As we speak, my Blade Master stands amongst thousands of other warriors on the ever expansive battlefield that is Blade & Soul awaiting adventure, glory, and outfits! I had the opportunity to make a run on NCSoft’s new Martial Arts based MMO over their Beta and the head start that ended on the 19th, and so far, I’m hooked!
Question 1: Which race would you like to play? Every good hero needs a face. You have four options, and three classes within each race:
- Jin—the Jin are our standard human-esque race, the well-balanced all-around overly-determined go-getters. The Jin’s class choices are Blade Master, Kung Fu Master, and Assassin.
- Lyn—the dear Lyn are for our cat lovers, kawaii-chasers, or those who just turn to goo when they see cute furry things. The Lyn may run as a Blade Dancer (Altered Blade Master specifically for Lyn), Summoner, and Force Master.
- Gon—the Gon are the hulking giant race with the strength to lift up dungeon bosses (true story). Gon have the distinct pleasure of using the Destroyer, Force Master, and Kung Fu Master.
- Yun—the Yun are an all-female elegant race who are more attuned to nature. The Yun may pick from Kung Fu Master, Force Master, and Blade Master (Altered for Yun).
Question 2: …Actually, you’re on your own from here on out. If you’re like me it’ll take you two hours to actually finish the character customization, and we don’t have space for 1 billion questions on this blog.
NCSoft outdid themselves when it came to the motion and battle engine; it’s extremely impressive for an MMO. To learn the layout of your own class requires almost as much dedication as it does to learn a martial art.
Each class has a multi-faceted (and highly customizable) fighting style. For example, the Blade Master has 3 forms: Basic Stance, Flock of Blades, and Draw Stance (my personal favorite). Each of these forms has its own variety of skills which may all be leveled up separately to further customize your play style.
Just getting around the map is a beautiful take on all the wonders of martial arts legends: flying through the air, running on water, leaping and performing acrobatics to travel a mountain range, all through gorgeous scenery. The game offers ultra-high-quality visuals for those with the PC’s to handle it, but also looks and performs fantastically for those gamers without the grace of an overclocked video card.
And what’s an MMO without warring factions, right? As expected, Blade & Soul has that covered! In the middle of Bamboo Village (Noobville) you have the choice of where to get started: Crimson Legion or Cerulean Order, Freedom vs. Order, Red vs. Blue! (That last one is pretty much what it boils down to, unless you’re super into the role playing side of an MMORPG.)
Swear your allegiance, wear the colors, and put the beat down on the opposing punks! This mechanic dives further with other warring factions you may join. This offers open PvP; all you have to do is put on the appropriate outfit and watch your surroundings for the enemy. It makes for some entertainment while shopping around town.
Speaking of outfits, the only gear you have to worry about is your weapon, accessories, and Soul Shield. That’s right—you don’t have to worry about crafting epic amounts of plate mail to suit up your character, because your outfit is about 95% aesthetic (beside what we just talked about).
Well Geeks, if you happen to be flying through the bamboo on the Soha server and see Roekai of the Crimson Angels, drop an invite and we’ll make Bruce Lee proud!