Is Blade and Soul the next big MMORPG?

A few weeks ago I was on YouTube and watched this video by a popular YouTuber titled, “Why are Old League Players Quitting?” But unlike his other videos which are mostly filled with League of Legends gameplay, gbay starts this one showing some gameplay of a new MMO that was coming out at the time called Blade and Soul.

Originating in Korea, Blade and Soul is an MMO created by NCSoft in 2012 that until a few weeks ago was only released in the Eastern countries. Since the closed beta a few months ago, the hype for the game has been growing to the point where even I was eager to get my hands on the game. With all the new MMO’s coming out like Archeage and Destiny, Blade and Soul was the only new MMO I’ve even downloaded since World of Warcraft and Allods Online. I’ll try to explain what the excitement is all about.

Blade and Soul carries many traditional tropes of the MMORPG that most companies copy, like quest types, dungeons, and raids, as well as “the grind” experienced when leveling to the max level, which in this game is 45.

BnS innovates in their player versus player combat system that makes the game more of a fighting game in an MMORPG. You queue up into the PVP system as one player, and enter an arena against your opponent. From watching gbay’s video and many different streamers playing PVP, it looks like it requires reaction and prediction skills, which I always look for in competitive games.

Some of the ways it feels like a fighting game include that the game gives you different controls depending on what state you are in. With many games, I like to compare them to my favorite “fighting game”, Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube. Just like in Smash where, when you get knocked down, you can do a get up attack, normal get up, or roll to either side, Blade and Soul gives you different actions when you are knocked down, in normal stance, or in state given by an ability.

In addition to these various ability features, the game’s engine makes you have to aim your abilities rather than just target your opponent. It also offers so many counter options that really help show the difference in skill level between a novice and an expert, such as a block mechanic. According to reviews, it feels really good to see that victory screen when facing a worthy adversary, making you feel really accomplished.

As a level 6 Blade Master, I still haven’t been able to enjoy any of the PVP, since I think you have to be a certain level to be at, which brings me to my next problem: after joining the server named Old Man Cho the day the game was released publicly in America, I wasn’t able to log into the servers for weeks due to the horrendous login queue. The popularity of the game had made my login queue position over 1000 every time I tried, with an expected wait time that continued to get longer due to “premium players” taking the shorter queues. According to some of my friends (which all bought the somewhat overpriced premium status for $5 a week), the login queue is even worse on other servers.

I think this game could have a lot of potential. If they gear it more towards player versus player, and have a good ladder ranking system, this could be an eSport in America as it already is in the East. While they can make the PVE more engaging, it’s tolerable once you realize how great the PVP is. The login queues aren’t really an issue at the time I’m writing this post, so I probably will try to get some PVP action in. If you like what you hear, give it a shot yourself. It’s quite the experience.

Well that’s all for this post. Do you guys think Blade and Soul could be the next MMO that everyone starts playing? Leave a comment and let me know. The next post I make will cover a programming topic. Thanks, I’ll see you soon!

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