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.