It’s a big day for one of the biggest MMORPG’s of the passed few years, Black Desert Online. The game has officially hit it’s 2nd Anniversary and has grown a lot since its initial release. BDO has been a reigning top contender for PC based MMORPG’s since it first came out, boasting total freedom for pretty much everything in the game world. So, how exactly has BDO changed and grown since it was first launched in North America and Europe?
The Basic Game
For those who don’t know what BDO is, it is an MMORPG set in a fantasy world where you play as someone who was possessed by a Black Spirit. The spirit wants you to grow with your new powers and you have a ton of ways to do just that. The game features a fantastic story, filled with deep and dark secrets from everyone involved. You get to see multiple angles as events play out and you influence the outcome in certain circumstances giving you the ability to tailor your story to your own idea of how it should go.
In BDO, you can be any of the 15 classes, each with highly unique skills and playstyles (even though they are male/female variants, each has totally unique skills comparing to the others). There is also another class coming soon this year as they’ve been hinting on it for a few months and this is about the time when they add in a large expansion (as they have every year since release). Previously, they had added Mediah, a large rocky region with cliffs and mountains filled with criminals and other crazy creatures like the Manes, and after that, Valencia and Kamasylvia, a giant desert region and a beautiful “Japanese” like region that often sees Snow. All the expansions have made BDO’s game world the largest in any MMORPG still playable today, and all of it has full attention to detail.
There are literally thousands of quests, and several ways to play the game to fit everyone’s preferred style. Whether you’re the traditional MMO player who follows the story and does everything else that benefits them along the way, or something else, you can play how you like. By filtering available quests to fit your style, you can decide which type of quests you can accept at any time after level 20. You can filter by Exploration, Trading, Fighting, Crafting, and Repeatable Quests, allowing you to see only the quests you want to see when you want to see them when talking to NPC’s. With such a huge game world, there are just as many quests to fill it up, with almost every NPC in the game having a purpose to advance or give the player a quest. So, whether you like to fight, or like the fish and trade, you can reach the end game any way you like!
What’s New Over the Years?
Since Black Desert Online’s NA launch, there have been several major expansions and updates, along with a plethora of smaller ones that have boosted the game world into what it is now. While initially the game had a rather rough launch with various game breaking bugs, it has come a long way in it’s development, appearance, and even interactivity with the players. This has attracted thousands of players and has kept pretty much all of them the entire time, which is quite rare for an MMORPG these days with a new one coming out every month or so. So what exactly is new since release? It’d be too much to point out everything, but lets go over a few of the major things that have been added and expanded on since release.
After the expansion that added in the Mediah and Valencia regions, Awakening was next. Awakening is a term for an entirely new set of skills and a weapon that’s roughly twice as strong as your main weapon. Each class gets their own Awakened weapon and set of skills that are unique and only available to that class. Awakening is required to battle in the higher levelled zones, such as Valencia or Kamasylvia, since the enemies there are much stronger than all the regions prior to them. By Awakening, the player can swap between their main weapon, and the new powerful one at any time to create powerful combo attacks. Depending on what their main weapon was, will determine if the Awakened weapon is faster or slower, making it a choice the player must make in order to keep the playstyle they enjoy. In most cases, the Awakened weapon adds a bunch of high damaging AOE skills that work really well when paired with other Awakened players. Since the late game is very grind heavy, this is pretty important for quicker advancing to the level cap.
After you hit level 56 and Awaken, you can enter the Savage Rift, a place where you can get a lot of XP and money based on how well your team does. There are 25 waves in the Savage Rift, and you must defend a crystal in a sort of tower defense style. This is done with a team of up to 10 players, each gaining points and using rifles to combat each wave. You can give your points to other players to pool it together and have a centralized builder while the others defend. Without proper placements of the defenses, you can lose pretty quickly in the Rift. You will receive gold bars (which are sold for money in 100k or 1 mil values) depending on the amount of levels you have completed before you fall in combat, or until you win against the last wave. The higher the wave you complete, the better the reward. As you’re defending against each wave, you’ll be earning quite a bit of experience in both Hunting and your main level, which can be a nice alternative to the grindy part of the endgame. Overall, the Savage Rift is a fun dungeon/tower defense instance to do with some friends.
With the latest update (the 2nd Anniversary one), they have added in Absolute Skills. These are mostly for the players who prefer their original main weapon over their Awakened weapon. Absolute skills are the strongest of the main skill, which require you to have the skill in question to be maxed out before you can learn the Absolute Skill. These skills are a further advanced version of the basic skills that all require your main weapon, making it almost as strong as the Awakened Weapon (almost, because your Awakened Weapon gains Attack Power based on your main Weapon’s Attack Power). The damages are roughly doubled when a skill is changed into an Absolute Skill, giving the players who prefer their main weapon the ability to keep playing using only their main weapon if they so choose. This is a great addition for the main weapons since they were quite weak in comparison to the Awakened weapons, making them obsolete before. In my personal experience, there were a few classes with terrible Awakened skills and weapons that made all the fun I had with the main weapons disappear upon hitting level 56 and entering Valencia, such as the Maehwa, Dark Knight, and Warrior, all of which had a major hindrance (to me) upon Awakening. For those classes, Absolute Skills will allow me to continue playing them with the weapon I enjoyed in the first place.
World Bosses and Vell
Originally, there was only the World Boss called “Red Nose” which was a giant goblin who required around 15-30 players to defeat. The purpose of defeating a world boss is to gain a chance at getting some of the best gear in the game. The devs changed the way loot was given, rewarding only the first 80 people (or those who total to the first 80% of the boss’s damage) with the chance at good loot, which makes it impossible for lower levels and lower geared players to gain much from the battle other than some coin and trash drops. While that is a problem for some, when there are over 15 World Bosses it quickly goes away since there are plenty of opportunities to get loot. Today, they have 16 world bosses, with the latest one being the World Boss of the Ocean, Vell. Vell is by far the most enjoyable boss fight for me, and my guild who has trained for its release since the game launched. When Vell was first released in the NA version of the game, you could see hundreds of ships all gathered together to take down this massive (largest World Boss in the game) whale-like Kraken deep in the ocean. Surprisingly, the game handled quite well with so many ships and thousands of players all in one area fighting the boss. On the server my guild fought it during the first battle, we managed to take him down within 1 minute of his despawn timer, which was certainly a close call. The other world bosses require strategic thinking to avoid their skills and they do unique things like pulling the entire group of players directly to them, but Vell can spawn a swarm of fish minions to snatch players from their ships, summon a giant wirlpool that will drag nearby ships to him or slam them into the spiked rock formations around him, and all sorts of fun things to try avoiding. The best part about the Vell fight is that you’re doing it with the entire server, not just your ship or your guild members! The rewards were well worth the 1.5-2 hour boss fight since you can get one of the best-in-slot accessories, albeit a very low drop rate. I enjoy this particular world boss the most since everyone works together and there’s no one trying to PK everyone else, like at all the other bosses. Of course, being on a large pirate ship with guildies is also fun!
Housing and Workshops
From an army of workers to gather and craft everything for you, to owning your own mansion decorated with the trophies you’ve collected from your enemies and in game events, you can Role Play the game any way you decide. By owning a house, you can decorate it and show it off to friends and other players, or even role play it as something other than a house by decorating it like a Tavern or Alchemy Shop per say. In BDO, the players gain Contribution as they do various activities (be it through questing or profession aspects like trading or crafting), which can then be used to purchase properties in all the various towns and cities throughout the game world. You can also use Contribution to connect each city with the others through nodes (which are also used for your workers to gather materials by investing into them). Each property has its own use from worker housing, mineral smelting, to tailoring, and even packing fish. You can decide early on whether you want to specialize a worker empire into a single type of material, or if you want to be like me and gather a bit of everything (often overfilling my warehouses so I can’t place anything else in them!) and sell it through the marketplace to other players. Workers will need to be fed of course, but they will level up and you can give them promotion tests to make them better quality workers and eventually you’ll have a massive empire of workers gathering and crafting almost everything for you, which makes your life much easier since you can then use your Energy on other tasks like Alchemy or Hunting, a couple of the things workers can’t do for you. Either way, investing into nodes allows you to branch out trading locations so you can sell goods to other connected towns and it also lets you get better drops from any enemy you defeat in the node region, which benefits everyone! This system has been expanded with each new region and some of the items crafted in the new workshops of the new cities, are incredible. From powerful weapons and armor, to epic looking ship and horse gear, all the way to things like enchanted tools and special outfits only available at certain workshops in the new cities. With each expansion, more and more is added to the housing and workshop opportunities, making it highly worth investing into.
So, Black Desert Online has of course many more unique things about it from the unparalleled character creation, to it’s recent release on Steam and Mobile version later this year, and even the way screenshots can be taken in game. There’s far more to the game than what can be put into a single post or review. I’ve enjoyed the game and its community since its early Beta version, since the players are great people and most everyone helps each other often. The devs are also very passionate about the game and are rather quick to tend to any major problems that come up between updates. The even extended the Vell battle timer for us during the first battle with it because one of the other servers crashed, which allowed us to defeat him within 1 minute of his despawn timer. BDO is one of those MMO treasures, that only gets better with each update and expansion to the game world. That’s why thousands of concurrent players have been playing the game since its NA/Euro launch (even more before that with its Asian version). If you haven’t played Black Desert Online, and are looking for an MMO worth investing time into with a great payout, this is definitely one of the best (if not THE best) out there. The devs have been pushing this game to be available on as many platforms as possible, which is incredible, since most MMO’s of this scale stick to PC only. BDO has been ported to Steam, and will have a mobile version this year as well and they’ve spoken about potential ports elsewhere as well, which is great for expanding the community even more!