Black Desert Online is an MMO RPG published by Duam Games. This game has high quality graphics, one of my favorite combat systems and incredible character customization; And I have mixed feelings about it.
Lets get started with the good, the bad, and the ugly; and there is a lot of all of that in this sandbox MMORPG. First off the graphics are stunning, offering amazing views and awesome combat effects. However, they require a very high end computer to process them smoothly. This is not a problem for me personally, but it is for a lot of potential players, so it has to go in the not bad column. There are ten classes to choose from, several of which I thought were brand spanking new to me (that doesn't happen often). I was quickly disappointed when I realized that these classes, while having some new tricks up their sleeves, were mostly just rehashes of what we are used to with different names. You have the sword and board Warrior, Ranger, Witch, Wizard, Sorceress, Berserker (duel wield warrior), Valkyrie (paladin), Tamer (shaman/rogue), Musa (rogue) Maehwa (rogue). I chose to play mostly with the Valkyrie which brings us to customization. I was thoroughly impressed with the customization aspect of character creation. Black Desert Online really lets you dictate almost every part of your character's body, and yes this means jiggly boobs and butts for all of you that choose to do so.
There is a great tutorial that helps you with the controls and generally helps you learn how to play the game. It is great because it utilizes videos to help you find your way and makes it very easy to understand some aspects of the game that could seem a bit overly complicated. It is however also accompanied by this weird black smoke cloud character that does a terrible job of moving the story along and honestly comes off kinda creepy.
Combat in this game is also impressive, as it uses what I like to refer to as “real time combat”. This is by no means a new way to approach the cookie cutter box that combat is generally put in in western MMOs, but it definitely doesn't get used as frequently as it should. Real time combat simply means that if you want to hit something, you have to aim for it and if it moves out of the way you will miss. Vice versa, if you move out of an enemy's way, they won't be able to hit you. In my opinion this adds a whole new level of challenge and fun to a game and it is by far my favorite type of combat system to date. That being said, Black Desert Online seems to have more of a hack and slash vibe in general. While it is my favorite combat system, this game does not have my favorite combat because it is not challenging. It is way too easy to run into huge groups of way higher level mobs and come out the other side a bloody triumphant mess. If that sounds fun, it is! Even though it is not my jam per se, this game manages to keep this aspect fun and mildly satisfying. It is also great for any grinding you might want to do, but it does take some of the immersion away for me.
Another thing that was really refreshing to see in an MMO again is the option to have actual conversations with NPCs that you contribute to, almost like a mini-game. I say again because Everquest and a few other older games utilized this system pretty heavily. During these conversations, you as the player can learn more about the world, its lore and what is going on currently between NPCs. This allows you to garner better reputation and unlock new quests and items, I think this is a system that should be in more games because it really helps you get immersed and invested in the world you are playing in.
Black Desert Online has a diverse political system allowing you to invest in cities by trading, buying property, and sending caravans between encampments to maximize profits. You can hire workers to gather resources, craft sought after items, and use your guild to police your territories. This all reminds me a bit of Eve Online and seems like it will turn into a lot of people playing mafia don. While I really like the depth that this adds to to game, it is not my cup of tea because I think it makes really hard for new players to get an established place in the game and leads to a lot of guild vs. guild bullying.
Speaking of bullying, this brings us to the kicker and ultimate downfall of the game for me. As I was exploring and learning and becoming a little attached to this game and thinking that they did a really good job overall, I realized that there is no PVE content at all. By this I mean that there is not a single dungeon or raid in the entire game. This is an absolute killer for me. I am a PVE girl through and through, and while I can be unbiased, I do not understand why there is no place for this content end game or during at all. There are world bosses but overall your only option is open world PVP and end game guild vs guild PVP battles. This means that if PVP is not your bag, you will not be enjoying this game to its fullest extent. And if you do enjoy PVP, but are unable to join a guild that has an established foothold, you are in for a lot of griefing as people protect what is already theirs. This goes in the ugly column =(
Overall, as you level and become part of a really well created world with spectacular graphics, you will experience a great combat system and an interactive depth to lore and questing that I haven't seen in a good long while. You will explore an expansive absolute sandbox world, learn crafting, and invest in the environment via trade and player housing. Also, you can sail around the high seas in your own ship. If you like PVP, then I would highly recommend that you give Black Desert Online a try. If you are like me, however, and absolutely love your PVE content, then this game is not for you. And it is for that unfortunate reason that I can't give this potentially great game a higher score.