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Taming 101

Red Thomas Posted:
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I learned two things this week.  First, when your editor offers you a review key for a game, you should take it.  Second, no matter how aggravated you are at spending money on a game, don’t let that stop you from playing long enough to experience more of the game.  Oddly, Bless Online was the catalyst for both lessons over the last few days.

I’ve said before that I don’t like writing negative articles, so I won’t spend any time talking about he myriad of launch issues that Bless Online has been experiencing during their North American release or delve into the problems I have with the game.  Instead, I’m going to talk to you a bit about the taming system in the game.

Despite the problems, Bless Online has one of the better, if not best, taming systems I’ve seen in a game.  It’s simple to engage in, has a definite amount of chance involved, provides opportunity for being involved in the player-economy, and is surprisingly complex.  Virtually any creature in the game can be tamed as a pet or mount and then gets random skills/bonuses as they level up.

Pet symbols look like a butterfly and mount symbols look like a wagon wheel, so you know what you’re about to attempt to tame

I don’t remember precisely which level it was, but relatively early after starting the game, you’ll get a quest to talk to an NPC, who’ll give you a taming scroll and a follow-on quest to tame a generic animal in the local area, a hamster in my case.  After which, you’ll get scrolls you can use to tame creatures up to level 15.

At level 18, you’ll get access to the portion of the taming system that makes it one of the more impressive training designs I’ve seen.  Upgrading your pets involve a handful of different actions.  It all revolves around the quality and level of the pet.  Levels 1-10 are superior grade, levels 11-30 are rare, and then I believe it’s Epic and then Legendary after that.  I haven’t advanced far enough to be sure yet.

Sacrifice similar critters to level up the pet you want to keep.

First, you have to get your green pet to level 10 by using either Enhancement, or you can just have your pet out and let them get experience as you play.  Enhancement requires you sacrifice similar pet types and quality for experience.  You can use green mounts to enhance green mounts, and green pets for green pets, for instance.

At level 10, you’ll want to attempt an upgrade of your pet, again by sacrificing similar type and quality.  This gives you a chance to upgrade, but what’s cool is that each failure increases the next chance of the upgrade.

Each failed upgrade increases your chance on the next. I’ve failed about five times by this point, but now have a 15% better chance than I’d started with.

When the upgrade goes through, the pet will be assigned a random skill.  From what I’ve read, it sounds like there’s a weighted chance of skills, such that you’re more likely to get superior, rare, and then legendary versions of the skill as you upgrade into each tier.  All the skills have green, blue, and purple variants that give you a progressively larger bonus.  Skills can improve damage or defense, speed up crafting or gathering, or even give bonus experience, just to name a few options.

If you get a skill you don’t like, you can attempt a reroll with the Skill Change option, though.  Special skill reset scrolls can be created through enchanting, that allow you to attempt to reroll the skill acquire.  Clicking on the Skill Change option and then the question mark below the skill you want to change brings up a list of available skills.  The skill list is part of what made me realize how important taming would end up being if I stay with the game.

Getting a rare blue skill on my first upgrade shouldn’t be common. The green version of the same skill gives a 5% boost to gathering speed instead, and the purple gives 10% boost.

That just scratches the surface of taming in Bless Online.  There are a lot of other things I like about it that I don’t really have time to explore in the few words allotted me in this article.  For instance, it’s a profession that seems to be supported through cooking and alchemy, and I’m certain it’s supported through enchanting, which is where the taming scrolls are created.  The ability to develop ultimate pets for specific scenarios and then sell them on the market to other players seems to be a cool idea, as well.

In the end, the question is whether this particularly cool mechanic makes up for the games other flaws, and I’m not really sure what the answer to that is.  It does make me more interested to give Bless Online a chance, though.  If they’ve made other really great design choices like this one, then I might find out that I like the game a lot more than I’d expected.

Are there other great ideas I’ve missed?  If so, I’d appreciate a note below so I’ll know what to look at next.  Maybe also let me know if you’ve been pleasantly surprised by something in a game like I just was.  To borrow a phrase from Uncle Sam:  “If you’ve seen something, say something!”


Red Thomas

A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture.