Blade & Soul is Pay-to-Progress, Right?

Posted by Ople Asension on May 19th, 2016

Most people will say that BnS is Pay-to-Progress. Mostly because the vast majority of players who feel it is Pay-to-Win have already jumped ship and no longer touch anything BnS related.

If you take the term Pay-to-Progress literally then that's what it is. There isn't anything in the game that you don't have a chance (I believe it's been downgraded to chance now thanks to hongmoon heptagonal transmutes needing gems that only come from RNG boxes) to get as a F2P player. There is a line dividing Pay-to-Progress and Pay-to-Win, however.

I don't know how many people here ever played Perfect World International. Those of you that did probably wouldn't even try to argue whether that game was P2W or not. However, taking Pay-to-Progress as literally as people are applying it to BnS we would have to say that PWI was not P2W. All gear in that game could be acquired by a F2P player. It just required that you: know everything about the game, be in one of the biggest clans in the game, farm religiously for months to years. (By the time you had done this, a new level of BiS would have already been released.) Basically, it wasn't reasonable for any functioning member of society. (By the way, if you need BNS gold, just click.)

There is a point where Pay-to-Progress turns into Pay-to-Win. This line is crossed when a F2P player cannot reasonably farm BiS or near BiS before the next content hits while a paying player can easily (not monetarily but farming-wise) obtain BiS within an extremely short amount of time. This line is also only crossed when BiS gives you an advantage over someone who doesn't (aside from the obvious ability to farm content faster).

OWPvP and the 6v6 BG aren't equalized. If a group of whales formed up, normal F2P players wouldn't stand a chance. These are two places where having BiS gives you a distinct advantage over other players. Even if you feel these aren't important parts of the game, some do. Furthermore, someone shouldn't have to miss out on content solely because they can't compete with people who swiped their credit card several times.

I would argue that, with legendaries now in the game, BnS has begun to cross this dividing line. It should be noted that this line is affected by how much time is given between patches. If NA/EU were given the same amount of time with each patch as other regions got, it probably wouldn't be approaching the dividing line.

Now that's my attempt at objective analysis. Beyond this is my personal opinion and not something I'm stating as fact.
I have played a number of MMOs. I have personally watch decent MMOs go from release to death within a year. Based on my experience, Blade & Soul's future looks pretty grim.

A number of players have left BnS since it's release. This isn't unnatural. Typically MMOs are lucky to keep 30% of what they get at launch. The issue with BnS is that it is incredibly unfriendly to new players, both by design and by the community. This basically prevents new players from ever sticking to the game.

Then BnS lost basically all its free advertisement when a large number of streaming PvP'ers left the game because of NCSoft's poor public relations department and seeming disinterest in caring for the competitive community. (It took over 2 months before a comment was even publicly made about the summoner hackers in arena.) This caused twitch streams, and thus twitch view counts, to go down the toilet. Black Desert Online, on average, has more twitch viewers than BnS now.

The game has lost a large chunk of its well known playerbase. It has lost an even larger chunk of its general playerbase. NCSoft is pumping RNG boxes out the wazoo. All this while pushing content out seemingly as fast as they can so that the whales have a new BiS to pay for. It seems rather obvious to me that BnS is in full cash grab mode. I don't see a bright future for it.

Now I know it sounds like I'm saying BnS is gonna die (mostly because I am). That doesn't mean I'm going to go around screaming that everyone should quit the game. If you're having fun in the game (and I mean fun, not deluding yourself out of attachment "fun" but real fun) then by all means, play the game until you stop having fun or until it does die, whenever that happens.

That's my 2-cents on BnS. I've actually already hopped ship from this game. (After managing to squeeze a full refund out of NCSoft in exchange for a permanent ban on my account. Don't ask how I did it, a friend of mine tried the same thing, NCSoft won't bite for it anymore.) I just lurk around to see if maybe some miracle will happen to save the game that I, and several other people, waited several years for. I had been waiting for this game since its first trailer in KR and to see what NCSoft did to the NA/EU release is utterly depressing.

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Ople Asension

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Ople Asension
Joined: March 7th, 2016
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