MMO intros and Bless

This is a post for the Blaugust 2021 blogging event, see the linked post for more info!

Despite the pressures of fitting work, writing and social gaming into the day, I did manage earlier this week to have a brief first look at Bless Unleashed on PC. The summer has suddenly got busy with MMOs, even if I don’t have the time to indulge as much as I’d like. Husband and I have finally gotten around to activating our free 2 weeks in Final Fantasy 14, though so far we’ve barely played any. A few more levels towards 50 is about all we’ll manage, you never know we may even get our characters into Heavensward in time for the launch of Endbringer…

My interest in Bless was kindled by news from my niece that it was better than expected, she’s enjoying it rather a lot. I missed the game’s original launch entirely, but did follow the game on blogs and sites. Bhagpuss has a first impression post on it that I’ll need to go read later, his earlier coverage of the game’s open beta also added to my general interest in trying this MMO.

Since I have only fifteen minutes to write before I start work this won’t be an in-depth impression piece of my own, for one I’ve only played the one session so far and my character is just stepped out of the tutorial proper as I logged off. But, I will comment on the intro to the game – there are elements here that remind me of other games.

Tera for instance had the full action beach intro where your character was temporarily level 20. This allowed you to learn and practice some ability combos in each of the staged encounters. It seems Bless has a similar thing with the dream sequence (if it was a dream), where I was told what to press and in what order. I encountered a bug or bit of poor explanation where an orc or similar was crouched surrounded by a red barrier and the game failed to tell me how to interrupt this shield/block pose. So I pressed all the buttons and wandered around until something worked, not a great start only minutes into the game…

Past that sequence I then played through the slightly less funneled starter island area. Linear enough, but with optional objectives and some NPCs that I imagine you could skip straight past in later alt-replays. Some nice world-building and scene setting, although the inevitable “turn all drama dials to 11” happened next. It’s pretty common in MMOs, especially these kinds of imported games to have “the world is ending” style intros. Where exactly can the story go from here? It makes me think rather fondly of the Shire and how beautifully that shows a more gradual build up of tension and threat…

I’ve just finished the grand finale of the island and my character may be in the shared world finally, I logged off inside the room I woke up in, so no idea if other player characters await beyond the door. Regardless of the story presentation, the game looks gorgeous – even on my seven year old laptop. More impressions when I’ve had a proper chance to test the combat and other systems!

Spoiler: this will not remain peaceful for long…
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1 Response to MMO intros and Bless

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I had exactly the same problem with that orc in the early tutorial. It does explain what to do, sort of, but not clearly. I remembered it the second time, just about.

    The trope of peaceful, idyllic setting rudely shattered by titanically inappropriate violence is by no means unique to imported mmorpgs, with possibly the best-known example being the original Guild Wars pre-Shattering, but it certainly seems to be the go-to for Korean and Chinese plotters. Personally, I could do with a whole game set in somewhere like the Shire or Bless’s starter island but maybe that would Animal Crossing.
    I’m really enjoying Bless Unleashed so far. Don’t like the UI or the combat but that’s me and everything else is good enough to compensate.

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