Category Archives: news

How Blade & Soul Could Revolutionize MMOs in the West

Standard
How Blade & Soul Could Revolutionize MMOs in the West

Chances are you haven’t heard of Blade & Soul, despite it being an MMO by NCSoft that was released more than three years ago in June 2012. Since then, it’s expanded its reach to China, Japan, and Taiwan and is currently in the midst of technical alphas and betas, which have gone surprisingly well enough to have the developers refine its initial Q1 2016 release date to now January 19, 2016. To the small but vocal community in the States who have been waiting for Blade & Soul to arrive, that announcement alone is, well, a blessing.

The core innovation that Blade & Soul brings to the MMO genre is its timing-based combat system. While other MMOs in the NCSoft family like WildStar and Guild Wars 2 have active skill-based combat as well, Blade & Soul’s system takes a healthy amount of influences from the fighting genre, introducing juggles, knockdowns, dazes, and other crowd-control abilities that require precise execution to pull off. To emphasize this, Blade & Soul does away with the “Holy Trinity” of classes by doing away with a healer class altogether, making sure that every player has the chops to go toe-to-toe with an enemy. While each class tends to have at least some way to heal damage, the point is to learn the intricacies of the combat system and react to enemies and other players by noticing openings, finding attack strings, and keeping your enemy locked down and helpless while you dish out devastating combos.

In my six-hour session with Blade & Soul at the NCSoft HQ in Korea, I mainly experimented with the Kung Fu Master, one of the most difficult classes to learn. One of his core abilities for defense is the counter, a parry which requires you to time it appropriately with the enemy’s attack animation so that you take no damage and your enemy not only loses the attack but gets damaged in the process. It may seem as though you only have access to a small set of skills, but other skills rotate in depending on various conditions so you need to stay attentive for these windows of opportunity open.

If this sounds somewhat like a standard fighting game, that’s because the terminology for the genre—hitframes, recovery, juggles, knockdown, etc.—can be applied directly here. Performing the appropriate attacks with the right timing and the proper spacing matters, which lifts the rather basic PvE of the game that has you gathering all the standard fetch quests and such into a far more exciting experience. (It gives me yet more evidence that a Street Fighter MMO would actually work.)

As such, Blade & Soul has a robust PvP community to the point that it has a broadcasted PvP tournament, which I attended in Busan, Korea just a week ago before a live audience. Along with an almost otherworldly performance of an intense Blade & Soul musical (yes, a musical… that’s how big the game is there), I watched as players from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and China fought against each other in one-on-one matches in a circular arena. Gargantuan axe-wielding Destroyers clashed against Force Masters with keepaway ice and fire magic, while stealthy Assassins cloaked themselves on the battlefield and Summoners kept their cat familiars alive while also staying hidden in the background. Ultimately, it was Sinkyum Kim’s domination with the magical, ranged Warlock that conquered the competition after a furious fight against Jungho Yoon’s Force Master.

What became clear after witnessing the tournament in person is that the classes in the game’s roster are actually quite balanced and that combat is based on the player’s skill and mastery of the character’s skills. Yes, maybe the Force Master and Warlock have a bit of an advantage right now since the other melee-focused characters need to find more openings, but the system has been strong enough to sustain five Blade & Soul tournaments so far. And the competition will soon extend to America and Europe once it’s released here (and we’ll hopefully be ready enough so that we aren’t just fodder for the top-tier Korean players, yes?).

While the PvE is really meant to be a training ground for the PvP, and it should be easy to level to the cap of 45, it is supported by a voice-acted story and challenging dungeons. The general plotline follows the typical kung-fu story arc that’s all about getting revenge on a mysterious clan who kills your old, kind-hearted master and your fellow friends. There’s also betrayal of course! Yep, it’s all fairly generic but at least it grounds the PvE adventure and makes it much more tolerable.

If anything, it’s the dungeons that will keep your interest in PvE against giant bosses that will test your ability to escape attacks, control threat, and shield yourself at the right time against instant-death attacks. Even after eight attempts with a six-man group at Level 36, we still couldn’t conquer a gargantuan beast that pounded the ground with thunderous AoE attacks. But every time we respeced our skills and coordinated our attacks better, we inched ever closer before we ran out of session time. I can’t wait to exact my revenge once the game is officially released.

The North American and European version for Blade & Soul will release in January 19, 2016. If you would like to gain access to the closed betas, name reservation, and more, you can invest in various founder’s packs available from the official site.

What Background Music Do You Prefer in Albion Online

Standard

I wrote already a thread about this subject in the forum section “general questions & discussions” but I think it was the wrong section so here my suggestion.
I quote my thread.

Let me quick introduce myself.
I’m now for 3 days a fan of albion online and I think it becomes in the future a great game.

I saw some videos on YouTube an read some forum threads to get free Albion Online Silver. Many player said their is no background music at all.
Excuse me please for not already purchasing this game. So that is why i can’t prove right now if this already established.

What Background Music Do You Prefer in Albion Online

So if it isn’t established already I have a possible idea for this.
I propose you in my opinion a good composer.

Before I telling you the rest.

I am not in any case related to this composer, except I am a huge fan of his work. So I don’t get any credits or money for this.

The composers youtube channel is named Adrian von Ziegler.

I think his work is pretty decent and most of it could easily fit in the world of albion / albion online.

Please hear some of his work and tell me what you think of it and my AO Gold trading.

So in the next few days I must buy albion, to make sure that you know I am developer. XD

I wish you a great time while playing.

Blade & Soul Update Bringing Pets, New Challenges, And New Dungeons

Standard

1

Pets, new dungeons, and new challenges will be arriving for Blade & Soul players with the game’s June 1 update, Vengeance Breaks.

2

In this update, the finale for Act 4 awaits in the Silverfrost Mountains. There, will players decide if they wish to stop the Divine Mandate Ritual or seek revenge for their murdered Master?

3

Players will also have access to three new heroic dungeons in this update. The Sundered Nexus letting four to six players tangle with a mechanized Be Ido. At the Altar of Divine Will, six players will be able to seek their vengeance against Jinsoyun. Finally, twenty-four players will defend against a demonic invasion at the Zaiwei Ruins in an open world instance.

5

Anyone looking for a more solitary challenge can head to the Tower of Infinity, fighting against an AI controlled challenger on every floor. Players will need to move quickly to beat the timer, going up as high as they can before it runs out or their character is downed.

6

On top of raising Hongmoon Level to 15, the Vengeance Breaks update will let players have pets follow them around, providing defensive buffs when fed. On top of the existing list of pets, North America and European players will have exclusive access to the Otter and Griffin.

The Spring Treasure Trove Event of Blade And Soul

Standard

NCsoft today announced that the first 1v1 PvP season of Blade & Soul will begin on April 13. Those who are looking to prove their worth as masters of their martial arts will have new rewards to collect. In addition to rewards gained at the end of the season, weekly rewards will also be given out for participating and maintaining—or improving—your class rank.

Along with the official in-game season rewards, NCsoft will also give out exclusive rewards to the winners of partnered NCSoft community tournaments. You can find more details about the event on the official announcement here.

The Spring Treasure Trove Event of Blade And Soul

Besides, the Spring Treasure Trove event is also going to be held from April 13 to April 27. This event offers adventurers the ability to unlock random treasure chests, and then purchase the highly sought-after rewards within for rock-bottom prices.
During the event period, players can click on the Treasure Trove icon at the bottom of your screen, and once per day per character unlock a treasure chest for free.

Additional chests can be opened by purchasing and using Spring Treasure Trove Keys. When opening a chest you’ll be presented with a selection of items to purchase from with gold. Check out the official post for more details.

Gender and Race Change Function Coming to Blade & Soul [KR]

Standard

The Korean server of Blade & Soul is going to get a highly-anticipated function: gender and race change. This function may probably require some cash, but the exact amount hasn’t been revealed yet. You can take a look at the short video below to see how this function works.

Last month, the Chinese server of Blade & Soul also announced the gender change function, with a gender changing card to be released this year. Currently there is still no word on this update for the western server, and I guess it may take a few months before it happens. By the way, the western server of Blade & Soul is just going to get the Silverfrost Mountains expansion. Don’t forget to try the new features on March 23rd.

Gender and Race Change Function Coming to Blade & Soul [KR]

Blade & Soul: the Rising Issue of Macro Users

Standard

Blade & Soul kicked off in the west rather smoothly and it seemed that players were mostly satisfied with the current state of the Korean MMORPG.

Recently, I decided to spend a few hours with 1v1 and 3v3 arena matches and it was a common thing to see frustrated players complaining about macro users. In fact, everytime I was waiting in the PvP lobby I saw constant arguments going on about overpowered macros and even cheaters.

Blade & Soul: the Rising Issue of Macro Users

For those who do not know, macros basically provide automated rotations for players and also greatly enhance the weaving technique in Blade & Soul. This advantage can significantly increase a player’s damage output. But the most important aspect of macros is the exclusion of human error. Macros, unless the user is experiencing net lag, will always press the right keys with the defined delays and thus weaving becomes extremely simple. All the player has to do is basically move around with the character while holding down the macro key on the keyboard or mouse and all the skills will be used automatically. Quite boring if you ask me.

Understandably, players who can’t or don’t want to use macros are often beaten by those who do, which results in plenty of frustration and complaining on global channels and forums. The official Korean and Chinese servers were already facing issues with worse things than macros, including stuff like third-party programs for fully automated rotation and, of course,speedhackers. It will probably not take long for these programs to get their NA and EU equivalents that will most likely produce further disappointments.

I would not be surprised if NCSoft ends up deciding to ban macro users from Blade & Soul because the pressure from angered players is stacking up and complainers are waiting for a solution. Macro users are probably present in almost every MMORPG, and I don’t really blame them. The gamer mouse developing companies are releasing more and more complex gaming mice that bring their own macro software and players are more than happy to use them. This is probably a phenomenon that affects not only MMORPGs but online shooters and MOBAs too.

Blade & Soul and The Wheels of Fate

Standard

Blade & Soul introduced a quite unique and highly addictive way of obtaining some rare outfits, evolution material weapons and accessories and Shield pieces. We played around a few hours with these spinning wheels and these are our findings.

Wheels of Fate are located in some of the major zones of Blade & Soul and by obtaining certain types of essences you are able to spin them and receive various nifty rewards. Some of these rewards are essential to obtain as they are required to evolve our weapons and accessories.

We can already encounter a Wheel of Fate around level 8 in Foshi Pyres where we can obtain one of the best-looking outfits, the Jiangshi Raiment and also the first weapon that is necessary to evolve our class weapon.

xx

The essences that are required to spin the Wheel of Fate are acquired from World Bosses that spawn very often, usually within minutes. Most of the times, you will find plenty of players who are grinding these bosses (mainly on Channel 1) and you don’t even need to group up to receive the essences.

As I am fond of killer outfits, I actually spent days grinding some of the World Bosses to obtain them, including the Wolfskin that drops from the Wheel of Fate located at Lilystalk Tradepost in Lycandi Foothills. For this specific outfit, you will need to hunt Fallen Sacred Beast Lycan the Mighty. What a name, right?

There are other decent outfits that drop from Wheels of Fate, like the Stinger which can be obtained near Yehara’s Mirage in the Cinderlands.

Whether you succeed in getting these rare items from the Wheel of Fate or not, entirely depends on your luck, but the higher level outfits seem to have very small drop rates and most of the time you will be getting Shield and weapon chests that not always drop items that match your class.

As long as you manage to find some players around to kill the World Bosses, you should gain plenty of useful stuff from the Wheels of Fate, but be warned, you might just get addicted to it.

Blade & Soul – Is Crafting/Gathering System “Bad”?

Standard

Crafting/Gathering System

As you very well know crafting/gathering constitute a major part in any MMO and Blade&Soul isn’t an exception.

But how good is Blade&Soul’s crafting/gathering system?

It seems that according to forums discussions, the opinions on crafting are mostly mixed, with the majority of the players feeling pretty disappointed about how it works, but also not being downright opposed the idea.

Crafting/Gathering System

Personally, I have to agree with the majority here, while Blade&Soul does not require grinding to level up, the crafting/gathering system mechanics make up for it for the most part.
Being forced to buy only one item per order is a fatal blow to those who are multicrafting with multiple characters.

Another thing people seem to dislike are also the long respawn times of the resource nodes.

Here are some other opinions on crafting from other players :
For the most part I find the crafting and gathering disappointingly shallow. It’s pretty skip-able, and unimpressive. Obviously not a focus or target audience for the game.
It seems designed to keep people logged in for as long as possible playing a Farmville-style system.
I think the craft system is refreshingly non-grindy. It takes a real investment of playtime yo level crafting.
In my opinion, it is a pain in the rear. If you want materials you either have to buy it or pray that bots or other players didn’t gather a node first.
Gathering materials is already a pain as it is and takes a lot of time if unlucky.