“Lineage for all”: Lineage W, a game to be played globally, together and at the same time
After receiving so much attention and expectation from users, Lineage W has finally been unveiled. On August 19, 2021, the online showcase of Lineage W was held. We will share more details with you through this column.
Lineage W is the essence of Lineage, as we have concentrated all the knowhow that we have accumulated through servicing the latter and the new contents that we have prepared for the global service. While it entails various efforts and attempts, what we have ultimately tried to create through Lineage W for the past four years is to connect all the people across the globe beyond the boundaries of countries and colors and to create a game that would help us find the true value of games and a world where even more people would gather and have fun together.
Lineage W would become the ‘Lineage for all’: for all the people around the globe. As you can tell from its name, Lineage ‘W’, which stands for the world ‘Worldwide’, is being prepared as a single build for the global market, ready to be launched across the globe at the same time. As we go beyond the national boundaries, NCSOFT’s cross-play service ‘Purple’ will be used as a platform. We have also completed the development to enable playing on consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
The pre-registration for Lineage W has now started. We will look forward to meeting all of you in the playground that connects us all around the globe, Lineage W.
Lineage W builds a new history beyond national boundaries.
It has been 24 years since Lineage was first launched in 1998. While Lineage started a new chapter in the history of MMORPG in Korea, Lineage 2 made a technological advancement through introducing the Full 3D MMORPG. While Lineage M transformed the landscape of mobile technology as a platform, Lineage 2M vastly expanded the userbase. In short, ‘Lineage’ is not a mere game anymore; it has become a household name, representing the history of MMORPG of Korea.
Even though there have been multiple editions of Lineage, there is one thing that has never changed; battle, pledge, sacrifice, and honor. This represents the essence of Lineage.
And at last, NCSOFT has prepared a project, which does not aim to expand the Lineage series, but to complete the essence of originality of Lineage IP. The project underwent development for four years to concentrate all the legacy from Lineage IP that had been accumulated for 24 years to introduce the definitive edition of Lineage under the title of Lineage W. Also, the letter ‘W’ in the title, Lineage W, stands for its background, the ‘World’.
Unlike in other Lineage series, Lineage W users may meet the people from various countries inside the game, create clouts, and compete. NCSOFT has amplified the battle fun through expanding the scope of ‘battle community’, which is one of the core elements of Lineage, to the entire world. The previous Lineage series was a ‘miniature of societies’’; Lineage W is a ‘miniature of the entire world’. The global service of Lineage W aims not only expansion of the regions and countries to be serviced, but also creation of a ‘playground’ where different cultures around the world could interact together.
Lineage W is a new challenge of NCSOFT for completion of Lineage series. However, the transcendent values and philosophies of the previous series would remain unchanged and be inherited by Lineage W. While embodying the course of evolution of Lineage series, Lineage W is ready to greet the users in an even wider battlefield.
The joy of witnessing everything that you have ever imagined about Lineage
The most eye-catching change in Lineage W is its graphic, which is completely transformed into Full 3D. There are multiple reasons that NCSOFT has opted for this enormous change, as concerns from the existing Lineage fans are expected as much as their expectations. The major reason for such change lies in the fact that it will enable expressions that used to be either impossible or difficult to be made using 2D. For instance, there were limitations in expressing Antaras, a giant dragon, using 2D graphics. However, NCSOFT could expand the scale of the game and materialize its plots, including the grand appearance of the raid boss, without limiting itself within the existing technological boundaries using 3D graphics.
The strengths of Lineage as a game lie not only in its large scale and raids, but also in the battles against bosses. Based on such consideration, NCSOFT introduced a variable called ‘the situation subject to change’. A part of one’s body may become a map, or the landscape may keep changing due to the actions taken by the boss. Therefore, applying strategies and tactics, instead of playing a tug of war exchanging damages, would become very important in the battles against enemies in Lineage W.
NCSOFT has also focused on ‘materializing imaginations’. For instance, when a user enchants in Lineage, they call it “to post a spell book”. However, no details were explained why it was called “to post” a spell book, and they were left in user’s imagination. In Lineage W, the basic plots that used to be left for imagination could actually be seen and heard, and moreover, NCSOFT also attempted to give users the joy of manual playing and fun. There are more devices to ‘materialize imaginations’, in addition to the enchantment. Users may experience themselves and enjoy the detailed plots in the game that have been left secrets for the last 24 years, including the places where purple and light green potions of acceleration are produced and the persons that produce ‘Adena’.
In the beginning of the development process based on 3D graphics, NCSOFT was most concerned about maintaining originality of Lineage. NCSOFT could never abandon the elements that were considered its best strengths and originality, including the joy of manual playing and the hit effect that were inherent in cell units. In particular, to materialize the perfect hit effect under the 3D environment, NCSOFT formed a separate task force team even in the beginning of the development process. To materialize the cheerful sword movement in 2D sprites, NCSOFT added various effects like camera shakes, ragdolls, and afterimage through making fine adjustments and continued to create, waste, and re-build the effects hundreds of times. As a result, not only the hit effects of the previous Lineage series were materialized, but also the unique effects inherent in Lineage W were developed. By doing so, NCSOFT could bring its battles to the next level, never failing to satisfy the the existing fans.
More depths were added to the overall graphics of the game. Based on diverse analyses of the early series based on 2D graphics, NCSOFT decided that Lineage’s art was close to a ‘dark fantasy’, which had a certain depth and was expressed in dark shades. Therefore, it applied an even darker and a realistic art concept to Lineage W so that its world view would be well presented throughout the game. NCSOFT materialized the dark atmosphere of the previous series, which was unique to the game’s genre, and embodied various effects with the narrative, completing the graphics in line with the intention from the beginning of the development process, which was to “build a Lineage series that was more suited for adults”.
Birth of the ‘Class Story’, enhancing the feeling of immersion in the game
After deciding the art concept of Lineage W, which was based on the ‘dark fantasy’, most attention was paid to the ‘Class Story’. It could not embody the art concept and its atmosphere, which were considered even grotesque, using a casual story and a short video clip in the beginning. The narrative in the beginning is an important device, which helps the users starting to play Lineage W to be immersed in Lineage’s story. In Lineage W, NCSOFT chose an approach that was considered the truest to Lineage legacy. It prepared individual stories for each class, which was unprecedented, so that users would be immersed in the world view of Lineage no matter what class they play.
Unlike the previous series where the storylines did not stand out, in Lineage W, the devices through which users would be immersed in the game even from the beginning and try to find the reason why they play the game are well established. Since the stories that used to exist as plots, including the reason that green potions were ‘green’, the Tower of Arrogance was established, and the village of slash-and-burn farmers became the one full of homeless people, are all visually expressed, users can be fast immersed in the world view of the game. As you may see, since NCSOFT prepared the narratives in a delicate manner, instead of presenting the stories using a few scenes, users would develop a feeling that they are given the opportunity to explore the unchartered territory of Lineage.
The feedback from an internal test said that they could not click on the ‘skip’ button because they were curious about the story. Therefore, we may hold high expectation for NCSOFT’s adventure to “materialize imagination”, which would be enabled by the perfect combination between graphics and stories.
The ‘global battle community’ where users across the globe would gather
The most unique element of Lineage W would be its global battle community. In Lineage W, global battles that used to be only dreamt of will be truly materialized. The battle community, where members of blood pledges from each country would fight against each other on a real time basis, is materialized. Previously, even ‘global’ services were provided separately between nations. However, in Lineage W, users may use the same version of the game, access the same server, and play. Living true to its name, Lineage ‘W’, which stands for the word ‘Worldwide’, the game ushers in the age of the battle communities where users from various countries would gather and play in the same server beyond the national boundaries.
Tearing down language barriers between users using real-time AI translation technology
How would the concerns about the language barriers, which are destined to occur in global battles, be addressed? In Lineage W, there will be no problems in communicating with each other even if you do not know each other’s language, since all languages around the world will be translated into one’s mother tongue, using the AI translation technology. There will be no issue when a Korean user that has been playing Linage for 20 years and a German user that has just started to play the game play the game together, talking to each other about Lineage W. Since the translation technology may translate the slangs used by Korean users like “Ber”, “Tai~”, and “Myoon Myoon Myoon!” into “teleport” and “immune to harm”, users may not only communicate with each other on the game, but also make friends with the ones from other countries.
The origin of blood pledges is materialized through the “pledges of blood”, which is the essence of Lineage IP
Since blood pledges are the essence of Lineage IP, the blood pledges of Lineage W have the elements that are different from the ‘guilds’ and ‘clans’ of other games. Especially, the narratives related to the pledges are included as in-game elements in various forms, showing the ‘origin’ of blood pledges in the game, instead of their ‘functions’.
Also, since the scope of blood pledges are expanded further across the globe, the composition of pledges and the supporting systems have become even more refined compared to the previous editions. Based on the way the system is designed, as a member of their blood pledge, users may feel the need to sacrifice themselves for their kings and the will that would never fail despite the difficulties. NCSOFT named the way the members of blood pledges determine their pledge’s future and nurture it together “the pledges of blood”. The ‘integrated system’ to support the global battles was more visually materialized. For instance, the UI embodying the celestial space is a device where users could naturally confirm the size of power of each clout and its meaning through viewing the comparison of power between pledges in individual battles.
An ‘open Lineage’ that all could enjoy together without difficulties
Since the game covers the entire globe, Lineage W will become more ‘user-friendly’ than anytime before in terms of ‘open sharing of information’. Since Lineage does not have any special tactics, certain groups called the ‘lines’ would predominate the important information of the game, including generation of bosses and walkthroughs, and it was believed quite natural that they dominate such information. This used to be considered as a peculiarity of Lineage as a game, but some also complained that the game was too unfriendly to new users. However, while expanding the scope of the game worldwide, an equal access to information was required. Since the information access is ensured in an equitable manner, more users are expected to benefit from the easier access to the game.
In Lineage W, it is very easy to access useful information inside the game. All the information required for an individual or a group to settle in a server, including the ones on monsters, hunting grounds, boss’s specification and its generation, and real-time battle information is available through ‘information farming (based on which information is naturally accumulated while playing the game)’. For instance, when a user explores a new hunting ground and Aden Continent, they would acquire spoils. As such experiences are accumulated, they would acquire a transformation card. In case the card indicates a boss monster, the user would be given the information on when and where they would appear. In short, users would learn more about Lineage while hunting monsters.
In particular, the “real-time battle information” is a good embodiment of Lineage’s originality. Users would have a whole new view on the game through watching the blood pledges fighting in the server, how they are forming their clout, and how the heroes that they used to admire without much information fight in the battles.