When players come out of a dungeon and are finally able to put everyday MMO routine aside, it’s turn of other things to catch their attention. One is not only entertained when killing epic bosses, right? People love finding something related to their own experience in games too, so projections of the history of the real world onto the game universe help the developers to connect users with their creation.
There’s a thin margin when saturating a game with meaningful homages so it won’t feel forced or lazy, but if it’s done properly, I feel like it’s at that point level design could be called a work of art - or at least a research of art. Noting the little things such as references to real locations in game architecture allowed me to perceive the environments of Lineage 2 as alive and rich as they were intended. Let’s get started with some of the most well-known examples.
A benchmark for gothic architecture, Notre-Dame de Paris was surely a huge point of inspiration for the designers of Einhasad Temple in the Town of Giran. Or was it Notre-Dame de Chartres? Notre-Dame de Reims? The temple blends perfectly with Lineage’s medieval city and produces the overwhelming impression on seemingly any player. The building serves the similar religious purpose and even has the crowds of players in front of it - to get the quest or make a screenshot.
In the same town just behind the cathedrale you can find a strange lovechild of Taj Mahal - take a look at how it’s placed on the platform wee bit above the water, the column ensemble around it - and The Reichstag - notice the dome color and its hellenistic entrance. An unexpected combination indeed, funny how they managed make it work.
Stonehenge may seem overquoted as almost any game has some standing stones which one may consider indirectly influenced by the original prehistoric monument. Multiple stonehenges scattered around the map of Lineage 2 are another instance of how educated use of architectural references may help to develop the game’s narrative. When one stumbles upon a stonehenge, on low levels especially, these landmarks make you feel so small, which evokes the sense of awe of the long history that they - and the world itself - must have.
Another frequently mentioned pile of stones - the Coliseum - is replaced by its more castle-y and gothic arena counterpart.
Following up on dissection of biblical references on moodboards of Lineage designers, Tower of Insolence bears a heavy resemblance of Tower of Babel. It was built by Emperor Baium to gain eternal life, which is pretty related to the authentic myth of people of Babel trying to construct a building tall enough to reach heaven. Baium at least got what he sought for, but at the price of losing his mind, which again mimics the story on how people lost the ability to understand each other by the might of god.
Finally, those in love with cross-overs may have noticed that is definitely inspired by depictions of fortified city in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Like Minas Morgul or Minas Tirith, Rune castle is a multi-level fortress built in rock created for months of defense. One can add Goddard Castle and Schuttgart Castle to the list of supposedly Anárion’s creations as well, particularly taking into account other references to Middle-earth like mooneye similar to the Eye of Sauron.
I’m certain that I missed other buildings linked to something outside of Lineage 2. Or maybe you know what influenced architecture design in your other MMORPGs?