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  • Black Tower added to KR's Test Server!
    A new 24-man team dungeon is shown on the test server, plus other patch notes.
  • Official Blade & Soul Costume Contest
    Their accepting original concept designs for a Blade & Soul costume. The contest will last from now until July 5th.
Update 7-15-2015 : Updated Test Server patch notes and replaced old Black Tower trailer with the new one.

Test ServerNew Team Dungeon (24man) - Black Tower
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Huge thanks to Di'el for translating the patch notes!
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Dungeon

New Team Dungeon (24man) 'Black Tower' of '파천성도' and its first boss 'Sky Poison Dragon' added
Temporarily added a portal in Zaiwei (will be changed later)
This dungeon will have a weekly cap depending on the dungeon progress
Cap can be manually reset up to 4 times weekly in the Test Server
Cap will be reset every Wednesday 6am
There is no 'Hearts' in 'Black Tower'
'Black Tower' weekly quests added

Update 7-15-2015:
Second boss for Black Tower released
First boss is temporarily nerfed. (will be reverted at update)
On defeating the first boss, all team members will be bound to the same dungeon number

Items

New Legendary Bopae obtained from 'Black Tower' can be exchanged in the inventory store (a separate vendor will be added later)
New Legendary Weapon series '촉마' obtained in 'Black Tower' added.
Lv10+ Nebula series (Meteor, Comet) weapons can be upgraded to the new series
New Legendary Bopae obtained in 'Black Tower' added
New Legendary Ring '독린', '역린', Legendary Earring '화각' (Blaze?) obtained in 'Black Tower' added

Update 7-15-2015:
Added a two piece set effect to Fate, Immortal, Oath, Eternity legendary accessories
Changed the names of legendary accessories obtained in Black Tower
Deleted class bopae from the box dropped by the first boss


Skill Changes

Update 7-15-2015:
Kung-Fu Master:
New 'Form 4' training to 'Cold Surge' in the form of a new skill 'Fighting Spirit'

Fighting Spirit Effects:
- Gives party members within 30m and yourself 'Boost' effect for 10 sec
- Crit chance +40% & Crit damage +50%
- 100% of attack = lifesteal/additional damage
- Decreases the cooldown of Crushing Blow by 5 sec per attack by party members
- Cooldown is 1min 30sec and cannot be reset
- Party members cannot be boosted again for 30 sec

Quest

Update 7-15-2015:
Daily Challenges increased to 4.
New PVP Daily Challenge added (Previously there was only three PVE Daily Challenges)
Daily Challenges award you EXP talisman(s) among other goodies
Extra Bonus rewards can be acquired by completing 3/4 Daily Challenges

Interface

Divided item effects, premium/cash effects, status effects to separate locations


Party System

By default, only the team leaders have the distribution rights when looting from a special raid chest dropped by a raid boss
Team leaders can distribute items directly to each member of the team
Team leaders can set [Give distribution rights to everybody] to make it a normal loot distribution.


New Black Tower Trailer

Preview:


Bosses


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Updates to Main Server

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Skill Changes

Destroyer:
Fixed a bug where using 'Retreat' would sometimes not move the character when 'snared' by Warlock's 'Bounded Field'

Warlock:
Fixed a bug where the 'Familiar' does not disappear when 'Spiritualize' and 'Substitute' is used at the same time.
Fixed a bug where Familiar skills are not being filtered in the skills window

Force Master:
Fixed a bug where using 'Withdraw' would sometimes not move the character when 'snared' by Warlock's 'Bounded Field'

Assassin:
Fixed a bug where using 'Backward Roll' would sometimes not move the character when 'snared'

Summoner:
Fixed a bug where 'Instant cast on critical hit' of select 'Hornet' training does not apply while 'Saturated'

Rising Dragon Valley (6v6)

You can no longer queue for Rising Dragon Valley with 2~5 people (only 1 or 6)
If you queue for a match as an individual, you are matched with other solo queuers. 6 man parties are queued with other 6 man parties.
If you queue for a match as an individual, you automatically leave the party after the match.
Fixed a bug where a character can sometimes be stuck on the log in the passage way to the middle capture point.
Fixed a bug where Sunday 12am~6am bonus is not being applied

Sky Island

Added new rewards for peak time (Saturday/Sunday 10pm~12am) (Moonstone Dragon Special Box, Emperor Moonstone Dragon Special Box)
Added Sky Island Key, Sky Shard to 5 of the daily quests (Saturday/Sunday)

Dungeon

Forgotten Tomb:
Increased the number of '선단' obtained from 'Berserk Emperor' (4/6 man)

General:
Removed all Stigmas from dungeons (Palace, Underground Prison, BSH) and item effects that counter them.

NPC

Silverfrost Mountains:
Decreased health and attack of monsters in 'Lightning Prison' and 'Tainted Cave'
Decreased health and attack of NPCs in Epic Quest Act 4

Quest

Silverfrost Mountains - Special Quest
Made 'Limit Break' quest requirements easier (Vendor in Haunted Necropolis now sells '오세유')

Viridian Coast - Arena Quests
Changed the names and requirements for select arena quests


Items

Changed the faction rank requirement of '우마각' sold by Faction Rank Vendors in Moonwater Plains (used in Windwalk wall run quest) to 'Trainee'
NCSOFT teaches us the fundamentals of Chi in their latest article.

NCSOFT
The Martial Artist guide to Chi

Understanding the basics of Chi is fundamental to mastering it. But one can only go so far on theory alone – there comes a time when what has been learned must be put into practice. While chi exists in everything and everyone, it takes work to access its full potential.

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Chi vs. Dark Chi

Martial artists spend their entire lives dedicating themselves to meditation and physical training to master themselves and thus their chi. As this is a slow, difficult process that requires an unshakable will, it is no surprise that many do not make it to mastery. Some warriors are content to learn a few petty tricks while others give up altogether. Yet some yearn for power despite not having the spiritual fortitude to earn it. They hear the whispered promises of the Dark Realm and succumb to temptation, allowing Dark Chi to seep into their souls. While it is true that Dark Chi can drastically boost a martial artist’s power immediately to astonishing levels, it comes at dire cost. Those unfortunate fools are blinded by their desire for undeserved power and, in the end, it destroys them without fail.

The Mark of the Black Rose

Dark Chi is not always willingly accepted. More often than not it is forced upon a person, infecting them like a virulent poison that eats away at their body and mind. One who has strong chi within them can resist the effects, though the Dark Chi will flare up like crawling, thorn-covered vines that choke their spirit.

Those afflicted carry the Mark of the Black Rose – a tell-tale distortion within their spiritual energy. It is a crippling wound and, even worse, makes the victim susceptible to influence by Dark Chi. Demons and Dark Chi users are even able to enforce their will over the victim, dominating their minds. They may even partially transform into Demons as their bodies warp into horrifying states. In the end, those who bear the Mark of the Black Rose die both a physical and spiritual death as they wither and transform fully into a Demon.

The Way of Enlightenment

Suffering the Mark of the Black Rose is not always an inevitable death sentence. It is possible to overcome by learning the Way of Enlightenment – a complex method of purifying the soul. But this art has been lost to the ages and is known only by the greatest of sages. Those who hope to utilize it face both a race against time along with the even greater struggle of actually managing to successfully purge the Dark Chi from their bodies. To date, no mortal being has succeeded.

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Focus

Martial artists use their chi to facilitate their various combative skills. Everyone only has a limited volume of chi within them at a given time – a warrior who overextends themselves finds their reserves of Focus depleted. Replenishing Focus is thankfully a simple task. Food or rest will restore Focus, though there are warriors who recover through the thrill of combat, regaining Focus as they fight.

Blade Masters, Force Masters, and Summoners externalize their chi to enforce change on the world. Spiritual Lyn and Yun tap into the environment, manipulating the elements or conjuring Familiars from the Spirit Realm. A Blade Master’s sword is infused with energy to cleave through anything – it is so effective a weapon that even the curious Lyn have begun tinkering with blades.

In contrast, the Destroyer, Kung Fu Master, and Assassin all internalize their chi to great effect. Their Focus is used to harden a body into an unyielding bulwark, physically overwhelm even giant-sized monsters, or vanish into thin air, respectively.

Chi is not limited only to warriors. Both the mighty and the meek are able to Windwalk, striding over the flowing rivers of chi that spring from the earth to travel great distances. It takes a master to fully utilize Dragon Pulses, but anyone can make use of them where they naturally appear, using the wormholes through space to instantly transport themselves across the map. Others use chi to revitalize the weak and injured. The possibilities seem truly endless and, so long as there are warriors, there will be new ways to use chi.
BLADE & SOUL CN FUTURE UPDATE: PET SYSTEM & WINGS


The upcoming contents for Blade & Soul CN in the next half of 2015 has been revealed during the PVP tournament finals on 5th July 2015. This includes pet system, wings, leader board for PVP & PVE etc.



Pet System

Three pets will be released in Aug 2015: Amaterasu, Flame Emperor & Penguin. Amaterasu & Flame Emperor are the cute version of the original boss in the game. Currently, it is unknown if these pets grant any additional stats or benefit to the user. In Blade & Soul Online, cosmetic items and costumes typically do not grant any additional stats to players.


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Wings
Wings will be added to the game in the next half of the year as well. Unfortunately, there is no additional information on this as well, except for the 3 images of winged characters.


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Spoiler


Infinite Challenge

The developer plans to extend the concept for Mushin Tower to hundred of floors or stages, with tough opponents awaiting to challenge players.

Leader Board for PVE & PVP

A new leader board system indicating PVP ranking, instance clear time, etc will be added to the game.
Spoiler


Blade & Soul Mobile

NCSoft will be releasing the mobile version of Blade & Soul later this year as well. Chibi-version familiar characters such as Jin Seyeon & Pohwaran will be appearing in the card-based game.




Credits to Freedomplays for their article.
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Meet the Team - Part Three
NCSOFT has updated the official site with getting to know NCSOFT staff members.

NCSOFT
This mini-series of articles introduces you to some of the team working on the Western release of Blade & Soul. In this article we meet with the Game Support Manager and Senior Brand Manager.
In the Meet the Team articles, we're introducing you to the various members of staff working on bringing Blade & Soul to the West.

So far, we've introduced you to our Senior Community Manager and one of our Creative Writers in Part One, and our Producer and French Community Manager in Part Two.

This time, we meet with Cesar Gatica our Game Support Manager and Sean Corcoran, our Senior Brand Manager, and learn about their roles and involvement with Blade & Soul.


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Cesar Gatica, Game Support Manager for Blade & Soul.
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Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
Cesar Gatica, I’m the Game Support Manager for Blade & Soul.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
I get the best of both worlds; I get to influence the direction of the game while working closely with the community which may not be necessarily unique but I do enjoy a lot.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
Right now as we’re in preparation mode a lot of my time is spent in planning meetings, reviewing tools and the game and requesting changes.

How did you first get into the games industry?
I’ve loved video games since I was kid so when I finally made the decision to work in the gaming industry I began applying for any job at any game company that would have me. It took a few months but I finally got an entry level Game Master job and I’ve worked my way up since.

Tell us about an interesting or amusing thing that has happened whilst working on Blade & Soul.
There have been many things; it’s an interesting game but the two that stand out the most is the first time I realized you could pick up and slam boss monsters as a Destroyer class, I was so happy. The other is when we recently had a Twitch stream and I couldn’t help but run around behind the presenters and see if I could spot myself.

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
Gon Destroyer for sure.

What sort of challenges have you encountered working on Blade & Soul?
Language barrier as the development team is located in South Korea and most of them do not speak English, but really it’s an opportunity to experience a different culture. I’ve been working on Korean games for the better part of a decade so I’m quite accustomed to it.

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
Playing it with my friends; I’ve been able to play it for testing and preparation purposes but haven't really had a chance to enjoy it as a player.

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
I hope to see you in game and have a blast!

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Sean Corcoran, Senior Brand Manger for Blade & Soul.
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Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
Sean Corcoran, I’m the Senior Brand Manager for Blade & Soul.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
I get to work closely with the production and development teams to influence the development of the game for the West, and work with our creative team to create the art assets you see for Blade & Soul.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
Right now, I am very busy with planning the promotions and assets for our lead up to closed beta and the launch of Blade & Soul.

How did you first get into the games industry?
I’ve been a gamer my whole life and I had the opportunity to work on a few campaigns for game companies when I worked for an ad agency in Tokyo. When I returned to the US, I decided to follow my passion for games and pursue a marketing position at a game publisher. It took me a few months, but I landed a job working on console games back in 2009 and made the transition to PC games a few years ago.

Tell us about an interesting or amusing thing that has happened whilst working on Blade & Soul.
The funniest thing I experienced in game was when I skipped through the tutorial for a move that switches your position with a nearby enemy’s position, and for about 3 hours I couldn’t figure out why I kept teleporting into groups of enemies in the middle of a fight. Lesson learned, do not skip tutorials.

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
Jin Assassin for sure. I’ve always been a fan of stealth characters and the combos are awesome.

What sort of challenges have you encountered working on Blade & Soul?
I joined the team 2 short months ago, so the biggest challenge has been getting up to speed on everything to do with Blade & Soul and establishing relationships with everyone working on the game.

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
Having the time to play with my friends and get their support to help get through some of the tougher dungeons.

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
I’m very excited to be launching this game in the West, and I hope to see you in game!
Meet the Team - Part Two
NCSOFT has updated the official site with getting to know NCSOFT staff members.

NCSOFT
This mini-series of articles introduces you to some of the team working on the Western release of Blade & Soul. Get to know both the people behind the scenes, and the ones you'll see plenty of over the coming months.
There's a whole bunch of people working together with the Developers at Team Bloodlust to bring Blade & Soul to the West.

Some of these team members you'll see on Livestreams, at gameshows, on the forums or answering questions via Twitter and other social media. Some of them will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that feedback is gathered, content is localized, and everything runs on schedule.

Over the next few weeks, we'll introduce you to several members of staff, all from different departments, who are part of the Clan bringing you Blade & Soul. So sit back and let us introduce you to the Blade & Soul Team!


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Akli "Youmukon" Amichi, Community Manager at NCSOFT West

Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
Hello!

I'm Akli "Youmukon" Amichi, Community Manager at NCSOFT West overseeing French speaking territories. My main role for Blade & Soul is to be the link between the Community of Blade & Soul and our different teams scattered around the World at NCSOFT.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
Every day is a different day when we are managing online communities. We often have to face unplanned situations and be extremely reactive, that makes my role never monotonous. Being able to directly interact with fans is something I really enjoy.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
Interact with the Community through Social Media or forums, preparing events, ensuring that all content delivered in French to our players is of quality. I also spend time in meetings with other key teams like Marketing, Localization, Public Relation and of course developers. This constant cooperation is necessary in order to forward feedback from players within the company and more importantly decrypt that feedback.

How did you first get into the games industry?
I first joined Square Enix in 2009 as a Game Master for Final Fantasy XI. Back then, I was a pretty hardcore player of the game. I applied for a position in London, few weeks and a Eurostar ticket later, I was in London. I quickly made it to Senior Game Master and moved to Community Manager once Final Fantasy XIV came out.

I joined NCSOFT West 2 years ago to work on WildStar at first and now on Blade & Soul.

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
My favourite class is Lyn and my favourite class is Blade Ma… (°◇°;)

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
First and foremost, to play on a fully packed server! And then, PvP! I really can't wait to face players from all around Europe.

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
I'm really looking forward to the release of Blade & Soul in the West. I know that many players have been waiting for years… but I have been waiting as well! I would like to thank again our most loyal fans that went through lot of hurdles in order to play Blade & Soul on Asian servers. That shows how dedicated and passionate they are about our game.

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Jonathan Lien, Assistant Producer at NCSOFT West

Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
My name is Jonathan Lien and I am the Assistant Producer for Blade & Soul.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
Being in production I get to be involved with several aspects of the project and it’s been fun working with many talented and driven people.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
A little bit of everything—gather and analyze feedback, build test plans, work with development, plan our strategies, and of course play the game!

How did you first get into the games industry?
I started in Quality Assurance at Blizzard Entertainment in 2009.

Tell us about an interesting or amusing thing that has happened whilst working on Blade & Soul.
One fun thing I got to do was playing some of the characters that appear in our trailers and other promotions.

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
I love the Jin Blade Master but I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Lyn Summoner!

What sort of challenges have you encountered working on Blade & Soul?
The biggest challenge is adapting the game to the western audience while preserving the integrity and core experience of the original game.

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
Being able to play with my friends and the rest of the community!

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
I want them to know that we are listening carefully to their feedback and are taking the utmost care to make this the best possible experience for our players.

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Concept of Chi
NCSOFT brings us some lore on Chi via their official site.

The life force of creation and its effects on the world
Chi is the life force of all creation. It is an unending force that flows through all reality, connecting the realms and all living beings in its breadth. Like water, chi will gather in great swirling eddies or burst from the earth like a geyser. Like blood, chi exists within all living creatures and is vital to their survival. Despite how prevalent this mystical, invisible energy is within the world, it is still highly misunderstood by most. Learning to Windwalk by manipulating one’s chi is something even children can do. But truly mastering the awesome power of chi may take a lifetime of rigorous training, yielding abilities beyond comprehension.

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Chi
Often somewhat mistakenly referred to as “Pure Chi”, this strange energy fuels and is fueled by all living beings. The earth, the air, the water – all have chi that courses powerfully through every aspect of their existence. Living creatures have chi as well, which is directly related to their health and martial prowess. The true martial artists of the world have mastered their inner focus to perform stunning feats and demonstrate otherworldly powers. Most anyone can Windwalk, but few bear the particular skills to harness the flow of chi in the world necessary to control Dragon Pulses. These natural wellsprings of chi can be manipulated, allowing a powerful martial artist to bend space and time, traveling long distances in an instant.

With years of training, martial artists have developed unique forms of combat that utilize their chi in extraordinary fashions. Their bodies harden against damage or heal rapidly with only a bit of food and meditation. They may channel their chi through ordinary weapons to make them even more deadly, or connect their own energies into those of the natural world to commune with Familiars or the very elements. Some legendary warriors have even been able to defy death itself through their mastery of chi. If there are any true limits to what could be achieved with the power of chi, they have yet to be discovered.

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Divine Chi
Beyond the Earthen Realm rests the unseen Divine Realm, where the pure-hearted spirits and enlightened beings watch over the world. Their chi is pristine and mighty, bearing a power that echoes through the ages. The royal family of the Stratus Empire gained the blessings of the Divine beings in ancient times and thus all its descendants bear a hint of that Divine Chi within them, passing from generation to generation.

It is not a power that is easily gained though. Few mortal beings ever bear the Divine Realm’s energy within them and even fewer master it. But those who do become enlightened enough to embrace Divine Chi stand ready to face the darkness without fear, for the wicked forces of the Dark Realm burn like kindling in the face of such radiance.

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Dark Chi
For every light, there is a shadow. Dark Chi is a malevolent poison that spews from the Dark Realm. Demons spread it whenever they are able, using its raw power to corrupt both the earth and its people. Anything that bears chi within it runs the risk of being tainted by this horrid energy. Normal civilians stand no chance against it as their bodies die and transform into Demons. Powerful martial artists may fend off the effects of Dark Chi for a time through intense focus, but they will eventually succumb to its toxic influence as the darkness seeps into their mind. Truly powerful beings may still fall under its influence and transform into nightmarish monstrosities.

Demonic Pacts
Worse still are those unsavory souls who actively seek out Dark Chi, drawn to its alluring power. By focusing on their rage, greed, or other earthly vices that keep them from enlightenment, they try to use the Dark Chi to their own ends. Manipulative Demons seek out these evil souls, promising them immortality or endless fonts of power so that they further spread their chaotic influence. While the baleful energy does indeed grant inhuman prowess, it is only temporary. The Dark Chi is a starving animal that will inevitably devour them, body and soul, as it seeks to spread across all the realms.
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Poll: Community Voice: PvP (1465 member(s) have cast votes)

What do you think of Blade & Soul's PvP system?

  1. I love it! Here's why... (927 votes [63.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 63.28%

  2. I hate it! Here's why... (71 votes [4.85%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.85%

  3. I'm neutral. Here's why... (467 votes [31.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.88%

How will you PvP in Blade & Soul?

  1. I will wear my PvP Dobok proudly and fearlessly at all times, even if it will lead to my ultimate demise at times. (475 votes [32.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.42%

  2. I will be a defender, equipping my PvP Dobok only to save or help others. (228 votes [15.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.56%

  3. I will be a devious rascal, only equiping my PvP Dobok when victory is guaranteed. (92 votes [6.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.28%

  4. I will equip my PvP Dobok whenever the urge to PvP arises, defender or not. (482 votes [32.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.90%

  5. I will store my PvP Dobok, hoping to never kill or die to another player. (117 votes [7.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.99%

  6. *Insert own answer here* Be sure to respond to the article with your own answer. (71 votes [4.85%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.85%

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