Blade & Soul - First Impressions - Page 3

Posted Thu, Sep 13, 2012 by Ethec


Here we must learn humility, so the masters here defeat us, putting us in a down state. Blade & Soul’s take on defeat is among the best I’ve seen yet, and I was pretty high on Guild Wars 2’s full set of last gasp abilities, ineffectual as they usually are. “When you’re down,” Steve explains, “you have three different options. You can try to crawl out of aggro range and use meditation to revitalize yourself.” Ostensibly this only works against NPC opponents. “You can also request help, and anyone in the area can revive you. But then you can also teleport to a respawn point.”

After regaining my feet, the master advised us to eat food to regain health.  As for other consumables and pseudo-consumables, Steve noted that players can use skills, money, and gems to repair and improve weapons.

Without giving away too much, the aforementioned ultra-evil comes-a-calling in the form of Jin Seo-Yang, a former student of Clan Master Hong and the game’s primary villain. Jin turned to the dark side in ages past and forced Hong to defeat her. Resurrected by the “dark god” with a ravening hunger for a priceless possession of Hong’s, she’s back, with only half her soul intact, stylishly dripping dark chi, and more powerful than ever. Consequently, aged Hong makes a noble sacrifice to save our totally overmatched character. In short, the story turned out to be much more affecting than I’m used to in 20 minute demos, even if it atmospherically follows the first few steps of the classic Hero’s Journey to a T.

But the transformation from lowly cook’s assistant to elite fighter doesn’t spring from a spirit of vengeance alone, and after a long fall into the ocean from the airy confines of Clan Han Moon, our character comes under the protection of a fisherman in Bamboo Village. Not yet ready for prime time, she’s assigned the duties of ammo carrier as the nearby village mysteriously comes under attack from an enemy clan.

Blade and Soul Martial Wing  Blade and Soul Emerald Village

Things get even more serious in Emerald Village and beyond. (image gallery)

Fast forwarding a bit, Steve took us to Emerald Village, the first major city area players will come across and one under attack by what looks like zombies, for a look at some more advanced combos. Each carried a uniquely striking visual effect and tactical possibility. For example, Steve noted that the Force Master’s Force Choke ability allows you to ground-and-pound and opponent or toss them away from you for some lightweight crowd control. You could say that much of this seems derived from Star Wars tropes, but I think the developer would argue that both Star Wars and Blade & Soul are in fact drawing on the same distinctly Asian mythos.

Apart from the combos, what I first noticed that quests appear in fairly linear order, each assigned a sequential chapter number. Those who don't appreciate Guild Wars 2's reliance on dynamic events might be pleased to learn that I didn't see something comparable in the entire demo, short though it was.We left our character stemming the zombie tide as the demo period expired.


We had time for a few questions, and I had to huffily ask what Steve meant by saying that Blade & Soul was in the process of being balanced for the Western gamer. “When I talk about balancing for the Western audience, I think of game dynamics – not the gameplay or the story, but experience curves, rate of reward, that kind of thing.  In Korea the leveling curves are a lot longer than what we like in the West.  We’ve been trained on Diablo and we just like lots of loot, too. Lockout timers are a lot less severe too,”  Steve insisted that these changes wouldn’t fundamentally change the game or the game’s challenge. “We’re just making some slight changes to meet the specific expectations of different audiences.”

It seems likely that we won’t see Blade & Soul in the Western market before 2013, despite some optimistic speculation of a fall launch. Steve also noted that NCsoft, like most publishers we met at gamescom and PAX this summer, is evaluating the viability of all revenue models – free-to-play with a cash shop, box-to-play, etc. – and will choose whatever makes sense for the market.

Our thanks to Steve Levy and the Team Bloodlust division of NCsoft for our first look at Blade & Soul.

In light of NCSoft's recent anti-Western antics (i.e. abruptly shutting down the healthy City of Heroes of franchise and firing the 90 employees of US-based Paragon Studios to help bolster its Asian market games), I'm trying not to laugh as they serve us up this tripe. If this is where the company plans to show "a realignment of company focus and publishing support" then they can shove it. I hope Western market consumers are smart enough not to purchase Blade and Soul in light of NCSoft's penchant for dumping games to support their bottom line, regardless of said game's track record or loyalty of the fan base. I think it’s pretty obvious that Blade and Soul represents yet another super-generic fantasy grindfest in an already oversaturated market.

City of Heroes? Seriously? With other, more recent and even free superhero mmo's on the market now, did anyone even play that game anymore? I'm guessing they dropped it because who wants to play MMO pong.

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That looks like Lucy Liu the same way I look like Jason Statham.

Thank God for NCSoft, I was salivating over the thought of playing another generic Korean Fantasy grindfest MMO. This will surely join the ranks of Aion and TERA; both of those games were wildly successful and considered smash hits by North American and European audi- I can't even bring myself to finish that sentence.

More Korean dreck.

I think this looks like a really cool game. I look forward to checking it out.

If you want an MMO within the same genre, WITH STABILITY... Don't go NCSoft. Although the Perfect World franchise isnt a much better choice, it is the better choice none-the-less. NCSoft has a colorful history of developing intoxicating, yet addictive, games and dropping them like a bad habit.

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I always like your blog post because you always come with different ideas and information. I always shared your site post with my friends. Keep posting and i will follow you.

To all the haters of this game, don't play it. Sorry but played other games and so far B&S is by far the game changer, love the Korean version so I can only imagine how the NA release will be. PPL just need to stop bashing on every game that isn't that boring World of whiners or TERAist lol

Sorry but COH was bound to shut down, it was running on fumes DCUO killed that game upon release so get over it.

Having played the korean beta for a bit, I couldn't understand anything being said, and the gameplay by itself was enough to make me want to buy this the second it releases. Anyone who likes both fighters and mmo's will buy this once they get a taste.

its sad that ppl say such bad things about the game, though it is really awesome and the looks and grafich makes the game more fun to play. i mean when i see on other sites all the ****comments then im getting sad, its like they wanna make the creators sad for making an awesome game, but of coures if theres fans then theres also haters.

i just hope they stille wanna release it in the west even though some ppl, just dont deserve it but their are fans who waited many years for this and they deserve to play til their hearts conten,

anyway i hope it will come soon and stick with what all the fans think not what a hater who cant see the beuty in the game. dont judge a book by its cover as i say :3 hehe

and ps to all the hater (if theres any) = w =)/ if u hate it so much then dont play or watch the videos more simple cant it get.

Peace out

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Blades may be used to scratch moving the blade sideways crossways a shell as in an ink eraser slightly than along or from side to side a surface, they are also to cut and dismember things.

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