BLUE PROTOCOL: Everything You NEED to Know Going Into 2023
There are 2 MMOs releasing this year that hold the potential to truly succeed in any capacity – not by reinventing the wheel. Rather, by taking already established formulas, and putting their own unique spin on it.
Blue Protocol, and Throne & Liberty.
Blue Protocol is an action-combat Anime MMO that began development under Bandai Namco back in 2019 – possibly much earlier, with Amazon Game Studios confirmed to be publishing the title Globally in late in 2023.
Ever since Amazon was confirmed to be Global publisher, many interested players have been left wondering a plethora of different questions.
Will the game be pay to win? What regions will be supported? Is it a PC exclusive release? How horrendous is the censorship going to be? When can you play the Beta?
That’s what I’m here today to discuss. Everything YOU need to know about Blue Protocol going into 2023, ahead of its official release.
What is Blue Protocol?
Blue Protocol is an Anime MMORPG. It’s labeled via various sources as a “multiplayer online action role playing game,” minus the “massive,” but allows up to 200 players to occupy an area concurrently. That doesn’t fit the definition of an MMO for some people, sure, but that’s more than enough for the rest of us.
Is Blue Protocol Free to Play?
Yes it is. The MMO is releasing in many countries around the world, and will be fully free to play in every single one of them.
Bandai Namco are publishing the game in Japan, Smilegate is confirmed to be publishing in South Korea, and Amazon Game Studios for much of the Global market. All of which have confirmed that they have no intention of altering the game’s business model.
What Platforms Will Blue Protocol Support?
Initially, Blue Protocol was confirmed to be in development for PC exclusively. After several years in development, Bandai Namco have confirmed a release on PC, with simultaneous releases on the PS5 and XBox consoles.
It is unconfirmed specifically what type of cross-platform functionality will be present, whether you can log in via your PC and PS5 or PS5 and XBox. But the most important thing to note is that there is going to be no mobile functionality. Even though they’re missing out on an enormous market.
What is the Combat Style?
Action. Complete action combat, however, from my time spent in the Closed Beta, you also had the option to toggle a type of lock-on function as well, allowing players with significantly inferior reflexes and aim to not fall substantially behind those of you that are on the opposite spectrum.
Action combat will always be the superior option as – especially with regards to casting and archer-type classes, prediction plays a large part in landing hits, this is more apparent when you factor in moving targets.
Is it Fully Open-World?
Not quite. Much like Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Blue Protocol doesn’t have a fully seamless open world. Rather, the game utilizes a type of segregation – separated by short loading screens.
This means that to move from one city to the other, you’re likely going to be required to move through a multitude of different loading screens. Which doesn’t mean that the zones themselves are small. On the contrary, many of the areas I explored were so large you didn’t feel the impact of loading screens at all.
But it does lessen – to an extent – that feeling you get of a truly freeing world without limitation.
Will There be a Class System?
Yes. During the Closed Beta we had access to 4 classes: the Aegis Fighter, Twin Striker, Blast Archer, and Spell Caster, with Bandai Namco confirming at a later date, the introduction of the Heavy Smasher. The official Global release will feature all 5 classes, albeit with different names.
The Blade Warden, replacing the Aegis Fighter, the Keen Strider, replacing the Blast Archer, the Spell Weaver, replacing the Spell Caster, the Twin Striker remains the same, and the Foe Breaker, replacing the Heavy Smasher.
I’m honestly not entirely certain what prompted Amazon’s alteration of the class names, but some of them sound absolutely ridiculous. Not to say the originals are much better.
The class system lacks the “holy trinity” system that is so often found within MMOs. Meaning no symbiotic tank-healer-DPS relationships will be present, instead, each player will be required to be self-sufficient. If you die, it’s because you messed up. Not because a healer didn’t heal you.
There is no dedicated healer. So there’ll be nobody to blame other than yourself.
Is There a Character Creator?
Yes, thankfully, yes! This isn’t a Gacha game. While it might have some Gacha elements present, this is a far cry from a Gacha game.
Players will be able to choose their gender, and craft their character from a pre-determined number of facial and body sliders, customization options, hairstyles, colors and the like. Allowing you to live out your new fantasy life however you want!
Will it be Pay to Win?
This is where people get quite combative, arguing the fairness of the systems confirmed to be present in the Japanese version of the game. Blue Protocol is confirmed to have a Season Pass with separate rewards for both Free and Premium players.
Free will feature a maximum of 60 slots, with Premium totaling 100. Premium also gains 25 slots skipped for free.
It is confirmed to have a Gacha system present, but not for gear or characters. Rather, the Gacha feature is going to be purely cosmetic, offering chances at unique outfits, unique mounts. This will be of large benefit to Bandai Namco as players are going to continue to roll to obtain the outfit purely for bragging rights.
However, at the same time they’ll be alienating those of us that typically support games by purchasing new mounts and outfits in MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV because we’re used to that safety net – that guarantee we’ll receive what we’re paying for for the $20 or $30 single-time investment.
There will be a consumable shop present where players are able to purchase items to increase the success rates when crafting items. Items that will allow you to receive additional rewards from dungeons – free players are limited to a certain number of these items where premium players can obtain significantly more.
There will also be items that allow you to immediately complete quests to obtain the rewards without investing time into physically participating in them. Ultimately, this has fueled the discussion that the game is going to be pay to win. And whether that is true or not is entirely dependent on your definition of pay to win.
Will paying provide an advantage over non-paying players? Yes, definitely. Will it have a substantial affect on you? No, not at all.
Will Global be Censored?
Yes. It was already confirmed by Amazon themselves that the game is going to be altered to an extent to better suit the Western market.
According to the studio, “There will be a few minor differences between the Japanese and Western versions of Blue Protocol. The main reason for this is that we are aiming for a “teen” rating for our market so that Blue Protocol becomes a title that our friends and family can play together.”
For reference, Japan does not have a Teen rating, and could potentially feature more revealing outfits, uncut dialogue and entire scenes that are either taken out or altered to the point where it’s unrecognizable in the Global version.
We’ve seen the types of censorship Amazon engages in personally with Lost Ark, as has been repeatedly discussed and showcased online.
How "Massive" is the Game?
A question I hear repeatedly echoed throughout the community is exactly how “massive” the game is going to be. Blue Protocol utilizes a type of “channel” system, much like the vast majority of MMOs out there.
Each channel has a set number of players able to exist concurrently within it before new players are sent to a new instance of the same area. Max capacity differs between types of zones – Cities and Towns have a maximum number of 200 people allowed concurrently before new instances are created.
Out in the field – outside of towns and cities the maximum is up to 30 players. Dungeons and Arenas are limited to 6 people, with dungeons actually scaling in difficulty depending on how many players are in your group.
Raids have a limit of 30 people, but a maximum of 30 players isn’t required, much like how WoW allows raid groups of different sizes. And finally, there will be solo-exclusive content like Time Attack and Score Attack.
How Does Gear Acquisition Work?
One of the most common misconceptions about Blue Protocol is that it’s your average MMO. You run dungeons, dungeon bosses drop gear, then you run raids, raid bosses drop gear, rinse and repeat.
That isn’t the case. All gear in this game is crafted. Meaning bosses don’t drop gear. Bosses drop materials, and after acquiring a set number of items, you can craft your gear.
As loot is completely RNG, this means that someone could obtain the materials necessary to craft their best in slot weapon in 10 runs, where it could take you 30 runs to craft. Which is where the discussion of pay to win comes in, since paying players can acquire additional loot that free players just won’t have access to.
This means that you’ll never be grinding mindlessly for a single piece of gear. Instead, you’ll be grinding to obtain the missing materials – many of which I’m assuming are required for various different gear pieces.
This makes the grind much more rewarding since you’re grinding towards acquiring multiple pieces at once.
What Regions Will be Supported?
While confirmed supported languages for Global include English, French, German, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, Global regions will consist of North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
A confirmed English dub will be available, with Amazon opting to not elaborate on whether the official Japanese dub will be an available option.
Within Asia, the game has a confirmed South Korean release, with most of South East Asia suffering IP blocks, and potentially European regions that have laws and regulations banning video games with Gacha unfortunately.
When is the Next Beta Test?
Originally, a final Japanese Closed Beta was slated for January 14th through January 16th 2023. However, due to some pretty severe complications, the Japanese Beta test was delayed until some time in March 2023. This is a delay of 2 months – and could potentially affect the release date Bandai Namco were aiming for.
No confirmed Closed Beta has been scheduled for the Global version of the game, but one would expect it would come after Japan has – at the very least – finzlied the version of the game to allow for Amazon to use.
When is Blue Protocol Releasing?
And I think that covers it. Everything worth noting moving into 2023. Its Japanese Beta. Its Japanese launch, and further, its Global Beta and Global launch.
If there’s anything you think I missed, or anything further you’d like covered, let me know and I’ll try my best to help.
Blue Protocol is an MMO I’ve been promoting for years now – since 2019 when it was announced. And I cannot be more excited, even despite disagreeing with certain aspects of it.
Spring 2023 in Japan, and – while a little more vague, “the 2nd half of 2023” for Global. This could be anywhere from July through December. Which means if we were to receive a Closed Beta for the game, it would likely also take place at some point in the latter half of 2023.
Note: This is not factoring in current delays or future delays. Which both Bandai Namco and Amazon are quite notorious for.