We had a chance to speak to the NC Soft guys at this year’s PAX East, they had a lot to say about their latest plans for Blade and Soul and also their new MOBA-ish game MXM. Let's start with upcoming changes to BnS.
First off the devs wanted to point out that BnS has just about caught up to the Asian release, with all the added content from the last year. This last year was really busy for BnS, this coming year will focus on bigger updates (in terms of scope), but less often. In addition to many PvP improvements, April 12th will mark the release of Act VII, the latest chapter in the Blade and Soul story.
With this comes a new skill point allocation system, NOT a changing of the skills themselves, but rather a new and easier method for skill point allocation that is more easily understood. And three new PvE areas as well, a heroic dungeon, a small party PvE area, and a solo dungeon. The neatest thing they showed though was the Hongmoon Room, where the player can level their character to 50, reallocate all their skills, and then spawn any boss, to practice their skill use and rotations. They can even set themselves to invincibility mode and learn how the boss fights progress. For a players who doesn't get to engage in dungeons very often, this practice room is an ideal place to learn how skills that they don't get to use often operate and can be used effectively. While boss kills don't count in this mode, of course, the direct, hand on experience gained can be invaluable, I have never seen such a mode in any other game, but I suspect it will be very popular.
The other things I saw at NC Soft was MXM, which is similar to a moba, but with a focus on action combat, skill shots, lack of tab-targeting. This one plays a bit less like a standard moba, but not really the same as your standard action moba, like Smite. Sort of a hybrid. The roster consists of many characters from NC Soft games past and present, and includes a character that I was terribly excited to see: Statesman, from City of Heroes.
As a City of Heroes fan, I naturally jumped the gun a bit and assumed that we might see the return of CoH, I was assured that is NOT the case, but, as fans of City of Heroes and it's characters, the devs had an opportunity to place one of the characters into their MXM meta, they jumped at the chance. Statesman has access to many of his classic powers and abilities, and plays as sort of a tank character.
The unique twist to MXM is that you choose two of the characters, and then you can switch back and forth between them at will. With close to thirty characters to choose from, and more coming, that gives players a lot of potential combinations and power sets to try out. There are also several game modes, but most interesting is the PvE mode, both solo and co-op. This allows players to play through a fully featured story mode battling enemies, gathering loot, even taking on powerful bosses. Using the same multiple-character system as the PvP game, the player chooses two masters, chooses which of the myriad abilities they want, and can freely switch between them as they wish.
There's also an achievement system, for the achievement hounds out there, so there is a lot to do here on top of the usual PvP style battles. Closed beta for this game is coming soon, and it promises to be action packed.