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One of China’s most popular games is making the journey to the West.
Blade & Soul, a massively multiplayer fantasy game from NCSoft, will go live in North America and Europe on January 19. In the lead up to that launch, the publisher has started selling various bonus packs that will enable players to reserve their in-game screen name. For those who choose to wait, Blade & Soul is free-to-play. It has multiple classes to choose from, a level cap of 45, and an 1-on-1 arena mode that is popular with the original Asian audiences.
Blade & Soul puts a heavy emphasis on magic and martial arts. It also has a huge open-world environment for players to explore with their very quick and nimble characters. This combination of elements helped the MMO catch on in a big way in Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan. In 2013, NCSoft confirmed that the game had reached 1.8 million concurrent players in China, which is an incredibly high number. For comparison, Dota 2’s peak concurrent players in the West is only 1.26 million, according to Steam Charts.
Bringing Blade & Soul to the West comes a little more than a year after NCSoft released WildStar, another MMO — but one that didn’t take off. Following in the wake of WildStar, NCSoft West cut jobs from its studios to help it reduce costs. At that time, the company said it was planning to change its strategy, and it seems like today’s announcement is the result of that. Instead of producing a game for the North American and European audiences specifically, NCSoft is now attempting to localize its biggest Eastern releases.
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