Blade & Soul launched at last on January 19th of this year for North America and Europe, after enjoying great success in Korea and China. This MMORPG features a linear but detailed storyline, a dynamic combat system, and a unique spin on PvP. Plus, it’s free to play, with paid members gaining special benefits and an in-game shop that allows players to spend real money on either cosmetic or gameplay items. It’s a game with a very anime story (and there’s even a spin-off anime!), but that doesn’t mean the west isn’t interested. In fact, they’ve netted over one million players in the west alone since opening day.
According to a press release from NCSOFT, over one million people have played the game since its launch not even a week ago. This includes free and paid players across both North America and Europe. From the press release:
"After achieving massive success in Korea and China, Blade & Soul was released on January 19, 2016 in the West, bringing a surge of players online to experience the epic story of revenge and innovative combat system of this free-to-play game. In the coming months, players can expect a regular cadence of content updates and patches to further enhance gameplay and the overallBlade & Soul experience. “The sheer enthusiasm – not to mention volume – of North American and European players that have jumped into Blade & Soul since launch has been tremendous,” said John Burns, senior vice president of Publishing at NCSOFT West. “Blade & Soul is one of the most exciting games for Western players in 2016.”"
The numbers were larger than NCSOFT expected, it seems–they’ve already had to add ten more servers (six in NA, four in EU) since launch just to accomodate the load, and that’s after implementing restricted character creation and free server transfers of certain items during the head start launch for certain paid players. Some queues have reportedly been insane, as well, though this has diminished in the last few days.
Questionable server management aside, it’s awesome that Blade & Soul has seen such success in the west, particularly as subscription numbers of certain other MMOs dwindle further and further. It will be interesting to see how these numbers pan out a few months from now, or even a year from now. The coming content will need to be strong to attract and hold consistent subscribers, even for a free to play. Best of luck, Blade & Soul!
Oh, and if you’re not sure if you’re sold on the game yet or not, check out our review-in-progress.