converse with those around me, but sadly half of them were incommunicado (afk, running bots and farming'). And of those who did respond to my hails, many would rather commit assault than commit to helping me. Not that I'm against unfettered PvP, but for the high-level player-killers, the rewards for unprovoked assault far outweigh the costs. Mind you, after reaching level 40, I'm not surprised half the player-base are mildly psychotic.
Graphically, Lineage II is an impressive game. The characters and animation are fluid and detailed, more so as you sheepishly move away from the villages haunted by the inexperienced to meet the more exclusive creatures that inhabit the rural locales. Weapon and spell effects are colourful and the landscape, though perhaps lacking in the kind of detail one might expect from Unreal technology, is vast and varied -certainly bigger than any MMO real estate I've seen. If you like exploring, Lineage II has many places worth visiting.
As Good As It Gets
Of course, much like any online game. Lineage II is only as good as the people that play it - and should you cross paths with an honourable troupe of mystics and warriors, you're sure to have the time of your life. Large guild structures are actively encouraged to the point where the game's latter rewards rotate solely around clan warfare with regular castle sieges, gifting the victor with the ability to set their own fiscal agenda. These battles, often featuring hundreds of players, clearly have appeal. However, the fact is that after witnessing a couple of them, I'd much rather load up UT2004 and play an Assault map - the objectives are essentially the same, at least some skill is required and you don't have to spend days of your life killing furry mammals to earn the right to take part.
Hard Day's Knight
Lineage II clearly has much to offer the dedicated online role player, with massive pitched battles, pets to train and raise, and even a mightily impressive dragon to slay (for characters level 50 or above). By allowing players to prey on each other without much constraint - despite the obvious frustration that often results - PvP does add a real edge of excitement where most fantasy games feel far too overbearing and sterile.
Having said that, unless you're prepared to make Lineage II your one and only online game and devote as much time as it takes to get through those first few days and weeks, it's probably not worth bothering with. The way I see it, the only reason you might want to carry on playing is because you've already invested so much time in getting to where you are - which sounds like a lot of hard work to me. But if that sounds like manna from heaven to you knock yourself out.
Is This The Age Of Splendour?
Free Lineage Ii Add-On, Available... Well, Right About Now
By the time you read this, Chronicle 2: The Age Of Splendour will have been released, a second free expansion that introduces all sorts of new areas to explore, skills to train, items to find and monsters to slay. Fortunately, a lot of the incoming features look like they'll benefit the new as well as the established players, with a varied new set of NPC missions and some mini-games. These include a lottery, a dice game, monster racing, a gladiatorial coliseum and Broadcast Towers, where Joe Public can sit and watch castle sieges without fear of being prodded with sharp metal implements. Whether there'll be enough in store to liven up the early stages of the game is yet to be seen, but if you're already making headway into the game, The Age Of Splendour can only be a good thing.
Download Lineage 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Snapshots and Media
- All Points Bulletin
- City of Heroes
- EVE Online
- EVE Online: EXODUS
- EverQuest II: Kingdom of Sky
- EverQuest: Omens Of War
- Guild Wars: Eye of the North
- Guild Wars: Nightfall
- League Of Legends
- Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicles
- Nevermore 3
- Runes Of Magic
- Star Trek Online
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King