So, the long awaited Black Desert Online has finally arrived in North America/Europe and entered the closed beta stage. I have heard quite a bit about this game and it certainly had quite a bit of hype behind it. So, without any further research beyond what I’ve heard by word of mouth, I shall take a dive into Black Desert Online! Here is what I have heard:
- Graphics are awesome and character customization is top notch.
- Action MMO (like Dragon Nest and Vindictus).
- It is PVP oriented (not sure if I’ll be able to test this part).
Points 1 and 2 can easily be judged and tested while point 3 is quite honestly a turn off since I’m not big on PVP what with balance issues and other factors such as lag but that isn’t going to stop me from trying this game out! **After a brief Google search, turns out PVP is accessible at the soft 50 cap? We’ll see I guess.**
Now, the closed beta test lasts for a week and since I’m working the majority of that time (only 1 day off), I decided to just put together a little entry log of each day’s experience and thoughts that I play which you can follow here! Don’t worry, I’ll add a link for each day’s entry for easy navigation right down below along with a TL;DR right here which will be updated as I go. At the end of each day’s entry log will also be a series of photos you can click to view as well, so enjoy! Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four.
Day 1: Character Creation and Combat
- Character creation is indeed amazing.
- Combat feels very fluid and extremely satisfying.
- There is weight to your attacks and actions.
- Combat tutorial is glitchy and the UI is cluttered as all hell.
Day 2: Exploration, Clarification, and Hesitation
- Mostly spent exploring and doing research about the game.
- Informative infograph and excellent beginner’s guide.
- Much more sandbox theme rather than theme-park setting.
- The UI editor is garbage but serves its intended purpose.
- Confirmed open world PVP. Parkour is a thing. World is huge.
Day 3: Pets and Grinding
- Got a pet cat which sits on your shoulder when idle (freaking cute!)
- Parkoured up a mountain and through town for shenanigans
- Killed a lot of goblins because main quest (I don’t know what the story is but apparently you have amnesia.)
- Combat getting repetitive but the knowledge system is interesting.
Day 4: Combat and Closing Thoughts
- Fighting takes time to get used to for each class. Like, a lot.
- Boss fights are really fun and can be done solo and at lower levels.
- There’s seriously a lot to do and will require an exorbitant amount of time to grasp everything. Will definitely get your money’s worth.
- If you’re not a fan of sandbox games, it will be quite overwhelming since there is no real direct path.
- Pets seem to be shared through account via what I guess is the family system. Same with information/knowledge you obtain.
- Multiple pets may be summoned at once, although I’m not sure if they provide stat boosts or just for looks.
So not a whole lot was accomplished today other than creating a bunch of characters. The naming convention in this game is honestly a bit annoying. You have to pick a Family name which is shared across all your characters (I guess that’s useful for quick identification of alts?) and then actual character names. Oh, and of course there can’t be duplicate Family names either so have fun with that one.
The level of customization though is insane! They even have an event up right now where you basically do your best to replicate a person and post it to their Facebook page as a contest. Now, one of the biggest complaints from the other Korean MMOs Dragon Nest and Vindictus is that classes are gender locked. Well guess what? It is here too! Now personally, I don’t really care since you spend 99% of the time looking at their backside anyway so as long as the animations and armor look good, that’s fine by me. I only bothered to play the Sorceress and Tamer and just between those two, I’ll say that the hair options vary quite a bit but realistically the number of options you would probably actually use are about the same and I ended up using the same hair style on both after a long debate. Go figure.
Now instead of having half your screen filled with sliders and stuff, they made it a lot easier to alter the appearance with like a skeletal layout for the face and just general part selection with the body which you can just click and drag to your heart’s content. There’s just one little box with basic slider options that changes depending on which part is selected for easy editing as well if you just need some fine tuning and a nifty “Put hair up” check box you can toggle to get that marvelous hair out the damn way so you can alter that beautiful (or wrinkled) face!
At the main character creation menu you might have also noticed something about “Constellations” which apparently have traits of some sort but I haven’t figured out if it actually does anything rather than perhaps serve role playing (RP). The uh….strategically positioned Character Action basically allows you to change the pose and outfits for, well, outfitting. At the end of the day, I’m satisfied with messing around character creation for the majority of my free time. Oh, there’s also a hidden gem about changing your idle facial expression which got a few good laughs. Remember when you were told to not make faces or it would stay like that?….Yeah. Go try it out.
Well, after creating both a Sorceress and a Tamer, it’s time to actually play the game. First thing once loaded is that there is an overwhelming amount of information being thrown at your face, as most MMOs do. Granted, I’ve seen worse (looking at you, Wildstar) but I think a newcomer might be just a tad overwhelmed. Well, at least until you get away from the NPCs in the area. It’s not as bad in open areas. There is a set of action shortcuts that float next to your character depending if you’re in combat stance or idle stance. Movement is different from most other games as in there is actually weight, but it handles very strangely. When you jump, the ascending feels right but you drop like a boulder once you hit the peak and hit the ground twice as fast as you went up. There is also model collision, which is quite funny when you’re sprinting by someone and just bump shoulders but even a small beetle will stop you in your tracks unless you kill it, jump over it, or go around it. Yeah…that’ll get annoying. It’s just like real life where you can’t magically phase through things and everything is a solid object. Momentum is also a factor that plays into when you start and stop moving. Like a normal human, you take a step or two before going into a light jog or sprint and takes a few steps to halt yourself as well. Again, neat touch but it’s gonna take some time to get used to it.
Now, all that aside, the combat feels amazing. During the combat tutorial (which is still glitchy as heck), you are instructed to basically whack away at a dummy to make sure you’re at least competent enough to hit 3-5 buttons that do different things. It’s not until you get to the fox and wolves area (yeah, generic enemies. Did you really expect something ground breaking at this point?) that you actually get to round up a couple of enemies together and go HAM on their sorry asses! **Note: There should be in-game options that allows you to choose combat effects. I have vibrations turned to medium so it actually looked and felt like my attacks had weight when they landed. Try messing with it.** Overall, combat just felt fluid and amazingly satisfying. The animations rocked and right out the gate you get a bunch of combos you can do with just a few skills outside normal left and right mouse button attacks.
Now, I did browse the subreddit and came across someone saying they were already lost with the combat even a while after the tutorial. I’ll be the first to say that the only reason I knew what I was doing and fully enjoying myself is because I have played both Vindictus and Dragon Nest for quite some time so I have extensive experience with action MMOs. The combat tutorial really doesn’t teach the player anything other than “press this key and left/right mouse button simultaneously for a stronger attack!” and how to toggle from combat to idle stance. There is a slight variation on step 3 or 4 depending on the class you picked. For instance, step 3 for Sorceress was to press either “s” or “f” for an enhanced attack. Well, I kept going at the dummy for a good 2 minutes before figuring something was wrong. I somehow got past it either by landing a RMB evade attack using “a” and “d” or the game just said eff it, I’ve got 5 people pummeling this dummy and no one is progressing. Meanwhile, I swapped to my Tamer and it was straightforward and registered everything I did except on step 4 (which was skipped on Sorceress) which told me to use “f” to kick the dummy, which didn’t register. So I walked away and just kicked the air and magically completed the quest. Point is, that combat tutorial doesn’t teach jack squat and if this is your first action MMO, just read the skill descriptions. It will tell you the button combination to activate each skill so memorize it and build a combo around it. Only keep skills on your hotbar that are either a “oh crap I need this now” skill or have a really really long cooldown timer.
Well, that was a bit longer than I expected but I hope you enjoyed the read on the first day. Honestly, character creation deserves a lot of praise and the combat is amazing. Storyline is forgettable but I do love that little spirit that follows you. Oh, and the graphics are pretty good too…IF I COULD SEE IT! So much freaking UI stuff floating around I’m lucky I can even see the enemies and my own attacks. Gonna mess with settings more on day 2 since most of the important stuff is covered on day 1. Below are some screenshots that were taken on just this day. Feel free to click on it for an enlarged version.
Today was more so about exploration of both the world and settings. Turns out, they weren’t kidding when they said the world is huge. You definitely need a mount, but you also build stamina by traveling on foot. Here’s a beginner’s guide that’s really useful for getting a grasp on the game as well as this infograph detailing the different aspects. You get a donkey to ride once you get the lvl17 quest so just travel as much by foot (and sprint!) before then to level up stamina. Turns out the game is gonna be a bit of a grind but it is a sandbox MMO so have at it. Yes, you did sign up for this. If you’re new to MMOs, welcome to the grind! That being said, there are tons and tons of things you can do so I would imagine role playing will have a nice community (although open PVP may be an issue and limits it to safe zones).
Found out parkour is actually a thing, which is amazing. The jump physics is still questionable at best but man it’s satisfying to climb buildings. On the flip side…I decided to do a bit of exploring in Olvia, the starting town. Turns out, the doors are just fake barriers you just walk through. Yup. No action to open them or any instance loading. Just, walk through it and you’re inside the building. It was a bit jarring at first since I came from FFXIV where every door swings open in the same direction as you pass through. Even if it was the wrong direction, at least it opens and gives you the sense of entering a building rather than freaking Houdini-ing your way in.
Interacting with the world around you is incredibly important. Many actions require energy, which you have a meter for and can raise. You get 1 energy every 3 minutes so be sure to keep it low so you don’t waste energy. It’s like a form of in-game currency that helps build your character through interactions like gathering or just chatting up NPCs.
The UI leaves much to be desired and the editor is just awful. It takes a lot of fiddling to get things to be half decent as far as displays go and then you also need to toggle a few options on and of in the settings menu to fit your preferences. After a while I just started to ignore everything since I found a thread that explained the cooldown mechanics in this game is different from traditional MMOs. Typically, when a skill is on cooldown, that means you can’t use it at all. That is not the case here; when a skill is on cooldown, you can skill use that skill. However, the potency of that skill will be reduced which makes perfect freaking sense and allows for far greater flexibility in combat.
Didn’t get to do too much today cause of work sadly but I spent the day on my Tamer. They are definitely fun to play, but I feel like Sorceress is more fluid as far as combat goes. Also, further clarification in case you didn’t read the infograph, turns out that although each class is technically gender locked, there is a gender equivalent of said class under a different name (i.e. Sorceress is female while Wizard is male). Although playstyle will vary a bit, the core mechanics remain the same.
The GM’s said the will be sending the first of three pets tomorrow which will help with looting so that’s quite exciting. However, inventory space is an issue and I hate having to buy inventory space so there’s that. There is a cash shop but it’s mostly for cosmetics and such. Nothing P2W (pay to win) supposedly but I haven’t looked yet. Lastly, I say hesitation because honestly nothing outside of character creation has made it stand out from other MMOs. They story is forgettable and being a sandbox game, you can very quickly become overwhelmed with objectives and organizing it is a pain. Now, enjoy some photos!________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thus far, can’t really say much else for the game. Combat felt great at first but now it’s kind of just meh. Mostly just grinded today which involved killing tons of goblins. BDO has a system where you gain knowledge about everything as you interact, which also applies towards monsters which you find out very early on. The more you kill, the more knowledge and experience you obtain which makes them easier to take down. Pretty neat system because the first time you encounter a monster, you won’t be able to see its health bar move so you don’t actually know how you’re doing which makes it quite exciting. Then the process of hunting down more and seeing them actually die faster is quite satisfying but it does get to a point where you kill them before you even start a combo and it’s a mixture of “hell yeah, I’m so freaking strong” and “ugh how many more do I need to kill? Stop getting in my way.”
We received a pet cat today and man is it cute! It even hops on your shoulder if you stand next to it in idle pose and snuggled up next to you :3 Best part of today by far, aside from parkouring up the side of a mountain (I swear I wasn’t lost or anything). It’s also pretty fun to race people through the town and just do shenanigans. Honestly, I kind of wish it was just a tad bit more theme-park in the beginning rather than mostly sandbox right out the gate. The Black Spirit quests are basically what guides you and everything else is side stuff. There is also supposed to be a lantern festival tomorrow night which I was pretty excited for because I thought we would actually get paper lanterns and the likes but no, it turned out to just be a glow emanating from who-knows-where. Might check it out if I have some free time. Well, that about wraps up my day so enjoy the few screenshots I took!
So I mostly just wanted to focus on the combat aspect. Farming and housing and all that side stuff were interesting and quite frankly a bit intimidating considering how much time needed to be invested which I simply didn’t have. There is an in-game FAQs page which is massive but definitely helps sort out a lot of questions – especially for housing.
I alternated days with characters, which had day 3 spent on my Sorceress and today spent on my Tamer. I have a pretty hard time focusing on just one class so I tend to play a lot of alts. The Sorceress gets a damage boost and shielding skill early on and quite frankly they are nigh untouchable. Lots of crowd control skills and devastating attack power along with self-buffs. The Tamer took me a bit of time to get used to, especially after playing Sorceress. Most of the Tamer’s early attacks are from using the RMB to use Heilong, her companion. These attacks suck up a ton of MP which can be recovered by landing melee attacks. In contrast to the Sorceress, who mostly utilizes the LMB for physical attacks and rarely the RMB, I needed to learn when to use Heilong and when to just use my sword. Eventually, I found a good rhythm for Tamer and went from eating every attack with my face to gracefully weaving around enemies and slashing them to bits. Point is, if you like to play alts like me, there’s going to be a lot of time spent adjusting and re-learning some stuff early on.
Now, since I played two characters, I noticed a lot of side quests that were available and just general things you can do. One of the quests makes it mandatory for you to buy a house before you can use the marketplace. Other things I notice during my travels was the ability to harvest plants, chop down trees, and mine rocks. I would have loved to explore these things had it not been for time constraint and lack of inventory space since you need the proper equipment to gather and mine as well as space for all the things you end up collecting. I will say that you do get a generous amount of storage expansion bags for free from doing quests so it’d be a good idea to at least glance at them. Most of them came from doing the main story quest given by Black Spirit anyways.
Speaking of which, Black Spirit gives you a quest which makes you summon a giant ogre. Now, it says this is a co-op mission for level 15 but ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat so I ran over to the location and summoned the beast at level 13 and killed it dead. Well, it took a few potions (like 5 or so. That thing hits like a truck if you’re not ready) but it was quite a fun fight albeit a bit too easy. Still, if this is what just a basic introductory boss fight is like, I would imagine raid-level bosses would be quite fun to take down.
As far as graphics go, yeah it does look really nice but night time does some weird things to the colors and textures on your character if you are near a light source. Also, if you read the infograph I linked before, your character’s well being is actually dependent upon how prepared you are for the environment you are in (just like in real life! Well, almost). This I unfortunately never really got to test except for the swimming part. You don’t need to worry about hypothermia or anything like that as far as I can tell (unless maybe if you went swimming in a frozen lake, you might get a slow effect or something until you change clothes) but there was some meter that did not replenish as I treaded water and continually went down as I swam. Going to guess that’s another optional stat you can level up by swimming more or something but man there’s just so many variables in the game and so much to do that I regretfully didn’t have time for.
Lastly, I wanted to bring up the whole family thing. Remember when you first created your character and you had to pick a family name? I’m not sure if there was an official name for it so I’m just going to call it the Family System cause it’s easier. Now I might be totally wrong and I haven’t done any research on it but it seems like a lot of things are shared through the Family System such as the knowledge and information you obtain through interactions (excluding nodes) and even pets. We got three pets throughout CBT (cat, dog, and hawk) and you can access all the pets on any character and summon them. Now, I didn’t play long enough for this to be an issue but through shout chat, people were asking at one point how to feed your pets so I guess they have hunger meters you need to watch out for. i didn’t really look into the pets much since I thought they were just there to loot for you but you can summon multiple pets at once so maybe they give stat boosts or something (forgive my ignorance; I just think pets are there for loot and aesthetics and never bothered to look deeper into it).
Black Desert Online is a buy-to-play game with an in-game cash shop that provides cosmetics so if you have a lot of free time and like sandbox games, definitely give it a try. The combat is great and you get quite an extensive skill tree (there needs to be an easier way to look up skills to find their information) that I assume you can max out since there didn’t seem to really be a level cap aside from the soft 50 cap? Graphics and character customization are of course amazing and what the game is most well-known for. I haven’t gotten anywhere close to testing the PVP aspect of the game, which is what it’s mostly centered around, but this game has been out for a while so I’m sure there are plenty of videos of other versions you could watch to get an idea of the large scale battles. Personally, I am not a fan of sandbox games and all things considered, I simply don’t have the time nor the level of interest needed to play this game. That being said, the development team is awesome and they threw a bunch of events in the CBT. If this level of service continues through launch, there’s going to be one hell of a queue just to enter the game. Which actually brings up another point of hesitation: since it is open world, the quests require you to kill x amount of enemies and obtain certain items. I’ve played solo the entire time so I’m not sure how the party system is set up but it’s going to be a clusterf*** the first couple of days probably just to advance since you’re going to be pretty hard pressed to find an area that still spawns your target. On a good note, it seems that whoever lands the first hit gets the credit for the kill regardless of the amount of damage done. So please, play nice by partying up and sharing.
Here are just a few more photos and I hope you’ve enjoyed this short adventure! Thank you for reading! ♥
See you in game! -DecoyEC has logged out.