Lineage II: Hellbound Interview with Producer Tim Tan

Tim Tan is the Producer of Lineage II: Hellbound, the upcoming free expansion to the popular NCsoft MMORPG. He spoke with our Jordan Deam last week by telephone about the update in this exclusive interview.


WarCry Interview: Lineage II
Hellbound Expansion
Answers by Tim Tan (Producer, Lineage II)
Questions by Jordan Deam

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WarCry: Hellbound is the final installment of the First Throne Saga. Talking about that overall storyline, how important is it to a typical Lineage II player?

Tim Tan: From a storyline standpoint, I feel that we started with the Kamael, and we introduced the Hellbound zone, and unlocking the different areas. I feel that Hellbound, basically the signature part of the last segment of the First Throne, is the completion of that. Your goal is to actually explore the rest of Hellbound, enter areas like the Steel Citadel, and your ultimate goal is to meet and fight Beleth, the biggest baddie in the game right now. So I think it will be significant. It definitely is, in terms of story, the higher-end content. And we do have a good group of roleplayers that always know the storyline and progression in that way.

WarCry: Tell me about the race of the Kamael and how you see them fitting into the world of Lineage II.

Tim Tan: I definitely feel like they enhance the play of the rest of the folks. Depending on if you choose to go melee or if you choose to go ranged, they’ve got strengths and weaknesses; they’re very strong warriors so their fighting skills are a great addition to any group that you join. If you go the ranged route, the tricksters have trap skills that are definitely helpful in a lot of the new zones. I feel that they’ve definitely enhanced the grouping experience for those who decide to pick up Kamael in their groups.

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WarCry: I’m curious – how does a creature with one wing actually fly?

Tim Tan: [Laughs] They don’t technically fly; they hover, so … a lot of the skills are based off of imaginary wing skills and hovering, but at the higher levels, like in the high-70s, the Kamael actually get a transformation skill called Final Form, and they actually do sprout a second wing. From a lore standpoint, they’re drawing energy from their ancestors and executing Final Form, so that actually gives them much stronger attack power; they fight better and they actually grow that second wing. They still don’t technically fly … they sort of just hover around, so …

WarCry: I want to hear a bit more about NCsoft’s strategy for releasing free content expansions and repackaging them at retail. The 4th Anniversary Edition will cost $39.99, but it includes 60 days of game time. So it’s basically $10?

Tim Tan: Pretty much. We’re trying to make this as value-packed as possible. The 60 days of game time right off the bat is going to be a great value to players. The two in-game items I think are going to be huge. The Half Black Mask is very unique, and the Pig Lollipop is a lot of fun to play with. The part that I like the most is the loyalty system that we added to the game, the veteran aspect. Tying it into the paid services … we recognize we’ve got a lot of loyal players that have been playing for a long time, and they may have seen the paid services and said “Yeah, I might do that, but it’s kinda high for me.” This is an opportunity when they purchase the box to get sets of coupons that give them, depending on how long they’ve had their account, certain discounts on that. So it’s definitely going to be a strong value. For new players, existing players, players who may not have played for a while that are interested in getting back into the game … I think it will be good for everybody.

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WarCry: What is a hardcore L2 player likely to be most looking forward to out of Hellbound?

Tim Tan: I would definitely say the challenge of the new aspects of Hellbound -not the update name, but the actual zones – actually getting into the Steel Citadel, and fighting Darien who’s essentially Beleth’s bodyguard, and actually encountering Beleth. That chain of progression is going to be the end all, be all of the PvE aspect of the game. So I think the most hardcore are going to be interested in doing that to get to the highest-end items in the game.

WarCry: Tell me about a feature in Hellbound that hasn’t gotten as much attention as some of the other things we’ve talked about.

Tim Tan: There’s actually two things that kind of pop into my head. The first one is the transformations; there were a lot of transformations added in the First Throne and the Kamael, but there are a lot of cool transformations tied to quests as well as classes and stuff like that. I was talking about the Final Form earlier for the Kamael, but almost all the classes and race combinations have something special like that as they get to be higher level.

The other part is the Underground Colosseum. I think that’s actually going to be a cool features. We haven’t really talked a lot about that, but it should be a really cool, group PvP-type quick match kind of thing that I think folks are going to get a kick out of. It’s like a team deathmatch PvP-style colosseum that people can sign up for, automatically join as groups, track their kills and wins and stuff like that. I think that’s going to be a lot of fun.

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