MMORPG.com: Give us an overview of BLESS, the game play looks amazing.
Jacob Han: BLESS is a classic MMORPG in a medieval European setting. To us, the most important elements of an MMORPG are not only immersive graphics and combat, but also a strong setting, story and even NPC dialogue, all intertwining in a complex, yet engaging manner. You will be able to step into an entirely new world that is both believable and comprehensive, made possible by BLESS’s background story, which we have taken painstaking effort to build. In BLESS, you will be able to adventure with intriguing characters against a realistic backdrop. Unlike traditional MMORPGs, players will be motivated to engage in a variety of role-play scenarios. This is because each faction and race has a different background setting and story influenced by the player’s decisions. The game provides constant feedback to the players to bring life to a living, breathing world full of adventure. You don’t simply play the game to acquire new armor sets and gain levels, but to experience honor, sacrifice, friendship or burning vengeance.
MMORPG.com: The lore of BLESS follows two nations in conflict. Can you give us an idea what Hieron and Union are like? What are the differences?
Jacob Han: Hieron and Union are two vast empires that rule BLESS’s world. They both foster vastly different ideologies and have consequently formed alliances in opposition to one another. These factions have distinct characteristics due to their natural environment and historical and cultural backgrounds. Races differ even amongst each other, but overall, Hieron is a medieval empire that values chivalry and loyalty to the state, whereas Union functions under federal statehood and is strongly reminiscent of the early Renaissance states of Southern Europe. Hieron is often coined the Holy Empire, whereas Union harbors the Free Cities.
The differences between these two factions will affect gameplay in several ways through overarching themes, general ambience, mobs, NPCs, goals and player occupations. Depending on each individual’s faction of choice, the game experience itself will be dramatically different from that of an opposing player’s. We have created Hieron and Union not just for the sake of conflict, but to create a much more enriched and meaningful premise with which to experience BLESS’s world.
MMORPG.com: PvP will play a major part in the game, how can players get involved?
Jacob Han: As you progress in the game, you will encounter characters, either playable or non-playable, of different races from the opposing realm. You will be interacting with NPCs that are inherently a part of BLESS’ world, not just systematic quest givers. You will build your relationship with these NPCs and gradually foster attachments to individuals from across the realm. From this perspective, your experiences in PvP will feel just as important as those in PvE, and culminate in Realm-versus-Realm (RvR) scenarios of differing size and scale. A small-scale RvR may lead to a massive war, and it is up to you to decide how to be involved. You may become a valiant commander that rides at the forefront of a hundred-person army, or an assassin on a stealth mission targeting a high-class noble. If you would like to play a more neutral role, you may become a mercenary for hire, or you could choose to ignore the war entirely and become a pacifist. Overall, PvP will be closely tied to how players progress through the story and through the game. We will be demonstrating how PvP works in more detail in the near future.
MMORPG.com: The game looks awesome. Tell us about the engine behind BLESS and what your team is working on?
Jacob Han: We chose the powerful Unreal Engine 3 to create BLESS’s immersive and seamless world, and even pushed the boundaries of the engine’s capabilities to showcase a top-quality online environment. Our studio has an extensive roster of talented engineers and programmers that have had prior experience with Unreal Engine and we are investing heavily in our own R&D to create the most realistic world possible. We are proud of our achievements with Unreal Engine 3 and are working closely with Epic Games to accomplish our goals. To cite one example, the Unreal Engine 3’s landscape tool was created upon our request to create a highly sophisticated game environment, and BLESS is the first game to utilize the tool.
MMORPG.com: Can you give us some insight into the combat system? What will players experience in a fight?
Jacob Han: The combat that you will experience depends largely on the class you choose to play. For example, you can become a traditional mage who ravages the battlefield with spells of ice and fire. At the same time, if you like your play style with a little more finesse and control, you will be able to select a class that requires a higher level of technical skill. If you enjoy more of a supporting role in party environments, you will be able to embody those qualities with a specific type of class as well. It is very important for us that all users do not fall into the same pattern of strategic combat. Regardless of your type of combat style, your preferences will ultimately be fulfilled by the class that you choose.
We will be showcasing how combat works with each of the eight classes in the near future. What we have publicized so far does not reflect what the final game will look like. We can’t wait to show the fans what we have been working on.
MMORPG.com: How is the game development going, what stage are you in right now?
Jacob Han: We have the basics of our game environment and structure fully functional, but are in the process of working on features that break away from the mass-produced MMORPGs that we see so often today. Because BLESS is an online game, it is extremely important that we acquire our players’ feedback so that we can have the proper insight to improve upon our game. We are continually trying new things and working around the clock to develop a top-tier MMORPG that strays far from the traditional cookie-cutter games.
MMORPG.com: Players have a lot of options for their character. Can you give us an idea on the level of customization?
Jacob Han: Ten races and eight classes offer a ton of diversity, and that’s just the beginning. You will be able to delve into an extremely in-depth level of customization where almost anything you can imagine is possible. We have some amazing customization features that no other MMORPG is capable of and will be showcasing them in the near future.
MMORPG.com: What are the core formulas to BLESS that really makes the game awesome?
Jacob Han: We want to create the most immersive and realistic world that has ever been seen in an MMORPG. We want to go beyond what is possible for single-player PC or console games, but in an MMO setting.
One of the ways to do this is through compelling story-based missions. Players that have reached max level will be knighted and given an option to undertake “Royal Quests.” Those that have reached this level of accomplishment will have an entirely new game experience in areas that you’ve previously explored. These Royal Quests entail skirmishes against high-level adversaries, helping low-level players overcome the same difficulties that once hindered you, becoming the pivotal force in a battle crucial to the outcome of a massive war, or being appointed with a mission that has a significant impact on the politics of your state.
MMORPG.com: Tell us your favorite part about working on the game?
Jacob Han: We have given a lot of thought to the development of player interactions throughout the game. We want to provide an exciting and engaging environment for everyone, but because it’s difficult to create a game that caters to every individual’s taste, this feat serves as both a challenge and an inspiration to our team on a creative level.
MMORPG.com: Can you give us an idea on the timeline for the game? What will we see in the near future?
Jacob Han: We plan to have a closed beta test in the first half of 2013 in Korea. We will not be able to show BLESS in its entirety, but will need close and constructive feedback for our studio’s development direction. In the closed beta, players will be able to experience three of Union’s races and their individual background stories. We will then take feedback from that beta and assess when we can make BLESS available in Western markets.