Today Bandai Namco showcased plenty of new gameplay footage and details of its upcoming MMORPG Blue Protocol.
We start taking a look at the classes and their skills, that can be unlocked in a fairly complex “Skill Board.” Incidentally, we learn that the level cap for the upcoming closed beta is 35.
Fairly canonically, you’ll unlock skills in the skill board by spending points you can also reset them by using a skill reset ticket that can be earned by defeating field bosses and playing the story, or purchased at a shop.
Incidentally, you’ll notice that in the video the HP of the monsters don’t go down. This is simply a debug command used by the developers to make their HP infinite, or they’d die immediately since the player character is at the level cap.
We get to see the Aegis Fighter in action. Since it’s a tank class, it has skills that will let you attract the attention of enemies on you to protect the other party members (provoked enemies have a red icon on top of their healthbar). The class also has skills associated with the Light element.
Next is the Twin Striker, that uses a combo gauses to unleash devastating combos. The gauge progressively fills as you hit the enemy, increasing your damage, but it drops if you get hit.
The combo gauge doesn’t drop between enemies, so you can simply keep going as long as you don’t get hit. The full gauge grants 135% damage.
Fire elemental attacks can also be used, and there is a skill that will set fire to the ground, damaging any enemy that enters that area. There are also skills that can be charged.
Next in line is the Blast Archer, that fights at long range.
You can either aim manually or lock onto a target. That being said, you won’t be able to hit weak points consistently by locking on. You can do it by aiming manually, dealing more damage.
The class also has a speed boost, an attack that puts enemies to sleep (which is useful for crowd control), and another called Stampede Arrow that can send several poisoned arrows flying against a single enemy or multiple depending on whether you’re locked on or not.
Another skill named Dust Force will hit enemies in a large interdiction area. Another lets you heal friendly characters gradually in an area for a little while
Lastly, we get to see the Spell Caster, which uses fire, lightning, and ice elemental magic.
Usiong magic consumes an “EP” gauge over the crosshair.
It can charge attacks or fire weaker bolts. Among its skills, there is one that inflicts a knockback, another that slows enemies down, one that charges your EP gauge (Quickcharge), a large blizzard that repeatedly hits enemies in an area, while Thunder Mine does what it says on the tin creating mines that slowly move toward the enemy exploding with electrical damage.
Interestingly, spells with lasting effects can be combined, and e even get a super-powerful meteor spell.
There are six elements in the game, fire, earth, ice, light, thunder, and poison. You can trigger special effects by using multiple spells of the same element on an enemy.
Another interesting element is “Imagine” that can be equipped to trigger a variety of effects.
Battle Imagine can summon monsters that can help in battle. Inner Imagine can boost your gear
Mount imagines do what they say on the tin, letting you summon mounts you can ride.
We also get a brief look at the map, with points of interests that we can interact with to uncover more areas.
Mount Imagine have their own HP, and you need to go back to town to heal them.
We also learn that the game will be free to play with optional paid items. That being said, paid items will be exclusively cosmetic and won’t influence gameplay and progression.
There will also be a “season pass” providing convenience features similar to a battle pass in battle royale games or premium services in other MMORPGs. They won’t provide competitive advantages against players who don’t pay for them.
More miscellaneous information includes the fact that names will have 12 characters, each gender will have three voices in closed beta like in the closed alpha. In beta, you can also create two characters, but the limit isn’t decided for the final game yet. You’ll be able to change your character’s looks.
Guilds are also planned to be introduced down the line, but won’t be in the closed beta.
Non-combat content (the question the devs answered mentioned housing, fishing, and casinos as examples) is something the team wants to implement but it needs to be organic with the rest of the game. It won’t be in the beta.
The beta also won’t include an action house due to concerns related to RMT (real money trading), but there might be something implemented in the future for cosmetic items.
PvP is coming, but it will be party-based. It will be entirely opt-in. There will be no player-killing or any way to force others to PvP.
The development team is also at work on more classes, but they aren’t ready to mention when they’ll come.
There is no restriction on outfits based on class. The ability to dye clothes is planned.
Controllers like DualShock 4 and the Xbox One gamepad are supported, while the maximum resolution in beta is 1080p
We also get to take a look at the settings to customize the UI, including the ability to hide it. Controls can also be customized. You can create different control settings depending on class.
The team plans to punish botting and cheating harshly, but can’t provide more details for now.
They also plan on providing a benchmark, even if it won’t be ready for the beta. It’ll also include the character creation.
We also get an explanation of Zones and Channels. A zone is a large area with no loading screens as you move around. Each zone can hold a certain number of players.
Channels are basically different instances of a zone in order to have enough to hold all the players in that zone.
Channels can hold 30 players in the field, 200 in the city, and 6 in a dungeon.
You can join your party members in another channel. In the closed beta, that will be the only way to change channel.
Using the chat during battle isn’t possible, but you can use the “shortcut ring” to communicate. That being said, this isn’t final and changes may be considered in the future.
There will be another stream next week, so you can expect more news then.
If you want to see more, you can take a look at the latest screenshots, the previous images screenshots, some more recent gameplay footage, the previous trailer, the initial announcement trailer and the first screenshots, and the second batch of screenshots, another gallery, another look at the Aegis Fighter class, one at the Twin Striker class, the first look at the Blast Archer, and the reveal of the Spell Caster.
Blue Protocol is an online JRPG in development for PC by a team named Project Blue Sky, which is a joint initiative of Bandai Namco Online and Bandai Namco Studios. At the moment, there is no set release date.
While a western release has not been announced yet, the recent discovery of a career opportunity ad for a localization director strongly hinted to an upcoming English version of the game.