Upcoming Game Developer Interview: Bless Unleashed

Discussion in 'News - Front Page Posts' started by DARKTIDE!!, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. DARKTIDE!!
    Veteran Staff Member Xen of Onslaught CO

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    Hello everyone!


    At Pax 2018 I got the pleasure to sit down with the development team that is bringing us Bless Unleashed! Currently slated to release only on Xbox One, this game takes all of the lore, classes, and skills that we got to see through the Bless Online universe that was released on May 30, 2018 and put their own spin on the combat system with new ways to play and a whole bunch of extra content.

    To put this in perspective for all of us that experienced the mistakes of Bless Online: The team was very quick to state that while they are a studio of Neowiz, Round 8 Studio is not the Bless Online team. Round 8 Studio began working on Bless Unleashed before the US release of Bless Online. Answering with sad faces and facepalms when discussing how the North American release of Bless Online felt to myself and the gaming community that I actively run. These guys look to right the wrongs, fix the mistakes, and bring us a whole new console centered, action-based MMORPG with all the fixings that you would expect from any MMORPG.

    Bless Unleashed is going to be free to play with a closed beta starting soon. So if you have an Xbox One, now is the time to get in and be active with the team that is very receptive to feedback from the players. I made some comments on the game itself while playing the Ranger, that I noticed the team writing down to take back to the studio. This shows more engagement already right out of the gate than we had seen with Bless Online. Making me hopeful that while there is an angry-faced North American group that this team is the one we should have had.

    While most of us in the PC gaming world shudder at the thought of free to play economy for a game. Big time when the game is coming from a Korean based company I did dive more into what the shop would have so that we could get a general idea. The Bless Unleashed team focused on telling me about costumes, mounts, and convenience boosters. When pressed a bit about the boosters, they stated an experience booster and possibly a currency drop booster, but they were not set in stone. They didn't even hint at pay to win gear or pay to win cosmetics as we have seen with Black Desert Online. So hopefully we can expect to see a very lax and enjoyable free to play game for our Xbox One brothers and sisters.

    As we all know my first line of questions after we got through the base idea of the game and how it would be run and played was of course: Player vs Player content. As it is my life goal to constantly fight other top-tier players to see who has the best-laid plans, builds, and strategies when it comes to any given game. They stated they are focusing on two aspects of Player vs Player content as of now. Arenas and Open World conflict.

    Arenas are going to have a few different types. There are going to be your highest kill types and scenario based. They also stated that some of the materials you will need to craft later on in the game will come from Arenas. If that isn't a call to dust off the Mantle of Worlds Best PVPer then I don't know what is. I didn't ask if there would be a way to get in from anywhere in the world or if the Arena was a static place on the map.

    Open world Player Vs Player will have a system of light and dark, that can be categorized as law-abiding and outlaw for open world PVP. Meaning if you are running around killing people randomly it won’t be quick, but you will start building negative karma over time until you have become an Outlaw. Once an Outlaw you will not be able to enter the law-abiding areas of the game anymore. You will only be safe in other Outlaw towns and will conduct your daily activities there.


    Now the team for Bless Unleashed did mention that if you wanted to not be an Outlaw anymore there will be quests and other means to improve your karma back to law-abiding, but it would not be a simple process. Your current alignment will not make it so that you cannot play with your good or bad nature friends, so if you have that one buddy that just can't get the taste of destruction out of his mouth (cough me) let him go out and slaughter people while you collect the bloodstained wheat. The main focus for this team is to make sure both player killers and non-player killers can enjoy themselves throughout their adventures in Bless Unleashed.

    Now on to progression. This team is not backing down from a hard challenge to themselves to make sure there is fresh content constantly coming out of the Round 8 Studio. This team has a very aggressive, ready to rock 1-year plan post-launch to have a new boss to kill and more every three months. How it was described to me, you will build your gear and work your blessing up until that boss comes. You and your friends will have a decent amount of time to bring him down. Multiple times if you would like to! That is just what they currently have for season one, making the following season as they design new content and new ways to play even more exciting as it comes.

    When I poked about how the bosses would play out, as some of us may be looking for that massive challenge, the team from Bless Unleashed described that there would be two different modes. Normal and hard. So we can still experience these end games bosses if we are unable to get that perfect set up, as well as keep the min-maxers engaged in content that will challenge them to the fullest. Making sure everyone has something fun and new to do every three months.

    This led us into talking about gear and how it would affect the fights. The team for Bless Unleashed was quick to say that the armor plays more of a forgiveness factor in fights. The better the gear the more you can mess up, take hits, and recover. I took this to be somewhat like Monster Hunter and I will elaborate more in our last bit that is understanding progression and how it will work. So while the Armor will help, if you are a great player and know the mechanics of the boss you could very well beat the tri-monthly bosses with ease without top tier gear.

    As we are on the topic of gear, the last important topic that we got to cover was progression. I've tried not to drop too many hints, but as you can tell armor is going to be an important role as well as your “Blessing.” Blessing is the gift of a God of your choosing. So, in essence, a skill tree that can be built and even maxed out eventually. There are a few different Gods, and they didn't tell me how many. Yet they did slip you can max out a blessing, and it would have passives that you could take with you as you worked on another Gods blessing.

    The armor that you create is also attuned to a Blessing, as well as it can be attuned to certain attributes and skills within the tree. The example was given to me “If God ALPHA helped with a guardian’s block skill there could be armor found and improved to reinforce that part of the tree making the guardian’s block even stronger. Yet only so long as the player was representing the God that the armor works with is equipped. So you could really tailor your armor set, your primary Blessing, and the other blessings passive to create a multitude of different ways to really play your class the way you want to. That sounds amazing.... More customization and fighting options will keep me playing with the game until I find the perfect fit.

    The last thing we discussed before I go into how the current demo felt is Replay Value or Replay Ability. What is going to drive me to want to keep playing if I say… max out a guy then max out the current trimonthly cycle. The only thing I got out of this question is that the team at Bless Unleashed, at this time, are looking to give occasional buffs as “twink help” so that you can level up other classes faster and enjoy other classes of the game.

    Alright, I know what you all have been waiting for the review of the current demo that I got to play. It was short, it was sweet, and I got a feeling of what some of the “scenarios” or “boss fights” or maybe even “missions” may be like. As I didn't really seem to know what I was doing, just what they were showing. I picked up the ranger, as it was my class during Bless Online to see the changes.

    The Ranger's Dodge roll works the way we wanted it to in Bless Online guys! (mic drop) No seriously the gameplay for someone who doesn't play many consoles was relatively smooth to get a quick grasp of what I was supposed to do. The Unreal 4 engine was kicking hard, and it looked better than it ever did before. The boss fight was challenging but accessible to even those of my playing skill on a controller. The combos were really challenging but rewarding when they executed. The loot God was upon me as I won a shirt at the end. As they stated, it would be a loot explosion at the end of every match. Giving that feeling that you really accomplished something when a boss went down. That feeling of taking down a monster in monster hunter rushed over me. Then when I commented on that come to find out Round 8 Studio has many former Monster Hunter developers on their team. (re-drops mic) That is the great stuff that I felt while playing this demo.

    Yet what made it hard (and the feedback I provided was written down) Was that these few things could quickly be improved once they get back to the studio and get back to working on the game. The combos felt like there wasn't enough window to mash your next button in the chain. Many times I would be trying to do a X X Y Y B combo and it just felt like I wasn't doing it fast enough to accomplish the end attack.

    Dodge rolling then trying to re-enter the combo where you left off was non-existent. I don't know if this is what they are going for. Yet, I hated that when I was in the middle of a combo when I dodge rolled out of the way of an attack the combo would restart. Even though I quickly dodge only once and lined up another shot.

    No lock or temporary lock on appeared to be in the demo. With the combos coming from your left thumb as well as the Aiming being on the right stick it was hard to line up shots correctly. A quick or temporary lock on would allow us to move, attack, and land hits more effectively. I don't know about any of you guys, my first thought after finding out Monster Hunter Developers were planning this instantly made me think of the old Monster “Claw Hand” to play the earlier versions of the Monster Hunter series. My hands are not as limber as they use to be so please make this some type of option.

    I got the chance to learn of everything from the great people at Round 8 Studio with their game Bless Unleashed. As stated before this is the team that is going to change the face of Bless around for the better. This is the team I wish made Bless Online, this is the team that I'm going to beg every time I see them work with Microsoft as it is an Xbox One exclusive to please convenience Microsoft to put it on their store so I can play on PC! These guys restored a bit of faith in the Bless Franchise and hopefully as time goes on it will restore it for you. It worked for No Man's Sky, why can't it work for these guys?

    Darktide
     
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  2. Varitas
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    I am keeping my eye on this game.
     

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