Blade & Soul is the latest free to play NCSOFT MMORPG to be finally released in the West; it was originally released in 2012 for Korea, and it was eventually released in 2016 for the United States and Europe. It will also be released for Russia in the next few months.
The martial arts based fantasy MMORPG is set in a mythical world where the wicked Jinsoyun have arrived to unleash evil on the world. The player starts as a promising student at the Hongmoon School, and the journey begins when the Jinsoyun arrive at the school to search for the Twilight’s Edge.
Players have 4 races to choose from and then 8 different classes also; there’s also a range of professions in the game for the player to take up. All of the classes and their abilities follow the martial arts theme of the game and the races are all linked to various animal spirits. There are plenty of customization options available for characters through sliders and preset looks; the customization options are more detailed than in some other free to play MMORPGs currently available.
The combat system is fast-paced with counters, combos and also timers which can make mastering the combat in Blade & Soul are more complicated process than in some other MMORPGs currently available. These battles are in real-time and the engaging combat demands players make use of the combo system in combat, the fights cross standard MMO fighting with arcade fighting games gameplay. Players can party together to fight to complete PvE dungeons and can form factions which can fight enemy players in the open world; the player needs to be wearing a faction outfit to fight in the open world. Players can also compete in the PvP arena through the 1v1 duels and also in 3v3 combat.
Travelling around the world can be a very slow process and getting to new areas could take quite some time. Players can use teleportation scrolls which must be bought and also the Dragon Streams which take the player to difficult to reach locations however the player must be level 15 to use this. The only ‘free’ method of travel is on foot; the player can run at a very high speed and jump high with it. However this is controlled by a meter which only allows the player to travel a short distance before it runs out; once it empties the player must wait until a portion of it had regenerated before they can use the speed run ability again.
Blade & Soul is a story driven MMORPG and fans of the genre are sure to enjoy it. The combat in the game has a similar style to Tera with its real-time fast action combat, the game is much more action filled than most other MMORPGs and even new fans to the genre or people to looking to try the genre will enjoy this one. The story driven narrative and broad customization options make this game a decent RPG, combined with the combat and online elements Blade & Soul becomes a great MMORPG that only has a few weak points about it.