Blade And Soul came out to NA/EU after 5 years of wait...
The game itself was very short and in so I'll reflect this review to be the same... or not. Here's a good example of what it feels like going through the grind.
What I liked about Blade And Soul:
and of course
What I disliked about Blade And Soul:
1/Subliminal Pay to Win
2/Useless Crafting System
3/Daily Quest Cycle/limits
5/Way too much Crowd Control Effects.(Could be a good thing, up to you I personally just don't like it, whoever lands CC first wins!).
6/Multiple Chars = Supreme character growth.
7/Themepark MMO.(Where endgame only matters. Always find this to be a bad concept if endgame only matters MAKE THE PLAYER START THERE.)
With these points listed out, I'll explain each one.
Environments - The game is extremely beautiful in it's environments sometimes just floating around in areas can just be enough to take in the rich graphics the game has to offer and the areas to run around in.
Combat Feel - While this doesn't describe all of gameplay it describes a part of what makes up gameplay. Combat feels good, stuns and headbashing and slams, stabs kicks and the like feel like they make a real crunch or bonebreaking feel to the game where most games have dull sound effects that make a cheesy experience. But in Blade and Soul attacks and effects and sounds + particle effects make the fighting experience thrilling.
Outfits/Costumes - While the game has many outfits for you to chase after it is a bit "limited" in a sense, which is another issue I dislike about the game being that outfits are 1piece costumes that you can't really pull apart and mix and match in games like Vindictus or Black Desert where armor pieces are split into head/body/leg/arm etc. While there are plenty of outfits Blade and Soul only has outfits in the pieces of body and headgear. That's it. There's no armor sets! I like that there's TONS of outfits just that... I wish I could swap parts of costumes out and mix it with others.
Those are the positive things I enjoyed about it, unfortunately there were more things I disliked about it rather than liking the game sadly that's what it's boiled down to after 5 years.
Subliminal Pay to Win - The game's premium feature, I gave it a shot and put some money in to see how much of a gap I would be gauged upon free players. The gap is enormous. If you start playing with Premium service since Day1 by the time you reach 50 and beyond you'll be at least about 10-30g richer than a free player.
Why? Because you gain money for every monster you kill/party kills when you have Premium Service enabled, free players get nothing except EXP. Not only that you also gain EXP from quests at a larger rate(20% bonus I think?) than Free players.
If played with the Marketplace listing limits a free player has vs. a premium user that gap can be extended an extra 50-70g by Level 50 because Premium users can list more items per day than a free player and if you just sell everything... and you should because of a...
Useless Crafting system - The game has an extremely pointless crafting system, at first I went and tried to be self sufficient and went with 3 chars and had all crafts unlocked except Silver Cauldron since it was useless and probably still is at level 50 content.
The moonwater transformation stone recipe was a horrible 36g in the first few weeks of the game, possibly more or less now but there's only a few listings of it at the time from what I remember and is an extreme rare drop from the Brightstone Ruins.
Why is this bad? IT'S THE ONLY WAY AND FORM OF MATERIAL YOU CAN USE TO UPGRADE YOUR EQUIPMENT PAST A CERTAIN POINT. Not to mention the craft itself is time gated by about 24 hours, and most of the crafts in Blade And Soul are time-gated behind hours and hours of wait. Crafting is the ONLY way to make Moonwater Transformation Stones unless you want to fork out real $$ on the cash shop during events and hope RNG boxes spit them out for you.
The same goes for Silverfrost Transformation stones, just accentuate that madness and price by about 10 fold.
Do that crafting or pay 4-6g EACH on the Market by the insurmountable possible bots that mass farm these things every day and players selling them in the mix.
But anyways the worst part about it is it being time gated, you'd be much better off making 4 free accounts and making 5-8 different chars and craft the same thing of one type if you want a lot of something like 5-7 moonwater pickaxes for instance,
and then just log in and out and switch to all your chars and queue them up for 20 hours to farm this one white cedar sap to wait another 12 hours to make a moonwater pickaxe that only works once to mine 1 mineral node and then breaks which yields you anywhere from 1-6 moonwater quartz. (Hold those pickaxes for huge mineral piles they'll give you 3-6 quartz).
Which is really stupid.
Why stupid? Think about all the botters in the game, what do you think is going on there? This time-gated system not only hinders legit players it BENEFITS bots by a billion, shuns new players to not even bother with it as the game develops and makes the system altogether worthless.
NCSoft claimed there were over 2 million players active in Blade And Soul at some point. I told myself no freaking way. If I could rank 2000 something in my Force Master class in PvP(and I freaking suck, hate the PvP and am a PvE-oriented player) that means the other 1.9 some odd million players are pure trash. THERE'S NO WAY I would never believe I'm in the top 1 percentile as I know I'm not that good and admittedly so know my own faults of non-commitment to the competitive scene within BnS. I would gauge myself in anywhere in the 150k-200k rank or unranked crap since I don't play it competitively in any sense.
But no here I am halfassing PvP arena and my class rank is like 2011 and all time ranking 18,908 with people telling me how to play the class when I don't even care how to play my class. I only did PvP to get Soulstones so I can progress in PvE faster than at a snail's pace.
Or perhaps something more believable is probably 80% of that 2 million is BOTS.
In any case its not worth the effort to ever put time into Crafting in Blade And Soul, you're better off doing PvP arena dailies with 5 chars each day and make yourself over 2000 zen beans on each of them then trade them in for 30 soulstones at gold rank which isn't hard to obtain since there are so many botters in the arena itself.
On average I made about 210 soulstones every day or two. 150 from PvP arenas every other day from 5 characters 30 each and then your faction quests in the 45 areas of Misty woods which yields an extra 19 if you do all of them + the tomb of exiles daily run. That's how boring this cycle went about is that I can even memorize what the activities were.
===What Blade and Soul is in a nutshell before Level 50 content.===
And by about 3-4weeks in I had a True Pirate Bangle stage 6 and can amass soulstones easily for any other char. I thought WOW players playing 1 character are screwed so hard.
You can alternatively sell those soulstones going at about 20-37silver each, meaning every 3 soulstones is about 1 gold, and every 30 soulstones I get from trade-in from Zen beans daily thats about 3 gold each char, on top of the 40 daily quests that I blitz through in about 2 hours per char through the Blackram Supply chain 24man map and then nightshade harbor when it released already completes about 20-23 of those quests, if the bosses aren't even spawned don't bother wasting your time waiting for them(they aren't on timers btw you have to kill the other bosses a certain amount of times and the leader boss Poharan/Hae Mujin will immediately spawn 3 minutes after their announcement which is normally about 9-12 boss deaths in the map), just kill the 3 bosses and if the leader boss doesn't spawn finish the rest of the killspawn daily mobs get your gold rewards move on to Mushin's tower climb 1-7f and another easy 2-3 gold.
Totalling about 25-27 quests done on one char the rest go to your faction dailies and then a few undead areas which are quick and yield about 20-30 silver on average and takes about 2 minutes, can easily make over 50g a day and just reach endgame everything really quickly.
But that's the thing about Daily Quest cycles and limits, multiple chars that grant you supreme character growth but with 50 content out now most of that becomes obsolete because it's a Themepark MMO.
Themepark MMO's is a genre I dislike a lot especially when there's almost no deviation in the path to or at endgame. Games like Tree of Savior is somewhat Themepark MMO but there's a lot of collection chests to find along the way, event dungeons, puzzle dungeons, field bosses, group dungeons, multiple off the side areas to explore and look for items and sets or special items to give to an alt since multiple chars in Tree of Savior actually can be logged in at the same time in 1 account. But this isn't about ToS this is about Blade And Soul.
All the quests and bosses in Blade and Soul was go here and kill that go here and collect that from that monster which requires you to kill that. None of the quests made use of the wallwalking or air sprint that you have or VERY LITTLE I mean if you want to be nitpicky sure there's Bloodshade Harbor and a few other things but being adjacent to nothing is still nothing. There is no scaling or platforming involved(or well there is in the Cinderlands if you really count that one dinky little area that's floating in the sky, that's a pathetic 1time thing and a few instances in Silverfrost).
Blade And Soul doesn't have any of that aforementioned aspects that Tree of Savior has. I only made the comparison to illustrate a point about one sort of Themepark MMO(ToS) vs a full on dull Themepark MMO(BnS) in these particular features.
Blade and Soul's Viridian Coast serves at a tutorial area really, and once you're past that you'll head to the Cinderlands, beyond that you'll reach Moonwater Areas and finally you'll settle yourself down at Silverfrost Mountains.
Get the picture?
Viridian Coast = Tutorial,
Cinderlands = Extended Tutorial,
Moonwater = The Actual Tutorial
Silverfrost = Endgame.
I can guarantee you Cinderlands is absolutely deserted, Viridian Coast is full of bots or noobs and completely empty. Moonwater you'll see people struggling with the tedium grind of daily quest cycles as illustrated previously above.
If you jump into Blade and Soul just do all your Main Quests up until Moonwater, don't even bother with the sidequests they don't speed up anything. I went on the EU server and made an Assassin there, got to level 48 in 3 days starting with 0 bronze/gold/silver 0 help, no extra chars, no premium as a complete free player utilizing what I said previously.
This was the result after 3 days of playing
Gush/Blitz yourself to Silverfrost ASAP forget all your sidequests, buy all your equip as you can(as in the materials needed for upgrade since you never need to replace it), use the survey keys to get the equip you need most that you can't find on the side dungeons that NO ONE queues up to do anymore in the Cross Server list on the lower areas and yeah you'll make it there in less than a week.
I skipped ALL my sidequests if they were very much out of the way and by the time you reach 43 pirate map cycles will unlock, do those everyday finish your main quests, climb mushin's tower if you can(it's a DPS check tower) and start doing your main quests in Silverfrost Mountains as they give like 36k+ exp or something, whereas the areas before only grant a few thousand. The exp gain leap is enormous.
The slower you get there the more you're falling behind. And this is why most Themepark MMOs suck, they make early content, mid content completely obsolete and useless, and extra waste of disk space, not only do they do nothing with it to make incentives to go back and revisit them they're just left there static and untouched throughout future updates. Because bizniz.
The game also forces you to PvP if you want to speed up your character growth, and you'll need it if you want to PvE which I find is utterly annoying. If you want Soulstones PvP(either via Faction daily quests or Arena) or never progress further in PvE and be locked in crap gear that'll bar you from doing any dungeon in a party or have people kick you or not want you in party etc.
Buuuuuuuuut that's about it and all there is to Blade And Soul, I personally don't like the horrible CC fest that is the PvP of Blade And Soul 1v1.
I get that others like it but I don't I'd rather have more dodges than CC where CC should be very punishing, not have few dodges and tons of CC.
A destroyer has about 3-4 Stuns at its disposal along with 2 knockdowns and all CC invuln spin2win stun(except Freeze), an invuln to all CC, except KD, aura that grants +100% crit chance and bonus crit dmg for 6sec, has a parry stun spin to chase runners in combat in arena and most classes have only 1-2 stun escapes. That's not the idea of balance guys. It is so easy to run 11 win streaks like this, from a mega loss streak to 11 win streak just after tweaking my skills to not be PvE anymore and just straight disables since stats don't matter in the Arena. You can literally win a fight within about 6-7 seconds after a destroyer exhausts an enemy's escapes with 2 stuns or so. LITERALLY. I've been on the receiving end and the one who dispenses it as well of this strategy.
Went from 12 wins 17 losses to suddenly 23 wins and 17 losses just because I decided to throw away my build for PvE and switch my skills to PvP and because the game requires you to pay real $$ or hongmoon coins for A TEMPLATE page (which is ridiculous btw).
If you like to wombocombostomp someone in Blade and Soul go play its 1v1 PvP, don't forget you're also at the mercy of someone else's wombocombostomp too. I think it's heavily unbalanced towards certain classes.
I feel the game's 3v3 PvP is a lot harder and balanced since you can interrupt someone's combo by joining in to do 2v1 temporarily or 2v2 temporarily in a 3v3 tag match or completely stomping someone out of the fight early. Don't go to Blade and Soul for it's PvE experience, you'll be sorely disappointed by being suckered into a daily quest cycle(which I heard is much like TERA's endgame which is why I keep saying BnS is just TERA++).
Here's a video of how I'm stunchopchopping. Go on you can do it too and be broken~.
The game is 5 years old, and there are newer games out there that have much more coming and many more to do whereas the NA/EU version is very obviously playing catch up to the KR version and the fact that NCsoft announced "new content" every month will only last half a year or less before they go radio silence on the players and just milk your time/money. Had the game come sooner(like 2-3 years earlier) maybe it'd be a difference. If anything it feels like they're pumping adrenaline into a deadhorse for a quickbuck because I don't see any large content update coming other than a supreme grind elongated by very little content and recycled activities that all resonate the same experience.
I played it only to make sure I wasn't being inexperienced about it. Darned if I didn't play it and darned if I did.
I'm not even going to bother with the Soul equipment slot. LOL if you find out how terrifying that is in a grind then good luck!.
Other things to note:
Destroyer doesn't need crit in PvE, just stack defense, hp and block, why would you ever need crit when you have attacks that boost your crit rate to 100% and a skill that enables 100% crit chance. The ultimate class of Blade and Soul.
Force Masters are glass cannons
KFMs are probably the only thing balanced in the game and when played by a skillful person will have a great fighting chance against all classes.
Assassins just go invis and kill everything PvE you can probably solo everything if you just have high enough AP, and then boost your accessories to do more crit damage, piercing and crit chance your invis can be juggled infinitely if you're smart about the build and you'll never trigger any aggro from monsters since.. . you're invis!(DUMB.). Basically every fight is a DPS check, if your invis cycle runs out(which is really unlikely if you have the right build) and the boss is still standing, well you don't have enough DPS.
Summoners are supposedly the cancer of Blade and Soul.
Warlock... never heard of it. I heard a GM had to set their attack to 26k or something because they couldn't kill Junghado and had to 1 shot him after modifying their AP to showcase the warlock. That sounds like a great skill every player should use when playing Warlock...
Blademasters the flashiest class of Blade and Soul that ... is subpar.
Blade Dancers the ballerinas of Blade and Soul, they must have a ton of blade and soul to do that and not Daze themselves.
Soulfighter, I guess they started moving away from Blades.
When fighting a boss whoever does most damage(or threat) has boss aggro, anyone who doesn't think so doesn't know what they're talking about.
Thanks so much for reading!...
Also in the story all your npc friends die.
End Verdict: How do I feel about Blade And Soul?
It's a game that had a lot of promise but waited way too long to come over here and I'm only filled with dread and my dreams and hopes crushed. The trailers over the years depicted something else but after playing the game it felt nothing like what the trailers showed from what I remember and I can even pull them up since I have them saved from conferences like GStar back in 2009 etc. and such.
The themepark MMO definition has never been made more clear than by Blade and Soul.
Other Aliases the game runs by is Bots and Sellers or Boobs and Souls.
As always comments are welcome! Please keep it civil among each other is all I ask thanks.