Blade & Soul is the latest MMORPG by South Korean developer NCsoft, the company behind Lineage, Lineage II, Guild Wars, and Aion, (among other games). The development team Bloodlust is responsible for Blade & Soul specifically, and if this latest trailer is any indication, they are definitely headed in the right direction.
The original trailer showcased some fantastic graphics, first and foremost. That Blade & Soul is a visual titan is an understatement, as its graphical appearance in general was what can only be described as beautiful. What truly complimented the first trailer was its art style; the game models its characters off of artwork by renowned manhwa artist Hyung-Tae Kim, who depicts very strong Asian details and accessories in his character illustrations. Considering the game focuses on Asian martial-arts and is based loosely on asian myths, having Hyung-Tae Kim as the games character designer seems like the perfect choice. What’s more, Blade & Soul is perhaps the only game that depicts his character designs faithfully; the characters in the game look almost identical to their illustrated counterparts, with no loss of their obvious manhwa roots.
The G-Star game event in Busan, South Korea has come to a close. However, it showcased a plethora of new trailers for new and in-development MMORPGs, including Blade & Soul. This newly released trailer not only showcases new races, but introduces four character classes/professions as well.
In addition to the normal-looking Jin race and the hulking Gon, we are introduced to the pale, slender Kun, and the fox-children, the Lyn.
After the character introductions, the trailer reveals four of what seems like several character classes.
The the first of these classes is the Sword Master class, the sword-wielders. The attacks are impressive, with long, brilliant slash combos, aerial quick-slashes and heavy blows. Sword Masters in this trailer don’t use the extensively show-cased sword-summoning technique from the previous trailer, suggesting that it is no longer a technique useable by this class, or was removed altogether (thought the former is much more likely).
The second class introduced is the Kung-Fu Master, who focus instead on hand-to hand beat-downs via punches and kicks. This class has a great variety of attacks; from storms of quick punches to jaw-breaking charged blows, juggling kicks, launchers, sweeps, grabs, and even what looks like long-range punch-projectiles. Their attacks drip with style as they combo and juggle their opponents effortlessly.
The third class seems to be Blade & Soul‘s answer to the mage class: the Force Master. In addition to manipulating charged spells and attacks, they seem to able to manipulate their opponent’s gravity, lifting them high into the air and picking away at them with bursts of energy projectiles. (this skill looks plenty useful in party play, lifting the party’s opponent helplessly while other party members whittle it’s HP). Force Masters attack and charge spells surprisingly fast, making them a force to be reckoned with.
The last of the official classes is the Destroyer. Seemingly the slowest of the introduced classes, these characters look to be the “tanks” of Blade & Soul, soaking up damage for breakfast and dealing massive damage in close-range attacks. The Destroyer doesn’t seem to move very fast, but wield a cool organic-looking shield to deflect damage, and can pull off vicious combos with their huge axe.
The trailer also showcases what seems like two unannounced classes. Early in the trailer and at several other points, the Lyn (Fox-Children) summon an ghostly warrior to fight with them. This could be a racially specific ability available only to Lyn, but it seems just as likely that it is a class skill for an unknown class.
The second unannounced class, on the other hand is pretty blatant. A character with bright red gatling-like armor and fire-arms is introduced in the second half of the trailer, fighting the Destroyer. He has a wide-range of gun combos and projectile attacks; he attacks with both dual-pistols and a huge rifle. In both cases, we will simply have to wait for NCsoft to officially reveal the classes for more info.
All playable classes (except Force Masters, it seems) have some form of “finisher” or attack that can be performed when their opponent is laying flat on the ground. Sword Masters finish perform a thrust to the chest. Kung-Fu Masters will mount their opponents and pull off the classic pummel. Destroyers impale their opponent on the end of their axe, and hurl them across the environment. It is a very impressive detail, and looks satisfying to pull off too.
Lastly, the new trailer presents lots of beautiful scenes and environments as well. Beautiful waterfalls and lush forests, breathtaking sprawling fields, among many, many other environments, litter the trailer. Mountable creatures (a deer-creature and tortoise are shown), spectacular ruins and incredible traps, neat platforming, and plenty of combat about wraps up the trailer. With it’s incredible art direction, combat style, and graphical prowess, it is not so much a question of if Blade & Soul will be the next MMORPG, but when.