Blade & Soul is a different from most MMORPGs is more ways than one and new players run into a lot of confusing elements within the first few levels that are decidedly foreign when compared with other games on the market.
I’ve been in and out of Blade & Soul for over two years and remember being completely bewildered by some of the game’s facets during the first few weeks I played the Chinese version, and that confusion wasn’t just because of the language barrier.
You’ll have an easier time starting out now than I did two years ago. Some parts of the game are more streamlined compared to how they used to be, the game is thankfully fully in English, and there are tons of foreign-version veterans and new players to help you get on your feet.
Here are some tips and answers to common problems and questions new Blade & Soul players have in their first day(s) with the game.
How do I choose a faction?
This kind of comes about through normal play, but I’ve seen a lot of super new players ask.
You get a quest while in Bamboo Village to select your faction. Players can switch factions basically whenever they want once they reach a certain point in the game, so faction populations vary from hour to hour.
Sometimes The Crimson Legion will be full and you’re forced to go to The Cerulean Order and vice versa.
The lucky part is switching between these two factions is easily done once you leave Viridian Coast by talking to an NPC in Oakshade Village.
What does being in a faction affect?
Being part of one faction does not mean you can’t talk to or party with people of the opposite faction. Here are some key points on factions:
- You can only join Clans who are of the same faction as you
- You can friend and party with people of the opposite faction
- Your faction choice is not permanent and can be changed later
- You are PvP flagged if you wear your faction costume
This is pretty much all you need to know to start out.
How to enter the arena
The cool kids say arena PvP is where it’s at and I’m inclined to agree. You can enter the arena using the ‘F9’ key.
How to enter the cross-server dungeon (finder)
Just press ‘F8’ and you’ll be prompted to enter.
Don’t buy goods from NPC vendors
The prices on goods at vendors is overall high in the international version of Blade & Soul and I see a lot of players get upset early on because vendor prices are far above what they have earned so far.
Always look on the Marketplace for player-sold goods over NPC vendor items. Players will usually price basic crafted items reasonably, but the prices on some important items like Unsealing Charms will be unusually high for a while after launch with the influx of new players. Just stick it out and keep an eye on Marketplace prices.
Daily quests that give Viridian Poison early on should be done each day
Viridian Poison is used as a material in both crafting (especially Merry Potters) and weapon breakthroughs. It can also be sold for a pretty penny.
Daily quests are marked with blue arrows that have an infinity symbol on them.
What’s up with the equipment system?
This is kind of complicated, but here’s the gist:
You do not replace your weapon. Early on you’re given a Hongmoon weapon in Bamboo Village, which is upgraded via the game’s evolution system. You evolve this weapon throughout your entire leveling experience.
Accessories are slowly given to you as you start out and are evolved much like weapons.
Soul Shields are essentially your armor and have both defensive and offensive stats. These should be replaced as you progress, but not by the green ones you find around the world.
Green (and the vast majority of blue sans breakthrough items) equipment drops are not meant to be equipped. Instead use them to level up your purple gear or break them down for a chance of powder.
If this doesn’t flesh out the basics enough for you, check out my Blade & Soul equipment system explanation.
Quests with red arrows require you to be equipped with your primary faction uniform
Red quests are faction quests and as you progress they become a part of your daily gameplay, but new players can easily overlook or get confused over their first faction quest because it disappears from their quest tracker after it’s accepted if they’re wearing a non-faction uniform.
If you’re one of these players and are nervous about PvP, you don’t have to do your first faction quest. But you should.
If you want to get started on it as safely as possible, head up the hill marked in red on the map below. It’s behind the camp in Dragonscale. Put on your faction uniform to talk to the quest-giver, then go south and take care of the quest itself.
Do not take your faction uniform off while you’re in the middle of the quest.
This is something that sort of confused me with the localization after playing the Chinese version for so long, but here it is:
Focus are the blue orbs under your health bar. These are the game’s ability resource in the place of the standard mana you see most classes in other MMOs have.
Focus is used when you use most abilities, while some recover Focus. You can use your left-click attack on enemies to recover Focus as well.
Chi is essentially your life force and is what you need to recover when you are knocked out.
Skills that say they help other players recover Chi will make them get up faster if knocked out, and Premium membership grants slightly faster Chi recovery time when knocked out.
You get your first gems around level 14 ~ 15
It’s better you find out now that gems are a huge part of your weapon’s strength. While that isn’t so much the case early on, you’re going to be putting a great deal of effort towards getting the ones you need at endgame.
But early on, your first gems are easy. Ploggle King Giganura in Croaker Lagoon drops boxes that contain triangular gems, the very first and weakest in the game.
You’re going to be using the gems you get from Giganura for a while. You need keys to unlock these boxes.
There’s a large number of gems in the game, but the ones early on are fairly simple. Each color procs off either you or your enemies’ statuses or actions. The strongest offensive gems early on are red (+60 damage on attack, 1 sec. stun on attack, etc.) or purple (health leech on critical hit).
You can only have one of each color gem attached to your weapon at a time.
‘Q’ and ‘E’ skills don’t have hotbar keys
Every class has skills tied to the ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys and no class has any indication of these skills in their UI aside from in their Martial Tome and their cooldown timers after they’ve been used.
Take a look at your Martial Tome (‘K’ key) to see if you have any skills that use the ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys yet. Often these are dodging skills, but for Summoner they are cat-control keys. Check them out and see what they are for your class.
Which class should I play?
Whichever one you find most fun! That’s all I can really say about that, but I have written up a nifty class overview guide for indecisive new players.
Backstepping for manual dodging is a thing and you need it for PvP
Every class gets the skill ‘Evade’ at an early level and nearly every new player overlooks it completely because it gets thrown into your Martial Tome with other skills.
‘Evade’ is used by double-tapping the ‘S’ key. Give it a try!
You don’t really need to open the chests you see in solo dungeons, save your keys
I know it’s tempting, but honestly just don’t open the chests you see in solo dungeons.
Keys are too valuable early on to be thrown at chests, which give a few items but nothing more valuable than keys. You need keys to get your Stalker weapon at the first Wheel of Fate and your weapon in Blackram Narrows at level 20 or so. Don’t waste them.
You can grab professions up pretty early and you need them to make money at endgame
I wrote a more in-depth beginner’s crafting and gathering guide, but here’s a primer:
Crafting and gathering guilds (not to be confused with player-run Clans) are first introduced in Jadestone Village. Professions in Blade & Soul aren’t difficult or manually time-consuming and they are almost a requirement if you really want to make money later on. Get in on them early to make money sooner.
Hopefully, these will answer most of the confusing aspects of Blade & Soul new players ram into and scratch their heads over early on. The game does not do an amazing job of explaining all of its systems. You’ll run into more confusing tidbits as you push forward, but these basic bits will get you started on the right foot.