It looks like the content cadence for this game keeps on keepin’ on! The game’s first expansion is due in this spring with Blade and Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains, a big meaty pile of Earthen Realm goodness that brings new zones, new dungeons, new advancement and a whole lot to mull over. As we come closer to the release of this expansion, we’ll likely be seeing a lot more hard data and livestreams. That said, who doesn’t like a little peek ahead and supposition in advance of new content? So please indulge me as I look ahead to the rising peaks of the Silverfrost Mountains.
The New Zones
The first thing that struck me when I watched this past Thursday’s preview of the expansion was the scale of the new environments on display. The (so far) valid criticisms of Blade and Soul’s zones being nothing more than pretty tunnels can be tossed right out of the window here as the areas that were demonstrated are absolutely massive. Large flower-filled fields, lush tundra forests, huge icy basins – the zones that are coming in with Blade and Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains are some of the most open fields this game has seen. When the new main hub city requires Dragon Pulses to navigate around, you know it’s going to be huge.
Another thing that impressed was the beauty of the zones. Blade and Soul has always been a visually impressive game, but the new vistas are definitely awe-inspiring. Overall, the new zones are going to be both incredible to behold and most likely staggering to navigate around. Of course, these zones aren’t just window dressing. There’s plenty of things to do in these fields.
The New Content
Blade and Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains continues the game’s central plot, described in the stream as “Act 4”, and will likely present a swath of quests to take us around these new areas. Of particular interest to me are the new 24-player spaces – Beastbog and the Frostscale Basin. Both of these locations feature enemies that large player groups will have to take down in order to bring on bigger beasties and get better rewards. If the flow of these zones is sorted out in short order, then both of these locations could end up being both fun and lucrative. I have yet to see any 24-player action myself, but even the small scale group actions in this game can be intense. It will remain to be seen if the problems I encountered during my first dungeon runs are exacerbated with 23 others or removed entirely.
I also found myself very interested in the Soulstone Plains, a PvPvE region. I typically shy away from PvP content because I am clinically awful at it but the fact that there are AI enemies to contend with and objectives to keep hold of could mean that I can meaningfully contribute something more than just easy points for the other team’s kill count. Also, this content is large-scale as well and I have a better chance of hiding my suck within a mob than in a one-on-one encounter.
The New Dungeons
Grumpy as I have been with initial experiences in this game’s dungeons, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a wee bit curious about the new dungeons coming with Blade and Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains. The creativity in the monster design in this game is off the charts and these new dungeons look to continue that trend with some truly creepy creatures. On top of that, we’re getting eight(!) of the things, which is a lot of new dungeon content in a very short order. Sometimes having a game developed in advance of a local release has its benefits.
Just where these dungeons all slide in to the new character level and Hongmoon level cap is yet to be seen but considering three of them will be Heroic level, it’s safe to assume that these will be part of mandatory advancement for whatever tiers of gear upgrades are coming. So whether I find my groove in Blade and Soul’s dungeons or not, I am likely going to visit these places at least a couple of times. If nothing else, the fights should be pretty interesting.
The Smaller Details
With all of the big pieces coming in, it can maybe be easy to forget the finer details. However there are a couple of questions that remain to be answered. The new level cap raise to 50 is going to add more skill points, which also means the potential for new builds and new balance headaches. The Thursday stream did mention a “January Korean balance patch” coming with Silverfrost Mountains so the meat and potatoes of that are definitely something I’ll be poring over.
There’s also the mention of the clan crafting improvements and continued weapon and accessory advancement. Details on that are regrettably sparse, and there’s still no word on whether the Legendary weapons are going to be included here or later down the line. Ideally there will be more light shed on those details as future livestreams are played. The other point that concerns me personally is whether the previous 24-player spaces will have any use once Silverfrost launches. Usually when a level cap rises, the old stuff is immediately swept to the side. If any of that older stuff is required for item advancement, then any players behind the current progression curve could be in real trouble.
In the end, there is a lot of good things coming down the pipe in this expansion. I’m not close to cap yet, but entering the game with an embarrassment of stuff to do at endgame is a comfortable problem to have. It looks like Blade and Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains will be putting on lots more of what players are already doing in new and unique zones. Can’t really ask much more from an expansion than that!Related: Blade & Soul, Column, Expansion, F2P, MMORPG, NCSoft