Today's a big day in the Bless Online world with the announcement that the game is going free to play in the very near future. We managed to catch up to Neowiz developers to learn more about what players can look forward to in the future and what compensation players who purchased the game in Early Access can expect.
MMORPG: With the impending Free to Play conversion, what benefits, if any, will players that have already purchased the game receive? Will benefits be increased for those that purchased the more expensive versions?
Neowiz: As we convert to F2P at the official release, we plan to provide compensation to existing players as a token of thanks for their contribution to the game’s development during the EA period.
Those who purchased the base game will be provided with premium membership (90 days) and an exclusive costume, while those who purchased any higher pack tiers will be provided with even greater benefits. In particular, those who purchased the Collector’s Edition will receive a costume, pet and mount costume, and a lifetime premium membership.
The costume that will be given to all purchasers of any tier is an exclusive costume that cannot be found anywhere else. Anyone who wears it will automatically be marked as a Founder.
In addition, we plan to provide special weapon skins to EA players who return to Bless within a specific period of time after the official release.
We prepared these special gifts in the hope that our EA Founders would be able to continue enjoying the game even after the official release and would feel rewarded by sticking with us through Early Access.
MMORPG: How will the new Free to Play model benefit new players to the game?
Neowiz: Obviously, the biggest benefit to new players will be that there will no longer be a financial hurdle to playing the game. Also, because we are still completely against any P2W aspects, new F2P players will not feel that they have to pay to keep up. We plan on keeping the game fair for everyone; we want people to feel that if they’re having fun, they can choose to support us by purchasing cosmetic items. We never want players to feel pressured to pay for certain things to be able to have success in the game.
We expect many players to join Bless as it goes F2P, and we have already added a good amount of content such as dungeons, Siege of Castra, field bosses, and open field PvP for all players to enjoy. We also have many promotions planned to help new users get into Bless and to further nurture our relationship with existing users. We’ll be speaking more about those promotions later.
MMORPG: Will there be any kind of Freemium version that implements an optional subscription?
Neowiz: We will be sticking to a business model that avoids P2W. As such, we are not considering any ways of having players pay for better or additional content. However, there will still be an optional monthly subscription as there has been in Early Access, and the benefits will be the same in F2P after launch as they were during that period.
MMORPG: Will future class releases be available only for players that purchase them?
Neowiz: No. Even when classes are released in the future, they will be playable by all Bless users at no extra cost. Our commitment to keeping all content for all players, free or paying, is still strong.
MMORPG: Over the past several months of Early Access, we’ve seen a lot of changes and improvements. We’ve even had a new class introduced. What would you say are the major improvements you are most proud of?
In order to provide our players with new experiences, we have been continuously providing content updates including field bosses, dungeons, Basel Gorge, Siege of Castra, the Rift of Space and Time, and more every month since EA began. We are very happy that we were able to bring all this content to the community! We are also excited for the Patala Raid dungeon in Oct 4th update, which is a 10 player raid for high level players. We think players are really going to like it. Of course there is also the Level 50 expansion and new dungeon updates coming up in November after the official release. Of course, we are not done making Bless Online the best it can be on Steam by a long shot. We’re looking forward to more improvements and changes in the future!
MMORPG: One of the biggest draws to Bless lately has been the large siege battles, but often players are finding it tough to make it into them. Is Neowiz looking into ways of making this more inclusive to the casual player?
Neowiz: In the case of Siege of Castra, we didn’t focus specifically on the casual player as it was meant to be a feature for large groups of players to engage in PvP. However, since we want all players to be able to participate more easily, we are considering modifications according to player feedback to make it more accessible.
MMORPG: Are there any other surprises in store in the pipeline that you can talk about?
Neowiz: We are preparing both big and small improvements and content for after the official release, such as the level 50 update and 2 new dungeons. Players can rest assured that more exciting content is on its way!