Black Desert Online Arrives On Western Shores

Earlier this year, Black Desert Online [official site] released a free standalone version of its sophisticated character creation suite and the results at RPS Towers were quite horrifying. Today, the Korean MMORPG has finally made it westward and you can check its launch trailer after the drop.

Actually, for those of you sneaky sods who didn’t click the above link, you’re not getting off that lightly. THIS GUY was born from the aforementioned experimentations with the game’s character creator:

Now that that ghastly image has been forever imprinted in your mind, let’s look at the prettier side of Black Desert Online:

Looks quite nice, doesn’t it? And from from what Steven Messner relayed in his recent hands-on with the MMO, there’s a lot more going on beneath its aesthetically pleasing veneer. Speaking to the credibility of its world, he praised how alien it all made him feel, but that this very fact urged him to explore further:

“This is exactly what I was expecting to see when I sat down and hesitantly logged into Black Desert Online for the first time. Here we go again, I thought. But within my first hour of playing, Black Desert Online revealed that it was more than just a pretty face (and some not-so pretty faces). It made me feel something that I haven’t felt while playing an MMORPG in a very long time: I felt lost. The good kind of lost.”

Given how little MMOs have changed over the last decade or so, this idea of unfamiliarity and genuinely feeling lost within Black Desert Online’s world sounds absolutely wonderful, and bodes well for its long-term appeal. I can’t remember the last time I started a game and didn’t instantly recognise things I was supposedly seeing for the first time. If this concept can also tie into the game’s combat, quests and systems, then it could be onto a winner.

Black Desert Online is out now via the game’s site. Tiered packages cost different prices: the Explorer’s Package costs €29.99, while the Traveler’s Package comes in at €49.99 (which translates to £23.21 and £38.62, respectively, so says this currency conversion).


  1. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    “If this concept can also tie into the game’s combat”

    Especially there, actually, quite an unprecedented thing in a MMO.

    The rest is quite a very expansive sandbox, non-themepark affair, and it absolutely runs the risk of feeling overwhelming.

    No fast travel, no disappearing horses, crafting that makes sense and big constructions requiring a lot of time and workers, with the latter requiring you invested in all the “nodes” needed for your empire.

    Nothing is really that guided and you can find your niche to exploit, as a random example i got into the trading/fishing top 20 spending a lot of my precious points in connecting a very far away island to get away from overfished spots, while raking distance-boosted profits.

    This was during the headstart and i was almost alone there, everyone else went their own way. That’s more or less the point of the game: very little “end game” in the traditional sense, save for the guild conflicts, node wars and castle sieges.

    Everything is born out of the desire to get the biggest footprint in there, which is a thing that starts once you are logged in for the first time, not when you’re level XX and you gathered your pre-raid gear. The latter only matters for serious PvP later on.

    Other than that, a huge amount of superbly polished pixels, a great sense of immersion on a world that feels incredibly busy and alive and there are mechanics in place that make the whole super huge map valuable, not just the end game hub. No one teleports anywhere, you’ll see players traveling or trading with caravans, their workers going to do their stuff, NPCs sleeping at night and so on.

    • Thurgret says:

      I’ve been having trouble learning much of use to me due to the nature of Internet commentary and the trouble of sifting through it, so, given that you appear to have a somewhat similar approach to this to how I’d likely play it:

      How feasible is solo play?
      Is it an interesting world to explore and observe?
      Is there grind?

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Ultimate enchanting and absolute fixation on your the best character progression possible is absolutely grindy, with korean styled super punishing RNG.

        Grinding in the usual sense is 10 times more fun when it comes to killing mobs, and actually finding a good “grind spot” is another way to play the game, as you get drops that once stacked a certain amount can return cash.

        Quests are supposed to give you mostly items and contribution experience, which is something you use to invest in nodes, workshops, houses and so on, bolstering trading and allowing you to have your own empire.

        Basically you’re not simply stacking quests and leveling that way, you actually can do that even by other activities. The game strongly encourages setting up shop, having alts around cities for warehouse reasons and energy pools for crafting, and in general you feel the weight of the world as you try to settle somewhere.

        The world is huge and you don’t just go anywhere with ease. Still, i can’t imagine many other MMOs except with such an immersive and interesting world, or a such a feeling of being with your feet on it. Even traveling the sea alone feels like an accomplishment, and you’ll agree once you set on a far away island and start chilling and fishing.

        Solo play is perfectly feasible, but guilds are the best part. You even gain compensation, your guilds have funds thanks to guild quests that promote a lot of gathering and fun in general, let alone trying to possess nodes and castles, taxing plebs and so on!

      • hawken.grey says:

        I played solo for several months on the Korean version. It’s fine for a long while, there’s really a ton to do. I’m talking non-pvp play here. Building fishing boats, taming/breeding horses, exploring, fighting, leveling, building up your various houses, doing all the trading-resource-gathing stuff, and just generally expanding your “empire” really give a lot of fun for a long time.

        I guess I would hope that eventually they develop the PvE endgame option, to really improve things for the non-pvp crowd. They’ve got world bosses, and that’s an interesting step, but otherwise, I guess I would like more group content outside of GvG (which is cool, but a different sort of thing).

      • Zantium says:

        I played in CBT2 and that convinced me there was plenty of game available for the money so I bought it.

        I’m not rushing, not grinding levels and I’m just taking my time to enjoy the experience so since the 24h head-start I’ve only reached level 21. I have more than enough to do just questing through the normal game and fishing (which was part of the reason I picked the game up, I enjoy fishing in MMOs as a relaxing alternate play style). Even though it’s supposed to be (end game) PvP focused there are masses of PvE quests, plus whatever life skill/s you decide you want to do.

        I will I’m sure join a guild at some point, but right now I have more than enough to do solo.

    • Rizlar says:

      Arg you are making me really want to play this. Do you know if lint is an accepted currency?

  2. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Had a look around to find out how the combat works (hotkey combat just doesn’t feel good to me, made worse by MMOs generally being quite long and involving a lot of punching the same things) and eventually found this: link to
    Seems it works a bit more like an action game, so that’s me immediately more interested. Not sure why they’re not making a bigger deal out of this, their own trailers made it seem like hotkeys with dodging like most other MMOs in the last 5 years.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      You can still use hotkeys for certain abilities, but most of it is done by a combo and “flow” system for chaining, and you don’t end up using much more than the QWEASD part of your keyboard + shift, with stuff that is also contextual to the WASD movement.

      Actually you’d use number hotkeys only if you felt like hurting yourself.

    • Zantium says:

      Like you I went off hotkey MMOs a while back after a good long run of them. I find the combat in this very enjoyable, to the point where I will hang around and carry on for a while after I’ve done enough to fulfill a quest, just because I’m having fun.

      It’s very fluid and position/movement based. It does feel like a 2D fighting game in a 3D environment, which I believe is what they were going for.

  3. Morcane says:

    Yeah, when I played the second beta, thanks to getting a key from somewhere, I got the same vibes I got when I first played Eve Online: lost indeed. I played Eve religiously for 7 years, and am kind of scared to buy this game….I played a wizard, and it felt like a proper Gandalf (the default wizard character even looks like Gandalf).

  4. Leozaur says:

    To hell with the country locks… Still… In the year 2016…

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Forget region locks. From what I hear, classes are gender-locked in this game.

      • Faxanadu says:

        So? I think it’s interesting. Makes things less bland, gives it kinda like a medieval feel.

    • Darkz0r says:

      Yeah, what a joke. Not wasting my time with a nazi company.

      • Williz says:

        Nothign wrong with this seeing as the Russain and KR versions are F2P and the Eu & NA versions are B2P Daum are just protecting their investment. But again you can always get around these locks it isn’t exactly hard…

        • Leozaur says:

          Yeah, nothing wrong with generally horrendous quality of F2P games, particularly so when operated by a russian publisher, and nothing wrong with being locked in russian community when I can’t even speak the language properly.
          …Attempted to give it a try anyway. First the adware launcher, then some sort of “protection” system that attempted to install an unsigned driver. “I need your clothes. I need your passwords. I need your soul.”

  5. JustOneWay says:

    My immersion in this desert world was completely spoiled by that camel at 0.27 walking with a horse’s gait rather than the pacing gait used by real camels. I found it so distracting I can’t remember the rest of the video.
    I know that this basically makes me a massive zoology nerd so I will get my coat and leave now.

  6. Williz says:

    Been playing Since the 28th as I bought the headstart package. fucking amazing game and so much to do.., Still trying to work some of the systems out…

  7. Skandranon says:

    Eh, I’ve taken a gander at the cash shop and it’s completely killed my interest for this game.

    As far as I can tell they seem to have taken basically a F2P cash shop and stuck a price tag on the game on top of that without any real changes.

  8. Cronstintein says:

    Yeah I’m a little confused as to why I get to pay $50+ dollars while the Russians and Koreans get in for free…

    • SomeDuder says:

      You shouldn’t. This is a MMO. It’ll go F2P before long anyway, and then the next MMO will depart from Hype central.