Can one of Korea’s most popular MMORPGs make the same kind of impact in the West? NCSOFT is hoping so, unleashing its action-oriented martial arts title Blade & Soul today in North America and Europe.
Already a hit in Korea, China and other Asian markets, Blade & Soul has been localized in three different languages — English, German and French — for its Western debut. It retains the same epic story as the original, though NCSOFT did use some beta test sessions in the U.S. and elsewhere to tweak some thing specifically for the new release. Company representatives at a recent press tour in New York City told GameSided that some game systems will be slightly different, and feedback from testers led them to ratchet up the difficulty a bit overall.
That’s significant because of the way Blade & Soul eschews MMORPG staples like cooldown-based skill rotations and the Holy Trinity class structure in favor of fighting game-style combos in its combat. Players want to be able to pull off the full combo chains they learn, making fights that end too quickly undesirable.
As for the game’s setting, here’s how NCSOFT describes it:
"Blade & Soul delivers an engaging story and vibrant world for players to explore as they seek revenge for the death of their slaughtered Master by the wicked Jinsoyun. Featuring martial arts inspired gameplay and mystical movement abilities, such as gliding through the air, dashing on water, and running upon walls, the game’s fast-paced and fluid action-combat system combines perfect timing, defensive skills and combo moves for players to develop their fighting abilities for the ultimate strike."
“The launch of Blade & Soul is a significant moment and represents one of the most important online launches for players in 2016,” John Burns, Senior Vice President at NCSOFT West, said in a press release. “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.”
Though the game is free-to-play, people who purchased Founder’s Packs have been able to get a head start on name registration (with each name unique to the North America or EU “server universes,” not just a single server) and gameplay. At launch, the Western version of Blade & Soul will have a level cap of 45, the first three acts of a story that is already up to part seven in Korea, the 1v1 PvP arena, two epic-level dungeons and more.
On top of that, NCSOFT has the benefit of working from the previous launches of the game to plan out its first batch of content updates ahead of time. In the coming months, players can look forward to the first seven floors of Mushin Tower to test their PvE skills, two more dungeons with exclusive rewards and the Silverfrost Mountain expansion that will open up a new continent and bump the level cap to 50 — and that’s just for starters.
If any of this sounds like you particular cup of gaming tea, you can jump right into it now that the Western edition is live. Head to bladeandsoul.com to get more info and download the game.