Author Topic: Black Desert Online  (Read 500 times)

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Online Huw the Poo

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Black Desert Online
« on: October 30, 2018, 01:55:20 PM »
Black Desert Online is a Korean MMO published by Kakao Games, who recently came to the gaming fore after their acquisition of CCP, developer of the seminal Eve Online.  The Korean theme very much runs through the game, from the aesthetics to the slant towards grind and pay-to-win.  I will say more about this later in the post; don't discount the game for this just yet!

In fact it was the controversy of that acquisition that brought the game to my attention; I'd never heard of it but I subscribe to the Eve Online subreddit so I read about it.  The Eve playerbase were very distressed about it but, never being one to let others form my opinions for me, I decided to investigate BDO myself.

I'm so very glad I did!  I have been very pleasantly surprised by what I've seen so far, to the point where I've bought my copy (7-day trials are available on the BDO website) and am quite happy to pay the equivalent of the subscription - this isn't mandatory and is something else I will address later too.

In typical Korean fashion there's a huge number of classes and they're all gender locked.  If you want to be a Dark Knight you must be female; if you want to be a Berserker you must be male, and so on.  When you first log on you create your character, choose a star sign (absolutely no clues as to what this actually does), family name, name, and customise the look of your character.  Now, costumes are disappointingly uniform (lol) across the class; if you play as a Dark Knight you're going to look like 95% of other Dark Knights.  It's my understanding that costumes rarely change much even as you upgrade through the various tiers of armour.  Presumably this is to encourage you to buy costumes on the cash shop!

Then you begin.  You're guided throughout your leveling experience by an odd little black spirit that gives you quests or points you in the direction of (main) quest givers.  Rewards, and experience, comes thick and fast.  By the end of the tutorial you've gone up a few levels and by the end of an initial cursory session you're likely to be around level 12.  Every quest completed gives you some bonuses and/or nice equipment.  There's a milestone level cap of 50 which is where the "real" game begins (I just reached this today so cannot comment on anything that comes later), a further milestone at 56 where you "awaken" and get a class-specific special weapon and skill set, and apparently there's no hard level cap in the game at all.  Experience for leveling comes purely from combat, although there are various other types of experience in the game such as Contribution (used to buy housing, invest in cities and institutions and a lot more) and Lifeskills which is what other MMOs call Professions - gathering, farming, mining and so on.

The early leveling experience, then, consists in its simplest form of going from quest giver to quest giver, going forth and beating about the head and shoulders anything you're told to, handing in your quests and investing your skill points.  Now, when I say the game only begins at 50, I mean it.  The pre-50 game is easy, really easy.  Mobs are stupid and generally go down in one hit, and bosses are trivial.  I have used this period to get used to my skills - each skill is activated by a certain mouse and key combination - and deciding which ones I like to use.  I've also used it to take a peek at some of the other systems BDO has to offer.

(For those worried at this point - I am assured the game gets a lot harder from here - and I can also say that I finally found some mobs today that actually did some damage and forced me to retreat in surprise - this was just as I was about to hit level 50)

So, the other systems.  Heh.  This is where BDO really begins to differ from the MMOs you're probably used to.  Where do I begin?  For a start, the world is divided into regions with each having its own node.  In order to do anything meaningful in a region you have to invest in the node and bring it into your network.  You do this by spending contribution points which you slowly accumulate throughout the game.  Disconnecting a node adds the points back into your pool.  After investing in a node you can do things like hire workers to tend to farms and mine for you and various other things like that.  Investing in a node also means you don't pay a very hefty sales tax when you sell trade goods from that node elsewhere (price increases with distance).

There are plenty of other curiosities.  Currency - silver - has physical presence.  So it will weigh you down when you carry a lot, forcing you to either bank it in one of the many storages or convert it into gold which can itself be banked or carried.  This is one of things that critics of the game never mention.  In the vast majority of MMOs you're nickel-and-dimed for bank storage constantly.  In BDO you have loads of storage - it's just spread out across the world.  There are numerous options to make this easier to manage, too.  You can hire a wagon and physically transport goods and gold/silver yourself, or you can pay for it to be done.  By the way, if you're paying for something you can use money stored at the nearest storage.

Mounts are no big deal in BDO.  Other MMOs will make you grind (or pay) for your first mount.  In BDO I had a donkey by the end of my first session of play, and a horse by the end of my second.  They have their own skills, can be bred, trained, leveled up etc.  You also have pets and they have much more utility in BDO than in most other MMOs.  There is a wide range and each species has its own special abilities.  However they all have one utility in common, and that's picking up loot from fallen mobs.  Here's where some element of pay-to-win comes in.  There's nothing stopping you looting mobs yourself but you have to loot each one individually and you get through a lot; having up to five pets with you can make this much less wearying - but pets cost real money, or you can try to snipe one from the marketplace (very difficult to do).

That kind of sums up the pay-to-win element.  Before writing this post I asked my guildmates, all grizzled veterans, for their honest opinions.  Most have spent a lot of money on BDO, but that's because they're happy to do so - I am the same with Warframe to be honest.  The responses I received were along the lines of just buying a few pets is a necessity, or (to some) buying costumes is a necessity.  So it really depends how heavily invested you get in the game.  I think most would agree, however, that constantly having a Value Pack (BDO's equivalent of a premium subscription) is almost mandatory because it makes the game generally more comfortable to play.

I could have written a lot more about this game but I will have to stop for now.  Believe me when I say there's a lot I haven't even touched on, like how PvP and guild wars work for example.  I might post more later; I will definitely be happy to field any questions.

In summary: I highly recommend BDO.  It's a fantastically beautiful world, it's quirky and different, it's a far cry from the usual copy-and-paste (almost) free to play MMOs, it has some highly intriguing systems and its reputed cash-grab nature is highly exaggerated.  There's a seven day trial on the website; maybe try it for yourself?

Black Desert Online
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 02:16:55 PM by Huw the Poo »

Offline acctingman

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2018, 03:04:36 PM »
Is the pvp forced? Are there zones/areas where you can quest unscathed?

The BIGGEST turn off of pvp for me are the gankers.


Online Huw the Poo

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2018, 03:59:48 PM »
The PvP is forced, yes, once you reach level 50.  The cities and major landmarks are designated safe zones but anywhere else it's open season.  Having just reached 50 myself I have no experience yet so again I deferred to my guildmates.  I'm being told that ganking depends largely on where you go and when.  Being around popular spots at peak times will make fights inevitable - other times and places a lot less so.  It's my understanding that a lot of PvP is guild wars and node wars.

From what I've been reading on the wiki the penalties for having negative karma are rather harsh, but they don't dissuade people entirely.

Offline acctingman

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2018, 04:27:03 PM »
Thanks for the info. That's a no go for me.

Takes one asshat ganker to make me want to puke.

Offline Ubercat

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 05:45:50 PM »
My best friend and I had a lot of fun ganking gankers in the Shadowbane MMORPG way back when. We both had scout characters that specialized in killing stealth builds that griefers liked to use. Some of them got so butthurt that we F’d up their time F’ing with people. It’s fun to be a dick to dicks!
Numbers 31:17-18
"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

Psalm 137:9
"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2018, 07:22:11 PM »
I tried BDO when the English version was first released.  It was so damn full of people at the time, you were basically waiting in line to get quests done at certain points.  :pullhair:

The gameplay was a bit enjoyable when being able to do my own thing, if too memorization-intensive regarding fight combos.  Guess I'm just an old stubborn MMO'er who still prefers simple target-and-skill spam gameplay.


My best friend and I had a lot of fun ganking gankers in the Shadowbane MMORPG way back when. We both had scout characters that specialized in killing stealth builds that griefers liked to use. Some of them got so butthurt that we F’d up their time F’ing with people. It’s fun to be a dick to dicks!

Wow.  Haven't heard that MMO name in a long time. 

I vaguely recall enjoying it, but didn't get as involved as some others did back in the day.  Some other shiny probably caught my eye.. and I was off to the next thing per usual. 

Seem to recall it was pretty much just large outdoor setting with a heavy pvp lean.  I didn't get the impression that it had as much variety, regarding different activities, as others.  Although it did have a relatively large range of classes to choose from at the time.

Offline Ubercat

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 08:02:25 PM »
It pretty much ruined all other MMORPG's for me. What other RPG's allow you to build your own cities from the ground up, where you want, complete with the vendors you choose and NPC guards to protect them from specific PC's that you're in conflict with? The players had complete control over creating their own political structures and shifting alliances as they chose. If/when another MMORPG does that, I'll consider trying another one. I don't think I'll ever again manage the 10-12 hours a day I was playing, though!
Numbers 31:17-18
"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

Psalm 137:9
"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

Online Huw the Poo

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 12:41:18 AM »
Didn't Darkfall Online do pretty much all of that as well?  I believe it's recently had some form of rerelease too.

Online Yskonyn

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 01:28:14 AM »
Fired up BDO yesterday evening for a short spell to check out the ‘Remastered’ graphics.
I already found the game awesome looking before the ‘overhaul’ so the thing that struck me most are the overdone shinyness effects on metal surfaces and the extreme depth of field blurring effect.
I am not sure what other ‘improvements’ have been made.
No doubt the game is top dog in MMO land regarding graphics, but personally I am not very fond of overdone filmic effects at all.
The shine can’t be tunes in game, but at least you can get rid of the DOF filter.

Started a new character (family name Daventria). Lots of new class options from last time I played. The character creator is weird in a sense that the characters look so real that if you’re creating a female (I chose Archer) you feel rather uncomfortable to be ‘playing’ with her body measurements. Weird stuff.
As far as creating the person you have lots op options to tweak, but like Huw mentioned you have little choice in deciding on outfit. Not even on colour of the outfit.
This is definately done to persuade you to start buying costumes in the store.
Many people don’t (low level?) so while playing you see lots of clones running around in the starter zones. That a pretty big immersion killer for me. I don’t know if this gets better later on.

When starting the game you are guided through a simple quest chain explaining the bare basics of play, but the fun part is that the game doesn’t muck about getting you into the action!
And the action is where BDO shines, I think!

Its action oriented where you make combo’s by pressing various combinations of your mouse buttons coupled with keyboard input.
Most combo’s are directly tied to your movement on the battlefield, so this creates a very natural flow of pulling off awesome tricks and actions!
This is the first Archer in any MMO that makes me feel like being Legolas from LOTR! Only ... well a girl. ;)
She can dash into a group of enemies at high speed, pull out her long knife quickly to start slashing then salto back with a double flip while throwing knives at the group then quickly pull out her bow and start peppering the remaining buggers from a distance! Totally awesome!

Special note to the animations. The creatures and player characters are all richly animated. With little nuances.

The quests are your typical fetch quests and kill x amount of y . And I am being told that later on the grind gets real, requiring insane amounts of stuff to complete tasks.
No such thing at this point yet.
One thing is clear though; despite the boring quests I am having more fun doing them due to the combat system than, say an old school hotbar system like FFXIV sports.
It feels Diablo-like at times for pacing and skillset.

That’s all I can report at this time.
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Offline Tpek

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 05:35:25 AM »
My best friend and I had a lot of fun ganking gankers in the Shadowbane MMORPG way back when. We both had scout characters that specialized in killing stealth builds that griefers liked to use. Some of them got so butthurt that we F’d up their time F’ing with people. It’s fun to be a dick to dicks!

Ohh man, now I miss Shadowbane.
I remember it went completely and truly free to play for years before being fully shut down.


As for BDO, seems my country isn't included in any of the licenses for the game, so I can't play at all.
Worse, googling about it only leads to posts fellow Israelis posted on the main forum that got swarmed with racist and antisemitic replies (with of course the blessings of the those forum's moderators).

Ohh well, I got enough MMOs to play right now anyway (DCUO, LOTRO, SWTOR, ESO, Blade&Soul and more :P ).

Offline Geezer

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 06:13:22 AM »
I had a lot of fun with BDO while playing with my guild (The Older Gamers) but then it all ended when I changed ISP's.  That necessitated a change to my email address.  I had over a half dozen MMO accounts where there was absolutely no trouble changing my email address, except one.  Yep, Pearl Abyss were complete bastards about it.  They were the only ones that required me to open a ticket to make the change.  That would have been OK except they then insisted that I prove who I was by sending them a picture of my current drivers license with the open ticket on my computer screen in the background!  So I did that but they said it wasn't clear enough for them to read even though I could read it fine.  It was very difficult for me to hold my license steady in one hand while taking the pic with my phone in the other hand.  But I tried again and this time they said they could read everything except the expiration date on my license!  I put the date in my ticket but they said nope not good enough, it had to be readable in the pic.  At that point I just told them to go fuck themselves and I haven't played since.  It was all because they wanted me to prove my email address change wasn't due to me selling my account to someone else.  Did they really think I sold my account and then mailed an old expired drivers license to whoever bought my account?!  Ridiculous IMHO.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  George Bernard Shaw

Offline Tpek

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 09:40:37 AM »
I had a lot of fun with BDO while playing with my guild (The Older Gamers) but then it all ended when I changed ISP's.  That necessitated a change to my email address.  I had over a half dozen MMO accounts where there was absolutely no trouble changing my email address, except one.  Yep, Pearl Abyss were complete bastards about it.  They were the only ones that required me to open a ticket to make the change.  That would have been OK except they then insisted that I prove who I was by sending them a picture of my current drivers license with the open ticket on my computer screen in the background!  So I did that but they said it wasn't clear enough for them to read even though I could read it fine.  It was very difficult for me to hold my license steady in one hand while taking the pic with my phone in the other hand.  But I tried again and this time they said they could read everything except the expiration date on my license!  I put the date in my ticket but they said nope not good enough, it had to be readable in the pic.  At that point I just told them to go fuck themselves and I haven't played since.  It was all because they wanted me to prove my email address change wasn't due to me selling my account to someone else.  Did they really think I sold my account and then mailed an old expired drivers license to whoever bought my account?!  Ridiculous IMHO.

You should get an email account with Google (GMail) or some other such, more reliable, email providers.

This way, when you change ISPs, you won't lose access to all your emails and be forced to change the address everywhere.

Offline Geezer

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 09:44:36 AM »

You should get an email account with Google (GMail) or some other such, more reliable, email providers.

This way, when you change ISPs, you won't lose access to all your emails and be forced to change the address everywhere.

Yup, I switched from an ISP based email to Gmail but it didn't help with BDO.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  George Bernard Shaw

Online Huw the Poo

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2018, 04:10:25 PM »
I can't really argue with anything you said there, Ysk.  I believe the excessive blurriness was addressed in today's patch.

The character creator is weird in a sense that the characters look so real that if you’re creating a female (I chose Archer) you feel rather uncomfortable to be ‘playing’ with her body measurements. Weird stuff.

Pfft, I had no such qualms.

Booby slider: ---------|
Waist slider:  |---------
Hips slider:    ---------|

Comparing the combat to Diablo is pretty accurate really.  You wade through shitloads of mobs and collect piles of loot, although you generally don't get equipment from mobs (you do turn in their drops for nice rewards though).

Geezer, what a godawful clusterfuck.  Yeah no game is worth that.  While I've never seen it that bad, MMOs do tend to be quite anal about a simple thing like changing email addresses.  Guild Wars 2 had me jump through quite a few hoops once upon a time - one of which was naming a character I had at the time, which I really struggled to remember and had no way of finding out.

(Incidentally, I was a member of TOG's Eve Online corp for a while :) )

Offline Geezer

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Re: Black Desert Online
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2018, 04:19:36 PM »

...
(Incidentally, I was a member of TOG's Eve Online corp for a while :) )

I've flown with TOG in EVE too.  Geezer-->Andru in the TOG forums.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  George Bernard Shaw