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E3 Look Forward

Laura Genender Posted:
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Laura interviews Adam Davidson of Lineage II to find out what's coming

At E3, I had the chance to speak with Adam Davidson (Producer) and Sam Han (Development Liaison) about NCSoft’s Lineage II. While they were unable to comment on upcoming Chronicle 5, Davidson and Han gave me some information about the game’s progress over the last few months.

Coming soon is the 4th expansion to Lineage II since it went live: Chronicle 5. Chronicle 5 will be geared more toward newer players, with a lot of new content for the mid levels (recent updates have mostly catered toward the upper levels). Along with this, NCSoft will be working on an advertisement push to attract new customers. The game has changed a lot in the two years since its release, and NCSoft is hoping that word of mouth along with their advertisement will bring a new group of players to the game.

Next up, Davidson and Han told me about the new live event team working with Lineage II. NCSoft is focusing on having live events as regularly as possible, and they have been doing a wonderful job with frequent events in the last nine months. They’re careful about making sure that not all events are “blockbusters,” and all the events have plots and storylines that tie in to the overarching world of Lineage II. They’ve been getting a great response from the forums, and plan to keep at it.

I next asked Davidson about the bot problem in Lineage II. In most dungeons and many hunting fields, one can find tons of obviously automatic characters. Killing them or griefing them doesn’t really help – the farmers running the bots care about their income, not their level, and the only penalty they receive from death is dropping a valuable item, which is rare, and having to run back to the hunting location from town.

While players and forum posters have expressed a lot of worry that NCSoft is doing nothing about them, Davidson assured me that over 30,000 bots have been banned in the last 9 months. NCSoft employs dedicated personnel who do nothing but handle the bannings, and the team is always looking for new methods to be more effective. While Davidson couldn’t give me any details for security reasons, he promised that new and more effective things are coming.

On the subject of bots I was also able to make Davidson slip on the “no comment” stance of Chronicle 5. The unofficially translated Korean Test Server Patch Notes spoke of a Demonic Sword Zariche. There will only be one Demonic Sword per server, and the wielder of the sword will instantly become chaotic. The sword is extremely powerful and can be used to kill other players without penalty to the killer or the slain (no experience or item loss). I asked Davidson if this item was being implemented specifically to battle off the bots, and before remembering what he wasn’t allowed to talk about, Davidson told me it wasn’t – but it would be great for that purpose, anyway.

On the subject of personnel and support, I asked how Lineage II’s customer service has been doing. The game breeds conflict, and there is plenty of harassment and animosity over the ingame politics. Davidson and Han told me, though, that Lineage II support is completely hands off with in-game politics, though it’s very interesting to watch the big difference between servers and how one server acts compared to another.

I next asked Davidson about the recent server issues. Lately, the NPC server, log in server, and game servers have been crashing at a high rate, though not as badly as two or three months ago. Davidson told me that these server crashes are not related to each other, and that they’re working on fixes.

Another support feature is the ‘player feedback’ section on Lineage II’s support site. I asked Davidson how much this feedback is taken into account. Davidson and Han told me that they’ve been focusing on player feedback through the message boards, support feedback, and polls. In fact, Davidson told me, a lot of Chronicle 4 and 5 changes came from our territory’s requests!

Lastly, I asked Davidson about the minigames that appear on the Lineage II official site, and whether we will be seeing any more of those. He couldn’t comment on this, either, but promised that there are “no shut doors.”

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Laura Genender