February 26, 2011

Blade & Soul to Launch OBT in Taiwan Next Summer

With the release date of Blade & Soul coming closer, Korea-based NCsoft reached Taiwan again to keep abreast of local customs. The company also took a Taiwanese medium's interview, and disclosed to the eagerly-waiting players Blade & Soul's current development status as well as its Taiwanese version's release schedule. As Blade & Soul's release dates in the areas excluding South Korea are still unannounced, the development director Pae Chae-Hyön this time declared that the game was to kick off OBT in summer next year (2012), which is undoubtedly good news for players. That is to say, Taiwanese players will be able to enjoy NCsoft's fourth blockbuster through its CBT early next year.

In addition to the exciting news, Pae Chae-Hyon and Kim Hyung Tae also disclosed many details related to Blade & Soul's development, including the development status, creative gameplay content, racial settings, and skill rendering modes. Just read on if you are a fan of Blade & Soul!

Only 60% Finished?

If careful enough, you can find that NCsoft usually makes great improvements in its games' content from the game announcement to official release. For example, it can be seen that Aion's officially-released version made a breakthrough progress in its graphics compared to its originally-announced version. Blade & Soul is no exception. Pae Chae-Hyön always answered "around 50% finished" when being asked about the game's development status no matter two or three years ago, and even this year, his answer was just "nearly 60% finished". However, based on Blade & Soul's trial version released at last year's G-Star, both the media and players fancy that the game has been developed fully enough to enter the market.

Next Time's Game Info Release Will Relate to CBT

As Blade & Soul is reported without stop by the media, when will the official company formally release relevant game info again? Mr. Pae expressed that the next game info release would be about the game's CBT in South Korea. As NCsoft's 2010 financial statement shows, Blade & Soul is set to start its CBT in the first half of 2011.

Blade & Soul Will Challenge the Game Market and Even Push the Limits of RPGs

As for the comprehensive creativity that WoW brought to the market at the very beginning, Mr. Pae confessed that WoW did catch players' eyes upon its debut thanks to its groundbreaking design like the relatively simple quests and newly-added instance mode, which later became necessary gameplay content in MMORPGs. Things are the same in Blade & Soul. Players may think the game was very fresh and novel in the early days after its release, but may later insist that RPGs should be made in this way, forming a fixed notion.

However, Mr. Pae used to express his confidence in Blade & Soul's ability to give players who have been accustomed to the old gaming mode a different feel upon its release. He believed that Blade & Soul would break away from the existing MMORPG settings, e.g. ideas concerning tanks and healers would no more be reflected in Blade & Soul, and the buff/de-buff effects considered necessary in the past would be minimized, too. In the absence of such things, can the games still be called RPGs? Pae wishes to prove to players that they can!

Blade & Soul's Advantage over Guild Wars 2 Lies in the Sound Storyline

Regardless of the previous projects, Guild Wars 2, NCsoft's another masterpiece, and Blade & Soul both lead players to interact with the gaming world. So, what's the difference between the two in essence?

According to Pae Chae-Hyön, it's true that NCsoft internally would share its different products' development content. At the sight of Guild Wars 2's dynamic events system, Pae thought it very creative, and once even had a desire to introduce it into Blade & Soul. But the desire was subdued on account of the game development situation. Blade & Soul boasts sound storyline, and makes you feel as if you were watching an American movie that goes logically and smoothly, which is also Blade & Soul's absolute advantage.

As Players Can Conquer a Game Very Swiftly, Is the Prepared Storyline Sufficient Till the Next Update?

As Pae said, besides the main storyline, different side events will happen ceaselessly depending on characters' growth and experiences, and even the interaction and conflicts among players can give birth to new content. For example, if a character runs into another one on the road to revenge, their respective stories will react on each other and more side stories will then be triggered, which is very likely to lead characters to the immortal, demon or spirit world. Players will eventually find that the Blade & Soul world is actually very complicated.

Different Endings Are Worth Expecting

What will the avenger do after succeeding in the vengeance? From Pae's point of view, each character is a distinct individual and has his/her own story. So, when being asked whether Blade & Soul would present different endings like ACGs, or even encourage players to create a new character for the sake of a different result, Pae answered "it is supposed so" with a touch of mystery.

Familiar Scenes Will Show Up

When being asked whether Blade & Soul hoped to transmit a concept different from that in the previous games, Kim Hyung Tae said that in the past, they had only wished to embody their ideas to the utmost and break some bottlenecks while drawing, and that he wanted to do the same in Blade & Soul and shock players again and again during gameplay. As Kim expressed, even when he didn't take charge of drawing any more later, he still hoped to retain Blade & Soul's visual enjoyments. At this point, Kim undertook to make continuous efforts.

Can Characters Be Customized?

Kim Hyung Tae was still loath to disclose whether the character customization feature would be available as he had been, but he promised that things would go further than expected.

Taiwanese Elements Integrated

As to whether many countries and regions' colorful styles were taken as reference in the aspect of Blade & Soul's art style and settings, Kim confessed that there're indeed many, including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Mainland China. He said that he was deeply impressed by the buildings in Taipei City and the temples in different places during his last visit to Taiwan, and had taken thousands of pictures of things like the large number of celebrative decorations inside Taiwanese temples and the sceneries in the Taroko National Park, which were detailed in Blade & Soul to some extent.

Though it's impossible to render such things as real as they are, players should still be able to recognize them as sceneries in Taiwan when reaching them.

Credits: MMOsite

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