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Fans finally have the chance to experience the amazing gameplay

I’ve waited so long and played the other clients so much that my hype for this game died. Right before release a spark hit me that got me excited for the 19th… So much so that I bought a pack to get a head-start. The head-start was pretty brutal as well with queue times that lasted several hours. If you weren’t premium and chose a highly-populated server, don’t expect to get in at all. There were lots of crashes that would put you back in queue after waiting five hours to get in.


NcSoft has launched Blade and Soul, it's Korean martial arts MMO, in the west. Both North America and Europe are able to play online now. “The launch of Blade & Soul is a significant moment and represents one of the most important online launches for players in 2016,” said John Burns, Senior Vice President at NCSOFT West. “Fans finally have the chance to experience the amazing gameplay, distinctive action and dynamic combat that sets this game apart from others on the market.”


It’s no secret that the Assassin lacks counter attack and defense skills. It is then highly beneficial to an assassin player to be constantly in control of the enemy, having them exactly where he can hit them the strongest. On the upside, assassins are more than amply skilled in crowd control which gives them great leverage in dishing out poison and whatnot. And while completely capable of causing great harm to its targets, assassins are mostly able to do so while on stealth.


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Only certain classes are available to certain races, so you need to select who you play as carefully. For example, the tanking Gon can only play as a Kung Fu Master or Destroyer, whilst the Lyn can only choose between a Summoner, Force Master or Blade Dancer. The initial character cap for Blade & Soul is level 45. The seven classes from which players may choose include classes like the ranged Force Master, the Summoner and their fierce Pet, and the precise and reactionary Kung Fu Master.


Questing, as you might expect for a 3 years old game from Korea, is fairly standard. Get quests, kill critters, head into dungeons, hand in quests, move to the next zone. Quite a bit of back and forth and a really odd layout for the zones, at least the first two that we saw, where instead of entering a zone and having quest givers nearby you would have to walk through the areas for a little while to reach these places, essentially walking past all the creatures you were going to have to come back to to kill; an odd layout.


It’s unfortunate, then, that these side quests don’t deviate too much from the old MMORPG formula of killing or collecting ten pigs or carrots and going back to the quest giver for more experience points and gear. They don’t exactly make for compelling game play sequences, and veterans of the genre may well find their eyes glazing over at the familiar motions they’ll be going through.


Blade and Soul both looks and sounds good, and it has a story that drives the action better than many MMOs. I enjoyed it much more than Guild Wars 2, if only because the graphics are sharper and the action more satisfying. At the edges of the game, the hectoring for money, the gold farmers and the insistence on grinding remind us that while they have been heavily influenced by World of Warcraft and other recent Western RPGs, NCSoft’s MMOs represent a markedly different and specific concept of design.