Interview: Neowiz on Bless Online’s tech, class balance, gems, PvP, and more

    
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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 v1.2.0.0. 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!

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Diego Lindenmeyer

its a trap bino

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aeden

I participated in the head start for Bless, and it was indeed a very rough couple days, and people judged the game harshly on that and its previous failure in Russia.

However, the game has done little to improve and the devs seem hell bent on sending the NA version to an early grave. With awful combat changes making it completely impossible for certain classes to perform consecutive combos due to 30 second cooldowns on skills that appear mid-chain. They claimed “rhythmic combat” but now you just run in circles while you wait for the stance swap cooldown to end.

Not to mention the “structured PVP” is time restricted, often resulting in people sitting in a queue so long that they miss the whole thing.

They also removed PVE taunt from many of Guardian’s skills, replacing it with a brief silence effect. Effectively destroying the tank’s ability to, well, tank. Not that it really matters much, since few players are actually able to complete the lvl 43-45 dungeons due to poorly thought out combat changes. Resulting in a lifeless PVE endgame and an even less lively player market. Considering there are exactly ZERO light, medium, and heavy chest pieces and legs available for the 23-45 level range. Not counting the vendor armor, of course.

https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/955209910515562715/FC1CB23DFC15E7FD5DBB5949C17F74A055D516A7/
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/955209910515562612/50A82251877F7AB34068DA1ED0A0E190FF978284/
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/955209910515562503/66A501472F518BC8B272F2433E27078AB81D200F/
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/955209910515562372/0E6F84CA53B9CDFAC3992B4399D0D1E5BD4E9398/
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/927060404175978192/B2687FB1280830B129DAA52F92D2A76704106129/
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/927060404175977970/0429D733E7C42521D6A6D798B18991805ED48328/

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Crowe

LOL. I’d file most of that under “stuff that they didn’t learn from multiple previous launches.”

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Ben Stone

Saying that the ini fix only improves the game minimally is a total lie. Enabling OpenGL is like night and day, taking the game from garbage to playable.

Jilano
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Jilano

Agreed. And not only that, but it also makes it usable for more “exotic” screen ratio (such as 21:9).
Haven’t found a way to fix all the initial lags after the start of the game, though. I usually have to wait 1/2 minutes, then open all the in-game windows one by one, to avoid any stuttering mid-fight.

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Cosmic Cleric

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.

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.

/sigh

-Remembers when, a game could only have been for sale for years already, was when after it was finished and in a nearly bug free and polished state.-

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Golden Social

These guys just come across worse and worse every time. Such a blatant cash grab.

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Colin Goodwin

Meanwhile, people are literally flying around and handing out cheats xD

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

It’s gross to read them using early access as an excuse. Next time they do, can you have the translator prepared with a follow up question as to why they still consider it early access?

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Leiloni

I think it’s pretty clear why they consider it Early Access. Just because you disagree, doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Would you want the game in it’s current state to be “final”?

It’s a good thing it’s EA because it means they’re still working on improving the game and unless I’m blind and dumb, it looks like everyone everywhere thinks this game needs lots of improvement.

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Colin Goodwin

“I think it’s pretty clear why they consider it Early Access: Cash Grab ”

ftfy

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

No. Mmorpgs should never be considered final unless they are maintanence mode. However the nature of mmorpgs is that they continually have new development, balancing, content updates, and hotfixes for bugs. That is very different from early access. Early access was designed so that games that are in early stages of development can acquire the funding needed to finish the game and launch it, and then continue to update as launch titles do.

This is an abuse of the system and a blanket excuse for the quality of their product. They have launched the title in similar states in other regions, do not need additional funding to complete the project, have the development team to reach a suitable state, and a localization of a game should only be in early access in reference to specific aspects that relate to localizing (like translations).

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Weilan

The game failed in different markets and they release a complete and overcharged mess that is supposed to be F2P level of quality and should have that kind of price model. The game is losing roughly 100 players a day according to Steamcharts and my prediction is it will go F2P then will shut down.