March 2, 2011

What to Expect in Blade and Soul's OBT Next Summer

From Blade & Soul's concept art that has been unveiled, we can see that the mass, magnificent scenes and the comparatively small characters do bring impressive visual impacts at some point. But such visual impacts seem hard to be fully realized in the gaming world, which's also where developers put great energy in order to present players with perfect visuals as Kim Hyung Tae said. However, Kim expressed that they wouldn't introduce insignificant settings only for the sake of maximizing visual impacts, but would exert themselves to make the scenes featured in the concept art accessible to players in the game.

Even Monsters Have Their Cultures

With regard to the four races in Blade & Soul, whose name displays a strong oriental fantasy style, someone once though them not creative enough because they all "looked like humans".

Pae Chae-Hyon admitted that Blade & Soul indeed focused much on human-related game content, so different stages of a human being's growth would be shown in the game, e.g. from a very little child to an extremely old person. According to Pae, other races, however, may appear as NPCs in the game, and even monsters will have their own cultural backgrounds and settings. Additionally, some objects will be endowed with life, and meet players in a humanized manner.

But does it mean that players' characters may grow old as people do in real life? Kim Hyung Tae said that aging is an unavoidable problem after all, and they'd do their best to let players experience the variations in life.

Each Class is Made Independent

According to Pae Chae-Hyon, as Blade & Soul is mainly characterized by oriental martial arts, they give priority to the oriental elements like boxing, swords & knives and hammers to interpret the game, and for the sake of overturning the tank & healer settings common in existing RPGs, they will also try to dispense with the magician class. After the game's official release, they'll define new classes depending on players' preferences. For example, if they find players are fond of group events, the newly added classes may be those that are expected to bring benefits like auxiliary skills; and if finding players have a bias in favor of solo play, they will then add shooting classes.

Force Master Acts Like an FPS Shooter

When being asked whether the unveiled "Force Master" was more like a spell-typed class, Pae said that in comparison, Force Master was more like a shooting one.

As Pae recalled, Blade & Soul's melee classes including Kung-Fu Master, Destroyer and Blade Master was considered fairly creative when being tested internally in the early days, and only its Force Master was said to be very like magicians and wizards in the previous RPGs with nothing special. In this respect, Pae reconsidered his idea. Now that ranged classes' spell casting was somewhat out of date in common RPGs, the developer team then endowed Force Master with FPS-style weapons, e.g. Force Master can use sniping skills to attack a particular target in the far distance, release the skills as powerful as shotguns to react against the enemies around, or apply corresponding skill when wishing to take advantage of geographical conditions like the earth.

6 Classes Will Be Playable upon Official Release, New Classes Subject to Players' Preferences

Plus the "Assassin" made public at G-Star 2010, a total of 6 classes will be made available in Blade & Soul according to the presently known info. Actually, the development team planned 8~10 classes at the very start, which were finally reduced to the current confirmed 6 after the team's internal discussion and abandonment of some too similar classes. But as the originally-planned classes have been finished in some degrees actually, even the new classes based on players' feedback and demands can be completed and presented very soon if necessary.

Tournaments are Likely to Be Held

In the interview, the development team of Blade & Soul seemed to care about the feedback from the public very much. Pae said that he was asked by many people, especially those in Russia, whether it's possible for Blade & Soul which put emphasis on martial arts to introduce tournaments. According to him, now that so many players think tournaments are necessary, the development team has referred to many boxing matches and games. Thus, related tournament settings will show up in the game in the future, and combats, whether 1 vs. 1 or 3 vs. 3, will be impressive and stimulating.

Self-training, the Key to Proficiency in Skills

For creativity's sake, Blade & Soul won't let players join guilds or learn skills from tutors like the previous medieval fantasy MMORPGs.

Surely, players will learn basic skills from tutors at the very beginning, but should be dependent on self-training, meditation or something else to enhance the skills or obtain new skills. After players reach a certain level, new skills will be made usable or the skill tree will be activated, so that players can determine their next step. Blade & Soul will offer players many different ways to acquire skills, i.e. players may get skills not only by means of items but also through learning from a designated person or through completing quests.

Skills will not be fully embodied in the game's first CBT, and players cannot touch the skills' real charm till the second or third CBT or the OBT.

Combats May Not Be as Vivid and Delicate as Those in the Promotional Trailer?

Blade & Soul lays stress on the attacking and defending skills that are as delicate as those in real martial arts films, and makes players able to press the foe against the wall and give heavy blows, or throw the foe up to the air or drag him/her down to the ground and then deal fatal blows. But the trial version released at G-Star 2010 seemed to present simple fights like those in common MMORPGs only. As Pae Chae-Hyon explained, related details had been completed and imported to the trial version in fact, but since players didn't try out the game long enough, they failed to fully experience the combat details (a small number of South Korean media had a taste of this part thanks to relatively longer gaming time). For example, to throw the foe up to the air, players must perform a corresponding skill first to get the foe's feet off the ground; and to press the foe against the ground and beat him/her, players should try to let the foe fall down first. It seems that players didn't experience such content and thus thought the combats not that vivid. Pae fancied that characters needed time to grow, and that players would grow as characters grew.

Other Gaming Fun Will be Provided Naturally If Necessary

Besides the core systems, Pae expressed that they'd make a different attempt in the additional systems like the crafting one. After all, it'll be strange if an avenger whose heart is filled with grief and indignation just kills some little monsters, right?

Thus, this part will be realized in a logical and natural way, e.g. players are led by NPCs to produce something, or join forces with others to complete something in order to get desired resources.

Credits: MMOsite

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