Let’s talk a little about Blade & Soul. This freaking game…
Late to the Punch
I knew NCSoft was doing something big a long while before we knew it would be this. However, my previous experiences with NCSoft’s titles weren’t so wonderful. There wasn’t even a shred of optimism in me–never even tried any of the public tests. Then I heard quite a lot of friends were interested. So, why not glance at it? It looked neat and I wanted to go where they went. Nikki and I tried it for a bit and I was hooked. Martial arts? This soundtrack? Oh heck yes! So I bought the Master Pack.
Comfy in Blade & Soul
I had decided on Blade Dancer as my class, which meant I had to be a Lyn. Okay so I’m an adorable little animal creature, alright. It took a very long time to decide on my design as I wanted to be different than my FFXIV character. Nikki wound up choosing Summoner as that was her favorite thing in FFXI, meaning she was also Lyn. She made a pretty-boy version of her FFXIV character and there we were adventuring. I joked around asking if this made me straight, but this game actually worked out very well for our dynamic.
We operate with the goal that the two of us together make one functional human adult. I’m good at things she isn’t, she’s good at things I’m not. We are each other’s strength. In games like FFXIV she winds up taking the back line roles–generally healing or supporting. Then I’m at the front DPSing or tanking. With Blade & Soul there are no healer roles, so you’re forced to take care of yourselves and each other. This really helped both of us grow a bit together and as gamers, I’d like to think. Especially when we entered the Arena to fight against one another and she schooled me on just how strong Summoner really can be!
Story Packs a Kick
The reasons I quit Blade & Soul were three-fold. First, the guild I was in was one of those established friend groups. You know, the ones that are hard to click with even if they don’t mean it intentionally? Second, the game had grown pretty dull for me. There was very little endgame around this time. Finally, the goddamn story. Seriously it is the most brutal thing ever. Playing Blade & Soul is like someone telling you for a fun first anime experience to watch Madoka Magica or Attack on Titan. Oh you think everything is happy and good now for a sec–NOPE EVERYONE YOU LOVE IS DEAD. Or has backstabbed you. Or both.
Nikki says this is a common trait in Korean dramas, and given Blade & Soul is a Korean MMO I guess I’m not surprised. It is an awful, horrible thing that I had to go back and catch up on. Just as before–there are a few uplifting moments. Even one time where you think, “Finally! I can be happy again! I can smil–” and before you finish the sentence it’s all ripped away. This is a brutal story that is not something for people who want perfectly happy endings all the time.
I guess just like the martial arts philosophy, it helps teach you to let go of trying to control things in life that you can’t control. To do your best with what you’re given, to always try to give your best for others, and to hopefully leave the world in a better place than what you found it in. I might be missing a few but eh.
I’ll Keep On
I’ve kept the game installed because it’s a handy F2P trinket whenever I’m bored. NCSoft sends 7 days premium and some fun things every now and then to entice me to come back, and I do usually just to run up trees and bounce on water. This time I’m determined to upgrade my Conviction weapon into a legendary so I have something strong to come back to each time on. Only four flowers to go–which shouldn’t be too bad I hope? Especially if I group with players who are just wickedly stronger than I am.