neowiz

Best known in the west for Bless.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 171: Bless you, my subscriber

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Bless Online’s monthly subscription puts some countries at a financial disadvantage

The controversial business model of the upcoming Bless Online continues to perplex and disturb potential players. Neowiz posted a list of nine items that will be sold in the game’s store, and very quickly players figured out that no apparent effort had been made to regionalize the prices.

This is especially concerning when it comes to the monthly subscription-that’s-not-a-subscription, which is fixed at $15 USD. That means that players in some other countries where the exchange rate is worse will be paying more — a lot more — for the monthly benefits.

“Seems like they didn’t regionalize the prices,” one player wrote. “Hoping that they do it cause it’s gonna be very expensive for third-world countries like mine, even the cheapest pack and the one-month premium [sub] is already expensive without regionalized prices.”

At the time of this writing, the Steam thread discussing the prices has exploded to 205 posts so far without any word from Neowiz.

Source: Steam. Thanks Miki!

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Bless Online details its massive taming system and 660 tame-able critters

One of the three core content pieces in Bless Online is its taming system, though it was only lightly on display for press during our most recent hands-on. Neowiz has a new video out this morning featuring the system ahead of its early access beta launch later this month. And yes, you can tame monsters.

“Almost all of the existing monsters in Bless can be turned into either mounts or pets – when Early Access begins you will find 660 unique creatures available for taming. Each region in Bless has its own type of creatures. Depending on the type of environment, you can meet monsters of all sorts: some are cute and friendly, while others are wild and fierce or even ridiculous! If you happen to stumble upon an elite monster as you journey around the Bless world, try to tame it! Although it may be difficult, if you are successful in taming it you will gain a special companion.”

The brand-new taming video is below.

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Bless outlines its new box price and sub plan, which it does not want you to call a sub

Bless Online’s media event and pricing reveal last week may not have gone entirely to plan. You’ll recall that Neowiz announced at the time that it’d be charging $40 for the standard edition of the game, on up to $200 for the collector’s edition, with each package containing headstart and varying chunks of premium membership time chunked together. That’s what set the community off: It was the first notice that the game would definitely include a premium sub with its early access. The studio also didn’t fully detail what people spending up to $200 would be buying, nor how it would balance all of that with its anti-pay-to-win stance.

Neowiz has taken the feedback to heart, however, and released a new plan overnight. The important parts are that Neowiz has cut the $200 pack down to $149, there’s no longer any “customer service priority” accompanying the packs, there’s an actual preview of some of the exclusive pack skins, there’s confirmation that player-to-player trading won’t be in the game, there’s confirmation about the cash-shop item that’ll safeguard you against PvP, and there’s a refreshed promise not to roll out DLC – instead, Neowiz says it’ll update the game every three months, with the Assassin class in the first one.

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The Daily Grind: Is it possible for an MMORPG to offer an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win?

Last week, in the comments under the Bless optional subscription brouhaha article, I made an offhand comment that apparently got MOP commenter Sally’s gears grinding. I was trying to sort through why Bless fans are mad, and I wrote, “Neowiz has been promising no P2W for months, but it’s really hard to have an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win.”

Sally didn’t disagree but said it was a “shock” to see it spelled out on Massively OP of all places: “In the current free-to-play climate, I see [the MOP] community as one of the last bastions for subscriptions. So a shot at subs from here struck me as ‘et tu, Brute?'” And Sally’s right! A lot of MMORPG vets enjoy F2P and B2P games but also hate double-dipping, and the subscription, or at least a mandatory sub without the usual gamblebox and pay-to-win trappings, is one way to guarantee healthy game design for the players.

On the other hand, if I’m honest, I truly cannot think of an MMORPG with an optional subscription that isn’t pay-to-win in some way. They’re trying to incentivize you to sub, after all, so they have to make the perks worthwhile, and very rarely do they stop at cosmetics. My Trove sub makes experience and drops fall from the sky. My Ultima Online sub lets me own a house and run vendors and hoard most everything. I’d say that games like Elder Scrolls Online, which hands out generous amounts of cash-shop credit for subbing, are on the better end of this argument, but then there’s that pesky crafting bag to contend with.

What do you think: Is it possible for an MMORPG to offer an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win in some way? Got a contender in mind?

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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Bless fansite leaks founder pack info and partial subscription plan ahead of today’s stream, and people aren’t happy

This story has been heavily updated post-stream – keep on scrollin’!

An apparent leak on a Bless fansite – which was hastily scrubbed but nevertheless preserved by players and Redditors – has the community watching the game ablaze today. The leak revolves around the game’s plan for founder packs, set to be revealed today; according to the rumor, Neowiz aims to charge $40 for the standard edition of the game, on up to $200 for the collector’s edition. All of the packages include headstart, with differing chunks of premium membership time chunked together.

Neowiz has previously said it leaned toward a buy-to-play model in order to avoid pay-to-win pitfalls, but the premium membership time mentioned makes players think the game is more a hybrid model with an optional subscription.

The official stream is set to begin at 3 p.m. EDT, and then we’ll know for sure whether the rumors are bunk or not.

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Bless Online shows off the Paladin’s healing abilities in new video

Bless Online’s YouTube channel may have inexplicably deleted itself last week, but that doesn’t mean the team has stopped putting out videos.

“In addition to the original paladin class combat video, the community would like one that shows the paladin exercising their healing abilities,” Neowiz says. “Our community would also like to see the healer paladin and all the classes together in group combat (party play). As a result, we have decided to quickly put together this extra Dev Talk to satisfy your curiosity! Included in this Dev Talk is a video that shows the paladin’s healing abilities and some group party play. As with the previous videos, this was also taken in a developmental environment and is therefore not reflective of the final game. However, we hope that through this video you will be able to gain a better understanding of the game and its combat mechanics.”

Bless is still slated to launch in the west later this month. Enjoy!

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Bless Online previews the Guardian and Paladin classes with fresh videos

Neowiz is following up its Bless Online class previews from last week with another round of videos, this time focusing on the different combat styles for each playable archetype. Videos for the Berserker, Ranger, and Mage are now being followed up with a deep-dive on the Guardian and Paladin.

Guardians sound like stance-based tanks whose resource, dubbed bravery, rises as the character performs combos. Paladins, on the other hand, are hybrid melee healers.

“The third skill of a combo in each of the paladin’s stances is a buff, and by changing the buff used, paladins can function either as a damage dealer or a healer,” Neowiz writes. “Although the paladin has fewer combo types than other classes, it requires more tactical skill as choosing the right combo for the situation is extremely important.”

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Bless Online teases players with a class overview before launch

The Steam launch of Bless Online draws ever closer, and that means you’re going to need to pick a class to play. You have a choice between three different flavors of heavy armor, arrows, or spicy chipotle staff user, although the game would probably prefer that you use the correct names (Berserker, Guardian, Paladin, Ranger, and Mage). But if you don’t know much about what these various classes do, you can also check out quick descriptions of all five on the official Steam page.

Three of the five classes also get short animations, although they’re really just animated wallpapers; you can check them out just below all the same. And if you’re still considering which class you want to be, perhaps they’ll help you sort things out. Or, as mentioned, you can read the descriptions. Those are a bit meatier in terms of information.

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Bless Online outlines key changes for its Steam release

When Bless Online launches on Steam early access next month, the version that western players experience won’t be identical to the client that is already running in Korea and Japan. This is because Neowiz is making a few important changes to tailor the game to a different audience, and in a new dev blog, the developer explains exactly what those changes will be.

Bless’ combat system has received the most attention in the transition. Neowiz revamped how rhythmic combat works, giving players a choice of skills to make up their combo rotation. Generally, combat will be more action-oriented and become “more difficult.”

Other adjustments include restructuring how skill acquisition and leveling works, adding more ways to obtain skill-leveling gems, choosing party benefit buffs to incentivize grouping, adding newbie friendly tutorials, giving monsters special skills, and improving the content pacing.

Source: Bless Online. Thanks Brother Maynard!

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Grab a Mu Online, Mu Legend, Flyff, C9, or Rappelz key in honor of Webzen’s 9th anniversary

Webzen is celebrating 9 years of MMOs today, and in honor of that anniversary, the studio has granted Massively OP 1000 keys that can be applied to one of Webzen’s online games (Mu Online, My LegendFlyff, C9, or Rappelz) so you get to pick what you’re getting!

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Bless Online details the origin and reasons behind its faction conflict

There are two factions in Bless Online, so you can be sure that both factions want to make sure that the other faction no longer exists. The real question is why the two factions are at odds with one another in the first place, and helpfully, the latest post from the developers explains exactly that. In short, it’s not just about territory, it’s about two different styles of governing that are explicitly incompatible with one another.

To sum up a fair amount of lore, the Hieron is the northern order-based faction, while the Union is the southern freedom-based faction. The Union dislikes the social order and rigidity of the Hieron rule, while the Hieron faction likes the social order and rigidity of its own rule (the fact that the Union races tend to be on the bottom of that order is mostly icing). Of course, there’s more to it than that, so you may wish to read up more to understand exactly why your faction wants the other faction dead.

Source: Steam page

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