Today, Bless Online is getting one of the biggest updates in the game’s tenure. The anchor of the big expansion is the Assassin class along with some sweet new PvP activities. We had a chance to chat with Lead Game Designer Junyoung Hwang, Combat Designer Seongil Ma and Chief Creative Officer Jangchoel Rhee to learn more. Check it out!
MMORPG: Tell us a bit of the backstory of the Assassin?
Neowiz: The backstory of Bless’s Assassin can be found in stories about the Emperor’s secret assassin group the Grandezza and the secret society the “Red Mask.”
One of these tells of the secret assassin group Grandezza, which once carried out assassinations and intelligence services as the Habicht Empire’s public security bureau.
In the beginning of Bless’ history, the Grandezzas moved with extreme secrecy to carry out not only assassinations, but also intelligence and espionage missions, giving them great power. However, that began to change once the new Emperor Guntram, who did not acknowledge the organization, ascended to the throne.
Since Guntram did not agree with ruling through assassinations or schemes, the Grandezzas were made to answer for their crimes through death.
Afterwards, the Grandezzas hid all traces of their existence for such a long time that seemed like they would be forever lost in the shadows. But, just as they were almost forgotten, witnesses of the “Silver Masks” began to appear along with the arrival of a new Emperor.
You can explore the Bless world to learn more about the Silver Mask assassins.
MMORPG: What types of abilities does the Assassin bring to the game?
Neowiz: Assassins can assassinate their enemies in an instant by approaching from behind and keeping out of sight. The Assassin can also throw their enemies into confusion with a variety of Crowd Control and Position Control skills before swiftly escaping after eliminating their target.
MMORPG: How does the Assassin fit into the overall meta game?
Neowiz: The Assassin will be the bringer of death to those who have low defense and use ranged attacks (e.g. mages and rangers). Due to their exceptional abilities in stealth and reaching their targets, it is difficult for anyone to escape an Assassin’s pursuit. The moment you turn your back to an Assassin will be the moment you are hit with a fatal attack. The Assassin fits best in scenarios such as taking advantage of distracted enemies in the midst of chaos or striking at a high speed during an ambush.
MMORPG: How are the larger / large scale PvP battles going?
Neowiz: We are excited as this will be the first time we will be presenting large-scale PvP content in our updates. We expect that it will be PvP content that can be enjoyed more casually, because the role of the individual has somewhat less impact, unlike in the Peninsula War or the Arena. Also, since it is a large-scale battle, we expect that the various unpredictable aspects of the match will keep the content fresh for players every time.
We focused a lot on performance since it is a large-scale battle, and we hope that our players will be able to enjoy it as intended.
After many rounds of internal QA and preparations, we are looking forward to hearing player feedback on the new content in its live environment. As feedback comes in, we’ll be ready to make adjustments as needed!
MMORPG: Tell us about Siege of Castra?
Neowiz: The Siege of Castra is a large-scale battlefield that is open 3 times a day and can have as many as 70 participants from each faction. The match ends once the Lord Commander is defeated. In order to achieve victory, players must take into account the Vindictive Spirit of the battlefield and Guardian Stone when building their strategies.
MMORPG: How long does a typical match last?
Neowiz: A typical match lasts for around 30 minutes, and ends when one faction defeats the Lord Commander of the opposing faction (located within the headquarters of each faction).
MMORPG: What incentives do people have to participate?
Neowiz: Players will obtain Combat Points as a base reward, and the amount awarded will be based on their contribution as well as the outcomes of the match (victory/defeat). Players will also receive quest points upon completion of quests related to the Siege of Castra.
Players can exchange Combat Points at the Special Currency shop for items that improve equipment stats or which are helpful in combat.
MMORPG: Can players “drop in” to the siege if it’s already underway? What happens if a player is dropped?
Neowiz: Players can still join even if the match is underway. However, those who joined in the middle of the battle will receive less rewards than those who were there since the beginning. If a player was disconnected from the game unexpectedly, they can quickly reconnect to the game and re-enter the battlefield section that they were in before.
MMORPG: How Dominion Contracts help smaller guilds participate in PvP sieges / large scale battles?
Neowiz: Since siege type content often requires many participants at a specific period of time, preparation of equipment/potions, and specific combat requirements, it is common for larger guilds to monopolize all the power and wealth associated with MMORPG PvP sieges. This is also due to the huge amount of in-game capital and time needed. As a result, it becomes difficult for new or small guilds to succeed in PvP sieges due to it being geared towards large, powerful guilds.
In this sense, Bless’ Dominion Contract is different as it does not employ siege type combat. Instead, its points auction method involves putting up various territories for silent auction simultaneously. Although larger guilds may still be slightly advantaged, as long as players approach the auction strategically they will still have a chance to win the auction even without a lot of guild influence.
Therefore, smaller guilds can still expect to obtain the right to rule over territories by finding out and strategically using information (such what the competing guild’s bidding amount is).
In addition, as Capital War is a large-scale battle that pits the Baron/Governor guilds selected through the Dominion Contract against each other, guilds may form alliances with each other to obtain the right to rule the Capital. Due to the point auction method, it is also comparatively easier for Barons and Governors to change, thereby making it harder to maintain the authority to rule compared to other games’ sieges.
MMORPG: What kind of testing has been done to ensure a smooth, bug-free release?
Neowiz: For a bug free release, Bless has a dedicated development team that has been with the game since the early stages.
To briefly explain, once content has been completed in the development environment, QA tests are carried out. The process of testing > bug identification > fixes is repeated, and content that passes this process will later be applied and tested once more in the service environment.
In addition to the bugs reported by the development team, we also collect bug information through user feedback that has been organized and passed on from the operations team.
More test procedures are required when there is a lot of related content, and is especially essential when qualitative judgment is also included.
However, in preparation for Steam service, there was a massive reorganization of a lot of content, and it was through this process that we found many bugs. Due to this we absolutely understand the inconveniences experienced by our players, and are doing our best to resolve them quickly.
MMORPG: What type of feedback / data will you be collecting once the update launches?
Neowiz: We plan to collect and examine all feedback that allows us to understand the current player situation and opinion regarding the updates.
We will additionally be collecting and analyzing actual in-game player log data to precisely identify the causes of issues reported through player feedback.