Lineage II screenshot
Last week in Choose My Adventure, you voted for what kind of character I should make. I dutifully rolled him up and set off for fantastical adventures in Lineage II. Today, I bring you a dungeon video, many screenshots, first impressions, and even a livestream. It's a multi-media extravaganza! And we're also on to the next round of voting for what direction my character takes.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. I had to start out at the bottom of the barrel. For the first 20 levels, I called Talking Island Village home, until I was transported to the mainland and a little town called Gludio. I discovered, among other things, that there are many tantalizing spots to see in the game -- if you are willing to travel off the beaten path. These spots are well worth the layover, especially if you have a powerful-enough machine. As old as Lineage II is, it's strikingly gorgeous. I didn't dawdle for too long, as I had some leveling to do, and I made a few discoveries along the way.
Lineage 2 screenshot
As it turns out, you can indeed reach level 20 in about an hour, but my climb to 40 is proving to be a little more challenging. I managed to reach level 20 with my male Dark Elf Fighter, but I had to skip reading flavor text, avoid talking in (or reading) the chat window, and generally rush myself. The faster I try to level, the less fun I have, and seeing as how the quests have players ignoring a large portion of the Island, I couldn't resist going on a walkabout.

I found amazing scenery sprinkled all over the Island. I feel a bit sad for the artists who designed such lovely vistas only to see them be skipped over in favor of leveling fast. There are a couple of spots that players need to revisit after they near the level cap, but there's still more that will never be seen by human eyes. I have a feeling I'll find this to be the case for areas on the mainland. The gameworld is large, and the Path to Awakening is just one route among many.

With my Island adventure over, I packed my level 20 bags and headed for the town of Gludio. While there's some chat spam on the Island, Gludio is the true hotbed of goldsellers. Between the goldsellers' word-balloons and the many players milling about, I found it a little tough to navigate via the point-and-click method Lineage II uses. Thankfully, the quest markers pointed me in the right direction through the sea of characters. After some fast-travel teleporting to nearby Windmill Hills, Ruins of Agony, and Ruins of Despair, I was nearing level 30.

Lineage 2 screenshot
These hunting grounds had me doing kill quests that required some high body-counts. The areas are really well-designed, and I had to stop for pictures, but they also felt very much like grind farms. Both ruins looked somewhat identical, but Windmill Hill had a more pleasant, farmland atmosphere, asside from the lizardmen, orcs and giant spiders, that is. I was halfway through my Windmill Hills quest when I realized I hadn't claimed my Path to Awakening freebies.

It was easy for me to skip past 20 without stopping to visit the website and claim my level 20 rewards. There was no prominent ding reminder, and I had to leave the game to claim the rewards. I also forgot to claim my stylish bamboo hat that every player gets for starting a character. Better late than never. The level 20 potion turned me into a slicing, dicing machine for an hour, which helped me grind some levels. Being familiar with the F2P model, I was intrigued to see what other power-ups were offered in the cash shop. Speaking of the cash-shop, I should point out that Lineage II has two separate stores: the web-based L2 Galleria and the in-game L2 Store. I haven't explored much of the stores and what they offer yet, but I'll be getting to that in a future article.

I'm now in my early 30s and having a tough time continuing with the hinted-at fast climb to 40. I've gotten all quests except the Kamaloka quest out of the way; I'm guessing more quests will open up if I can just complete that one. The Kamaloka is a dungeon of sorts, one you cannot enter unless you are in a party. Even with the mass of players, I found myself sitting around for a full hour shouting, "LFG Kama 26." This is where the disclaimer "online experience may vary" comes into effect. You may get into a group right away -- or not. Unfortunately for me, I am finding long waiting periods each time I log in. I've already failed at obtaining levels 20 to 40 within two hours by a long shot.

This leaves you with some options to vote on for what I do next. Do I continue waiting for a group to finish this quest, or do I move on to grinding and exploring the world? Do I stick to the Path of Awakening or explore some other towns and follow the path less-traveled? My level 40 class transfer will be coming up as well, and you can decide whether I specialize in ranged or melee combat. Also, I found out about a quest I can do to get a pet wolf. Should I embark on a side trip to get this pet? The downside is it will take me off the Path to Awakening for a little while and keep me from leveling faster. The upside is: It's a pet!

Lineage 2 screenshot
Get to voting (you have until Friday), drool over the awesome quality of the video I made of the starter dungeon, flip through the screenshot gallery, watch the livestream, and keep an eye on the MV Guide to join in on my livestream next week.


Should I stay on the Path to Awakening?
Uh, yeah!109 (46.8%)
Nah. Go sight-seeing.124 (53.2%)
Should I shop around for a clan?
No, stay solo.92 (40.7%)
Yes, join a clan.134 (59.3%)
Which level 40 class transfer should I pick?
Abyss Walker (Melee)119 (50.2%)
Phantom Ranger (Ranged)118 (49.8%)
Do I need a pet?
Pet? /squee143 (61.1%)
No -- it will keep you from leveling.91 (38.9%)

Jeremy Stratton needs more MMOs to play. Seriously. The imaginary doctor who lives in his head gave him a prescription. The problem is, he's too flighty. He never knows just what MMO to try or how long to stick with it in order to get the most of it. That's why he needs you to tell him what game to play and how to play it every Wednesday in Choose My Adventure!

This article was originally published on Massively.