Is Blade & Soul Worth Playing in 2019?
Well, honestly, despite some complaints, Blade & Soul is still a fairly fun game at its core.
I’ve been playing Blade & Soul since it released. Partly due to me running the MMOByte Youtube channel, and partly due to me just having fun playing through various MMOs.
I will admit, I’ve played it on and off since it launched, in between large patches and releases. But I feel like that’s how everyone tackles MMOs in this day and age.
We play through the game, obtain gear, run everything we can, leave, play something else for a while, then decide to come back after enough new content has released.
SO, WHAT IS BLADE & SOUL?
Blade & Soul is an MMORPG released back in 2016 that had a pretty positive reception. Yes, there were people that found issue with the game but that’s a given. The game has a very large focus on plot – in both forms.
Where most MMOs have a semblance of a story.. somewhere, that people generally skip through because it really isn’t necessary to enjoy the game, Blade & Soul chose to make it a focal point.
You start off the game following the story, and progress only via the story. New areas, features and.. well, the whole game is more or less gated behind the story, but that doesn’t really inhibit you from playing it how you want to.
The story, in my opinion, is probably one of the better ones you’ll find in an MMO.
I haven’t found many, bar Final Fantasy XIV or Guild Wars 2, really, that have a memorable story that isn’t an incoherent mess.. or just not present all together.
So when I got to play through Blade & Soul’s story, which MrsStix and I decided to play together, I’ll admit.. I was left pretty satisfied. I mean there were issues, of course, and some things I found a little.. silly. But whatever.
The game is set in a large world with segregated semi-instanced zones. You move on to different areas that each have their own levels, NPCs and storylines associated with them.
Which of course tie into the main story. Since you wouldn’t be there if the main story didn’t require you to.
I HEARD THE COMBAT WAS #AMAZE
I know there have been a variety of changes to the skill system ever since the game launched, but I feel like we’re all still of the opinion that Blade & Soul’s combat is pretty damn good.
It utilizes a martial-arts themed real-time combat system that is one of the best in the genre.
While people might argue that Black Desert or, maybe TERA are competitors for the best action combat in an MMO, I like to see it as neither of them focus on the aspect of combat that Blade & Soul does, and that makes Blade & Soul unique.
The combat is fast. You mash your skill keys together to attempt to combo various skills and force your opponents into submission – some of which frustrate me to absolutely no end – partly because I’m not the best PvPer in this game.
And partly because I hate CC classes – something I’m sure a lotta you guys are very capable of relating to.
I enjoy playing my character, and one of the things that frustrates me the most in pretty much all PvP oriented games, is people CCing me to literal death.
Like, cool, I’m in the air, now I’m paralyzed, now I’m rooted, stunned, frozen, rooted again, back in the air, on the ground, oh now I’m dead. Thanks for your time!
Jokes aside, that doesn’t happen too often and I honestly don’t mind CC all that much. I just don’t think CC being so prevalent in games as a result of the developers inability to balance their classes is the way to go.
THE GAME LOOKS BEAUTIFUL
It truly is. The game was released way back in 2012 – by MMO standards, that’s a lifetime. Even so, graphically, the game holds up exceptionally well.
The zones that you can explore, either by foot or through the air are all so large, so expansive, and beautifully crafted.
Yes, the zones themselves might be a little barren in terms of content outside of the main quests – but even though exploration isn’t promoted, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. There’s a lot to see.
But the vistas, the environments aren’t the only aesthetically beautiful aspect of the game. The characters themselves – and subsequently the character creation is one of the most praised features.
Well, the character creation, the outfits you can earn both in-game and purchase via the cash shop, and the combat are all highly praised.
But the character creator specifically.. man. You wouldn’t think this game was made in 2012, not with the kind of characters you can create.
With the exception of I guess Black Desert, I daresay that Blade & Soul has one of the better character creators out there.
You can really craft something truly amazing.. or terrifying. You’re able to construct your characters’ face and body how you want – with a lot of creative freedom given.
And like I mentioned earlier – the game has a large emphasis on “plot,” and.. well, this doesn’t disappoint.
CLASS DIVERSITY - IS THERE MUCH?
There are several races in Blade & Soul and quite a few classes, with more added each year. As of right now, August 2019, there are the Jin, Gon, Lyn and Yun.
The Jin can play as Warden, Gunslinger, Assassin, Blade Master, Kung Fu Master, Warlock and Soul Fighter.
The Gon can play as Warden, Kung Fu Master, Force Master, Destroyer, and Soul Fighter.
The Lyn can play as Warden, Gunslinger, Blade Dancer, Summoner, Warlock, and Force Master
The Yun can play as the Gunslinger, Blade Master, Kung Fu Master, Force Master and Soul Fighter.
So as is evident, each race has a different class combination associated – meaning certain classes are locked to specific races.
I know some people are put off by that but for the most part, Blade & Soul does a good job of making it possible to play as the class and race combination you want.
I feel like, personally, this adds a little bit of personality and flavor to each race.
HOW IS PvP AND PvE?
I mean, PvE is about what you’d expect out of the game as an MMORPG. It’s broken down into leveling, the story, side-quests, crafting, dungeons and raids.
PvP on the other hand: You have open-world faction vs faction PvP which has people of different factions, such as the Crimson Legion vs Cerulean Order fight one another.
There’s instanced PvP in the form of 1v1 and 3v3 Arena battles that are normalized in terms of stats, items aren’t allowed and there’s a ranking system in place. But that’s the case for pretty much all MMOs.
Then you have Battlegrounds, the Shackled Isles..
Now a case can be made for pay to win being prevalent in PvP but honestly, I’ve never attempted to competitively push PvP so I wouldn’t really know.
All I do know is that some people feel PvP, or at least a bracket of PvP is pay to win, however other’s are of the opposite opinion believing that that’s far from the reality of things.
Blade & Soul is a beautiful MMORPG. It has amazing environments, almost unrivaled character customization – at least for an MMO released in the West, and some of the best combat, even after 7 years.
It has a gripping story – which I’m always fond of as I’m a firm believer that a strong story helps provide players with a sense of involvement – especially if it’s relatable.
I feel like even though the game is free to play, and there are complaints of it being pay to win, so long as you remain out of the competitive scene you’re probably going to have a lotta fun.
I know I have and I know I still do whenever I come back to the game.
The population, granted isn’t what it once was as the servers have merged down to.. well, a fraction of what was once available but that doesn’t mean the game’s dead.
I’m not saying that Blade & Soul is objectively good or bad – it has some good aspects, it has some bad aspects. You need to weigh the pros and cons yourself and see if it’s worth playing even in spite of the good and bad.