To The Grindstone: Lineage II Is Now Free

Pay for premium items to skip the grind! Realise you have unlocked more grind!

Prep your nose because it is in for one almighty workout. I’m not talking about sending anyone to the Christmas party of a major investment bank, I am instead alerting you to Lineage II’s abolition of subscription payments. The MMO which Tarantino and Rodriguez paid such mixed and seemingly irrelevant homage to is now yours to try for a total cost of no pennies and only three decades of your life. The Goddess of Destruction add-on provides plenty of new content for existing players as well, details of which are scattered around here. NCsoft trumpet that no content is hidden behind paywalls but shortly go on to blither that the usual premium items will allow for speedy progression.


  1. cafe says:

    So whats the catch? Is there bonus content you can pay for? Premium hats? Level Cap of 40 instead of 30? If it’s just another one of these ” it’s free but not” things that are happening lately i’m not interested

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The Catch is that you have to play Lineage 2.


    • D3xter says:

      I’m not prepared to live with that catch… also the title “To the grindstone” is oh so so right :P

    • cafe says:

      Sooo really nothing you’ll have to pay for? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind free to play systems like in TF2 where the paid content doesn’ affect the game balance. It’s just that in MMO’s when you pay for something like a level cap or extra equipment it does make a difference in how strong you will be in the game.

    • Kevin says:

      Made me all sad-faced with that comment, Kieron.

      Actually really enjoyed my time with Lineage II coming from the original Everquest. Coming from what was the gold standard of MMOs at the time, my buddies and I tried out both the betas for Lineage and WoW, thinking that Blizzard was in way over their heads and that WoW was going to be their first stumble. Needless to say, many shoes were eaten a couple of months down the line.

  2. Heliocentric says:

    The best F2P/ P4F game died because it relied on skill and gameplay. It was too good for this world.

    *Pours a 40oz*

  3. cliffski says:

    it is NOT FREE. Can we now stop calling this cynical bullshit ‘Free’. it’s no more ‘free’ than Gratuitous Space Battles is free.
    There is a non-time-limited demo. Whoopdy-do. They are still charging you, they just don’t charge everyone the same amount. Hurrah. The only truly free games are hobby games, abandonware and advergames.

    I’m sick of people trying to pretend their multi-million dollar products are ‘free’.
    I may re-label all my games to be ‘free-to-play’ because they have demos too,.

    • Belua says:

      Bad mood? :)

      While I agree that there is no such thing as a free lunch MMO, I’d say they have a lot more to offer than a typical demo. For casual players of MMOs or similar “Free to Play” games, they often have more than enough content to actually be like a free game to them. This of course is not true for more serious/invested players, who are still charged in one way or another. In that light, I think it’s unfair to just call them demos.

      That said, I agree that calling it “FREE”, “F2P” or whatever is misleading bullshit. We’d need a new term, something like “light version”, but with a less stupid sound to it.

    • Was Neurotic says:

      Obviously, an F2P hater, so enraged by the fact that he doesn’t have to pay money to play something, he totally fails to read about or attempt to understand the facts.

    • Necroscope says:

      It’s free to load up and play but of course there are restrictions to advancement. The most spurious terminology of recent years has to be ‘next-gen consoles’.

    • cliffski says:

      “so enraged by the fact that he doesn’t have to pay money to play something”


      You dont have to pay money to play millions of games. protip: search for “gamename + demo”.

      It’s just people offering demos don’t claim them to be something they are not.
      I think ‘F2P’ should be renamed ‘PayAsYouGo’. It’s way more accurate.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I recommended renaming it “Flee to Ploy”

    • Metonymy says:

      Freedom, and words we don’t agree with, partners forever!

    • Astroman says:

      League of Legends is free, they charge for skins. Team Fortress 2 is free. Maybe Gratuitous Space battles needs hats? (And a Caesery/Evony style browser based mmo mode.)

    • vecordae says:

      Cliffski: “Free to Play” isn’t the same as “Free”. Nothing dishonest about it. Calling a Free to Play game a “Time Unlimited Trial” or a “Demo” is technically correct depending on the game. However, words like “trial” and “demo” when applied to a service or subscription-based product have taken on a lot of negative associations over the years. Many of those associations have nothing to do with the gaming industry, but they are there all the same.

      See, we are constantly bombarded by scams and rip-offs that offer “free trials”. It’s gotten to the point where people will start to subconsciously reject a service outright if it offers a free trial. Somewhere in their head that phrase means that their “free” stuff will cost a lot of money and will be a hassle to deal with. You have to give them credit cards information and pay hidden fees before you can even start.

      Demos are an old video game staple, but they tend, with a few notable exceptions, to be severely limited in what they allow the player to do. While “demo” still has a lot of positive associations when it comes to single-player games or multi-player FPS’s, there is a feeling that offering a limited demo of a big, open game means that you can’t do any of the fun stuff.

      Labeling a game as “free to play” implies a great deal more freedom than a traditional demo while side-stepping the feeling that one needs to go through a lot of hoops to play the game. It means you can play as long as you want for free and that you’ll never be charged for a copy of the client or for the privilege of simply logging into their servers.

    • Amun says:

      I’m with cliffski, but I think he shouldn’t be so angry about Lineage 2. Namely because there are different categories to these “free” games:

      Former paid game — the more laid-back type. TF2, Lineage 2, others. These are the same game, but now free. Usually features paid perks. Not always deserving our scorn.

      Designed to be F2P — The annoying type, usually ends up being Pay-2-Win. Almost always deserving our scorn.

  4. fuggles says:

    What am I missing here then Cliffski? You can play the game completely for free with no level cap or domain restrictions, only you can pay to level up quicker. So for myself, who would not pay to level up quicker, the game is free. Compare to a game, such as GSB, which I have to pay to play the endgame content and surely it is free?

    I don’t play MMO’s, and I’m not about to play through this one and the lineage 2 website insists it’s free, so what have I missed?

  5. Kdansky says:

    And I am still baffled that people play a game where the only activity you can do is grind, and then pay money to be able to grind faster. Either the game is worth playing because it’s fun to play, or it’s not, and then why are you playing it? Which means that “+50% exp” items are completely pointless in both cases.

  6. Uglycat says:

    I played L2 (and two-boxed) until I realised that I was playing an Excel spreadsheet with graphics.

    I haven’t been able to do an MMO since as all I see are the cells…

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Once you go down the rabbit hole there is no going back.

  7. Zaphid says:

    Funny thing is, L2 is way more ambitious than any recent MMO with the exception of Guildwars 2 it seems – player politics, castle sieges, organizing raids across multiple alliances, no hardcoded factions and ability to kill anyone anywhere. Shame it was buried under so much grind only small amount of people ever got to experience it.

  8. Curvespace says:

    Free to play or pay not to play. It’s the new thing all the cool kids are doing.

  9. fuggles says:

    My comment has been overshadowed in all the anger, so why is this not free to play?

  10. cliffski says:

    how about ‘free to grind’?

  11. Temple says:

    NCsoft are certainly pursuing the pay-as-you-go model in its different forms.
    City of Heroes (which is still one month’s subscription for $1/£0.59 on free accounts until … dunno sometime this weekend I think) has started to sell… whatever we are calling them… those things that help you level quicker, convenience items?
    There are already plenty of ways in the game to level ridiculously fast though so not a game breaker. The game is fun at early lvls and unless you subscribe you cannot play the real endgame content anyway.

    Some powersets are locked unless you purchase them, some are included with subscription, but even without paying you get access to plenty different powers to try out and most of the content is open.

    Spent £50 this weekend buying things that you can earn in game (enhancements), and if I’d been playing for years would already have a lot of. This way I can spend my time playing the game rather than playing for drops. May do the same when I get home from work tonight after I work out if I need them. I can agree with anyone who says £50 is a lot on ephemeral items, and that is why I just this moment hesitated over buying more, but while playing this I don’t pay for any other game (execept every indie bundle apparently) so it is all balanced out in my head.

    CoH does not need to be paid for long term -I’ve just finished a month on free and enjoyed myself plenty. Create a free account now, buy the months sub and activate it when you have the free time in the later months -you can explore the game for free for a bit then activate the code when you are ready. Then go free again and you can still join Supergroups/Clans, send tells and have access to anything else you bought.

    Yeah, I sound like a PR person, but I think it is a good game, runs on my old old laptop and is on a great deal at the moment -would it help if I say the game can be boring sometimes and you are left wondering why you are doing this? So like real life then.
    Good community as well -until the F2Pers break it probably :)
    ( though each server seems to believe every other server is evil)

    • Necroscope says:

      You are a PR person aren’t you?:)… then again all consumers who talk on forums and the like are part of the PR of a game company…

    • Temple says:

      If I could have gifted the codes I would have handed them out like candy to RPSers
      But was not able to gift , and you all seemed more interested in a certain space mmo that was in beta recently I think :)
      So I have a few free accounts to create and dual/triple box when I get a new pc. The craziest I heard of was of someone 6 boxing, all Mastermind characters (pet handlers such as Thugs, Ninjas, Robots), with Gang War running on all toons he could summon something like 84 minions to fight at once.
      I sometime feel I’m becoming as one track as Wulf…

  12. rustybroomhandle says:

    Grind is a big MMO cussword, and it’s normally not what I would choose to spend my time doing, but I have to confess that I enjoye/d the grindy gameplay of both Ryzom and Wakfu. Why is that? I shall consult the oracular pig.

    • cocoleche says:

      Same here. I like the quest grind in WoW, the dumber the better. It’s like some sort of meditation, where you can switch your mind off and get lost doing repetitive “work”.

      Too engaging stuff almost turns me off nowadays, I’ve got enough adrenaline-pumping things to do in real life.

    • vecordae says:

      Chop wood. Carry water. Do this ten times for 30 xp.

  13. sana says:

    This the one with the hot elves?

  14. cliffski says:

    “Spent £50 this weekend buying things that you can earn in game (enhancements), and if I’d been playing for years would already have a lot of. This way I can spend my time playing the game rather than playing for drops.”

    sounds like buying a game, except it cost you £50 instead of £30, and you still don’t have the whole game.
    Whatever you call it, it doesn’t sound ‘free’.

    • cocoleche says:

      “sounds like buying a game, except it cost you £50 instead of £30, and you still don’t have the whole game.”

      What constitutes the “whole game” in MMOs depends on the player. Some people just want to fish and chat with their buddies, if they can do this without paying a premium, the better.

    • Belua says:

      Also, one could argue that (up to a certain amount you pay) this is substantially cheaper than the accumulated cost of subscription over a year, two years, etc.

    • Temple says:

      Ah, but you did not have to do it like I did. You could have subbed at £8.99 for the last 7 years and be fully stocked by now and just playing the end-game (and fooling around with the newbies, seriously it is a great community) for a continuing £8.99 a month.
      OR you could let your sub lapse -and if you had paid for 5 or 6 years you would have enough ‘rewards’ to pretty much play the rest of the game for free except for th Incarnate high-end game stuff.

      I am subscribing for the foreseeable future (until NCsoft probably does something seriously pay-to-win and blows the game up) and wanted some goodies (which I could have got with some work ingame). Buying the goodies has boosted me up the Reward tier and got me some nice little bonuses (that had already been created and all Veterans to the game have) making low levels even funnerer-er. I like to think I’ve paid them for work already done, others in-game seem to think they will encourage NCsoft to make more content if they support it this way.
      [I think they just show NCsoft that we will buy anything -people are hitting the spending cap, which is so high I do not want to think about it]

      I have hate for pay-to-win, the recent Dark Orbit thing seemed like that, but so far nothing has been.

      You are absolutely right in calling it, and most F2P mmos, a demo, and if anyone complains over limitations to the free account (to stop real world traders spamming chat basically) I happily join the chorus telling them that ANY payment gets you more functionality. So pay about £3 (normally) just once for any amount of points and become someone who can join clans and chat easily. Now you’ve paid £3 for a game that is a lot of fun and has a lot more content than most indie games where a lot of people think that price point is great.

      ps: I also bought your game and have never played it (laptop wouldn’t) ‘cos you seem kinda cool sometimes (though I did wait for a good sale recently)

    • cliffski says:

      What laptop video card did you have? GSB runs on almost anything, in my experience.

  15. ffordesoon says:

    Sorry, Adam (I would say “Mr. Smith”, as I don’t know you, or “Adam Smith”, but both of those sound slightly creepy to me for some reason), but this is driving me nuts, because I genuinely can’t figure out what you’re talking about here:

    “The MMO which Tarantino and Rodriguez paid such mixed and seemingly irrelevant homage to”

    I’ve read the article, run a CTRL-F search, everything. No dice. Is this just a pun I’m not getting or something? :?

    • MD says:

      Don’t take my word for this, because I’ve neither seen Grindhouse nor played Lineage 2. But I think it’s just a play on Lineage 2’s reputation for involving lots and lots of ‘grinding’ for experience points.

    • FKD says:

      MD: I feel stupider for having read your comment. Not because it was a bad comment but because just like ffordesoon I had NOOOO idea what was be refered to up there either, and what you say just makes so much sense that for almost a whole minute I sat there after reading what you said and then gave a short “Huh.”

      Just thought I would share that. And thanks for pointing out what I imagine is the correct answer because it was driving me nuts too! :D

    • MD says:

      Haha :)
      You’re welcome!