How is the game doing three months out?
Bless Unleashed has been out for three months now, and the means it’s time for MMO Fallout’s first quarter checkup. A column I just made up. It’s hard to talk about Bless Unleashed without the inevitable comparisons to the disastrous launch and run of Bless Online and it’s reasonable to make those comparisons as Bless Unleashed is a reboot as much as Neowiz doesn’t want to acknowledge it. Bless Online fully launched on October 23, 2018 and shut down on September 8, 2019 meaning it technically had a lifespan of less than eleven months.
If you count console versions, Bless Unleashed has already beaten this as the Xbox One version launched in March 2020 and is still running while the PlayStation version came out in October 2020. Steam concurrent numbers also put Bless Unleashed far above where Bless Online was, with Unleashed peaking at 76 thousand players while Bless Online hit 34k on day one of early access and by the time the game actually released couldn’t break 5k players.
But how is Bless Unleashed doing three months out on PC? Unsurprisingly the game has been in a steady decline since launch. The game’s review score has held a steady 50% since soon after launch, however peak concurrent user numbers have dropped to below ten thousand over the past few days. Back in August I predicted that many people would drop off the game once they hit level 30 and got to the point of mandatory open world pvp.
I feel like Bless Unleashed is going to hit big numbers until players hit level 30, and then you’re going to see the drop happen.
— Connor (@mmofallout) August 23, 2021
See? I did say that.
While I have no empirical stats to prove that’s true, a browse through the negative reviews shows that a good number of people specifically referencing the forced pvp as a point of contention, especially once they learned that this mechanic exists to coerce players into buying cash shop items.
Much of the other player grievance appears to be centered around Neowiz’s complete incompetence in handling rampant gold farming and how it is affecting the game for normal players. Complaints focus on restricted trade, restricted markets, decreased drop rates, the near complete removal of gathering nodes from the overworld map, and changes to enhancement that have apparently made leveling up gear to access higher end dungeons virtually impossible.
One thing Bless Unleashed is absolutely not is a game people want to watch on Twitch. There might be 100-200 people tuning in at any given time, a sad number considering the Bless Unleashed Twitter account spends 99% of its time promoting anyone who will stream it. To put the numbers into perspective, more people tune in to watch Power Wash Simulator, a game where you clean buildings with a power washer.
If you compare the graph of Bless Unleashed to Bless Online, Bless Unleashed started out much higher in terms of player count which only means it fell off a lot harder and faster than its predecessor.
Neowiz really doesn’t want us to think of Bless Online when we look at Bless Unleashed, but given both games were bogged down by the incompetence of their creator it’s hard not to imagine that Bless Unleashed is heading toward the same fate as its predecessor.
Given the game has revenue streams coming from three systems this time around, it’s safe to say that Bless Unleashed will be sticking around longer than Bless Online did. However while the game will be remembered as outlasting its predecessor, there is very little chance of history remembering this game as being competently managed.