I’ve been branching out in the MMO market and in doing so, I stumbled across a Korean MMO called Black Desert Online. I couldn’t help but compare Black Desert Online to other MMOs as I played through its tutorial and subsequent questing areas. As I booted up the game for the first time, I was greeted with probably the best title screen music out of any MMO I’ve played. It’s subtle, comfortable and it just fits a game based on action, exploring and looking bad ass while doing it.

Once I logged on I picked a random server and began creating my first character. I was both overwhelmed, intrigued and annoyed at the same time. The character creation screen is unmatched by any game I’ve ever played. I remember they released just the character creator once so people could fiddle with it and I completely understand why. I spent hours figuring out all the options, meddling with scars, tattoos and hair choices. This game is all about helping you look the way you want to and it becomes a focal point for the first impression. We all have played an MMO and the first thing we experience is the character creation screen. I know I’ve bashed my fair amount of MMOs for a crap system, but Black Desert Online is safe from that as I have spent hours and hours just seeing the goofiest looking guy I could, so I made a purple behemoth with orange eyes. And if you like the way your character looks, you can actually take a screenshot with the press of a button and save it to your computer. The reason I was annoyed is because the “Creation Complete” button blends in and looks just like the rest of the buttons and I will admit like the doofus I am, it took me a few minutes to realize where it was. Most games have a big, obvious button, which I think is expected from MMOs in today’s market.

So now we have our character and we’re ready to jump into this crazy world. We’re greeted with a tale of darkness that came into the world and how heroes have died fighting it off, a lot of heroes. As our hero becomes playable after the intro, we are greeted by a dark spirit with red eyes. This little fella is a remnant of the darkness that so many people lost their lives fighting. Instead of trying to burn it with fire, we become Best friends with it and it serves as our tutorial guide for the first part of our adventure. As we do the typical quests it becomes evident that the combat is epic. I often engaged way more enemies than needed just because it was fun to do combat and it looked epic and felt fantastic. The world is gorgeous and feels full and even a bit intimidating, which adds to the adventure aspect. The gameplay is fluid, fun and even offers plenty of quality of life adjustments that are welcome to MMO veterans, such as auto navigating to a quest. Should you complete a quest or be on your way to complete an objective, if you click two buttons, you will auto run to that objective point. While it made me feel lazy, it gave me a chance to get up and grab some coffee on more than one occasion.

I’m going to be blunt for a moment, I hate the UI. It’s counter intuitive, complicated and I honestly forgot how to do things on more than one occasion. For example, your mouse controls the direction you look, but if you press left ctrl, your cursor pops up and now you can click things on the screen. Want to check a menu? Press left ctrl, then the mission, then another button to get details, another button to navigate and another button to show the path. It’s clunky. This is the biggest sore on a great MMO and it’s one of only two things I dislike about the game. It makes everything feel clunky, like an added layer that didn’t need to be there.

The only other thing that I didn’t like, small as it may be, is the voice acting. The actual line delivery is great, but the words on-screen are rarely the words being said by the character and it is slightly off-putting. This may not bother a lot of people out there and maybe I’m just weird. Overall Black Desert Online offers great action, great customization, a beautiful world to explore and the graphics are jaw dropping for an MMO. While I highly dislike the UI and the voice lines not matching the words, I really do think this game is great and has the potential to stand among the greats of MMOs. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

One thought on “Black Desert Online, Be Who You Want to Be

  1. I do not get burnt out from MMOs, but this game is a casino

    This has the best character customisation, but lacks wardrobe visual progression

    The notifications kills immersion, which you should set off
    The user interface is not completely customisable, but they can be set off

    There are some quests or knowledge only obtainable during nighttime in-game

    There are activities which require lots of energy, reminding you of Farmville

    The contribution points are used to invest in gathering nodes or city houses

    The amity minigame with NPCs consumes a lot of energy if no solution

    The deaths of your horse in combat zones will affect the quality of the foal

    The horse market [ and workers ] lacks bidding, which enables impulsive purchases

    The pets, weights, outfits, maids, etc. are almost necessary to enjoy the game

    There are P2W elements: Value Pack [ reduced marketplace tax ] and Artisan memories

    The combat gameplay is intuitive, but PvP revolves around the best-in-slot gear

    This lets you profit from AFK lifeskills, unlike some MMOs riddled with bots

    The armor and weapon tiers are as follows: +0 to +15, then PRI, DUO, TRI, TET, PEN ( I, II, III, IV, V ); armor tiers +0 through +7, and weapon tiers +0 to +5, are risk free from reduced max durability when enhancing

    There is a distinction between repairing durability ( costs silver ) and recovering max durability ( requires base gear, memory fragments or artisan memories ) which is serviced by any blacksmith

    The accessory tiers skip +1 to +15, goes from base +0 to PRI, DUO, TRI, TET, PEN

    The black stones are used to enhance armor and weapons from +0 to +15, concentrated magical black stones [ CMBS ] are used to enhance above +15; if enhancing DUO to TRI, TRI to TET, or TET to PEN fails, you always downgrade by one tier

    The failed enhancements of any gear accrues protection from bad luck, in a sense, by +1 [ +3 with CMBS ] in which your next enhancement, if done efficiently, may successfully enhance another gear, with RNG considered; this introduces the failstacking method

    |RNG / Issues|

    There is an element of RNG in gear progression: you could lose billions in assets, ultimately time spent, in trying to upgrade one single part of your gear, quite noticeably with accessories; for example, use +0 base accessory to upgrade the same type of accessory or fail and lose both; to get a better sense of loss: [ +0 Ring of Crescent Guardian costs ~40M; V PEN: Ring of Crescent Guardian costs ~6.9B ]

    There is an element of RNG in horsebreeding: you might get lousy skills as you level up a horse you have tamed or trained for weeks, or a horsebreed that cannot obtain staple skills, such as instant acceleration, drift, and s: instant acceleration;

    There is an element of RNG in amity minigame: there is a chance to trigger the worst requirements [ consecutive failures ] which, if unmet, will use energy for no amity gain;

    There is an element of RNG in quest drops: there is a small % drop chance for quest items that may keep you in one area for hours to complete, [ smaller % if you are male character ] in Valencia questline;

    There is an element of RNG in crystal losses: there is a chance to lose expensive gems on death by PvE mobs or bandits;

    There is an element of RNG ( possibly wrong ) in gear tier drops: there is a chance to drop a tier in accessories ( possibly wrong ) or weapons and armor if you have negative karma ( possibly wrong ) and died by PvE mobs or bandits;

    There is an element of RNG in workers: there is 1 in 1,000 probability to hire an Artisan [ hopefully Human or Goblin ] worker from the worker NPC, with 5 energy required to view another worker contract; there is a big chance to fail promotions from Professional to Artisan, [ only one worker at a time can undergo the promotion ] which takes up 24 hours, even if you hit level 25 [ that takes days to reach ] to reduce failure; and there is RNG for worker skill changes which are allowed at level 30.5;

    There is an element of RNG in bargaining traders: you consume energy to play the minigame to sell trade items for a profit by tipping the scales in balance;

    There is an element of RNG in marketplace: sometimes items go through [ highest bidder wins ] preorder phase, which skips the bid phase for players to enter the lottery; if not, the fastest click [ hence: lag ] will win post-bid phase;

    There is an element of RNG in permastats: for the sake of diversity, stats will always be different; if you create two of the same classes, one may receive fewer gain [ HP/WP/MP/SP ] per level, but also hidden stats to compensate;

    This game heavily punishes you on PvE deaths ( usually AFK ) at higher levels; for example, 1% at level 61, [ uncontested rotation, efficient mobs, best buffs, etc. considered ] is about 8 to 16 hours of mob grinding that you lose;

    The Ghillie outfit, exclusive cash shop item, is a camouflage that hides player names even during PvP, and Diving Suit is probably necessary to complete Margoria questlines;

    The Value Pack and pets can be sold and bought from in-game marketplace, but not the costumes, all outfits, inventory expansions, elion’s tear, weight limit increase, maids, storage expansions, worker lodging expansions, etc. which provide advantages and conveniences that reduces contribution point usage;

    The marketplace lag is already stressful with bidding system, which prevents players from purchasing old items until the cheapest items in bidding phase has ended;

    The user interface for friends list ( and others ) is dreadful: you do not know in which current channel your friends are, etc.


    This is based on my limited* activities to benefit me

    I would like my workers to recover stamina [ beer ] on their own from the storage

    I want lifeskills, weights, inventory expansions, etc. to be account wide

    I want materials being processed sent to storage, not inventory, if using the Karki Suit

    I would like the removal of EXP or crystal loss on PVE deaths
    I think every purchasable cash shop item ought to be sellable on marketplace

    I would love to upgrade accessories with blackstones [ not risking a base accessory ]

    I would love to upgrade lifeskilling clothes with blackstones [ same as above ]

    I would love to upgrade armor and weapons with no risk of dropping tiers

    I need the removal of every hidden stat [ or reveal them ] to foster build diversity

    I want the removal of the marketplace tax 20% increase [ due to no value pack ]

    I would love to promote up to 10 workers at a time

    I would love to buy Black Spirit Essence [ function: extract crystals ] and reservation coupons [ function: change names ] from marketplace

    I would love to see Valencia buffs for NA server

    I would love to see new content: great hammer class, [ crossbows ] arbalests, [ giant rams and war bears ] new mounts, master workers, second awakening, QoL changes, UI overhauls, sailing improvements, etc.

    *I have not extensively touched guilds, conquests, or node wars, [ strictly P2W ] housing, training, farming, sailing, hunting, or alchemy.

    I love the AFK lifeskilling, auto-pathing, node management, mob grinding fests, RNG loots, and 1v1 PvP, but I 99.9% think the issues will not be addressed and half the suggestions will never happen, so I might quit within 2 to 3 months. I heard we were promised to catch up at the beginning of this year, but we are behind eight months of content, because of marketing strategies.


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