Alive + HOTS

Alive + HOTS

Hi everyone!

In case anyone was wondering – yes, I’m alive. I had to disappear for a while to take a break from several places I was active at to rethink stuff and gather my power for further activities. I have more time now and I got my strength back, so – here I am! 🙂

I decided to uninstall Bless Online, so, for now, there won’t be new posts concerning this game unless you guys want me to let you know about news and updates in the game, but I still won’t be playing it at the moment, so I won’t be able to discuss their actual impact on the gameplay.

I still have ESO installed and Defiance 2050 is actually really fun so I may post my thoughts on them, as well as news and thoughts about my old love – Heroes of the Storm. It’s a MOBA game, so in general it’s similar to League of Legends but also has some major differences from that game – let me know if you want to hear more about it.

I have to admit I’m kind of proud of myself too – I haven’t played HotS (Heroes of the Storm) in quite a while now, at least 4 months but I suspect it could be the whole half a year and I came back to it yesterday and, apparently, it didn’t go bad at all!

I mean the match wasn’t super good as you can see – the AI did way too good in it, but still – I actually was doing good too and I hope with some practice I will be really good at it.

Rocky Road to… Bless

Rocky Road to… Bless
Bless Online official Tweets from the Advanced Access launch. Click to enlarge.

Last Monday the Bless Online Advanced Access (for Founder’s Packs owners) went live and on Wednesday the actual Early Access has started on Steam, too. And… unfortunately, both of the launches were rocky. Very rocky in fact. Of course, the problems have started when massive amounts of players tried to log in, create characters and play, all at the same time. Things didn’t go much better when Bless Early Access didn’t start out as intended either, because the base game was locked for buying on Steam for a while. But, most of these things – disconnections, server crashes and restarts were to expect and people who are getting mad because of them aren’t entirely right in my opinion.

What is true though, Neowiz tried to handle the problems in an unusual way. New servers were added, yes, but also some of the already existing ones were (temporarily) closed for creating new characters, so people who were just a bit late to the party might have been locked out from playing with their friends. This is especially frustrating for people who bought the Founder’s Packs so they could be able to play EARLIER with their FRIENDS. And after locking the servers – sure, they could play earlier, but alone on different servers. In addition, Bless encourages players to group and play in parties – there are special buffs for partied characters, so such servers locks seem even worse.

Fortunately, by now most of the previously locked servers are open again and as an apology – Neowiz gave all the founders some Lumena, a paid (and obtainable through playing) currency.

I, personally, wasn’t affected by most of the problems with the servers, mainly because my game was downloading and I was at work when the problems started occurring, plus I didn’t have a preselected server I wanted to play at so I just created a character on the server that was open at that moment.

While playing during the early stages of the launch I only was disconnected from the server several times but it didn’t surprise me because that’s just the reality of the MMO launches. Of course, Bless was released quite a while ago in Korea, Japan and Russia so in theory the devs should be ready for this launch, but it WAS a fresh launch of the game on the West and we don’t know the details of it – was it a brand new team behind the launch or they just didn’t expect so many players on the first days? There are so many possibilities. I refuse to not believe in the developer, I choose to wait and see how they will fix all the mistakes there are there.

Beautiful Bless Online dungeon

For now, most of the first game issues were addressed. Some of the problems were completely removed (like the terrible tutorial translation that gave many players, myself included, a lot of problems with understanding what the quests wanted them to do). The servers are getting more stable, too. Some people who already have completed the game complained about no end-game content. It was not only addressed in the Producer’s Apology Letter, but also new content has been already released. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to release new content when there are optimization problems, lags and all the other newly released games’ issues, but the point is: the dev team is TRYING and it’s LISTENING to the players.

One of Neowiz’s last decision is the infamous damage nerf, that touched all the classes but the hardest it hit the Rangers. And guess what? I’m obviously playing a Ranger! So I can tell you that the class was definitely too strong, yes, but now it’s definitely too weak. I’m really hoping the dev will update the game with another class balancing, this time not a rushed one, but put into testing first. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even salty, It’s just the beginning of the game on the West, there will be lots of nerfs and buffs in the nearest future, I just don’t think this time they thought the balancing through. Or maybe someone typed wrong numbers? Orrr Neowiz wants to divert our attention from the servers issues, who knows 🙂

A Bless Online dungeon loading screen

Does Neowiz fail sometimes? Sure it does. Like we all do. But we all have to remember Bless is in Early Access, so things will happen, servers will go down, bad balances will be introduced, we won’t be always happy with new features. But the game is in its early days and we have the responsibility of shaping both the game and its community, so it’s important to inform the devs about the problems instead of getting a refund when the smallest glitch occurs or complaining about everything in the world chat in game. Even if we stop playing Bless at some point – new players will come in our place and they will continue what we start now, so let’s create a nice community, supporting each other AND the devs 🙂

I will not tell you much about the game itself today, I’ll wait until the major issues will (or will not) be fixed before saying what are my first impressions of Bless. For now I’ll only say that I absolutely love the music in game, the taming feature is really cool – I enjoy it a lot and every race has a different starting zone and quests so that’s pretty cool too – adds some depth to the story.

And that’s it for now, it’s Saturday, so there’s some painting to be done today. See you next time!

Bless taming feature & Founder’s Packs trailer

Bless taming feature & Founder’s Packs trailer

Bless Early Access and Advanced Access are almost here and as many players are eagerly waiting for the launch – the game’s devs gave us some small updates and reminders of what we will see in the game.

Image from Bless-Source.com

The first official news update we got this week was a blog post about taming feature. The official post isn’t very informative in my opinion but I guess since the launch is very close – everyone will learn the details “in action”. Even so – I think that if we actually got an update about this matter then it should contain all the important details about it, not just general informations.

Anyway, in Bless we will be able to tame most of the creatures in all the zones. The taming feature will give us a chance to turn those creatures either into mounts or into pets (which will not only be cosmetic companions but also, while summoned, they will provide specific buffs to your character, for example increased speed of health/stamina/mana regeneration). To tame a creature the player will need a taming scroll available to buy from the game’s store for in-game currency.

Below you can watch a short official video showing you some of the mounts you can get by taming Bless creatures. I must admit – they look pretty cool.

Taming will be a skill that can be leveled and the higher its level is – the more pets/mounts you can have tamed. Additionally the tamed pets will also level while summoned and the higher their level is – the better stats they will provide.

It’s a very interesting game mechanics that reminds me of one of my favourite features in Riders of Icarus – you can tame your mounts and pets there too, and the pets also give you some nice passives. Just another thing that makes me want for tomorrow (when the game launches with Advanced Access) to come sooner.

If you decide to get a Collector’s Edition Bless Founder’s Pack besides all the rest of bonuses and perks you will also get:

  • Exclusive Costume Skin (Frozen Glacialis costume): Show others that you are “The Founder” by wearing the Frozen Glacialis costume! Only available in the Founder’s Pack – Collector’s Edition!
  • Exclusive Weapon Skin (The Glacialis Weapon skin): The Glacialis Weapon skin, an elegant design inspired by ice, will make you stand out in the Bless World! Only available in the Founder’s Pack – Collector’s Edition!
  • Exclusive Mount Skin (Frosty White Regulus): Adventure the vast Bless world with Frosty White Regulus, an exclusive Founder’s Pack product!
  • Exclusive Pet Skin (Frosty Wind Ningo): Level-up with the reliable Frosty Wind Ningo, an exclusive Founder’s Pack product!
  • Twinkling Wing Effect: It is a gift given only to the “Founder”.When used, the “twinkling wing effect” will be activated for 5 seconds.

As these are visual bonuses and words can almost never describe the looks of things to make everyone imagine them as they really are – the developer gave us a preview video of all the exclusive skins and mount/pet/wings effect, to help you decide if you like them or not:

In my opinion the skins are really cool, the mount is an awesome beast, and as a paleontologist I totally love the pet… but I think the video would be much better if they hired a camera operator with less shaky hands 😉

Tomorrow the Founder’s Packs will become available to buy and once you have one of them (and after downloading the game, of course) you will be able to start playing immediately, according to Neowiz, the developer. If you don’t decide to buy any of the Founder’s Packs you will still be able to buy the base game on Wednesday, May 30 and join the Bless players community. In fact – you can join the community even now, on official Bless Discord channel. I really recommend you to join the channel if you’re interested in Bless, because it’s the easiest way to get answers to your game-related questions, you can contact the devs there and even get some exclusive Discord-only news about the game. I’m also pretty sure in the future there will be some events or maybe even giveaways running only available for Bless Discord channel members, who knows!

So, see you there!… or in game 🙂

Bless Q&A and an open letter to the Community

Bless Q&A and an open letter to the Community

How is it possible it’s Sunday already? Where did the rest of the week go?

Hey everyone, it’s been a pretty nice week for me, what about you?

I still can’t really find my place after I finished playing Mass Effect Andromeda (and watching Gotham) but the developers never sleep… or do they? Not long ago we got announcements of Bless Emissaries, the game prices and… existence of a subscription in the game. This week Neowiz has shown again that they not only monitor the community’s reactions for the announcements but they also listen to the players’ voice.

During the passing week Bless developer posted two important updates on the internet. The first one was a “Q&A” post that addressed many game-related questions and issues that last updates and press conference brought.

Bless Online environment art from Official Bless Wiki.

The Questions and answers that I personally found the most interesting are below.

Q: How does pricing work in different countries with different currencies?

A: Prices for different countries and currencies are set individually, and won’t necessarily be equivalent to the USD price.

This information is very interesting and I’m really curious how exactly they will execute it. Europe usually either has to struggle with US game prices in dollars or the price is not even converted to Euros, just the currecy mark is changed at the end of the price, so instead 40USD we have to pay 40EUR. According to Google 40EUR = 47 USD. Fair? Not really. An additional thing here is economy. 40 Euro can be an ok price on the Western or Northern Europe, but in Central and Eastern Europe the situation looks completely different. Everything is much cheaper here than on the West or North but we also earn much less than those regions. And so when we get a western price it usually is expensive for us. More or less, of course, depending on individual earnings, but you get the idea. It’s very rare for developers to actually consider the economy of contries different than USA, so I really would like to see how the Bless pricing will work. I’m so very disappointed with some developers that I will be happy even if just the Euro price will be adjusted, but we’ll soon see what the dev will do with the prices.

Q: Is the premium membership subscription based? What are the benefits?

A: (…) premium membership can be seen as an option for those who want a more convenient gameplay experience. As we are aware of your concerns regarding P2W, there will be no items that can directly enhance characters or items.

Below is the list of subscription benefits:

  • pet and mount skins (active only during the sub)
  • reduced equipment repair cost
  • reduced “portal” usage cost
  • unlimited gathering tool (the regular ones wears off)
  • unlimited gathering bag (the regular ones wears off)
  • 20% more monsters hunting experience points + 20% hunting gold bonus
  • 20% more dungeon points
  • 5 more market registration slots
  • reduced market tax rate
  • increased max daily activity (dungeon, combat) point exchange into Lumena by 20%

I’m not exactly sure if it’s not P2W at all (we still don’t know much about the cash shop items, but Neowiz keeps saying it will be nothing that would make the game p2w) but I guess it’s acceptable. I mean, they never said anything about the subscription in the game so I’m disappointed with its existence at all but if it does have to exist it should be still attractive enough for people to buy it and not game breaking or frustrating for others who won’t buy it. I wish the dev removed the gold bonuses though. Or the daily activities points bonuses. Either of them. Unfortunately, because the sub was never mentioned before the prices announcement – I feel like we should be more suspicious about announcements from Neowiz now – because they didn’t say there won’t be a sub either, so they didn’t lie, just hid it. So now I expect hidden things and paid options everywhere. For example: “The character limit is 5. But we won’t tell you only 2 slots are free“.

Q: So about that Collector’s Edition… Tell us more about things such as the credits title and gift copy.

A: This feature allows for the purchaser’s name to appear in Neowiz’s Bless Online credits list [in the game lobby screen] under the section titled “The Founder.” 

This is actually a nice feature. Not enough to make me buy the most expensive founder pack but for those who do buy it, I think it’s pretty cool to be in the credits section of the game. Initially I thought the title would be one of those you can see under (or next to) the character’s name in game, so it’s nice they explained it and it isn’t the case.

Q: What is premium customer service? Does that mean that you won’t be assisting normal players?

A: Premium customer service was a feature designed for purchasers of the collector’s edition to receive exceptional support. However, as a direct response to user feedback, the Bless Team has decided to remove this feature and provide service to all our users equally regardless of the pack or game that they purchased.

Premium customer service has been removed from the list of benefits.

This is one of the cases which made me say Neowiz listens to the player/fanbase. And it’s the proof we should speak when we don’t like things and when we have a different opinion than the developer. It’s also good to know that our opinion is actually important, not every developer cares, even though it’s the players who make the game business work.

Q: The price of the Collector’s Edition though…

A: (…) we have received user feedback that the Collector’s Edition is overly expensive. As a result, the Bless Team has decided to adjust the price from $199.99 to $149.99 so that the pack is more accessible for all.

The Founder’s Pack – Collector’s Edition will be sold at $149.99 instead of $199.99. (We will adjust previous price announcements to state the new price of $149.99)

This is another important update and another case of the players shaping the game since the very beginning. As I said in my previous Bless updates post they had time to change their pricing decision and they did. I’m half proud of Newiz for doing it and half of myself for believing in them. But still, for some reason something made them think such a price was a good idea. I hope in the future they will think twice before making such announcements.

Q: Will there be Player to Player trading?

A: No there will not. Aside from the in-game auction house, there is no feature that allows player-to-player trading as we do not want a black market.

Now that’s sad. What if we want a black market? This is a joke of course but Player to Player trading is something really useful at times. The game gives bonuses for playing in a party. What if one of the party members is your friend and really needs an item you have? Nothing, because you will not be able to pass them that item to your friend. We’ll see how it will work in game though. As long as the marketplace is free to use there will be probably a way to use it to give items to friends.

Q: Is there playable content accessible by purchasing additional DLC? (…)

A: We do not expect purchasers to buy DLC as we have no plans to sell updated content as DLC. For example, content updates that will include the assassin and mystic will be able to be fully enjoyed just with the purchase of the base game.

As I said before – I can’t fully trust their words if there is still space for “buts” and “what ifs”. So what I’m thinking now is – great, no purchasable DLC – everything will come for free if you have the base game. Except the expansion packs. As long as the new content is named “DLC” it’s free. But what if they release it under “Expansion Pack” or any other pack? Not mentioning such an event is not really fair, everything should be clear and transparent since the start, to establish trust between the community and the developer.

Bless Online environment art from Official Bless Wiki.

Speaking of community – another interesting update that we got from Bless this week was a Reddit open letter to the community. It was addressing some of community-related questions and issues rahter than the game itself like the dev post on Steam did.

Penta the Panther from the Bless Team talked in the letter mostly about the reasons and ways to choose the Bless Emissaries for the first wave, as well as about the healthy community that Bless moderators are aiming for. He also mentioned that this letter is just the first one and suggested that the next ones will be published with answers and explanations when there will be some controversies among the community.


A bit more than a week is left for the Bless Early Access head start and 10 days for the actual Early Access. I’m super excited and can’t wait to play this game. I’ve been waiting for the launch for over a year and it’s almost here! But, I still haven’t decided which faction to choose nor which race to play. Ah, decisions! At least I know which class I will pick… except it won’t be available with the Early Access launch… Have to give it some more thinking throughout the week.

Have a nice Sunday everyone, tomorrow ESO Summerset launches so have fun (I sure will!)

Bless updates!

Bless updates!

We finally got some solid news about Bless Steam launch – the dates, the prices of both the game AND founder packs, but also the first wave of Emissaries was announced. Congrats everyone!

Wallpaper from official Bless website

The chosen Emissaries were divided into 3 categories. Creators from the first one were awarded for their work towards popularizing the game with invitation to the first official Bless press conference on which the game was presented to the participants, as well as the important news such as the base game price and founder packs pricing were announced. Two other categories were Bless Content Creators and Bless Community Leaders.

The list of the Emissaries you can find on official Bless website and below under “Show more” button (be warned, there is 96 people + press conference attendees names there!)

 

Unfortunately neither my streaming friend akaFayme got in, neither I, but don’t be mistaken, it won’t stop us from creating Bless content! The only difference is that we won’t be officially supported by Bless. And I’m pretty sure we’ll try again to apply in a while.

What I’m mainly disappointed with though is not even that I didn’t get in but that the Bless team assured everyone who asked that not only streamers can be content creators, you can be still a writer or an artist to be admitted and yet all the content creators that got in the Emissary program are streamers or YouTubers. But I’ll blame it on the advertising strategy – especially on the start Bless will need numbers to ensure the game’s success, so for now they picked streamers because that’s what’s the most popular nowadays.

Image from official Bless wiki

Prices, Dates, Founder Packs

Another announcement we got was pretty much the news all the future Bless players were waiting for.

Date: The game will launch May 30th unless you buy a Founder Pack – then you can play since May 28th

Price: The base game will cost $29,99.

Founder Packs: see the table below

 

Standard Edition

$39.99

Deluxe Edition

$69.99

Collector’s Edition

$199.99

Includes Base Game Advanced Access (two day head start) Advanced Access (two day head start) Advanced Access (two day head  start)

+ One gift copy of Bless Online

Benefits Credits title “The Founder”

Premium customer service

Twinkling wing effect

Premium Membership 30 days 60 days 90 days
Lumena 2450 Lumena 3800 Lumena
Exclusive Skin Exclusive Mount Skin
Exclusive Pet Skin
Exclusive Mount Skin
Exclusive Pet Skin
Exclusive Costume Skin
Exclusive Weapon Skin

Now the prices caused an actual storm in the Bless fanbase, especially the Collector’s Edition. I know for sure that it’s WAY too much for me and if not the base game included in the Founder Packs I wouldn’t really buy any of those because the Standard Edition just doesn’t give you much and the Deluxe version is pricey and still not giving much either. The opinions I’ve seen on the internet are pretty much close to mine. The most people point out 2 things – one, that the Collector’s Edition Founder Pack is too expensive comparing to what it gives (they suggest that it should include some irl rewards too, for example a Bless hoodie) and that the Bless developers team never mentioned subscription plan, they’ve only talked about the game being b2p (buy to play) and not p2w (pay to win) at all and that it would have cash shop. Now in this announcenement we see that not only there will be a Premium Membership but also the Founder Packs are very overpriced. Some people expressed their concerns about the game monetization – they suggest that if the game closed its servers in two regions already the devs should learn something from that. I’ve even seen people cancelling their Bless stream schedules completely because of those prices.

As for me I have mixed feelings. I’d consider buying the middle Founder Pack if it was giving me something more. If nothing changes I’ll buy the Standard Edition and only because it has both the base game and 1 month of Premium Membership that would be probably around $25 so it would just be cheaper to buy a Founder Pack. At the moment I honestly don’t think the two other Founder Packs are worth their prices but if I was filthy rich I’d still buy them because I’d like to support the game I believe in.

Neowiz listened to the player’s opinions so far so we can hope the devs will change their pricing decisions. They still have almost 2 weeks to do it so it may still happen. If it doesn’t – well, I still will buy and play the game as it really seems awesome. Maybe it will be worth all the money after all?