Bless Online interview: On soft launch, monetization, classes – and no lockboxes

Earlier today, we posted up Bless Online’s new trailer and big news: That’s it’s launching on Steam early access as a buy-to-play title this coming May. As part of the announcement, Neowiz agreed to answer a few of our most pressing questions about the infodump. Read on for more about the game’s planned monetization, what constitutes early access, and the state of PvP servers.

MassivelyOP: Can you disambiguate a bit for us here – is Bless’ early access more like a paid beta with wipes or a true soft launch? When exactly should regular gamers be jumping in if they do not want to help test, and how much testing and server wiping is going to go on?

Neowiz: Bless Online’s early access period on Steam is closer to a soft launch. There won’t be any wipes once it begins. While we’ll be listening closely and gathering feedback on how to improve Bless for the full launch, those who aren’t interested in focusing on testing will still be able and welcome to jump in and enjoy the game in its early access form.

Part of today’s announcements include the news that the game will be buy-to-play. Does that preclude an optional subscription or VIP recurring fee at some future date? Other MMOs have done just that, after all!

Not necessarily! We are going with the buy-to-play model as we believe it will be best for both the game and for players. In the future if we feel that players would benefit from something like that without negatively impacting the game experience, it could be considered.

You’ll have a cash shop as well, correct? What can we expect to see in it? Are we looking at something like the Black Desert cash shop with with very pricey items that sometimes have impact on gameplay? What about lockboxes/lootboxes/gachapon items? How are you going to avoid pay-to-win in the cash shop?

Yes, there will be a cash shop. You’ll see lots of items there, including cosmetic skins, clothing, pets, and more. There will also be items and boosts. We’re going to stay away from pay-to-win by making sure that items in the shop don’t have a significant in-game impact. There won’t be any loot box-type items.

Will future content patches and expansions be free to buy-to-play as well?

When we release any kind of future content, including things such as new races or classes, those will be free to players who have bought the game.

Can we talk classes for a moment? Last week, we got to reveal half of the races launching with the game, but we don’t have a lot of information on the classes. Will we see everything the Korean version of the game has, or will some content and classes be held back?

For early access there will be five classes available. Mystic and Assassin are currently being reworked as a part of exciting new combat changes that we’ve been making for Steam version of Bless Online. We plan to update the two classes before the full release.

Here’s one we didn’t get to talk about during the last interview. Over the years, we’ve watched different Asian studios navigate deployment in the West in wildly different ways, everything from FFXIV, where cards are played closed to the chest of SE, to Black Desert, where Pearl Abyss leaves most of the day-to-day to an EU branch. Where does Neowiz see itself fitting in on that spectrum? Obviously, it wants a more hands-on approach since it took back over the western port to develop it internally, but how will that work for communication in the run up to launch and beyond?

We see ourselves falling somewhere in the middle. The Korean headquarters team will be mainly involved and in touch with the western release to make sure it is a great experience on Steam, but will also have a global team in addition to the Korean headquarters to quickly respond and communicate directly with the audience.

In a follow-up, Neowiz also answered an extra FAQ on separate PvE and PvP servers:

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.

Thanks very much for the clarification! So, who’s pumped for the May release?

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Neiloch

I’ll try it but doubt I will stick around. I was stoked for BDO until they bait and switched pve’ers into PvP towards the end. One day there will be an open world, action combat pve game hopefully but I still can’t find one. From the sounds of things this is tab targeting affair still even with the revamp. Meh.

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Meanie

I am so excited for this game!!!

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

At the level cap, the item will still be obtainable, but via the Cash Shop.

I was excited about the potion until this bit. I guess I need to learn to live with PvPvE games (I have BDO…if I ever get around to playing it), but I was hoping I’d be able to continue carebearing it up at level cap. Oh well, appreciate getting more info from the interview : )

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Daniel Miller

You guys are WAY WAY WAY over speculatingand dramatizing the cash shop. So much so that it hurts me to even straighten out all you children.

1. the item does last 15 minutes. but the item itself is so cheap like 5 -10 luma that you could get 5 a day just doing daily quest.

They wont be sold for real cash they are give out on quest and the publisher for this game is the same as the Korean pub. So again I have to call you out. They are publishing this the same worldwide so same cash shop worldwide.

They may make you buy it, fine b2p. but they wil also include a optional sub like eso.

You will get daily luma log in as well as benefits. Most people will save those luma up for specail monthly skin pets, mounts or costumes.

Furthermore pvp. Sure there are a few spots for pvp. but the world is so huge that most the time you wont see many people if any so complaining about it is nonesense.

Just chill. Thisis someone who has played the game for well over a year.

Venomlicious
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Venomlicious

copy and paste korean cash shop and when release comes all the white knights will be gone because they will have no leg to stand on. Most people are done with any cash shop at all. Look its not that much pay to win but try to anything relevant in the game without paying out the ass.

If you want to have a cash shop its fine if it has zero impact on the game play and is for costumes, mounts, and pest with zero stats. At the same time don’t make everything in the game look like shit to try to push peoples hand so their toon looks like a homeless bum without these items.

I hate the direction wow has went with the game and that’s only my opinion but they have a really good cash shop. It has items you do not need to buy for any reason but to have a cash shop only pet or mount.

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Daniel Miller

Honestly theres a bless discord fullof players, kr ru and they all tell you the same.

The cash shop is almost useless in kr and ru. Really only has ostumes, pets mounts to buy, not loot rng boxes. Ru did get some runes but that didnt carryy over to japan or korea.

that peace 15 minute item is insainly easy to get, craft buy, or quest.

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Brand

Venomlicious doesn’t listen to reason, he has an agenda and hasbeen trash talking bless on every medium i’ve been on. Every single day.

Can only assume he has had some bad experience in BDO which he refers to every time lol

Venomlicious
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Venomlicious

Korean garbage and we won the war so why is this stuff still here

Venomlicious
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Venomlicious

loot boxes lol. What is this 2015

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Maxime Rioux

[Answer to multiple posts of yours]

You were banned because the KR Rebuild Cash shop is irrevelant by now…
Because the KR Rebuild was a TEST server where you had 200 lumena everyday.

So now, you’ll search up for something else, like the JP Rebuild, where the game is not a test, but ‘fully’ released with a cash shop.
Yes, JP is a bit P2W right now with pet skills re-rolls, but if you checked the forum a bit more, you’d see that we’ve complained enough to be heard by Neowiz and we voted for a P2P access to the game because we wanted to remove pets’ skill reroll from the cash shop.

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Mikka Hansen

Korean trash. Good riddance

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Diego Lindenmeyer

” there will be a consumable item that players can buy in-game to make them non-PvP enabled”

really? rip

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Kevin Németh

I’m going to enjoy Bless for a while for sure, but I’m mainly into PvE I really hope they won’t forget about that aspect of the game. Anyway best of luck to the NEOWIZ team, show us a great game! :)

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Crowe

No mystic at launch? Hmmm. That was the class that interested me. Oh well, if I wait I can read reviews and see if the game is worth purchasing whenever they actually release the mystic.

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T

The stance on PVP and how focused the game is on it caused me to lose all interest. Pass.

Solaris
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Solaris

I’m going to have to give this game a spin.