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cover-Black Desert

Thursday, November 23, 2023 12:16:18 PM

Black Desert Review (Boonana J)

Here's your Semi-TLDR review of BDO aka Black Desert Online care of "this guy right here". I may write more in the future (possibly a guide), but here's my general findings after many years playing and interacting with the community.
Is this game for you? If you like MMORPG gameplay, sandbox adventure/exploration, and like things such as questing, gathering, looting, crafting, player houses, fishing, farming, etc, and creating a unique character, then you will enjoy this game!
There's a little something for everyone in BDO... while it may not be as story heavy as some RPGMMOs such as guildwars, and may not have the typical raids etc some are used to in other games, what is there is enjoyable and there is a lot of room for carving your own adventure.
The game continues to improve with each update, with the Mountain of Eternal Winter expansion bringing you not just a new character class and a whole new region packed full of adventure, but a rather likeable companion for the duration of the main quest arc brought to life by a famous voice actor. While the Land of Morning Light brings you a fairly authentic Korean Mythological experience, two new character classes, a whole new boss battle/conquest experience, and a veritable smorgasbord of delight for any life skill enthusiasts.
Value for money: 10/10 at standard price, 11/10 when on sale.
On sale it's less than a pound at £0.89, AND... ALL THE GAME UPDATES AND EXPANSIONS ARE 100% FREE!
Just NO... there is a cash shop, but buying items from it does not enable you to win, they're mostly cosmetic, and slightly quality of life at best. Meanwhile the BDO team has actually limited the rate at which you can sell things like outfits on the in game market for in game currency.
The reality is it would take you hundreds-thousands of IRL currency and literal years to make the same amount of money you could make in a week or two worth of grinding/actually playing the game.
Only noobs who have taken one look in the pearl shop and not understood what they are looking at say it's P2W, but never do any research to back up their assumption. *rolls eyes*
Loot: 10/10 Daily log-ins, events, free codes, quests, drops, watching twitch streams, season, holiday events, random gifts from the devs, etc, shower you with all kinds of loot including items/pets/outfits/mounts/furniture... all worth IRL money in the cash shop.
Life Span: Black Desert has been "Online" from around 2014 which makes it nearly a decade old now, and since then the game has continued to be updated, expanded, improved.
2019 saw the launch of the game on the popular console platforms, and recently the game's player base has grown such that the BDO team have significantly expanded the number of available game world servers... it's safe to say the game will be here the next time you log in which isn't always the case for many MMOs.
Graphics: 9.5/10 for the remastered and ultra settings.
Anything from a Nvidia 980Ti upwards can expect pretty pretty graphics. It even has up-scaling for lower powered systems, or energy bill savings.
The truly frugal can take further advantage of the "Lowest/optimal" graphics option for AFK game elements such as horse training or fishing and this can be combined with the power-savings gained by "minimising to tray", where the game goes into an already super optimised power-saving mode.
On an additional note: It's also nice that the game runs fine and doesn't fry your expensive graphics card, which you'd expect to be a given... I'm looking at you New World.
UI: 3/10 when you first use the game. 9/10 once you set everything up yourself.
Why? Because when you first jump into the game world you will be hit with a poo-nami of hurty hurty "Oww my eyes, the pain, why won't it stop!" popup notifications about literally everything happening in the game including what your neighbour just did in the bathroom... Fear not my friend, with a few minutes spent in the options menu you can easily turn off all the annoying notifications, reduce all the clutter, and can even fully customise most of your UI which is pretty neat.
Character Customisation: 9/10. For an MMORPG it's fair to say this has one of the most comprehensive and in-depth character creators out there offering a wide range of customisation.
Pre-made templates are available for those with the artistic prowess of a house brick.
Class Selection: 8.5/10 The class selection over all is pretty diverse. There are a range of male and female characters, many of which play quite differently to the rest, and they are interesting enough to make you want to try out most of them. It's worth exploring the full range to discover your favourites.
Combat: 9/10 As far as RPGMMOs go, the combat is actually pretty damn good. I give it a 9 because there is room for improvement, but it feels more enjoyable than Lost Thurst Ark, and makes the control style of other games like Guildwars 2 etc feel rather dated/clunky.
Many who start and quit before giving it a real go might assume the combat is just a case of clicking the left mouse button to make monsters disappear... these people would be highly mistaken, and some of those would be irredeemable halfwits (but that's another story).
Combat tends to show its true colours by level 61 when you have unlocked all your skills, chosen the Awakening or Succession path, unlocked your Awakening weapon, and equipped suitable skill add-ons.
Farming drops will often be a one skill and rush on process which is the efficiency you want for this kind of task, but higher monsters and boss monsters will require thought, technique, understanding of your skills, setting your skills up properly for your class, and even learning some skill combos.
You can really go down the rabbit hole and learn more complex combos, part casts, skill cancellations, and even immunity frames if you crave the hand executed "Uber Macro" times of bygone days, it also plays a big role in PvP if you like PvP.
Community: 8/10 There's actually a pretty good community surrounding BDO... every game has its curmudgeons, salty behotches, and toxy the toxic avengers, but providing you don't stand afk or fish outside of a safe zone, you'll likely not get greifed by a kill happy pre-teen. Plus if you look around on discord, you'll be able to find a guild that speaks your native language. There are even communities for specific character classes and life skills like horse training/breeding, all of which can be an absolute goldmine of useful information... so have a look.
Final thoughts... You can't decide if you truly like the game until you've completed a season character play-through, reached level 61 and started to actually get into the main game content. The same can be said for trying just one class, try a few over time, and don't get over-saturated by the game. If you're getting tired, take a break, it's not going anywhere, and a new update has taken the time constraints of season away, so you can play season at your own pace...
"feels smooth like silka".
You'll enjoy the holiday events... there's usually some daft fun or little quests to do around Easter, Summer, Halloween, Autumn, Thanks Giving, Christmas, New Year, Eastern New Year, etc, and the game world generally has an excitable bustle to it due to everyone logged in around these times.
There are live streams, and events held by the BDO team which may or may not be of interest. Some are good, others can be dull/cringe, it entirely depends on what you like.
They even hold music events/contests where people compose music in game with the available instruments and play mini concerts... daft but cute fun and you may even witness some true talent.


(edited for typos, I'm only human)