Lineage (video game)

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Designer(s)Jake Song
Composer(s)Joey Newman
Platform(s)Windows, Mac OS X
  • WW: September 3, 1998

Lineage (Korean: 리니지) is a medieval fantasy, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in Korea and the United States in 1998 by the South Korean computer game developer NCSoft, based on a Korean comic book series of the same name. It is the first game in the Lineage series. 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 features 2D isometric-overhead graphics similar to those of Ultima Online and Diablo II. Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, a "prequel" set 150 years before the time of Lineage, was released in 2003. By 2006, the Lineage franchise had attracted 43 million players.[1] Project TL, a sequel will be set after Lineage and will be the last game in the Lineage series.

In May 2011, NCSoft announced that due to unprofitability, the North American Servers would be shut down on June 29, 2011.[2]


Lineage's stat, monster, and item system was originally largely borrowed from NetHack with MMO elements added.[3]

Players can choose one of seven character classes: Elf, Dark Elf, Knight, Prince, Magician, Dragon Knight, or Illusionist. Princes are the only class that can lead a blood pledge (which is Lineage's term for a guild or clan).

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 character's 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 similar to a clan in other games) players become eligible to engage in castle sieges or wars between bloodpledges.


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.[4]


Aggregate scores

NCSoft reported that Lineage had at one point more than three million subscribers,[7] 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.

As of April 2008, Lineage had a little under 1 million active subscriptions.[8]

On May 11, 2011, NC Interactive, the subsidiary of NCSoft in the United States announced it would shut down the Lineage servers (3 at that time) because of poor subscription revenues. Various events were scheduled to take place in the weeks remaining. Players were given free subscriptions to other NCSoft titles of their choice. As of June 29, 2011, Lineage has shut down all servers in NA, permanently.

Between the start in 1998 and August 2012, NCSoft had accumulated $1.3 billion in sales revenue from Lineage.[9] In November 2013, NC Soft announced that the game had made $1.8 billion.[10]

Lineage M[edit]

Lineage M is a mobile port of Lineage developed by NCSoft. It was released in South Korea on June 21, 2017.[11][12]


By June 2018, the game had generated more than $1.2 billion in gross revenue.[13] As of July 2020, it has grossed $2.8 billion.[14]


  1. ^ David M. Ewalt (2006-08-02). "The Best-Selling Videogame Franchises". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  2. ^ "Lineage servers shutting down in the West". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. May 11, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  3. ^ pm, Justin Olivetti | | June 7th 2011 at 8:00pm June 7th 2011 8:00. "The Game Archaeologist traces his Lineage: The highlights". Engadget. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  4. ^ Squire, Kurt; Constance Steinkuehler (2005-04-15). "Meet the Gamers". Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  5. ^ "Lineage: The Blood Pledge for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "Lineage: The Blood Pledge for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. ^ MMOGChart Subscribers
  8. ^ 1Q FY2007 Earnings Release(Consolidated) Archived 2007-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "K-game's spark in European market". Embassy of Republic of Korea to the United States of America. August 24, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  10. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (27 November 2013). "Fifteen years in". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  11. ^ "'Lineage M' set to break mobile game sales record". The Korea Times. July 24, 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  12. ^ Chapple, Craig (August 6, 2018). "Lineage 2 Revolution follows Lineage M in breaking $1 billion barrier". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  13. ^ Harris, Iain (June 21, 2018). "Lineage M breaks $1.2 billion in revenue a year after release". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  14. ^ Chapple, Craig (August 11, 2020). "Top Mobile Games by Worldwide Revenue for July 2020". Sensor Tower. Retrieved 2020-08-13.

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