Black Desert Online as a PvEr? Round Two: YES you should play!

Two weeks ago I asked the pressing question of whether Black Desert Online is actually a game for PvErs out there, including information we had on how PvP flagging works in the game and how it affects the later gameplay experience. I did make it clear in my post that when talking about PvE, I am referring to that established definition of “player versus environment” the way we’ve come to use it thanks to MMOs such as WoW, Rift, GW2 and many others. That means player versus quests, player versus dungeons, player versus raids and all associated and preconceived progression. Black Desert Online has little of that, plenty of quests and dailies aside; what it does have however is an incredible sandbox appeal, so much that it very well may be the game many jaded MMO veterenas, on both sides of the spectrum, have been craving.

Now here’s the important bit of news that requires this update: as it turns out, some of the previous information regarding PvP was in fact wrong. It’s frustrating how hard it is to find much corroborated information for the NA/EU installments of the game but basically, PvP is a little different for us at the present time, as was finally confirmed to me ingame by guild mates who are way past level 50:

  • PvP on NA/EU servers starts at level 45 (not 50)
  • While becoming eligible is still non-consensual, this does in fact not extend to any lowlevel alts (also goes for the Russian version of BDO)

In lieu of any contrary news or things planned for the game, this in itself is pretty huge if we understand how BDO works. The game is all about your different characters working together, sharing whatever progress you make but having separate energy pools to invest in various undertakings, such as resource gathering or crafting. The great news about this: you don’t have to level past 45 to access any of Black Desert’s huge non-combat content. If you opt to be a crafter, gatherer, trader, breeder, house decorator, farmer or candlestick maker – you can do it! Most of the quests related to these activities yield no life/skill EXP, only kill quests do; 50 hours in, I am still only level 21 because I started crafting and thus my character has basically been stagnant while I keep progressing in other ways.

And if  I should ever in fact require one higher level character, I can always use my “main” for that sort of adventure and switch to my alts for the rest. Right now, they are located in different towns and already assisting me a great deal. This is a big point about BDO, to conquer the world for yourself, decide where to make temporary or longterm homes and how to make best use of your different characters.

The game has no level cap either which to me proves it’s not about a set progression or reaching certain levels to unlock content. You can truly make your own adventure and if you ever need to venture anywhere with a level 45+ toon, wear the ghillie suit from the store and you’ll be next to invisible to other players (or just switch server channel if there’s any PvP, problem solved). For the amount of content BDO offers while not requiring any subscription, I am more than happy to put up with that.

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The cities are madness

Yes, you should play in this sandbox!

After a considerable learning curve, I finally start feeling like I am “getting” into the flow of things (and there’s more and more guides for everything else). Now to be clear, I am still scratching the surface of BDO but I’ve finally managed to establish some resource nodes, I am training workers who bring back goods of my choosing every hour, I am gathering EVERYTHING I want to, I am crafting to the most satisfying animations and I am riding from place to place for hours because there ain’t any shortcuts. I tamed a wild horse two days ago and felt spectacular. Oh and fishing, just because my alt does that on her own when I go /afk. All of this is going on without obnoxious gold seller messages or botters due to the way PA handle the economy and regulate your ability to binge-craft, farm, fish as well as trade and sell goods.

The world of Black Desert is mind-blowingly beautiful in a Witcher 3 kind of way. More importantly, in this MMO the world truly is the player – you are not, you are just a lowly peasant that gets to do things in it. I could tell you about Calpheon city (Eri has done) and how ridiculously gorgeous, lively and huge it is, easily the most beautiful and largest city ever in MMORPGdom. The scale, the authenticity of how its crafted, the busy streets, they will break your heart. And yet none of it is the highlight of the game; there are so many regions, so many towns and hubs and little things, with individual economies and resources for you to engage with, I could go on for hours! Don’t get me started on the different funky fantasy races you encounter as you go along, I should probably dedicate a next post just to them

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Cooking, brewing, drying, grinding, shaking, thinning…

I also got a new home in Velia now and am completely over the moon by the way Pearl Abyss have solved player housing. The fact that you own different, physically existing houses all over the world that let you phase in to perfection, is nothing short of a stellar job. Fancy a small hut by the river? A three-story apartment building with a cellar? A windmill with a fireplace? You can have it – you can have them all to do all sorts of useful things. Or you can just decorate to your heart’s content, open the windows and watch the view outside. In the Korean version of the game, there’s even big-style automated farming via NPCs and personal shop vendors. Every time I cross one of my own workers during my travels, it puts a wide smile on my face because they too actually “exist”.

bdo madness

I don’t know what I’ll be doing in two weeks time or three months from now. All I know is that I’ll still be playing Black Desert Online and doing 19347262094 things that have absolutely nothing to do with combat (and that require no cooperation other than from your own alts if that matters to you). I may build a cart for my horse and start trading for reals. Maybe I’ll get into making my own furniture or clothes. Or I’ll learn how to sail, build a boat and sail away forever, to make a new camp somewhere else.

Did I mention Black Desert Online has tents and campfires to pitch in the deep black of night? Yep.

If you’re at all into any of the things I have described above, just do yourself a favor and play this. (I have one 7 day guest pass for the first person who’d like one)

10 comments

  1. I have to say that BDO really isn’t all that gorgeous to look at if you don’t have a super-powerful PC to run it. Every other MMO I play (and you know I play a lot) both looks and runs great on my aging rig but BDO really doesn’t. I can see that there’s a fascinating world in there somewhere but I can’t actually SEE it, if you know what I mean.

    I also would question how convincing or immersive it is outside of the technical issues. NPCs repeat the same stock phrases non-stop like demented parrots, the translations appear to have been provided by Google translate, unedited, the wildlife follows no conceivable rationale beyond “it’s handy for kill quests to have fifty foxes in a twenty foot radius”, the horses tethered in towns have neon “PARKING” signs above their saddles, the roads look like a backpacker’s convention just left town… I could go on – and on. I’ve rarely played an MMO that shouted “This is a computer game” quite as loudly.

    That said, it is fascinating. There’s a lot going on and plenty to see and do. I feel that, once the newness fades and the systems are codified and understood, there won’t be a whole lot of anything left for anyone who doesn’t find the farming/crafting/economy part fascinating (it does nothing for me in any game – never been able to see the attraction). Even so, I would guess there’ll be two or three months of solid entertainment in there for most people so I’d definitely recommend buying it.

    As for the housing, I was looking into it today and I read that you can only have five “residences”. As soon as you go over that one of your existing houses is re-rated as “Storage” and any decorations you’ve placed etc are removed. Dunno if that’s true – I still haven’t bought my first house yet.

    1. Heeeeh it’s true that the wagons and horses everywhere are a bit much but this would be easy to fix imo, especially the wagons could be made to disappear for everyone else but yourself once you enter a town. I do think it will get better after a while though.
      I havent heard about the house cap but it seems very generous. Given that your contribution pts are capped, you wouldnt be able to buy houses forever anyway, so I could personally do with 5 if that’s truly the case. I love how easy it is to change camps.
      As for the game itself, for me on my PC it’s the second best looking game after W3. It can’t be expected to actually match the graphics – it’s still an MMO of course, but it comes incredibly close (for me). I think it will set a bar for games to come.

      As for the ‘issues’ you mention, yeah like every game there’s issues. For every negative, I am seeing two great refreshing things in Black Desert though, soooo. /shrug
      This is the first MMO in a looong time that actually does things differently and allows me to do tons of stuff while never engaging combat. I like Tyria too but the world feels nowhere near as authentic, the scale in places like DR is ludicrous and they completely destroyed the ‘non-gamey’ feel you refer to with achievements, vistas, silly gimmick moves and gliders and bla. So very much disagree about BDO feeling most gamey. The world is crafted with such love for detail and atmosphere as I’ve never seen elsewhere. And let’s not even talk about travel in other games. ;)

  2. I’ve largely ignored this game during its beta-hype, cause I’ve learned to be skeptical like that. That said, a day into launch, I looked it up, and ended up buying into it.

    My last day or two has been a lot of traveling back and forth between Olivia and Velia with my trading wagon I got in a quest. It’s been difficult to go back to questing, because once I reach the trading post, I load it up and then, “oh, I need to get this to the next town” happens. Then I started setting up my workers, and had to figure out how to craft my own beer so I don’t spend a fortune repleneshing them, and now I have a bunch of residual cook batches that need to be taken to Heidel (which I haven’t found yet), and then getting new fishing rods before I go afk fishing… oh my, the day’s gone by already?

    It’s good to know that PvP doesn’t start till higher up. I was unsure whether I could trade in safety or not (NPC bandits aside). There’s definitely more than enough to do. The question is, what do I focus on? ;P

    I quite like the deliberate restrictions with the energy/contribution systems, the set market prices, no player-trading, as well as no fast-travel.

    Time to go sell my fish!

    1. … oh my, the day’s gone by already?

      Ahahahhaaaa….this! I feel like my brain melts down when playing, I can’t remember half the stuff I set out to do when going somewhere. x)
      And omg, you get a cart from a quest? I must find that!

      I do like the restricted trading too, not having any gold-sellers is superb. AM just a bit sad I can’t trade anything with friends but alas.

    2. Wait….trading quest…wagon? I missed this!! Heck, I missed the horse gear from the quest in the first region too.
      As I mentioned in Twitter last night, I am just a hair from lvl 19 and still having fun doing farming, questing, fishing quests in Heidel. That’s just fine with me. :D Loving it.

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