I don’t have any issues with the payment model a game chooses, if the developers feel like it’s the right choice for their game. Free-to-play, buy-to-play, subscription … they all have their merits and their downsides. What I don’t agree with is when devs claim they’re choosing a model because of the downsides of another model — which are still a possibility in their model.

Bless Online was announced earlier this week as being a buy-to-play title, not free-to-play. That’s cool, and there could be plenty of reasons why Neowiz decided to go that route. Naturally, that was the first question MMORPG.com’s Suzie Ford asked the team in an interview. The answer:

“First, B2P would create a pleasant gaming environment by preventing bots from flooding the servers and disturbing the players. Second, we decided against F2P to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W. And of course, we also looked at our community’s opinions and requests.”

It’s that second sentence that makes me itch a little bit. Bless isn’t F2P, in part, “to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W.” Way to have a whole lot of faith in your decision-making, guys, not to mention making it sound like you’re doing us a favor by not taking advantage of us. “We could have offered you this deal, but we would have just screwed you over in the end. So isn’t it great that we’re not screwing you over? Buy our product!”

That said, what’s the main source of pay-to-win in any game? The cash shop! Since Neowiz is so concerned about their inability to not implement P2W in Bless, does that mean they won’t —

“Yes, Bless Online will have a cash shop.”

Oh.

Now, before I get eviscerated in the comments for claiming that Bless is/will be pay-to-win, I’m not making that claim. Nor do I think Bless shouldn’t have a cash shop. It’s just hard to reconcile the notion that the developers were so concerned about being pay-to-win that it was a major factor in determining their business model, while also putting in something that will greatly tempt them into making the game P2W. It’s almost as if the part about “being tempted into P2W” isn’t really about the players and is more just PR/marketing talk to justify their decision and try and sell copies of the game.

Also, if Bless ever does go free-to-play? Let’s hope the devs find the inner strength to avoid P2W that they seem to be lacking right now.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

28 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. NameGoesHere on March 28, 2018

    LUL… B2P… with Cash Shop…

    This game is going to die faster than when it was F2P.

    At least F2P had the backing of Playerbase even if it turns out to be P2W.

    Now… you get a B2P with Cash Shop (all other games with this type of model always turns out to be P2W, it’s a fact now), good luck sustaining the game with just Whales.

    • iCha0z on April 28, 2018

      Ummm Gw2 had this type of model and is still not P2W. Gw2 did just recently become F2P. HA F2P on Gw2 isn’t F2P. It can only be considered as a free trial that last indefinitely. 2 many restrictions on it’s F2P. Also the game only became F2P when it failed due to poor optimization (Russia) and combat (JP). Both are being worked on for NA release.

      I don’t understand why people want F2P so badly. Either it’s BTP or Subscription like ashes of creation where you only have to buy the subscription and not the game. I never liked WoW payment model of both BTP + subscription. Also, usually no matter which of the 2 models they go almost all end up having a cash shop.

  2. Dabdakka on March 26, 2018

    what a massive and full on lie that is.. We will be p2b but will still have a cash shop for you to buy “damage mods” I mean cosmetics….

  3. Ivaylo on March 26, 2018

    PVP game with no longplay PVE content = is going P2W fast or slow IDK but is 100%.

  4. FoxRoot on March 25, 2018

    Yea it wont be P2W like BDO wasnt going to be P2W and its getting closer and closer to the Korean version thats completly P2W. Not to mention Bless already failed twice but regardless people are going to buy into this crap.

  5. Dust on March 25, 2018

    I see this as the devs of the game trying to really drill home the fact that the game isn’t going to be p2w ‘because’ the game has failed in the past. Clearly they want this game to work and being p2w is a primary concern for them. I think what they’re doing is taking the right precautions now than later, rather than it being some sort inability to hold back the urge of wanting to make the game p2w like this article seems to make it out to be.

  6. TheErros on March 25, 2018

    Everyone is commenting on Bless like they have played the revamped version we are getting that will be different from all other versions seen so far. Wish I had all your connections.

    Plus there was never a guarantee the game would be F2P and I would rather have B2P than a subscription model.
    At least B2P let’s you buy it once and literally play it whenever you feel like it.

    If it went f2p it would be asking for bots, hackers and the usual p2w that everyone hates. The cash shop is pretty much going to be in every game now so might as well get used to that. If done right it works and doesn’t require p2w items.

    • Dabdakka on March 27, 2018

      you and many other players are the very reason these companies get away with being able to even think about putting in a cash shop on a paid for game title… Bet if it had powered up items anyway you wouldn’t care still either.

  7. Squeeezy on March 24, 2018

    “WE DECIDED AGAINST F2P TO PREVENT US, THE DEVELOPERS, FROM BEING TEMPTED INTO P2W.” what a lame ass excuse! Games can be free-to-play and not be P2W, they just need to have a team working especially on cosmetics items and players will happily open their wallets.

    Moreover, this excuse only implies that NEOWIZ doesn’t hope for the game to have a long life, if a developer knows that their game has potential for growth and to battle for players against other games they will know what to make for the game and when to release certain update, therefore they know if and when they are going to introduce their Max Level Exquisite Shit+99 with bonus crit and life steal.

    And it doesn’t really matter what excuse they come up with for the B2P model, truth is: “We better get some money on this shit as B2P because our players won’t waste a dime on our content, there are a ton of games with better gameplay and graphics than ours. At least we can recover the cost for this bad PR.”

    I played Bless RU and thought of downloading and giving it a try again but … I would rather buy 100 copies of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling than to buy Bless.

  8. Axel on March 24, 2018

    As someone that wanted to try it b2p will stop me i personally will not pay for a game that was originally f2p and on top of that failed 2 times already.

  9. Bjuan on March 24, 2018

    None of the games you mentioned are mmorpgs unless you kind of count pso2, but that game is trash. I dont think Bless online is even remotely worth B2P. Heck i wouldnt even pay more than 15 bucks for the game. The game is just average and not unique. Ive gotten to play one version and all i can say it was completely meh. Nothing worthy of b2p like other games such as maybe GW2, black desert etc… Both of those games are unique in their own way and have a following. Bless is just your typical rehashed mmorpg sadly.

  10. aqaq on March 24, 2018

    This is great news. I don’t believe in free to play anymore, too many greedy companies out there. I will support this game if they don’t fuck it up. I don’t give a fuck about the price tag.

  11. Q on March 24, 2018

    If it hadn’t already failed horribly in other markets I would be pretty excited or happy with them not wanting it to be p2w. The korean servers are literally dead. Like, several hours of playtime and not a SINGLE person in sight. I have never seen a game that dead, even really old mmos that were never that popular you would still run into some people in the spawn areas and towns.

    I played both the regular and rebirth versions, no one to be seen in either. I thought the game was just heavily instanced but it’s not.

  12. Martin on March 24, 2018

    LOL … stupid ppl. voted for p2p to avoid p2w and cash shop. And now you will have to pay twice XD
    let me tell ya … all cash shops eventually gets p2w items.

    P2W and F2P games are the best .. i rather pay one time 15$ for p2w weapon and finish game than pay 60$ and when 15$ for cash shop item.
    Anyway talking about P2P and P2W … you cant avoid to be weaker than others… in P2P not everyone gets same good items from loot , some ppl. grind for life and they still dont get what they want … In MMORPG game P2W items just gives you ability to avoid grinding.

    In Shooter games yes p2w is annoying ,but in PVE mmorpg games p2w items dont effect other players … you always can chose with who you want to make pvp battle.

    Im playing f2p and p2w game whole my life cuz i dont have $ … and i always learn how to win againts p2w players … at the end of day skills are best key to victory.

  13. Weilan on March 24, 2018

    As long as the price tag isn’t more than $10, I’m on board with it.

  14. ID on March 24, 2018

    Feel better now after your pointless rant?

    • Curst on March 24, 2018

      Your rant is the only pointless one here…

  15. Deathloche on March 23, 2018

    I have no problem with what they said. Just look at most F2P MMOs’ cash shops. Most of them have P2W elements in them. I think its easy to put those things in there as a developer knowing its P2W. Its actually a cash grab for the devs to add those elements. At least they are honest about it. If they made it F2P they would most definitely put P2W items in the cash shop. Which in the end it still may be a few like the boosts they are thinking about adding, but I don’t think it would be as bad if they went completely F2P. End the end it is what it is. Someone will always find something in an MMO that they will call “P2W”.

  16. Mogar on March 23, 2018

    Horrible excuse. Although I agree with the prevention of bots and spammers by putting an “accessibility wall” by making it buy to play I can’t believe that’s their reason for not doing F2P.

    Look at games like PSO2, Warframe, League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Path of Exile, Battlerite, Paladins, etc. There are plenty of games that do it right, why can’t they just follow those examples? Why do they, right off the bat, claim that they’ll run the risk of making it P2W? On top of the fact that they’re adding a cash shop anyways. Like, what?

    The better way to go about this was to have early access founders packs, like with every game now-a-days. And just be straight forward with your players by telling them that they plan on doing a buy to play model but if players don’t find that the model is worth it, either due to lack of content or cash shop being too much, then transition it to a F2P model at launch.

    • DGCrusher on March 24, 2018

      Bots and spammer by random account from a user. (Very Sad)

    • Curst on March 24, 2018

      Indeed. B2P could have been a good thing if this whole thing did not give off strong dishonesty vibes. Usually I like B2P, but their reasoning does not sound genuine at all. And the more they explain the worse it gets.

  17. GhostCulture on March 23, 2018

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Maple Story a F2P with a Cosmetic Cash Shop with some convenience items sold and it has done very well for it self in it’s market I would think. I haven’t played in years, but it more than seems doable for Bless to pull off.

  18. rickshaw on March 23, 2018

    It would of been a better reason for them to say we are going down the guildwars path as that’s really the path they really are choosing. For them to make a different comment this has diverted them into more mixed discussion arena heading to a worst scenario for them. Its a really dumb mistake & they have to live with the aftermath of comments if not corrected.
    Under their statement, they are basically using westerners way, to launch their game, as we seem more gullible to pay by launching b2p with founder pack, for suckers who think they can be greater before launch date, gaining more cash, & then including the good old gift shop in game for sundries which will of course end up with surprises of in game hidden helpers later.
    So, heading down this path, the aftermath may come by hitting a panic button & ending up f2p anyway. lol

  19. thatguy on March 23, 2018

    this buisness model isn’t going to work it’s going to fail. mmos just isn’t popular anymore so many other titles to play that are free. this game is going to have a player base at launch then it will decline and eventually go f2p to try and save itself but it’ll be too late. remember this comment.

  20. Virgil on March 23, 2018

    awwww get lost whit this lies gain and again……. yeah it will turn pay to win …. if its not b2p cmon….. how many times u guys are going to fall for this? …… and they are shady as it is…… starting whit realease date lies will end whit lies…. suport a good mmo from the west eso gw2 wow…… dont give cash to this eastersn uncapable liers……

  21. Hobbes on March 23, 2018

    Unless it’s a cosmetic cash shop

  22. time is money on March 23, 2018

    Ah, just like how Battlefront II wasn’t P2W.

  23. Curst on March 23, 2018

    Too bad B2P would also prevent normal players from “flooding the servers”. The game have already failed as a F2P title, in what reality is it a good idea to increase the price in a situation like that? It’s going to either die or turn F2P within a year unless this revamp is the second coming of WoW.

    There’s no way they don’t recognize that, so this move has to be intentional. Which means Bless Online will either redefine MMORPGs as a genre or fail miserably. Again. But this time by design. And somehow I’m not filled with confidence that it’s gonna be the former.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?