Lineage (Korean: 리니지) is a medieval fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 1998 by the South Korean computer game developer NCsoft. It is most popular in Korea and is available in Chinese, Japanese, and English language versions. The game was designed by Jake Song, who had previously designed Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, another MMORPG.
Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, a "prequel" set 150 years before the time of Lineage, was released in 2003.
Lineage's stat, monster, and item system was originally largely borrowed from NetHack with MMO elements added.
Players can choose one of five character classes: Elf, Dark Elf, Knight, Prince, or Magician. Princes are the only class that can lead a blood pledge (which is Lineage's term for a guild or clan). Dark Elves were introduced to the game after the other classes.
Game play is based primarily upon a castle siege system which allows castle owners to set tax rates in neighboring cities and collect taxes on items purchased in stores within those cities. It features classic RPG elements reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons, such as killing monsters and completing quests for loot and experience points, levels, character attributes (charisma, strength, wisdom, etc.), and alignments (neutral, chaotic or lawful). A characters alignment affects how monsters and town guards react to the player's character, often turning hostile to chaotic players and attacking on sight.
Player versus player combat (also known as PVP) is extensive in Lineage. Players can engage in combat with other player characters at any time as long as they are not in safe zones such as cities. By joining a "bloodpledge" (an association of players almost like a clan in other games) players become eligible to engage in castle sieges or wars between bloodpledges.
NCsoft has reported that Lineage had at one point more than three million subscribers, most of them in Korea. The magnitude of the number Korean subscribers compared to other countries has sparked a number of theories. A ban on some Japanese imports until 1998 has been cited for delayed growth in its video game console market.
Origin of "Lineage"
The title Lineage came from a series of comic books with same title Lineage by Shin Il-sook, and the servers of Lineage are named after the characters of the comic book. It is a fantasy story where a rightful prince reclaims the throne from the hands of a usurper. When first created, the game closely resembled the original work. As developers have added new features, however, the fictional universes of the two works have gradually diverged.