Blade & Soul is finally coming West

Although I’m somewhat inclined to think it’s a little late. It really depends on what payment model NCSoft chooses to use.

To be honest, I had kind of given up on the localisation ever happening, given that the last update on the official site had happened back in 2012, but – the site’s had quite a refresh, with new news and information, the key bit being that the game would be due in Winter. Which would make December the most likely month.

Before I get into the details, here is the official trailer:

Blade & Soul inspired an anime series last year – but the best I can say about it was that it was somewhat forgettable. The game itself, however, made a few waves when it was released back in 2012, and became well known for its scantily-clad fighters. Many Western MMO aficionados were eagerly awaiting the inevitable localisation – although I hope they weren’t holding their breath, because they would’ve long since passed out. Others have endeavoured to localise the game themselves, and have a free server running somewhere. The quality of translation does leave a bit to be desired though.

As is the case with most Korean MMOs that get localised, you can expect the cencorship brush to be wielded with a fair amount of vigour, although this was already quite apparent in the Chinese version of the game. Worry not though, since I’m sure modders will ┬ástep up in abundance to make sure any concealing bits of cloth are removed with due haste.

Despite that, however, the game looks good, and movement and especially fighting felt incredibly fluid when I dashed around a little bit. It uses the tried-and-tested method of pick up quest – do quest – deliver quest – a system I have a hard time getting back into after extensive periods spent in Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online – although the latter has you “delivering quests” you can generally do it from anywhere, with no need to go back to the quest giver.

The game features four races to choose from, with six classes available to play – with some limitations as to the race/class combos you can use. Character creation is also likely to take a while, since customisation is as robust as any I’ve seen in an MMO, rivaling, if not surpassing Aion in terms of the number of options you have available.

Whether I’ll pick up the game myself is debatable – as I said earlier, it will very much depend on what payment model is implemented. I suspect a buy-to-play (or free-to-play) model, with included micro-transactions, since this seems to be the model of choice for most of the MMOs currently running. That’s just my guess, however; we will have to wait for confirmation from NCSOFT.



Posted in Gaming.

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  1. I’d really like to know what makes this game unique. We have probably hundreds of eastern grind fest MMO’s out these days. If it’s just scantily-clad characters, it’s already too late to that party. If it’s just going to be another F2P drop in the MMO bucket it will not last long. Not that it won’t have it’s few players. But if it’s B2P or Subs-based it better have something good.

  2. That’s the thing – I’m not sure what particular pull BnS will have for people now – as I said, they censor it quite a bit, so the fan-service is diluted, so they can’t use that as a selling point. If it sticks to the normal Korean method of extreme grinding then I don’t see it really gaining much traction. I suppose its major selling point is the combat and movement, although again I don’t know how well it will translate into the market now.

    The plus point is that they would probably be able to launch it with all the content it hopefully gained over the last 3 years, which may justify an initial purchase price – even in that case you might get value for your purchase if you just play through it once with a single character. I don’t see them going the sub route – not these days. If it goes F2P, it probably won’t die – F2P games for the most part seem to sustain themselves fairly well, even if people keep whining about micro-transactions.

  3. Only reason people want F2P is because they don’t want to pay, but how will a MMO grow if it’s great story and content are funded by the amount of bikini’s it sells in the store? So the normal reaction is to wait for F2P, complain about micro-transactions and then complain about nothing new getting made. F2P is a blight to the MMO genre. It’s kinda hard to get into a games story about fighting the ultimate evil to save the world when the character next to you is sporting oversized sunglasses, Japanese school swimsuit and a halo while wielding a giant chocolate bar?
    Subs for any new MMO won’t work because the game will not have enough content to keep the players occupied. If you can’t come out swinging with loads of content, you’re not going to make it. That seems to be the only thing B&S might have for it is the 3 years worth of stuff. But will it be any good?

    I’m hoping for B2P like Guildwars, because no MMORPG will probably be able to survive on subs unless it’s name is WoW. While most F2P’s end up in obscurity.

    Personally the MMORPG genre is too flooded. There were too many trying to get on the gravy train and it’s left a bad taste in the mouth. The only F2P I’ve played that had something unique was TERA. The combat mechanics to me are great, however if you have bad latency you can’t fight.

  4. I’d beg to differ on two points.

    Firstly – people liking F2P because they don’t want to pay. F2P actually works because people are quite willing to pay the perceived value of what they are getting. This is why quite a few sub-based MMOs have managed a successful transition to the F2P, or more accurately, the Freemium model. Yes, people complain about micro-transactions, but in the end there are still enough players willing to put up the money in order to support the game. Star Trek Online (which was pretty lack-luster at release) actually has more players now, and Aion is running more servers than they were at the height of the game’s subs phase. GW2 gets nice boosts from game purchases, but the absolute majority of its income comes from the gemstore.

    This leads into my second disagreement – F2P being a blight on the MMO genre. Silly costumes were around even before F2P became a thing – especially in Korean MMOs; this isn’t a reality we’re going to get away from – and look forward to seeing more of it in BnS. Sadly quite prevalent in TERA as well, if I remember correctly. These things exist because players are willing to pay for them, and they help sustain the game. Of course some MMOs attempt to give plenty of costume choices without destroying the immersion – GW2 does this, as does STO with it’s uniform/clothing choices as well as ship-models and skins.

    I’m inclined to agree about genre saturation – but as long as the perception is there that money will be made from it, new ones of varying quality will pop up, although I don’t know about any major AAA releases coming soon. Which is a good thing.

  5. I can see the point you are trying to make with your first point, but attributing increased player numbers to something “free” does not always add up to sustained increase in profit. Of course, if you remove the subscription “gate” people will be more open to come have a look. They will need to add more servers because they can not predict the number of players if there is no subscriptions to base logins on to ensure a great gaming experience. Sure it might work for the few titles that are genuinely good, but if you only look at the mainstream titles (admit I don’t care for most other MMO’s) you won’t see the others who tried and died off or are just making the necessary funds to stay online.

    Point two is more of a personal thing probably. Most people don’t even care for the story. However, try that on a RP server and you will get some whispers. I forgot to also mention the pay-2-win aspect, but it’s peoples option/choice to pay for things they want and it’s even better if you can pay to get ahead.

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