Mike Bowen had a chance to talk with Producer Tim Tan of Lineage II North American about their upcoming expansion for Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle.
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Mike Bowden: Congratulations on getting The Kamael expansion pack finished. Can you tell us how the name Kamael comes about?
Tim Tan: The Kamael are one-winged soldiers with affinity to dark magic. We decided to call this expansion the Kamael because of its massive impact to the game. The major goal for each expansion is to introduce a new world of playability to those devoted to Lineage II and those who want to give it a try. In my mind, the new race lets players enjoy new starting content and a chance to revisit some of the old mid- to high-level content while unlocking the mysteries of the long-forgotten Kamael.
I also want to add that an entire new race was what the players have been asking for over the years and we have been wanted to give it to them, but adding an entire new race wasn’t as straightforward as one might imagine. We had to take into account of how this new race was to be played and how it would fit in Lineage II history. We are finally here and the Kamael race is proven to be quiet popular among our players!
Mike Bowden: Explain to us a little more about the race Kamael and how they differ from the other races in the game?
Tim Tan: Both male and female Kamael characters are presented different class paths and posses distinct combat abilities. The Kamael are a race of fighters and their class choices reflect this proficiency. Male and female Kamael characters have different class paths and possess distinct combat abilities, but both begin their adventuring careers as soldiers. In the early levels, the soldier class provides very basic melee and ranged skills and prepares a Kamael for tougher battles. The dark magic abilities that all Kamael possess are powered by the souls of defeated monsters.
Mike Bowden: The Kamael carry three weapon types; a Bow, a two-handed and a one-handed sword. When creating new weapons for a game, how difficult is it to get the balance right? How much testing is involved?
Tim Tan: Weapons and the skills that have weapon requirements go hand in hand. All these items and skills go through multiple rounds of internal development and test before the hit public test. Public feedback is then taken into consideration before the build goes live.
Mike Bowden: Can you tell us more about Fortress and Nation Wars? What can those of us who haven’t downloaded The Kamael expect from these two new features?
Tim Tan: We have a robust clan system in Lineage II. When you are in a large and powerful clan, your clan can take over a castle and control the economy of that region. Castle sieges are meaningful to large clans and we have 9 castles for them to take over. However, Lineage II also comprises of smaller clans and it’s our obligation to add content to keep everyone happy. With the fortress battle system now in place, smaller clans and groups of players will have the opportunity to participate in world PvP. There’s no need to wait to test your courage anymore. Now your clan can conquer and rule these new ongoing siege structures in to gain unique skills and incredible leveling benefits whenever you want.
The fortress battles are closely tied to the political system so you’ll have to pick your fights accordingly, but the rewards are worthwhile.
Mike Bowden: It is rumoured that pets will now have CP and evolve. Why did you decide to implement this feature?
Tim Tan: Wolf pets at higher levels will have the ability to evolve into a Great Wolf. Just talk to your local pet manager and choose the evolve pet link. I’ve always thought he pet system was a good one, but it needed a little bit of a boost. Players have put a lot of time and effort into their pets and this is a way of rewarding them for their hard work. A superior companion can be had that will fight by your side in battle.
Mike Bowden: Can we expect a new story line to go with the The Kamael? Do they have their own history and sub quests?
Tim Tan: Certainly, there’s always a back story behind each of Lineage II updates and characters.
The Kamael were rumoured to born in the Era of Myths, these mysterious creatures have preserved their own unique culture living within the confines of the Isle of Souls. A haven located way to the west of the Dark Elf Village. Unlike the other five races (Human, Elf, Dark Elf, Orc and Dwarf) that were created by gods, it is speculated that the Kamael were originally created by the giants. In a time long ago, their original purpose was to battle against the Gods and their creatures. When the giants lost their war against the Gods, the Isle of Souls was sealed in the Dimensional Rift to protect the Kamael. Ironically, after a long period of isolation, the Kamael have recently appeared on the continent under the guidance of the Gods.
Many believe that the Kamael were thrown into the world by Gran Kain who enjoys causing chaos and reckoned the Kamael would serve his purpose well. There is yet another possibility that the Kamael were guided to this world by Eva, the Goddess of Water, in order to put a stop to Shilen’s destructive behavior. In any case, they are here to stay and figure to play a prominent role in the current chaotic times.
Mike Bowden: The game seems to have achieved where many others have failed - that is to do well in all three major territories: the East, Europe and the US. Why do you feel this is?
Tim Tan: Thank you. I think the major reason why we continue to grow is that we’ve listened and paid attention to what our players, especially in North America and Europe have to say and responded accordingly. Lineage II continues to grow a very loyal and long-term player-base in North America and Europe.
A lot has changed since the game launched in Korea in late 2003 and in the U.S in 2004. If you played it, but stopped and haven’t played since then, I think this is the most exciting time to give it another try. To me, it’s almost like a totally different game from when we launched it. The art style and graphics are still stunningly beautiful.
For new players, we’ve added many new-player benefits such as buffs that ease starting levels. For solo players, we’ve added instant potions that drop off of monsters in solo hunting grounds. These potions have a range of uses from HP/MP recovery to a temporary increase to attack speed. For groups of like minded players, we’ve got a robust clan system. Clan Academy (a way to get lower level players involved), Clan Reputation System, Clan Skills have all been added since launch.
Mike Bowden: Conversely, what new feature are the team most happy with and why?
Tim Tan: The instanced dungeon system is new to the Kamael update. It allows us to craft unique experiences for a specific number of players. Dark Cloud Mansion would be an example of a two person instanced dungeon that has a 30 minute time limit to complete. I’m also very proud of the around-the-clock Fortress Battle system. Every time players log on to play, they are asked to participate in an ever changing and rich action world.
Mike Bowden: Have you any plans to develop for any of the next generations consoles? If so, what are the advantages and disadvantages in developing for consoles rather than PC’s?
Tim Tan: You probably know this, but last year we’ve partnered with Sony Entertainment to develop titles for PS3. At this time, I can’t comment on what titles and sorts of games we are producing.
Mike Bowden: Back to the Kamael: If I haven’t been persuaded to download the game yet, please try and convince me! What makes this expansion worth my extra time and money?
Tim Tan: The Kamael update is bigger, better, and more compelling than anything we’ve ever done before. The Kamael has something for new players as well as long time veterans of the game.
Our official statement said best about that I truly believe in. It said, Lineage II offers the world’s elite MMORPOG gamers unrivaled Player versus Player combat (PvP) set against a lush backdrop of exotic creatures, rival clans, castle sieges and an ever-growing fantasy world. Journey through a beautiful, deadly world where thousands of other players are powerful allies one day and mortal enemies the next. Join the fight, and rule castles and lands where 17 million gamers around the world have walked. That pretty much summed it up for Lineage II.
Of all the game aspects, the two that stand out to me are the sub-class system and the castle-siege system. At level 75, players can complete a quest and seek out the master of an available class of their choice. There are certain restrictions, but a player would then start at level 40 of their chosen subclass. Players can switch between their subclass and main class by talking to an NPC, and can take on up to three subclasses in addition to their main class. The castle-siege system is what really sets Lineage II apart from other PvP MMO games. Every two weeks, clans choose to either attack or defend one of the nine castles in the world. These large-scale battles are a test of both skill in combat and strategy, with the prize being one of the most unique structures in any game. Ownership allows the ruling clan leader to control the territory surrounding the castle, and allows them to set things such as the tax rate of the items that are sold there.
Mike Bowden: Finally, Strategy Informer wishes you the best of luck with the retail version of The Kamael and will ask you one last question: Is this the last expansion we will see, or are their any secret plans for any more that you won’t tell us about but I’ll ask anyway!?