Good news and bad news for fans excited about Blue Protocol, the upcoming free-to-play MMO from Bandai Namco and Amazon. The good news is that we finally know how the game will handle lobby balance and how many players will be able to go dungeon crawling at once. The bad news is that we might have to wait a little bit longer to experience the game ourselves.
Bad news out of the way first: Bandai Namco has delayed its network test to later in March. The Japanese developer hasn't given us a specific date for when closed beta tests will begin, but delaying the network test probably means that the beta test will be delayed too, we just won't know by how long.
The good news is that Bamco has finally told us how Blue Protocol's MMO structure will actually work. The game will allow up to 200 people to simultaneously occupy a single instance of a city or town, and after that, it'll create a new instance or "channel" in the parlance of Blue Protocol. In open-world combat areas called "fields," Blue Protocol will allow up to 30 people to occupy the same area.
Missions will be a little different. For most dungeons, arenas, and something called "unbroken tower," the game will allow groups of up to six players. Time attack and score-based missions are solo experiences, while raids can have up to 30 players. Bandai Namco said that these values will vary, depending on the exact dungeon, raid, or mission, but these are some general values of what players can expect.
Bamco also confirmed players will experience loading screens when moving from cities to fields, or from fields to dungeons. Servers will handle the load in the typical MMO way of applying more resources to channels with lots of players and taking resources away from channels with few players. It all gets very technical from there, which if you're into that sort of thing, you can read about on the Blue Protocol website.
With a network test tentatively planned for March, Blue Protocol plans to have a website go live with more game info sometime in February. After that, closed beta tests will begin sometime later this year.
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