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Another One Bites the Dust

REVIEW: Lineage II (Beta)

Lineage IIREVIEW SUMMARY: New graphics, same old, tired MMORPG themes and same rude people.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: You play one of Elf, Drow, Dwarf, Orc, and Human in the ubiquitous MMORPG themes: leveling, quests, PvP, etc.


PROS: Great 3D anime-like graphics, excellent audio even as a beta, simple and intuitive controls. Interesting concepts like castle siege and owning a dragon. For $5, you’re can enter the “beta” program — how can you beat that?

CONS: Tired-themes that are tried and blew. Same grind to the next level; same uninspired quests of collecting the umpteenth piece of oft-rare but un-unique quest item for that unexciting quest NPC; same rude teenagers arguing about the minutiae of their meaningless little lives (or lack thereof).*yawn* Excuse me, can I come over and watch your fresh coat of paint? At least, if I do that, there is the chance of a contact high….

BOTTOM LINE: I’m glad I only play $5 for this uninspired EQ clone. I can only thank them for allowing me to try this “game” out before I plop down real cash for it. I thank them again for saving me the monthly bill. I can only hope that EQ II and WoW will be better.

As some of you know, Kevin and I have been beta-testing Lineage II for about a couple of weeks now. But as of last week, it has been utterly eradicated from my HDD. Let me hit the, *ahem*, highlights:

At first glance, concepts such as castle siege and owning your own dragon seemed more than appealing; but would you ever see that? Probably not. Why?Because you have to put forth A LOT of TIME for it. Basically, any game that I have to endure the opening in order to reap the benefits of the much later endgame is JUST NOT FUN. To bastardize a popular cliche: “Virtual life is a journey, not a destination…” So, apparently, it didn’t matter if it were created by a completely different company located on a different continent, it still exuded the same tired monotony exemplified by the omnipresent EverQuest1.

Leveling: Same grind, different game. Did I mention “watching paint dry?” Well, I was watching my XP bar (sans the fumes). The only game that had the right idea when it came to leveling was SWG2. I think I actually dozed off running around the newbie area and woke up with more xp than I’d remembered.

Quests: Felt like I was working for UPS except without the prestige or the hot brown uniform that chicks swoon over. Rare drops on any quest (newbie or not) is not just a crime, it’s an abomination. One that needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice! Before I was rudely interrupted (see PvP section), I was killing the hundredth “Blood Fungus” for that 3 of 5 semi-rare sac. At least it picks up the quest items automatically.

PvP: Perhaps, I’m not used to the PvP aspects of this game, but I find it utterly repulsive that any cretin with too much time on their grubby little hands while living in their parents’ basement can become powerful enough to affect the gameplay and enjoyment of others who have lives outside the game. Case in point: I worked for some bit of experience only to have it taken away by some self-righteous idiot who thought that he owned the game area to come along and to properly put me in my place.

You would know that this game is more chore than pleasure when you find that you rather work on your Excel spreadsheet to figure out your taxes for the IRS than to go online. I even went as far as promising myself to get on the very next day make some progress; when you realize that you’re procrastinating, it’s time to reclaim those bits on your disk…

P.S.: I just downloaded the Sacred demo and it looked pretty good (so far). Perhaps its Diablo-like features would present us with a game we can enjoy on our own LAN. I’ll tell you in a few days…

Anyone know how to say “Hasta la Vista, baby” in Korean?


1For those who call it EverCrack, I can only pity you for allowing yourself to be addicted to this mind-numbing boring game. Yes, I was once enthralled too — but I’ve been enlightened. I once proclaimed that a game is meaningless unless I can show off to the world what trinkets I’ve accumulated in my time; but now, I just want to have a game where I can play with my friends without the bickering and the inane chatter.

2SWG made it possible for players to acquire XP for lending that helping hand. Cannont emphasize this enough, how cool is that. Unfortunately, SWG lost me when they implemented the Holocron grind — good ‘ole predictable Sony, put that EQ Juice down!

8 Comments on Another One Bites the Dust

  1. At what point did you decide you needed a real life Pete? πŸ˜‰

    The current crop of MMORPGs just don’t seem to offer anything new. I am however, playing Second Life a little bit. Its only $10 if you just want to mess around in game and/or create new clothes and avatars for yourself. That’s a one time charge, not per month. Its kinda neat.

  2. Not really a “real” life as in everyone else’s, but just a life outside of whatever game I’m playing…

  3. How do you make the article present a “More…” link? My wordiness has dominated the front page, and I would like to stop that…

  4. Never mind, I found it…

  5. My opinion is that you will never get the game you desire by playing a MMORPG. All will have what I have “l33t” player factor. WOW, EQ2 and others will require you to coexist with folks who have a different idea of what “fun” is – and that will in some time or another will directly interfere with your “fun” with friends. If you want an experience without that – you have to really look at games that involve smaller populations and do not involve the monthly fee.

    I still have friends who play EQ religiously and although I don’t anymore – I do understand the appeal. They are doing end game stuff with big raids killing big mobs and to them thats thier escape. We all have a need for something, and thats how they satisfy those needs. Heck, I would still play if there were not a bunch of other games out there that are worth playing.

    My suggestion here is to find a few single player titles and enjoy those for what they offer. Excellent story lines, play schedules that fit your lifestyle, and for the most part lower cost of entry into the game. Morrowind, BG2, and others offer excellent play for minimal investment and the best part – no need to interact with morons on line.

    I will continue to play MMORPGs of varying types since I do enjoy them. This is mainly due to my best memories in EQ – the people who I was guilded with and spent hours killing mobs ad nauseum. After being out of EQ and getting perspective, I finally realized what I enjoyed in that time: the people and the conversation. At the end thats what it was about – not digital loot nor my level – it was about having fun and chatting with friends.

    I would like to address each of the issues Pete has brought up, but I think every MMORPG will have aspects of those things you don’t like. So my point is this – play the game as a game. Don’t grind for levels – explore. WOW and EQ2 will (hopefully) incorporate aspects of these other titles and will be a fine experience – but if not – try something else. Also, I would like to point out that SWG sucked (and I mean sucked) in BETA. And at launch everybody asked the questions about where was that in Beta and that…

  6. I don’t believe that all MMORPGs have to suck. I just think most of the current crop does. Here are the list of things *I* don’t like in an online game:

    – Having to deal with people who act like my 4 year old. Or worse. A lot worse. There are plenty of kids who play games that are friendly and mature – and there are plenty of adults who act terrible. I’m guessing most of the troublemakers are 15-21 who are either trying out a role (of being a jerk) or who simply have lost touch with reality for a while (ie being a teenager.)

    – Find the ‘rare drop off the rare spawn’ to complete this quest. I don’t mind grinding for levels (for a reasonable amount of time) or clearing out dungeons, but what I do mind is being forced to kill the same mob over and over again. It is the bed when the item (say the sea creatures spine) is something we all know the creature ought to have. It is the worst when the creature is named – if he’s the special creature, he ought to have the special item – end of story.

    – Being forced to fight over mobs. There ought to be enough mobs for all – making people fight over the best ones is just weak design. Game balance extends to level design.

    – Loot that nobody would want – the game needs to figure out some way (like DAOC maybe) where the loot you can find at your level actually means something to you, rather than being just vendor fodder that you’d never really use.

    – Reasonable reward for time invested. Seriously, a game that asks for 10 hours of mindless grinding per level, where the level gain results in virtually no meaningful advancement, is hard to play. The fun quotient is missing.

    At the moment I think a game that allowed for big markets with buying/selling and interaction between all participants yet had pocket dungeons just for your group would be best. You get to pick your groups activity and go do it without interacting with others, yet get the ability to form pickup groups and broadly interact in the central areas.

  7. Scott,

    I completely agree with your comments. If you haven’t tried LDON in EQ – you will find that it fits aspects of the definition for “fun quotient.” I played in one adventure and there was a reward of points and great xp at the end. These points then can be converted into very useful loot – and you always have the dungeon to yourself.

    I believe MMORPGs will still have a quantity of folks who find pleasure in ruining other folks playtime. It sucks but thats how life is – the best bet is to avoid them and move on.

    Longer term, I think they will evolve to include aspects of each of the divergent MMORPGS – part of EQ with longevity, part of DAOC for loot and combat, part SWG in getting xp from alternate tasks, part something new.

    I think that you had an opportunity to try a new game and it didnt fit your desires – count yourself lucky. The key is to keep somewhat of an open mind, but have enough thought to quit when it stops being fun (much like I did for SWG.)

  8. Tim,

    Scott and I touched on the EQ:LDON angle today based on some stuff that I’ve heard. I’m willing to actually plod down the $30 for the expansion plus the $15 for one month playtime. It’s still kinda sucks that for me to try this out, I would have to put up about the amount that I can otherwise spend on a brand new game. Nonetheless, I’m thinking about it. Scott, I’m afraid, won’t touch LDON because it’s EQ. Frankly, I don’t blame him. For me, I’m always willing to give EQ yet another chance. With that said, I haven’t actually spend that money, and it’s still in the thinking stage. Maybe, subconsciously, I’m thinking that if I think long enough, it won’t matter what with newer games coming out to distract me.

    I hate writing in the blog at 3AM, I tend to ramble…

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