Impressions: Black Desert Online

How ’bout that character generator, eh?


I remember the hubbub from back before the US release, where the character generator was a sort of standalone piece of software. It is still quite impressive, all this time later, even if most of the options end up turning your character into nightmare fuel more often than not. Still, for those that care about proper placement of their character’s dimples, I am sure that this sort of refinement is welcome.

What the character generator did not prepare me for is the rest of the game looking… washed out?

Ironically, it looks fine in screenshots.

To be clear, the game does not look bad. There is just a weird sort of dissonance between having an avatar constructed in incredibly minute detail… traversing a landscape with shrubbery that has a lesser polygon count than their eyebrows. The two simply feel out of place right away. As I was running around, all I could think about is whether or not Guild Wars 2 looked better.

Combat has been one-shot city thus far, and I think I’m technically level 17 at this point. It is certainly an interesting Action combat system, as it plays more like, well, Action RPGs. Hold Left-Click to perform a series of attacks, Right-Click starts another, LMB + RMB is something else, W + F is another attack, etc, etc etc. Technically there is also a hotbar you can utilize, but the in-game prompts warn you that it costs more resources (MP) to perform when not manually keying in the combo. Given that nothing has survived more than two hits of “hold down LMB,” I have not yet seen whether that’s relevant.

In fairness, the class I chose was Dark Knight. Which was selected based on the little video that play of the various classes and my research into what was Flavor of the Month. So maybe the class is just OP. Wizard/Witch were #1 and #2 in the FOTM ranking, but the experience of FFXIV’s abysmal Arcanist experience has soured ranged classes in new (to me) MMOs. Despite that, it was actually the Ranger that piqued my interest the most originally. Perhaps I’ll check that out later.

Say what?

One factor that is going to limit my playtime right away is the garbage localization and questing. Quests are quests, but Black Desert has discovered a way to make them even less interesting. For most NPCs, you have to click on a Quest tab in a menu to bring up their quest, then they have two poorly-translated lines per screen to convey the information, and while they are “talking” they spout off their idle dialog that has nothing to do with the words on the screen. I suppose I shouldn’t expect much more from a game with an “auto-run to quest objective” feature built-in, but it’s a bit disappointing nonetheless.

I have not spent much time with the remaining game systems, including Node management and leaving the game running overnight/during work so you can AFK gain millions of silver for reasons. From what I understand, this absurd economy is mainly based around the principle that you’ll be throwing tens of millions of silver away in the gamble that is upgrading endgame gear. As in, to upgrade a 20 million silver sword to the next level, you have smash it together with another 20 million silver sword. Success means you get an upgraded 100 million silver sword. Failure means you get a silver sword one enchantment level less; not only have you lost the 20 million silver item, but you’ll have to buy more swords to smash together just to get back to where you were originally. Accessory enchanting works the same way, except that on a failure you lose both items.

Under that sort of insane rubric, being able to make millions while AFK fishing is OK.

…wait, no it isn’t. It’s still fucking nonsense, but whatever.

Posted on June 5, 2017, in Impressions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. That item crafting thing is used in a lot of asian grinder MMOs. I remember it from Atlantica Online, same exact system. I’m ok with it (assuming the power increase decreases while the cost/risk increases correctly), but it is odd the first time around.

    As for the rest… asian import is asian?


    • I mean… yeah, Asian import. It was just a bit of a shock to me how unabashedly “Asian grinder” it was given the relatively high praise it has received. Who actually likes grinding in their MMO, much less an MMO whose entire structure funnels you into said grinding? Maybe it’s only semantic differences between this and running dungeons for badges/loot. Still, it feels a lot less… disguised.


      • coppertopper

        I think you are guaranteed weapon/armor improvement up to +10 with no risk of losing your actual weapon, but from then on (last I checked +16 was highest?) its a gamble. Something like that.


      • The rules are a mess and may have changed from my experience:
        – armor, safe until +5, after that enchant may fail but the item is not destroyed, it only loses “durability” which you can replenish using identical (non-enchanted) items. After +15 you have PRI and DUO which follow the same rules, then you start to lose enchant levels (= you go back one level).
        – weapon, more or less the same, but safe until +7 and the base item tends to be more expensive, so repairing durability requires more silver.
        – accessories: ring/earring/neck. Here is where it gets fun: only five levels possible (PRI DUO TRI QUAD PEN), you get to the next level by merging two items of the same level. If enchant fails, you lose ALL ITEMS, boom, gone, lost, bye bye. Even if it’s ogre rings (check on AH to understand why).

        On the forums you can find someone who did the math using MCMC :)


  2. Hmmm I’m not sure why you consider the world “washed out”. In very much korean style, it’s very inconsistently detailed, with some parts looking great and others (= most of the terrain) looking like it came straight from an automated terrain generator.
    And the lighting effects are way better than GW2. Terrain interaction and exploration are much better, also, since they seem to rely more on physics and less on walkmaps.


    • Not entirely sure how you could say that terrain interaction or exploration is better than GW2. In my experience so far, jumping feels clunky in Black Desert, with no particular consistency between grabbing onto ledges or just smacking into a wall. GW2 movement definitely feels a bit more floaty than here, but just look at the screenshots from, say, this post. Maybe there will be more impressive vistas later on in BDO, but I don’t think something like that is even possible.


  3. coppertopper

    One of the best mmo fishing systems ever – except for the stupid afk fishing. Just mind boggling. Someone else suggested it and I still think it’s the best way to play BDO – treat it as your own sandbox world. You can plant a garden almost anywhere for instance. And quests are totally optional although you want to always do the black spirit ones (it’s kind of like the story quest of the mmo). It’s a fascinating game with lots of interesting mechanics, and honestly some of the best combat of any mmo. Look forward to reading more of your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the questing I’m doing is pretty much 100% the black spirit quests, given that it unlocks inventory slots for completion.

      I just hope they resolve the Steam package redemption issues they have been having. Basically, the Steam Overlay was disabled for whatever reason, and without it I cannot redeem the Explorer package I picked up. And I’m really missing that pet.


      • coppertopper

        oh thats no good! That pet is really useful. The little loot grabbers are pretty handy to have around. Inventory slot meagerness – the other thing that drove me mad about BDO. Well keep on keeping on. I am wondering your opinion about housing.


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