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How To Build A Production Empire In Black Desert Online

How to make NPCs work for you

Black Desert Online is an MMO that combines a few aspects of EVE Online with a gorgeous fantasy world. It features plenty of fluid action combat, but you'd be missing out if you don't invest in its expansive and robust crafting and production systems. This guide will help you get started, teaching you how to use 'contribution points' to build your own business brewing beer.

Before we get started, this is a guide that should be attempted by players around level 15+ who have worked through some of the story quests and have made their way to the town of Velia. Don't worry, getting there should only take an hour or two. Once you're there, I'll take you step by step toward building your first 'node network' to begin producing goods that you can craft to make yourself a lot of money. You're also going to need a total of four contribution points—which I'll explain how to get in just a few moments.

I will say that thanks in part to Black Desert's shoddy localization and the obtuse nature of the mechanics, understanding all of the nuances described in this guide might take some time. Just keep at it, follow closely, and don't hesitate to experiment and see what happens.

Want to simply know more about what's good and bad about the game? Read the Black Desert Online review instead.

What Are Contribution Points?

In most MMORPGs, your character's power is measured by their level, and the same is true for Black Desert. However, Black Desert has more to do than kill monsters and run dungeons. You can set up trade routes, build and sell boats or wagons, become a master chef, and plenty more.

Almost all of those pursuits are tied to contribution points, a refundable currency you earn from completing different quests. With enough experience, you'll earn points that you can spend and refund whenever you please.

Perhaps the most basic way to invest contribution points is through renting items from various NPCs. As you explore the world, you'll encounter many characters who will loan you items in exchange for contribution points. Whenever you're done using the item, like a fence to set up a garden, bring it back to that character and earn your contribution points back in full. Where you'll spend most of your contribution, however, is setting up sprawling 'node networks' to access resources or connect towns together to establish trade routes. Let's dig into how that works.

How Do Nodes Work?

The world of Black Desert is vast and nonlinear, and you're free to wander about and discover it as you please. Landmarks and areas of interest are called nodes, and by unlocking them using your contribution points, you can begin to chain them together into a network. Doing this allows you to hire workers who can head out to the nodes and harvest a given resource for you, like the produce we'll use to make beer.

Looking at the world map, you can see how nodes are connected to one another by white lines that arch between them. All node networks must start at a town (the icon on the map will be blue) which is a node you get for free. That means in order to unlock a given node, you must first unlock any subsequent nodes between it and any town.

Looking at this image, you can see that, in order to unlock the Imp Cave, I must first unlock the Loggia Farm node.

To discover a node, you need to locate the Node Manager, an NPC somewhere in the area of that node who you can talk to. Many of them will be located along roads, so as you travel keep an eye out and always talk to them if you see one. For this guide, let's unlock the node manager at Loggia Farm.

Head west of Velia, keeping in sight of the coast until you see the farm buildings and fields of Loggia Farm. As you approach the front gate you'll see Severo Loggia out front, the Node Manager. Talk to him and select the 'node management' option from the conversation window.

This brings us to the node management screen. In the top left, you can see some basic information about the node as well as the option to invest two contribution points in order to unlock it. There's a lot of information there, like temperature, that we don't need to worry about as it mostly relates to gardening. If you already have two contribution points, great. If not, keep reading this guide, but you're going to want to spend more time questing in order to get more contribution experience.

An immediate benefit to unlocking a node is an increase of drop rate for items in the area, which is very worthwhile if you plan on sticking around to kill monsters or gather resources by hand. If you can, always try to unlock a node that you intend to do any form of grinding in, as the long term benefits of increased item drops can really pay off.

Now that you've unlocked the Loggia Farm node, we're going to need to unlock the sub-node affiliated with it, which will grant us access to Loggia's potato fields. This will cost an additional contribution point.

Hiring Your First Worker

Now that we've unlocked Loggia Farm and its potato fields, let's start working on our very first production chain. This one will be really simple to set up and won't require a great deal of contribution points or effort. We're going to be crafting the most sacred of liquids: beer.

Beer is fantastic for several reasons. One, I'm drinking some right now and it's delicious. The other reason beer is great is because it restores the stamina of your workers, who will tire after a long day slaving in the fields for you. By getting your workers high on your own supply, you can keep them working longer while selling the excess beer on the market for a tidy profit. You might be wondering how we're going to turn potatoes into beer. I don't have an answer for you. It just works.

It's worth mentioning that you could set out and harvest the potatoes yourself by running through the field and gathering them. By hiring workers to do it for you, you can save your time and energy for more interesting pursuits.

Now, let's get some workers.

Back in Velia, we're going to want to talk to Santo Manzi, the Work Supervisor, as he can help us get a worker for the fields. If you're having trouble finding him, click on the NPC box in the top right of the screen and you can set a waypoint to him by selecting 'Worker' from that drop down menu. Once you talk to him, selecting the 'contract worker' option in the dialogue window will cost you five energy and will display only one random worker to hire. If you want to search for another, you'll need to spend another 5 energy.

Workers have their own skills and characteristics, and they'll also level up the more you use them, unlocking more skills. Don't worry about this too much, they'll be plenty of time to tweak all of this to create a buttery smooth beer operation. For now, just hire whichever worker looks best for you, keeping in mind that their race determines their basic stats. Giants have more stamina and can gather for longer before needing food or beer but they also move quite slow. Goblins are speedy but tire quickly, and humans are right in the middle.

Now that you have your worker, open up the map, click on the Loggia Farm node and then on the potato fields sub-node and that will bring up a window of your workers where you can see their stats and how long a single trip to gather potatoes will take. You can also change how many times they'll repeat the gathering process to a maximum of their total stamina points as each trip will cost one point. It's also worth noting that workers won't continue to gather while you're logged off, so keeping Black Desert Online running even if you're away from the computer is ideal.

Once you're ready, press 'start work'. You'll immediately see your worker represented on the map, slowly making their way to the farm. If you want, you can even follow him as all the workers owned by you and your guild are actual NPCs that move about in the world.

Go little guy, go!

Alright, gathering all those potatoes is going to take some time, probably around an hour depending on what race your worker is. While they're toiling away for us, let's move on to the next step.

On page two, how to buy your first house, brew beer with the fruits (and veg) of your (NPC's) labour, and more.

Buying Your First House

With your worker off to the fields, all you'll need is a house to brew the beer in. Let's go buy one.

Open up the map window and select the blue icon that represents the node of Velia and the map will zoom to the town. Here you can see icons representing each of the houses available to rent in exchange for contribution. Blue houses can be rented immediately but grey houses require you to, like nodes, purchase the first house in the chain. Once again, you can see white lines connecting houses together.

Pick any house that has the option to build a residence and begin building it. It shouldn't take long at all. Once done, go check it out!

In order to brew beer, we need the all-in-one 'cooking utensil' which is an object you can place in your home to cook all sorts of recipes. You can try searching the auction house for one or, even better, talk to your black spirit companion. Select the guide option in the dialogue menu, and tell him that you want to learn how to cook. This will give you a waypoint to the chef NPC in Velia who will not only sell you basic ingredients but start you on a quest to go through the basics of cooking. It might be a good idea to just run through the quests he offers you since you have time to kill.

Your waypoint will first lead you to the chef's assistant who has the quest to receive the cooking utensil. After that, talk to the chef standing next to her and pop open his shop window and purchase the following ingredients:

1x sugar
2x leavening agent
6x mineral water

Become A Brewmaster

These ingredients, along with the potatoes, are all you need to make beer. Some of them, like mineral water, can be gathered out in the world, but it's easier to buy them directly as you'll make up for the cost once you start selling beers because they're so cheap. It's also worth noting that the recipe for beer calls for any kind of grain or vegetable, so you can use wheat or corn if you prefer.

If you're bored of waiting, you can head out to Loggia yourself and gather potatoes by hand from the fields or you can work on other quests. You can always open the world map to check the progress of your worker at any time.

Assuming your worker is done harvesting, go gather your potatoes from your personal storage by talking to the Storage Manager on the docks. You'll need only five potatoes per beer.

Head back to your house and use the cooking utensil, opening up a window where you can place ingredients. Drop in everything you bought in addition to the 5 potatoes (be careful to use the proper amounts) and start cooking.

In no time you should have your very first beer! If you have more potatoes left over, you can buy more ingredients from the chef and start making more. If you want to expand your operation, consider heading north to Bartali Farm and unlocking the nodes there and hiring a second worker. You'll need to spend contribution points on a second house and convert it into lodging in order to hire additional workers however. Keep in mind that different houses in town have specific uses, so not all of them can be turned into lodging.

When your workers run out of stamina, open up the worker list (from the ESC menu or the pickaxe in the upper-left) and press recover to feed them beer from your inventory. Your excess beer can be sold on the market place for some added cash.

Congratulations, you just built your first basic production chain! From here, you can learn new recipes and unlock new nodes to work with, or you can expand the chain to produce new types of goods.

Further west of Loggia Farm is the Imp Cave I talked about earlier. By unlocking that node and its requisite sub-nodes, you can send workers to harvest copper, which can also be sold on the market for a good sum or crafted into different materials.

Wrapping Up

The node system in Black Desert Online is unique but also complicated. There's more nuances to explore, like spending energy to level up nodes to increase their resources. For now, you're armed with the basics to begin producing goods. If you like, consider buying a house and setting up a workshop, which you can staff a worker in to take resources from your storage and automatically craft them into a variety of things. Using the same menus I've shown you, the process will be quite easy.

As you begin to level up and explore more of Black Desert Online, taking the time to build node networks will always be worth it. They can be an excellent source of passive income, and you can use them to build weapons or materials that can be invaluable to you in your journey. This will also save you from having to gather these resources yourself, which can be very time intensive.

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