Black Desert Online Review – GameSpot

What is the difference between “complex” and “disorganized”? Black Desert Online claims to be complicated – and it often is – but its appalling interface and poor introductions to key systems leave you floundering in the early hours of the morning, and sometimes in the later ones too. The approximate location does not help matters; non-player characters speak words you know, but string them together into silly phrases that communicate almost something – but not quite. Judging by the many melodramatic cutscenes, there is a complex story involved, but figuring it out is as easy as understanding Black Desert Online’s heads-up display. Even if you’re inclined to study every quest description and every line of dialogue in most online role-playing games, you’ll likely ditch that approach and click through all the quest-related threads, just to be done.

With this damage and so much more that calls for a cleanup crew, how come Black Desert Online is so absorbing?

Its success lies in the way it positions itself as a virtual life rather than a theme park. There are no dungeons or instanced raids. You can focus on quests and battles if you prefer, but it’s when you explore and mine Black Desert Online’s trading and crafting systems that the game starts to click. When you let your entrepreneurial spirit grow, you are no longer the pawn of quest givers, but a true citizen taking root in a digital home. You are a fisherman, horse breeder and farmer. You are a lumberjack, salesman and economist. Similar games tick some of the same boxes – ArcheAge and EVE Online come to mind, among others. But Black Desert Online is just new enough to capture your imagination, and you can love it despite the game’s efforts to push you back.

As I write these lines, I am fishing. Well, my witch is, at least. You can actively fish, which involves casting your line (maybe after applying a little bait) and performing a quick mini-game when something bites. But sometimes I leave my avatar on the shore and let her catch as much as she can until my fishing rod runs out of stamina and I have to replace it. Automated fishing takes longer than the alternative, but I can still feel like I’m accomplishing something, even if I want to stretch out or make a sandwich. As for the fish I catch, what I do with it depends on my mood. I could dry them (drying is one of the many ways you can process the items you collect) and sell them as is in the player market; or maybe I’ll simmer some fish food by going home and cooking food on the stove. The result? A good movement speed boost for me, or anyone I sell the concoction to.

Life simulation activities are hardly limited to fishing. I plant seeds in several gardens, water them and fertilize them if I want, and reap the results. Sometimes I use my hired workers to create bunches of wheat and pumpkins that I sell to traders, while other times I turn the ingredients into something more nourishing. Wheat, for example, can be crushed, then added to mineral water and shaken to create a paste. The dough is useful for making meat pie for me and my clients, and exotic wine for my NPC workers, who must be rampant alcoholics judging by how much alcohol they need to stay perfect. operating state.

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Where most online RPGs allow you to access the same stash from multiple hubs, Black Desert Online’s warehouses are local; If your hired miner in Velia has gathered the iron ore you need in Heidel City, the cheapest way to move it is to haul the ore yourself with a wagon you buy or build. In addition, to gain the most profit, it is necessary to make similar railroad journeys. And this is how the process of trade and transportation begins. You take your cart out of the stable, where it appears in a jumble of other players’ horses. Then you drive through another mess of player transports, as you need to be close enough to the warehouse to transfer the goods. Finally, you awkwardly turn around and make your five-minute trip, cursing developer Pearl Abyss for forcing you to drive so close to the warehouse manager, who does business in a tight space hostile to rail cars.

It’s Black Desert Online for you, though: throwing unnecessary obstacles into already pretty complicated systems. My digital life feels a little less real and a little more tedious when I have to navigate a mishmash of horses with the word ‘parking’ hovering over them, or when I lose all my cooking ingredients because I added four mushrooms to my seafood salad recipe instead of three. I love how slowly the feathers wind-drying or driving my own cases of pumpkins to sell in the next town; it’s the little frustrations that add up, a lot of it resulting from the sloppiest user interface of a genre known for sloppy interfaces.

I wouldn’t call Black Desert Online “pay to win” – there’s no competition to be won, really – but its cash-grabbing tendencies are more glaring than in most of these games.

Understanding these mechanics is no small feat, not because Black Desert Online doesn’t try to teach you them, but because its random quests don’t take you naturally from one stage of the process to the next. It’s easy to miss the intro quests entirely, and you can stumble over them a dozen hours after you’ve already figured things out on your own. But now my business has flourished and I am reaping the delicious rewards of my labor. At first I was stunned by the incredible and outrageous prices for the best armor and accessories. Ten million money? If only I could have such riches. Now, with an efficient trading network and a workforce of drunken giants mining for me, I am amassing my own millions. To come: horse breeding. There’s a demand for them, you know, and you can tame wild horses if you’re up for that sort of thing.

Yes, that’s a lot to consider, and I’ve ruled out all kinds of other mechanics, some useful and interesting, and some not. Useful and interesting: invest in towns and farms in order to improve the drop rates of monsters in certain regions. (You can never have enough Equipment Upgrade Stones.) Neither useful nor interesting: being limited by a currency called energy, which you spend with every tree you cut, every lizard you skin, and every stone you get. extract. When your guild begins a timed quest that sends each associate into the forest to chop wood, it is frustrating to chop down a few trees, only to find that you are running out of energy and have to wait for it to replenish itself. Almost all of the crafting, processing, and gathering activities cost energy, as does engaging with NPCs in Black Desert Online’s conversational minigames and haggling with traders for better prices.

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No legend provided

Why does this limit exist? You could say that it encourages you to go out and fight monsters for a while, or that it contributes to the authenticity of Black Desert Online; after all, cutting wood in real life uses a lot of energy. More likely, there is another atrocity to lead you to the real money store of an interface that introduces more currencies (Pearls, Loyalty, and Daum Cash) than you can spend on various items, including energy tonics. I wouldn’t call Black Desert Online “pay to win” – there’s no competition to be won, really – but its cash-grabbing tendencies are more glaring than in most of these games. For example, the armor in the game is dull and unchanging. If you’re tired of seeing your wizard running through a sea of ​​similar-looking Gandalfs, your only recourse is to drop a wad of cash on a costume. By default, you don’t experience the basic RPG arc of watching your character appear more powerful over time; to watch the play you have to pay.

That’s more of a mess for the cleaning crew, then. But this is my new virtual life now, and I can forgive transgressions because I am being rewarded for my mastery. It’s a world where I can have it all or just a part; it is a world in which I can be this, that or both at the same time. It’s also a beautiful world, one of the prettiest of its kind, marred only by a few distracting pop-ins. But what is a little pop-in in such a detailed game? You can practically smell the foul fog of Glish Swamp as it spreads through the swamp, and you can only imagine the big toxins lurking in the algae covered water. The tall green grasses and towering pines that line the Demi bank give the countryside a lush and peaceful appearance. Visually, Black Desert Online is the highest of high fantasy. Imagine a pastoral landscape, and the performance of the game will be even more pastoral than that. Imagine a whimsical flamingo, and the representation of the game will be even more whimsical.

Like other aspects of Black Desert Online, it takes some getting used to in combat.

Flamingos might be beautiful, but their feathers are valuable, so the best flamingo is a dead one. Birds aren’t the scariest enemy you face, however – orcs, cultists, and colossal demons are just a few of your enemies, and Black Desert Online makes their combat a delight. Thank goodness, too, since you spend a lot of time looking for precious drops and doing “kill this, plunder that” quests.

The combat is structured around the same type of combos that you might expect from an action game. You start off with a few Basic Attacks, but as you level up and gain skill points you string together punches, kicks, and magical incantations in dazzling displays of superhuman virtuosity. It’s not Bayonetta, so don’t expect the same kind of depth or challenge. But it’s still engaging and convincing to hit six orcs at once while another party member spits lightning bolts at his staff. Like other aspects of Black Desert Online, it takes some getting used to combat, but you get to grips with it quickly. There is logic and language to the way that individual touches combine into solid skills, and the resulting smooth animations are a rewarding reward.

The game’s quality of life issues are of course at the fore on the pitch. “Oh my God, I’m out of inventory space. Do I have to spend money on this? “Oh my God, I want to skin that fox, but I’m out of energy.” “Why is this enemy called a ‘long orc’? Was he supposed to be a “great orc”? And why am I killing the children of the orcs? Black Desert Online will achieve greatness when it can provide correct answers to these and other questions. Still, even now, it’s hard not to listen to her call, which rings out the moment you step into her rugged, best-in-class character creator. I imagine it will be even harder to tear myself away when player-versus-player siege wars are in full swing. Until then, there are plenty of fish to catch, plenty of demons to kill, plenty of meat pies to make, and plenty of coins to earn.