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Blade & Soul is nothing special in the west, it can't survive on name alone, and it definitely can't pull people from other games by boasting the same features, even less, in Blade & Soul's case

Blade & Soul attack speed comparision

I'm making this post to hopefully give some much needed perspective on the issue of Oceanic servers, which seems to be underestimated and often gets casually shrugged off as "we'll try our best", which has now escalated to a confirmed "no" by ncsoft.

 

I can't for the life of me understand how such a professional, resourceful game developer, or even simply as a business-wise company such as ncsoft, can be ignorant enough to base such a huge business decision off some obscure, unofficial BURIED forum thread and petition for a game that was meant to release years ago, and is managing to only scrape the hype it has left. I don't understand how you think you can use that, a forum which 85-90% of your future playerbase will not even visit. You can't even tell me that number's exaggerated, do you really think many Australians that are going to actually play the game will be typing in specifically this search term and will be signing this obscure petition? How many signatures there are already is pretty surprising, how much are you really expecting until you can say "there is enough demand". Is no one pointing this stuff out at the meetings while contemplating this?

 

Instead of going off the amount of petition signatures, why don't you go by the thousands of Oceanic players that bought your founders pack and played the beta? All the ones that haven't even seen the petition. It should NOT be about us creating a demand to beg you to play your game as it's intended to be played, you're the ones who are supposed to be selling your game to us. Not to mention the currency exchange rate from US to Australia which ended up inflating our founders pack prices to $180 instead of $125, which ncsoft did not decide to compensate for like Blizzard does for example($15 and $25 for us is a consistent $16.50 and $27.50 despite the current market exchange), and no our wages over here do not compensate for the difference, it's actually more expensive to live in Australia than the US. But that aside.

 

I don't think you understand (or maybe you do now, since you're pushing the Esports in this game so much), how important it is for a game to be competitive in this day and age and how much that can make a game blow up. For example, I BET when sodapoppin streamed your game for those few days, you had the largest surge of founders pack sales that you've ever seen, way more sales than even his total viewcount, am I right?

 

Twitch and similar community platforms seem like they are making a bigger impact on sales and a games popularity than people realise, views and competitive aspects of a game are things that promote a community to be built around it. Why is no one talking about Lord of the Rings Online, for example? It's because there's nothing there to stimulate that niche of community, it offers nothing that other mmo's offer in an even better form. Sometimes it's not even necessarily that other games are better than other games, you might look at WoW and Wildstar as a good example. In some ways Wildstar was basically WoW 2.0, a lot of the features were done slightly better, upgraded in almost every way conceivable, the game even tried to appeal to that same audience with the cartoony art style, everything by looking at the 'business statistics' would certify it as a better game. So what could have possibly gone wrong? It's got the cool flashy combat doesn't it? It's technically an upgrade from tab target isn't it? It's got the environment, the quests, the PvE, the PvP, even an expansive housing system not offered yet by any other MMORPG. Well, what happened to Wildstar is very simple, it never found that niche. People would be willing to play a GOOD game even through bugs and early development, look at ARK: Survival Evolved, DayZ, Path of Exile, Minecraft, even LoL(what do you think made THAT game the biggest in the world? People needed a streamlined up to date version of Dota) and so on.

 

Games get popular by word of mouth not by "good staff management" like the developers of Wildstar feel, games like ARK found that niche and now it's popular, it doesn't always have to be for the competitive aspect, though that is always the most popular and you can argue games like ARK are competitive in their own world-building way, it can be for something that simply doesn't exist already. UNFORTUNATELY this will be considered some weightless randoms opinion, and knowing some of the replies I'll get to this I would have never even bothered writing it, but I just feel like there's such a disconnect between what developers think will be successful, what the vocal minority speak out and say they want, and what players ACTUALLY want and what will blow up. These groups combined are creating a mess in the gaming industry. Why do you think WoW is down to 5 million subs? If not lower now? What's the famous thing you always hear people detest WoW for? The raiding is SO bad now? The Blizzard managers have too much of an ego in-studio?(Wildstar's excuse), there's not enough outfit options, there's not enough community/social features, the game's graphics are too bad, think of anything, think of absolutely every justification you deveolpers have used all these years to excuse your failed game, then look at the reality of it, the famous lines are, "they don't add content fast enough, they don't know how to balance their PvP, PvP is ridiculous now, all the content that DOES come out is casualized and boring, WoW was good when it was harder, I'd go back and play classic WoW in a heartbeat, etc" So much so that Blizzard had to ban private servers from being streamed on Twitch because that's all the top players wanted to play, the top players with the most viewers and highest stream revenue.

 

So what is this, and what exactly are players talking about? Well look at what WoW is popular for on twitch, is it the raiding? Is it the questing? Or is it the ARENA. The COMPETITIVE side of the game, which has fallen extremely short lately as the new wave of developers don't seem to know what they're doing, they think the more casualized it becomes the more mass appeal it will have, not realising that if you remove the niche that gets players talking about your game, there won't be anything that makes your game stand out from the others, and there won't be those "masses" to appeal to any longer. There are games with much better basic systems and especially graphics.

 

Releasing Wildstar first shows you have a huge misunderstanding about what qualifies a successful game, Wildstar will never be successful because it never found that niche. You are delusional and can't accept that you're not creating unique or fun experiences at all with these new games, you are too focused on creating games with a safety net because of how much money you throw at it, using mechanics you KNOW will work because it has in the past, not realising that you will not pull players from the original games that made those systems renowned. Elder Scrolls Online is a perfect example of this, what could have been a heavily Elder Scrolls inspired experience with a unique amount of freedom in an open world, unlike any other game on the market, it was a victim of business men in suits who read statistics and don't play their own games.

 

Please, right now while reading this go to Twitch, browse the top games and look at them, look which games are being played the most, what's the most popular? What has been the most popular for years now? What causes these games to be able to sustain such popularity and income for years on end despite how much content gets added to them? Let's name a few games that are almost COMPLETELY different to each other but are continually topping the charts: LoL, CSGO, Hearthstone, Minecraft, WoW, H1Z1, Starcraft2, Path of Exile, Runescape, ARK, Smite, Rocket League. Besides ones like LoL and Smite which are both mobas, look what Smite did to be different. You will find the views or the general community interest of each game usually aligns to the profit and popularity of the game overall, which makes sense of course. All the others at the top are single players that just released or niche older games that a very popular streamer is streaming just for the time being so it has its few days or a week of fame but then goes back to being unheard of, so ASIDE from those games.

 

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm trying to say Twitch is a basis for what's popular and good, I'm not saying that as I dislike many of those games myself, but if you really look at the current gaming scene, it does say a lot about a games popularity and income in the eyes of developers, is that not correct? Even Runescape, 07 is more popular than the current game and I bet they're baffled at that, but people play 07 for its better PvP. Isn't it strange how a game like Runescape, so much content has been added to the game since 2007, such an expansive game, yet communities will flock away from it just from one bad change to the games combat, the moment that game lost its competitive community there's now a huge split in the playerbase with more people playing an older version of the game.

Just think about it, what do all of these games have in common? Most of them are online and competitive, or most of them have found that NICHE that no other game does as good, or better than, again, it doesn't even have to be competitive, look at the Elder Scrolls series for example among other good RPG's or popular games in other genres. That game fills the shoes of being the best in that genre and that's why it's as popular as it is, and that doesn't even have an online mode. Then you have games like Diablo 3 versus games like Path of Exile, they both do what they do very good, but one appeals to a more casual crowd and the other appeals to the people who want a deeper experience, arguably, the point is, they both have their own strengths even though they are similar. Each offers something the other doesn't despite being in the same genre.

 

Which brings us to MMO's and why Blade & Soul could be an extremely popular game. It's unfortunate this will get so disagreed with by the people reading this forum, but the reason most MMO's have failed like they have, is because they have released the same game over and over again with nothing to distinguish themselves enough from the already popular MMO's out there. There has literally been NOTHING that they offer besides a different environment to run around in, that other games haven't already done smoother, more polished and BETTER, with years of content and features to top it off with, and if you truly look at the scene, you will see the most failed games are the ones that have done exactly that, the ones that have failed to find their own niche or reason to play it over something else. Of course, failures like Lord of the Rings online, Age of Conan, Rift, SWTOR, etc. They have their own little crowd, people like it, some people play it for the lore, they like the idea of playing in that world, the simple PvE, whatever other features the game has that few players are looking for, these players will play it, but many of these games get either shut down and forgotten about, receive no updates and have a very small playerbase if they don't deliver in the way I'm talking about here, I'm talking about MASS appeal, the really popular games and what makes them so popular.

 

So with Blade & Soul, you currently have many players bored of WoW, millions, bored of the casual direction it's taken, the players who like the warcraft lore, the PvE and other menial features of the game, sure they'll stay, but more so because of the lore and how popular the Warcraft franchise is. Blade & Soul is nothing special in the west, it can't survive on name alone, and it definitely can't pull people from other games by boasting the same features, even less, in Blade & Soul's case. But let's look at a REALLY popular game like LoL, extremely popular like WoW was before, people like LoL, the competitive side of it, and what the game offers as a spiritual successor to the original Dota, but, imagine what would happen if LoL stopped offering something to a large niche of players, they changed some mechanic, implemented an unwanted change or removed something players loved, and what if there wasn't a game for years that had filled that niche? I bet the popularity of the next game with those features would be pretty impressive don't you think? 

 

Ncsoft, this is the position you are in with Blade & Soul for many WoW PvPers, I think honestly more than you know it. There just hasn't been an MMO to release with such fluid gameplay, from the camera control to the placement of your character in the world instantly responding to your movements, to the synergy of the skills between the classes and skills actually having PURPOSE in them rather than copying other MMO's "dps, heals, dots, tank, stuns, etc" and putting all those mechanics on the bar with no thought or character of their own, just literally copy pasting from other MMO's with no synergy within other classes, giving no room for competitive inspiration or need for theorycrafting to exploit the games mechanics. It's just not interesting or engaging. Games like Rift and SWTOR are good examples of these soulless systems, just adding cool looking spells to the class without a competitive side in mind. Do you not see the potential profit here being the ONLY other MMO with these systems when there's a niche waiting for a deeper PvP experience like WoW USED to offer?

 

I'm not trying to say Blade & Soul will be the most popular game in the world, I'm trying to convey it SEEMS different enough, and good enough, if you even look at how it's doing in Korea in the competitive scene, that it's good enough to find its own niche here in the west, and if you wait for the game to get popular BEFORE you add Oceanic servers, that is the biggest mistake you could make for the potential surge of players and scene you could create with a game like this while it's popular.

 

You'd be better off wasting advertisement money on Oceanic servers, your marketing won't make a difference as much as you think, just like all the other failed games don't, all the 2D browser games that get advertised more than ANY game and all those trash MMO's from Perfect World and Aeria Games that get spammed on every website, it's clearly not what brings a game success, especially something like an MMO where you can't just "TRICK" people into playing and having fun, an MMO is a long term investment. So if you're serious about Blade & Soul in the long term then you're better off investing in Oceanic servers so that several countries and regions that will be playing your game can actually enjoy the game for how it was intended to be played. Games get popular because of how good they are not because how well they are advertised. I know that is REALLY hard for you guys to believe, but please have more confidence in your game. Honestly, what is it with this game and the mistreatment it receives in the west? It gets delayed for like 5 years so Guild Wars 2 can come out, then once that came out you guys relaunched the Blade & Soul US domain in 2012, you were "ready to release", then you left the website completely dormant all these years to release Wildstar on top of the delay from GW2. I personally visited the website every single day to check for even one update. Now that it's finally coming out, it's coming out as f2p with cosmetics gated behind paywalls that is likely to turn to p2w when you guys decide to bait and switch like every other F2P game, instead of going p2p or b2p at the very least, isn't this game still sub based in Korea? THEN Oceanic servers were on the table for you guys, you were "maybe going to have it", now you've just decided against it? Can this game please get a break? Can you guys wake up at how popular this game could really be? All those years while you were trying to hype your other uninspired terrible MMO's, people were spamming your facebook and youtube videos "WHERE'S BLADE AND SOUL" for a reason. Please stop this nonsense and finally give Blade & Soul the recognition it deserves.

 

I know a lot of people are going to jump at the chance to scream about how wrong I am about all of this, and I know how many people will be talking about what THEY enjoy about MMO's and that it has nothing to do with what I wrote, and I know a lot of people on the internet simply enjoy disagreeing with others as they thrive on arguments or can be depraved of attention in their real life, but please, remember to look at the bigger picture of what I'm saying and make a mental effort to read between the lines instead of reacting thoughtlessly due to your instant emotional impulse to do so. I'm very willing to hear opinions to the contrary and have a discussion about this, but I will only reply to equally well thought out responses and not ones that nitpick one sentence out of each paragraph without taking into consideration the underlying message and context of that paragraph.

 

Then, ncsoft, you have to ask yourself about the people replying to this thread, which will probably be mostly Americans who it does not concern, what type of person would be on a forum like this, on a game that hasn't come out yet, with a registered account instead of just being a forum viewer, would they be a part of the crowd I'm speaking of? How many players are there out there that feel there's no point to write their opinion like this online because it'll be scoffed at? This is the diversity I'm trying to convey here, you don't know how many people are planning to play, thinking of playing, turning down the idea of playing because of no servers in their region, etc. Things are not black and white in this situation and I'd ask you please remember to be aware of that when reading some of the replies here.

 

Either way, however people choose to reply, here's a little hint to you Americans, look what ncsoft did to City of Heroes.

 

Badmouthing this too much would not be wise for the long term health of your game, even signing the petition yourself would only be better for you, the global popularity for this game means your game doesn't get shut down in a few years when ncsoft decides they're not making enough profit to keep the game alive.

 

I have a feeling that most Americans might not understand how bad it actually is to play from Australia, our ping is between 250-400 with 250 being the top 1% of Australian gamers, it is usually more and can be up to extreme times such as 400 depending on the location and distance to their local exchange. Different cultures might not understand the ping difference as you've never had to experience it, I hear Americans complaining when they get upwards of 50 to 100 ping. Top games and most games I mentioned above have Oceanic servers. LoL, Dota 2, CSGO, WoW, H1Z1, Path of Exile, ARK, Rocket League, Smite.... Do you see a pattern here? The most competitive games.... being the most popular... having servers for all regions to play.. The profit is right in front of your eyes. In fact, Australians/NZ themselves tend to get very competitive in PvP scenes, for example on games like CSGO and Dota2, I'd actually argue that the population ratio between Americans and Australians/NZ on those games are nearly on par, despite the difference in country population, and that's not even taking into account the players in other countries playing on Oceanic servers, not just Australian/NZ players. Path of Exile and DayZ themselves were even developed in New Zealand.

 

To be specific, this is the entirety of the Oceanic region which you will be completely alienating: Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Keep in mind that's also not taking into account all the people outside of the Oceanic region such as Singapore who play on our servers.

 

It's 2016 this sort of stuff is just unacceptable now, especially for competitive games, and especially for a game like Blade & Soul which is the most ping reliant MMO I've ever come across in my life as everything is done server side, there seems to be very few client side calculations going on. All the top games have jumped on the bandwagon I don't see why you guys wouldn't, I just don't understand it from a business perspective, being the only other MMO who fills the niche I'm talking about on the entire market, you would also be the only other MMO with these servers. I just wouldn't risk alienating an entire region like this, REGIONS even, all that I listed above. Think of how you are intending the game to be played and then think how many players or potential players will actually have to experience it. I understand this isn't your problem as you don't have to experience it yourself, but please don't let impulsive greed blind the reality of this. Be greedy, but in the long term, make the smart investment. I really don't know how you guys thought this was a smart business decision in 2016. It's not 2004 anymore.

 

How do you know if this will make long term profit? Well you'll never know, you'll never know in what region you could have found that niche, or struck that luck, because as you've seen, "scenes" can sprout from anywhere, and you won't be there to capitalize on it because it won't exist. The long term effects of alienating an entire region like this are probably more costly and less profitable than what could have been. Because if you launch without it, it's almost as if you aren't launching it here at all, since a game like this REALLY can't be played to its full potential mechanically, and that's exactly what the success of this game is riding on, it's combat mechanics. What else do you think the game will survive on? The 2008 outdated graphics and lack of end game GRINDY content everyone talks about? The game has gone big in Korea because of its PvP alone, so please let it also be revered for that same reason in EVERY other region you provide service to.

 

The positioning, aiming, combo and reflexes needed for this game, while even your button inputs being server side, are just not realistically possible if someone wants to play it properly, Oceanic players will never be able to be competitive. in PvP OR even PvE. Even with something as low as 200 ping, which isn't possible for us, we might be able to get 220-230 ping if we have one of the best internet connections in the country and use a tunneling service, which is more of a gimmick in 2016 as most ISP's now don't have the same server infrastructure they had 10 years ago, most ISP's already take the fastest route to the game servers in this day and age, back when the best route to international servers were an oversight by ISP's, a lot of players would get up to 600ms but through tunneling, would be able to make drastic improvements such as halving their ping to 300ms. Still not optimal, but it was the best for the time. This is NOT a solution for current Oceanic gaming, it's not physically possible to get lower ping than we already do. Using a tunneling service would only scatter annoying files across your computer, make unwelcome and unknown changes to your registry that are probably on that setting for a reason to begin with(I've heard there are some tunnels that make more changes than just changing TCPAckFreq, don't know the details, don't care), and have extreme stability issues, usually these services disconnect every hour or so, it's very annoying and not something I would ever use or PAY to use, why should I pay to use a tunneling service for a free to play game, it's your responsibility to provide the gaming experience you portray. But even if I did, it would still be unplayable, even with a paid one, and even with the best internet.

 

On a more personal note not business related, I have been waiting for this game for 7 years. Coming from a high end PvP background, I've never been so hyped for a game in my life, I've been waiting for a game to come along and fill the void that WoW used to be, in WoW and other MMO's I used to just compensate for the lag by predicting ahead and having almost inhuman reflexes, but this game is much different, the coding and design of the game mechanics, everything being server side, this style of play is pretty much as ping reliant as a first person shooter game in a competitive environment, and after having played now on the final servers I can confirm that this will be completely unplayable for the entire Oceanic region in the competitive scene, and even in the PvE side of the game. However the biggest draw to your game for most players at the moment is the PvP, and even the draw you are pushing out yourselves as you even said, "We really want to push the Esport scene", as you've obviously seen how big it's gone in Korea.

 

So to sum up, imagine how devastated the Oceanic players will be who have been waiting for this game. If you don't bring these dedicated Oceanic servers, you have killed off the ENTIRE Oceanic region in more ways than just the PvP, I promise you that, you might get cocky when the game launches and you see players surging in, but watch how many Oceanic players you'll have long term who play the game for PvP. I definitely won't be playing, so ask yourself, how many people will want to force themselves to play a game they can't enjoy because the whole experience feels like a huge disconnect from the actions they perform? Who wants to play a game like this and not be competitive in ANY way, whether that be PvP or PvE?

 

An example of how unplayable 200+ms is within a competitive game, would be the Twitch streamer and tournament winner Jaesung http://www.twitch.tv/lsjjws3

When the alpha released to the west, he was playing on the servers with 250ms, when he received questions in the chat about how playable the game was with his latency and if he will be playing it competitively, his response was him laughing and then saying "This is only for fun, no way could I play with this ping, only for fun". This is coming from a multi tournament victor/high rated player. Someone who would know EXACTLY about what is required to play the game competitively. Again, even in regards to Jaesung, you guys seem to be catching on how popular your game could be finding the right community niche, which is why you've been promoting him yourself. You want to create that scene. Well they are the words from the man himself, it's only for fun and would be unplayable which is exactly what a massive portion of your playerbase or potential playerbase would feel being from the Oceanic region.

 

This is a video demonstrating how we can't even be competitive in PvE, imagine in PvP, you literally ATTACK slower meaning you do LESS DPS, because everything is calculated server side:

 

 

I guess that's good bye to Blade & Soul.

 

Yet here you are asking us to prove to you there's a demand, why you should properly market your game to us. I think it's just a silly idea to start a petition like this, it won't prove anything, it won't give accurate numbers, you should look at it from a business perspective, or at least a smarter one, a potential population surge the game could have being one of the only other MMO's and competitive MMO's at that, to have Oceanic servers. I just can't believe what you are letting slip through your fingers, so that's why I wrote all of this, to hopefully break the culture clash/misunderstanding you might have about all of this.

 

It's 2016, and in a mere 4 years it will be 2020, can you imagine how far technology and games would have come by then? Are you planning to have Oceanic servers by 2020? Because if so, why would you leave it any later than the release of the game or at least close to it, while the initial hype is still alive? Now is your best chance to reap the success of Oceanic servers, you've made everyone wait too long, and this game is too outdated now, you need to ask yourself what else the game has to offer if not its combat mechanics, that's what you do most of the game, as a standard MMORPG Blade & Soul doesn't live up to very much in terms of game "fluff", things to do and things to achieve, it's very lackluster of standard MMORPG features, this game is renowned for its combat, being unable to enjoy it in PvE or PvP makes the game redundant when compared to what's out there.

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