But that’s another problem – though the clan system is fully functional and even more competent than most games, its ridiculous “money and items” way of leveling up clans, which in turn limits how many people you can have in a clan, is just silly. Clan sizes and recruiting tools are limited unreasonably, and I wish the NC West folks would rework how clan levels are obtained and how quickly. Large guilds and clans are forced to have handfuls of clans just to keep people together, and resort to using something like Discord for a unified chat system. That’s just abhorrent for an AAA game in 2016.
I’ve had fun with my time in Blade & Soul, but my desire to log in is waning as I sit at the cap and realize all that’s left to do is more dailies and grinding for better gear… I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before. I’d be all about the world PVP if it was more meaningful, just as I’d play the arena PVP if I was at all good enough to make a go of it (I am not). In the end, Blade & Soul just feels like a game that’s not for me and that’s OK. It’s still a very good game, quite competent at achieving its goals. It sometimes feels like its big MMO features are just tacked on to give people something to do between the next arena match, and that’s OK too. If League of Legends or SMITE had a big open world campaign, I’d wager I’d play them more too. Blade & Soul can be content in having some of the best combat in MMO history, and I’ll be content to pop my head in on the game from time to time to see what’s new.
GAMEPLAY – 8 The combat is top notch, and its PVP can be sublime. But the linear and repetitive nature of its PVE makes it feel like a sideshow. Still, I’m hard pressed to think of a game where beating up NPCs or players is more enjoyable. The game does what it intends though: presents a fantastic competitive landscape, while telling a story on the PVE side of things. That said, it’s hard to see the PVE as anything more than a means to an end.
VISUALS AND SOUND – 8 The game’s textures are a bit long in the tooth, but the overall design of the world, it’s inhabitants, and the music and soundscape are fantastic and high quality.
POLISH – 9 Blade & Soul has had three years to get cleaned up before arriving in the states. Though minor issues like the camera refusing to move, or characters getting stuck on the tiniest of bumps when sprinting persist. It’s a fairly polished game, but the biggest strike against it was an apparent unpreparedness when it comes to the swell of bots and spammers chat channels face.
LONGEVITY – 6 The rush to cap is quick, and relatively painless if you don’t mind the monotonous and linear questing. There are plenty of reasons to stick around and PVP, but PVE fans won’t find much more than a gear and gold grind at the cap. February 10th’s game update adds some much needed new content, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough.
VALUE – 7 Blade & Soul is free to download and play. While there is ample incentive to spend money, especially since mailing items is limited to folks who have at least spent $5, you probably won’t feel too hampered as a free player. That is, except, for one key area – bag space. It’s a “convenience” feature, sure, but making every character so limited on bag space unless they buy the expensive expansions just reeks of money grab. Additionally, the presence of RNG boxes (where you pay money for a box that MIGHT give you something worthwhile) is always annoying.