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Lineage 2

NCsoft's third quarter report is glowing; WildStar's revenues are not

Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft's unaudited third quarter 2014 financial report is in. Do you want the good news first or the bad?

Let's get the bad out of the way. WildStar's revenues plummeted between the second and third quarters, down 42.9% (the sales units in the table above, please note, are in millions of Korean Won). Variable expense, NCsoft wrote, also fell "largely due to decreased box sales of WildStar." Guild Wars 2's revenues also fell slightly over the quarter, down 8.5%.

But the good news is that global sales and operating profit are very much up, up, up in total quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, thanks primarily to the continuing popularity of Aion and classic Lineage.

Lineage Eternal will be playable at G-Star 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, Promotions

Lineage Eternal
​NCsoft today announced that Lineage Eternal, first revealed back in 2011, will be playable at this year's G-Star con in Busan, South Korea. The third entry in the outrageously popular Lineage series was originally scheduled to head into closed beta this winter and seems to share more in common with Lineage 1 thanks to its isometric view and heavy focus on guild warfare.

MMO Culture reports that NCsoft MMO Project HON will likewise be playable and that the company plans to announce a "mystery game" a few days before the con opens on November 20th.

We've included the G-Star teaser vid below; it includes quick flashes of Lineage, Lineage II, Aion, and Blade & Soul too.

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Guild Wars 2 emerges unscathed by NCsoft's layoffs

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, WildStar

Last night's revelation that a large chunk of the WildStar team had been let go is not the only bad news to come from NCsoft this week. According to a letter sent to Polygon, the NCWest layoffs affected all of NCsoft's western branches... except ArenaNet, which runs Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars. Here's what NCsoft wrote:
Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.

WildStar and Guild Wars 2 boost NCsoft profits

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Economy, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, WildStar

The second quarter of 2014 was a very good time indeed for NCsoft, as the publisher announced today that revenues and profits are up thanks to WildStar's launch and Guild Wars 2's move into China.

In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.

As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).

NCsoft launches Lineage II's Ertheia expansion today

Fantasy, Galleries, Video, Lineage 2, Classes, Expansions, Lore, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Dungeons

Lineage II's latest expansion, Ertheia, launches today, bringing with it a new race (the Ertheia), two new classes (Ertheia Fighter and Ertheia Wizard), a new racial skill (Alchemy), new stats (Charisma and Luck), a level 99 instance (The Dimensional Barrier), and two new hunting zones for -- you guessed it -- Ertheia characters.

Former players can take advantage of a welcome-back promotion that includes a pack of goodies for veteran characters and a free mount for freshly rolled toons.

We've included some concept art as well as videos describing the lore and new classes below.

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Lineage II's new expansion to launch on July 30

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Expansions, Lore, Free-to-Play

Lineage II
NCsoft has announced today that its classic fantasy MMO Lineage II will be launching its next expansion on July 30. Entitled Ertheia, this free expansion brings new hunting zones, new adventures, and reveals the lore that explains the arrival of the Ertheia race.

"As the last of Einhasad's four original races (Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, and Ertheia) enters the playing field, they will join forces with the other races and Heroes of Aden to save their world, all a part of the continuing saga within Lineage II's epic storyline," according to an NCsoft press release.

Check out the video after the cut for more information on Lineage II's Ertheia.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

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Lineage II expands to Ertheia this summer

Fantasy, Video, Lineage 2, Expansions, Free-to-Play

Lineage II
NCsoft's popular Lineage II MMO announces a new expansion coming later this summer. Entitled Ertheia, this expansion brings with it a new race (the Ertheia), new hunting zones, and more.

"Ertheia, born of the wind, were created by the god Sayha," the game's lore states. "Renowned for their beauty, everyone longed to keep them near. But like the wind itself, they never wanted to stay in one place for very long, and suffered if they were confined. For ages, the Ertheia made their home in the Wind Spirit Realm, away from interaction with the Material Realm. But a catastrophic event has thrust Faeron Village into Aden. And now these graceful, deadly warriors find themselves engaged in a life-or-death battle against Shilen in a strange place."

Lineage II recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in North America and features NCsoft's Truly Free business model. You can find out more on the exmapsion by watching the video included after the cut.

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Lineage II classic server detailed

Betas, Fantasy, Lineage 2, Culture

Lineage 2
Lineage II will be opening a classic server to appease those players who miss the original version of the popular MMO.

This classic server will be a hybrid of C1 and C2, offering everything from the old inventory system to the old party system to the old skill system, and more. The open beta for this classic server is going on now for Korean players and will end on June 3. After beta, the classic server will be pay-to-play.

Lineage II turns 10 years old in North America

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

NCsoft's Lineage franchise has a lot to celebrate this week as the North American version of Lineage II turns 10 years old. Says the company,
During the past decade, millions of players have joined the fight to defend the realm of Aden from Shilen, the evil Goddess of Destruction, and her dark forces. During that time, players have experienced 21 free expansions, defeated more than 350 raid bosses, explored 450 unique zones, mastered 2,200 plus unique skills, and interacted with (meaning "killed") more than 10,000 unique NPCs and monsters, making Lineage II one of the largest MMOs in the world based on content alone.
The in-game celebrations will boast veteran packs and the Carnival of Aden, which includes login events, collection quests, special weapons, and weekend bosses. Happy birthday, Lineage II, and welcome to the short list of MMOs older than a decade!

[Source: NCsoft press release]

NCsoft relents on Lineage II's hero coin prices

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Economy, Patches, Free-to-Play

Lineage II
The outrageous -- and expensive -- Lineage II hero coin program is receiving a nerf in favor of the players. NCsoft announced today that it has reduced prices on "top-tier prizes" in the hero coin store by 40% or more. As an example, the Dark Amaranthine Weapon Pack has been reduced from 375,000 hero coins to 100,500 as a result of this change.

NCsoft also said that it will be giving players a hand with affording these items: "For those of you who might still be lamenting your inability to afford the reward items of your choice, take heart. We'll be introducing some special promotions both this month and in the future designed to help you increase your hero coin balance."

The launch of the hero coin program earlier this year was met with strong resistance and criticism for its exorbitant nature. Hero coins is a bonus currency that is given whenever a player spends real money in the game's store.

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #10-1

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Ultima Online, LEGO Universe, Runes of Magic, Miscellaneous, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

We're finally here: my top 10 MMO theme tracks. I anticipate that out of all of the weeks, this will be the most controversial, since not only am I proclaiming the 10 best, but you'll realize which of your favorite games I've left out of the top 40 entirely.

A final reminder as to my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31, #30-21, and #20-11. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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NCsoft boosts numbers in Q4 2013 while Nexon names new CEO

Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Legal, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft is thanking its lucky Blade & Soul these days, as revenues from the game's popularity in China have helped to boost its financial status.

In the recently released Q4 2013 earnings report, NCsoft announced that sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were up over Q3 2013. Overall, 2013 was profitable for the company as its income went up year-over-year. NCsoft credited a growing Lineage and a "strong" and "solid" Guild Wars 2 for this effort, as well as cost savings initiatives. While sales in Korea improved from 2012 to 2013, those in Japan, Europe, and North America all declined over the same time period.

Lineage is by far NCsoft's biggest earner, followed by Guild Wars 2, Aion, and Blade & Soul. The company said that WildStar is on track to launch in mid-2014 and that the key GW2 focus is not on an expansion but with bringing the game to China.

Meanwhile, NCsoft's biggest investor, Nexon, just named Owen Mahoney as its new president and CEO, replacing Seungwoo Choi. Nexon also announced a revenue and income increase in 2013 and acknowledged that it is underperforming in Japan and the West.

Lineage II's Hero Coin rewards program debuts to firestorm

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

Lineage II just rolled out Hero Coins, a new rewards system designed to give players who purchase items from the cash shop a little something extra. But the devil is in the details, and players in the official thread have expressed that the illicit RMT deals look sweet in comparison.

Here's how the program works: Players earn Hero Coins whenever they make qualifying purchases from the L2 Store or the L2 Galleria, with coins awarded retroactively for all purchases since November 30th, 2011. Sounds decent so far, right? But this is where the program loses its appeal for some players.

Hero Coins are not account-wide; they're bound to whichever character received the purchased item. On top of that, all Hero Coins expire at the end of every calendar year at 3:01 a.m. EST January 1st, so players can't accumulate them until they can make a decent purchase. And accumulate they must: There are items in the rewards program that equate to over $35K, but can be found on the black market for approximately $2K. For really big spenders, the top item converts to spending over $200K in cash in the store -- in a single year.

[Thanks to Ville for the tip!]

Lineage 2 launching Valiance expansion December 11th

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Lineage 2, Expansions, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Though the Goddess of Destruction failed to obliterate Aden, that doesn't mean all was destined to stay peaceful and quiet in Lineage II. On the contrary, on December 11th, old threats (including four returning raid bosses) will resurface and new challenges will arise when L2's newest expansion, Valiance, launches.

Beyond the evolving storyline, this expansion brings an assortment of new goodies for players to experience, including updated raiding systems, almost 80 new raid bosses, a new ability system, a skill system overhaul, and the return of the Gracia hunting grounds. Get a glimpse of what's to come next week in the new screenshots below.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

Check out Lineage II's newest race, the Ertheia

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Lineage 2, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Races

Lineage II
Lineage II fans will have more than just a virgin continent and additional raids to contend with after the game expands with Valiance; they'll also have a brand-new race called the Ertheia to play next year.

NCsoft officially revealed the Ertheia today, showing the fleet-footed "mystical" people to the entire world. So who are the Ertheia? Let's go to the official press release for help on that: "While a lot is still unknown about Ertheia and the impact they will have on the world, it can be rightly assumed that they will be quickly drawn into the ongoing conflict in Aden." Wait, that's no help at all.

The Ertheia won't be released until next year to coincide with Lineage II's 10th anniversary in North America. You can watch the reveal trailer after the jump.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

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