Is BLADE & SOUL's Unreal Engine 4 Update Worth Coming Back for?
BLADE & SOUL hasn’t had a healthy playerbase for a while now. Heck, the game hasn’t been in a healthy state for even longer than that. Nobody is denying the fact that this is a highly flawed game, yet it had the potential to be something so much greater than it currently is.
That is where the Unreal Engine 4 update comes into this. A lot of things were promised with this update, and… some of it has been delivered.
I’ve been streaming BLADE & SOUL over on our Twitch channel since the update came out, in an attempt to push through, observe the activity levels on the way to max level, and witness the updates in real-time. Which, quick FYI, you guys are welcome to join me on as I’m streaming BLADE & SOUL every weekend at 3PM Eastern Standard Time and would love the company.
And while doing so, have had hundreds of players come into the chat and ask me whether or not BLADE & SOUL is worth playing in 2021.
That isn’t what this is. I’ll have a different video on whether BLADE & SOUL is worth playing in the coming month. This is to give my thoughts–my experiences form.
And with that, let’s discuss the very first thing I noticed. Lyn customization options.
This might not be specific to this update. I haven’t played BLADE & SOUL in.. a little over 18 months. But I don’t recall these customization options being here before, and honestly? This made the Lyn race so much more appealing to me.
Speaking of customization options, while I didn’t notice new selections for the other races, I do think it’s worth noting the fact that the character models look significantly different to what they looked like before.
And I’m aware this is going to do 2 different things: A.) trigger players that loved the old character models, the old shine, textures. And 2.) have people staring at what about the models in specific is even different.
Since I’ve had people ask me if there were even alterations made to the character models. As a fan of BLADE & SOUL.. it is very evident to me, but I realize it isn’t for everyone.
After the noticeable character model differences, I realized how quickly I logged into the game for the first time in 18 months.
I’m used to the game taking 30, 40 seconds or more at times, depending on where you are, how many players are around and how much of the game is required to be loaded between where you are now and where you’ll be after you make it through your loading screen.
But upon entering the game, I was greeted by loading screens that took anywhere from 5 to 8 seconds. This was such a departure from what I was used to that I almost couldn’t fathom how much of a difference this made to the fluidity of progressing between zones.
Before this update you had time to get up, grab a snack and a soda, come back, and watch the remainder of the bar finish loading. Now, having to wait the few seconds between zones is negligible.
But not only are there loading improvements, but there are FPS and general performance issues as well.
I’m gonna be honest with you right now, I have a pretty powerful computer. Very rarely does my PC lag when playing a video game, and especially an MMO. Well.. okay that’s a lie. BLADE & SOUL, TERA and ASTELLIA all had massive FPS drops all the damn time. To an atrocious degree.
While BLADE & SOUL was definitely the lesser of the 3 offenders, you can find people complaining about performance on every social platform there is.
I never encountered severe lag, and it was never too frequent, but I can say personally – having streamed almost 10 hours in the last couple days, I have encountered 2 separate instances where my FPS tanked. And they were momentary.
So in approximately 10 hours of streaming the game – which is more of a resource hog than if I weren’t streaming the game, I encountered several seconds of severe lag. Otherwise, I’ve had it pretty smooth.
Now experiences with performance seem to vary quite a bit. I’ve noticed a lot of players claiming that there has been very little, if any noticeable improvement in terms of performance, where people are claiming the game has never ran this good, even at the best of times.
People are also experiencing increased crashes, increased instances of bugs… so it isn’t entirely positive.
I’ve noticed several bugs myself since beginning after this update went live. Some that I’ve actually never encountered in the past, like the little Lyn girl, and this atrocious instance of rubber banding that refused to let me leave the area immediately surrounding the house I was just in.
And then came the new class: The Dual Blade. While the initial specialization is supposedly the more powerful one, I found the second to be much more appealing to me personally. I’ve actually kinda fallen in love with the new class – it’s one of my favorites in the game thus far.
Special effects were fast, flashy and fluid. Weapons looked pretty sick from what I saw on other players. And the playstyle – at least for the spec I was playing was nice and simple, which is just my style.
People say I’m a casual gamer, and I take pride in that. There isn’t anything wrong with not attempting to be competitive at your class. I don’t have time to with all the videos and streams I do every week, and I’m more than happy admitting that.
And that was it. They were what I’d encountered in the last few days after the update went live.
I’m aware I’ve missed various things, but this isn’t an “all inclusive” list of every new thing they added into the game, this is a small glimpse of what I got to experience this week.
Do these changes fix the glaringly horrendous pay to win present in the game? No. Balance the classes? Wait, developers actually do that?
If you hated the game before, you’ll still hate it. However these alterations to the game have made it so much more enjoyable of an experience for me, and I cannot stress enough how much better the game feels right now.
I’ll have a much deeper look into additional changes or additive features as I continue to push through over the next month. You’re more than welcome to accompany me on my journey over on Twitch every weekend if you’re interested in seeing more or want to be a part of this firsthand and be immortalized in video form by grouping with me.