Blade & Soul: Free to Play or Pay to Win in China?
The business model for Blade & Soul's North America server is still pending but that of the Chinese server has been confirmed. Published by Tencent Games, Blade & Soul is free to play with micro-transaction in China (the game requires subscription fee in Korea). However, players can choose to upgrade to VIP accounts and receive stat bonus which is likely break the gameplay balance.
(Chinese gamers can purchase this outfit from cash shop)
Chinese players will be able to play the game for free, but they can pay subscription fee to become VIP users. VIP characters receive stats buff and other conveniences, specifically that includes recovery +5%, HP +3%, and defense +3%. The publisher emphasizes it's a very slight buff for VIP players, but it doesn't stop us from questioning the game's pay-to-win tendency. In addition to stat buff, VIP players enjoy less fatigue restriction and get exclusive in-game title. Besides, all players will be able to purchase clothes from the store (all clothes in Blade & Soul have no stat).
It becomes more interesting to see NCsoft US's answer to Blade & Soul (NA)'s business model. The game has no NA and EU release schedule at the moment.
Source: 《剑灵》国服收费模式确定 为道具收费模式