The old-time MMO scene will grow a little larger next month with the launch of Lineage 2 Classic, "a return to those days when 'hardcore' truly meant something," as publisher NCsoft put it. So that would be, let's see here... 2004.
Not exactly the Stone Age, then, but things were definitely different, and while I wouldn't necessarily say they were "better," the ongoing interest in World of Warcraft Classic and Old School Runescape shows that there's clearly an audience for that kind of throwback gaming. Dungeons will not be instanced, and open-world PvP means that you'll need to keep your guard up, because you'll be penalized experience points if you die.
It's not a complete reversion to the good old days, however. Lineage 2 Classic will remain free to play, with a new shop that will offer cosmetics, experience-boosting buffs, and other handy in-game items. Ahead of release, NCsoft is also offering a couple of Classic Launch Packs, one for $10 and the other for $30, with XP buffs, healing potions, and other useful and attractive in-game loot.
Lineage 2 Classic will open its doors on October 3. NCsoft will hold a preview livestream (and give away some launch packs, naturally) at 11 am PT/2 pm ET on September 28.