Issues with the blade and soul; a constructive breakdown

I’m considering leaving this game forever. I don’t want to, per se, but it feels as though the game is fighting against me; every second that I am logged in, it fights harder for me to logout and never return. The general experience is quite an unpleasant one – there are many issues, some of them lingering since launch, and a lot of them either caused by or perpetuated by NCWest.

This is not a whine post, or a hate thread, so please do not respond here if you are blindsided by absolute righteousness – this is where we apply logic, rationale, and constructive criticism to encourage NCWest to support the game as they should do, not as they currently are. Here I will be outlining some very glaring issues with the game. Constructive criticism of the game and all its issues is welcome here.

Firstly, we have the main in-game social issues: Almost all of these issues have very simple solutions and can be solved relatively easily; the alienation of individuals with subjectively ‘low’ attack power (1), progression and economy relative to the rate of content updates (2), the large amount of bots intruding the most played aspects of the game (3).

1. The alienation of individuals with subjectively ‘low’ attack power.
The cause for this alienation is seemingly the increase in HP that NCWest applied to our version of the game, supposedly due to complaints in Beta that the content was too easy. The problem is the enrage timer – technically, all of the heroic dungeons have weapon requirements, and all of these requirements were implemented with purpose by NCSoft Korea. That is to say, they are enough for the dungeon they are the minimum requirement for – before the increase in HP by NCWest. NCWest, however, increased boss’ HP without adjusting the minimum required weapon, and without adjusting the enrage timer in accordance with the increase in HP.

What this means? This means that the weapon requirements on heroic dungeons are too low and those meeting the requirements are not enough to beat the enrage timer, or that the increase in HP was too high and that the required weapon would be enough to beat the enrage timer if it weren’t for the increased HP. As a result, players are being bullied and excluded from running certain heroic dungeons, making the experience for these players a very negative one. This hinders their progression by disallowing them access to quests and materials that earn the most gold, thus not allowing them to upgrade their gear and actually run these dungeons – an endless cycle – decreasing the likelihood of them continuing to play the game.

Solution: Either revert the HP values back to the original Korean ones and allow the social dynamic to revert to its intended design, or increase the weapon requirement to match the increased HP. However, increasing the weapon requirement will cause another issue to occur. It will keep undergeared players behind an eternal wall of catch up. Meaning, if they weren’t there at launch, they will never get to current endgame because they will always be stuck behind a method of earning less gold. You could say they would be eternally trapped in outdated content, and stuck in that content’s state of economy.

2. Progression and economy relative to the rate of content updates.
The release schedule for the content updates seems to have been put into place without making changes to the game’s trading system to make up for the time not available, that other regions had in-between such updates. So, although the speed at which we are receiving updates is no issue whatsoever (more content is good), NCWest not making the necessary changes to accomodate the little time we have to catch up between these updates is a problem.

What this means? This means that the initial crafting time limits, and the average resource gathering time were designed for long periods without new content updates. NCWest should have reduced such limits on crafting to create the time-equivalent in the shorter period of time we have to ‘catch up’.

Solution: Let’s say Korea received Silverfrost one year after launch of their vanilla client (example, not fact), and we received Silverfrost two months after launch of our vanilla client. We recived Silverfrost about 83-84% sooner than they did. Therefore, the time we had to craft and gather, to upgrade, to catch up, was 83-84% less. The limits on crafting should have been shortened by 83-84% to make it time-equivalent. The drops on materials should have been increased by 83-84% to match that time-equivalent.

This would have produced a healthy economy. Not the game of ‘catch up or be left behind forever’ that we’re playing now.

3. The large amount of bots intruding the most played aspects of the game.
It started with premium bots, farming PvE content in huge numbers for copper. Then it was Wheel of Fate essences and weapons. Next it was daily quests, Arena for Soulstones and dungeon farming for Moonwater Tears and Merry Potters Recipe. Now we have Soulstone Plains and Awakened Necropolis, on top of the old methods. The only exception to this is Arena.

So why are there so many bots? Well, to begin with, bots will always exist, they are in every other region’s servers too, however, not to the intrusive extent that they are in ours and at a much smaller number.

So why is it different for us? Mainly the economy. It is highly likely that the solutions in the previous two points above would result in much less bots. No solution could ever make it impossible for bots without making it impossible for players too, so there will always be bots, but reducing the number is a simple task and after achieving that goal, the next task is secluding the bots to an aspect of the game that players do not care for.

Solution: Fix progression. Fix trade. Fix the economy. And people won’t feel pressured to buy cheap bns gold from external websites.

Those are the three main issues. Next up, I have some personal issues that some may agree with, some may not. However, this is simply a warning that there may be a bit of anger, a bit of disappointment in the following words.

NCWest and its communication:
The way NCSoft communicate with us, even directly through the forums, is very disconnected. Like at the beginning when Julianne used to be in the livestreams. She would respond to concerns, without actually responding to them. She showed such little care, and when she was called out on it by the community, she conveniently disappeared from the stream. This seems to be the pattern with the whole company, issues seem to be ignored and brushed off, and when they are responded to, they aren’t actually responded to. It’s as though you’re talking at us, not to us. Are we even here? Is this real life?

A recent example of this is Hime responding to the thread for the removal of Gameguard. She was probably not the right person to respond to such an issue. And this leads me to…

Gameguard: In the West, is not an acceptable application, and has not been for many years. There is even a stigma attached to any company using it. NCSoft is seen as cheap, ignorant, and non-caring for their customers simply as a byproduct of using Gameguard. Keeping it enabled is nothing short of suicide.

Personally, my game stutters every few seconds when Gameguard is enabled. And so far the pattern has been Gameguard disabled>bad performance but no stutters>Gameguard enabled>bad performance and constant stutters. The game runs bad generally, but Gameguard makes it almost unplayable, completely ruining the experience for me.

Bots bypass it. Hackers bypass it. Google ‘antigg.dll’, it’s not difficult to bypass at all. Anybody who wants to can with no effort at all. So everybody with malicious intent, like hacking, botting, or even the not so malicious, like modding, don’t even deal with Gameguard – they just bypass it. Your legitimate users on the other hand, are suffering bad performance because of Gameguard, and yet you refuse to disable it, despite the fact that hackers bypass it, botters bypass it, and even modders bypass it. The people you’re trying to target with it are not even affected by it. It’s having a detrimental impact on the legitimate paying users, and you have people like Hime, fueling the fire with that disconnected response again.

And finally…

The way content is released:
The way NCWest is releasing content seems to be based on when that same content was released in other regions, rather than how much content there is to release. I think that is quite odd. I don’t really know what to propose for this, especially with all the issues the game suffers from right now. I will say that, if the main two points were applied, a more practical release schedule would have been Warlock and Bloodshade at release. Mushin floors 1-8 and Naryu with legendary weapon in the following patch. Then Silverfrost, including part two with chapters 33-38 of the story, Chi Master, Cold Storage, Sundered Nexus, and the Floating Alter.

Chi Master for instance; surely it would have been more practical to have released that in the Silverfrost update. With the current concerns and issues, rerolling a new class is not many peoples’ priority. As it stands it is the least played class in the other regions. I think those who want to play a new class have already reserved themselves to it. And the later you release it, the less likely they are to play the game now.

Closing notes:
Overall, my experience up to now on EU has been a mish-mosh of unpleasantness. I was one of the first to reach True Pirate (without use of the Currency Exchange) and True Siren Accessories. I was doing 4-man Bloodshade Harbor while everybody else was stuck at Profane. I feel as though the game offers not much reward for anything.

On the other regions’ servers, it always feels like I have something to do, or something to aim for, that I enjoy doing. There are plenty of costumes, and many unique ones to do different dungeons for. There is a legendary weapon that I can invest into, have fun using, and be proud of having full stop, and with it I can solo dungeons for achievements and even rare drops. There is the new 24-man turtle instance. There is 6 vs 6 PvP, like Arathi basin. There is Arena with all current classes available (Chi Master), and the most recent balance patches, so everybody is able to perform to their full potential. There are skills to unlock that aren’t even released here yet. There are more Mushin floors to enjoy (I’ve always loved that tower), and dungeons, so many dungeons.

On Chinese and Taiwan servers, there is no rush to catch up. Everybody (new characters and alts included) can basically get to a gear ‘standard’ in a short space of time that allows them to do most dungeons without issue, and this is due to numerous differences in how they handle their versions as opposed to NCWest.

NCWest’s version of Blade & Soul is objectively speaking, crap. It’s actually disappointing to see a game I love have its potential ruined like this.

Blade & Soul from its first reveal years ago has been a highly anticipated game, and has grown to success in every region that it has released in so far, including our own. If the financial earnings report is anything to go by, Blade & Soul seems to be the second highest earner to Lineage, so it isn’t going anywhere soon, as long as there is some core playerbase that keeps spending money on it, just like Lineage.

If it’s gonna be here for a while, at least take care of it NCWest. Don’t make the experience a crappy one for the playerbase. Disable Gameguard. Fix progression. Fix the economy. Get all the classes released and the balance patches out. And give us content to do.

I really hope you sort the issues out NCWest.

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