As Blade & Soul veterans will know, the release of the game in North America and Europe is understandably behind the latest versions in Asian territories. Apart from a few classes that haven't been made available yet here in the States, the story only leads through the first three acts of the game, whereas the Korean version is already through Act 7.
NCSoft knows that it has to play catch up quite fast, as they admitted in a private meeting with me where they shared a wealth of information, especially if they expect North American and Europe to compete in the Blade & Soul World Championship on as equal footing as possible. To that end, the developers already have an aggressive schedule in the content pipeline to be released over the first half of this year.
The post-launch content begins with Mushin's Tower, a single-player instanced dungeon stacked with eight floors, each having its own unique challenge and practice area. As you might suspect, the challenge on each floor gets incrementally higher, though some bosses will be timed. Luckily, you won't be brought back to the bottom of the tower if you fail at any floor, but you'll start over if you quit the tower before you're done.
Then comes three dungeons: Bloodshade, Nightshade Harbor, as well as Naryu Labyrinth. In both the 4/6-player Bloodshade dungeon and the 24-player Nightshade dungeon, you'll face off against the Battle Backgram Pirate Admiral Haemujin. The 4/6-player Naryu Labyrinth, as it sounds, has plenty of branching paths strewn across three levels, facing off against the Thunder and Wind Gods Fujin & Raijin. It's perhaps a Final Fantasy reference; In fact, Mushin's Tower too reminds me of the Pagoda of the Five Mighty Gods.
Last but not least is the Silverfrost Mountain Expansion, which continues the story with the first two parts of act four. The increase of the level cap from 45 to 50 comes with new dungeons on a new continent as well clan level increases and the ability to have clan crafting and clan uniforms.
Separately from the dungeon releases, NCSoft is also hoping to unveil the Warlock class, a ranged DPS fighter available to the Jin and Lyn races. Given that the Warlock just won the World Championships in Korea, it's sure to be a favorite for PvP players.
If you're planning on trying Blade & Soul, you can head to our class guide and beginner's guide to get you started on the right foot. Blade & Soul is free-to-play and available now off the official NCSoft website.