With the announcement that Bless Online is finally launching in the West through Steam Early Access as a buy-to-play title, we had a few questions for Neowiz on all aspects of the MMORPG, and here’s what they had to say!
So perhaps the biggest reveal with this recent announcement is the decision to go buy-to-play. Is this something you feel will sustain Bless Online at launch, or are there plans for added content like an in-game shop or loot boxes?
Yes, Bless Online will have a cash shop. In it you’ll find cosmetic equipment, skins, awesome mounts and pets, consumables and boosts, and more. However, you won’t find any loot boxes there.
Are you concerned about gold spamming, botting and other behaviors? What sort of actions will you take against these activities, and do you think a buy-to-play model will alleviate that somewhat?
We think that the buy-to-play model will alleviate this to a certain extent. Being unable to quickly make many new accounts for free will cut down on some of these kinds of negative behaviors. In addition, gold spam will not be tolerated. We are coming up with content and operation related ideas in order to prevent this. Bless Online will fully compensate players for their time and efforts, and we hope that this will minimize the gold spamming in the game. It is very important for the Devs to prevent it, but also for players to not gold spam on their own.
What makes you think that early access is the right way to go?
We really want to get feedback from the community and players on both the changes made and what still needs to be improved or modified for the new audience. We felt that starting with an early access period was the best way to get immediate feedback and make changes quickly.
What sorts of things do you think will make Bless Online stand out from other early access MMOs?
Depending on the player’s choice, Bless Online’s characters have their own combat style and combat mode, even if they wear the same equipment and have the same level. We have a very free-form character development system that allows players to personalize their characters. In addition, almost all monsters in the game can be tamed as pets or mounts.
What cannot be missed in Bless is our large scale war content. Bless has RvR content that encourages players to fight in the open as groups as well as in instanced 100v100 battlefields where players can easily access and participate in more even battlefields. There will also be a large-scale PVP system that takes place in the sea and the sky.
We suspect the devs have been silent due to lots of hard work, but we’re seeing updates and discussions open up more via the game’s Steam page. Does this indicate more communication on a regular basis between the team and fans?
Yes! As we approach EA, we’re planning on sharing more and more information with the community. Everyone will be able to look forward to regular news and updates about both EA and Bless in general. We’re also planning some fun things to increase community involvement with the development of Bless.
What sort of community measures will Bless Online take in order to foster fair play and combat toxicity?
We hope that Bless Online would become a game that grows with its players through the Emissary Program. By recruiting Emissaries (community and in-game moderators) we aim to work together with our players to create a fair and collaborative environment for all.
Will there be anything that delineates types of players such as PvP-specific or RP-specific servers, or are you hoping to mesh as many players in the world of Bless as possible?
We aren’t planning to have separate servers for PvP and PvE. We’re hoping to create an amazing experience for players of all kinds within the world of Bless; there will be plenty of content for both PvPers and PvEers.
There will not be separate PVE or PVP servers, but we understand that many players do not wish to partake in PVP until it’s on their own terms. To help with this, there will be a consumable item that players can buy in-game to make them non-PVP enabled. This will work all the way to the level cap, last for a time, and has no cooldown. At the level cap, the item will still be obtainable, but via the Cash Shop. A large part of the later game content is PVP oriented (like our sieges), so we’re hoping players will try to engage in the conflict between the two factions then. Still, if they wish to avoid PVP, they’ll be able to buy the consumable in the cash shop, and you will also be able to earn cash shop currency via in-game activities as well.
One of the chief factors that saw Bless delayed was issues with the game’s combat. Do you believe this has been appropriately fixed now?
We’re working towards it for EA, and we think that already major strides have already been made towards that goal. However, we’re still working on some aspects (these changes include the reworks of the Mystic and Assassin classes’ combat and balance tests). We hope to get some great feedback about the combat system during EA as well.
The classes of Bless Online appear to fit into some expected fantasy archetypes (ranger, paladin, etc). What sort of things will make them unique to similar classes?
The reworked skill system that will allow players of all classes to build on and modify their class skills to fit their own play style will make each class experience feel unique.
Are there any classes or races that stand out as favorites among the team?
It’s hard for us to pick any favorite race or class as they each have their own charm and characteristics. It’s cliche but we think that they are all appealing. Due to personal preference all of our team members have different favorites but since each race’s stories are different we recommend that players try out different classes and races to find the one that really sticks with them.
Your website once mentioned the ability to tame creatures as mounts or pets. What sort of insight can you provide about that system?
The taming system is massive! Almost any creature players encounter in the game can be tamed as pets or mounts. Pets and mounts that can be tamed will also give special bonuses to their owner. Choose your adventure companions of Bless Online.
You’ve invited players to explore the world of Bless. Will exploration feature as a gameplay mechanic, or are you hoping players will become awed by the game’s world?
A bit of both! The natural progression through the quests and stories of Bless will require exploring the vast, beautiful world. We also hope players just enjoy the landscape on their own as they create their stories and adventures!
What region or area of the Bless Online world was the most enjoyable to design and create?
We’ve put in a lot of effort in creating every single area. We worked especially hard on researching, designing, and actually developing all the concepts. All Bless locations are inspired by and based on real-life stories and historical events. It depends on personal preference so I hope you will experience it for yourself.
How will progression work in Bless? Are we looking at hub-to-hub questing or more sandbox gameplay elements and natural questing mechanics?
It’s closer to hub-to-hub questing, which is more appropriate for Bless Online’s exciting and immersive storyline.
Will PvP have impact on the wider world of the game or will it be battlegrounds-based?
In both ways! Players can play PVP in the open field as well as in various battlegrounds.
How do you see Bless Online’s end game content working? Will there be a treadmill to run or are players going to steer world events?
Even though some aspects might be a bit more repetitive than directly steering the world events, we will keep coming up with different and interesting content updates. We’re also working hard on creating a system where even repeated content can be connected to all sorts of fun so that players can be rewarded for their efforts.
How much will Bless Online cost?
We haven’t announced the pricing of Bless yet. We’ll be sharing that at a later date!
What is the part of Bless you’re most eager to see players experience?
We hope that players can see and experience Bless Online’s brand new changes. You will be able to enjoy more in Bless Online with your friends as a party than any other game you have experienced recently.
Thank you once again for taking our questions and continued best of luck to the entire Bless Online development staff!Related: Bless Online, Early Access, Interview, MMORPG, Neowiz, Steam