Bots Gone Wild
It has been nearly two months since NCSoft released an EU/NA version of Wuxia MMORPG Blade and Soul. As time has gone on, players are moving to level cap, working on increasing the power of their weapons and are engaging heavily in arena and world PvP. As mentioned previously, NCSoft’s long-term plan for BnS is arena-based PvP tournaments that are already quite successful in the South Korean market.
Part of keeping EU and NA players interested and involved in competitive PvP, classes not available at launch (Warlock and Soul Fighter) will be added quickly over the next several months. To that end, players looking for new PvP challenges may find them later this week with the arrival of the Warlock class in the Unchained update as well as the addition of the Soul Fighter at some undetermined time.
The Warlock is a strong ranged caster with an ability to take down enemies very quickly, though at the expense of sturdiness. Many consider the Warlock to be a fragile character that is difficult to master, but that can be a formidable foe, once done. One of the strategies for Warlocks to stay alive is keeping attackers away or/and incapacitated long enough to deal huge amounts of damage through their abilities. They can also summon a large Thrall for a short period of time to damage and keep enemies at bay. Lastly, during party play Warlocks are integral to the team’s composition due to their ability to cast a buff that resets cooldowns.
All of this comes with a caveat that Warlocks must manage cooldowns effectively and precisely or they will be quickly overwhelmed and easily killed if the timing of their skills and abilities is not perfect. Even according to the developers Warlocks are considered extremely fragile.
With regard to PvP, this is what NCSoft has said:
“In Arena PvP, the Warlock has a pretty substantive set of defensive skills to accompany their powerful offensive skills, but still suffers from a glass cannon status that could be easily exploited. The Thrall should be used tactically as their cooldown cannot be reset and their presence alerts the opponent for the potential for highly powered abilities activating upon the Thrall’s sacrifice. Prioritizing instant-cast abilities, fast casting speed, and skills that pierce defenses over high-damaging abilities can all help to ensure the Warlock can hold their own competitively against the other classes.”
The Warlock is due to arrive in game on March 2nd and we’ll be watching it closely to see how it affects the PvP balance in pre-season arena play.
Bots, bots & more bots
One of the most common themes on any forum with regard to BnS is botting. While an issue with any popular MMO, botting has been pushed to an extreme level within BnS. Bots are present from your first moments in the game selling gold all the way through end-game arena PvP. With regard to the latter, MMORPG.com user HoldenHamlet had this to say in a forum thread called “I’m in Bot Hell” on the site:
“What's been happening is the past couple of days I've lost to a person, I go on tilt and lose to a bot, and then I have to fight 3 bots before I can fight a real person again (and probably lose to them). I don't mind losing to a person because I can usually learn something. I need to lose to learn. But I'm stuck right on the cusp of the bot-zone so any time I do lose, I'm forced to fight a few bots to get back to the real people.”
It is enough to make a quick Google search for “botting in BnS” to see that players are disgusted with the number of bots present in the game and they’re begging NCSoft for action. What the search doesn’t reveal is the response from company how they will be dealing with this issue over the coming months. Given the fact that bots are still rampant in the Korean version of BnS (which has been out for 3 years), it remains to be seen whether or not any action will be taken in EU/NA version.
A side-issue is the fact that BnS lacks an optimized system to report bots or kick AFKers in dungeons, and players continue to wonder if it is worth it to file any reports in the first place.
To sum it up…
While the Warlock class seems like a lot of fun, the update is coming at nearly precise time that Black Desert Online is launching and one has to wonder if it will be enough to keep players involved in BnS. Adding in the bot issue, that it might not be.
What about you? Are you still playing BnS? If you are, what is your opinion on the bot issue? Are you looking forward to playing the Warlock? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.