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Blade & Soul Coming to the West!

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Blade & Soul finally coming to the West! 

 

First impressions from the Korean version of the game, and the Atomix private server Closed Beta. 

 

450px-Bnslogo2.png

 

It has been almost three years since the massive multiplayer online martial arts role playing game "Blade & Soul" was released in Korea, and after three years of "optimizing the game for the Western audience", it will finally be coming our way!

 

When it was first announced, Blade & Soul differentiated itself from the other MMO's out there at that time (World of Warcraft), mostly in the sense of its combat system. Unlike your average day-to-day MMORPG in which you just click your enemies and bash a few buttons to cast some spells until they drop, in Blade and Soul every single fight with a hostile creature (or more than one) sort of feels like you're in a round of Tekken or Street Fighter.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEL59vRieW4

 

You actually have to pay attention during fights now, as blocking the enemy's attack and casting a counter spell at the exact right time can really pay off! 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXc8y9LwVY

 

During the 2nd Closed Beta (CBT2), I've gotten to play the (at that time a little bit wonkily) translated version by Atomix, and for the first time I felt like combat itself in an MMORPG was actually quite a lot of fun, as opposed to just the loot being "worth my while". As you perform certain combat moves (or cast spells, if you're the Summoner or the Force Master), the buttons on your action bar change accordingly, allowing you to chain certain moves together, creating "combos" if you will. The Blade Master that I played, and the Kung-Fu master, were particularly good at this, basically stun-locking every minion smaller than yourself in place more than half of the time. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V10fYklqHMY

 

The other most boring part of any average MMORPG is of course: walking (or riding your mount), and Blade & Soul has done something about this as well: you can run insanely fast! And although this uses up your stamina, every time you run through a gate or enter a dungeon for example, it will completely replenish, so most of the time that you're travelling larger distances, you'll go through enough gates or tunnels to almost be constantly sprinting. And there's more: you can even fly! Well... sort of. Besides being able to run very fast, you can also jump very high, and after you've jumped you can press a button to go into a weird Karate-kid stance that allows you to glide and travel large distances through the air.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpWmgu5AH1E

 

Finally, as if all that wasn't enough, in the largest areas of the world there are Dragon Streams, that allow you to go from one side of the area to another in a few seconds.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-XU6u58Emk

 

But other than the combat system and the speedrunning and "hang-gliding" around the world, Blade and Soul differentiated itself from all the other MMORPGs out there (at that time) in another (to me very important) way: it looks absolutely wonderful! And, although I'm not sure if I would still be in as much awe as I was a couple of years ago, with all the other fancy-looking games out there right now, the refined magicalness of the enormous open world and all its inhabitants is a special experience by itself. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIfHchxiFD4

 

Of course, Blade & Soul has all the other features you'll find in other MMORPGs as well: plenty of NPC's with an exclamation point or question mark over their head, all the dungeons you can hope for, and of course you level up your character, as well as your skills, stats, items, etc. A lot of the "looting" is based around collecting items, as there are many items that will give you stat boosts when they are combined with other items. For instance, most "pack-leaders" (the larger versions of basic hostile creatures) drop tiny pizza-slices that, when combined, form an octagon, and when you equip all 8 parts of the same octagon you'll get some very nice "set bonusses". 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9PyQ6heMnI

 

To round things up (and we haven't even discussed character customization yet!), it seems NCsoft has definitely put a lot of effort in the localization for Europe and The Americas with dozens of hours of English voice acting, and although it seems the game will also be free to play in the West (although it initially wasn't going to be, but a poll on their .com website a couple of years ago changed that), their monetization strategy (in the form of micro-transactions) remains unclear. 

Subscribe to the B&S newsletter at bladeandsoul.com to be kept up to date on future betas and release,

and if you want to know more about the game itself and start planning your character build, check out the wiki.

 

Below are some screenshots from my own gameplay in the Atomix.RO Closed Beta.

 

~Syrah

 

 

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Sources:

PCgamer.com

Atomix.RO BNS

Blade & Soul Dojo

Blade & Soul official website

Edited by Syrah

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B&S won't be coming out of beta here in the West soon. Most likely not free to play. The only thing that's interesting is the combo style combat, other than that it might just be another same-old MMO with a story.

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B&S won't be coming out of beta here in the West soon. Most likely not free to play. The only thing that's interesting is the combo style combat, other than that it might just be another same-old MMO with a story.

It says on official website that B&S will be released during this winter.

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B&S won't be coming out of beta here in the West soon. Most likely not free to play. The only thing that's interesting is the combo style combat, other than that it might just be another same-old MMO with a story.

As someone who has played on both the Korean servers and the Russian private server and knows the ins and outs of the industry, it would not be in their best interest to release the game as  a pay to play, considering the fact that the Korean servers are free and there's already a giant user base that is also English playing on the Russian servers.  They'd loose a giant fan base purely because of that, also keeping in mind that there are a lot of games already biting into the none click to kill combat system and doing well at it. On top of that the game has been in the harmonization stage for some time with no actual word until recently, the fanbase as more than moved on or gone to the Russian server.

From my perspective the story is good, not fantastic but good, I had fun playing it, in terms of the gameplay it is your same old dusty MMO, just with very pretty graphics, as far as questing and leveling is concerned obviously the Korean version is far more grind based compared to the harmonized version that will be released for the western audiences and so I can't really give my opinion on the direction they'll take that. 

Just be aware that any comparisons to how the game is in the Korean version will probably be fairly different to the western, it's just how it is, the western audience demands less of a grind based game and more "story" and interesting quest lines.

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This game is going to be F2P and absolutely F2P if you have watched the 2 streams with the Dev team from NCSoft which includes OMeed who was part of SoE and left for what ever reason or reason's.  They have said that there is not going to be any censorship with any of the character model's what so ever.

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I played on RU server... and im rly excited to play on west server, but I think it will take quite yet to be released, considering that is still in pre alpha stage :(

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