Exclusive Lineage Interview - Reentering the West

When North American gamers think about Lineage, they typically consider the sequel, Lineage II, before the original game. While millions of Korean players loved the game, people on the other side of the ocean never got to fully enjoy the original title. With their new focus on AAA titles, NCsoft is preparing to really push Lineage towards the North American marketplace. Ten Ton Hammer had the opportunity to sit down with two of the men in charge of pushing the original Lineage to the North American consumer: Yong Take Bae, Lineage Producer and Young Park, Lineage Product Assistant for NCsoft West. We hope you enjoy our conversation!

For the North American market, these are some tremendous steps forward for the game. Revitalizing the product through services and events and making the product more accessible to the current MMO generation is a fundamental step towards making the game more accessible for North American players. For those that aren't familiar with the history of the game, I asked the developers to give some exact details on the initial offerings of the product. "The game went live in Korea in September 1998," Young Park added. "It still has over 100,000 concurrent users in Korea. It generates more revenue than Lineage II and falls just behind Aion. It's a very big phenomenon and it's really a chronicle of the history of the online game. Back in 1999, the game had over 10 million users."

When North American gamers typically think about the style="font-style: italic;"
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/208"
target="_blank">Lineage series, the first title
that comes to mind is href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/175"
target="_blank">Lineage II
. Our continent really
didn't get a chance to get into the original style="font-style: italic;">Lineage like we did
with older titles like href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38"
target="_blank">EverQuest style="font-style: italic;"> and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/154"
target="_blank">Ultima
Online
.
Millions of Korean players loved the game, however, and many are still
hard at work on their characters. For the first time, NCsoft is
preparing to really push Lineage towards the North American
marketplace. Recently, Ten Ton Hammer had the opportunity to sit down
with two of the men in charge of pushing the original Lineage to the
North American consumer: Yong Take Bae, style="font-style: italic;">Lineage Producer
and Young Park, Lineage
Product Assistant for NCsoft West.


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href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64504"> src="/image/view/64504/preview"
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A castle siege in Aden Castle.

One of the first goals of these two individuals is narrowing the gap
between the content released in Korea and the content released in North
America. "We were analyzing everything and we realized that we were
experiencing a number drop from last year," Young Park said, "We wanted
to figure out what was causing the number drop. We have had very steady
numbers for seven years, and we knew we needed to do something. What we
realized is that we had a gap between the North American content and
the Korean content, and that gap was quite wide. We're planning to
reduce that gap, rather than having the year and a half gap that we've
had previously. The goal is to reduce that gap to three months between
the two versions of the game."



But that's not the only thing the NCsoft devs are attempting. Much like
many of the modern MMOs in North America, the NCsoft developers have
implemented an event system that drives dynamic content to their users
on a monthly basis. "After last year, we launched a brand new website
and have been running an in-game event every month," Yong Take Bae
said. "This has been generating some great feedback from the users, and
there's definitely more to come."



For the North American market, these are some tremendous steps forward
for the game. Revitalizing the product through services and events and
making the product more accessible to the current MMO generation is a
fundamental step towards making the game more accessible for North
American players. For those that aren't familiar with the history of
the game, I asked the developers to give some exact details on the
initial offerings of the product. "The game went live in Korea in
September 1998," Young Park added. "It still has over 100,000
concurrent users in Korea. It generates more revenue than style="font-style: italic;"> Lineage II and
falls just behind Aion.
It's a very big phenomenon and it's really a chronicle of the history
of the online game. Back in 1999, the game had over 10 million users.
While the game is going free-to-play in Japan, we feel that the
pay-to-play business model is just more appropriate in North America at
this time." Some other things that the developers are hoping to include
are some statistic adjustment capabilities that weren't necessarily
available at the very introduction of style="font-style: italic;">Lineage, and the
game has become much easier for players as time has gone on.


But how are the developers, besides upgrading their services, hoping to
keep the game in the "modern" mainstream? "We simply believe that we
aren't going after the more modern 3D games," Young Park explained.
"It's for a niche market, but a big niche market. It's a very simple
click-to-move game, and the fun thing about this game is that it's an
ever-evolving environment. Players actually take the content and make
their own stories out of it. That's how the game has stayed alive for
so many years. We're not going after the same target audience."


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border="1">

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64503"> src="/image/view/64503/preview"
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Players don't really want an update of Lineage's graphics.

"It is an older game," Yong Take Bae continued, "but without creating a
whole new Lineage
you can't really update the graphics. A lot of the users think that if
we did update the graphics, they'd be made at us. There are some
advantages with having low user specs; it means we can serve a lot more
people."



To gain additional users, the developers have a number of goals and
plans in their minds. First, they're going to be focusing on the
Lineage players that left the game and try to bring them back into the
MMO. Then they're planning on putting together a large marketing
campaign to attract new users on top of that. Mac users are also one of
the main targets for Lineage, and they want to grab as many of those
players as possible.



Included in the push to gain new players, the Lineage team is creating
two new classes that are going to be introduced in 2009: the Dragon
Knight and the Illusionist. "It's really going to put a new spin on
everything," Yong Take Bae said. "We're also going to introduce some
new maps and new dungeons, monsters, and new weapons." Although there's
no race concept in Lineage (the developers chose to make separate races
their own classes like the Dungeons and Dragons of yesteryears), the
two new classes will be added to the five current classes in the game.
The developers hope to have this update, along with the statistic
change update, implemented into the game by the first half of 2009.



If you're a gamer that's always wanted to take a stab at the original
Lineage, the early part of 2009 may be the time for you. With so many
updates coming, including the two new classes, in such a short amount
of time, there's definitely room for new players to jump into the fray.
A big thanks again to the Lineage developers for taking time out of
their schedules to talk with Ten Ton Hammer!


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lineage Game Page.

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