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Adventure & RPG
Release Date

Lineage: The Blood Pledge
January 30, 2002 | Andy Largent

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Getting Started
Setting up your character involves picking your class, spending a few extra points on characteristics you think are important, and venturing out into the cold, online world. You are allowed three characters per server, and can choose between a PK and normal server. PK stands for Player-Killing, and is generally a more dangerous place for newbies to start out. Each class has a beginner's area where you can easily gain your first few levels in relative peace. Helpful non-player characters (NPCs) are also available to give you advice and explain things like the interface, gameplay, and more.

The classes are fairly regular, except for the Prince/Princess title. These characters aren't able to access much magic and are average as far as fighting ability is concerned. Their real purpose is to develop charisma to take people under their wing and lead a Blood Pledge. We'll get into the pledge idea later, but suffice it to say these bonding groups are what give Lineage its extra dose of appeal.

As you start to level up, your alignment begins to take shape. In Lineage you can play as either a lawful, chaotic, or neutral character. Good deeds like killing off monsters will lean you towards the lawful end. Murdering other players puts you in the evil bucket, and it will also earn you more than a nasty look from the town guards. Both alignments have their share of advantages, especially for magical characters who can receive different spells depending on their state.

During Lineage's PC North American launch in 2000, more than a few gamers grumbled about the title's 2D sprites. With Everquest and Ascheron's Call moving the genre into the world of 3D hardware, it seemed like a step back to deal with 2D anymore. Fortunately those that gave Lineage a chance to stand on its own merits found a beautifully sculpted title with some amazing areas and creatures (especially compared with the drab, polygonal characters of the original Everquest). Large formations of knights, towering red dragons, and elaborate underwater cities await those with the courage to work through Lineage's world.

One nice bonus of Lineage's 2D setting is reduced system requirements. The game will be OS X-only, but anyone who can run the operating system shouldn't have much trouble with the game. Everything is done in software rendering, so 3D conflicts shouldn't be any problem. Lineage does make nice use of transparencies to let you walk behind objects and still see what's going on. There's no word yet on whether they are using any of OS X's special Quartz layers or text features for the game though.

The act of fighting in Lineage is fairly simple; click and hold on an enemy to attack with your currently selected weapon. Since you shouldn't be fighting dragons at level one with a dagger, it's in your best interest to start small with foes like goblins or orcs. Each enemy has a color-coding to their name which indicates how far above or below your level they stand. While this system usually prevents you from rushing into combat against anything of too high a level, there is a decently wide range of levels considered "near" yours, so be careful. Healers are your friends in the beginning, though potions quickly become affordable as you gain experience.


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