Korean MMO Blade & Soul is currently surging in popularity, having made a full transition to the Western market. Not only is it a highly enjoyable MMO with stylized Wuxia art and a brisk, enjoyable combat system, but it’s also free-to-play.
While the mechanics of Blade & Soul are easy to grasp, it does have a few unique features that are either not very well explained, or are not obvious within the first few minutes of play. Here are a few tips that will help the average player get off to the best start within the game.
Focus on Maxing Out Your Weapon
While the bread-and-butter of most RPGs is the constant acquisition of new weaponry and equipment, Blade & Soul instead offers a rich crafting and upgrade system that allows you to upgrade your starting weapon enough to last you well into the game if you are judicious.
After the tutorial, you will be given a Hongmoon weapon based on your class, and you will likely never need to use any other weapon, so do not sell it. Instead, you use any similar weapons you find randomly or obtain as prizes as “offerings” to upgrade this starting weapon. If you kill an early boss often enough, you will find that you have a maxed-out weapon before you reach level 10.
Use a Complete Soul Shield
Here’s a little tip within a tip: Clothes in Blade & Soul are entirely cosmetic. There is no benefit to wearing any outfit (though sometimes wearing one is a disadvantage; see below) so pick whatever you think looks best (or silliest) on them.
In lieu of physical armor, characters have something called a “soul shield,” which is an eight-piece disc you can find in your inventory menu. The soul shield provides all the protection and bonuses traditionally associated with armor, and having all eight pieces in a set can provide even greater protection. You also have the option of having an alternate shield to which you can switch, providing you greater versatility.
Fashion Can Kill
I said outfits are entirely cosmetic, and they are with regards to stats and defense. However, as an addendum to that, there are some outfits that can get you some particularly unwanted attention. Some outfits are basically open season calls that give other players carte blanche to attack you.
In the starting village, you will encounter the Crimson and Cerulean factions, and you’re told you can only join one, while the other can attack you. That is straightforward enough, but they are not the only factions that offer such outfits, and it may not always be obvious which outfits will open you to attacks by which other faction. So if you don’t want to be attacked by other players, watch what you wear.
Spin to Win
One of the advantages of logging into Blade & Soul every day is that you can use up all of your free opportunities to spin the Daily Dash wheel. When you do, you get a number, which is the number of spaces you can move on the game board. There is a prize every few spaces, and your character will obtain it when they land or pass over it.
While the prizes tend to not be too impressive, the ones available at the very start of the board are things the average player is likely to need, such as repair tools or keys. Logging in and doing your daily spin will allow you to hoard some supplies for your character and maybe have a chance for something rarer the further along the board you get.
Don’t Waste Keys and Unsealing Charms
At the beginning of the game, you are given complimentary keys and unsealing charms, to allow you to use decent weaponry and soul shields at your earliest convenience. Each key and charm can only be used a specific number of times. They are also very expensive.
It is in your best interest to save these for later. After you obtain your first soul-shield and have maxed out your first weapons, both of which will likely occur very early in the game, do not bother unsealing any obtained weapons or unlocking any chests. For any unwanted items, you can always…
Salvage, Salvage, Salvage
When you first get unwanted weapons and soul shield pieces, you might be tempted to sell them on the spot. However, given that every item within the first few locations nets one copper apiece, it can be incredibly time-consuming. So instead, click on the item and choose the little icon that allows you to salvage it.
Salvaging weapons, soul shields, and accessories gives you the chance to get the transmutation powders. You can use these in the Transmute screen to create valuable items, such as pouches and chests which will give you random items. Also, the junk pieces that you get from salvaging are worth more in the shop than the weapons themselves, so the player benefits either way.
Blade & Soul uses “channels” within its servers which help prevent over-crowding. Whenever you find yourself within a specific area and there are too many people around, you can click a button which will take you to a different channel within the server.
The primary way this is useful is when you want to take on bosses. Since the farmable bosses respawn in the same spots every few minutes, many players tend to cluster around them to get a chance to kill them, or at the very least land a few hits. If you find that you’re at a spawn point and there are too many players clustered around, try switching channels in order to find one less populated.
Go for Achievements
In Blade & Soul, there is an extensive list of achievements. Some can be gotten for something as simple as taking a screenshot. Some can only be gotten in the endgame. However, they are all worth getting.
Achievements in this game give you stat bonuses that can help players, especially ones in the early stages of the game. Check the list and see which ones you can get quickly. Though keep in mind that these stats will be nullified in the PvP arena.
Trading at Level 15
If it seems as though you’re having lots of trouble obtaining an item you want early in the game, then focus on levelling up instead. When you reach Level 15, you can get into to the Auction House, where all other players can buy and sell items.
The Auction House can be accessed anywhere in the game and may be a source of potential equipment and even in-game revenue, depending on how many rare items you can obtain. If you find yourself stuck in rut with regards to your items in the early game, level up to 15 quickly to gain access. Though keep in mind you will have to pay a fee to obtain an ordered item if you are not actually at a vendor, so going to one can save you some money.
Do you have any tips for first-time Blade & Soul players? Anything you wish you’d been told before you started playing? Let us know in the comments section below!