Bless Online Combat Overhaul Gameplay, Early Access and Founders Packs

Bless Online Combat Overhaul Gameplay, Early Access and Founders Packs Information

Introduction

Today I want to take a look at the new class videos released by Neowiz showcasing the revamped combat system.

Now, I was a fan of Bless Online before they overhauled the combat. I played the Korean version, and the Russian version before the changes went into effect.
I enjoyed the combat when it was slower, when it wasn’t as flashy – when people were heavily criticizing it.

Therefore I wasn’t as heavily invested in the overhaul as many others. However that doesn’t mean to say I wasn’t behind it – I was.
For a game to be successful in todays market it needs to appease todays playerbase, and faster, flashier, non-tab-target combat is all but a pre-requisite.

Notes

  • Each video was taken in a “development environment” and therefore does not reflect the final version.
  • Only 5 classes will be available during Early Access, the Mystic and Assassin coming with the official launch of the game.

Tab-Target Combat

As I’m sure you noticed already, the combat is not, in fact, action-based. I daresay it’s something reminiscent of if Aion had a lovechild with Blade and Soul.
You’re visibly able to target a single enemy only – thus the target icon being on one given enemy at any time.
However, that doesn’t exclude the ability to hit multiple targets with AoEs.
From what we’re given access to seeing over the course of these gameplay videos, there are quite a significant amount of abilities that have large area effect damage, alleviating some of the single target combat concerns.

Chains and Combos

To make combat more exciting, they have added in Chains and Combos similar to Aion if you’ve ever played it.
Now just let me take a quick detour here – Aion was generally known, from around 2012-2015 to have some of the best PvP in an MMORPG. Its tab-target combat, its use of combo chains – all things that were positively praised.
Bless has, seemingly, taken (in my opinion) a little inspiration from that and added in what I can only describe as the same combo system as Aion.
You use skill #1, which results in you gaining access to chain skills x, y, z. You click skill x, and gain access to chain skills x2, y2, z2 and so on.

Stances

There are other notable combat mechanics, such as the Stance system in place as well, affecting the first 3 of your classes skills – similar to how Guild Wars 2 handles its weapon swapping system.
Your first 3 skills are completely dependant on what stance you’re currently in – each stance, essentially providing you with a different playstyle. Swapping between stances triggers a 10 second cooldown – so it’s not something that you can repetitiously spam.
Now, from what we’ve learned, certain classes such as Mages actually gain more than others when swapping stances. Mages have access to 3 separate elements – Fire, Ice and Air.
Each stance provides them with different elemental skills – along with the additive of special benefits and bonuses that are the direct result of consuming each element through the use of certain skills.
The varied effects you gain differ per stance and per element you consume. This, in effect, adds extra layers to each class – and more specifically, to the Mage class.

Drawbacks

One drawback I see to this combat system however is for healers.
See, in games, healing is more dynamic.
You need certain skills at your disposal at certain times – not have them gated behind a set of chains. Being stuck behind various skill combinations means you won’t have the appropriate skill at your disposal when you need it.
No amount of forethought or planning will have that exact skill available at the exact moment of need.
Especially if they follow Aion’s combo system, which was more like “x tree is predominantly allocated to debuffs, y tree is for heals, z tree is for support skills”
Here is how healing currently works: You use your basic heal > which chains into your large heal, protective shield, or smaller-scale AoE heal for the party, that chain into further skills.
So, while you might at times already be in the process of using certain skills and therefore have no trouble at all having access to further chains, it is a poor design model to have you spam through multiple skills just to get to the one you need at a given time.
Especially since it’ll require you continually repeat using your smaller, basic heal just to get to your larger one. There is, in essence, no “Oh shit!” heal button that most games have.
It’s more of an.. “Oh shit! Oh, shit.” – The second “Oh, shit.” being your tank dying.
This does have me very concerned as my wife traditionally mains healers in MMORPGs and this doesn’t seem all too promising for her.




Now backtracking real quick I would like to point out that although swapping stances changes your first 3 skills, it does not change anything beyond that. All additional skills remain the same regardless of what stance you swap to.

Final Thoughts

So all in all, the combat overhaul to me looks like something I’d definitely be interested in, at least from a DPS-standpoint, as I traditionally main Mages in MMORPGs.
The revamp itself didn’t change all that much from what I am able to ascertain from these gameplay videos, but nevertheless, it has the potential to be a lot of fun.
It just.. also has the potential to be a complete disaster, as at least with Aion, it had intricacies that made its unique combo system work.

Now, people keep asking me “When will Early Access begin?”, “How much will it cost?”, so I thought I would quickly address that here as well.
Neowiz have slated a May 11th date where they plan on addressing the official release date of Early Access and the full launch, along with releasing information on the price for both the game and all founders packs.
Therefore, more information will be revealed on May 11th – I will definitely have a video up then regarding its official confirmed release and any further changes within roughly 24hrs of that, but with everything being said and done, what do you think of the new combat system?

What are your hopes, and what are your overall thoughts?

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