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Lineage II local beta run next month
[May 03, 2007]

Lineage II local beta run next month

(New Straits Times Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) GOOD news to those who have waited for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Lineage II to come to our shores. Its beta run will take place next month, followed by the commercial launch a month later.

Asian Media Development Group, the Philippines' largest PC games distributor, has announced the signing of a US$5.5 million (RM19.2 million) agreement with Korean powerhouse giant NCsoft, giving AMDG the rights to exclusively market and distribute Lineage II in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The Lineage II franchise in the Asia-Pacific region represents 45 per cent of the world market.

The first saga of Lineage II, The Chaotic Chronicles, recently came to end with the last Chronicle, Oath of Blood. Fans are now eagerly waiting for the start of the second saga, The Chaotic Throne. In the meantime, they are whetting their appetite with Interlude, a transitional expansion set between the end of The Chaotic Chronicles and the start of The Chaotic Throne.

Lineage II is a medieval-fantasy MMORPG where players get to create characters and develop them into powerful demi-godlike beings. With thousands of fans simultaneously playing, they can band together and form alliances with others to leverage on their respective strengths.

A party can even grow to become a clan of players. Clans compete not only in castle sieges, but also politically and commercially. A clan that controls a castle, for example, can set political agendas, levy taxes and manufacture goods. Not satisfied with that, the players' characters can also have pets, including dragons.

So, what new stuff can Malaysian players expect in Lineage II? Jae-Hyuk Han, lead designer of Lineage II, said, "Starting with Interlude, we are considering larger-scale content based on the foundation that we have made so far. We would like to see nations competing and eventually servers competing. Our goal is to make a game that can give you joy and tears." Han added that NCsoft is preparing a new race that can be started by both existing and new players and that the new content will allow all scales of clans to have a role to prevent the exclusive possession of castles by the few elite gigantic clans.

Besides that, the business model is designed to better cater to the local market: prepaid in hourly, daily, weekly or monthly denominations will be made available. And the rates will be more affordable compared to what the US players pay (US$15 per month).

Ronald Allan Aquino, chief operations officer of AMDG, said, "Our business model has proven to be effective in expanding a user base. Using the same marketing expertise, we will open up emerging markets within the Southeast Asian region and look for suitable distributors in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines to extend AMDG's success beyond PC games distribution to online gaming." Confident of the different model used for the region, he said the company will eventually host 10 servers, compared to eight in the United States where the number of players has reached two million subscribers.

Meanwhile, Ye Won Kim, executive in charge of China and Southeast Asia operations for NCsoft, said Lineage II estimates from the Malaysian market has an annual potential of US$20 million.

At present, Lineage II is served in Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, North America and Europe through NCsoft and its local subsidiaries to over 14 million subscribers worldwide.

Copyright 2007 The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Intelligence Wire.

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