The Bless Online and Steam pages have been updated with a retrospective look back at the Early Access phase of the game with an eye to its upcoming release as a free-to-play game. The letter begins acknowledging that the game is "a passion project for Neowiz" and that they wanted to achieve the goals of a wide multi-national reach". Part of that was to go to Early Access. While Neowiz wanted this to be a time for "development and changes", the community wanted a more polished game.
The goal was also to gather more feedback specifically from the NA and EU audiences that Bless would be targeted to with its debut on Steam. The player response to Bless coming to Steam was initially very positive; players were thrilled to have Bless releasing for a global audience on one of the most accessible gaming platforms. However, many players didn’t share the team’s view that Early Access was still a time for development and changes. Bless Online wasn’t a final, polished product as much of the community had believed it would be, leading to a mismatch of expectations for Early Access between the development team and the players.
Despite the "mismatch in expectations" between developers and the community, Neowiz feels that EA was a success and that the new combat system has been well-received.
The letter goes on to acknowledge those who participated in Early Access and how they will be rewarded when Bless launches as a free-to-play title later this month.
The support of the players and willingness to give feedback shaped Bless into the game that will be releasing at the end of October, and the team is very grateful. Players showed that they had an endless supply of valuable feedback on topics ranging from avoiding pay-to-win in item sales to balancing combat for PvP. Though Bless will be releasing in a completed state for official launch, there will always be room for feedback and an ongoing conversation with the community about what they need and want.
Read the full letter on the Bless Steam page.