Blade & Soul class overview guide for the indecisive newbie
There are currently seven classes in the Western version of Blade & Soul, each one with its own distinct playstyle, pros, and cons.
I will admit I'm not the most up-to-date on Blade & Soul's class balancing, and it's hard to pinpoint where each class is in the English client's current meta, because it's in a weird spot compared to the other versions out now. Even so, I've been out of the hardcore loop for about 7 months now and don't remember much about it.
With the above in mind, this guide is intended for new and more casual players who just want to know what each class has up its sleeve to help choose one for their playstyle.
Just about every class is fast, but they all have their specialties. Each of my descriptions are paired with NCSoft's official showcase videos for each class so you can see their gameplay in action with simple ability descriptions.
It doesn't matter what any polls or statistics end up saying about which class is the most popular at a given time, I know in my heart of hearts that it's Blade Master. At least during leveling.
Blade Master gives the overall Blade & Soul experience in a single class. It's got good damage, mobility, survivability, a manual block, and crowd control. There really isn't much of a downside to them.
The class also has the Flock of Blades Stance, which does exactly what it sounds like: summons a bunch of flying swords to fight alongside you, and does some crazy aerial damage to boot. It's both flashy and brings the pain -- why else would everyone and their mother roll one?
This class can be played at higher ping fairly easily, but optimally your ping will be sub-100. Only the Jin and Yun races can be Blade Masters.
Blade Dancers are like Blade Master's tiny cousins with an attention span problem. They have less damage and are less durable than Blade Masters, but those smaller numbers are supplemented by more area of attack damage and even more crowd control.
These little speed demons generally aren't known for their PvE prowess, but they do have a reputation for being irritating in PvP. Their high evasion and high-speed combos make them hard to deal with, but also require their player to have a good grasp of Focus regeneration.
Blade Dancers have a number of skills from Blade Master that act differently alongside a number of unique skills. Many of the class's skills deal elemental damage instead of straight physical.
This class is very ping-reliant and cannot be played very well at high ping due to animation cancelling and no-cooldown skills. Only the Lyn race can become Blade Dancers.
I probably don't need to tell you if you'll like Assassin or not. The types of people drawn to these types of classes just know it's for them.. but I'll do it anyway.
Assassin is a predictably high-mobility class with more damage than you can shake a Summoner's staff at. And of course, it can stealth its way through some situations other classes wouldn't be able to.
This is the most mobile class in the game and it can hold its own in both PvE and PvP situations, not only because of that mobility but also because of the crowd control and status effects it inflicts on enemies. That being said, it's not exactly a PvE class, and some endgame groups will overlook Assassins for other classes with more utility.
This is another ping-reliant class, but it can be fairly comfortably played at over 100ms despite the fact one can animation cancel out of stealth. Players will see heavy DPS loss at over 150ms. Only the Jin race can become Assassins.
Every MMO needs its fire and ice mage, and Force Master is Blade & Soul's.
I've always found Force Masters to be one of the easiest classes because of its ranged attacks, basically constant crowd control, and high damage. The trade-off for these benefits is a pitiful health pool, a lack of overall flexibility, and general difficulty with arena PvP.
This is a generally safe class to play, but it may not be your best bet if you're a PvP buff. It's heavily reliant on rotating left and right click attacks and managing its elemental orb stacks, making it an overall different experience from other classes.
Force Master is also the one of the least ping-reliant classes in the game, second to Summoner. Players with ping over 150 will want to look at this and Summoner.
Destroyer doesn't get a ton of love outside the game because it's generally slower than the other classes, but they're the kings of group PvE.
Destroyers put out a ton of damage if they can catch their target. Not only that, but they're extremely durable and have a fair amount of crowd control up their sleeves. They're really a force to be reckoned with, they're just not as flashy as their counterparts.
PvP-focused players may not find their home with this class, but anyone who's addicted to tanking in other MMOs may find themselves most comfortable here.
Destroyer isn't one of the most ping-reliant classes but it does require animation cancelling for optimum DPS, making it difficult for players with 150+ ping to compete. Only the Gon race can become Destroyers.
Kung Fu Master
This is the class that the most people who haven't played the game have heard of and barely anyone actually playing it can play well.
Kung Fu Master is an almost entirely reactive class, with most of its skills requiring either the player or their enemies to be in a specific state to use them. For example, several skills can't be used unless an enemy is knocked down or the Kung Fu Master has countered immediately beforehand.
This class is by far the most complicated and is requires constant battle awareness to avoid and deal as much damage as possible. It's a joy to play but is by far the most technical out of all the other options here.
Kung Fu Master is extremely ping-reliant because of the constant manual countering and the need to immediately react to an enemy's or the player's state. It also has animation cancelling. I wouldn't recommend it for players above 100ms but it is possible.
Yun, Jin, and Gon can all become Kung Fu Masters.
Summoner is the only pet class in the current client (though Warlock is coming) and as you might expect it has one of the easiest times in PvE. But you shouldn't underestimate it in PvP, especially arena 3v3s.
Summoner players need to control both their character and their cat, who can be used as a tank in PvE and a huge annoyance in PvP. It's the only class you could really call a "support", because the player can spec into a number of their abilities to give stealth, health restoration, or chi restoration to their allies.
Their damage and health are low, but it's a force to be reckoned with in both PvP and PvE because of all the utility it packs. That said, it's understandable why some consider Summoner easy mode.
Summoner isn't ping-reliant at all and can easily be played with ping well over 200, thanks to its counter-stealth and root. Only Lyns can become Summoners.
And with that we've covered all the classes in the current Blade & Soul NA/EU client. Two more are coming, though: the Warlock and the Force Master-Kung Fu Master hybrid. These should be making their way West sometime this year, as NCSoft wants to bring the West up to speed with Asian-region PvP balancing as soon as possible.