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Blade & Soul

Blade & Soul opens the beta doors in China November 28th

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul

The final closed beta for the Chinese version of Blade & Soul got rolling just over three weeks ago, but Tencent is already preparing to throw the beta doors wide open to any and all who want to check the free-to-play fantasy game out. Steparu.com discovered that open beta, scheduled to launch next week on November 28th, will not have an IP block, meaning folks from other areas can also get in on the martial-arts action.

The client is available for download starting today, which is helpful to all those who want to get a head start by participating in the special character creation event on November 23rd and November 24th. While you wait for your download, take a look at some in-game emotes courtesy this video from Steparu:

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Blade and Soul adds servers in China

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, News Items, PvE, Rumors, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, MMORPG

Blade and Soul
Blade and Soul's closed beta appears to be going quite well in China; Tencent has just expanded the number of live servers from 19 to 33. Additionally, rumors indicate that the Chinese version of the game will be entering open beta sometime in early December.

No new info is available for western gamers waiting for Blade and Soul. The last update on the official site is dated December 5th, 2012 and claims that details will be delivered "when the time is right." NCSoft and Team Bloodlust are working on the western version of the title.

NCsoft takes a financial hit in Q3 2013

Lineage, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft
NCsoft's latest financial earnings report shows that the publisher took a substantial hit in the third quarter of this year.

Sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were all down from both the previous quarter and Q3 2012. NCsoft blamed the dip due on a shuffling of Lineage's in-game sales from third to fourth quarter. Guild Wars 2 once again dropped in sales, while Blade and Soul came out the best in the report, seeing an uptick in sales thanks to a recent content update.

Higher expenses were also to blame for NCsoft's lower profit margin, including an increased WildStar marketing campaign and relocating headquarters. Quarter-over-quarter, sales were down across most of NCsoft's subsidiaries save for NCsoft Taiwan and Ntreev Soft, which both saw a bump in sales.

[Thanks to Sharvis for the tip! And note, the unit on the Y axes is million South Korean won, not US dollars.]

Blade & Soul adds first player-designed costume

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Blade & Soul, Player-Generated Content

Blade & Soul adds first player-designed costume
When you think of player-generated content or in-game assets, chances are that Blade & Soul isn't the first title that springs to mind. Maybe it should, though, if a new video at MMO Culture is a portend of things to come.

The fantasy martial arts MMO recently added its first player-designed outfit, which for now is only available via ongoing Korean internet cafe events. The get-up is called the Ethereal Fairy costume, and the source links below feature some images and a bit more info. We've also embedded a video after the cut if you'd like to see the outfit in the finished game.

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Final Chinese Blade and Soul beta begins October 29th

Betas, Fantasy, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Blade & Soul, MMORPG

Blade and Soul
Blade and Soul is moving ever closer to release, at least in China. Tencent has confirmed that the final closed beta test for the game will go live on October 29th. The beta will roll out in two steps that should be familiar to weary MMO beta warriors. First, early access codes will be required to enter the beta. After an unspecified period of time, everyone else can join up.

Accounts created during this last closed beta test will not be deleted; progress will remain when open beta launches a few weeks/months later. According to Tencent, all characters will be kept unless there is a "major" change to the game.

If you're not in China but are hoping to join the closed beta test, you can earn a chance to win a code by visiting the official Chinese site and voting for your favorite character.

Leaderboard: Which upcoming Korean MMO excites you the most?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Blade & Soul, ArcheAge, Leaderboard, Black Desert

Leaderboard - Which upcoming Korean MMO excites you the most?
There are a lot of interesting Korean MMOs on the horizon. Well, they're interesting to me, at any rate. The problem is, none of them are playable in the West as of yet, even though one of them has a Western publisher and the others publish English-language news semi-regularly.

Assuming you are also something of a Korean MMO aficionado, I've put together a poll featuring some of the blockbusters we'll (hopefully) be playing in the near future. Feel free to vote for the one you're most looking forward to, and explain why in the comments.

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Blade & Soul's Tower of Mushin dungeon gets new floors, bosses

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Blade & Soul, Dungeons

Blade & Soul's Tower of Mushin dungeon gets new floors, bosses
Steparu's got the goods on Blade & Soul's latest solo endgame content. A new article on the website says that the Korean fantasy MMO's Tower of Munshin dungeon is getting "an upgrade with new floors."

NCsoft has designed the dungeon "to be an endless tower with new solo content every now and then," Steparu writes. The new sections are accessible after clearing the seventh floor, and you can also get a sneak peek at some of the content via the video after the cut!

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A look at the current endgame for Blade & Soul

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Blade & Soul, Dungeons

Only a final boss could rock them bellbottoms.
If you're looking forward to playing Blade & Soul when it finally comes to this side of the pond, you probably want to know what to expect from the endgame mechanics. Fortunately for you, the game has just released its newest endgame dungeon, and a preview is available of the final boss fight within that dungeon as well as the process for gaining and powering up loot from bosses. Which is... ornate, for lack of a better term.

The short version is that everyone present for the kill gets a loot box containing a weapon. You can either pay money to ensure that the weapon is right for your class, or you can buy an ordinary key and take your chances. Once you've gotten the right weapon (with the right stats) after however many trips, you can start leveling it up... but in order to really advance it, you'll need to get two more weapons and level those up. Take a look at the full preview for details on boss mechanics and the weapon upgrade process.

[Thanks to Steparu for the tip!]

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Blade & Soul introduces swimsuits with a hefty price tag

Fantasy, Video, Culture, Previews, News Items, Blade & Soul

The men look okay.  The women are... another story.
How much are you willing to pay for a new swimsuit? How about if that swimsuit is only available for your character in a video game? Blade & Soul has introduced a line of summer swimwear for characters in the Korean version, available either via the game's cash shop or through item trading, but the system for obtaining these suits from inside the game is a bit problematic.

During the summer event, players can obtain a watermelon slice by clearing a daily dungeon. These slices are used as tokens to unlock these outfits. The problem is that it can be difficult to actually obtain enough slices through play unless you focus on running dungeons with a single-minded devotion, which forces you toward the cash shop option, which values the suits at $45. Still no word on when the game is being localized, but you can check out the suit trailers past the cut for a peek at what you probably aren't dropping $45 on.

[Thanks to bnssswimwear for the tip!]

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Blade & Soul 2.0 trailer sighted in the wild

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Blade & Soul

Blade & Soul 2.0 trailer sighted in the wild
I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first? OK, sweet. I like saving the good news for last, too.

So, the bad news is that while Blade & Soul is soldiering on in its native Korea, thus far NCsoft has said a whole lot of nothing about a potential western version. Yep, that sucks.

Now for the good news. The Korean game is transitioning to version 2.0, which brings with it new weapon upgrade capabilities, new skills, a level 50 cap, new PvP areas, etc. We might have mentioned this earlier. This weekend, though, we can see some of the stuff that's on tap, thanks to Steparu and a hi-def version of the 2.0 trailer. It's packed full of gameplay and pretty vistas, and you can watch it after the cut.

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Blade & Soul Korea getting major update next week

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Blade & Soul

blade and soul korea getting major update  low priority because low info, can skip
Blade & Soul's biggest update yet is coming on June 26th according to Steparu.com. The site reports that new skill revisions, an upgrading system, new dungeons, an increased level cap, new story chapters, new instanced dungeons, and new PvP areas are on the way.

Whew!

Yes, that's a lot of new, and Steparu has also posted a handful of gorgeous new Blade & Soul posters for your viewing enjoyment. Have a look via the link below.

Blade & Soul's 2.0 patch boasts weapon and skill upgrades

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Blade & Soul

Blade & Soul's 2.0 patch boasts weapon and skill upgrades
NCsoft Korea just updated Blade & Soul's weapon and skill mechanics. According to Steparu.com, it's a game-changing patch because it introduces weapon upgrades and version 2.0 of the skill system. The latter includes special sub-menus and enhancement options for each skill, and Steparu speculates that the patch could be NCsoft's response to players who are looking for something to keep them busy at endgame.

The 2.0 patch also features crafting tweaks, a simplified repair system, and new belt and bracelet slots. You can see plenty of 2.0 screenshots at the source link below, as well as a gameplay video after the break.

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NCsoft sales down from last quarter, up from last year

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous

NCsoft sales down from last quarter, up from last year
A recent earnings report suggests that NCsoft's sales have slipped from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013, although the studio is quick to point out that the showing was "solid" particularly when compared to sales from a year ago. While sales were down 35% and net income was down 49% from the last quarter, sales were up 31% and net income was up 322% year-over-year.

Guild Wars 2 accounted for 21% of sales in the first quarter, in addition to Blade and Soul's 9%, Aion's 16%, and the usual Lineage cavalcade (Lineage 1 represented 38% of sales alone with its subscriptions).

While 64% of NCsoft's sales were in Korea, only 13% were in North America and 8% in Europe. The decrease in NA and EU contributions was due to "the reduction in Guild Wars 2 package sales," according to the report. All of NCsoft's subsidiaries posted drops in sales from last quarter except for NC Taiwan.

[Update: Also of note in the earnings call is the news that NCsoft's Nah Seong Chan says the company is "preparing an expansion pack" but has yet to decide when it might launch. Very interesting news indeed as ArenaNet said as recently as March that it was not working on an expansion. Thanks to Mike and Robert for the tips!]

New Blade & Soul video tours White Blue Mountain Range

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Blade & Soul

New Blade & Soul video tours White Blue Mountain Range
It's no secret that many folks like to see what they are getting into... or in the case of MMOs not yet available in all markets, what they'd like to get into. So those looking forward to playing NCsoft's martial arts fantasy Blade & Soul should appreciate this newly released visual tour of the White Blue Mountain Range area.

Although lacking any English subtitles, the video contains over six minutes of footage from various locales. From verdant vistas to wintery caverns, quaint villages to majestic cities, get a taste of the ambiance and architecture of the White Blue Mountain Range region in the trailer after the break.

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Leaderboard: Bless vs. Black Desert vs. Blade & Soul vs. ArcheAge

Fantasy, Polls, Opinion, Blade & Soul, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Leaderboard, Black Desert

ArcheAge - Long Plains Coast
There are plenty of interesting MMOs coming out of Korea these days, and whether we're talking sandboxes like Black Desert, themeparks like Bless, or hybrids like ArcheAge, I'm pretty excited to try all of them. Let's not forget Blade & Soul, either, and even Aion has a new expansion on the way that's introducing a couple of game-changing classes.

For today's Leaderboard, let's pit these games against one another and see which one will claim the title of Massively's most anticipated Korean import. Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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