Hello everyone, Moochanical here, and today I wanted to give you my personal thoughts and first impressions on Black Desert Online. I’ve been playing since the week after Western release and so far I've sunk about 250 hours into the game. I understand that this really isn’t that much time for an MMO, but I'm really enjoying my experience in-game and I don’t see myself getting bored anytime soon. During my time playing Black Desert I have found several things I do really love about the game but there are also some things I don't really like, and I realise some of these things will be deal breakers to some people. Now, before we do get started, I would just like to mention real quick that I have not experienced PvP in any form whatsoever, so this video will be from a PvE player’s perspective.
And I might make another video about PvP when I do get around to experiencing it. Also bear in mind this is just my initial impression of the game so far and I might find that things will change as I progress into the higher levels. So let's start with the pros first and one of my favourite things about Black Desert is the fun and engaging combat system.
The combat feels very mobile and you also have the ability to perform dodges. Timing these dodges is crucial and being able to move out of the way of a big enemy attack at just the right moment feels very satisfying. I find that it adds more dimension to the game and it feels really fresh compared to a lot of other MMOs that use a more traditional hotkey-based combat system. Now, I played Guild Wars 2 for a little over three years and I love the dodging system in that game. In my experience I do have to say that I slightly prefer the dodging system in Guild Wars 2 as it feels more fluid and is universal across all classes, whereas in BDO it varies. For example, the Berserker can dodge left and right, but not backwards, and the Wizard and Witch can dodge in all four directions.
On the other hand, you are able to dodge more often in BDO as stamina regenerates fairly quickly and some skills include movement based abilities. In terms of combat the game actually a lot like an action RPG than an MMO. Skills are activated by performing various key combinations instead of pressing a key on your hotbar. However, there are a few exceptions as there are some abilities that can only be activated using the hotbar. This hasn’t really had an impact on the fluidity of combat though, as from my experience, the hotbar skills are quite few and far between and they tend to be buff abilities rather than combat moves. I actually think the combat system is at its best when you are taking on multiple mobs at a time. Aggroing a lot of mobs around you and then taking them all down is not uncommon and can usually be done with relative ease. I really enjoy the combat and general movement as it has some weight to it and it really adds to the feeling of realism.
Jumping is a prime example of this, as when you jump you really land with animpact, rather than the usual spring-like jumping mechanic prevalent in so many games. Another example is when you perform certain attacks, the game adds a "hit pause" which slows the animation for a split second right before the hit registers, adding a real sense of strength to your attacks. If you’re not quite sure what I mean by this and would like to learn more about the hit pause, I’ve included some links in the description below. Even if fighting isn’t your cup of tea, Black Desert Online still offers plenty of content for you. There are multiple professions, or life skills as they're called, that you can progress in, and some of my personal favourites have been cooking, fishing, horse training and trading. I have found that if you get bored of doing one thing, Black Desert always has something else for you to do. The life skills add a more relaxing aspect to the gameplay, and they can also be a great way to make money, especially when you get very proficient at them.
As an example, a high-level cook can produce multiple products using just one batch of ingredients and then sell any leftovers on the auction house. A lot of the professions have a variety of minigames associated with them, a good example being such horse training, where you lasso a horse and then proceed to have a tug of war with the horse until it trusts you to tame it using lumps of raw sugar. The game features an energy system, much like what is found in games like ArcheAge. Energy is used for most activities from gathering to acquiring knowledge from NPCs. The energy cap is initially quite low but this can be increased a lot with the use of the knowledge system in-game.
Having played both games I find Black Desert’s energy system to be much fairer, and this is mainly for two reasons: First of all, it regenerates a lot faster, and secondly, if you spend your energy on one character, all your other characters will still have their energy bars full. Personally I quite like the energy system in Black Desert as it means players cannot infinitely gather and craft, which would potentially hurt the economy and it also adds an interesting energy management element, all without being too harsh and still rewarding active players. And if you really need more energy, there are also potions that you can create or purchase from the auction house to restore it quicker. Another thing I really enjoy is the character creation. Black Desert has, from what I've experienced, one of the most in-depth character creation tools I have ever seen. The sheer amount of customisation available to you is astonishing and it really allows you to make a unique character.
Almost every part of the player character can be edited by selecting individual parts and adjusting their length and size. In the Western version of the game, which is buy-to-play, all hairstyles are available free of charge, unlike in the Korean free-to-play version, some of them are locked behind a paywall. You can even save templates of your characters and share them with other people. This is especially good if you are having trouble creating exactly what you want to. In the customisation menu you are able to pick a horoscope for your character, and whilst it doesn’t serve much of a purpose in-game, it still evokes that RPG feel when it comes to character creation.
In addition to your character’s own name, your account will have a family name that is shared between everyone, which makes keeping track of friends and guild mates easier. I would like to mention however that with all this customisation comes some limitation. Sadly all classes are gender-locked, so if you were hoping to play a male Ranger for example, you’re out of luck, but a lot of classes have a male or female counterpart like the Warrior & Valkyrie. The character presets are also tied to their age, this is easily solvable for a lot of the classes as they have an age line & wrinkles slider to help you determine how old they look, but the age lock is hard to avoid for a class like Wizard, whose presets have irremovable wrinkles. A slightly younger Wizard is possible to create but it can be quite challenging. I wish the developers would loosen these restrictions as I do think it hurts the overall character creation process by limiting choice. Another thing I love about Black Desert is how it doesn’t force you into certain aspects of the game.
Pretty much as soon as you’re done with the tutorial, you are free to go wandering about doing whatever you please. I don’t feel like I need to rush to high levels to be able to enjoy the content as it’s already all around me. Gear has no level cap, but your class can only use one type of weapon, meaning you can freely swap most things between your characters. When I first started playing, I felt very overwhelmed because of this freedom, and I didn’t really know what I should be doing. I think I was used to MMOs that hold your hand a lot in the initial stages. As a result I spent a lot of time reading beginner guides rather than playing the game. Eventually I got into the right mindset and I was able to fully appreciate the game and the world for what it is. I was amazed by how vast the world feels, as the map is massive in size and recently received an expansion with the Mediah update, which added 30% more map to the game.
I still have so much to explore, but it is reassuring knowing that new content is constantly being added and updated. There are no waypoints so you can’t fast travel, which I was initially very sceptical of, but I have learned to love it as it allows you to be immersive and found you appreciate the landscape a lot more for it. Combining this feature with the fact that the only loading screens you encounter are either when you first enter the game or when you switch characters, it really adds to the sense of realism and it fully engrosses you into the world. There is an option to auto-run to any marker on the map, making travelling long distances a breeze.
Meanwhile you can have a break, grab a drink or just sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery. A big part of Black Desert Online is the Node and Worker systems. Nodes are various points on the map and these nodes can be unlocked and connected using Contribution Points.
Contribution Points are a form of currency primarily used to acquire property and work stations, and experience that goes towards earning Contribution Points can be acquired through various quests. Many of the nodes contain resources and you can send your workers to these nodes to collect them. Within cities you can also purchase buildings that can be used for numerous purposes, such as personal housing, storage space, worker housing and different crafting workbenches. Connecting the nodes allows you to use them as trade routes, and with these routes you can trade various goods for profit. Trading can be an excellent way to generate income and synergises well with other professions, such as fishing and processing. These trade items come in various forms, such as goods bartered between Trade Managers, which involves buying products from one NPC for a low price and then transporting them to another NPC for a profit. Another way of trading is through fishing: you fish and then travel to a trader, who will buy the fish from you.
And if fishing or bartering isn’t your deal, you also have the option to put materials, such as ores and foods, into trading crates, which can then be sold similarly to the first two methods. Several of these steps can be automated using workers. And what’s really great about workers is that they can do a lot of the more monotonous tasks for you, leaving you to focus on the things you enjoy doing. Workers can gather resources, such as ores and logs, refine materials, craft items and package the materials into crates ready for you to sell. To me the auction house is a great feature in the game as you can only buy and sell within a certain price range. This is good as it prevents people from manipulating the market by buying all stock of certain items, causing that particular market to crash and prices skyrocketing.
It also means items have a fairly consistent price on the auction house. If you are a fan of lore, Black Desert has an expansive knowledge system built into the game. You can acquire knowledge on almost every aspect of the game: killing mobs, talking to new NPCs, life skills, exploration, items, questing and so on. For killing mobs you can also earn a ranking, ranging from C to S, and the higher rank you get, the more benefits you get when fighting this mob. These bonuses can be things like extra damage against them, less damage taken from them and better drops. There is a comprehensive player housing system in BDO.
Within cities, almost every building can be purchased and turned into a residence, and to me this is a great feature as it makes the world feel truly lived in. All player housing is instanced, meaning multiple people can own the same house. And while it does make the houses less unique and personal, it also means that there is no need to fight other people over plots of land and everyone has the chance to own a house. There is a good variety of furniture which can be purchased from vendors around the world, the cash shop and can also be sometimes found as loot from mobs. All this being we arrive to the cons and I do have some problems with Black Desert. While the game has stunning graphics and having no loading screens is fantastic, it also suffers from pretty severe texture pop-in. As you can probably see from the footage, it is very noticeable, especially when travelling at high speeds. And it is annoying as it takes away from the immersion factor that the game has.
For the most part, Black Desert has great options for customisation, but unfortunately when it comes to gear and armour customisation, the options acquired through playing the game are limited. I’ve included a link in the description if you want to check out the types of armour you can get. Your characters will look pretty much the same all the way to level 50, and the different armour sets look fairly similar.
The only real way to get cool-looking armour is to spend real money in the in-game cash shop. These outfits aren’t cheap either, as you’re looking at spending around £20 or $30 on an outfit for one character. I do think the cash shop is quite pricey, but I actually don’t mind it as much as I normally would because all content expansions will be free. The dye system relies too heavily on RNG. Dyes can be purchased using loyalty points or real cash. These dyes are all single-use and when purchasing them, there is no guarantee of getting the specific dye you want. If you were to spend all your loyalty points on dyes, you could buy one random dye every two days. This is fairly slow and also unreliable, especially if you have multiple characters.
Using the cash shop you can buy, say, a random red dye or a yellow dye, but it can be any dye from that category of colours. I also wish there were more ways to acquire pets other than using the cash shop. Pets have the ability to gather loot for you and you can have three pets out at once.
From what I understand, a lot of PvP and late game takes place on horseback, and the only way to pick up loot during that is with a pet. To me it seems a bit unfair that this is the case, and getting off your horse to pick up loot doesn’t seem like a realistic option in this scenario. Having said there is an event with the release of Musa and Maewha classes, where you can obtain a pet in-game without having to spend real money. I hope the developers continue this trend for future releases. In some parts of the game the localisation is quite poor and can cause a lot of confusion. For example, I once got a fishing quest where I had to catch a certain type of fish and bring it back to the NPC.
I managed to get the fish the quest had specified, however the NPC wouldn’t accept the fish and after Googling around, I found out that it’s actually a completely different fish altogether that they’re wanting, but someone had translated it poorly. Endgame tends to be quite a personal subject to a lot of people. And in my personal opinion, endgame is whatever you want it to be. That being said, if you are a player who values endgame content in the form of instanced dungeons and raids, you won’t find that content in Black Desert. This hasn’t really affected me as I’m not big into this type of content, but it’s perfectly understandable that for a lot of people this will be a big deal breaker. To summarise all the points I’ve covered in this video, here are the pros and cons of Black Desert Online.
I would say that despite the problems the game has, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience playing it and it is one of the most fun MMOs I have played of recent. For the price of the base game, the lack of a subscription fee and knowing all future expansions are free, I can see myself playing it for a long time. I hope this video has been of some use to you in deciding whether the game is for you or not. If it was, please consider leaving a like and let me know what you think. Thank you so much for watching, I really do appreciate it.
Take care and I will see you next time.