Understanding LuniaZ: 10 Years Later

While some games can be easy to review and critique, others get quite in-depth and complex, especially when talking about online games or MMOs. And even if this one is no exception, it gets even more difficult as LuniaZ has already had its development halted and the official servers shut down 10 years ago.

I’ve sunk thousands of hours into this game, so I understand better than anyone that it was far from perfect. That’s why I want to take you step-by-step on a journey to understand what made this game remarkable and what made it fail.

The Game

LuniaZ was originally known as Lunia: Record of Lunia War in 2004, but after a massive update in 2010, it was renamed to LuniaZ. Even though it is an MMORPG, the gameplay has caused countless arguments over the years due to technicalities.

Officially, it was a free-to-play action-arcade MMORPG. Every action in the game needed direct input from the player, while many other MMORPGs automated things like regular attacks.

Unlike other MMOs that had open areas with hundreds of players, LuniaZ was small and limited. The game was split into several instanced stages that only allowed a small party of 1 to 8 players at any given time, which is not massive by any means.

Development and Releases

A Korean company called ALLM began developing the game in 2004. However, LuniaZ had many publishers, one for each region.

First, it made its public debut in South Korea, published by Nexon. It later spread around the world with publishers such as:

  • Chinese Gamer for the Chinese server
  • OGPlaned for the European server
  • Level Up! Games for the Brazilian server
  • ijji for the American and global servers

The game had multiple releases as it was translated for other regions. There are no records for its original South Korean release, aside from betas in 2005 and 2006.

The English version of the game was considered the global version, which got into its Closed Beta phase in May 2007 and then transitioned to Open Beta in July 2007. The publisher, CDC Games USA, originally released the original English version of the game in February, but later changed to another publisher, ijji.

The Gameplay and Mechanics

The action-based gameplay with several combos has a great feel, and many veteran players used to say it was the best part of the game. Rather than using the mouse and clicking to move around, the player could freely move using the movement keys on the keyboard or gamepad.

Instead of clicking on the target to automatically attack, there are three keys that are used to attack. Each of the three keys has a unique variation of combos and moves for each different character in the game. Each ability has a place on the shortcut bar, and each has a number that corresponds to a slot that could be used in different ways by combining it with other abilities or attacks through commands.


The most impressive and unique part of LuniaZ was the combat gameplay. The game played like a fighting game with some RPG elements mixed in. For instance, to play at a high level, you need a lot of mechanical skill, but the skill floor is low enough that new players can still enjoy the combat and have fun.

The players could combo enemies on the ground or juggle them into the air with attacks and abilities. Ground combos throw enemies off balance so that players can chain attacks and abilities together. Air combos toss enemies into the air and add a multiplier to the damage done based on how high the air combo count gets, up to a certain limit. Though, for balance reasons, the air combo mechanic in PvP lowers the damage instead of adding to it, making matches last longer and keeping them more combo-oriented instead of just dealing raw damage.

ALLM later took the multiplier limit out of PvP and made it so that the damage from each air combo would decrease indefinitely until it was low enough to force the enemy out of the combo.


Each character has a set of base stats consisting of Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, and Intelligence. However, Dexterity, Vitality, and Intelligence have additional effects when the character matches the class’s main stats.

The extra effects from stats add lots of extra power, encouraging classes to gear up toward them. They also allow enemies to be stunned even if they are immune, making them easier to combo against.


Strength is the stat that affects the overall damage for all classes, adding minimum and maximum damage to the regular attacks and increasing a percentage of ability damage. In addition, the overall damage for basic attacks and skills was significantly boosted when Strength reached certain thresholds.


Dexterity increases the chance of critical hits, maximum regular attack damage, and decreases ability cooldown with no limit. This means that, technically, any character can have no cooldowns and a 100% critical chance on every ability if it gets high enough.

Dexterity-oriented classes get increased damage for critical hits and critical chance, along with a higher bonus to the cooldown reduction.


Vitality increases maximum health for all classes. Vitality-oriented classes have their critical chance and damage boosted on top of the extra health.

The classes that use vitality as a main stat usually aren’t flashy. Instead, they were quite slow with abilities that hit really hard. And due to the health bonus, they were incredibly hard to kill.


Intelligence increases maximum MP, critical damage, and healing amount for abilities. Intelligence-oriented classes also get a bonus for their critical chance. The characters focused on intelligence were all spellcasters, except for Arta.

The MP increase was crucial for Intelligence characters due to their spell-casting nature. This meant they could cast several spell rotations without running out of mana, sometimes allowing them to go through entire missions without using mana potions or waiting for the mana to regenerate.

The Game Modes

The game splits itself into two sections, PvE and PvP. The PvE portion consists of several elements:

Meanwhile, PvP has multiple game modes with customizable match settings and an adjustable number of players. There was nothing unique or remarkable about the PvP itself, apart from the game’s combat.


Episodes are a big part of the game’s main story, and each stage moves the story forward with increasing difficulty. Some episodes have additional stages unrelated to the main story to help with level progression, like arenas with waves of monsters for grinding.

Raids are more complex than regular stages and last longer, often with unique equipment or equipment sets as a reward. Typically, there’s a simple story that connects a Raid with the related episode. Only up to eight players can access Raids, and entry requires a key.

Bonus stages are just stages with little to no story. However, these Bonus Stages helped with character progression through equipment and offered a greater challenge than regular episodes. At release, they were considerably harder to beat and quite fun but got easier due to power creep from stronger equipment later.

Last but not least, LuniaZ’s endgame is Myth. It has its own set of rules and a different type of gear exclusive to this game mode. Myth was extremely challenging at release due to equipment differences since enemies were absurdly stronger than anything else present in the game.

ALLM later added Devildom as an extension of the Myth game mode that uses the same exclusive gear to add to the endgame progression. The missions were more elaborate than Myth missions, which made them more interesting and challenging.


PvP was the game’s main focus at first, with stages only being a means to an end. Stages helped players level up their characters to fight each other in PvP, as the game had no actual PvE endgame for a long time. Since ALLM made the game as an arcade fighter focused on combos, it was more appealing to people who liked fighting games than to people who liked MMORPGs.

LuniaZ PvP has two separate game modes. One is an objective-oriented, large-scale PvP that allows Myth gear. The other modes are mostly deathmatch, with either all parties fighting at the same time or one party fighting each other one person at a time.

Players usually prefer the modes that enable them to play one-on-one against each other. The one-on-one PvP allows players to take full advantage of the combo and air combo mechanics with no outside interruption, reinforcing the appeal even more for fighting game players.

Each PvP arena offered a different challenge for the players. Some arenas were tight and small, with a clean area to fight around. Meanwhile, other arenas were big, with several obstacles and even traps and holes for environmental kills.

If you’d like to see a bit of LuniaZ gameplay and how the PvP worked, then check out this video. I recorded the video together with a friend before the servers shut down.

The Progression

LuniaZ’s character progression is linear and straightforward, and it doesn’t add anything new to the genre compared to other games. Players are awarded experience points by completing quests, killing enemies, finishing stages, and a few side activities, which allow them to level up their skills and base stats.

However, unlike other games, players can only pick which skills or spells to level up. Base stats increase based on your level, so there’s little build variety. Each level adds some base stats and a single ability point that the player can use to level up abilities from a list.

As players level up, they can equip stronger equipment and unlock new stages to move through the episodes. This made the PvE gameplay loop cut and dry, with little to no variation.

Endgame Content

After a big patch, when the game turned into LuniaZ, ALLM added the Myth stages, a rebirth system, and an achievement system, among other things. When a character used the rebirth system, it unlocked the Myth stages and more powerful abilities, but only for that character.

Myth Progression

Myth is the LuniaZ endgame and requires the most grinding of any content in the game. It requires players to replay each mission several dozen times to make a small amount of progress.

When you play Myth, the game strongly suggests that you use equipment that is only available in Myth because enemies have a big stat boost. Otherwise, players could easily die on a single hit, while also taking many minutes to kill a single monster. The Myth gear is a progression on its own, as it is separate from the regular stages and very much required to progress through Myth.

Each Myth has little to no variety, making the grind get boring very fast. The stages are primarily long corridors with tons of monsters that only allow progression when you’ve killed everything. Luckily, upgrading the gear allowed players to speed up the grind significantly for each replay of the missions.

Older gear became obsolete every time a new Myth was released because the stat difference was simply too big. By the end of the game’s life cycle, power creep was an absolute mess because of this.

Rebirth System

The rebirth system added along with the LuniaZ patch allowed players to reset their level back to 1 with added benefits. The players gained higher base stats, more skill points, a few new skills, and access to Myth stages and gear when using rebirth.

There is also a cosmetic change to the character, as the model gets bigger with each rebirth. After using the rebirth system several times, the characters gain a pair of blue, ethereal-looking wings on their backs that grow and change depending on how many times they use the rebirth.

Later, some customization options were added to the wings, letting players choose from a few different colors that they could earn through achievements.


The LuniaZ patch added achievements to the game, but none of the achievements worked retroactively. This meant that veteran players had to play through old content again to finish the game, which was inconvenient and boring.

Each achievement gives a certain number of points, which is shown by the number of stars next to a player’s name. The achievement points only served to increase your ranking on the achievement ladder, which had no rewards.

Some achievements gave players titles that they could add to their display name. Meanwhile, some achievements awarded achievement coins that could be used as extra currency or to change the color of their wings.

Overall, the achievement system was a cool idea but poorly implemented. Some achievements were fun to unlock, and some had great rewards. However, replaying old and low-level content wasn’t really exciting for veteran players.

The Equipment

As an MMORPG, the equipment in LuniaZ was a massive part of any character build, and sometimes had more impact than the character level. Each character had two sets of equipment: common equipment and cash shop equipment.

The equipment was what set veteran and hardcore players apart. Good common gear was easy to obtain through regular gameplay, but fully upgrading it was nearly impossible without cash items. Also, cash shop gear gave a considerable stat boost with no level requirements, and even made some skills stronger through upgrades.

Common Equipment

LuniaZ’s common equipment consisted of a set with several armor pieces, a single weapon, and some accessories. The common equipment could be upgraded in various ways:

  • Fortification
  • Light fortification
  • Grading

Every type increases the character’s stats, some more than others. However, Light Fortification also added a cosmetic change to the equipment, making it glow brighter the more it was upgraded.

Some equipment had set effects that allowed for some build variety and interesting combinations. However, most sets were either picked for their looks or their raw stats.

Myth equipment was also equipped in the same common slots as other equipment. This made it mostly mandatory that every player have two different full sets.

Cash Equipment

Cash equipment was a separate tab that emphasized a more aesthetically pleasing appearance than standard equipment. It consisted of the same parts as common equipment, too. The only difference was an additional slot for a pet.

This is where ALLM really started showing their greed. Initially, cash equipment had no stats or a negligible amount. Over time, they got increasingly stronger, to the point that there was even Myth-exclusive cash equipment due to power creep issues.

Every piece of cash gear could be upgraded through cash shop items for additional stats and bonus levels to skills, allowing skills to go above their maximum level. Competing head-on against someone with a cash set fully upgraded was difficult due to the massive gap in stats.


Most pets could only be acquired through the cash shop. A few were available through other means, but they weren’t anywhere near as strong as the cash shop ones.

Pets provided the character with stat bonuses as well as a buff. The buff’s strength was based on how well-fed the pet was. Regular items would only reach a certain cap, so you could only take full advantage of buffs if you fed pets with cash shop items.

The stat increase wasn’t that much of an issue, but it still contributed to the game’s power creep problem. On the other hand, the buffs were a serious issue. Some cash shop pets allowed any character to reach 100% critical chance with increased damage, boosting their DPS by a significant margin.

The Community

Even though LuniaZ was an MMORPG, it didn’t offer many meaningful ways to interact with other players, which is considered one of the main draws of most MMORPGs. The game launched with a Guild system, a friends list, and a limited party system. Then, ALLM added a family system after some updates.

Every social system was character-oriented instead of account-wide, which limited player interaction even further. It required players to keep track of every single character from other players, throwing account-wide functions out of the window for no good reason. Also, there is no main hub in the game; instead, it has split hubs named Squares with a very tight player limit for each of them.

Social Systems

The friend system was very robust, allowing players to add each other to a list that displayed their online status and level. But unlike other games, it does not require confirmation from the other player, meaning players could add whoever they want with no notification or limitation.

The Guild system also has no interesting features, but it is more developed than the friend system. Guilds allowed players to communicate via a guild-exclusive, server-wide chat, and it had a store with some gameplay benefits. Guild leaders could choose to upload an emblem to represent their guild, which was displayed along with the guild name under the character’s name.

The Family system was added much later into the game to facilitate new players getting into the game. It was designed to encourage new players to level up by offering multiple rewards and bonus experience, but it also assisted veteran players in leveling up new characters and re-leveling after rebirth.

Player Interaction

While the game certainly lacks ways to gather larger groups of people to interact with each other, it still offers multiple ways for players to interact when together, either for fun or efficient communication.

There were different emotes for each character. Some emotes are static, while others are fully animated and even loop, similar to the dancing emotes. Emotes have some similarities between them, but several emote animations are unique to each character, giving them more personality.

During stages, players could use voice command lines to quickly say something with their character’s voice and personality. Each voice line and delivery was different for each character. Some voice lines were for banter, while others were for communicating low health and other similar things.

The Story

Sadly, there is not a lot to say about the LuniaZ story, as it is very bland, predictable, and clichéd. Characters display a lot of personality through gameplay interactions, but when the game displays its narrative through the story and dialogue, they fall flat. Villains and enemies are often uninteresting and very one-dimensional, with little to no development throughout the story.

Understandably, ALLM added a generic story to the game, giving context to the players as they moved through stages, but it was often detrimental to the experience. It got in the way of players with unskippable cutscenes or events in some stages, causing them to take much longer than necessary to complete them.

The Characters

There are several characters in LuniaZ, though only three of them were present at the launch. Throughout its development, 14 more were released, for a total of 17. Multiple characters had their own unique way of being unlocked, as most of them were not available from the start.

While almost every character offers a mix of physical and magical abilities, they tend to have one primary type while the other is just a compliment. They also have a main class stat that adds many benefits. However, there is no customization in character creation, as each character has its own unique looks and personality.

New Character Releases

ALLM attempted to tie new characters into the lore through the story with new episodes and stages. However, they eventually gave up on the idea and just released new characters without properly adding them into the lore, making some feel out of place and out of nowhere.

The first three original characters, Eir, Dainn, and Sieg, got a lot of screen time and story development, allowing their lore to be fleshed out. But even then, they were not that interesting, and most of their stories had little character development.

The last few character releases felt even worse, as they got only a few missions, or none at all, to introduce themselves. It made them stand out as unpolished and underdeveloped in terms of lore.

Character List

There is no proper documentation or archive for the character release dates, so there is no way to tell precisely when each was released. It’s also particularly difficult to sort the releases because they vary wildly from region to region due to different patch cycles. However, the release order stayed consistent on every server.

Below is a list of every character released in the game, alongside their class, main damage type, and main base stats, ordered by their release date. Additionally, there’s an image attached for reference to each character.

The Technical Side

This game is no technical marvel in any way, but it has withstood the test of time, with the gameplay still holding up strong to this day. The same cannot be said for every aspect of it, however, as the graphics definitely are a product of their time.

The anime style and cell-shaded art add to the game’s presentation, with a unique aesthetic and cartoonish look. However, the models, textures, and special effects have low quality and resolution, showing just how old the game really is. The audio has nothing remarkable about it, as it does what’s required of it but doesn’t exceed the minimum.

There were also several bugs throughout the game, though they were mostly harmless and none were game-breaking. The problem is that they lingered for a very long time because patch cycles were lengthy and usually only for content rather than bug fixes. Eventually, development stopped, and the game was kept on life support for a long stretch with no fixes for bugs that stayed in the game for years.

The Downfall

Lunia: Record of Lunia War was never a big hit, whether due to a lack of marketing or public interest; it was one of the main reasons the game was discontinued. And even when the game was released as LuniaZ with all of its massive changes, it did not grab enough people to keep itself alive for long. However, even if that is the biggest reason, several more kept piling on top of each other that never got fixed or just got worse over time.


At first glance, the most apparent aspect of the game’s failure was its monetization model. It was free to play from the start, but it always had in-game transactions for real money that directly benefited players and character stats. Many MMOs died because they let players buy straight stat increases with money. Additionally, even back then, there were loot boxes present in the game.

While many free-to-play games rely on selling cosmetics or conveniences like experience boosts, the general public never favors selling stat boosts for money. Most items in the cash shop that provided significant advantages couldn’t be acquired in any other way, if not by paying with real money. This particular issue only got worse over time as they added more powerful and more expensive things while never lowering the prices.

Lack of Updates

Another key reason for the game’s failure was the massive gaps between updates, which left the game without any fixes or content for several months. It made some problems worse and made both new and old players less likely to play.

The game completely stagnated in its development after the release of Myth, which power-creeped every other piece of content in the game. If unrestricted, every stage apart from Myth ones would become obsolete due to the power creep, since even the lowest tier of Myth gear had too many stats.

Each patch took ages, and when they finally came around, they usually only introduced a single Myth stage with some gear, alongside a new character. There was no actual endgame apart from Myth farming, and Myth stages were only a stat check.

The Myth stages themselves were straightforward, only requiring enough damage to kill enemies fast enough that they did not kill the player first. Later, some Raids and other stages had enemies that were stat boosted to allow Myth gear usage, which is one of the laziest ways to add content to a game.

Absence of Social Interaction

The social aspect of any MMO is critical to its growth, and it was severely lacking in LuniaZ. This part of the game seemed like an afterthought, as the game launched only with instanced missions and hubs and never changed all the way to the end.

The hubs were split up into several Squares and lobbies. This made it harder for players to meet in one or two places, and more likely that they would stay in their own Squares. This kept players apart unless they happened to meet in the same Square after completing a mission.

That’s not to say that limited hubs or instance-based missions are a bad thing. Other, more successful games like Warframe or Grand Chase are great examples. These games managed to build a huge player base and have a significant online presence even with limited player interaction.

No Developer Communication

The absence of care for their community is another key factor that played a part in turning players away from the game.

ALLM, the company responsible for developing the game, has always kept quiet about its development. They never actually communicated with their players or responded to feedback. The lack of communication created a bad image for the company, painting them as someone who isn’t concerned with what the players want and only wants more money.

The Conclusion

LuniaZ was never a great game from the start, but it was unique enough to have a great chance on the market with its action-oriented combat system and complex combos. Even after a difficult release, many old and new players got interested in the game after it was re-released as LuniaZ with fresh and re-balanced content.

Ultimately, ALLM failed to keep their players around after LuniaZ due to the massive gaps between patches, lazy content, and its primarily pay-to-win model.

The game was left on life support for several months with no updates or content until December 2013, when they finally decided to pull the plug on the official servers, ending LuniaZ once and for all. Though the game still lives on through private servers with small communities, new content for the game was never again released, either officially or unofficially. All that’s truly left of the game are the memories I and other players made while it was at its best.



I’m a professional freelance content writer. Check out my portfolio for more info here: https://www.bossiwriter.com/

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Emerson Bossi

I’m a professional freelance content writer. Check out my portfolio for more info here: https://www.bossiwriter.com/