Blade and Soul is a free to play martial arts-based MMO developed by Team Bloodlust and published by NCSOFT of Guild Wars/Wildstar/Aion etc. Blade and Soul was originally released in Korea in 2012, but was only released today in North America and Europe. This morning I sat down and gave this game a go.

On Saturday, Mike Fahey gave us a look into the dramatic introduction of the game. Here’s how you can get started yourself.

Before you get started, you must go to the NCSOFT website and set up a character PIN. This will allow you entry into the game. Once you install and boot up the game, you’ll get the PIN entry screen. Once you’re past that you will get to your basic character select screen and begin to create and customize your first character.


So let’s break down your racial and class selections!

Races:

In the game you are given the option of selecting between 4 available races. There are no gameplay mechanics related to any race, just class restrictions.

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Choose wisely...or not, no big deal.

First off, we have the Jin. These are your basic ordinary human. No real distinguishing attributes, very normal. Then you have the towering Gon. This giant race are descended from the breath of dragons. They are a strong and trusting race. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the Lyn. They are a race of diminutive troublemakers, that are descended from the mischievous Kirin. They are more in-tuned with the spirits than other races. That leaves us with the Yun. This is an all-female race of artisans descended from the mystical Funghuang.

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I chose to go Jin, because they have access to the class that intrigued me most, the Assassin. The other classes that the Jin have access to is Blade Master and Kung Fu Master. The Gon, being the big race, have their unique Destroyer class as well as Kung Fu Master and Force Master. The Lyn have 2 unique classes in the Blade Dancer and Summoner, and also have access to the Force Master class. The Yun don’t have a unique class and have access to Force Master, Blade Master and Kung Fu Master classes.


Now lets talk about these classes and what they do.

Classes:

As this is a martial arts based MMO, most classes are melee-oriented. The only exceptions being the Force Master and Summoner classes, which are played at a range.

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Blade Dancer:

The Blade Dancer is your basic melee weapon dps class. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say imagine your basic WoW Arms Warrior. The official description of the class on the B&S site states the following:

Blade Masters have a wide variety of attack and defense skills, making them a powerful force on the battlefield. Their techniques rely on high attack speed and careful maneuvering around an enemy, dodging and parrying without pause, while countering any attacks with devastating ease.

In battle, the Blade Master is able to swiftly switch between stances, allowing for many combinations of attacks in either their Basic Stance or their blindingly-fast Draw Stance, calling on a unique set of skills only available in those stances. With the Flock of Blades technique, they can summon a flurry of flying swords to overwhelm their enemies.

The Blade Master is a well-rounded class that is easy to use but difficult to master. It takes a great deal of skill and quick thinking to be effective, but has no overt disadvantages that enemies can exploit.

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(source: Blade Master)


Destroyer:

The Destroyer is one of the two tank classes available in the game. It would probably be best compared to the Death Knight Blood Spec. No shield, just lots of armor and big hits. The official description is as follows:

True to their name, Destroyers have the most stopping power of any class in Blade & Soul. With their overwhelming presence, Destroyers provoke enemies into attacking them as the biggest threat around. Once they have their opponent’s attention, they overpower all who stand in their way.

The iconic skill of the Destroyer is their ability to Grab a staggered enemy, dominating them in battle as they are left defenseless before the Destroyer’s might. Fallen opponents become weapons as the Destroyer hurls them into other enemies, while friends who could not keep up are safely carried out of harm’s way.

The Destroyer’s strong attack power and defensive skill make them seem like a lone wolf, but they are most effective in group combat. They complement other classes like the Assassin, Force Master, or Kung Fu Masters, allowing each to set up devastating combinations and Joint Attacks.

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(source: Destroyer)


Summoner:

The Summoner is one of the two ranged classes in the game. They use a familiar to distract the enemy while they fire shots from afar. They are Blade and Souls version of WoW’s Hunter class. The official description:

The Summoner and their Familiar are a team, fighting together to overwhelm their enemies. The Familiar rushes into the thick of it, dealing heavy physical damage and holding the attention of their opponent. Meanwhile, the Summoner hangs back, supporting their Familiar with long range skills that both help their feline friend and hinder their shared enemy.

Don’t let the adorable appearance of these two fool you. Summoner attacks deal constant damage and can readily control the flow of battle, making them particularly hard to deal with. Even if one part of the team is defeated, they can revive their fallen ally and jump right back into the fight.

The Summoner and their Familiar are the strongest at transferring health from foes to themselves. While it is a great class for novices, actually mastering the Summoner is a difficult process given their wide range of tactics and abilities.

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(source: Summoner)


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Force Master:

The second ranged class available to us in Blade & Soul. The Force Master uses elemental powers to unleash carnage on the enemy. They are the mages of Blade & Soul.

Unlike other classes, the Force Master attacks at long range, dealing heavy damage from a safe distance. Their swift strikes and ability to remain on the move while attacking makes them a dynamic addition to any battle. They are less durable than the other classes, so careful positioning is key to their survival.

The Force Master is able to freely switch between elements; their searing Fire abilities stack damage with repeated attacks, while the freezing Ice powers control the battlefield and enhance their defenses. With careful focus they can even snatch an enemy and hold them suspended in the air, leaving that foe helpless against incoming attacks.

Other classes can’t compete with the Force Master’s ability to handle groups of enemies, but PvP arenas prove more challenging than ever. Only a truly skilled Force Master can overcome the direct attention of a fellow warrior.

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(Source: Force Master)


Kung Fu Master:

The Kung Fu Master is for you pugilists out there. There is nothing between you and the enemy but flesh and bone. A pure hand to hand fighter, the Kung Fu Master acts as the second tank class. They are similar to the WoW Monk, Brewmaster spec. Official Description:

While their mighty punches and kicks can lay waste to enemies, a Kung Fu Master’s true power is their ability to catch an opponent’s attack, divert the blow, then counter-attack in the blink of an eye. Due to the precision needed to switch between offensive and defensive abilities, the Kung Fu Master is recommended only for the more experienced.

Kung Fu Masters can control the flow of combat through use of combination attacks, stringing together a long chain of blows one after another. While they are capable of facing multiple enemies at once, leaping and pouncing from one foe to another, they are most effective in one-on-one combat.

The Kung Fu Master’s greatest strength is how well they cooperate with other warriors. By leading the charge, the Kung Fu Master can force an enemy into submission while teammates pour on the damage.

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(Source: Kung fu Master)


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Assassin:

The Assassin is the very different from the other melee classes. Unlike the others that rely on purely damage, they specilize on status effects and bleed effects to grind the damage out. They’re ninjas...so... They can be likened to the Assassination/Subtlety spec Rogues in WoW. Official Descrption:

While most classes charge in bold and daring, the Assassin is a stealthy sort that prefers to take things at their own pace. They can control the battlefield like no other, luring enemies into deadly traps before they even know what hit them.

The Assassin whittles away at an enemy’s strength with rapid fire attacks that cause bleeding and poison damage, which drain the life from their foes over time. While their razor-sharp Dagger is vital, they also employ explosives, poisons, smoke, and other potent utilities to hobble their enemies. On top of their ingenuity, they can also use strange martial arts that allow them to turn invisible, teleport around the field, and even swap places with enemies in an instant.

More so than others, Assassins work best alone. However, their status-altering abilities and damage-over-time effects make them an important addition to any large-scale battle.

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(Source: Assassin)


Blade Dancer:

The Blade Dancer are the speedier variant of the Blade Master. While they sacrifice power for mobility, they make up for it in crowd control and faster attack speed. Official Descrption:

The Lyn have also taken up the sword, but rather than wholly adopt the techniques of the Blade Master, they have invented their own unique blend of skills exclusive to their kind. The Blade Dancer merges rapid attack speed, high mobility, and devestating control abilities at the expense of defense.

Blade Dancers focus on dashing around the battlefield at blinding speed to evade damage entirely. With both physical and mystical abilities at their disposal, they can dominate a fight before their opponent even realizes what hit them.

The Blade Dancer’s high attack speed and ability to chain attacks make them excel at one-on-one battles, while their crowd control skills give them an undeniable edge in parties. However, the Blade Dancer must always be aware of their Focus and pace themselves lest they risk running out of steam and leave themselves open to counter-attack.

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(Source: Blade Dancer)


Character Customization:

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Blade & Soul offers a very nice character customizer, allowing you to live out all your anime character fantasies. The picture above is my finalized character, I just took a preset and changed some settings. The picture below...is my original creation:

It’s a bit more on the unsightly side. That just means that there is a great sense of individuality to be had in the game. You have complete control over the face and body options. The Presets are a good starting point to sculpt your faces. There is even a few familiar faces to be found in the presets.

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Rock Lee, Cloud, Hulk Hogan, Old Guy

Once you get your character created, you choose a name, hope it’s not chosen, and then jump into the not to subtle tutorial. I really wish tutorials were more subtle, and at least not tell you the controls through the dialog...

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I plan to put some more time into the game over the next few days and give my opinions. Until then have fun making menacing faces of doom with the character creator.


AlmightyDuke is an average gamer from the Great White North. He generally likes to play games, watch stuff and talk about them with a good bit of humor and silly voices tossed in. Tweet him your scary BnS faces, @AlmightyDuke_NL .