Most western MMORPG gamers know about Bless Online’s mechanics and visuals thanks to years of watching the game developed from afar. What hasn’t crossed the ocean and language barrier as easily is the lore, which is something Neowiz is helping to rectify today! The studio has granted us an exclusive dev blog covering this half of the playable races in the MMO – specifically, the Hieron, whom we’ve already discovered is the gloomier of the pair. Read on for the details and new images, then stay tuned for the launch of the official website next week and the eventual early access release!
epic games korea
Official Site: Epic Games
Spezia, the studio says, is the largest city in the southern continent, dubbed the city of water and the “heart of the Unión alliance.” Hieracon, on the other hand, is a many-spired fortress controlling the northern continent for the Hieron peoples. The images also explore Terny (the city of death), the Burning Desert, the gloomy Beolan Valley, and the Horse Mane grasslands. Enjoy!
Six months. Six months is the countdown timer from the start of Bless Online’s early access to the game’s official launch, according to developer Neowiz. Although with no planned character wipe, the open beta should act more as a soft launch than anything else, especially to fans who have been eager to get their hands on this good-looking title for years now.
The studio fielded another interview about the incoming MMO in which it hedged a bit on the topic of grind, promised improved optimization, and confirmation that there will not be a region lock for the title. Neowiz said that it is planning to introduce a new race as early as 2019 and that housing is also on its way to the game.
Bless Online is one of the biggest MMORPGs we’re expecting to launch in the west in 2018. Over the last six years, we’ve watched it blossom in South Korea, switch publishers, and even go back to the drawing board for a revamp before Neowiz pushes it westward. That’s left a lot of gamers, including us, with questions about the game’s future. And to get answers to those questions, we spoke with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon all about the game’s planned monetization, early access, and just what sets Bless apart in a field of high-quality import MMORPGs. Read on for the details!
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The whole saga of development for Bless Online has been a lot of false starts and half-launches (the short version is that the game had its publisher pull out and then it was hastily decided to self-publish), so fans still waiting for news and a playable version of the game are probably unpleasantly familiar with being promised that the game is coming very soon. Really, we mean it. The latest post on the game from the development team contains an interview with director Jae-hoon Jeon, who promises that the game is coming to Steam early access as soon as possible. While he fears that the trial and error process might lead to some hurt feelings, the important thing is getting player feedback about the game’s new directions and refinement.
Most of the work for overhauling the game has started with a complete rework of the game’s combat system to make skills feel more impactful, introducing skill combos and adding in the first pass of skill customization mechanics. The goal is to keep individual fights feeling more interesting, and by extension making moment-to-moment and repeated gameplay experiences from becoming boring. Understandable goals, although you’ll have to wait until the game is actually in early access to see how it all plays out.
Neowiz has a new dev blog up on Steam today featuring none other than Bless Online’s dungeons, which include episodes relating to the main storyline, low-key jaunts for soloers, and hardcore raids for 10 bodies.
“The most basic reason for exploring dungeons is for the special items, but clearing dungeons with friends and party members is also a fun and worthwhile experience!” the Korean studio says. “Dungeons, one of Bless Online’s strengths, are places that utilize the strategies and tactics of each class, and are designed to maximize players’ pleasure and sense of accomplishment.” A real sense of accomplishment, mind you, not this kind.
Bless is slated to launch in the west on Steam later this year as part of a global rollout by Neowiz, which plucked its game back from planned western publisher Aeria following an apparently botched partnership last year. We recently included it in our list of top MMOs to look forward to in 2018.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched a controversial equity crowdfunding campaign, Cryptic announced a Magic the Gathering MMORPG, and we got a look at Skull & Bones, Sea of Thieves, and Anthem at E3. We also confirmed that Neowiz and Aeria had cut ties, leaving the former to bring Bless Online westward alone.
Read on for the whole list!
It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Anthem, Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
Pretty psyched that Bless Online is coming to the west on Steam in 2018? So are we! But there are many questions about this launch that are still unanswered, even after reading through Neowiz’ recent FAQ on Steam.
Neowiz said that the early access launch will happen globally and initially include English, German, and Russian localization. Some players will be invited to check out the game prior to early access, although the studio didn’t clarify how it would select these lucky few.
The studio was also non-committal on a business model but made the expected statement against pay-to-win tactics: “While we are still determining what the right monetization plan is for Bless Online, you can be assured that we heard everyone’s feedback loud and clear to avoid any P2W elements. We promise to continue to solicit and gather your feedback and choose the business model that works the best for Bless Online.”
“Will this mean Bless Online is coming to Steam? Is it being released globally? The answer to both questions are… resounding ‘Yes!’ We are so glad you are here and are grateful for your support. Bless Online development team has been busy for the good part of this year. We’ve taken all of the feedback from our community to make the game better. Our intention is to return to you when we have the game we are all proud of. The development team will be working night and day to improve and polish the experience until the launch in 2018.”
You’ll recall that the game was once intended to launch here last year under the Aeria banner, but that deal was dissolved and NEOWIZ committed to launching the game itself. The gorgeous MMO, having just gone what it called a “rebuild project,” is currently in testing in Japan and South Korea.
Let’s take a moment to take stock of Bless Online, shall we? In South Korea, the game is testing its complete rebuild. In North America, the game has abandoned its previous publishing deal and is being self-published here following that testing. And in Japan… the game is moving into its second closed beta, with absolutely no word about any sort of rebuild or associated delay. So it’s a grand time to be a fan of the game living in Japan, then!
The second closed beta will run from October 12th to October 16th, with test registration open through October 10th. This phase of testing is expected to let in 10,000 testers, all of whom will get a special costume for use in-game, if you want your character to wear a hoodie with the game’s logo on it. The important thing, though, is that the title is plowing right along in at least one region with plans for launch.
Following the cancellation of the western version of Bless Online, Neowiz surprised everyone by announcing that it would be publishing the game here in the west on its own. Then last week, it announced a “Rebuild Project” for the whole game, which is expected to allow Neowiz giant do-over on everything from making gear feel more important to character progression, plus the revamped combat, unique class skills, better mount and pet content, a non-sucky crafting system, a tighter UI, and new PvP content. We’ve presumed that upgrades to the game overseas will eventually make their way to the version being promised for the west, particularly given that it was supposedly canceled originally over “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that could not] be overcome.” Indeed, the long delay was at least in part a result of the combat system do-over Aeria said the game needed.
Since then, the entire official Korean site has been taken over with a huge “REBUILD” banner and Neowiz has published a fresh dev blog outlining the project’s seven main goals and homing in on the first: character growth. Google Translate isn’t exactly trustworthy here, but the gist seems to be that the studio finds the leveling up process both opaque in terms of power and limited in that gear capped progress. Under Rebuild, items themselves will pick up durability and reinforcements, what sounds like an evolution system for weapons, plus a disassembly system for junk.
Check out the whole thing on the official site — just bring your Korean dictionaries!