Lineage 2 Review: Of Swords and Dragons

lineage 2

NCSoft’s Lineage 2 is a fantasy MMORPG originally released in Korea on October 1, 2003. Six months later, the game launched in North America. Since 2011 with the arrival of Lineage 2: Goddess of Destruction, the game switch to a Free-to-Play model. Today, almost 15 years later, the community still enjoys timely updates – a testament of dedication from the developers who could have chosen to rest on their laurels.  What’s the recipe behind such a pillar in the MMORPG genre?

Marked Evolution

Unlike other games, the story in Lineage 2 unfolds through “Sagas” compromised of many different plots. Currently, the lore is divided in two sagas: “The Chaotic Chronicle” and “The Chaotic Throne.” The events in Lineage 2 take place 150 years prior to the first game. In the sequel, two continents are plagued by a war between three kingdoms.

In the early years, NCSoft focused on PVP. However, through many content updates and expansions, Lineage 2 changed a lot. It evolved from a PVP-oriented MMORPG to a PVE approach, while still allowing players to fight for supremacy. Although on the surface it changed a lot, Lineage 2 still features a broad range of classes at its core – 36 in total. This allows for almost infinite replayability since you can upgrade each class, unlock a sub-class and even a third one. Add an “Awakening” class at level 85 and you have a system where players always feel rewarded for their efforts through a seamless progression path.

lineage 2 game

Still Relevant

You’d think after all these years, Lineage 2 is probably outdated. To our surprise, the graphics still hold up at max settings. It’s not the most polished game out there, but it passes the test of time, which is saying a lot. Although some textures remind us of its early 2000s history, the game is mostly pleasing to the eye.

Besides, the commitment of NCsoft since the beginning helped a lot. Early on, the game was considered a grindfest and not very fun at all unless you had hours to spend leveling up. Since then, thanks to multiple patches, Lineage 2 feels more like a streamlined MMORPG that doesn’t overcome its stay. Unlike other MMOs, you always feel like there’s something else to try. We also enjoyed how experience points are separate from skill points, meaning you can spend SP to unlock skills – which gave us Guild Wars flashbacks while reminding us of Diablo in its heyday.

Fight for Glory

Lineage 2 sure isn’t what it was in the beginning, but you can bet PVP is still huge. NCSoft took the game in a new direction, but didn’t abandon the idea of players killing each other on its servers. Through arenas, castle sieges and clan wars, there are a lot of choices to dominate your enemies in this fantasy world. Be warned though: going on a killing streak by PKing randoms outside of special modes is not without consequences. PKers are attacked by guards, can’t use shops and they’re tagged by the game, turning their names purple. Players who kill tagged characters suffer no penalties upon doing so.

The PVP modes are why a lot of Lineage 2 players care about its endgame. It’s a challenging way to put your skills to the test while trying to gain exclusive items. Castle Sieges in particular are a lot of fun: the winners get to set a sales tax on NPC sales for other players. Another mode, Ceremony of Chaos, gives powerful buffs to all winners, for example the Doubtful Herb of Power which increases P. Atk. by 100% for 5 minutes.

Endless Content

Lineage 2 is one of the oldest, tried-and-true MMORPG available on the market. The switch from paid subscriptions to a”Truly Free” business model using a Cash Shop has really proven to be successful. As you can imagine, there’s an almost endless amount of content to explore in the game. With multiple instances, too many quests to count, in-depth clan features and a beautifully crafted world to lose yourself in, Lineage 2 remains one of the defining MMORPG experiences.

If you enjoy massive PVP, then this is the game for you by a long shot. The only thing we kinda hated is how it felt P2W to be competitive at the top level. Alas, such is the case in many F2P games, but it kinda felt cheap here. It’s like NCsoft dropped the ball after so long. However, Lineage 2 still is one of the best MMORPGs ever made, if you can look past its struggle to balance how powerful players can be without buying gold with real money.
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