Category Archives: NCsoft

What’s This? Blade and Soul

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Blade and Soul is an action MMORPG released by NCsoft that launched in Korea on June 30th, 2012 and just recently made the jump to the west being released January 19th, 2016. The game is free to play and offers a cash shop. The game is heavily influenced by Asian martial arts and this is a dominate theme throughout the game I do believe. The game has the action of TERA, with graphics equivalent to it or Guild Wars 2, and features a story that seems a bit like Jade Empire. Like Guild Wars 2 and many other current MMOs it features progressing through a single player story-line while also taking on additional quests in the areas you venture to. Because this game didn’t seem to offer anything outside of real-time combat, it never really caught my eye and is one of the few major releases I didn’t bother buying a founders package for. At release I attempted to try it, but the servers were simply too full to get on. Within a few days they increased performance and launched new servers and I was finally able to try it out.

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Starting off, the character customization is above par with what you would expect in this day and age. It features four races, three of which are pretty much humans (though the Yun are a female only race), and the Lyn which appear to be fox like perhaps? Each race can only select certain classes. The Blade Dancer class for example is only available to the Lyn. Plenty of color options for hair, eyes, tattoos, plenty of pre-built models, and able to customize the size of every limb. The avatars seem to have a great deal of detail, and you will most likely take your time crafting them.

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There is an intro section which explains the controls and also lays the back story for your characters motivation. The main quests are voice acted, but there are no dialogue options. This felt slightly disappointing with the existence of Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, but being realistic, not every game can obtain that. The world was very detailed, the graphics pleasurable, and great contrast of bright and colorful environments and dark and dim ones.

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The dialogue focuses in on whatever character you’re talking too, and while reading the dialogue little bubbles sometimes appear reflecting the characters actual thoughts. I found this enjoyable as they are often humorous, and gives the game a light hearted feel. Given the setting, character designs, and loading screens, it also nearly has an anime feel to it.

The game does have a unique method of movement, and that is gliding on the air. This is activated merely by double tapping the jump button. While there is a sprint, there is no dodge mechanics. Instead of portals or hearthstones, players utilize “windstriding” to quick travel.

I was also happy to see that it keeps track of all the screenshots I was taking! Granted, I use dropbox to keep my shots sorted, but seeing the tool and effort there was nice. They also have periodic surveys you can do for rewards (a feature I’m only used to seeing during betas), and even a great screen when you’re logging out that shows you everything you achieved during that play session!

Changing the topic to the game play, the combat was quick, fun, and fluid. I had elected to go with the Blade Master class and can only assume I was a bit of a DPS type character? At this point I am unsure if it uses the holy trinity (dps/tank/healer), but from what I saw in character creation, I don’t believe this to be the case. In my three hours I didn’t get to anything that required a party. I also stumbled upon the weapon upgrade system, in which I was able to take weapons I didn’t need or couldn’t use, and use them to upgrade my starting weapon. I found this to be an interesting feature, and it made me quite the killing machine.

Armor on the other hand appears to not be a thing. At least what we normally consider armor. I was given a chest piece with no stats, and later received another one with no stats, it merely changed the cosmetics of my avatar.

While leveling up, your class trainer keeps having you meet them in various locations to show you new skills. Each time I had reached them though I was already quite familiar with the skills and how to use them. The experience may be different for someone less familiar with MMOs though, and perhaps more useful for them. Considering it was always done along your path and not out of the way, it wasn’t an annoyance really.

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So what do I think after 3 hours of play? I think you should try it! I myself am going to have to try it out more to see what else it holds, but I was certainly impressed enough with the start that I am very optimistic. Though I don’t believe it features my normal preferences like Player Housing and an economic side game that exist in sandbox games, it did seem like a solid theme-park MMO.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 was an extremely anticipated game. Released on August 28th, 2012, it had many features which had gamers drooling from the start.

Guild Wars 2 was of course the sequel to Guild Wars, a MMO-esque game that I only briefly touched upon myself. It was called an MMO, however there were 2 major things about it that made it quite different. First off, it had no monthly subscription. You bought it once, and you could play it from that point without paying another dime. The game did have several expansions which unlocked more areas, classes, and quests, but they were not required. The other difference, and a major one, was that the game was only really an MMO in the sense that cities acted as player hubs. As soon as you left a city, the only people you could see were those in your party. This seemed akin to chat room lobbies in Diablo 2 to me, and was the reason I called it ‘MMO-esque’. The game was also oddly limited to a max level of 20, with a clear vision of player ability and gear dictating the character, and not a lengthy XP grind. It gained acclaim for its quality and lack of subscription fee. When the sequel was announced, it caught the attention of many players and non-players alike as Arena Net had developed a reputation behind Guild Wars (also worth nothing NCsoft actually owns Arena Net).

During development many wondered just how Guild Wars 2 would be set up. Would it actually be an MMO this time or town lobbies again? Would it have a high or low level cap? All we knew for sure approaching the launch was that it would have stunning graphics, use the same buy to play model supported by an in-game store, and players were meant to be able to have an impact on the game world.

I was able to get into the beta, and I was pleasantly surprised with my first impressions. The character creation was really interesting. You had the usual selecting the class, sex, and class of your avatar, but you also selected their personality test like questions. The game featured a good deal of avatar customization, as well as selecting the base colors of your gear from the get go. You could also change this at any time utilizing dyes, which you received in the game or bought from the cash shop.

The beta (and game) guided you through the intro quest to the game where a village is under attack. Short story even shorter, you help people out, are alarmed by a bad guy, and you faint, because, that’s just what heroes do. It’s actually a bit hard to remember it actually, maybe I hit my head when my character fainted? So let’s just get to the game.

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Quatre’s character creation

The game had a relatively stable launch. The game would be a true MMO setting, with players able to see and interact with each other outside of just towns, unlike the previous title. The level cap had been raised from 20 to 80. Skills were based not only on class, but what weapons the character had equipped. And of course, there were “guild wars”. Three faction battles (which were actually server vs. server, as the game didn’t actually have factions) that were fought on a massive map involving of course PVP, and even siege warfare.

Being guided through the story quest took you from location to location all of which had their own quest chains. You of course started in your races own area, but could travel freely and quest wherever you so choose. Traveling through the world was unlocked by accessing quick travel points that you could move to at any time for a fee. Making it to the central city of Lion’s Arc also made it so you could quickly access the other starter towns. All of which were magnificent to gaze upon, the graphics were bright, wonderful and colorful.

There were 5 races in the world of Guild Wars 2.  There was the races of Humans, Sylvari (plant humanoids), Asura (little grey humanoids with an affinity for technology), the Charr (beast like humanoids that run on all 4s), and the Norn (a northern/cold based race of humanoids that were a bit taller and bulkier than your standard every day human).

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Before playing I was on a Game of Thrones kick and a big fan of the Starks. While 90% of the time I chose humans if available (I’m so creative, I know), I decided to go with the Norn’s, as they looked human, but were basically the starks. Guild Wars 2 also had the class of Hunter, which meant I could have a pet, specifically a Wolf (Dire Wolves anyone?). The problem I had though was that you couldn’t change the body mass of the avatars all that much. The Norns were simply big and bulky, and in my mind that does not make a good hunter who should be slender and quick. I was torn between making a Human Guardian (tank class) like I always do, or an unattractive hunter. But then I came up with a fix, I made a female Norn hunter, Relina Stark.

I advanced through the story and made it all the way to the level cap at the time of 80. The game had several innovations that made it very enjoyable. One of which was your skills were based on the weapon you had equipped. Sword, shield, long bow, short bow, staff, etc., they all had their own skills that you had to develop through use (this was quickly accomplished), and then were also able to swtich to another weapon on the fly to use its set of skills. You class also developed skill points which you would invest into skills to also use on the skill bar. This preset weapon skills and limited options for active class skills (5 at a time I believe) made it so you focused less on your skill bar, and more on the task at hand. This contributed to the roll mechanics which allowed you to roll out of danger with a double tap in any direction. This allowed you to quickly dodge a Giant’s club or a dragon’s fire breath. It also kept you focused on the action, and not that bottom bar across your screen.

Another great feature was one of an absurdly simple concept. Whenever you walked into a quest zone, the quest immediately popped up and you could start the progression in it. You didn’t have to first go hunt down quest givers. Upon completion, you could then go hand in the quest. Guild Wars 2 also had active events constantly happen in the form of invasions or wild animal attacks, much like the rifts from Rifts. Players could actively participate (or ignore) these events, and were credited based on their contribution. There also were no penalties for assisting someone killing a mob, so there was no need to worry about griefing or losing XP. This encouraged players to help each other instead of fear each other, a huge step forward for MMOs when all the leading MMOs had players playing with their heads down, ignoring the community at large as you were too preoccupied for your own progression.

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Relina assaulting a dragon with dozens of players.

Yet another great feature was the way they handled their cash shop. Normally a blight upon most games as they offer unique features to those willing to shell out the cash, or gouge players by placing key features of the game behind pay walls, ArenaNet took a different approach. Firstly, the store was nearly purely cosmetics, those boosts for XP and other rates were offered. The other key aspect was that you could purchase gems (the currency to use in the cash shop) with in-game gold. Players in need of gold, sold gems, players in need of gems, bought them with their gold. You never actually had to spend any real life money on Guild Wars 2 aside from your initial purchase of the game! This was brilliant! I had used my gold to purchase a pirate costume and some pets.

The game also featured underwater combat, which required you to use underwater weapons. By default, all characters had an underwater breathing apparatus, and these sections of the game were also beautifully done. They stood out right alongside the northern lands cased in ice, the jungles, the deserts, and your typical temperate zones. Everything stood out and came to life on the screen. NPCs would move, have dialogue, and interesting stories and circumstances. With the live events thrown into the mix, another layer of dynamic interaction was added. The world truly felt “alive” for its time, and still surpasses many MMOs today. To further create this sensation, there are many server-wide events that the developers call “Living Story” that happen throughout the year and actually have impacts on the game world, continuing the story-line and changing the landscape. One such example was the capital city of Lions Arch being attacked and destroyed, leaving it in ruins from that point forward. These events would take place over a week or two, and the results permanent. I myself took part in one of the early ones that involved battle creatures on an island. This event only happened once, and could not be redone. A once in a lifetime experience.

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Relina participating in a Living Worlds server event.

Because you could go to any zone and quests were automatically distributed upon walking into an area, all you had to worry about was your level. I reached level 80, but never actually finished my storyline completely. I was still in undergrad and Guild Wars 2 was being used for one of my research projects. I always meant to go back, but have yet to. Guild Wars 2’s first official expansion launches next month, and with I they have announced the game going free to play! ArenaNet has made magnificent strides in the realm of MMOs, and still are not pulling any punches. It will be exciting seeing how the game will continue to develop, and I hope to return to it someday soon!

This article was originally written prior to the launch of their expansion, but actually posted much later.

Aion

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Aion was released by NCsoft on September 22nd, 2009. It was a Korean based MMO with focus on PVP and faction based combat. Being from the developers of Lineage 2, I was quite excited for the launch. I had even gone through the effort of setting up a Korean account so I could play it before it was released in the US. It had fantastic graphics, a “flight” system (that was more or less gliding), and expansions already in the works. Once Again I had gone ahead and preordered the collectors edition.

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I had grabbed a few of my friends from World of Warcraft to jump into this new MMO. One had even joined me in playing on the Korean servers, so we had knowledge going into the official launch. The game featured a two faction system like World of Warcraft. The Asmodians and the Elyos. My friends being Horde veterans preferred the darker, rougher looking Asmodians while I preferred the Elyos, but for the sake of playing together I conceded. The Asmodians featured talons, claws, and feather like manes down their spines.

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After the initial amazement from the graphics wore off we quickly found however was that it stayed true to the Korean stereotype of being an extreme grind. While there was of course questing, the amount of creatures you had to kill to progress in level was staggering, and wearing a bit thin at this day in age of MMOs. We quickly abandoned Aion, and even though it went free to play later on, never returned. We had only made it through our twenties, we never even got to take advantage of the unique PVP system that involved mass combat and ranks and flight.

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True Love Pt. 3

As I became dissatisfied with the available private Lineage 2 servers, I still shied away from Official Lineage 2 servers, as the amount of time required for leveling was much more than I was willing to commit. I was actively involved in a certain forum group that had been following the development of Lineage 2 private servers from the beginning, and I had my own ideas for how to make Lineage 2 a fresh and fascinating experience. While there were many attempts on my part to create Lineage 2 servers (one of them revolving around a custom story line and player controlled role-play events), my biggest move in this field was purchasing a machine capable of hosting the official server files (not the emulated files). Having set this machine up and demonstrating running the server, I was invited to host the official server for this forum group.

I was able to recoup some of my expenses by offering rewards in exchange for donations. As I have described in other articles, players would donate a certain amount of real life cash to receive in-game items in exchange. Despite being on a popular MMO server file site, Lineage 2 was declining in popularity at the time and I rarely had over 50 players logged on at a time on my server. After a couple months, I took it down.

A couple months later a developer of Lineage 2 server files using java came about and took up the job of hosting the forums Lineage 2 server. He asked for my assistance (most likely a courtesy), and I became a part of his GM (Game Master) team. His server had originated prior to it being hosted on the server, and since the owner developed his own server files pack, he also attracted players through that. His head GM was a female named Madison. Unfortunately, she and I conflicted on our ideas of how to best serve the player community. Whereas I preferred interacting with the players and coming up with creative events, she preferred dishing out punishment and carrying out her will over the other players. She often conflicted with me on the most basic of subjects, and this led to me stepping down as a GM and merely being a player.

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As a player I once again led my own clan, Chaos Legion, and attempted to compete with the other clans. The server was heavily dominated by a single alliance of the strongest players, and anyone who stood in opposition were deemed enemies and killed on site. They were an elitist organization, which clashed with my ideology of providing a gaming environment in which everyone was welcomed and appreciated. Being the strongest alliance, they were able to secure all of the Castles in Lineage 2 for themselves.

It is every clan’s dream to own a castle, but they were intent on owning them all, and would even show up to sieges to kill all the other players just for fun to prevent them from obtaining any castles. I ended up buying an account off of one of the members of this alliance who was quitting. I used his top level character and created a clan called “Ace” (meant to represent ace up the sleeve). On siege day, my clan Chaos Legion assaulted Giran Castle (one of the most profitable), and relentlessly flung ourselves into certain death for 110 minutes. At this point I commanded my squad to hang on just a little longer, and logged onto the other character, who was already inside the other that that alliance controlled. As the siege time was nearly over, and Giran had attracted the attention of their entire alliance, I was able to capture the castle and they were unable to get back to it in time to prevent me. Granted, this accomplishment was only managed due to the fact that these private server files had a bug and did not automatically remove all players who log in to a siege zone to the nearest town like official files do. We had managed to create our own alliance and take one of their castles. They were of course quite displeased and sieged it two weeks later, however many of us had quit at this time since we had accomplished the best we could on this server.

That is it for my stories, thoughts, and actions regarding Lineage 2. It was quite pleasant and truly one of the most enjoyable MMO’s I have ever played. It went free to play in 2012, however the game had since become heavily influenced by other MMO’s such as WoW, making the game dramatically easier to level up, however still requiring a heavy late game grind. Other changes were made to ensure players get better gear faster, and making large parts of the world useless. This is a problem that has affected many MMO’s as of late, and you will see it as a theme in my other articles. I hope you enjoyed my coverage of Lineage 2, and there will be a bit more to come later on as I am currently developing ideas for a project!

True Love Part 1

True Love Part 2

Lineage 2 Private vs. Official

True Love Pt. 2

(Part 1 here)

As the subscription model barred me from continuing my existence in Lineage 2’s official servers, I delved into the underground, finding private Lineage 2 servers. As mentioned in the Private-versus-Official article, these servers were operated by individuals not associated with NCsoft, could manipulate the way the game operated, and could also make a profit by offering donations to the users. I had found my home on one of the first private servers to utilize Official server files. This server was known as HSC, or Hell Spawn Clan. The server owner, Duante, had begun his server using the L2j format (read Private-versus-Official article for a breakdown of that), and redid the entire website and server when he obtained the leaked Official server files. Now I was able to play the game like it was meant to be played, however at 5 times the normal rates.

By this time I had also recruited one of my best friends into highschool into playing Lineage 2. We both started our new Lineage 2 paths as Humans, again heading out into this bright new world on Talking Island. His avatar was named “Ferrath”, and I had stuck with “Quatre”. His avatar was a mage, and mine a warrior. As soon as we were able, we quickly formed our own clan. It was named “Chaos Legion”. We quickly advanced through the levels and acquired many guild mates along the way. At level 20 I became a Knight, while Ferrath became a wizard. We were progressing about on average with the other players in the world. Some played for much longer than we were able and were far more powerful than us as a result. The server owner also led his own clan within the server, and managed to capture the first castle, Gludio, with the majority of his clan mates around level 40. While this was highly suspicious that so few players at such a low level could take a castle so early, it was left largely unquestioned as Gludio was the smallest castle town, and he was the server owner after all. People thought it better that he take the weakest castle for himself rather than a more powerful one such as Giran.

Our clan grew steadily as our avatars progressed through the game. What was most interesting was our connections to other clans. Due to HSC being one of the first “official” private servers, it had attained a huge amount of popularity and attracted large populations from all over the world. This lead to ethnic war-fare in the servers! Lines were drawn in the sand between Brazilian players, Russian players, German players, Portuguese, and others! This led to many fights happening in the virtual world, many players attacking others on site if they did not bare the same clan as they were in. The language players spoke was also a give away. Chaos Legion was one of the first clans to obtain clan level 3, and we did so by buying the item required that had a low drop rate, spending a considerable amount of money to do so. By this time Ferrath and I had both achieved level 40 and progressed our classes to their final stages. I had become a Dark Avenger (a tank class featuring debuffs that was also able to summon a panther companion), and Ferrath had become a Necromancer (a DPS class focusing on debuffs and summon minions to aid him). Unfortunately, Ferrath soon stopped playing stating his mother would not allow him to play games that dealt with Demons due to her faith (on a side note, he was also barred from playing Halo, as the aliens were demons in her eyes). This left the management of the clan up to me. Through my experiences in the games, I had formed connections with the leader of the most powerful German clan. I had established this before ethnic wars had really come into being. Krycera and his Myrmidons remained loyal allies to those of us in Chaos Legion despite that we were Americans and they were Germans. This cultivated into our attempt to siege the castle of Gludio. I had amassed a large alliance of clans from both American clans and Krycera’s European allies, and we were set to attack the server owners castle, who naturally also had many friends. Unfortunately, the night we were to assault the castle, I was stuck in an outing with my family… By the time I arrived home the siege was already an hour and a half in, and our forces had been decimated without leadership. Duante’s forces had planned a cunning attack by hiding his forces outside the castle and in the river which surrounded it. As Krycera stood up and took lead, Duante’s forces emerged from the water and attack Krycera’s forces from behind, taking them by surprise and ultimately making taking the castle impossible. Luckily, this loss wasn’t a severe blow to anyone involved as taking on the server owner was more of a statement than an attempt to actually win the siege.

There were many other interesting instances and characters I came across in my time in HSC. I had come to form friendships with two people in particular, Fresh and Rajah who were my clanmates. I also formed friendships with the servers most economically successful Dwarf and his brother, their names were Ruff and IamApple. I still have contact with Fresh, Ruff, and IamApple to this day. Ruff was a dwarf, the only class capable of crafting, and had dominated the market in producing soul-shots and spirit-shots (consumable items that greatly enhance each attack), and became the go-to guy for all crafting needs. He even extended me a line of credit in the form of crystals I needed to obtain my C grade sword. Sadly, he later became banned for utilizing multiple accounts. It was discovered that he had multiple characters logged in, all dwarfs, set up to sell the much desired soulshots in each town. While helpful to players, it was not allowed on this server for players to use more than 1 character at a time, and Ruff being one of the most well-known players on the server, was banned to set an example. A bit later he was allowed to return, though all his previous accounts had been deleted, destroying his vast wealth and collection of items. Ruff named his new avatar “TheReturnofRuff”. Fresh and Rajah became my right and left hands. Fresh was a treasure hunter and Rajah was an Elven Elder. We spent many months partying together and taking on various challenges in the game. As a guild, we were able to successfully defeat Cruma tower’s “Core” and “Orfen” of the Sea of Spores. These bosses were later named Raid Bosses, like most MMORPG’s now a days, but back in the day they were simply known to be bosses and didn’t require the label.

The biggest advancement that came about during my time on HSC was the introduction of “C2” graphics. “C2” stood for Chronicle 2. Lineage 2 released it’s content updates (expansions) in the form of Chronicles. While the server wasn’t able to have a lot of C2 features as it was using hacked servers based off Prelude and C1, it was able to allow us to use the graphics. These graphics weren’t updates to the graphic system, rather updates to the textures of gear. In C1 not all of the armor pieces and weapons were given unique textures as not all of the content was done. The items could be obtained, but would feature bland appearances or be copying lesser quality items textures. With the release of C2 textures, we all became amazed at just how beautiful these items now looked. In lineage 2, all armors and weapons were pre-determined with names and stats, there was no randomization of the gear like in newer MMO’s. Each set of gear was assigned a letter rank. No-grade being the worst, and (at the time) B-grade being the highest (the game has now moved to S-rank and beyond). The textures had only been set for No-grade and D-grade. C2 brought us new visuals for C-grade and B-grade. Within these grade’s you also new what sets were available within them, there was no guessing. All of No-grade through mid D-grade were available in the shops. Each class generally had access to a low-grade, mid-grade, and top-grade set within each ranking. In the city of Giran, players could also obtain low C-grade and mid C-grade gear by exchanging crystals (which required a dwarf to break items down for, and creating another market). Anything above mid C-grade had to be either crafted or dropped from creatures. Both of these methods required going out and slaying specific creatures which had a low chance to drop the crafting materials, and an even lower chance of dropping the actual item (we’re talking .001% chance for a top C grade item here). Because of the rare chances of obtaining this gear, and the distinct appearances of it, players were able to set themselves apart by wearing it. Unlike MMO’s like World of Warcraft where it’s hard to tell what an item is just by seeing it on an avatar, in Lineage 2, everyone either knew what the item was and the amount of status to assign it’s bearer, or would immediately ask the player wielding it and then would know.

I myself had become a rare item collector and amassed a lot of these items. I eventually quit playing on HSC as my clan dwindled and the server became overcrowded. I was sadly never able to claim a castle of my own (only 5 existed at the time), and lost interest in progressing with the community. I ended up selling the majority of my rare items to Rajah for cash.

A few months later another Lineage 2 server was announced that was using the latest features available on official servers. This server was called L2 Extreme (L2x), and featured 2 servers, one using 7x rates, and another using 35x rates. Intrigued by the aspect of starting over on a fresh server and the increased rates (HSC was only 5x), I gathered up a few of my HSC buddies and we set out to reform Chaos Legion on this new server. With me I brought Fresh, Thimbelina, PlatinumV25, and Adamyy (just the ones I can remember off the top of my head). We quickly set out in the world, pursuing the paths we knew to increase our efficeny. Again, I was the Human Fighter Quatre, and I quickly ascended to Knight hood and then to Dark Avenger status once again. This server offered more donations than HSC did, and one of the things you could do was donate cash to bypass the 2nd class change question (so for me, that would be Dark Avenger). The server also allowed you to use adena (the game currency) to purchase the items instead of competing the quests. As such, donators and dwarves were the first ones to change classes, while I had to power through the long, excruciating quests. We still managed to keep pace however and were one of the first 5 clan’s to achieve Clan Level 3, and this time by obtaining the item ourselves. Like on HSC, ethnic tensions were high, except not as divided. It basically came down to Russian’s, Brazilians, and everyone else. It may be important to note that Brazilians and Russians are still among the most dedicated Lineage 2 audiences to date. While we progressed at a very good pace, we met a few hiccups along the way. First of all, the GM’s were not particularly good GM’s (Game Masters, users with the ability to ban users, grant items, spawn mobs, etc. Think “god” like users). One in particular, Xara, was not to fond of Fresh and I. We were outspoken players not afraid of punishment dealt out by biased and unfair GM’s. In one particular incident, Chaos Legion had signed up to Siege Dion castle, and Xara had shown up and claimed that the castle was bugged, so instead of fighting the guards she would spawn other things for us to fight. She ended up spawning hundreds of “Kariks”, high level creatures that we were unable to defeat. Because of this, we were unable to take the castle, and we voiced our frustration. Xara however had made the mistake of arguing with us in public, and with so many witnesses, was unable to discipline us as she had intended. The server owner, Schmee, was well known for giving out items and favors to people he preferred, it was later exposed that female users in particular were able to get bonuses in the game for interactions via webcams.

Again, we were never able to acquire a castle. My clan never grew to the size and strength of the other major contenders. The most powerful clan was one that formed later in the servers life. They were called MERC, and were a group of the servers most powerful characters who had left their guilds to form their own organization. They would aid any party who paid their fee’s, and used this wealth and power to acquire the most powerful castle in the game, Aden. I was friends with their leader, Ashe, who would offer me discounts for his services.

I had quit HSC out of the decline of long time players and increasingly new, foreign players. On L2x it was quite a different story. The servers economy had suffered extreme inflation due to the length of time the server was up, and the lack of money sinks available in the game world. As such the cost of items sky-rocketed, and obtaining anything higher than mid C-grade was a heavy financial burden (as drop rates were too low to count on, and crafting materials also sky rocketed in price). I myself had amassed a healthy fortune, and acquired a rather unique weapon through trades and purchase. It was a Sword of Damascus +10. This was a top B-grade sword that had been enchanted 10 times. Any item enchanted past +3 only had a 60% chance at success. This sword had survived 7 of those 60% chances. At the current market price, it was valued at 3 billion adena. That was an amazingly vast amount, and it was an equally incredible sword. So why would I quit with such a rare and unique item? Well, the server owner and GM decided to step in and fix the inflation problem by introducing an “A-grade” item shop (A-grade had recently been introduced). Instead of having to receive the drops or craft the items, players would be able to purchase them from a “GM” shop. A “GM” shop is a shop added to the game as an extra to sell items that would not normally be available. This shop featured the top A-grade sword at a mere 300 million adena. Because it was A-grade, its base stats were far superior to the base stats of my B-grade sword, and the A-grade sword could be enchanted to only +3 and match the stats of my sword. So my sword went from being worth 3 billion adena, to only 300 million. Because of this, I quit.

I wasn’t the only player to become very distraught by the admins overreaching their roles. Many of us got together and formed PK raids. I had already developed a character for the pure purpose of killing others. He was a Hawkeye class (archer) and was named Trieze. I was able to rack up over 600 player kills on him. Though He was meant for killing players, I always avoided killing the same player more than once, and would often compensate players financially if I felt I had overly inconvenienced them. This also stemmed from the fact that I was intentionally going into lower lvl areas and murdering weaker players than myself. I did this so it would take longer for higher level characters to reach me, and when they did reach me, they would be scattered and easier to pick off. I did not use Trieze however in this series of PK raids. I was lent a much more powerful elven archer for which I only had to supply the gear, which was easily obtained thanks to the new GM shop. Generally players would not use their best gear on characters meant for Player Killing, as with Lineage 2’s karma system there was a high chance you would drop he gear upon your death. This is why players often pursued player killers; not to distribute justice, but in hopes of killing them and obtaining high level gear. We however did not care at this point, and were armed to the teeth. We began our raid in a lower level area known as Cruma Tower. We chose this location because it was like a maze inside, and densely populated by players as it was a popular leveling area. Better still was the fact that it had 3 separate levels which you had to teleport to, which you could only do by reaching a certain point on each level. This created two barriers that protected us. First, it meant players had to sit through load times because of the shifts between levels of the tower. This meant that if we were pursued, we could run to a teleporter, teleport, and wait for our pursuer to teleport as well. An avatar always appeared on the other side before the player’s computer would be able to load the data, thus we could kill their avatar before their screen even loaded. Secondly, upon reaching the top of the tower, you could use this access point to teleport back to the beginning of the tower, which we would do and then come up behind all the players that had entered the tower to kill us. Due to the players we had with us, we had extremely high level buffs for our running speed, attack speed, and attack power. So we could outrun and out hit all of our unorganized pursuers who were simply trying to score a rare item. We killed hundreds of players in that run with just 9 of us.

In the final major feature of my Lineage 2 experience, I will discuss how I operated my own Lineage 2 servers, talk about the last server I played on, and how Lineage 2 stands today.

True Love Part 3