Blade And Soul has huge potential to be the next big e-sport
Hello NC, this game has huge potential to be the next big e-sport but there are major roadblocks to get to that point. I'm writing it because I love the 1v1 aspect of this game and I want it to succeed but at the current rate the game is sadly gonna die out (if it's not too late already).
Warning: blunt truth
1) PvP is becoming less and less accessible.
When the game was released there was no HM skills and hitting 45 was possible in 2-3 days, the game was much easier to access than it is now and it's only gonna get worse with time. I'm an active player and it's even hard for me to obtain new HM skills. Think about some pro league player with 20k viewerbase who would want to switch to B&S after official tournaments and prize pools get announced, he would look at how hard it is to obtain HM skills and HM levels needed to stay competitive and he would quit back to league, 20k additional viewers out of the window. That's not how you build a successful e-sport game
You could say: "Well... duh, it's an MMO, not a MOBA or a fighting game, it needs to be grindy". No, it doesn't. People who pay the most and bring the most publicity to this game don't give a rat tail about the story and PvE - they pay for HM skills or an ability to run dungeons in order to obtain HM skills. If those people want good story and PvE they will more likely play WoW, SWTOR, or ESO. Usually MMOs have pretty bad lores due to the limitations to how it can be presented but B&S has exceptionally weak script and even worse execution.
The strength of this title is in it's combat system and balanced 1v1 PvP. That is your trump card, you need to abuse it to get ahead of the competition. This game is disadvantaged enough with an art-style that caters only to niche consumer, you need to make up for it.
The problems right now are as follows:
People cannot access other classes easily like in fighting games so they complain more than they should which leaves an impression that the 1v1 PvP is not balanced at all. That translates into bad publicity which turns off a lot of players
HM skills (especially the new ones) take ridiculous amount of effort to get and they are absolutely required to stay competitive
HM levels take ridiculous amount of effort to get and they are pretty impactful as well
Solution: unlock every HM skill in the arena and make it so lvl 1 character has the same amount of skillpoints in the arena as 50+10 character. If players care about PvE they gonna level up and unlock HMs outside of the arena anyway
You would probably say: "But wait! That would completely ruin our current business model, nobody would play PvE and pay us money to progress faster!". That only proves that your business model was a trainwreck to begin with and that I was right about people not caring about PvE aspect. At this rate the game will die eventually, it's up to you if you want to stop that process with radical changes or let it rot away over time like ArcheAge and other hyped korean titles did.
Here is some ways you can monetize this game with if this change was applied:
Automatic in-game tournament system when players have to play a small fee in NCoins to participate and there's a special leaderboard for it
After spectating system gets implemented you can make a hub where ongoing games are displayed and can be spectated at any moment (just like in league hub). You could make it so people could bid NCoins to appear in that hub with their games. I'm pretty sure raising stars of the competitive scene would pay a lot of money to get that kind of publicity
You could extend spectator's features (like adding a timeline with abilities that were used in the game so they can see when those abilities are comming off cooldown, possibility of pausing, resuming, rewinding and so on) and sell them as "Premium Spectator Features" for a monthly fee. That would not only improve community's understanding of the game by giving them necessary analysis tools but also fill your pockets at the same time, Win-Win scenario.
Service that allows player to stand out on the leaderboard, like a special icon or something that can be bought with NCoins
Costumes. People will still be buying them
Nothing is as bad of a publicity as bots running rampant.
In order to fix it you need to understand the incentive of botters: they are out to get money.
beans = soulstones = bns gold = $
Now if we fixed that equation to this:
beans =/= soulstones = bns gold = $
Then suddenly bots would disappear over night. But how to do that without destroying incentive of players to play 1v1 arenas?
Simple. Make arena rewards account-bound
Now let's say we applied solution from paragraph 1 along with all the monetization ideas and we have arenas when everyone has maximum level and all HMs. With that players focused on 1v1 PvP have no need for blade and soul gold so they don't need soulstones either.
What they do need is tournament tickets, recognition, cosmetics and spectator premium. Just price those accordingly and you have your new arena rewards (you could also throw some account-bound PvE-progression goodies in there too, I'm pretty sure some PvP players would engage in PvE as well and PvE players would like to chill in the arenas from time to time without having to worry about not progressing in their upgrades)
3) Blade And Soul Gold spammers
Current system of dealing with blade and soul gold spammers is not perfect and it's hard to arrive at perfect solution, what you could do to turn them down a notch is disabling an ability to chat in the global arena chat if you're not blade and soul gold league or higher. That would force bns gold spammers to get 1600 rank on every spamming account which would reduce the amount of their spamming accounts drastically. It also prevents bronze-silver players from throwing tantrums at X class in the faction chat and incentivizes them to get better instead by giving them a feeling of inadequicy
People are like that in every game, we don't have some special playerbase that came from the moon and behaves in some unpredictable manner. LoL which is the most successful PvP game of all time has the most immature playerbase ever and the game is still as successful as ever.
We're talking about the game's success as an eSport and what can NC do better to make it grow as such. Right now potential is being wasted because it caters to people who are hardcore PvP and PvE players at the same time while leaving pure PvP players in the dust. As a result B&S is not even on first page of "All Games" on twitch anymore, the hype has ended and people realized that keeping up with new HMs getting released is too much pain. When I open streams I even hear complaints from players like Radeyz that they cannot play as much PvP as they like to because they have to grind PvE for HMs. I'm following every single high rated arena streamer on twitch and I've noticed a rapid decline in their stream uptimes since 50 patch hit, nobody wants to stream PvE dailies
Do not lock an incentive like the outfit behind the current system Zaiwei Ruins has
Zaiwei ruins is not bound to this. also enchanting temptress and seductress in NSH "can" technically be farmed all day long, the widows are not locked behind an event based system.
Do You Know Blade and Soul need More Gold
Yes, sometimes requires a lot of Blade and Soul Gold, you need to buy BNS materials, equipment and other items, before I bought 100 BNS gold at R4PG.com, but still not enough, I think I will continue to buy Blade and Soul Gold at R4PG Gamer Store, the demand is really too more.
The player-on-player hostility that comes from the BNS Daily Challenge
The Weapon Upgrade event didn't work for me because I didn't have enough blade and soul gold to deal with the market inflation of upgrade materials
Blade And Soul - Faction Flaw & Cross-Server Party Flaw
This game is concentrated on PVP, regardless of how you like to avoid thinking that everything you do in this game is to become strong for PVP.
Blade and Soul - trove event
On trove event - if you recall (or maybe you don't even know cuz you paid for everything) - with the ratio limits, a lot of casual players were not able to sell their blade and soul gold. This is also a fact. And meanwhile the "whales" had no problem, of course.
Why wouldn't Ncsoft want most people at True Scorpion sooner?
I know of only 4 people that have attempted to duo-Asura's dungeon, one of the groups succeeded while he other gave up.