3 Reasons To Be Excited (And Skeptical) Of Black Desert Online

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor August 1, 2014


We talked a fair bit about Black Desert Online in the latest F2PCast., and our early opinions were a mix of eager anticipation and worrying doubt. Both are healthy; there's always new stuff on the horizon that looks awesome and that we should be excited about, but we've also been burned enough times by games that looked good from afar but failed to meet expectations when we finally saw them up close.

With that in mind, here are our picks for some of the best and not-so-best things we've seen and heard about Pearl Abyss's upcoming MMO:


1. Graphics aren't everything in a game – just look at World of Warcraft and Runescape. But there's no doubt that BDO is gorgeous on a level unlike just about anything currently on the market. It's not just select previews direct from Pearl Abyss, either; search for beta footage on YouTube and you'll find plenty of normal players (with decent rigs, admittedly) digging the breathtaking scenery.

Part of the visual appeal is the character creator, which also looks to be light-years ahead of most other games', despite the fact that races seem gender locked.. Instead of sliders like you have in most games, you can directly manipulate your avatar's face and hair like an actual graphic design program, giving you unbelievable control over your character's look. (Hopefully, there are some restraints in place to keep people from making disproportional, grotesque monstrosities.)


2. I'm not an “action combat or GTFO” kind of person. I'm still generally OK with tab-targeting in my MMOs. That said, BDO's action combat looks to be above and beyond what I'm used to, far better than TERA, which I found rather dull. A better comp might be a game like Vindictus, which had hard-hitting, fast-moving combat but wasn't MMO-like enough for my taste. Black Desert Online will certainly appeal to the action junkie in all of us.


3. Sometimes, it's the little things that count. Things like a mini-game that you need to secure your mount. Or being able to shoot a bird out of the sky. Or having a kind of “mobile house” that you can plant farms around and harvest them, ArcheAge-style. Or climbing to the highest point in a city. Little nuggets of gameplay like this can help break up dreary grinds, and offer inventive springboards to sandbox-style gameplay.


1. Our impressions are from the Korean betas, so things can change, but right now what we're hearing is that there's a lot of grinding in the game, even by the standards of others of its ilk. Quests don't grant XP, so the main way to level is by killing mobs (which the quests direct you toward) over... and over... and over again. There are other ways to gain XP, and I don't mind taking a while to level, but if it's mostly the same thing over and over again, it's going to wear me down, no matter how much fun the combat is.


2. And when you gain that XP... you can lose it in PvP. And you can also lose items. Ouch. Hey, if you're super-hardcore and you like that, good for you. But this will be a major turnoff/deal-breaker for a vast number of Western gamers, and will severely limit the game's audience, profitability, and potentially lifespan. Penalties for death are certainly do-able, but the MMO gaming world as a whole abandoned XP loss and corpse-looting nearly a decade ago. It's time to move on.

3. Sometimes the little things... don't count. Picking off birds and climbing around might be fun for a while, but if they don't offer much in terms of rewards, they'll just be shunted aside as a side activity that you enjoy for a little while, and then never touch again. Yes, I know everything in an MMO doesn't have to be about progression, but realistically... it kinda does. MMOs feature hundreds of mobs and a half-dozen or so dungeons, all with a different feel, but rarely do the side activities match that kind of variety and so they rarely hold one's interest for more than a few minutes. In other words, don't plan on starting your seagull-meat trading empire just yet.


Black Desert Online's still in beta, and we don't know anything about the North American localization, so there's a lot that can change to help alleviate some of our concerns. It's promising that Daum is opening a North American office, but so have companies like Snail Games, so... yeah. In any case, it's always a good idea to temper high expectations with a healthy does of reality... and no, I don't think “Dose of Reality” will be a crafting recipe.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (55)

Anjealous 6 years ago
I've bee looking forward to a game like this. Open world housing exploring and good crafting. But if this is going to be one of those game where you'r open to pvp even if you don't want to, I think I will pass. I played EvE, RF online and Lineage 2 and p[en pvp was the exact reason I left. Pvp was always unbalanced. Gear always made the player, not the persons actual skill level. I don't mid experience lose, but gear lose? That's a interest killer for me. I play pvp, but I don't like it. It's way to boring and lop sided. I really have no interest in improving my pvp skills, it's just to uninteresting taking on players. To the point of I'd rather a cavity search Router Rooter style.. I wouldn't mind having my gear permanently destroyed, but xp lose and item lose to other players just seems like a big piss offer to me. You don't even have to be a level or 30 higher than some one. All you need is people to start grouping up and hunting down player just for the hell of it. So I hope they have some pve severs with pvp zones. Oh yeah if they are going to have pvp early on, then they need to have pvp gear accessible early on as well. No point in open pvp if you can't or have trouble defending yourself.

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Buggy 6 years ago
I look forward to black desert online coming to the shores of US gaming. In all honest opinion for this game I say come at me my body is ready to accept you and take your challenge as a finally a challenge game.

Buggy 6 years ago
I look forward to black desert online coming to the shores of US gaming. In all honest opinion for this game I say come at me my body is ready to accept you!

ExHuman 6 years ago
Free PK system? Sure... What can be more hardcore, than killing noobs in leveling areas!

ama8o8 6 years ago
If items drop, and if you potentially buy items from lets say an in game store ...those should definitely not be able to be picked up ...cause that's like the other player stealing money -_- there should be restrictions on what the person can pick up cause honestly what if some ahole level 999999 comes in and kills a helpless level 20, takes that persons only weapons and armor and sales it >_< I mean the game wont be fair but sometimes theres gotta be restrcitions Im thinking similar to guild wars 2 ...lower the damn level of high leveled people whenever they go into lowbie areas LOL

ama8o8 6 years ago
Well they are most likely going to have a pve and pvp server so Im most likely going into pve ...technically speaking if I end up spending a lot of money on this game, I aint gonna be keen on losing something ...especially if its something I buy from the shop like a weapon skin or something on a weapon...that wouldnt be fair its like losing the money you spent for no reason -_-

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OO 7 years ago
the classes are neither race or sex locked

ZubniNit 7 years ago
I dont have problem with death penalty in pvp but still......loss of items is a bit too much for me
(+ you can only get xp from mobs so....loss of xp is punishing enough), I hope there will be some kind of buff so you can't get attacked by lv 50 while being lv 14.

killer1985 7 years ago
кто знает когда она выйдет?

derpo 7 years ago
Worse review i ever seen, this dude totaly don't understand what MMORPG should be, he just think every game have to be another WoW successor like Guild Wars II or Wildstar... yeah... great games... SOLOCASUALRPG online with no point.

Kreyd 7 years ago
2. And when you gain that XP… you can lose it in PvP. And you can also lose items. Ouch. Hey, if you’re super-hardcore and you like that, good for you. But this will be a major turnoff/deal-breaker for a vast number of Western gamers, and will severely limit the game’s audience, profitability, and potentially lifespan. Penalties for death are certainly do-able, but the MMO gaming world as a whole abandoned XP loss and corpse-looting nearly a decade ago. It’s time to move on


IMguiltY 7 years ago
I like the idea..... With the exp loss and gear loss in PvP... And those people who say that the game is gonna "DIE" becuz of it... Try look at Eve Online? You die ? You loose ur entire ship? And if u havnt farmed enough ingame currency back to the grind stone my son.....
And yet Eve Online still have alot off players on a daily basis....

Im pretty sure i will like this game very much :)

wat 7 years ago
>The combat is better than Tera.

You're delusional. When I played it, the only thing that could be even considered close to Tera was Archers having similar soft-lock systems on their arrows.

Go play Warrior in Tera, and I can guarantee you, you'll see it's far more complex than the crap this game pulls. The game's good, but the combat system still isn't at Tera's standards. Especially with summoning classes having pets to do the work for you.

WatermelonT 7 years ago
People will get so good at playing this, they will be unbeatable in pvp or pve. Thats just from my point of view. They will play hours and hours just to get as much skilled as they can, to never lose items.

Uh while writing this, it reminds me of those bad Zombie mmos with no point at all, where you died and lost all of your items, ran to your corpse through the whole map to get your items back, but by that time someone already took it or your corpse disappeared.

MidAir 7 years ago
1. I love pvp or pk, just imagine you fight a mob and someone ran over to steal it from you and you are able to just kill him so he has to res in a city and maybe run all the way back.
2. The same goes for Item/Equipment drops as a punishment-system, if you pk random people whole day, the guards of the city will attack you, so you cant go trading or questing and you will lose some stuff when you die.
3. And i think the level wont count that much in this game when it comes to pking people because as you might know there wont be a level cap so that will be a huge problem, i would like to see some kind of level decreasing like in Guild Wars 2, you will be stronger but not like onehiting some level 3 newbies with your level 255 character.

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legofkain 7 years ago
I think exp/item loss shouldn't be a problem. It's just that higher level players abuse pvp by harassing and killing players lower by as much as 10 levels lol. I don't think a loss should incur in this situations. However, if it was a fair battle, then by all means I think it will make players want to increase their skills and learn from their mistakes

killer1985 7 years ago
Что за игра кто скажет?

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sup 7 years ago
just at looking at this game, it could have the potential to become pretty big in mmorpg. but why does every game just have to look so fucking asian...

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hovsep56 7 years ago
pk was never meant to be fun its made to frustate players as much as possible cause they don't give a crap if the player is 30 lv's below him or not they just attack

if it had the buff like lineage 2 where only players 5 lv' higher and lower can attack you then i see the game working but losing items and exp to player you KNOW you have no chance against is dumb

Deyirn 7 years ago
losing XP and gear in PvP is the coolest thing ever, there should be permanent death too - like in Diablo II's Hardcore league

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MrMcDemo 7 years ago
My only questions for the climbing if anyone can answer this; Is it actual climbing, or Parkour, if its climbing, is it limited to only inside cities? or are there cliff faces or trees out in the field you can climb too, if there are can you climb indefinitely or does your character have a stamina resource to govern how long you can climb?

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GMAlonzo 7 years ago
Sorry, i meant Black Desert

GMAlonzo 7 years ago
Bless online is eve online but Action RPG. :) Can't wait for it.

Anyone know of a release date?

Not Hardcore 7 years ago
You kids must be new to mmo's. Shaiya and other games have xp loss/ item drop when killed/ and permanent death. Try playing a character for a 3 years than it dies and you have to start over. Game looks good it is gonna be dope as fug biotches!

Nevalopo 7 years ago
I love the hardcore part. And im sure you guys will too. Ofcourse you shouldn't lose any exp or items if someone 30 levels above you kills you. That's just stupid. But if someone equal to your level is engaging you while you are grinding and it turns out to be a epic battle between life and death. The heart will start pounding and make 1 wrong move and you die. That's hardcore and epic. Im sure this pvp will be soo fkin epic!

Hardcore FTW 7 years ago
I love the hardcore part. Alot of whiney 14-16 year old kids still want no exp loss when you die. What's the point in being careful when grinding/hunting there. No thrill in pvp if you just can die over and over without penalty. I love that fact that you can find someone who have hunted for an hour straight and just kill him and make him lose all his progress muahah

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Wakalaka 7 years ago
I have seen too many 'amazing' MMORPGs turn out to be generic MMOs with slight variation. Let's bother discussing this game once it's actually released shall we?

me 7 years ago
This game is pretty bad right now...I hope they will fix it.

Andres 7 years ago
The developers and publisher for western region must make this game a real sandbox mmorpg, meaning that there must be PVP servers and PVE servers safe from open world pvping and the griefing that brings. What is the point of making a game with a beautiful landscape design and character creation when you have to be worried to be in open world because you may get ganked?

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King 7 years ago
I am so excited for this game, i hope that i wont get dissapointed XD

Ty 7 years ago

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