Blue Protocol: Everything You NEED to Know Going Into 2021
Bandai Namco have regaled us with a surplus of information over the last couple weeks concerning the upcoming Blue Protocol Anime MMORPG.
So much so that I feel it’s necessary to compile all of this information together, both new and old, and create an all encompassing “everything you need to know about Blue Protocol” article.
In doing so I hope to update you all with everything you need to know regarding the game, when it’s releasing, what content they’ve altered, its business model, and.. well, everything there is to know about the title.
So you guys are going to want to take a little bit to sit back and I urge you to watch this until the end as it will cover every question you might have.. and trust me, there’s a lot of info here.
WHAT IS BLUE PROTOCOL?
Blue Protocol is an upcoming Anime MMORPG developed by Bandai Namco. It was announced last year in 2019 and has been growing in popularity ever since.
This is a game that utilizes large segregated zones much like Blade & Soul and Final Fantasy XIV – yes, the game is not a full, complete sandbox MMO like Black Desert or World of Warcraft.
WHAT IS THE BUSINESS MODEL?
A lot of people are still unaware that Blue Protocol is actually a completely free-to-play MMO. It will not require a single cent to purchase, nor will it require any financial investment to continue playing.
We don’t currently know their plans on additional content, whether they’ll introduce new content in the form of updates like the majority of free MMOs or if it’ll be released as a separate “expansion,” much like Final Fantasy XIV or The Elder Scrolls Online.
Since this is a free title I wouldn’t expect needing to pay for any additional forms of the game but at the same time I can’t say that will be the case with any type of certainty.
WILL THERE BE A CASH SHOP?
Since Blue Protocol will be a fully free MMO Bandai Namco announced there will in fact be a cash shop.
From the Beta and what they’ve confirmed, the items located within the cash shop will be purely cosmetic as they’ve promised they will refrain from listing anything that could potentially promote pay-to-win or pay-to-advance.
However at the same time I’m not sure providing exclusively cosmetic items will be enough to keep the game running or be nearly profitable enough to warrant not including other items. So I guess we’ll need to wait and see.
HOW IS THE COMBAT?
Honestly very good. Both Mrs Stix and I had the opportunity to try the combat out when we played through the 2 days of the most recent Closed Beta test and I can say with certainty that while I dislike the Archer class in most MMOs.. it wasn’t bad.
The Mage though is what I really wanted to play – and unfortunately since I opted to stream the Beta test our viewers forced me to go Archer.
Either way, the combat itself is pure action. You don’t require a target to use your abilities or to even free-fire. You have a small reticle for aiming and aim your abilities long-range or slash up close-and-personal.
I didn’t see any type of animation cancelling which is something that I hate having to learn in action games and the combat flowed very smoothly.
Abilities looked amazing, especially for the Mage. Seeing giant meteors rain down from the sky and engulf enemies was a marvel to behold and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
NEW CLASSES AND SKILLS?
Currently there are 4 unique classes in game: The Aegis Fighter, the Twin Striker, the Blast Archer and the Spellcaster.
Bandai Namco have recently announced that they are not only in the process of developing brand new classes, but they have every intention of continuing to work on new classes as the development cycle moves forward.
This means that they’re not limiting themselves to a single class, but rather several over time.
Each class feels pretty unique and has their own distinct selection of abilities – both real-time and passive that you can spec into. This provides a little in the way of customization, however this is based purely off of my experience in the Beta.
Many of these abilities and the entire system itself may be reworked going into the future but it felt as though with enough time, you’d probably end up with roughly the same build that everyone else had.
BUT CAN I CREATE AN AWESOME CHARACTER?
Yes, yes you can.
Blue Protocol sports quite an extensive character creator. While it was definitely somewhat limited in the Closed Beta, it’s worth noting that over the last year – the last few months in specific, great strides have been made with regards to the type of customization available and control you have over your character.
Initially you had some fairly basic options: Face shape, eye shape, nose style, mouth style, hair style. Pretty much what we’ve come accustomed to in an Anime MMO. However, over the last couple months they’ve added additional features to various aspects of the face.
You have much more control over how your eyes are shaped, the direction, the angle. You have additional options for your hair – you now have control over various different colored tints so you’re not limited to a single hair color.
And they’re working on quite a bit more, with the team showing no signs of slowing down in the future.
More often than not we’re not given much in the way of creativity or originality when it comes to Anime games, so it’s refreshing to see that Bandai Namco have heard our feedback and are making the necessary changes to the game to adequately satiate our thirst.
SO THE GRAPHICS, THOUGH..
Yes, as you can no doubt tell and as I covered in the beginning, Blue Protocol is an Anime MMORPG.
It features beautiful Anime landscapes, environments, characters and is by far the most beautiful non-3D MMO I’ve probably ever played.
The game features segregated zones, meaning that each area is instanced off from the rest of the world allowing for incredibly high-quality, detailed zones to play in.
There are a limited number of players allowed per zone however, with 30 players per area and 200 players per town at max. Which honestly makes sense. This is to prevent channels overloading, and many MMOs in this day and age impose a hard limit like this on their zones as well, many players just aren’t aware of them.
Do note that Bandai Namco have expressed that they have thought on these limitations to quite a degree and believe that if necessary, they can expand the total number of players per zone.
These limitations however allow for zones like what are present in Blue Protocol to exist. Zones that remind me of a Xenosaga game.
WHAT PLATFORMS WILL THE GAME SUPPORT?
When Blue Protocol was initially announced, and even leading into the most recent Closed Beta test, it was believed to be a PC exclusive. Bandai Namco showed no interest in developing the game for any additional platforms, until recently.
During their latest livestream it was confirmed that not only are they developing the game for additional platforms, those platforms are for consoles. Yup, we could very well be receiving Blue Protocol on both PS4 and/or PS5 when the game launches.
It’s unconfirmed whether the Switch will receive an incarnation of the game, but considering the majority of MMOs that release onto consoles also release onto either Playstation or XBox devices as opposed to the Switch doesn’t leave me with too much hope thanks to the console’s very noticeable limitations.
Thankfully they’ve shown no interest in a mobile port or mobile game – which is something I get asked quite a bit. No Blue Protocol will not be launching onto mobile devices. They have no intention of this and have shown no signs of that changing.
I HEARD THERE'S NO PVP..
Correct, there is no PvP – well, that’s a lie. There’s PvP but the acronym doesn’t stand for what it typically does. PvP traditionally stands for Player vs Player, pitting players against each other in competitive combat.
However, in Blue Protocol PvP stands for Party vs Party, pitting entire groups against one another.. in the form of competitive leaderboard rankings, as you form a group to tackle waves of monsters in PvE and attempt to attain the top ranking for all number of rewards.
Japan isn’t all too competitive when it comes to PvP content – their most popular MMOs Final Fantasy XIV and Phantasy Star Online 2 both have PvP in them, but the functionality of the system is so limited – that it’s almost universally hated and ignored by the majority of the playerbase.
PvP just isn’t very important to Japanese players, and since this is a Japanese MMO aimed at Japanese players first and foremost, it needs to cater to them more than anyone else.
While PvP might be added in a future update, as it stands, they are not in any way interested in incorporating it into the current version of the game.
WHAT ABOUT PVE?
This is a fairly traditional MMORPG.
You have a story – a story that you’re actually physically involvedd in. Your character engages, shows emotion and interacts with the other NPCs that make up the bulk of the game.
This adds a certain depth to the story and to our characters that I find missing from MMOs. The story takes you through the majority of the game. It takes you to other zones, other areas, other towns.
It unlocks other classes, other functions, features. But there’s more to the game than that.
There are dungeons that you can do either solo or within a group. These dungeons in question scale to the player and have monsters of varied levels, making for more difficult encounters the further you make it through.
There are raids that you can participate in, there was one in specific during the Closed Beta test that I didn’t actually get to participate in but I saw clips of it and man – the fights were ridiculous. They remind me of a Savage raid from Final Fantasy XIV.. if the bosses were actually to physically scale.
Then there’s the Party vs Party we talked about earlier, there’s the ability to capture Imajinn like Pokemon and more – what you’d expect out of a full-fledged MMO.
Imajinn take several forms. First, let’s talk about your gear.
Now I’m aware this has upset some Western players, as you don’t obtain gear in the traditional way: Instead of looting gear from monsters, boss monsters, dungeon chests, raid bosses.. you craft your gear.
You obtain materials and then you go about physically crafting them yourself, meaning that there is no gear-reward from participating in nor completing any type of content.
Again I’m aware this has upset some players as the lack of reward can be.. well, honestly a little unsatisfying. There’s nothing quite like downing a boss monster only to see the most epic piece of gear you can obtain for your class and level.
The Imajinn also function as a monster-summon that comes out and functions primarily like a special “ultimate” ability. It has a cooldown and each one functions somewhat differently.
These are obtainable out in the field and require you actively collect them if you want to maximize your damage output.
WHEN IS THE NEXT CLOSED BETA?
Honestly, another Closed Beta is scheduled for next month as of this going live. It’s currently October 18th as of writing this up, but I believe this will be going live on Monday October 19th, a few weeks before the next Closed Beta test.
They have, as of this moment, not mentioned specifically how many additional Beta’s will take place after this one, but considering the next one is testing matchmaking functionality.. I would say several.
Do note that these Beta tests are for Japanese players only, and if you manage to get in, you’ll be required to use a VPN to mask your IP and avoid getting banned.
SO WHEN DOES IT RELEASE?
Speaking of the next Beta tests, I’m well aware you guys are holding out for a release. Since Genshin Impact launched people have been on an Anime high, absolutely enthralled by the marvel that is Genshin Impact.
Excitement for Blue Protocol is continuing to increase with the knowledge and realization that an Anime title like that could actually leave us completely shocked and taken aback by how good it could potentially be.
So during their most recent livestream, Bandai Namco revealed that the upcoming Anime MMO will be coming out in Japan in 2021, confirming my suspicions earlier this year. Yes, I did mention that it will be launching in Japan next year, not globally. But that doesn’t mean the game isn’t planning a Global release.
SO IS BLUE PROTOCOL COMING OUT GLOBALLY?
Yes, yes it is. Bandai Namco initially stated that they were launching Blue Protocol within Japan exclusively.. but after the media attention the game got, in no small part thanks to yours truly and our amazing community of like-minded individuals, they went on to change their mind.
They made note that they were “interested” in releasing globally, but it was more of an “after thought,” with the Japanese iteration of the game being their main focus.
Fast forward to their most recent livestream, not only did they actually CONFIRM the game is coming out globally, but they revealed that it would be coming to other regions “in the next year onward.”
Whether “the next year onward” means after 2020, so 2021, or after 2021, meaning 2022 remains to be seen, but this is the news we wanted to hear.
That they’re not only thinking of us, but also actively working towards a release explicitly for us and they have a time-frame for that release in mind, even.
Note that this includes North America and Europe. There’s no confirmation about a release within South East Asia but if you’re capable of playing other Japanese games like PSO2 or Final Fantasy XIV then I think you should be fine.
CAN MY COMPUTER RUN BLUE PROTOCOL?
That’s a very good question. This gets asked over on our subreddit for the game every other week, so I thought it would be in our best interest to go ahead and list the specs for the game. Minimum, average, and recommended, specs required to fully run and enjoy the game.
They honestly don’t look too bad, and from what I played during the Beta while streaming, I had no FPS issues really other than when there were over a hundred players all dancing on screen at once, and even then, it was maybe a 10-15 FPS hit at max.
And that’s pretty much everything I can think of. All of the questions I’ve seen asked, and all of the topics that I think really need covered.
Blue Protocol is one of the hottest upcoming MMOs – being one of the most anticipated titles in years and could potentially be the biggest online release of 2021.
This is a game I’ve been hyping for an entire year now and have covered quite extensively over that year – I’m a fan of Anime games and MMOs both, so an Anime MMO that looks as good and plays as good as Blue Protocol does is literally everything I’ve been waiting for.
This could finally take my attention from Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. At the very least, it should give people an actual MMO to play in place of Genshin Impact, right?