It’s been nothing but a whirlwind for Neowiz’s Bless Online these last few years. After an aborted attempt to get the gorgeous Korean MMORPG in western hands through Aeria/Gamigo, Neowiz took the title back in-house last year and retuned combat for the western audience, with intent to bring it to early access this May, which it then did.
To say it didn’t go over well would be an understatement. The “Bless Mess” as it came to be called struggled with downtime, refunds, Steam review bombing, duping, balance problems, localization woes, influencer corruption, hacking, insufficient endgame content, and server merges. Nevertheless, Neowiz kept plugging away at the game in its early access, even as concurrency fell and the original Korean servers planned for sunset.
As the studio told us in one of several candid interviews, it’s aware of the MMO community perception of the game – but it also says it’s all-in on the western port. “Bless is not a project that was undertaken with the goal of short-term profit,” studio reps told MassivelyOP just a month ago. “We’re in it for the long haul, or we wouldn’t be here releasing the game on our own via Steam. If there’s any one thing we think players can see about Bless, it’s that we’ve been dead-set on supporting the project and trying to get it to as many regions and playerbases as possible since we first began development. Ultimately, we think the Steam version is the best way to do this, and we’re now concentrating on this effort as the main and sole version of Bless Online across the globe.”
And now the full launch day has arrived: The Steam version moves out of early access open beta and becomes a proper, no-excuses launch today. It also goes free-to-play, meaning everyone can jump right in without a package. Of course, there are buyable packages with costumes, mounts, and skins, starting around 20 bucks. Players who stuck it out through the early access are getting goodies too: “Those who own the Collector’s Edition will receive a lifetime premium membership subscription, and all editions receive at least three months of premium membership, along with exclusive skins that can only be obtained as an owner of the Early Access.”
Halloween is live as well, and next month’s update, due to land on November 7th, will bump the level cap to 50 and add more endgame content as previously announced. Today’s patch to go with the launch is relatively small by comparison!
Here’s a quick catch-up on some of our best coverage of the game from early access to now. It’s been… kind of a busy period: