- Bless Online was a free-to-play Korean MMORPG by Neowiz Games in development prior to 2014, launching in 2018.
- Bless Unleashed is a reboot of Bless Online, launching on Xbox One and Playstation 4 in 2020 and on PC in 2021.
- WeMade is a successful South Korean game developer
- WEMIX is a gaming blockchain and platform, and a subsidiary of WeMade.
- WeMade is bringing Bless Unleashed to WEMIX blockchain gaming platform with “play and earn”
I wouldn’t typically go for such a long-winded summary as it removes the need for reading the article, but honestly, for such a short piece of news, the inner workings are so convoluted that it was necessary!
Regular readers will be aware that I am a big MMORPG fan and tend to, at the very least, try almost all of them. As a result, I have some experience with Bless and this piece of news caught my eye. Bless is a reasonably typical Asian fantasy MMO and was thoroughly enjoyable. It was flawed, particularly with end game content — the Achilles heel of all MMOs — but it played well, looked good, and felt like an MMO.
Nevertheless, Bless Unleashed — like its predecessor — didn’t quite get the traction that it perhaps deserved. It is unambiguously a triple-A title on the surface, but had some difficulties; it was poorly optimized, it didn’t have much of a playerbase, it was pay-to-win, and if the reviews are to be believed, the developers were uninterested in fixing issues.
So, it sounds like an out-and-out disaster to bring into the blockchain gaming fold, but there are a few reasons why I believe it might not be. I can only guess as to why WeMade and WEMIX want Bless for their blockchain gaming platform that is aiming for over 100 projects, but guess I shall.
From the roster of games so far — as well as WEMIX/WeMade’s heritage — it’s clear they’re angling for the Asian market. Bless allegedly did the best in Asia of all continents, though it didn’t particularly excel in any. Next up is the pay-to-win elephant which is utterly indefensible… unless it’s a Play-to-Earn game. I’m not saying this is right, but it is a difficult line to walk where you can earn money from selling in-game items — that is, the items have value — and it not be pay-to-win in some capacity. This could neatly overcome that problem, as well as be one of the first genuinely triple-A MMOs to have blockchain integrated.
One question mark — and it’s quite a big one — is over the blockchain being used. It would require a deep-dive, likely above my technical abilities, but the WEMIX network seems to use its own blockchain and isn’t a layer 2 solution for Ethereum or one of Polkadot’s growing army. WEMIX, in their whitepaper for the network, discusses novel solutions to the Ethereum problems that have already been solved, involving a mixture of private and public blockchains. Any blockchain for public consumption that is private doesn’t feel in line with crypto’s decentralized heart, but who knows.
There are a lot of questions I have for Bless Unleashed’s new blockchain-based future, but whatever the case, it’s another example of a trend I rather hope continues: games rebooted with blockchain. It’s a reasonable solution to the early problem of the lack of high-quality projects that take years to develop. A few months ago we saw a similar story with RF Online.