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.
The company also insists that Bless’ premium membership is “not a subscription-based product” because it is intended to “increase efficiency or provide an effect that will, for a limited amount of time, reduce the costs of convenience related fees” rather than block access to content. We suspect MMO players will not be convinced by this argument, as subscription generally refers to paying for a service for a set amount of time, rather than to the precise nature of what is being purchased, but there’s the argument anyway.
Regardless of what the studio wants to call its subscription, the company has outlined just what you get with it: It looks like premium pet and mount skins, a cheaper market tax, a cheaper repair fee, cheaper fast travel, unlimited gathering bag, unlimited pickaxe, more stuff on the auction hall, plus 20% boosts to experience, gold, dungeon points, and activity point exchange. In most MMOs, these would be rather significant, and precisely what some folks would label pay-to-win, so expect more fuss over that.
For those worried about how the emissary program could go wrong, Neowiz has a document out trying to clarify the role of those influencers as well. “We will not be providing in-game items or buffs that can affect the actual gameplay to Emissaries,” the company says.
Massively OP resident gankbox fan Andrew Ross was at the media event last week (if you squint, you can see him in Neowiz’s photos of the event!). He came away from the hands-on and discussions “concerned about the core Bless experience,” particularly given that neither PvP nor taming were on full display, though he was impressed with the PvE dungeon experience.