A German company that publishes several dozen smaller MMOs across the world.
I gotta be honest: I wasn’t entirely convinced this day would ever come. I’m referring to Bless Online’s de facto launch, of course. That’s because we’ve been watching this game’s development across the sea since 2011, and when it finally was announced to come westward in 2016 – after the Korean servers had already started merging down to just two – the port was almost immediately entangled in delays and do-overs until the western publisher, Aeria/Gamigo, backed out and Neowiz itself stepped into the void to self-publish.
And now, here we are. The headstart launch is slated for 1 p.m. EDT today, allowing preorder customers to charge into what is effectively a soft launch open beta that will not be wiped. Of course, there’s no preloading, and Steam founder packs don’t go on sale until the same time, so you’ll actually just be struggling to buy and download the game, but that’s sort of the same. Welcome to MMORPG launches!
Drago Entertainment continues to pepper players with plans for Otherland. Today, it’s told Facebook followers that more than 130 new quests are inbound in May, a direct result of player feedback. “While there have always been some side quests in the game, there just weren’t enough to counter the ‘linear quest progression’ argument,” the studio says. “We will be adding 15 areas (quest hubs) with about 6 quests per hub to 8Squared, 4 hubs with 6 quests each for Wood Isle, 3 hubs with 16 quests in total for Water Isle and one hub for Bug World with 5 quests.”
If that lede sounds familiar, it might be because devs were touting adding 120 new quests a few years ago.
Since our first impressions piece of the beta back in 2015, the game has popped up and down on Steam multiple times, emerged from early access, gone free-to-play, died and was resurrected by its original dev studio (with indirect shade thrown at Gamigo), and made it onto our list of the worst-squandered IPs in online gaming. Most recently, Drago has talked up its UI redesign, zone revamps, and “large content expansion” on the way.
We took a relook at the game last summer after its overhaul:
Bless Online is one of the biggest MMORPGs we’re expecting to launch in the west in 2018. Over the last six years, we’ve watched it blossom in South Korea, switch publishers, and even go back to the drawing board for a revamp before Neowiz pushes it westward. That’s left a lot of gamers, including us, with questions about the game’s future. And to get answers to those questions, we spoke with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon all about the game’s planned monetization, early access, and just what sets Bless apart in a field of high-quality import MMORPGs. Read on for the details!
It’s 2025. A megatsunami has caused massive damage all over the world, and resources have become limited. Instead of sharing and caring for each other, nation-states formed to battle over what’s left using near-future technologies.
Welcome to Ironsight. This is Aeria Games’ new multiplayer shooter, and you can experience it sooner than you think. Featuring PvE and PvP content, Ironsight equips players with cutting-edge weapons tech (including drones) and sends them across the globe.
Testers have already clocked around 5.37 years of /played time in the game so far, but this number should shoot on up when the open beta arrives on February 1st. Ten playable maps and over 100 weapon types are planned for the game. If you want to get in early to the OBT or secure some extras, there are player packs for sale starting at $20.
With just about a year of live operation to its name before closing, Black Prophecy wasn’t really here long enough to cement itself into the minds and hearts of most MMO players. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you never heard of this 2011 spaceship game. It didn’t offer much depth and failed to draw attention to itself even though it was a member of a relatively small subgenre of MMO.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, of course. For 2018, I’m working through all of the soundtracks that I have yet to feature in this space, and Black Prophecy will be the first to fling itself out of an airlock and into your heart.
The soundtrack itself is fairly decent, if short, and was composed by Dynamedion, a European company that specializes in video game music. Four composers, a 70-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and “great expense” was used to make this OST. I think it’s well worth your time to explore, so let’s dig this one out of the historical archives!
It’s the distant future. The high-tech battle armor you wear sharply contrasts with the ruins of civilization that you traverse. You spot an enemy and raise your pulse rifle, firing off shots as you strafe to cover. Technology hasn’t solved the issue of war; it’s just raised the body count.
PlanetSide 2? Nope — this is Neocron, the quite-forgettable MMOFPS from the way-back era. I like to call it “that game with the most regrettable cover art in the history of video games,” but that isn’t quite as snappy.
Going into this article, I have to admit that I previously knew absolutely nothing about Neocron other than the fact that it was a sci-fi MMO that vaguely reminded me of Anarchy Online. Oh, also the fact that nobody I know or perhaps ever will know played it. Was it just a myth? A practical joke to make us believe in an MMO phantom? Only sifting through layers of dust and grime would produce results, so I rolled up my sleeves and started digging.
With Gamigo’s near-stealth launch of Savage Hunt, a sequel to the now-defunct (at least in NA) Dragon’s Prophet, a new website is born.
The official site for Savage Hunt is now live following the game’s launch on December 6th. Players can check out the news, read through the Book of Dragons, check out some media, and connect with the community. There’s also an event going on right now to kill a special dragon in the game and be entered into a chance to win a gaming PC.
Savage Hunt is an action combat MMO with more than 600 types of dragons to tame and collect. These dragons lend players their skills as a sort of mix-and-match class system. There’s also housing, because your 600 dragons need a place to crash after a day of forced servitude.
While Dragon’s Prophet took a stiff nosedive in North America and was ultimately shuttered by Daybreak in 2015, the dragon taming MMO didn’t die off entirely. It has a stronger following and support over in Europe, so much so in fact that Gamigo is preparing a sequel that was announced for launch back in September, got delayed almost immediately, and is now set to go live this week.
Community Manager Ildruin confirmed the upcoming launch on the forums yesterday: “Savage Hunt will be released on Wednesday, December 6th 2017! That’s just two days! Buckle up!”
If you need a refresher course — and you do, since just about no one has heard of this game — Savage Hunt: Dragon’s Prophet is a free-to-play MMO that retains the dragon hunting and taming core. There are over 600 of the beasts in the game, as well as thousands of quests and PvP battles.
Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Today we have four fresh titles to take a look at.
Gamigo announced Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet this week, the successor to Dragon’s Prophet, which Gamigo is calling “one of the most successful MMORPGs ever launched.” MMORPG players will recall that Daybreak sunsetted the US version of the original game in 2015, though it continued on overseas. The company says the free-to-play title will launch on September 28th in English, German, and French, and yes, you can still “hunt, train, and fight with […] dragons.” Over 600 of them, in fact, though you’ll probably be distracted by “4000 exciting quests and events” and PvP battles. The official site doesn’t appear to be live just yet.
“Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet is the newest release after the long-standing success of Dragon’s Prophet. Discover new and epic adventures and find your own path in Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet. Explore a fantastic world that combines classical MMORPG elements with unique features. Search through forests and mountains for rare dragons, items and always be prepared for the fight. In the new Book of Dragons, you can collect your dragons and plan your journey. Find, hunt and tame over 600 dragons with individual strengths and skills. Only the best hunters and collectors can improve their dragons and items.”
What else have we got?
Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.
The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.
“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”
Following the cancellation of the western version of Bless Online, Neowiz surprised everyone by announcing that it would be publishing the game here in the west on its own. Then last week, it announced a “Rebuild Project” for the whole game, which is expected to allow Neowiz giant do-over on everything from making gear feel more important to character progression, plus the revamped combat, unique class skills, better mount and pet content, a non-sucky crafting system, a tighter UI, and new PvP content. We’ve presumed that upgrades to the game overseas will eventually make their way to the version being promised for the west, particularly given that it was supposedly canceled originally over “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that could not] be overcome.” Indeed, the long delay was at least in part a result of the combat system do-over Aeria said the game needed.
Since then, the entire official Korean site has been taken over with a huge “REBUILD” banner and Neowiz has published a fresh dev blog outlining the project’s seven main goals and homing in on the first: character growth. Google Translate isn’t exactly trustworthy here, but the gist seems to be that the studio finds the leveling up process both opaque in terms of power and limited in that gear capped progress. Under Rebuild, items themselves will pick up durability and reinforcements, what sounds like an evolution system for weapons, plus a disassembly system for junk.
Check out the whole thing on the official site — just bring your Korean dictionaries!
Back in June, Neowiz and Aeria Games/Gamigo confirmed that they’d mutually ended their partnership to make Aeria the western Bless Online publisher. While initially the studios stated the MMO had been canceled for our region and wasn’t coming westward at all thanks to “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that] cannot be overcome,” Neowiz quickly moved to suggest that it would be publishing the game here in the west on its own, presumably with the combat system do-over Aeria had begun and Neowiz said it was continuing.
Now we have a better idea of just what that means.
Yesterday Neowiz announced what it’s calling the “Rebuild Project” for the whole game, which will allow the studio to “abandon the current structure and make it from scratch,” gutting some of the game’s underlying systems and content and adding new. Specifically, Neowiz says it’s making gear feel more important to character progression, revamping combat, retooling class skills and unique feel, creating variety and fun for mounts and pet content, adjusting crafting to not be “useless,” and improving the UI experience. New PvP content (a capture-the-flag map?) is also under development for August; the screenshots in this post show the new area.
Last week, both Neowiz and Aeria Games confirmed that Aeria is no longer serving as the western Bless Online publisher — worse, Bless appeared to be entirely canceled for our region. “Gamigo announces that the MMORPG Bless Online will not be published in Europe and North America,” read the formal announcement. “The collaboration had to be cancelled because after extensive testing the game did not meet the quality standards of both Neowiz Games and the gamigo group. […] Together with Neowiz we have come to the conclusion that the technical difficulties cannot be overcome, so we agreed not to complete the game for our respective markets.”
Done deal, right? Apparently not so much. “The game will not be published” turns out to mean “we will publish the game ourselves.”
“You must be curious about future Bless in EU/NA as we ended our contract with AG,” Neowiz told MMORPG.com. “NBS believes the EU/NA Bless fans are very valuable to us so we commit to deliver game updates directly to you. We will surely present you with improved Bless in the future.”