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Adventure & RPG
Release Date

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

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The monsters themselves are animated and varied. They respawn in roughly the same areas of the many 'hunting grounds' so you can be assured that once you know a region well, it won't change. Some of the beasts are slow to attack, while others might start pounding on you in groups. Keeping a distance with a range weapon might be advised until you learn the techniques for taking them down. As you move through the world, the number and variety of baddies increases greatly.

Blood Pledges are a means to connect gamers in Lineage. Only Prince or Princesses over level 5 can create a pledge, and the higher the charisma of this character, the more players they can accept within their pledge. While in a pledge, you can receive other 'perks' like shared storage accounts, pledge icons, and the pledge name next to yours. Pledges are often recruiting, so it's not too difficult to find one to join via the in-game chat.

Castles provide a number of benefits for pledges like receiving tax from surrounding merchants, access to private areas, and the glory of your pledge's success. Any one pledge's control over a castle is usually limited, though. There are rules about how long your castle will stay unscathed, and an opposing pledge siege is usually only a few days away. There are strict rules about when and where a battle will take place, as well as how a fight may be ended. The pledges are one of the most exciting and community-building aspects of the game and shouldn't be trivialized as a way of giving the game a sense of purpose.

Concluding Thoughts
With a game of this size, there are many other aspects to explore, such as item making, pet ownership, and full-scale city economies. Fortunately NCsoft is more than willing to be accommodating by letting you discover Lineage for yourself. Starting later this week, IMG will begin taking signups for a Mac beta of the game. After the testing phase is over, you will be able to receive a free CD (or download the full version if you've got broadband) to try for a month. If you like what you see during the trial period, it's $15 a month, or just over $11 a month if you sign up quarterly. The OS X client is remarkably stable already, and plays well on both a desktop G3 and iBook.

Even better, it seems Apple is making good steps towards a healthy friendship with NCsoft. Beyond the continuing free Lineage expansions (two more are expected out by the end of the year), the company is already looking at Lineage 2.0. Whether any sequel will make it to the Mac surely depends on sales, but we're crossing our fingers and hoping that more good things will come from this relationship down the road.

Lineage: The Blood Pledge
Developer: NCsoft
Publisher: NCsoft


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