Have you been following Bless in our last two posts that covered everything from the combat changes to Neowiz's perspective on creating content for everyone? Bless Online's recent media event overloaded the media and influencers last Friday with this much information, and with the job of addressing it has been a beguiling endeavor, but the final part of the MMO pie, and arguably the most important piece, Monetization has yet to be broached. In the Japanese and Korean versions of Bless, the game is decidedly free to playwith, but how has Neowiz changed their position for the western audience, and how will that change affect any cash shop they aim in the game?
The combat system feels fresh, with a lot of nuances for strategic play. The PvP system has both large scale conflicts of 100v100 and as small as 3v3 which appeals to me on both ends of the spectrum. The pet system, while not going as far as I would like with pets becoming more active in combat, still entices the collector in me to attempt to catch them all. There were still several systems I just didn't have the time to enter during my play sessions, like crafting, and while the biggest gripe I have heard up to this point is that there is no fishing minigame, the taming mini-game more than makes up for this, at least for today. All this culminates into an MMO that is appealing, and worth a look for any MMO player looking for a new world to explore.
Now that you know the underlying monetization plan for Bless Online, you might want to know what you've got to pay to hop into the game, and what you get for what you pay. Neowiz released information on several buy to play packages that they believe"founder packs", all with various perks to them. All 7 races and 5 classes will be available for play including 9 dungeons (some dungeons repeated with a few changes), and this version will only be available on or after May 30th.
Bless Onlines Deluxe edition will provide you an additional 30 days of the premium assistance, 60 days total, while also providing you with exclusive bracket and pet skins, and some Lumena that can be used to buy whatever you need for 69.99. Lastly, the Collectors Edition pack includes 90 days of this superior service, a premium customer support, which includes premium support, a"twinkling wing" effect, which is probably just a sparkle cosmetic, 3800 Lumena, and along with the mount and companion skin of this deluxe edition you'll also get an exclusive costume and distinctive weapon skin.
Neowiz has also added founder's packs at a number of different price points. The lowest priced founders pack is 39.99 which includes founders access, which means you'll get into the game two days before May 28th. The premium service provides players skins and other cosmetics every month in addition to possible boosts to leveling. While the premium service isn't necessary to play the game, it is meant to add enough convenience that may entice players to cover the 15 dollars a month to register.
Pay2Win. I said it and that is what everybody wants to know about, right? Is Bless Online going to be a free to play, pay to win game? In a nutshell, the answer is no. After speaking with the developers and getting some thorough affirmation, Bless Online is diverting away from the idea that you can pay your way to excellence, and they're doing so from the get go by implementing a Purchase to Play version. Do not mistake this to mean that there won't be a money store. To the contrary, Neowiz has a money shop planned, but aside from makeup and another account services, they had few details about what may show up in the cash shop. During my test session I hopped into the menu and started the cash store only to find that it was completely empty.
As an avid MMORPG player for many years, we've learned through the pain and anguish of being burned more times than we could count that anything said by a development group ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Keeping that in mind, the underlying premise from the Neowiz team was reiterated time and again that the game won't be a pay to win match, and that the money shop will be cosmetic and convenience established.
When asked about what we could see in the cash store, it was confirmed that gems, such as the ones I mentioned in the combat article, would definitely not be accessible, nor would any additional conversion opportunities for gems, as right now there is a maximum limit on the amount of gems you can convert a day which does not appear to be changing. Most of all, with this buy to play with model, there was another type of currency conversion which they confirmed. In game monies will be permitted to be converted into money currencies that could subsequently be utilised at the cash shop, which means players who spend enough time in sport collecting currency can"cash out" said money for cash shop items, effectively making no money shop items off limits to players that only purchase the box.
While we don't have any details as to what else we can expect in the money shop besides costumes, account services and bracket aesthetics, and Neowiz themselves aren't sure what else we may be visiting, we can not affirm what ends up there won't end up being game-breaking, but at the very least the programmers did confirm nothing will be off limits or gated around paying players only.