NCSoft confirms that Blade & Soul will be free-to-play

Three years after its South Korean launch, NCSoft last month announced that martial arts MMO Blade & Soul is finally headed West. Today, they have confirmed what everyone pretty much assumed would be the case: it’ll use a free-to-play model, and be supported by “NCoin” microtransactions.

Blade And Soul

NCoin is currently used for NCSoft games like Aion and Lineage II. In Blade & Soul, the microtransactions will include convenience items, like food and experience potions; quality of life improvements, like inventory and character slots; and cosmetic items, like costumes and pet accessories. In addition, players will be able to learn a “special free currency” that will enable them to buy the same kinds of items.

A premium membership service is also planned specifically for the West. As players progress through the membership tiers they can earn “cool special effects for their Windwalk skill and boosts to XP and currency drop rates.”

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The Winter Alpha 2015 of Albion Online

For the Winter Alpha 2015, we introduced a significant number of new items. We also totally revamped almost all of the abilities in the game.

Whereas in the Summer Alpha 2014, almost all abilities were instant cast with 10 second cooldown, and no real way to interrupt, dodge, etc, we have now taken the first step to make PvP more interesting.

Having said that, the current state of abilities and balancing is really just that: a first step and truly “alpha status”.

So chance are that if you consider a certain item or ability to be broken or somewhat off, we will probably agree with you.

It will be one of our core focus points before the Summer Alpha 2015 to make significant improvements to items, abilities and balancing.

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How Do Feel About The Assassins of Blade And Soul

Calculating and precise, Assassins need to be in the right position and have the right skill chains set up in order to ensure their opponent doesn’t have the ability to respond to the Assassin’s lightning-quick attacks. Unlike other classes that can get away with fumbling through some clumsy skill applications and still do some damage, the Assassin’s movements and skills are fluid—as sharp as the dagger they wield—and can seamlessly move from attack to attack.

Assassins are masters of confusion and disorientation. Their typical opening move leaves their targets clutching their heads in bewilderment, as they’re inexplicably struck by an invisible force. If they’re alive long enough to regain their wits, it means the Assassin has graciously decided to hold off on their devastating follow-through, and chances are they’ve already disappeared again.

Similar to a Blade Master, Assassin skill availability is dependent on their stance: Stealth stance keeps the Assassin hidden from view, allowing them to deal massive amounts of damage on the unsuspecting with the help of Blade And Soul Items. Decoy Stance provides a versatile toolkit for the Assassin, including bombs and other abilities that stun, daze and knock down, as well as their Counter: a visually striking ability that prevents damage and puts them back into Stealth Mode.

Albion Online seems to be lacking the play

I thought about not spending the time writing this, because there are so many of these types of posts out there, but a friend of mine suggested I should; just in case others liked the ideas.

First of all, some of these ideas aren’t my own, but they’re in here to give people the better overarching experience. A lot of people when they suggest ideas to one specific part of the game, don’t see the larger aspect of the game as well. Changing the one little thing such as crafting and allowing people to mine X more than usual changes more of the game than just faster mining. The ideas within are supposed to complement each other and work together, not just “change X thing!”

PvP, Yellow and Red:

We all know the map needs to be bigger, and it’s been addressed multiple times, but just for prosperities sake I’ll say it here as well. Yellow needs to be bigger, offering a larger buffer between Green and Red, Guards on each section.

Red Needs to be expanded more, and there should be no safe zones beyond green in the slightest. The reasoning for this is that this game is supposed to be about team work, co-operation, and the sandbox. Anything beyond Yellow should be that sandbox, from guilds having to take and hold territory, to alliances forming to help better defend themselves, to roaming Guilds patrolling their own lands and kicking out anyone they don’t want there. Those should be part of the game. Red needs to be expanded so much more for such a thing to exist, allowing more space for people to spread out, slip through the gaps and in otherwise guard.

Black itself needs to do the same, but with the ability for Guilds to control entire zones with much more efficiency. Red needs to be the smaller guilds banding together fighting over and defending what’s theirs. Black needs to be far more rooted in large guilds, or alliances, coming together and imparting their own rule and laws upon their zones, along with who may come and go as they please.

Something that’s desperately needed is a reputation system. If you’re out there slaughtering people in Yellow zone time and time again, you need to have consequences for that. There needs to be a system that either makes those people Perma-Reds in the long term, or otherwise penalizes their actions in other ways.

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Blade & Soul Dancer Guide

The Blade Dancer is a true hybrid, taking the Blade Master’s damage and stances, and combining it with the Force Master’s elemental focus and stacking buffs. It’s a class exclusive to the Lyn race, and therefore takes advantage of their small stature to eke out powerful damaging abilities, and emphasizing maneuverability to avoid damage—since the class lacks the solid defensiveness of the Blade Master, or the crowd control of the Force Master.

Wind and Lightning are the two primary elemental damage types for the Blade Dancer, and each element associates with a particular stance. Draw Stance uses Lightning-related abilities, but relies upon a short-lived buff called “Electric Surge” that generates Electric Focus, which increases critical rating and allows use of specific skills. Basic Stance has skills that build Wind Focus, which, when consumed, add extra damage to certain skills, and boost the attack speed of others.

Like the Force Master, a Blade Dancer also has access to Phantom Grip, but they also have many more options available to make their helpless victim rue their existence, as many of these skills can be cast once, but apply their damage multiple times in sequence.

The Blade Dancer in Play

The Blade Dancer focuses on dealing two types of damage: Lightning and Wind. Not all skills will have an associated elemental damage, but those that do will have their damage increased with the selection of the right items. This is vital for the Blade Dancer, because unlike the versatility of their Force Master sibling, a Blade Dancer has to choose to focus on either Lightning or Wind abilities as part of their build.

For party play, the Blade Dancer is a solid high damage-dealer, and very proficient at taking down single enemies quickly. Their maneuverability and speed is also beneficial when it comes to fast reaction times, making them especially valuable for time-sensitive challenges.

In Arena PvP, the high damage that the Blade Dancer can dish out is tempered by their low health—if you can reach them. However, their maneuverability comes at a price, and that is Focus management. Their core defensive skill costs Focus with each use, as do many of their attack abilities. Choosing to spend Focus on damage versus defense is a dilemma every Blade Dancer faces, but those who can master this balance can dominate in the Arena.

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Blade & Soul: Player Homes Should Have Access

So going through a lot of posts lately and see a lot of great ideas. I’d like to expand/clarify them in a single post, also add other great ideas that are given to me here.

Clan Dojo!

A Clan Dojo is basically a themed guild base. These Dojo’s will be decked out with training dummies, and of course an area for people to spar. If you haven’t gotten into Blade And Soul combat, this is going to be important. A lot of people can make use of trying out new skills and combos to max their efficiency in pvp.

The Dojo will have access to purchasable decor, like bonsai plants, banners, cool suits of armor, etc etc. The size of the Dojo itself can increase either based off Clan Size, Funding (donations n stuff), or an EXP share (like, kill something for 100 exp, 10 exp is shared with clan for clan level). This way guilds are motivated to work together and be proactive to further benefit the guild.

Dojo vs Dojo can also happen. One clan’s Dojo can challenge another clan’s Dojo for clan rankings and the right to fly the losing team’s flag within the winning teams Dojo. Dojo vs Dojo can take place in either Dojo, and be a variety of PvP events such as a 1v1 (leader vs leader style), Team vs Team, or a series of 1v1′s (like 5 people vs 5 people but they line up and fight 1 right after the other). These Clan’s who further themselves in Dojo’s can earn trophies and titles and championship outfits even.

Player owned Housing (PoH)

Things like this have proven huge in other games. They are fun and engaging and people LOVE to get personal with their in game life. Allow certain areas in the game to host “Housing” segments where a player can talk to a housing broker and purchase some land, or Permit’s through the Cash Shop. They can then teleport to and start building.

Players with land can now gather resources to create their own place, or again buy housing parts via Hongmoon store, and create their ideal home. Player homes should have access to the necessities of Blade & Soul.

Players should be able to create an “Address” for their home, which given to other players can be used for them to visit that person’s home as well. Also those who are great friends, should have the option to become “neighbors” which would place their houses right next to each other so they can freely walk between.

Marriage & Weddings!

Lets face it, love blooms wherever it decides. Who are we to say a loving Gon and Lyn should not be allowed to wed? Marriage can allow a man and woman in game to marry via Marriage Packs and host a wedding for all their friends to attend.

Marriage can give the benefit of making it vary clear that the two are married with title’s like “Bill’s Wife” or “Tanesha’s Husband” as well as wedding gown outfits for the lovely couple to wear. The marriage system can also have the added benefit of giving one another full access (except for personal storage) to each other’s PoH. (of course with restrictions. Don’t want someone tearing another’s house down cause they didn’t text back in time).

More Classes!

I’ve seen people ask for both Rangers and Healer classes. In 9 out of 10 fantasy mmorpg’s they have both these things. They’re traditional even. Some may argue that they don’t fall in line with the martial art style of Blade & Soul but then again neither would axe wielding destroyers or summoners or fireball slinging Focus Masters. If anything, a Ranger class would fit perfectly within a martial arts themed game as they also wield knives and do know martial arts. Real ones I mean. Yeah look it up.

A healer class is also a great idea. There’s a whole lot of people out there who take pride in a support role. Healing, shielding, buffing, and just keeping people alive. Fact is, without this role as a thing, Blade And Soul has to limit the difficulty of it’s game drastically or no one would survive a fight without a support. So a healer role could unlock a vast potential in terms of bossing.

Stop With Pointless Roadblocks

Keys? Unsealing Charms? Constant need to repair equipment? All of these things are incredibly annoying and pointless. Why force players to deal with these annoyances when the idea of a game is to HAVE FUN.

Drop the keys, drop the charms, drop the weapon repairing. People short on keys or charms do not want to have to pick and chose what loot they actually obtain, people deep into a dungeon or questing don’t want to have to return to fix equipment, so stop making this a thing in games, please.

Faction Revamp

This is a personal wish… I believe factions completely undermine clans. Do we want open world pvp? Sure, some people. Do we need factions outfits to do it? No. I get the need to equip some faction related outfits to fight certain guards for quests or whatever, but why force us to take off and on the crummy Crimson or Cerulean outfits to do it? Also, by forcing people to choose a Crimson or Cerulean faction from the get go, you’re basically putting them in a guild already and then who cares about the already in place guild feature, right?

Revamp factions, create a more in depth reason to choose Red or Blue. Let Clan’s decide who their clan supports. A clan can swear allegiance to a Faction which is backed by a King from here, or a Queen from there.

Allow factions to also have bases. A red keep and a blue keep, where Weekly, Red vs Blue show up to throw down in a colossal war. The winner of the faction battle earns a weekly buff and bragging rights. Say Red wins, their king can decide on a buff of EXP boost, Blade & Soul Gold boost, drop chance increase, or whatever tickles their fancy for their Faction.

Faction Leaders via election!

Now with a more in depth faction, why not elect those said King and Queen to rule the faction. Elections can take place monthly ( or shorter depending on circumstance ). These Leaders can wear fancy Red or Blue royal duds as well, showing their status as supreme Monarch within their ranks. Also hey, might as well give them a title and unique font to show off that they are loved.