Revisiting BLADE & SOUL in 2020: Is the MMORPG Worth Starting?
So we played Blade & Soul.. And you know what? It’s still a lot of fun. It’s always been a lot of fun, there’s no denying that. Today, I want to talk about what I found enjoyable about the game and whether Blade & Soul is worth starting or coming back to in 2020.
So, welcome back to the third episode of “Is this MMORPG Worth Starting?” Do note: This is not a review. These are just my thoughts on the game.
Now Mrs Stix and I streamed Blade & Soul for a month over on Twitch. We stream every MMO we do videos on over there – so I urge you to come by and visit us if you’re interested in being a part of our journey through various games.
Over the course of our month streaming we got to play with a lot of you guys and that was a lot of fun. The multiplayer aspect of MMOs are what draw a lot of us to the genre after all.
Dungeons, raids, PvP, world bosses, guilds. A sense of community is important in games like this and leveling with a group is a very rewarding experience, regardless of the game.
The leveling experience itself in Blade & Soul is hit and miss. The games leveling experience has been truncated quite significantly over the years, with players only being required to follow along with the main story to level.
Side quests, grinding monsters, dungeons – there’s no purpose to any of them other than to progress to the next area. Heck, when I used to play actively, dungeons used to offer you weapons that were actually better than what you had when you entered them, so there was a purpose behind farming them.
These days, with the – and I’m gonna go ahead and say “streamlined” leveling experience, you’re given the best weapon for your level so you can push towards endgame as fast as Humanly possible.
Now don’t get me wrong, the story itself is, while a little “Shounen,” I guess is the term I’ll use, pretty easy to follow and interesting enough to warrant not skipping. However much of the story is solo – instances that are required to be completed solo. Areas where you’re cut off from groups and other players all together.
This makes it much more difficult to level with other players – where there used to be a purpose to running with other players, with how easy the game has become and how little content is done within a group, I feel like the game is more of a solo experience up until late-game.
But that’s just the leveling experience. Leveling is only one facet of what makes a game. Combat is another, and the action combat in Blade & Soul has always been top-tier.
There has been an ongoing argument between fans of Black Desert and Blade & Soul over which has the better form of action combat. In my opinion? Both have their pros and cons, but they’re different games targeting completely different audiences.
Blade & Soul’s combat is a mixture between two different styles of combat: Reactive and skill-based. You have access to a basic ability bound to your left-mouse button and blocks, parries or counters to your right click depending on your class of choice.
Then you have additional abilities bound to keys on your hotbar, damaging abilities, crowd control abilities, heck, several classes actually possess the ability to heal themselves or those around them if they spec into it. Blade & Soul has a highly interactive combat system that isn’t really replicated very often in other MMOs.
Now there are a few major issues with Blade & Soul that I’ve not only come across, but also hear about by every player and content creator I’ve discussed Blade & Soul with.
Endgame is built specifically for whales – people that spend an exorbitant amount of money on the game, and is heavily RNG.
And the population has been at a steady rate of decline for the last several years, not spiking up at any point.
Where games like ESO, Final Fantasy XIV and WoW have large spikes of players when they release new content – literally multiplying their populations by several times, and even BDO has large spikes whenever they release new regions, new classes or the like, Blade & Soul pushes out new content and.. yeah.
The playerbase in Blade & Soul, while not dead by any means is not growing. It hasn’t grown in years and will continue to decline steadily until it ultimately ends up like other titles such as Rift or TERA.
But you know what? Just because the playerbase is very low in terms of active players and the game is targeted towards high-rollers, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the game as long as your goal isn’t to be competitive.
The game is absolutely gorgeous, has a fascinating storyline, full voice acting, sick combat and a lot of positive features that make your first time running through the game quite the experience!
So for new players, this is an MMO that is totally worth playing. For everyone else? I doubt it’s worth ever coming back to.
I know there’s more I could’ve talked about. Dungeons. Raids. PvP. But again, this isn’t a full review, these were just my thoughts on the game, what I enjoyed and what new players will see when coming into the game.