A Look at Bless Online One Month After Early Access
The first month of Bless had a very rocky path due to several factors. For one, the developers had no idea how many people would try the NA version causing server congestion and a scramble to fix it. However, many people seemed to have missed what was going on and soon bailed. This was announced as a version geared to NA and was on Steam’s early access list. I understood I would be stepping into a game that was far more beta than launch ready, and they were changing it up to cater better to how Westerners prefer to play. We shall see how this goes, but I’m not giving up on the game due to these initial mistakes of developers and players both. With this said let’s get on to why I’m sticking around.
I always love a good story and this one is done well enough to make me want to laugh at, slap, and almost cry for some of the characters. I rather like that the egotistical enemy you deal with on the Hieron side doesn’t blather everything all at once. He gives up details pertinent to your current encounter and only hints of where he is going next. You can figure most of it out, but it isn’t slapped in your face. Later on I found a twist I did not expect at all, which I need to pursue further.
I have more than one character because I like to try the various races and classes. I also like trying the crafting system. In this game you need alts in order to do all the crafting. There are three main crafts and two sub classes. A character can only have one main and one sub craft. I have slowed on leveling my paladin only to play the mage more to level crafting and determine if I missed any general things for a new players guide I have created. The crafting is pretty straightforward with a few hiccups along the way in part due to localization issues they are still working on.
Enchanting is used to make Spirits, which are used to enhance your armor, and taming scrolls, which are used to do the obvious, tame just about anything you can fight in the game. This is one craft that tends to be the primary in order to tame higher level mounts and pets. You can only buy level 1 through 15 scrolls from NPC vendors. You will get a few scrolls of this first tier level from quests that teach you about taming.
The thing you do not learn from guide quests about how the Spirits work is that you must have a spirit that matches the one listed on the item. If no spirit is listed, it cannot be enchanted. You will find that crafted armor will randomly acquire the spirit you can use on it. Spirits have different levels, but as long as the name matches and the armor allows, you can apply the highest spirit you have on hand to armor. I would suggest saving purple level spirits for end game gear. Green, the lowest level spirit you can craft, works fine up through the 30’s since you will go through gear fairly fast before hitting the 40’s. My armorer so far has been able to make level 14, 23 and 31. About every 6 or 7 levels you will be able to make new gear for a character.
Now the only thing that threw me off is that you can buy green armor if not crafting as a filler, but you can’t buy weapons. They are drops only. You may find some worthwhile blue weapons on the market if you never seem to get the right class weapons to drop in dungeons or from bosses as you level. I have stuck with the green a lot on my paladin and had no issues. I do want to get into the dungeons that she is leveled for now to gain at least a blue weapon worth using without having to buy one from the player market.
Another good reason for alts is storage space. The only thing shared account wide is the money. Each character will have their own storage space. Once I had my crafting figured out I was able to clear up space in my main character’s storage by sending materials to the appropriate crafter. You must use mail to send things between your characters or to a friend. The huge restriction is once you have two mails from any other character, including your own, you cannot receive mails from anyone. You can send up to five items per mail. Thankfully items that stack will count as one item slot making it easy to shuffle crafting materials off to the correct character. Just be sure to delete mails after confirming you acquired everything. The one thing that confused us at first in the mail is you must click the ‘Gift’ button to acquire items out of a mail.
Inventory and storage space is limited but you can buy more and you do get some bag slots opened as you level and complete certain steps in your main quest. I acquired 16 more bag slots leveling my paladin to 39 so far.
Leveling is not that hard and I was rather amused at how my mage was leveling recently through the 20’s. It seemed far faster than my paladin though I don’t think it was. Of course, the mage is the second character into this level range so I have a clue what is going on with the quests already. The only sad part with the quests is all characters for a faction will do the same things once out of their racial zone, which can be as early as level 5 depending on what you do for side quests and early hunts.
I suggest grinding out those hunt quests. It is a faster way to dungeon points than doing the dungeons more times than you need. Limit the dungeon runs to attempts for good gear or for someone to get an armor recipe at the end they may not have. Dungeon points will be needed for buying most of your crafting recipes. They can be exchanged at a max of 1000 points per day for 50 Lumena if you’d rather put them into those to help buy something from the Special Currency Shop. I did that at first, but am finding I’m using all my points to acquire the recipes I want. Hunt quests and gathering for crafting are the two grindy parts of this game in my opinion. Other than that it doesn’t feel like a grind at all.
Taming is definitely one of the fun things in this game because you can tame just about anything if you have the right level taming scroll for the creature you want. You can enhance and upgrade them though it takes a lot of taming to get enough to do this. Some creatures are worth doing this to more than others. Pets and mounts can acquire skills based on what type they are, and the higher quality they are the more chance they have of multiple skills. I’m not that great at this, but it is one thing well worth the effort in the game. Mounts and pets with skills can help you in the game when they are pulled out for use. There are even mounts that can fly. The only thing I don’t like about mounting is the time it takes, but I’ve been spoiled with the mounting while running in Guild Wars 2. In Bless, I have to stand still and wait about three seconds or so to mount. That is my only complaint with the mounts.
There has already been some class skill balancing done in the game. One of the things changed the timing of a skill I used on my paladin. I can see why they made the cooldown longer. The way it was set, you could really just focus on one chain and your enemy pretty much was stunned or lying on the ground too much to hit you. The change helped me figure out cooler ways to combine other chains in the stance besides the one I got used to over using. Of course, it was fun to watch even the big creatures fly through the air and land in a variety of ways, sometimes quite humorously. In PvP that one chain could really annoy an enemy so I am glad it was tweaked to make the PvP side fairer too.
There are more ways to fight than you can have setup on a character. You can alternate only two stances, but you can have several learned by the time you reach the 40’s. You will have a limited amount of points to spend to enhance things, so be sure to figure out which stances you really want to use and work on making sure the chains you use the most in them get enhanced first. I’ve never been a build guru, so I am not sure what is best, but I like that you have options that help you find what works for your play style and what you may be doing in the game.
If you are a solo player, you will miss out on a lot of buffs. There is a lot of grouping that helps enhance your leveling, fighting and crafting abilities. I have to admit I’ve been solo too much and missed out on a lot of these. The server I am on is rather quiet now at the lower levels. On a good note the toxicity in faction and help chat are less on that server, but it is harder to find people to group with unless closer to end game stuff. Hopefully the server merge on July 24th will help with having people to play with even if it means more chances of seeing the toxic verses the good player in chat. I’m also hoping it balances out the 15x15 PvP matches we have so far in the game.
You will wind up in contested areas at higher levels where you can be killed by the enemy trying to do things in the same PvE area as you. Some areas are worse than others. I’m expecting to see more of this once the servers merge. I came into the game expecting it and most times I do die to the enemy in part due to my disability. Sometimes it was due to being an easy target since I was engaged with a mob or two already. I tend to be the nice person and leave an enemy alone if they leave me alone, especially if I see they are lower level than I am. No one likes to be decimated by someone several levels higher when it makes it harder for you to hit and you might as well be a rabbit or something to them.
One thing I would love to see added is a way to report bugs and other issues through the game. This way it goes directly to the game team and doesn’t have to be dug out of a forum post. Even a short feedback option would be nice since this is a game still being tweaked to fit a Western audience. Sure there are the forums, but that isn’t always the best way to supply a gaming company input directly considering how it might get lost in the chatter.
Overall, I have enjoyed figuring out this game and despite the confusion in the beginning by both developers and players, this game does have a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to seeing them add the level 45 plus stuff and fill in those areas we can get to, but nothing really exists completely there yet. I plan on making more guides if this game is still alive a few months down the road.
Definitely give this game a try. If you have left due to the server issues or misunderstanding what to really expect of the game, I would give it another try now that we have a better idea what to expect from a game that really is in early access and not even completed.
About the Author
Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.