Blade and Soul is a fantasy martial arts MMORPG with ridiculously good graphics, high customization options, and one of the best action combat systems in an MMORPG to date. It is one of the most popular free to play MMORPGs on the market right now and offers some of the best features in a free to play MMORPG.
Is Blade and Soul Worth Playing in 2017?
So Blade and Soul is a Korean fantasy martial arts MMORPG originally released in Korea in 2012. It finally made its way to the West in early 2016, and has quickly become one of the most popular free to play MMORPGs in the market.
That's with good reason. Yes, the game gets some hate but honestly.. what MMORPG doesn't? Blade and Soul is still one of the better free to play MMORPGs out there to date and still has new players jumping into the game.
Right, so let's take a few minutes to run down what Blade and Soul does right, and what it does wrong:
Out of the multitude of areas Blade and Soul excels in, the character creator is easily one of the better ones, possibly being beaten by, or at the very least rivaled with Black Desert Online or Vindictus' character creators.
Either way, Blade and Soul's character creator gives you a large amount of control over the way your character looks, from facial proportions, to body proportions.
This is the kind of character creation you want in an MMORPG as it enables you to create a character that is truly unique. Or, at least as unique as you can be bothered to make it.
Unlike a lot of MMORPGs, Blade and Soul presents you with a plethora of customizable sliders to really take your character a step further than most often limit you to.. even if you can't make tall Lyn characters.
Yes, the game may be a little more.. on the sexualized side of things but it seems as though that goes hand in hand with a good character creator.
Combat in Blade and Soul is action based, taking advantage of comboing your skills together to make for some devastating killer finishers.
Not only is the combat incredibly entertaining to actually play through, having the ability to customize each of your skills using the talent tree offered makes for some really fun skill customization.
Now, granted, there is a traditional cookie cutter build for the majority of skills and classes but that doesn't stop you from playing the way you want.
PvE is a much more touchy subject and depends greatly on how much you want out of the PvE aspect of the game.
Blade and Soul is traditionally, and foremost a PvP oriented game. Meaning it was built more around PvP than it was around PvE, unlike most MMORPGs.
That being said, Blade and Soul does offer a good amount of PvE elements throughout the game.
You have your traditional questing system - running from quest hub to quest hub killing monsters, looting items, and generally saving each zone from whatever baddy was plaguing it.
And by zone, I mean instanced zone. In Blade and Soul there is no open world - instead having large, open "zones" that you're given the option to explore instead.
These are, more or less, no different to open world areas other than they're cut off by a loading screen. You still see other players, and you can do everything you normally can in open world games.
Along with traditional quests, you're given quite a large amount of varying 4-man to 6-man dungeons to run both while leveling and at endgame, along with a few 24-man raids.
To top it off you are also given the ability to engage large world bosses which are pretty cool little elite monsters spread around a variety of zones for awesome chances at Soul Shields, equipment, items and costumes.
Even if the RNG sucks on them.
Now PvP in Blade and Soul comes in two forms: Open World PvP which is normally ganking people questing and calling in friends to bail you out and instanced PvP where people complain about lag, botters and hackers.
But this isn't specific to Blade and Soul of course. This is how PvP is in pretty much all MMORPGs! .. okay, so jokes aside, there's Open World PvP and instanced PvP like Arenas.
Arenas range from 1v1 to 3v3 matches. By winning arena matches you're rewarded with Zen Beans, a currency required to purchase PvP exclusive equipment, outfits, skillbooks, and Soulstones.
PvP inside arenas are much more balanced than Open World PvP as arenas equalize gear discrepancies. Meaning that gear doesn't play a role in winning or losing a match.
Although 6v6 arenas were introduced more recently, and strangely they do not equalize gear like 1v1 and 3v3 arenas do. An interesting choice, definitely.
This tends to make 6v6 for a lot of players much less enjoyable than 1v1 or 3v3 as "Whales", people that spend a ton of money on the game to get ahead often plague the bracket.
Moving on, to actually participate in Open World PvP, you are required to wear faction-specific costumes. You are then given the option to do battle with other players wearing the opposing factions costume out in the Open World.
One of the cool PvE aspects of equipping faction specific costumes by the way is that it actually unlocks daily faction quests and faction-specific Windstride locations.
Unfortunately Open World PvP is one of the areas that people often claim is very pay to win, blaming "Whales" for min/maxing their characters and absolutely destroying you.
But if I can be completely honest with everyone here, barely anyone participates in Open World PvP as it's a huge uncoordinated zerg fest.
Unlike other MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, Blade and Soul offers a stranger, more unique endgame approach.
Instead of attempting to go for "World 1st Mythic Raid clears" and the like, instead, Blade and Soul has you grind out gold for materials to consistently upgrade your gear to the next level.
Don't get me wrong. There are dungeons and raids in the game that you can participate in but they're just a means to an end - the be all and end all of Blade and Soul is the grind.
Which I know dissappoints some people and frustrates others. However, there are plenty of people that don't mind putting time and effort (or money) into the game to get further through it and progress to the next stage.
Ping and Optimization
One other area I would like to touch upon real quick is the ping issue and optimization issues.
Up until recently, Blade and Soul did very poorly with regards to optimizing their game. People constantly complained about constant FPS drops and I personally witnessed it every time I played.
But, recently NCSoft pushed out some very effective optimization fixes that has made the game run baby-smooth for me personally, and a lot of people that were complaining.
Now this next area is where things get bad: Ping in Blade and Soul is absolutely atrocious.
I've witnessed first hand, talked to, read, and seen people complain about the ping issues time and time again since Blade and Soul's launch. Latency in the game is terrible.
It seems as though it doesn't really matter where you're from - the game always lags and there's literally nothing you can do about it.
This makes both PvE, where dodging at the perfect moment is ideal, and PvP, where timing your skills perfectly is all but required, much more difficult than it should be.
Now, summing up the video: Is Blade and Soul worth playing in 2017? Yes. Graphically, the game looks amazing. The sheer customizability of your character is amazing.
Combat in Blade and Soul is one of its key selling points, giving you the ability to control different aspects of your characters skills through the talent system.
There's plenty to see, and plenty to do with regards to PvE in Blade and Soul, although maybe not all that much outside of grinding to progress through endgame.
PvP is active and has a progression system that you can advance through, along with unique costumes and gear purchasable through Zen Beans, the currency used for PvP.
The game is well populated and still has new players joining all the time. In fact, it's one of the larger free to play MMORPGs so if you're in the market for a well populated free to play MMORPG.. here ya go.
There are a few cons to the game such as whales and the pay to win complaints but if you can get past those, Blade and Soul is an incredibly fun game.
It's beautiful, fun, and definitely worth a try for anyone looking for a free to play MMORPG that is fast, good looking, fun, highly customizable, and well populated.
Blade and Soul Minimum System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP
CPU: Intel Core 2 DUo E6600 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4600+
Video Card: GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 4650
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15GB
Blade and Soul Recommended System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6400 2.13 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 805 or better
Video Card: GeForce 8800 GT / ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15GB