Lineage II is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows, the second game in the Lineage series. It is a prequel to Lineage, and is set 150 years before the earlier game. It has become very popular since its October 1, 2003 launch in South Korea, reporting 1,000,918 unique users during the month of March 2007. To date, the game has been played by more than 14 million users, mostly based in Asia.
On November 30, 2011 Lineage II adopted a free-to-play model in Lineage II: Goddess of Destruction, with all game content being free save for "purchasable in-game store items and packs".
The game follows a fictional history through sets of plots called "Sagas". There are currently two sagas: "The Chaotic Chronicle" and "The Chaotic Throne". Large-scale updates/expansions known as "Chronicles" are done every six months, which introduce new story elements as well as new features and add-ons. Each chronicle also adds a great deal of new content to the game, including new skills, quests, areas and items; some chronicles also increased the level cap.
Characters act as a player's avatar within the game. Players are afforded up to 7 characters per account. There are currently seven races in the world of Lineage II: the Humans, who are similar to modern-day humans and who have all-around balanced characteristics; the Elves, who have superior dexterity, movement, and casting speed, but weaker offense; Dark Elves, who have higher magic and melee attack capabilities; Orcs, who have higher HP and MP but slower movement; Dwarves, who are powerful melee attackers and master craftsmen; Kamael, who are humanoids with single wings and gender-specific job classes; and Ertheia, female warriors with two completely unique classes, and different quest lines.
Hyeong-Jin Kim, the Production team head for Lineage II, came up with basic concept for the game in early 2000, and development began in October to November of the same year. Kim and producer James Bae have stated that their reasons for developing a prequel for Lineage rather than a sequel is that "Lineage will continue to be updated as a game", and that "by working on its past, we will not be risking conflict with the direction of updates that Lineage will take in the future."
According to Kim and Bae, the game's initial subtitle, "The Chaotic Chronicle", was developed with the intention to "express the large-scale war, strategies, conflicts, and collaborations that we hope to encourage among players."
Lead Game Designer Raoul Kim said that the reason for rendering Lineage II in 3D was "simply because most games today are [also] using 3D graphics", and because they deemed it "more appropriate than 2D for the things that we were going to create." Developers chose to utilize the Unreal Engine 2 game engine because of its capacity to render outdoor scenes and its powerful editing features.
According to Game Design team head, Cheol-Woong Hwang, there were different concepts for each of the race's home villages. He described the concept for the human village in Talking Island as "ordinary", while the Elven Village was designed "so as not to lose the natural and royal high-class feeling." They designed the Dark Elven village based on a "grotesque and serious feeling in order to express the rough history of these who had been expelled from the Elves."
The Chronicle 5: Oath of Blood expansion won the Expansion of the Year award at Stratics Central Editor's Choice Awards 2006 and Lineage II earned an Honorable Mention for the Game of the Year award.The overall reception for Lineage II is mixed, receiving average review scores from various video game rating websites. Andrew Park of GameSpot said that the game "offers either a repetitive grind or a stiff challenge", and is not suitable for casual gamers who can only play an hour or less per day. Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch called the Kamael "an interesting race in that, unlike other Lineage II races, they focus specifically on the warrior path with high-level class paths segregated by gender."
On November 8, 2011, NCsoft officially announced Lineage Eternal as the sequel to Lineage I. The first gameplay videos debuted at the G-Star 2011 gaming convention in South Korea on November 10, 2011.
Lineage II is one of the MMOs that were subject to ethnographic study in Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams's article, 'Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as Third Place'. A sequel, Lineage Eternal is in development.
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