[NCsoft] Freya Update Is Just a Beginning

NCsoft spills out details on a new update Freya for thisisgame.com. Freya is a new update since Lineage II Chaotic Throne: Gracia Part 1 in April 2008. thisisgame.com met with a development team leader, Jae Hyuk Han, at NCsoft in Korea after Freya update had applied to a test server on January 20th.

Aion Brought Out a?Sense of Crisis

thisisgame.com (TIG): It’s been a while since the last Lineage 2 update, hasn’t it?

Jae Hyuk Han (Han): There has been some update but as for a major update, it’s been two years since The Chaotic Throne. To tell you the truth, Freya was ready when Aion was launched.

At that time, Lineage 2 was gaining momentum and we were going to update big time to maintain that momentum. But ever since Aion entered the competition, we had mulled over if it was a right decision to go ahead with the update. Then we reached the decision it wouldn’t work as we hoped.

TIG: That means you started over again?

Han: Yes. We canceled everything and started over. For the next six months, our team looked at a new direction in order to deliver a better contents.

TIG: What do you mean by “a new direction”?

Han: Most developers tend to have a certain strong opinion or an ideal vision in their mind about what they want to develop and to pursue it no matter what. During the sort of crisis, we started second-guessing what we got was what users wanted.

As a result, we developed what users wanted and that was Freya. In fact, we included most of class skills that users had requested for a long time.

The Wind of Change in Lineage 2

TIG: Sounds like Freya is a new beginning of Lineage 2.

Han: In a way it is. We are preparing for four major updates in this year. And that starts with Freya. You can expect a unprecedented scale. Graphics alone are three times more than any other major updates.

1,000 ‘hand-drawn’ animations will be added or switched to existing character and monsters.

And of course we are talking about quality not just quantity. We will meet user’s highest expectation.

TIG: What was uers’ reaction when you unveiled Freya on a test server last month?

Han: We had some thinking to do. Users had complained about a lack of level-appropriate hunting grounds, so we provided them in Freya. The funny thing is that testers now requested an instance dungeon. So we are looking into it whether it just limits to testers or overall users. It will become clear once we apply to a live server on February 3rd.

TIG: Tell us more about hunting grounds.

Han: It is a location that narrows a gap between hardcore users and casual users. In a current Lineage 2, 64% of users are between level 60 to 70. The hunting grounds are something for them.

Especially for a casual user who want to level up from level 79 to 80. With a help of an item or a promotion in the future, s/he can level up beyond level 80.

TIG: Wouldn’t adding simple hunting grounds turn into just a?tedious level up?

Han: It doesn’t just mean we simply added huntable places. Each hunting ground has a theme. For example, there is a new hunting ground where a cook appears. The cook spreads a variety of dishes which users can eat. But someone will fall asleep or reduce his/hers capability due to debuff.

We have created some items and weapons that users certainly appreciate.

TIG: It looks like previous hunting grounds just provide EXPs by throwing in high level monsters but now you’ve got a theme hunting ground.

Han: More AIs were added to a similar mass. AI codes were doubled in Freya which make a game more dynamic and users to utilize surroundings better.

TIG: An instance dungeon has been a big thing in MMORPG these days. Have you noticed?

Han: Of course, we have. In fact, we are developing an instance dungeon in Freya as well. Even though Lineage 2 became easier for some users, however, it still is a hard core game. A field hunting ground still matters in Lineage 2.

The highest level possible in Lineage 2 is 85 but only few user has reached there. The biggest hurdle lies between level 79 and 80. A new hunting ground will help users to move along.

Among this year’s updates we prepare to reveal seven or so instance dungeons.

<Instance Dungeon>

TIG: What does Freya mean in this update?

Han: Freya is a name of the ultimate boss and a core of the update. Unlike previous Lineage 2, you can fight the boss with two patterns: Raid or Ultimate Fight.

TIG: Ultimate Fight? Haven’t seen it in Lineage 2 before.

Han: Yes. It is a new concept. To put it simple, it is a next level of raid. VERY HARD. If you choose this mode, you will create more damage, naturally.

Ice Queen Freya

TIG: You said Freya is the core of the update. Can you elaborate more on that?

Han: Story-wise and raid-wise Freya has a symbolic meaning. To tell you a brief story behind it, it begins with a marble that creates an Ice Princess by Gran Kain.

A prankster Gran Kain gave Princess Melissa a marble. And she turns into Ice Queen Freya when the marble broke.

TIG: So you rescue Princess Melissa through a raid?

Han: That’s a possibility. The story depends on a quest. Princess Melissa is a medium to become Ice Queen.

A user can complete a rescue quest if s/he pursues the quest and go through a raid. But there is a quest to remove Prince Melissa and become Ice Queen yourself. So the end of the quest will be to remove Melissa. You can pursue both quests as well.

TIG: Tell us more about a character class.

Han: We’ve thinking what users want the most. The answer we reached was a character class. So far we only modify a part of class.

Freya is a different story. We will adjust a balance until user can satisfy not developer. And that takes some time. We will be working on this issue throughout the updates this year.

TIG: Any last words?

Han: There has been no major update last one and a half year. Some user said our development team abandoned Lineage 2. But we’ve been working hard to implement what users want.

You can find it for yourself in Freya. As I mentioned, we are preparing for four updates this year. And you can count on us to deliver what you want.

What do you think?