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Blade & Soul will launch in the West in January

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Blade %26 Soul

NCsoft's martial arts MMO Blade & Soul first launched in Korea in 2012, and then hit China in 2013. Japan got it in 2014, as did Taiwan. Not much happened in 2015, but in 2016 the game will finally make its way to American and European shores.

NCsoft announced today that Blade & Soul will launch in North America and Europe on January 19, 2016. The game will offer a choice of seven classes at launch—Blade Master, Destroyer, Summoner, Force Master, Kung Fu Master, Assassin, and Blade Dancer—with a maximum character level of 45. A pair of new dungeons that weren't included in the Closed Beta will be added for launch, and the studio promised that "a regular cadence of content updates and patches are planned and in progress."

Players will also have access to a "skill-based 1v1 Arena," which NCsoft described as the "highlight of the game’s burgeoning eSport’s presence." A Blade & Soul World Championship event held in Busan, Korea earlier this year attracted more than 6000 people over two days, and North American and European players will be invited to take part in the 2016 tournament following Western PvP qualifiers.

Blade & Soul is free-to-play, but three Founder's Packs are available until January 15, at which point a "head start" period for purchasers will begin. Founder's Packs include guaranteed access to all future closed beta tests, plus character titles, "premium points," name reservation, extra character slots, and more, and run in price from $25 to $125.

The next Blade & Soul closed beta will run from November 24 until November 30. Find out more at bladeandsoul.com.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.