Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Blade and Soul Thoughts

I've been playing Blade and Soul over the last week. I purchased a weeks worth of Premium to avoid the queues. B&S has a few more interesting aspects.

Context-Sensitive Abilities

Abilities are very "context-sensitive". On my Force Master, using a Fire spell (left mouse button) puts you in Fire mode, and a lot of your abilities change to a Fire version. Using a Frost spell (right mouse button) puts you in Frost mode, and several abilities change to a Frost version. It's fairly easy to change contexts, to alternate between Fire and Frost.

There are other contexts as well. The FM has a "grip" ability that pulls and holds the enemy. While the enemy is gripped, several new variants of abilities are unlocked.

Talent Trees

This is then backed up by the talent tree system. Each ability (or more accurately each button), has it's own talent tree. The tree usually has 2-4 mutually exclusive branches that changes or enhances the ability in a specific fashion.

For example, that grip ability I mentioned can be changed into a snare which prevents people from moving. Another short-range ability can be changed into a variant that does less damage but has a longer range.

All in all, the ability structure of B&S is very interesting, and it's worth looking at to see how a large number of abilities and variations can be mapped onto a small number of keys.

1v1 PvP

The PvP devs of most MMOs have said that they do not balance around 1v1 PvP. B&S embraces 1v1, and has it being the central format of PvP. I've only tried one duel, and lost fairly quickly. But it was a pretty interesting experience.

Dueling has a long history in WoW. You can often find people dueling outside the gates of capital cities. After playing B&S, I am no longer certain that simply writing off 1v1 as unbalance-able was correct. Perhaps if 1v1 was balanced, that would simplify the balancing of larger groups, or classes in general.

Of course, B&S doesn't really have dedicated healers, which changes things significantly.


In most modern western MMOs, health is a per-encounter resource. You start the encounter at full-health, and it's fairly easy to get back up to full-health afterwards.

In B&S, health regenerates far slower, but you generally take less damage during a fight. Resources to recover health are moderately scarce as well. So you generally deal with multiple pulls on one health bar, and only rest when your health gets low.


Those are some of the mechanical aspects of Blade and Soul which I found interesting. The queues have died down, so it's a decent time to check it out. Really the only issue is that the spammers are out in full force, and have overrun all chat.


  1. I am not playing it yet but the more I read about the combat, the more I like to try it.

    "it's worth looking at to see how a large number of abilities and variations can be mapped onto a small number of keys."

    I read this somewhere else as well, where they say that you have in excess of 50 abilities but they can all be mapped into low as 13 buttons or something. One of my pet peeves with older MMO like EQ2 is that I had like 5 or 6 hot bars on screen (taking up lot of space) each with 10+ skills and most of the time you tend to look at the hot bar rather than looking at world. So I am interested to see how B&S solved this issues.

    1. It's all about the context. For example, my ability on the 2 key is usually a Fire AoE in straight line. But if I first use the 4 key to pull and grip the opponent, the 2 key changes to a knockback.

      So that's 3 abilities, mapped to 2 keys. Then you get different abilities if you in Fire mode, Frost mode, if you are knocked down, etc.

  2. I'm up to 38 on my Blade Master now and the game has started to grow on me. Probably going to try a caster once I hit 45.