For every decent, innovative fantasy MMORPG out there, there are dozens of cads and bounders that simply snuck up on Lineage II, coshed it on the back of the head and stole its clothes. Thankfully for Lineage's brain-patterns, ArchLord, despite its semi-typical Korean MMORPG stylings, has some interesting ideas that don't involve the cool crime of identity theft.
The main hook, the real reason to sign up, is the ArchLord system itself. Boiled down, it's the chance for a single player to rule the server for a month, as the ArchLord. Talk about an incentive: one day you could be king. As long as you're in a guild who'll back you up, that is.
Such a reward demands sacrifice and diligence. Becoming ArchLord is no walk in the park: it needs at least 30 dedicated players working toward the goal for one of their number. This is perhaps the most important aspect of the ArchLord system: the teamwork. Without your guild you won't be able to make a dent in the uber-quests that await you. In a bid to create a new ArchLord your guild must sack all three castles that hold the mystical Archons, the keys to the ArchLord's power. You can see from the screenshot dominating this page that these artefacts won't be easy to get your hands on. Laying siege to castles requires resources, teamwork, organisation and patience. It's going to be a mammoth task to wrest control of the server from the incumbent.
There is also the usual MMORPG business of levelling up, character creation and personal glory, as well as a sense of guild responsibility in the ArchLord quest. If you're not a part of the main castle raid, there are other more typical MMORPG quests underpinning the final assault.
Is it worth the effort for a month of glory? New powers await, including the ability to tax villages and funnel the money into your own guild. You can curse other players, mediating the attraction of being a benevolent ruler with good old-fashioned personal animosity. The ArchLord even assumes a different appearance to other characters during his time in power: all spikes and armour. He also gains three epic bodyguards, presumably to take care of potential usurpers when he deigns to grace the server with his presence. He even gets a scaley, fire-breathing dragon mount to travel on. ArchLords will also find themselves in the server's history books, where they can be judged against those that came before and after. Did they serve the people or themselves?
There are some potential pitfalls: players who prefer soloing might not get all they would like out of a game so intent on gathering people for guild quests and mass assaults. Yet, underneath it all, this is still a traditional MMORPG, with orcs, elves and humans, buffs, quests and stuff to explore - so it's just as well there's a twist in ArchLord's tale. Without its central conceit, this game could have easily disappeared into the morass of lookalikes.
Co-operation will rule supreme.