Exploring Monetization with Neowiz
We recently learned a lot more about Bless Online after a press event. However, the game's monetization emerged as one of the most active parts of discussions about the event. We had the opportunity to submit questions to Neowiz to seek clarification about monetization and the concerns of the community.
MMORPG: How many shops are there and what does each contain?
NEOWIZ: Players may purchase items with Lumena or Activity Points at the Special Currency Shop.
Lumena can be purchased with cash and can also be obtained by playing the game. With Lumena, players will be able to purchase the following items, (NO P2W elements included)
- Temporary buff items: Increase EXP gained from hunting by 20%, Reduce consumption of mount or pet’s Energy Points by 20%
- Convenience items: Inventory expansion tickets, Resurrection after-effect removal, Teleport scrolls, etc.
- Costumes / skins: Cosmetic items that don’t give extra advantages
Activity Points cannot be purchased with cash and can only be obtained by playing the game. Players may purchase the following items with Activity Points:
- Spirit: Increase Equipment Points by equipping spirits
- Crafting / Enhancement materials
- Crafting / Enhancement / Upgrading sub-materials: Increases success probability when attempting to craft, enhance equipment, and upgrade mounts or pets.
- Enhancement / Upgrading risk prevention items: Prevents maximum durability or enhancement stage from decreasing if enhancement or upgrading fails.
- Convenience items: Allows changing a mount’s or pet’s skill
MMORPG: What can players expect every month from the premium subscription?
NEOWIZ: Rather than calling it premium subscription, we think that it would be more accurate to call it a premium status. Players will be able to get 2 convenience items (Pickaxe, Gathering Bag), temporary buffs, and exclusive mount / pet skins through a 30-day premium membership. This premium membership does not give buffs that directly increase a character’s stats or ‘Equipment Score’. The update frequency for items, buffs, and skins which can be obtained through premium membership has not been decided yet.
MMORPG: The cash shop was mentioned as having "convenience" items. Will those items include boosts to leveling? Are there any other types of boosts we may see in the cash shop?
NEOWIZ: Users can purchase buff items which give ability that lasts for 1 hour through the Lumena shop. These items have the following effects:
- Increase EXP gained from hunting by 20%
- Increase EXP gain of mounts and pets by 20%
- Increase EXP gained from main / sub crafting by 20%
- Increases Guild EXP gain by 20%
Most buff items can be purchased using up to 50 Lumena per day, which can be obtained through the “Activity Point - Lumena” exchange system.
MMORPG: With the Buy to Play model there will be a currency conversion, is there a set conversion rate between in game currency and Lumena?
NEOWIZ: The conversion rate is already fixed. Through the “Activity Point - Lumena” exchange system, users can obtain 50 Lumena, which is the maximum number of Lumena that can be obtained in one day. Lumena cannot be exchanged into Activity Points.
Non-paying users can also obtain Activity Points by playing the in-game contents, accumulate them and use the “Activity Point - Lumena” exchange system to purchase items at the Lumena store.
MMORPG: There was word that PvP can be turned off temporarily with a potion, and that this potion has limited use and would be available in the shop. How much is the potion to unflag for PvP and what restrictions can players expect from it? (Such as how long does it last, are there areas of the map where it can't be used?)
NEOWIZ: In Bless, players can encounter other players from an opposing faction in conflicted areas any time without playing specific RvR and PvP contents. Even though we want to provide a nerve-wracking field battle experience to players, some users might want to avoid PvP elements either because they might feel that their level isn’t high enough compared to other players or because their equipment might not be good enough. This might be unfair to some players, which is why we decided to include an item in the Lumena store (and via vendors while leveling up) that will allow players to avoid PvP temporarily.
By using items like “Peace Declaration” and “Peace Pledge”, the player won’t be able to get attacked by others or attack other players from the opposing faction for a 10-minute period, helping players avoid PvP situations for a short time. Both these items have a cooldown duration of 10 minutes. “Peace Declaration” can be used by characters who have still not reached max level and can be easily bought with gold in order to prevent field PvP. The “Peace Pledge” can be used by characters of all levels and can be bought with Lumena. These two items can’t be used while the player is engaged in RvR gameplay so as to prevent any negative effect on RvR contents.
If a player buys a founder’s pack today at the 40 dollar level, is there a way to upgrade later on if they choose? Example, if you buy a pack for 40 and want to upgrade to the 200, would you pay the difference of 160 or would you have to pay the full 200?
We’re not planning on adding any upgrade or downgrade options to Founder’s Packs.
All three types of Founder’s Pack DLC include the base game. We are planning to release the DLC upgrade option that gives all Founder’s pack benefits but excluding the base game at a later date, so users who have only purchased the Bless Online base game can obtain all Founder’s Pack benefits by purchasing the DLC upgrade option. We’ll have more info on this at a later date.
MMORPG: Flying Mounts are noted as "special" mounts that you can obtain in modes like PvP, will we see any kind of flying mounts in the Cash shop?
NEOWIZ: Flying Mounts are the most valuable mounts in Bless Online. Because they don’t have the same mobility limitations that regular mounts do, they can be used strategically in specific RvR contents. Only a limited number of players with high achievements will be able to obtain these flying mounts. Therefore, Flying Mounts will not be sold in the Lumena shop.
MMORPG: With a strong initiative to ensure the cash shop isn't Pay to Win, how will you entice players to spend funds in the cash shop without making the items give too much of an advantage to paying players?
NEOWIZ: There are no plans to encourage hierarchy between players by giving paying users excessive in-game advantages. We’re only planning to include temporary buffs, convenience items, costumes and skins that can be bought with Lumena. We’ll make sure to include awesome costumes for weapons and equipment, as well as mount and pet skins that many players will be able to have access to.
MMORPG: What will the costs be for the premium subscription and will there be more than one tier option for premium subscriptions?
NEOWIZ: You can check the prices for the different Premium Membership types below:
Premium Membership (30 days)
Premium Membership (90 days)
Premium Membership (180 days)
There are no plans to give different types of benefits or items according to the premium membership level.
MMORPG: Are there any plans to implement lootboxes in the game, either purchasable through the cash shop or require keys purchased through the cash shop?
NEOWIZ: We’re not planning on selling any loot boxes that allow players to obtain rare items randomly or keys that unlock loot boxes. There are some games where players can easily obtain loot boxes but are then forced to buy the keys to unlock them. Since they take up too much inventory space and are inefficient and end up being unfair to those non-paying users, we do not condone these types of monetization models.
MMORPG: In order to reset skill gems there was talk about using a reset scroll, will this be something only purchasable through the cash shop? Or will players be able to purchase multiple trait loadouts for fast trait switching?
NEOWIZ: Players will only be able to purchase a Skill Tree Reset Ticket or an Extra Tactic Save Ticket through the Lumena store. However, just as we mentioned earlier, non-paying users will also be able to obtain these 2 items through the “Activity Point - Lumena” exchange system.
If the player doesn’t have an Extra Tactic Save Ticket, they will have to manually change their character’s tactics, but changing it manually doesn’t take a lot of time so it shouldn’t matter too much.
MMORPG: Will storage space need to be upgraded through the cash shop? Or are there ways in game to increase storage space?
NEOWIZ: We’re planning to include inventory expansion tickets in the Lumena store. However, we assure all players that they will not be inconvenienced during the early stages of the game as a sufficient amount of inventory slots are provided. Therefore, players will not feel this is an influential factor in character growth. If players consider their inventory slots to be insufficient, we recommend using the “personal chests”, which can be found in main cities (banking). Players will also be able to obtain inventory expansion tickets through in-game promotions or events.