NCSoft has finally brought its hugely popular MMO Blade and Soul to the West, with the developer hoping that it will garner a similar level of success on these shores as it enjoyed in Asia. With it achieving 1.5 million concurrent players in the region early last year, a higher number than has been achieved by the likes of World of Warcraft, it certainly has the potential to become the next big thing in the genre.
Due to Blade and Soul‘s unique combat system, which employs combos, contextual abilities and other such deviations from the typical MMORPG format, you may be a little confused as to which class will best suit your play style. With that being said, here’s….
A Guide to Choosing Your Starting Class and Race in Blade and Soul:
There are four races to choose from in Blade and Soul, each with their own selection of three classes. Race does not impact upon your character’s stats, so feel free to choose the one you like the look of the most, or that has access to your favorite class.
Here are the four classes, in no particular order:
Appearance: The Gon are a freakishly tall race who tower over the majority of both enemies and other player-characters. For those who want to quite literally look down their noses at their rivals, the Gon are a good choice.
Description: In their day to day lives, Gon move and speak at a calm and measured pace. This deliberate pacing was started to help nullify the other Gon trait: their famously short tempers. With their massive frame and incredible strength, little can stand in the way of these mighty people once a Gon has been moved to anger.
Available Classes: Destroyer, Kung Fu Master, Force Master
Appearance: The Lyn are a small yet fiery race, distinguishable by their diminutive stature, pointy ears and bushy tails. If you want your character to look like Yoda, bouncing around his/her enemies whilst dishing out damage, then the Lyn are the only way to go.
Description: The Lyn are known for their somewhat unpredictable nature. During a single conversation, it is not unusual for a Lyn to convey a multitude of emotions, including hatred, fear, jealousy, love, and respect.
Available Classes: Summoner, Force Master, Blade Dancer
Appearance: The Yun are a solely female race, characterized by their “otherworldy beauty” and their worryingly lengthy legs. If you want to stomp around Blade and Soul’s world with legs as tall as skyscrapers, then go with the Yun.
Description: “Dignity is key to the Yun, and while they are able combatants, they balance their time spent fighting by teaching and meditating with others.”
Available Classes: Force Master, Blade Master, Kung Fu Master
Appearance: The Jin are the only reasonably proportioned race in Blade and Soul, and as such are the race that most resemble humans. If you want your character to look as
Description: “Jin people are often friendly and considerate with a strong notion of right and wrong. Their warriors are often found traveling the continents, helping the needy by working selflessly wherever they were needed.”
Available Classes: Assassin, Blade Master, Kung Fu Master
While race only has an aesthetic impact upon your character in Blade and Soul, your class will dictate your entire experience with the game, through the weapons you can equip through to the abilities and combos you unlock.
Here are the seven classes in the game:
1. Force Master
Strengths: Force Masters are Blade and Soul‘s variation on the typical caster class, with them boasting the greatest range of any class in the game along with the ability to deal out plentiful amounts of damage. Like the Blade Master, the Force Master makes use of Phantom Grip in order to grab a singular enemy and immobilize them, allowing the player to deal out extra punishment without opening themselves up to a counter-attack. They’re also a great class to make use of when playing in a party, given their ability to deploy a Divine Veil that protects allies.
Weaknesses: As is traditionally the case with caster classes, the Force Master is not proficient at getting up close and personal with enemies, with them unable to withstand damage and being most useful when remaining on the outskirts of a battle, dispatching enemies before they get the chance to attack.
Who should pick this class? If you don’t want to get your hands too dirty and prepare to deal out a great deal of damage from a distance, the Force Master is definitely the class for you.
Strengths: Only available to those who choose to play as a Jin, Assassins are handy to have around given their ability to take on crowds of enemies and their ability to use stealth to blindside opponents. Armed with a range of vanish attacks, Assassins can effectively disorientate enemies by ducking and weaving behind them, setting them up for devastating combos and air juggles. The Assassin also has an array of traps at their disposal, including landmines, poisonous gas and flashbang grenades. They also have the ability to set up a smokescreen, which protects allies in the face of danger.
Weaknesses: The Assassin is reliant upon avoiding damage, with the class not able to endure much punishment. Considering they are reliant upon getting up close and personal with enemies, a misstep can lead to the Assassin suffering a significant amount of damage, meaning that those who opt for this class will need to acclimatize themselves to the various available combos in order to put enemies down before they get a chance to attack.
Who should pick this class? Those who are confident in their ability to string together combos, and who prefer a class that directly engages with enemies instead of hitting them with ranged attacks.
Strengths: Only available to the mighty Gon, with their two-handed, oversized weaponry, Destroyers are a physically imposing class that are very easy to get to grips with, yet possess the ability to deal out a massive amount of damage. Destroyers are skilled at taking on multiple enemies at once with their spin attacks, with them also able to grab enemies and juggle them for combo opportunities. They’re also armed with a Stone Shield for defensive purposes, making them able to withstand punishment, too.
Weaknesses: For some, the Destroyer will be considered too much of a formulaic class. With them being mostly reliant upon the same sets high-impact combos, they’re a useful class to have around given their ability to control crowds, but not exactly the most fun.
Who should pick this class? Someone who wants to take down a barrage of enemies, and is more concerned with PvE than the PvP’s one-on-one battles, in which Destroyers are inevitably out of their depth.
4. Kung Fu Master
Strengths: The Kung Fu Master is a melee-focused class that utilize armored fists as weapons and, as NCSoft states, are “living, breathing weapons.” The toughest class to master in the game, the Kung Fu Master is nonetheless very popular among those who are seeking an extra challenge, with them offering fast-paced combat reliant upon combos that offer multiple ways in which to take down enemies, allowing for a great degree of creativity when it comes to maximizing your offence.
Weaknesses: The high difficulty level will mean that the Kung Fu Master will prove to be too much to handle for the majority of players, with the necessity of combos demanding quick reflexes and a willingness to learn the best plan of attack for each confrontation. As such, it’s perhaps not the best class to opt for when first starting out in the game.
Who should pick this class? Someone willing to take the time to learn the plentiful amount of attacking options available to the Kung Fu Master, and who has a reasonable amount of experience with combat-orientated MMOs.
Strengths: Summoners are specific to the Lyn, and are the only class that make use of a Familiar. These Familiars are the Summoners’ cat-like companions, and form the basis for the majority of their attacks. Perhaps the most unique class in the game, the Summoner also has the added advantage of being able to continue dealing out punishment even from death, as when they are brought to their knees their Familiar will still continue the fight.
Weaknesses: Once enemies have broken free from the Familiar, the Summoner lacks the defensive capabilities to put up a reasonable fight themselves, instead being forced to opt out of one-on-one combat in favor of ordering the Familiar to do their job for them.
Who should pick this class? Those who are unable to play an MMO without the promise of some form of cutesy companion to accompany them on their journey will be unable to look past the Summoner.
6. Blade Dancer
Strengths: Only available to the Lyn, Blade Dancers deal plentiful amounts of damage with their swift attacks, with them able to teleport behind enemies and perform knockdown attacks. They’re also armed with the Phantom Grip, allowing them to hold a single enemy above their head and prevent them from attacking, and the ability to summon a Flock of Blades that can either protect them or take down their opponents.
Weaknesses: Blade Dancers don’t have many options when it comes to forming a counter-attack, with them being mostly reliant upon taking out their enemies before they get the chance to attack them. Their inability to withstand tons of damage also means that it is a necessity for them to evade attacks.
Who should pick this class? Blade Dancers will be favored by those who like characters that are able to form quick attacks, with there also being a good amount of variety in their abilities that allows them to successfully handle a wide variety of enemies. Those who aren’t confident in their ability avoid attacks, however, will likely want to look elsewhere.
7. Blade Master
Strengths: The Blade Master is Blade and Soul‘s tank class, with them able to dish out plenty of damage and produce counter-attacks to nullify an enemy’s offence. The Blade Master is able to hit enemies with a number of knock-up attacks, juggling them with combo strings and effectively wiping them out of the game before they even get a chance to form a reasonable counter-attack. The Blade Master’s skills also work well in instances, allowing them to direct enemy aggro in their direction while the rest of their team attacks.
Weaknesses: The Blade Master struggles to handle crowds of enemies, with them excelling in one-on-one combat but being vulnerable to group attacks. Aside from their Blade Call skills, which allow them to target distant enemies, they also suffer from a lack of range in their attacks.
Who should pick this class? Those who are confident with playing a major role in group instances, and who have no issue with only really being able to take on enemies one at a time.