Q: All your games are Pay-to-win for about a decade now, what can you say to ensure us that BLESS will make a difference and not take the same wrong road ?
A: I understand your and the other´s concerns. What´s happened in the past is difficult to change but I am not here to give empty promises, I think that Echo of Soul, Goal One and Dawn of Gods are good examples on how Aeria Games has changed recently and we will keep on changing, I believe that this ama is Aeria Game´s first one so.. yeah.. hey.. we are working on it.
Q: There have been larger title launches in the recent months that have had less than satisfying server related issues. What is your server and data center game plan for this larger title? Will you have multiple DCs located around the world to help with ping or a single location (say California or Chicago since they tend to be two most popular spots)
At launch, servers fill up quickly. What is your game plan on server/faction locking? Will there be a way for friends to all initially roll on the same server/faction if it gets locked in the initial launch rush? Or will they be forced to roll on another server until the new character creation lock is taken away?
A: We plan to host Bless in our existing location in Germany and we are preparing a host in Canada for our north american players. The plan for the servers isn’t final yet. We will have to test the game thoroughly before we can share any information on that.
Your second point is actually really good and something I have not yet thought about, it has happened to me in the past and must not be underestimated. You´re absolutely right, we need to provide means to ensure that friends will be able to play together. Thanks.
Q: Please prepare the Lvl 50 update to be ready and try to release the mysthic as well as the summoner on launch . This would give the game a good space of palyable content to bring up after 45 dungeons are farmed enough and way more gamefun cause of the 2 more classes ingame
A: Hi Dauru, we are aiming at delivering the game as fast as we can. If we get to the point were we could give the players something to play whilst working on finishing other content, I´d much rather let you play than wait till everything (late / end game content) is done (localized) and tested. Right now, we are figuring out how we can structure our work in order to make that possible.
Q: Gems can be acquired by completing Story Quests. Right now you can earn a limited amount of gems via these quests. How is your view on these? Keep in mind that these gems are character bound so you can’t generated infinite gems just by completing the quests over and over again. Also they may encourage players to spend some money on the game but that’s my view.
A:We like the fact that everyone can access Lumena in the game and Neowiz did a good job integrating it as quest rewards. Playing for a couple of weeks on the Korean servers with no means to spend money did its bit.
Q: Subscription – will you keep the subscription – if yes, are there any details on the benefits being a subscriber? Would be nice to see whether you keep the KR subscription but limit it to 1 option only or if you decide to not offer the vip service.
A: It is too early for us to tell you how the current subscription model will be integrated to our version and what will be the benefits of it. Same goes for the VIP ranks. As discussed, we are focusing on the technical aspects first.
Q: The infamous (thank you Trion and ArcheAge) labour system. Currently you can maintain a good amount of ingame activities (Sieges, Gathering, Crafting, Taming, etc.) without spending money on the game. How is your stance about the labour/ap system? Will you keep the balanced approach or will shift it to the subscription model (VIP = higher AP regeneration + higher maximum for example) or are there plans to sell Labour Potions in the cash shop?
A: Looking at AA´s situation, I am careful in blaming Trion World for the way it all started in the West, maybe they are to blame, maybe not. They have been working really hard to change that aspect of the game and I think in the recent months they did a decent job, but I am not very well informed. In the meantime, the AP system feature has gained such a bad reputation that this reputation in itself, is a big risk for any new game that has a somewhat similar system, despite how the system actually works. I mean, I read comments on BDO dooming that feature before the game was available to be played. We don´t have specific plans yet, again, we´re in a stage in which it is all about analysing and gathering data. Here is one thing to consider though, both Neowiz and Aeria Games are in this for the long haul and we strive to react to data (such as user feedback) quickly.
Q: The gap between paying users and free users is always present – However in Bless KR the gap is fair (= not that wide). Will you keep an overall balanced gap or do you have a clear stance like “paying users before f2p users” or something like that.
Now about the game itself
A: I don´t have such a stance. I think a non-payer, a low-payer and a high spender should enjoy playing together, or against each other. Among F2P mmorpgs there is however the time vs. money approach, how much time does a non-payer have to invest to reach a goal equal to a certain amount of real currency a payer has spent? That´s something that can be balanced, e.g. is 3 USD / hour better than 7 USD / hour? In theory yes, because it makes items cheaper, in reality it may be not, because it makes the time invested less valuable. This is just one of the dimensions we will think about in the upcoming months.
Q: I know that the announcement has only been up for a few hours but how is the progress right now? Any rough estimated date like “Release in 2016 or “… in 2017″
A: We only recently initiated the project here in Berlin. Now we have a core team that consists of Radek our Polish Project Manager, who is supported by Sebastien who is, just as Mathias our Producer French, Philipp our tech guy and I are German, even though in my case it´s a bit more complicated with family reaching to the Balkans as well as to the UK. Here is a slide from our kick-off presentation showing what will happen next:
Q: Will there be Founder Packages? (I highly doubt that there won’t be some but just asking in case)
A: Would you like any? If we can´t sell them, there is no point in offering.
Q: What is your stance regarding gambling boxes and premium items? (while looking at Bless Online)
A: I am not sure I understand your question properly, are you referring to premium items inside gambling boxes? What kind of gambling? Something like a wheel of fortune? I used to work on games that had that, some of them as daily log-in bonuses (gosh I hope that´s spelled right, my wife, an English teacher would give me a hard time if not), others as mini games and I generally like them and I think it would be nice if they could be made available both, for soft as well as for hard currency. This is my personal opinion.
Q: How good is communication between Neowiz and Aeria. Also will there be any sort of monthly Q&A or any other player – publisher interaction in order to maintain a good player – publisher – developer relationship?
A: It´s superb! The people at Neowiz we talk to are highly skilled, knowledgeable and supportive. They are smart people. Yes, I would very much like to keep the conversation going. There might be stretches, covering several weeks when it´s quiet but we will always notice what the community is talking about and once we can, jump in to keep the dialogue going.
Q: About events (even if only a few times a year) – will there be any GM run events or anything like that?
A: We would like to offer great events to the community, packed with entertainment and achievements. Some of them may be hosted by our GMs / Community managers but at this point, it is only a vision.
Q: About the regional distribution – are you planing to release EU and NA at the same time or will there be a gap between both versions?
A: We intend on keeping one version for both territories.
Q: Language wise – the standard English, German, French adaptation or will you limit the language to English in order to save time, money, resources, etc.
A: We are looking into that. As of now, we are analyzing the work – load in localization, both written and verbal (voice over). Localization is a very time consuming effort and we do want to bring the game out as quickly as possible without any foolhardy rush.
Q: What is your stance about PvE servers? The game – in essence is made for and about conflict between the two factions. PvE servers won’t quite fit into that scenario. Any comments on that topic?
A: I understand your view, the game seems to offer a lot of end game pvp focused game play. I do also understand guys that prefer PvE and I don´t want to alienate them. Very tricky question and one that´s worth to think hard and long about. I am sorry, we need to keep on doing our homework on this topic and thanks for raising this again, I´ll make sure it will be addressed.
Q: Some things about the westernization/localization:
1) Will you cut, change or add content from/to the current game in order to match the western communities or will you deliver the original product?
2) Will you change the leveling curve to adjust it or will you leave it at the original (personally speaking I hope you leave it at the original one. It is fast enough).
3) Which ESRB or USK (in Germany) will you aim for? If aiming for younger players – will you censor the game in order to fit your needs? (I mean there is a sex scence, lot of blood, etc.) Personally speaking I hope not.
A: 1) I did see elements in the game that we will need to revisit because they appear questionable.
2) No one on the team has the intention of touching this. Again, like above, I´ve seen elements that make aspects of the xp curve questionable but by no means are we able to make a call on this now. This requires an in-depth understanding of basically all game loops and how they are connected to each other.
3) Super difficult one, may I ask: do you think the “sex scene” adds significant benefit to the game? You meet this chick in church, then she´s hooking up with your mate and then she´s betraying him… dunno, didn´t give me much..
Q: What is the teams and your personal impression about Bless Online?
A: This game is – one of the greatest mmorpgs ever created. We will be running the game as a service and you, the community, will be the judge of our success. The game looks brilliant, many of the systems are well thought through and designed. I think it brings the potential to being a big hit but we will have to work really, really hard to deliver.
Q: Neowiz planed that only 10% of the player base pays for the game while 90% won’t. Are your numbers the same or will you shift the number of paying users higher? If yes – any rough numbers and initial plans to achieve this new paying vs non-paying user distribution?
A: I think 10% paying user rate is very reasonable and imho not unusual within the F2P mmorpg industry.
Q: What are your plans for the energy system? Will PvP matches and Dungeons still consume energy?
A: We don´t have plans for the energy system right now. I must admit that my level 23 guardian has not been effected by it yet hence it´s impossible for me to judge it. Neowiz is discussing it with their community and so will we but I don´t know what will happen to it. Let´s cross this bridge when we get to it.
Q: Will Player to Player trade be enabled?
A: Very good question, I myself was always an active trader in the games I played and I would miss it a lot. There is good reasons to not enable it, it basically erases a huge chunk of bots / rmt related issues. And now the “greedy” ones 😉
Q: How willing are you to having an open dialogue with the roleplay community about the benefits of adding 2 letters as a tag to a server name (RP)? (We’re not asking for any special treatment with this tag. Just a way for members of our community to find each other.)
A: We´re working on it and it will take a little longer. It´ll not be a translated site, we will focus on what kind of information and functions people are looking for and then provide them in a smart manner. We will however support every- and anyone who´s interested in the lore, and other details. A friend of mine for example started a website with an mmorpg fishing blog that became a proper news website.
Q: Will cosmetic items such as ‘premium’ hair styles be locked behind a pay wall? Also, will purchasable costumes from the cash shop be a permanent item or last for only a specific amount of time (7, 14, 30 day items, etc.).
A: hm.. again, it´s a bit too early for us to be able to make a call on that. Please allow us more time, we will get back to you with more information on that, once we have it.
Q: What is it about Bless that you and your team at Aeria Games feels will stand out in today’s gaming scene?
A: The awesome community of course! And I am not even kidding. The game looks great, the world is huge, the music is amazing, etc, etc. If I am looking back at the MMOs I played for pleasure, it was always my friends that kept me going.
Q: How closely is Aeria Games working with Neowiz on the development side of the game? Is there any plans for features and content that are specifically made for NA/EU? How fast will Neowiz be able to react to potential bugs and release hotfixes when needed?
A: Very serious and important point, we are in constant communication with Neowiz and we´re installing processes that will enable us to make our community heard, and our requirements considered.
Q: Will the servers be region/IP blocked?
A: Some regions will be blocked because we don´t have the rights to these territories. Aeria Games has / had licensed the game in a lot more territories, for Bless, we´re focusing at Europe (ex-Russia) and North America (incl. Mexico).
Q: When can we expect an Alpha/Beta test before a full release?
A: Alpha will start soon, internally at first 😛 It will months before a beta starts.