Tuesday, April 27, 2004
01:26 pm EDT —
— Promised Lineage 2 Notes
Today I bring you the promised notes on Lineage 2. Unfortunately I won't have as much to say about this as I'd hoped, though fear not, my ability to ramble won't be limited by having nothing to ramble about. Like my experience in the City of Heroes beta, my Lineage 2 experience was fairly short. This time though it was short due more to personal time restraints than the timeline of receiving beta invitation and the close of beta as was the case for CoH.
The first thing I'll note is that customer service seems to be present for Lineage 2, unlike many other games. To elaborate on how exactly I know this, which is required in order to successfully communicate how positive this experience was, I'll fill in some of the behind the story, which will probably give some of you insight in to my psyche. You see, there on lineage2.com, was a shiny "Apply for open beta" button. I clicked it, it asked for an email, I submitted an email, and raced off to my email program, eagerly clicking "Get Mail" repeatedly. Once the mouse wore out, and after some time of using the Ctrl-T keyboard shortcut for Get Mail, I decided perhaps I'd entered my information incorrectly. So off I went back to the Lineage 2 beta signup form, and entered several more email addresses which alias to my standard one. Another destroyed mouse later, and still no beta signup, I gave up for the night, now morning, figuring that someone in their office needed to manually send this out.
All day at work, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the invitation email, and when it hadn't arrived by the time I was almost ready to go home, I figured that clearly digital bandits had made off my numerous applications for entry in to beta, filling their coffers with the electronic representations of my hopes and desires. So I used their customer support system to verify that at least one of my requests had indeed been received. Much to my astonishment, I received a positive reply within just minutes. Someone in their office was clearly exhausting which ever mechanism they use to activate the Get Mail button (I presume that since they are clearly intelligent and attractive, it's not a Send and Receive button) as rapidly as I had my own the night before. Turns out that yes, they did indeed receive my beta application (they took the time to research this and kindly pointed out to me that I'd also signed up from various other email addresses). But they were horribly swamped with an unexpected swarm of folks looking to get in to the beta, and the sending of keys required some manual process seeing as how beta is just a short term thing.
The following day I received my beta invitation, and several others as well. I went on home and signed in.
Recall how CoH had many many character customization options? Well, Lineage 2 doesn't sport such variety. Their options let you cycle through only a couple of fields for customizing your character. Although I sincerely appreciate the ability to look distinct in a digital world, I also recognize that this comes at a price in terms of performance and development effort required. So I don't really hold it against a game if they give few options in this regard, just so long as you don't run around the world with everyone looking siblings from some gargantuan polybirth performed by an appropriately fat and bulging queen of your chosen race somewhere behind the scenes, her drone minions bringing her all sorts of processed food stuffs to keep the organs which represent her offspring factory in full production.
I was honestly more interested in the game play here, being somewhat in to medieval themed role playing games as some of you might have guessed. So I made myself a nice caster and got in to the world.
The class progression in Lineage 2 is hierarchical in nature. Everyone starts as a fighter or a caster. There's only these 2 options when you enter the world. As you progress, you get to certain stages in your life where your character decides that they'd like to explore alternate aspects of their existance, and they begin to specialize. This specialization occurs twice in a character's life, with options based on which race you are, and at the end, they are a highly specialized class.
So I follow the tutorial guides which give me instructions on talking to some fellow who's conveniently located a few feet from where I entered the world. This bloke wants me to bring him some animal teeth for the purposes of magical research, which I can find on the various critters located just outside his building. The quest system in Lineage 2 allows you to collect items from your NPC victims. These items are only available when you kill the NPC if you happen to have the appropriate quest to collect them. They are also untradable, and go in to a separate inventory than your main inventory to keep them from interfering with those items you chose to carry. Killing the appropriate creature automatically grants any quest items to which you're entitled, and they appear in this quest inventory automatically.
Other items that creatures might drop appear on the ground next to the translucent, fading body of your victim. This part I don't like. Anyone who is close enough can grab ahold of those items. My wife had, for a short time, a fellow following her around, snatching up the items and gold that dropped from her kills. This was before we learned how the PvP system worked, or she might have tried to enforce her view that this wasn't appropriate, with my help of course.
I suspect this is something that will change in the near future as it's not appropriate from a standpoint of someone who wants to have fun, even if that means suspension of realism in a game. For someone to be able to benefit from your work, at your expense and with out your consent is not appropriate. Please no one try to draw parallels here to LoGD, I've been known to break the thumbs of those who perpetrate such atrocities in the past.
For some reason, in Lineage 2, I saw a much higher concentration of really retarded names than I've ever before seen, even on a busy IRC chat. Folks, I have news for you. Gundalf, Gandelf, Gand3lf, Gand4lf, Gandallf, or any other bastardization you can think of for a name you ever heard in any other medium is not a clever name. Simply because you can manage to mangle a name in a way that someone else hasn't already doesn't grant you any secret powers of 1337ness. I kid you not when I say I actually observed ALL of the above names, as well as such treasures as "8", "o0O", "1337", and numerous other names which defy pronunciation. I suspect the reason that there was such a high concentration of absurd names is that the beta was open, and game play was free, so many 8 year olds availed themselves of a free MMO.
Some of the commands are not very intuitive either. For example, if you wanted to send "Gandelf" a tell, saying "y0, sup?", you'd do litterally this:
"Gandelf y0, sup?
Quote and all. Double quote marks are how you send a tell, and each time you start a line with a ", it automatically fills in the name of the last person you sent a tell to. This is convenient if you're conversing with only one person, but highly inconvenient if you're talking to more than one at a time. Communication on the other chat channels were facilitated with similar form, I believe shout was !, and trade was #. Don't quote me on those though, or the character named "me" will have no idea what you're talking about.
Well anyhow, there I was killing critters and advancing my character when a guy runs up to me and WHACK hits me! Huh? He's clearly not an NPC because his name is ir0x0rz02. Then he runs away. Clever, I send him a tell: "ir0x0rz02 What was that about? . Of course I got the answer which I shouldn't have been surprised by: dood stfu. I decided it was time to research the subject of PVP within L2. Declaring as much out loud, my wife kindly filled me in on the details, having already accomplished this task on her own.
Turns out that unless you're in certain safe areas (which mostly include only cities), anyone is free to attack you, or assist creatures you're engaged with. This could include healing your opponent. Doing anything like this though will turn their name from white to purple. If you defend yourself, your name will also go purple. Purple names only last for about a minute, then your name goes white again. If anyone kills someone whose name is still white, their name will go red. Attacking someone whose name is red will NOT make your name go purple. Red names will also find they're not welcome in most towns, and I believe will not benefit from the non-combat protection typically afforded within a town. I've no idea how long a name stays red, but it's not a short amount of time. Killing someone with a purple name will not make your name go red.
It's complex, I know, but let me put it in to edible scenarios. Let's say there you are, white named, when some other white name runs up and attacks you. Their name will go purple. If you defend yourself, your name will also go purple. The victor is whoever the victor is, their name will go white again in a minute. If you're minding your own business as a white name, and another white name starts attacking you, you can choose the pacifist route, and not defend yourself. If you do this, they can still kill you, but in so doing, they'll make themselves a red name, and subject themselves to open pvp at all times, never being able to go afk. So the best defense in PvP is to not defend yourself at all. Few people are willing to go red, and the few red names that were around were subject to constant harrassment by other players, including healing and buffing their NPC opponents. If you see a red name coming your way, mean glint in eye, you'd do best to get away from them.
On death, it seems you have a random chance to lose some item from your inventory. It's not supposed to include anything you're actively wearing, but my wife definately lost such an item one time when she died. This might have been a bug, I don't know, but I do know that she was none too happy when it happened. I never lost anything in this fashion, and I'm not sure how frequent such a loss is.
One more thing to touch on. When you kill monsters, you gain Skill Points (SP). It took me a while to figure out what this SP was that I kept accumulating, but once I figured it out, it rather made sense. You accumulate these based on how tough a creature was to defeat, and can trade them in for skills, abilities, and spells at your trainer in town. You also need to spend some cash to get the skill or ability from your trainer. Many of these things require a tome which you might have to purchase elsewhere, or perhaps get off a monster in order to learn.
Now I know I said I didn't have as much to say about it as I would have liked, but this is because I only ever made it to level 7. I'd hoped to gather some more detail from my brother in law who played in to his late teens. Apparently character progression gets very slow even by this early stage. And he's pretty hard core, so if he only made it to his teens, for having played for almost a month, that is saying something.