The Backstory Revealed
Back in the depths of time, four brave LEGO adventurers discovered the Imagination Nexus, the heart of the power that gives us the ability to build LEGO structures and give LEGO animals life. At the same time, they also discover a rift in the plane and through it; they could see and sense the dark evil that was the Maelstrom. Three of them were of the opinion that they needed to seal the rift, but the fourth argued to study and harness the power. In the discord that followed and his eagerness to learn more, he got sucked right through. The resulting explosion releases the Maelstrom into the lands. The remaining three return to their homes, eventually forming different leagues to combat the Maelstrom, and the protégé of the fourth did the same, seeking to reverse what wrong his teacher did by the same means, studying and harnessing the power of the Maelstrom to use against itself.
LEGO Universe is an MMO targeted towards kids of all ages although the slant is towards kids 6 to 14. As such, you aren’t expected to make a choice of class at the beginning of the game. Kids enter LEGO Universe and learn to play the game combating the Maelstrom, taming pets, running quests, collecting bricks and equipment, learning behaviors, and building and customizing their properties. About mid-game, they begin a sequence of missions which leads them to a choice between the different factions, which is more of a difference in play style than classes per se, as all the classes continue to combat the Maelstrom.
Sentinels are the knights and samurais of the land and their equipment takes from LEGO Kingdoms and the Japanese samurai of old. You dress your mini-fig in Samurai or Knight fashion. You are the heroic warriors, charging into battle against the Maelstrom.
Assembly is built around the concept of building. Players choosing this faction enjoy building turrets and personal fortresses. You are the combat engineers, the ones deploying missiles and laying mines to assist you in combat.
Venture League players are the adventurers. Your hero is Indiana Jones and your play style is about flair and style. Venture Leaguers are all about escaping danger with an acrobatic flourish, charging up your weapons for a nice fireworks display as you take your opponents out.
Paradox players are the same kids who would join Slitherin in the Harry Potter world. Paradox players fight fire with fire by using the power of the Maelstrom against itself. They are dancing on the edge with compatriots sometimes wondering if they are with you or aiding the Maelstrom.
The World with Factions
The choice of factions is the only permanent choice in LEGO Universe, so there is quite a bit of lead up and preparation. As previously mentioned, there are a series of quests that players do for each of the factions and they must make choices during the sequence. The celebration of a choice is worthy of a big visual presentation and cutscene and players are presented with their first Faction specialty kit.
Players could hold out against joining one faction or another, but the content that opens up makes joining up worthwhile. Once a faction is joined, faction vendors become available as do a new series of quests from your faction trainers. When on these faction specific quests, anything you do that is faction specific will gain you Faction Tokens apart from the gold and bricks you normally obtain while playing the game. These Faction Tokens are used to purchase faction specific items including the next level Faction outfit and faction specific cosmetic items as well.
Each faction has its own story and storyline quests to play, some of which require you to work with members of the other factions. One of the major quest lines involves the four faction leaders. It seems that the three leaders have gone on a personal quest, to see if they can rescue their friend who had been pulled into the heart of the Maelstrom. They are on a mission to see if they can banish the dark force completely from the lands. You are sent to assist or perhaps to rescue them.
Equipment and Looks
The Faction Specialty Kits are representative of the rank of the player within the faction house and they get increasingly cooler with each rank. The pieces get fancier and some weapons or equipment may have a glow, a particle effect or an effect that is activated. The high ranking Sentinel may have a flaming sword, the bag of tricks the high ranking Venture League player pulls out may be sparkly. These effects are visual representations of how far you’ve progressed in the game.
There are many looks and pieces that reflect current physical LEGO product, but since LEGO Universe is a separate property, they have created many unique looks, all conforming closely to LEGO specifications. There’s talk that perhaps sometime in the future, you may be able to buy a mini-fig that looks just like the in-game you. Now, wouldn’t that be cool?