Interview: Neowiz on Bless Online’s tech, class balance, gems, PvP, and more
Neowiz’s Bless has been the subject of much chatter lately (not least of all my own), with its troubled, let’s say, launch raising a bevy of questions and concerns among the game’s community. And as it just so happens, we recently had the opportunity to ask the Bless dev team at Neowiz some questions of our own.
In the exchange, conducted via email (and helpfully translated between Korean and English by the Bless PR team), the devs answer questions on a variety of topics, including the game’s performance and balance issues, chat limitations, and what players can expect from upcoming content updates. If you’re curious to know what they had to say, then read on for the full interview.
Massively Overpowered: A common complaint among Bless players has been that the game’s technical performance is poor, with many players resorting to manually altering the game’s .ini file in order to change options that are not available through the in-game settings menu. What steps are being taken to further optimize the game’s performance specifically?
Neowiz: We are well aware that users are manually editing the .ini file. However, despite the effect that these manual edits appear to have, it’s not that simple. Even if the .ini file is altered, there are many cases where there is not much of an effect on the game’s performance as it is blocked internally. That being said, we recognize that this altering of .ini files represents a greater issue with performance, and we’re working to improve it. Our devs are also currently in the process of refining the settings so that players who don’t alter the .ini file can further customize the game to match their own needs through the game’s own settings menu.
The general consensus among players seems to be that following the first balance patch, Guardians, Paladins, and Mages vastly outclass Rangers and Berserkers, especially in PvP combat. Are there any plans to make another pass at balancing in the near future, or are the developers satisfied with the current state of class balance?
We plan to continue with balance patches. It’s important to remember that we consider Bless in “Early Access,” meaning that a lot is going to change between now and the launch. The next balance patch will be updated along with the new dungeons we will be adding sometime in July. However, as balancing is not only a PvP issue but a PvE and party play issue as well, it is difficult to make judgments simply based on the advantages and disadvantages of certain classes in PvP. As such, our development team is diligently monitoring user feedback and game data. Since balance is a matter of testing changes thoroughly rather than just fixing and verifying bugs, we don’t yet have an exact date yet for the upcoming balance patch. But it will be coming!
Are there any plans to adjust the conversion rate of gem fragments (which currently exchange at 100 fragments, plus a gold fee, for a single random gem) or to provide players with alternative methods of acquiring additional rose stone, sapphire, and beryl? If so, what methods are being considered?
We plan to make it possible for users to obtain many gems through Royal Quests, which will be added in the July 4th update. We are not currently considering alternative methods for acquiring rose stones, sapphires or beryl gems.
Currently, there seems to be little incentive for players to participate in open-world PvP, as it only awards combat points, which it is much more efficient to earn through structured PvP such as battlegrounds. Are there currently any plans to add additional incentives for players to participate in open-world PvP?
With the July 4th Update, we will be adding Basel Gorge which, amongs other things, has high incentives for players to participate in open-world PvP. We’ll be releasing more details about it very soon.
Although this is a much more minor issue, is there any plan to either increase the maximum chat message length (currently 100 characters) or at least to modify the chat input box to cut off at 100 characters to prevent players from typing longer messages that get cut off when they’re sent?
We are aware that the chat window is small and fixed, and it is on our list of things to polish. However, it is not prioritized at the moment as we have many other pressing matters to address. We will also add reconsidering the 100-character limit to our polish list.
Some players have expressed concern about the current minimum- and maximum-price system utilized when listing items for sale on the market. Are there any plans either to adjust the market pricing system or to remove the minimum and maximum price limitations altogether?
Currently the standard prices for market items are calculated based on the results of transactions in a set period of time. Accordingly, players can choose to sell their item at an amount either 25% above or below the standard price.
Recently we have confirmed cases of abuse where certain players were intentionally raising the sale prices of items after setting it low at first to ensure that the item set at the lower price would sell. We are currently fixing the system (you can read a bit about it in our latest Producer’s Letter) so that those who are selling normally will not be at a disadvantage. We’ll be making more adjustments towards this in the July 4th update, and we plan to take further action if cases of abuse continue to be found even after improvements are made.
When can players expect the missing classes (Assassin, Mystic, and Warlock) to be added to the game? And on a related note, Assassin equipment is currently attainable from loot drops; are there plans to remove Assassin gear from the game’s loot tables until the class itself is added?
As mentioned previously in some of our announcements, The Assassin class will be made available first, probably after server consolidation. Right now, the Assassin’s combat is already finished design-wise, with only a few modifications still being made to balance and animation/effects. We are proceeding with Mystic afterwards, but as the Warlock class needs to also be coordinated with the addition of new races, so it is difficult to provide you with a specific ETA for adding these new classes. But they will come!
We are aware that Assassin equipment is being dropped. Instead of spending our time and resources on removing Assassin gear from the game’s loot tables, we are concentrating on bringing the Assassin into the game as soon as possible.
Currently, dying in PvE content causes all of a player’s equipped runes to break 100% of the time, but the in-game help and guide quest text seems to suggest that there is only a chance for this to happen. Is this behavior working as intended, or are there plans to adjust the rate at which runes break upon death?
This is something that was already adjusted in game build v188.8.131.52. We have reduced the chances of a player’s equipped spirits (runes) breaking when a player is killed by monsters or hostile NPCs to 10%.
We’ve seen Reddit claims that the Korean/Japanese version of Bless is effectively in “maintenance mode,” not having received a substantial content update since 2016, and therefore that the NA version of Bless will receive updates only in the form of content that has already been released in other versions of the game, with no further updates after the NA version has been caught up to its Eastern counterparts. Can you bring us up to speed on this – is it even true, and are there currently any plans to continue adding substantial content updates to NA Bless beyond the content currently available in the various international versions?
It is not true, quite simply. However, it is true that our development resources are currently focusing on the Steam version. That being said, we are currently developing additional new content for all regions that will be updated to the Steam version and the other regions upon completion. We’ll have more details on these patches in the coming months.
Thank you very much to Neowiz and the Bless dev team for taking the time to answer our questions!