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Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 3:29 am EDT, Apr 13, 2004

Despite the rather enormous failure of Ragnarok Online, the Korean nation has launched yet another RPG in the general direction of North America. Lineage ][ has been plagued by bugs and network connectivity issues, but is at least somewhat playable in it's current state.

It's currently in open beta, but for reasons of their own NCSoft appear to be dragging their feet in fixing much of anything. No idea what's behind that, but apparently they're having their hands full just keeping the network up or something. Stranger still, when the game hits stores on April 28th, the client will then be patched to "Chronicle 1" status, which was apparently already released in other countries during their normal operational period some time ago.

Hobby exploiters will want to get cracking, apply for a beta key, and get some levels under them before the end of the open beta on April 28th when the game goes pay-to-play and the usual unwashed masses go berzerk. PK action, griefing, and other acts of random cruelty will probably be at their peak during the final week. Should be a blast. :)

If nothing else, people halfway around the world do come up with some interesting game balance mechanisms.

Followup on May 5...

I am shocked and dismayed (as opposed to shocked and awed) that Lineage2 turned out to be such a blatant money grab. Now that all the cards are face-up, it's pretty obvious that there's something more than a little lame was going on with the producers of this game. Within days of the open beta of this game and the announcement that there would be no player-wipe at the end of it, in-game currency started turning up for sale on eBay in almost ludicrous amounts. Then we find that the codebase being used for the North American release of this game used a codebase that was replaced in Taiwan and Korea many moons ago, _complete with bugs and exploits that had already been fixed in those regions_. The developers informed the player base that the game would be updated to the latest codebase when the game went to full release, in the meantime, they just started disabling the quests and actions that the majority of the player base figured out they could exploit from reading English-speaking webboards. At release time an even bigger shock, the patch to fix all the numerous problems in the game gets pushed back two more months, and in the meantime, it appears only a very short list of things were fixed as a result of this "beta test". About the only intelligent thing that was done during beta was to eliminate the biggest griefers from the game by deleting their accounts, and this appeared to only come _after_ the developers realized that Americans might like PvP combat, but they won't tolerate having to put up with the antics of players who are little more than rabid dogs with a poor grasp of English.

Personally, when I sign up for a beta-test, I expect that the bugs I report will get _fixed_ and not just swept up under the rug until they've been used to amass a small fortune of real-life currency.


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