Neowiz Talks About Bless Struggles, Still Doesn't Seem To Understand What's Going Wrong

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor September 20, 2018
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Massively Opinionated has an interview with Neowiz regarding the studio's efforts to keep Bless Online viable in the West -- which is even more imperative now that the Korean version will be shutting down in two months. That will make the Steam version of the game the only one available for anyone to play. It's still not free-to-play, but it almost has to be someday, and Neowiz's ability to implement that still has a ton of red flags attached to it.

In talking to Neowiz, MOP quotes an unnamed Neowiz representative on a number of questionable points -- questionable, that is, to anyone not working at Neowiz. Regarding the game's poor reception at its early access launch:

"In retrospect, we understand exactly why it’s hard for western users to digest that Bless Online is 'Early Access' when it had been launched in other regions previously."

"Retrospect" shouldn't have been required. Early access is no longer a new thing, and if you're launching a game into it -- and charging money for it -- and thinking that players won't expect something akin to a finished product, then you're not very smart. That doesn't even take into account Bless' unusual history, as a game that was released previously in other regions into an ostensibly "finished" state.

It's not just a matter of early disappointment, either, as the game still isn't being well-received, four months after its early access launch. Recent reviews on Steam are an abysmal 16% positive, and the game is peaking at less than a thousand players per day.

Regarding the differences between Korean and Western players, particularly the approach to "pay-to-win" -- something that Neowiz said was a primary reason the game wouldn't be free-to-play:

"Players in Asia tend to be more accustomed to and have a larger tolerance towards P2W aspects; there is a certain level of understanding among players that those who pay will receive in-game benefits (directly, such as gaining extra experience)."

In the grand scheme of P2W, "gaining extra experience," whether in the form of boosters or direct leveling bonuses, is pretty mild. If that's what you're charting as a line that cannot be crossed, you need to do more research.

In short, you'll have to forgive us if we're still not convinced that Neowiz will figure it all out when Bless launches and inevitably goes free-to-play (which might be at the same time). Whether that's due to ignorance, stubbornness, or intentional deceit is unknown, but in any case, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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In this article: Neowiz, Bless Online.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
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.

Discussion (13)

IsamiOni 3 years ago
Q: What's wrong.what's wrong...we don't understand what's wrong?
A: Maybe, at least try to assume that the game is sh*t no matter how much you revamp it.

rickshaw 3 years ago
I'll tell ya.......................... change the name
its that simple they should of never of revamped and not changed names

View 1 reply
Etrius 3 years ago
The solution?
Close down Bless Online, move the staff over to Unleashed and port it to PC.
Bless Online owners get a copy and w/e is in the cash shop for Unleashed, based on how much they paid for the broken product.
It's not even that hard.

The reason the game failed is because it lacks engaging content, the pet grind was basically their selling point, which was a bad idea in my opinion and last but not least the performance issues due to a dated engine that is hard to optimize if you work with huge, non-instanced areas.

There's also the fact that they really didn't listen to their community.

View 1 reply
Rea 3 years ago
It's a dead game in Steam already, they are unable to even hit 1k players in peak now, they have used all that juicy money to found a F2P console Bless and are going to let the PC version die sucking as much money possible in the process, even BDO was able to bounce back of the negative stuff and have a well populated world, but bless is on free fall and F2P won't save a bad game.

Weilan 3 years ago
Players in the West too also understand that those who pay will get extra benefits, but in the case of P2W, those benefits end up making the people who pay unreachable by the people who don't. If they want to make money, in the West, they might as well go with B2P, but even with B2P they try to make it P2W so those who pay EVEN MORE on top of the base game gets things otherwise unattainable.
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Actually, Asian developers/publishers don't understand that you can't have a cake and eat it.
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When a game is F2P, it's expected that it's free for everyone. With the huge backlash against P2W, they have finally started to grasp the concept that selling only cosmetics in the Western versions of their games is the way to go. Ironically, but with games like Ironsight, they are prioritizing populating the cash shops with as much cosmetics as possible every month, but ignore the game-breaking issues that prevent people from playing.
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The conclusion in all this is that the Asian devs/publishers refuse to learn how to approach the West with their products and unless they do, they might as well stop releasing them for the time being.
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So far every Western game that was release in Asia, and has become successful because of its gameplay, it's gaming model has either been adapted to Asian standards or there was no need to adapt at all.
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It's Asian games that have a unfair model and garbage gameplay, with the only redeeming factor being the shiny graphics.

View 3 replies

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