ZAM's Scott Hawkes sits down to chat with NEOWIZ Games' lead producer Jacob Han
At the Neowiz business booth, nestled among the many exhibitors at G-Star Korea, I sat down with lead producer Jacob Han to talk about the eye-widening visual feast that is Bless, an MMO currently in production.
Having already spent hands on time with the game itself, I was overflowing with questions for Han and though our time was limited – believe me, I went well over the allotted time, I’m such a cad – a number of very interesting details emerged from our conversation.
Having played through the starter experience on the Paladin, I noted there was a very familiar style of questing in the game. I asked Han if the quite linear questing experience remained throughout Bless.
Han responded – via interpretation from the ever-gracious John Nam, Neowiz COO – that the initial bread crumbed questing to ease in newbies would branch into multiple storyline choices as the game progressed.
“The main plot would be the story of the 10 races and the story of the two factions, then the over-arcing story of the main world which are the more war-focused, brutal scenarios. Then there are the smaller sub-plots which are more fun. What you choose to do will affect how NPCs respond to you. If you choose to explore and enjoy the sub-plot it will actually change your view of what is happening in the main plot, every time you play, each different race you play, your view of the entire world will be very different.”
Han continued with an example of how your personal engagement with the story and even bosses, would change depending on the stories you engage in:
“If you sprinted through the story you would just think it was another boss to kill, but if you explored the story it would be more meaningful to you and sometimes it is actually sad to kill this person, when you understand why he is doing what he is doing.”
Speaking of quests, I noted that “Royal” questing – a higher tier unlocked at max level through achievements – had a number of intriguing aspects, not least of which was the inclusion of cooperating with lower level players. I asked how these quests fit into NEOWIZ’s vision for community in Bless.
“Formerly, MMOs had a tendency to form a community based around hard-core users and max level content. We wanted to break that and give it more depth and breadth. The Royal quests are actually also linked to Realm vs. Realm fights, because we wanted to have it intricately linked to the story and be more inviting to noobs.”
With the mention of endgame, hardcore content, Han confirmed that there would be raids and, when pressed for the number of players that would be able to unite for those raids, he said they would be “40 plus/minus.” So, although it is early days and things might change over development, there’s encouragement that Bless will cater to fans of larger organized encounters; which might be a welcome haven for those players as many MMOs seem to be going for smaller raid experiences.