Losing Myself in Black Desert
What Drew Me In:
My interest in playing this game was a 50/50 desire. I’d been burned by some games I tried that stated similar things for crafting, housing, etc., but it still looked really good. Thankfully, I managed to snag a key to the last closed beta test in the Valentine’s Day push for keys. It only took about an hour of trying and one hour of waiting, despite how busy the site was. I appreciated that they sent the key twice just to be sure I got it.
What really caught my interest first was how node management integrated with everything. A node manages a defined area around it, like a control point. It can contain housing and harvesting nodes. To activate a node, talk to the node manager and spend the required contribution points. Leveling a node you are using for production increases the production rate and helps with chances of the random rare items you can get. The leveling adds to the loot table chances, too. The nodes will also connect to the city, but some may need nodes in between to do so. Don’t have a node connected back to a city and have an item only a trade manager will buy? Oops, the trade manager will only pay you 30% of the list price. I learned this one quickly due to fishing. My fish were not getting the full price until the area was added to my node network. In addition, you can’t trade or transport between cities without a node network linking them.
Exploring the New Systems:
Crafting in this game is full of all sorts of fun. First, you learn simple processing which you can do anywhere. This could be chopping your logs into planks, turning ore into molten shards, or simple forms of alchemy and cooking. However, that is only the introduction. All over the map, mostly in cities, but also at some of the nodes with housing, there are a wide range of workshops. Some will take raw materials and change them into more refined items. Then, there are the more specific ones for making such things as tools, ships, wagons, weapons, armor, furniture, jewelry, etc. Let’s not forget that some housing is required for horse ranching due to the ability to breed horses and you will want more stable room to do this.
There is a way to hire workers. They are the ones who do everything in your workshops, and they can directed to harvest from mines, farms and forests for you. However, they need housing, too. The number of workers you can have in one city area is restricted by how much lodging you invested in. All cities allow for one worker without investing in lodging. Your workers level as they work and get the chance at promotion tests. The free workers you get through quests are the bottom of the barrel and can be useful for a while, but as you grow in your needs it is good to trade the free workers in for better ones that can accept promotion tests to advance further.
Another fun part of the game is called energy. Energy is used to do processing, gathering, a mini game of conversations with the NPC’s for amity and node leveling. Amity works as a marker of how well the NPC knows you. New opportunities, quests or items will open up with the proper amity level. Your pool of energy grows as you explore and help the residents of the world. You have to rest to restore the energy, though the best way to restore it is to mix up energy sapping work with some good ‘ole mob fighting and questing.
I mentioned the conversation game with NPC’s with the use of energy. You can build up amity with any NPC that has the conversation mini-game available. Each play of this game costs you two energy points. Amity opens up new quests and on some NPCs shops. The added shops have various items that will cost you some amity points and coin to buy. Some of the armor you may want is acquired this way.
Contribution points are acquired by completing quests. These points are used for several things. The main thing is for activating nodes you want to use for city linking, resource usage, etc. Every house you buy whether for storage, workshops or your very own residence requires you to spend these points for it. Upgrades to housing require money, but is pretty cheap compared to the money you can make in the game.
You cannot trade much directly with other players, but there is a marketplace in most cities where you can sell and buy items from each other. Depending on what you want to do, you can either go find the items yourself or buy them from other players. You can not trade directly with another player. Due to this we have to work on timing to sell it through the marketplace in order for a friend to be the buyer. There is no guarantee your friend is going to manage to buy the item before someone else does. It’s easier to group together and help each other grind for the needed items rather than trying to find a way to trade them through a heavily used marketplace.
I haven’t even mentioned the Black Spirit that has an attitude and wants you to grow up big and strong fighting various mobs. The fun part about fighting the beasts, demi-humans, and humans is that you will gain knowledge about them besides experience points. You even get scored on how well you killed each mob type. The game allows you to reset bad scores for a price at the Calpheon library.
The only thing I complain about is inventory space. This can be managed with city warehouses. Buying housing that is for storage adds slots to your warehouse in that city. To increase your bag space, there are quests that include that as a reward.
By the end of CBT2, I knew I was hooked, so I bought the game. It has been the main thing I’ve played. Sure, I still like my other games, but there is so much to do in Black Desert that I don’t have time to play anything else most days. I spend as much time leveling processing, gathering and cooking as I do upping my primary level by killing mobs. Not to mention sometimes I’m just riding around for a bit increasing the percentage of success my horse has to drift or hind kick.
This is just a nutshell of what is in the game. There is a lot of strategy required for crafting, leveling, gearing up, etc. Nothing in the game is standalone, but it’s so modular that you can pick and choose what pieces you really want to do. There are many ways to play this game right and enjoy it. It does not force you into getting to the endgame only one way. For some players, the end game might be becoming the greatest cook or the best horse trainer rather than reaching the max level all geared out. Sure, there are things for end game and the node wars to come that funnel you into certain options, but overall it isn’t hard to get there with friends.
About the Author
Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.
About Black Desert Online
Black Desert has been under development for several years and Pearl Abyss has state that a completely new game engine was created for the game. This was done in order to meet the technical requirements of a large-scale open world that would hold expansive battles such as castle sieges. By having experienced in-house developers, they boldly made their own engine that allowed them to debug and customize their world more easily. Black Desert is a huge sandbox oriented MMORPG that provides a variety of unique experiences, including strategy-oriented action such as castle sieges and complex battle, and also sophisticated simulation content such as trading, NPC-hiring, and real-estate management. The world of Black Desert was divided into two countries – Calpheon and Valencia. These two factions are head to head in competition for The Black Stone, an essential energy resource. Calpheon is a prosperous, commercial-oriented land, while Valencia holds spiritual values above all else.