Yep, I did it to myself again. I made an alt in Blade and Soul. This time, though, it’s the last one for the foreseeable future, and I felt compelled to take the new Soul Fighter class for a spin. Could this mashup of the Kung Fu Master and the Force Master become a permanent part of my roster? Here are my Blade and Soul Soul Fighter impressions.
Two Great Tastes
Combining the styles of the Kung Fu Master and Force Master sounds like a tasty sandwich on paper, and I have to say that in practice it felt great. The ability to switch stances from distance snowball-slinging and a full-frontal attack was a lot of fun, even though I found the Kung Fu Master difficult and the Force Master boring.
Simply hitting tab lets you change from your melee bar to your ranged one, and the ranged bar stays active as long as you keep throwing out skills, which took a bit of getting used to since I was expecting a toggle. It didn’t take long to get acclimated to the idea, though, and it kind of makes sense. While you’re at range, you’re pretty much laying down the hurt behind the front lines of other players or before enemies can close distance, so constantly attacking was not hard to do.
The ranged side, or Force Stance, has a couple of neat tricks in the interim to keep enemies at bay, such as a stun and a knockback. If those skills aren’t available, though, the shared Counter skill stays on your 1 key, letting you apply a counter hit to an incoming attack and ready a proc that slips you behind your enemy.
On the melee side of things in Martial Stance, the Soul Fighter employs some tricks that felt familiar as an Assassin as well as to existing KFMs. The first skill, and easily the most vital to master, is the aforementioned counter ability. The timing of this move is very precise with a very small window of effect. However, landing the counter lets you freeze your opponent in place, swing around and punish them. There also is a sweep knockdown skill to keep your opponents off-balance and press your attack.
Overall, the emphasis on rush down assault brought to mind more Assassin playstyle than Kung Fu Master. Regardless, the ability to adapt to situations made the class feel like I had an answer to everything without feeling too much like an underpowered jack of all trades.
Later Down the Line
That sensation of having an answer for everything only seemed to continue as I took a look at the skills that were coming down the line for the Soul Fighter. This class seriously has a way to fill any need.
The big ticket skills come by way of spending Chi, which is built up by using certain skills. Once you have five stacks, the Soul Fighter gets to open up a whole bunch of neat stuff. Mostly, the spent Chi can be used to initiate a variety of powerful attacks in either Force or Martial Stance, but the class can use Chi to make itself resistant to attacks for a few seconds or can heal or revive fallen party members. Naturally, most of these Chi burn skills have pretty long cooldowns between 45 to 60 seconds, but the utility this class looks capable of is exciting.
Beyond the Chi burn skills, we see a variety of other abilities that mesh the Force Master and KFM, though again a lot of the Martial skills seem to be very proactive. There doesn’t appear to be the same level of patience or timing as required of a full Kung Fu Master, but then it doesn’t seem to bother me. As a player who prefers the Assassin and Destroyer classes, I can personally appreciate the level of aggression.
With such a deep bag of tricks, the Soul Fighter definitely feels like it’s the most group-friendly and solo-friendly class in the game. The stance dancing makes you capable of filling any gaps in group actions and allows you to react quickly to situations that spring up in PvE. While doing mostly open-world things on my test ride, I found myself staying in Force stance to offer my ranged assault to the effort and then swapping out to Martial once in a while to change things up.
Obviously, the Soul Fighter isn’t going to be quite as good as more specialized classes such as the ones it borrows tricks from, but the supplemental DPS and a few helpful healing tricks really are hard to ignore. The Soul Fighter looks like something that can arrive in any group makeup and can contribute.
That said, I had more than a couple of moments where my overconfidence and stupidity in needless stance swapping got me overwhelmed. The class doesn’t take too much punishment, and being lost in its micromanagement can make life troublesome. However, the Soul Fighter really feels tailor-made for the loose group makeup of Blade and Soul, and can provide a DPS-minded PvE player a lot of options both solo and in team action.
Overall, the Soul Fighter is one of the most interesting additions to the roster of Blade and Soul. With such a diversity of abilities, it’s hard not to get a little carried away. Still, for the sake of my sanity, I should focus on one class fully for now,
I have to admit, though, the Soul Fighter definitely got in my head and got me excited to play. It’s fast, adaptable and a good dose of fun.Related: Blade & Soul, Class, Column, First Impressions, Tower of Mushin