Bless Online is a game that many fans are keeping a close eye on as it is in the process of its total revamp process. We had the opportunity to speak with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon to learn more about the procedure that the team goes through and how they are planning to bring "Bless's strengths and uniqueness" to bear when it finally launches.
MMORPG: How do you prioritize the order in which things are fixed or reworked?
Jae-hoon Jeon: Our first priority is to focus on the combat system. Currently, the time needed to defeat monsters of the same level and grade is the same. Because of this, you don’t have to dodge or evade monsters which makes certain encounters boring. In order to deliver a dynamic combat system, we are redesigning the appearance, HP, and AI of the monsters based on their grade and level, Other improvements are being made so that players can experience a variety of combat situations depending on the monsters they encounter. In addition, we have also restructured the skill system so that even in PVE/PVP, there are a greater variety of strategies and tactics that are viable depending on the player build. We’ll be discussing it more later, but each class now has many different ways to build out their skills, letting players choose how they want to play their character. Through methods such as the above we plan to make improvements according to their priority level.
MMORPG: How integral to your process is player feedback?
Jae-hoon Jeon: As we mentioned in the first Dev Talk, releasing the game is not the end, rather it is very important for us to communicate with players and keep making our game better and better. So, player feedback is crucial for our development and business. We will be exploring different channels to communicate with all of you and we will consistently keep an open mind when it comes to player feedback. We know a lot of western MMO gamers have been waiting a very long time, and when we launch on Steam, it’s truly just the beginning of what we expect to be a very long life for Bless.
MMORPG: You said that things will "express Bless' strengths and uniquenesses". What do you mean by that? What types of features are you speaking of?
Jae-hoon Jeon: There are a lot of things that set Bless apart from other MMORPGs. There is a system that allows players to tame almost every existing animal or monster in the game. Then there’s the combat system that allows players to use various tactics and strategies according to their own playstyle, as well as a large scale war system where players can fight across diverse spaces (land, sea, and air).
MMORPG: How do you anticipate accommodating both vertical and horizontal progression?
Jae-hoon Jeon: The leveling game is part of the adventure. But when you hit the cap, we don’t want players to feel like their journey is at an end. Players will continue to increase their abilities and skills as well as gaining new items. In short, we expect character growth to continue in a horizontal fashion once players have hit the level cap. We’ll explain more about how players will do this in future updates.
MMORPG: You mention players being able to "make their own combos" by customizing their skill sets. How open-ended is the combat system?
Jae-hoon Jeon: The old system was a little over-simplified in that it just let you increase skill power by using skill points to improve them. We are working on a new system, which will allow players to use their skills in various ways. We’ll explore this system in later updates.
MMORPG: At the moment, what would you say the percentage of "reworking the older version" is compared to "creating new features"?
Jae-hoon Jeon: It’s important to note that the “rebuild” isn’t about completely remaking all of Bless’ content. Our goal is to make Bless run better, be more fun, and make it more engaging and in tune with what the MMORPG fan expects from their games. The current work we are doing is a combination of adding new features that will make noticeable difference in gameplay while continuing to improve and polish existing features.
MMORPG: Why did you ultimately decide to rework Bless rather than start from the ground up on a new game?
Jae-hoon Jeon: Bless is the heart and soul of our studio. We believe in the world, the adventure. While a new game isn’t out of the question down the road, Bless has so much to offer MMO gamers that we felt the need to get it just right and let players see the world of Bless for themselves.
MMORPG: How do you plan to make the Bless experience unique no matter what region it's being played in? For instance, players in one region might have different expectations than those in another.
Jae-hoon Jeon: While specifics will be explored in our upcoming developer blogs, we're very aware that each region has different expectations from their MMO experience. We're very focused on offering a truly localized version of Bless in both story and lore as well as monetization and content.
MMORPG: One big worry on our forums is that the world outside of quest zones feels empty or lifeless. What steps is the team taking to make the world feel less static and more alive?
Jae-hoon Jeon: Our ultimate goal is to create a living world where users are able to interact with the game world. However, a stabilized service environment is the most important aspect, which is why we removed some objects and NPCs on purpose from existing versions you might see in other regions. It’s important to remember that other regions are not indicative of what players will get their hands on in the West when we come to Steam. We are currently testing various initiatives to making Bless world feel alive. We will communicate any updates to you as soon as they feel ready. Early Access on Steam will be like an “Open Beta” for us, with changes ongoing all the way up to and beyond the official launch.