In the interest of being fair, I also got my wife involved in this. For her comments, those will be tagged.
Okay, NCSoft, I have no idea what the hell goes on in that collective dain bramage you call a board of directors. First you kill off City of Heroes. Then you decided to screw with the collective fandom of Blade & Soul by doing a “will we won’t we?” with the US release.
And now this?
Funfact: I played Blade & Soul on a foreign server (had to quit because of the lag), and I have to say…it’s probably the most fun MMO I’ve played in a while. The assassin class, honestly, quite doth rocketh muchly. (Ayne: I much preferred the equally combolicious Kung Fu Master!) The controls were hella intuitive (so intuitive, it was actually the first game in since, well, <>ever, that I used the WASD keys for controls instead of relegating everything to the arrow keys!) (Ayne: It was something of a paradigm shift (we set specific keybinds but had to change them back because our usual keybinds ended up futzing up the combos) but once past that learning curve, it was strangely intuitive, and we even had a pretty solid attack plan (teleport, foot sweep, head-hutt, etc) to take down mobs in seconds.) Thanks to some of the tightest controls around, raining down death from above was fun!
The story is no slouch, either. If you ever dreamed of starring in a wuxia film as a kid, this is the kind of cinematic storytelling you live for. (Ayne: It’s a bit of the typical Campbellian Hero’s Journey story, but the sheer style is simply flawless. The only real downside was some of the stripperiffic outfits.) The graphics were gorgeous, the eye candy (and by that I mean special graphical effects) were awesome, though as Ayne pointed out, the other eye candy (and by that I mean tig ol’ bitties) did get tiresome at some points.
All in all, this was the game we waited for. And from a company that had burned us by killing off COX and bored us with Aion, we saw a light at the end of the tunnel with Blade & Soul. And when the website said it was coming soon, we waited.
And waited…despite the Japanese stock report stating – and then retracted – that B&S would not be released in the US.
And waited…despite the fact that most, if not all, of the localization team – as well as the original lead designer whose art style this is all based on – left.
And now, this. Blade & Soul 2 is announced – but you can’t bother to fulfill the wishes of all the fans that have been patiently waiting? Really?
Are you trying to be the EA of Korea? No, wait, don’t answer that – that’s already obvious. The point is, do you want to keep a US userbase? And no, I don’t mean Wildstar – that’s a different genre, a different gaming niche (yeah, we like more than one genre in the US. Amazing that, huh?) I mean, hell, Perfect World brought Swordsman to the US, and that game is boring as fuck! And then there’s Age of…whatever it’s called; I have no interest. But I did want Blade & Soul.
You almost had me back as a customer. And judging by the sinking ship of people ready to move to the spiritual successors of COX, I’m not alone.
By the way, if you look at some of those forums, many of them wanted B&S, too.
Author's Postscript: B&S finally released in the US on January 19, 2016 after the financial failure of Wildstar. The launch was disastrous and turned a game that I had so looked forward to into one that has since made me avoid free-to-play games at all costs. Fool me once, as they say.