Here's a possible preview of the kinds of promotions we might see from Bless Online when (if?) it arrives here in the west. This month, the fantasy title is holding a "Project Up" event on its Korean servers that will help both new and current players in leveling up their characters to the cap.
Any character that manages to hit level 45 or higher by March 16th will be treated to a nifty gift pack that includes a potion to instantly take a character to 50 and deck them out in purple gear. To get any potential new players to 45, Bless is also gifting lowbies with a gear box and temporary flying mounts to assist with their journey.
Even if you don't read Korean (for shame), you can get an idea of the leveling rewards from this promotion by eyeballing the following graphic.
When the NDA is away, the cats will play -- and take screenshots! Bless our dear community for documenting upcoming MMOs as they venture into these virgin territories.
ZulikaMiNam had some fun in one game that I haven't seen much from readers yet: "Since there are no NDA restrictions imposed for this alpha weekend kickoff over at Shards Online I will post some pics from there. I accidentally healed a skeleton while trying to heal myself. So my name turns grey and anyone can kill me now. Time to lay low for a bit."
Are you still laying low? You can... probably come out now. That skeleton owes you a life debt for that heroic action.
Is it fair to call Project Gorgon a spiritual successor to Asheron's Call? I'm going to go with yes, which means that this year is the year for the game to launch. And that's the goal, too; the game is adding in more levels and more high-level content for players to explore before the launch later this year. Let's go gaga for Gorgon, yes?
Of course, there's other beta news too. But that one deserved a header nod. Everyone else can sit here in list format, like so:
- Revelation Online starts its third beta test on January 19th; there's more PvE content and a look at the game's PvP content, to boot. It may not be enough to pique your interest in the game after it talked about how its free-for-all PvP will totally work with a penalty system, we mean it this time, but the effort was there.
- If you invested in Crowfall, you should probably catch up on the recent answers about exactly that. If you didn't invest but just want to play, you should look at the ways that gathering will work. Both are relevant.
- Good news, Bless Online fans! The game underwent another server merge! Except it also opened a new server at the same time, so it still has two servers, but now they're a different two servers. Life is hilarious! Also, that's not good news.
- Interested in El Somni Quas? Then have a nice big chunk of information on races, classes, mechanics, and all sorts of other stuff. Including a lengthy rant about how you should totally love free-for-all PvP.
- And speaking of free-for-all PvP, Darkfall: Rise of Agon is apparently just four months away from launch. So we'll see how that experiment runs.
Did we get a list past the break? We did! It may contain a whole bunch of betas, or it might contain the ingredient list for almond-and-cranberry scones. If it's the betas, do let us know if something is missing or inaccurate down in the comments; if it's the scones thing, just cook some nice scones for your friends and family.
It looks as if Bless Online's Korean operators are merging servers again, though they've opened one too, so the total tally will seemingly hold even. Pmang says that it's opened a new server, Lumen, and merged the Tania server into it, completely with compensation rewards for those affected.
This won't mark the first time we've seen merges for the Korean-born MMORPG; we reported a round of "server integrations" in both February and June of 2016. The last round brought to the total down from at least 10 to just two, where we apparently still sit -- just with a different two.
Over here in the west, we're still awaiting news from Aeria Games, which is expected to publish the game here later this year, though the release has already been hampered by delays. The studio strongly rejected rumors in December that the game's launch had been canceled, telling Massively OP that its devs are still "working closely with Neowiz on the gameplay improvement aimed for the North American and European version!"
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It's way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight's Massively Overthinking, we'd like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2017 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
It was bound to happen. No, really, it was; we were told that Revelation Online would head into its second round of closed testing, and behold, it did exactly that. It also has some additional localization, which means that it might reveal more details about it sstory to those who play over the holidays.
Beyond that, there is a surprising amount of beta news as we head into a holiday weekend when everyone is off on a cloud of eggnog and sweaters. What sort of news? Look below, dear readers!
That's a lot of stuff, but there's even more stuff down in the list below, games still in closed or open testing. See something on there which should not be? Let us know in the comments! (Just give us a few days. We've got eggnog and sweaters to deal with.)
We deal with a lot of rumors here, and while we generally filter out the entirely implausible ones, usually there are a lot of rumors that might be true until it turns out they're completely true or utterly false. This time, however, the Bless Online rumor mill has produced a rumor that turns out to be nothing at all.
Over the weekend, the teaser site for Bless Online being published by Aeria went down unexpectedly, with no official word as to why. That prompted players to panic and spread rumors that the title had been quietly dropped off of the schedule. However, other fans on Reddit were skeptical of the rumor, and with good reason.
We reached out to the studios involved ourselves; here's what a representative for Aeria told us:
"This maintenance is due to a migration to a new data center for all our services from game to portal, so there is no need to be worried. It'll improve the experience of the players. However, we are still working on it and the website will be back online soon! On the side, we are working closely with Neowiz on the gameplay improvement aimed for the North American and European version!"
Right now we are in a strange place in MMORPG history. Following the backlash of WoW clones and several high-profile titles that underperformed, major studios are becoming extremely risk-averse to creating big-budget titles the way that we saw not five years ago. Many former MMO teams are diversifying with shooters, MOBAs, and other safer and trendier titles.
Yet all is not lost! MMO features continue to ripple out into all types of game genres and new titles continue to be produced -- just not from the usual suspects. Instead, most of what is on our immediate horizon comes from either crowdfunded indie teams or eastern giants. The good news is that 2017 should see the culmination of many of these long-brewing projects and adaptations, hopefully resulting in a bumper crop of interesting online RPGs for us to play.
So let's run down the list of games that either are or possibly could be coming to you in 2017. We will provide an overview of each title, why you should care about it, and our best guess at the odds of its officially launching during the calendar year. If an upcoming MMO is not on the list, then it is our opinion that while we'll see it eventually, a 2017 release isn't happening.
As we learned last month, Bless Online is being delayed into 2017 as the team continues to work on bringing the title over to the west. So what is the hold up, exactly? Why aren't we getting our grubby mitts on it in time for the holidays?
Aeria Games explained some of the reasons behind the delay this week, saying that developer Neowiz is concentrating on improving game performance and adjusting the combat system:
The game performance is currently being improved for large scale contents such as Siege of Castra and Raid. The loading times for persistent world content are also being improved for textures and monsters to be loaded more quickly. This should provide a more seamless experience to all of you.
Bless Source has got its mitts on a new English language Bless Online trailer promising the game's "coming 2017 with a completely overhauled action combat system," though it's decidedly low-rez and we're not entirely clear on its provenance just yet.
The vague and distant date won't surprise anyone: Back in September, Aeria admitted that it had postponed announcing betas and the launch "because the project is bigger than expected and the game needs a couple of tweaks to be able to penetrate the western MMO market and to have a stable and sustainable future in there." At the time, the studio also pinpointed the combat system as needing a major rework for tab-targeting: "The combat system as of now feels unresponsive and the action combat is not on par with current generation action MMORPGs."
Across the pond, South Korea's Bless was updated with The Blazing Fire patch earlier this month; a bit closer to home but still a language-gap away, Russia's Bless open beta began this past weekend.
The Russian version of Bless Online is hosting an open beta event this weekend, from October 28th through the 30th. According to the description, players will be able to level characters up to 35 and enjoy special PvE and PvP activities before the beta test concludes.
You might not be able to play in the beta right now, but that doesn't mean you can't get a taste of it through the Russian trailer. It's waiting for you after the break!
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we heard the sad news that Korean action MMO Aima will be shutting its doors next month. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Elder Scrolls Online, Conan Exiles, Aion, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
When City of Heroes closed, fans moved on to many places, one of which was the "Plan Z" category of games that were meant to make spiritual sequels. Valiance Online is one such game, and it has announced both its launch business model and its upcoming alpha. Congratulations to the team on that one!
Of course, that was hardly the only bit of test-based news this week. Don't believe me? Why not have a peek at some more stories, then?
- The open beta for AdventureQuest 3D is kicking off on October 18th. Mostly. Some platforms will get it before others. That's still open beta, but it makes sense to hedge bets, sort of.
- Trion announced that RIFT's Starfall Prophecy expansion will enter open beta on October 13th.
- Bless Online is starting its closed beta! In Russia. Not here. Put down the pitchforks.
- Wild Terra is wilding (yes, I know, that's not a verb) its way on to Steam on December 1st, complete with PvP and skill revamps before then. There's nothing to indicate that this will include adding giant robots to the game, but there's nothing to indicate it won't, either.
- SamuTale is in closed alpha and just added an update full of horses. How many horses? All the horses. And you should stay on those horses because otherwise roving bands of horse death will descend on them. I wish that was a joke.
- Eco's next alpha update is being bumped to October 24th to finish refining everything and accurately modeling the interplay of biomes. So you'll have to wait a little while longer on that.
- It's also the first anniversary of Armored Warfare's open beta, which... well, it seems like that's the point when you'd just call it "launch," but be that as it may. There are events to accompany that, because of course there are.
And as always, there's a list of games below covering the stuff that's in various test phases around the MMO universe. Is there something missing that should be there, or something that quietly shifted phases without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments.