Bless Online is B2P “to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W”

Bless Online MMORPG B2P




As you surely know by now, Bless Online is coming to Steam Early Access in May 2018 and will be buy-to-play. Probably following on the steps of Black Desert Online's successful switch to B2P in the west, Neowiz is doing the same with Bless Online.

However, I'm not quite convinced of the added value that this business model brings, as you probably read already. Considering that Bless Online is free-to-play in South Korea, Japan and Russia, with discouraging results – revamps were urgently necessary, as the Korean and Russian versions attested -, launching the western version with a buy-to-play model sounds over-confident. It even sounds a bit like Metro Conflict's history.

Anyway, picking on a thread started by MMOBomb.com and based on an interview of the Bless team with MMORPG.com, I decided to delve a bit deeper into this matter. Of course, the choice of the business model is the main topic here, as Neowiz has this to say:

“After reviewing the pros and cons of the Buy-to-Play, Free-to-Play, and Subscription models, we decided that B2P is the most suitable model for both Neowiz Bless Studio and the players. 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. We have heard many players’ feedback and concluded that buy to play model is what players want the most!”

Sure, preventing bots could be a thing, but avoiding F2P “to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W” sounds a bit odd. It's like they're not showing faith in their game, in their ability to sell cosmetic items and stuff that isn't pay to win. Also, “buy to play model is what players want the most” seems a bit vague – me, I would prefer a free-to-play model with a fair cash shop for a game that has a lot to prove, considering all the rebuilds and re-engineering going on in the last few years. Founder's packs as well, sure, and I'm pretty convinced that this will happen either way.

Of course, Bless Online will have a cash shop anyway, so B2P or F2P, there is always the risk of pay-to-win creeping up into the store. But they do add that “There will be no “loot boxes” as it were.” Phew! Because loot boxes are the only pay-to-win items that you can find in a cash shop.

Once again, I'm not criticizing Bless Online's existence and I'm glad that it is coming to North America and Europe, as it's always better to have one more MMORPG to choose from. I'm just not too fond of the business model switch, as it seems a bit counter-productive. If Bless was a B2P game all along, since it was released in South Korea, I would be completely OK with that.

I've read a few comments on MMOBomb's thread and I have to agree with some of them, such as these:

“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.”

“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?”

“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?”

As usual, Steam doesn't lie, and we'll see if Bless Online is actually a better game because you have to pay for it upfront.



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