Black Desert impressions from around the MMO blogosphere

When a new game comes out, you can play it cautious by waiting for reviews or you can roll the dice and take your chances by leaping in right as the doors open. While it’s certainly fun to be among the first in a new MMO, sometimes caution — especially when one is on the fence — is the better approach.

At Massively OP we hold to the opinion that MMOs can’t be reviewed in full but that accurate observations and relatable experiences of the current game can be shared. If you’re still trying to figure out if Black Desert is for you after reading our new column, then here is a round-up of many impressions from MMO bloggers as they suss out the game in its first week in the west.

Aywren Sojurner: First impressions

“I’d heard a lot of impressions about the bland voice acting, the lack of story and sub-par questing. So, I went in with very low expectations of these things. While the localization and voice acting won’t win any awards, I’ve played a LOT worse in Korean-based MMOs *cough* Dragon’s Prophet *cough.* Sure, it’s lacking the charm and character of big name story-driven games like FFXIV and GW2. But it’s certainly a few leaps up from someone just running Korean through Google translate.”

Mystic Worlds: Player housing

“Housing serves multiple purposes in BDO. You must decide that purpose during the purchase. If you’re going to have workers, you must provide their housing. You can use it purely as a warehouse facility — your inventory has weight. Or it can be a home for your character, where you can keep furniture that provides buffs, crafting stations, trophies and/or establish a working storefront. I decided on a house where I can craft for my own use — for now.”

Nomadic Gamers: Black Desert Online impressions

“I didn’t delve into any of the sandbox systems like housing, cooking, crafting, gathering, getting a donkey or a horse, etc.  Maybe due to that, I don’t feel any ‘stickiness’ to the game.  Sure, the low-level combat is fun because you’re essentially a raid mob compared to what you’re fighting and it’s nice to feel super-powerful, but it also gets old with no challenge, so I don’t really feel the need to try out the other classes, nor to log in again.  It was an enjoyable diversion for a few hours, but nothing I care about either.”

MMO Gypsy: About that Black Desert Online learning curve

“I still don’t know what the f**k I am doing. And that is probably a good thing too, given how I generally find new MMORPGs too easy, too repetitive and too been there done that. Really, BDO is doing a lot of stuff its own way; I can’t say how effective or worthwhile it all is yet, but between node and worker management, haggling and raising amity with NPCs, one million gazillion crafty things, sub-menus for every possible resource, horse breeding, AFK-fishing, shipyards, and feeding pets while looking to unlock the perfect residence, I have my hands full and then some. That Black Desert Online learning curve is no joke even for seasoned players.”

Healing the Masses: Early access imagery

“It is of course a pretty game, and while I might not be stopping to stomp the roses during my march to cap right now, it is still something I admire and something I will definitely be exploring a lot later on.”

Inventory Full: First impressions

“I do like it. It’s surprising, because one heck of a lot of things about the game are annoying me already and I’ve only played for about three or four hours. Still, it definitely has that hard-to-define quality that means I want to persist and overcome the annoyances rather than just write it off as a bad decision and move on.

“The world is very worldly, just like everyone says. It’s also set in that low-magic, quasi-realistic, pseudo-high-medieval milieu that hits my personal sweet spot. For an explorer archetype with my particular aesthetic it’s close to a bullseye.”

Werit: Day one

“My first impressions, the black spirit thing is really annoying. They really should have Westernized the sounds it makes. Hate it. I also hate how NPC’s just constantly say the same things if you are standing near them. I had to turn my sound off.”

Mersault: The missing need of a saviour

“The game doesn’t do a very good job in introducing you to its systems — for instance, I do know I can talk (it’s a conversation minigame, by the way) to NPCs, but I don’t really know why I should bother. This encourages exploration and wonder, so actually, I love that it doesn’t make everything so clear.”

Waiting for Rez: CBT2 final thoughts

“That’s the greatest problem I think this game is going to have in the first few weeks after launch: retaining players. If I were to judge the game based on those first 10 hours I would give it a C, B- at best because the only thing good you experience during that time is the combat. The story is terrible and the meat of the game is kept largely hidden. I don’t know about you, but I’ve usually arrived at an opinion of a game within 10 hours and if I’ve not seen something I like by then, I move on. The only reason I want to push further into Black Desert is because I’ve looked into outside resources; the game itself is its own worst promotional material.”

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Motodew
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Motodew

Passes gone. Thanks everyone.

xandlin
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xandlin

alexjwillis raincoat krieglich For me, it reminded me a whole lot of Midna from Twilight Princess.
And I love it!

Lethality
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Lethality

ToyFuzion Absolutely.

ToyFuzion
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ToyFuzion

In one follows the quests and doesn’t try to rush through everything, you’ll find many of them are tutorials in how to craft, fish, build boats, trade, tame horses, cook, alchemy, etc. 
I’ve found the people most disappointed in BDO are the ones that try to rush through the game, treating it like a level treadmill. The ones that speak highly of the game are those that stepped off the grindmill and are enjoying the aspects that give the game depth.

daoist
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daoist

melissaheather I was thinking the same thing. As immersive as BDO is, I sooo much want to see what a VR version is going to look like.

daoist
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daoist

Serrenity alexjwillis goettel There is definitely a bit of deliberate, figure it out for yourself if you can, type thing going on here. Especially in the Life Skills our characters stumble into quests that add knowledge after many of us have already figured it out. Even on the combat side, when we blast ahead to focus on those skills, there are quests (much shorter attention span type to be sure) quests will pop in to reinforce things that we may very well have figured out on our own. I am quite certain now that most of this is deliberate design, at least for the earlier levels.

daoist
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daoist

Matso Wait. The most limited? Perhaps difficult to master, but not limited. I would love to work on the tools team for this. It very much feels like the right direction. I loved Aion, but the character creator does not compare in terms of options.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

BritoBruno cures Sorenthaz Yeah GW2 pretty much sold itself as “the themepark MMO that doesn’t actually have a lot of things that made the model popular and successful.”
They tried to be the Anti-WoW and really it just ended up with them removing a lot of systems and then not bothering to replace those systems with anything that felt worthwhile or substantial.  Only to then steadily add in those systems over time.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

BritoBruno cures Sorenthaz Yeah GW2 pretty much sold itself as “the themepark MMO that doesn’t actually have a lot of things that made the model popular and successful.”
They tried to be the Anti-WoW and really it just ended up with them removing a lot of systems and then not bothering to replace those systems with anything that felt worthwhile or substantial.  Only to then steadily add in those systems over time.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Duur Dragon Ball Advent Truth.  Was a DB Roleplaying-enforced MUD but was super grindy with a level cap of 100 and then the ability to keep grinding for power and stats after that level cap.   Community ended up being pretty crappy and the only reason I stayed around that long was to RP with a friend.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Duur Dragon Ball Advent Truth.  Was a DB Roleplaying-enforced MUD but was super grindy with a level cap of 100 and then the ability to keep grinding for power and stats after that level cap.   Community ended up being pretty crappy and the only reason I stayed around that long was to RP with a friend.

Motodew
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Motodew

Didn’t realize I had two passes. ONE pass left for first email to motodew@gmail.com

Motodew
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Motodew

One guest pass available to the first person who emails me at motodew@gmail.com.

DahakhaTheInsane
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DahakhaTheInsane

Xijit Impressions. Not reviews. Impressions. I repeat, impressions. Do try to keep up.

Kililin
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Kililin

Jay_Bird While i totally agree with everything you said, i wish they had refrained from also providing vintage network and server stability.
Servers are dying under the load all of them. (And you are bound to one server by preorder stuff anyway…)

With every other game in the last years i would already have stopped playing, but everything else is so good….

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Lethality CastagereShaikura blackcat7k Edgy.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

ManastuUtakata Lethality Record it for me please. I need some sweet release of humour right now, since i got a throat infection and i’m almost throwing myself from the window.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Lethality jbrinks Wildstar did that. Look where it got them.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Xijit I would agree with you, but you saw where GW2 went with that…

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

cures Sorenthaz They WHAT?
I’m a GW2 player since release, and the only thing they redefined was how lackluster a mmo can be launched. PvE was zergy, dungeons were ( are ) exploitative, meta is completely DPS, with a side of support skills, who aren’t even brought by support classes…
They didn’t redefine shit. What the hell are you smoking?

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

RagnarTheDrunk
Servers are going to shit. Enjoy your dart jam.

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

“My first impressions, the black spirit thing is really annoying. They really should have Westernized the sounds it makes. Hate it.

The sound/voice gets deeper as it grows and sounds less like an anime schoolgirl.

Duur
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Duur

+1 for mentioning MUDs. Which one?

Xijit
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Xijit

This are Shit awful reviews, and most of them clearly never player the game or went in with the objective of writing a bad review for publicity.
There are some honest shortcomings with the game (nothing is perfect) but the things these reviews complain about are not them …

Xijit
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Xijit

Trade vendors pay more … Of you have a route between where you fished, and where you are selling.

Llokki
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Llokki

MorpayneRADIO Actually yes, logically speaking it does. Your argument basically went like this: I wish I had gotten Y instead, because I hate X since it’s too much like what I hate about Y.
That being said, it’s fine if you hate the combat. Not everybody is going to like it. Perhaps don’t make out like it’s a flaw with the actual game though, rather than an opinion. Not everybody agrees with you because some people actually enjoy it.

Alysianah
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Alysianah

Thanks for the mention. I agree with MMO Gypsy that half the time I don’t know what the hell I’m doing either. I dried fish last night before logging.  Not because I needed it for anything or knew if it was useful.  It was because a menu popped up when I right clicked it so figured, why the not?  Sold for a decent price on the AH.  Guess others know what it’s for. I am enjoying it even without getting lots of what’s going on.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

cures Sorenthaz LOL.  No they did not.  The only thing they redefined was how little systems were needed in order to be considered an MMO.

Vunak
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Vunak

Lights_andMusic MetaDune
Black Desert isnt a themepark. The WoW crowd isnt gonna like it
Time to move on.

scathson
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scathson

Jay_Bird  that first paragraph of yours nails it completely – haven’t had this “feeling” since Saga of Ryzom
it’s back baby!

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Leilonii ihatevnecks Oleg Chebeneev I have actually played it, and as others have pointed out, every game is a “massive grind” if that’s the context you want to use – ESPECIALLY at max level. The difference is, unlike Lineage 2, it’s not just a “pretty package” as he insists. That term applies far more to B&S, since the pretty package is about all the game has.

cures
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cures

Sorenthaz cures sorry, but thats bullshit. they redefined pve.

Xijit
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Xijit

Lots of BS excuses about technical/ resource issues, but the reality of it is a mix of gender rolls being a thing in Korean society and the convention that in action MMOs, that instead of having DnD style classes, each is a specific character with their own place in the lore.
Think of how Vindictus has gender locked classes, but instead of giving them titles like “warrior” they get names like “Fiona.”

Hurbster
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Hurbster

Xijit Cheers for the tip and just for the record gender locked characters ? Why ?

Xijit
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Xijit

No, you should stop being a self entitled parasitic consumer: game makers should make a game that they want to play, and then you should not play it if it is something you don’t like.
… Not demand the developer retool their entire project just because you want a hand job and a lollipop.
If someone doesn’t make games you like, then don’t but or pay their games.
Simple.
As.
That.

Xijit
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Xijit

Same, it also cuts down on the eye searing bloom when you walk into a already back lighted area (like that excavation site) with your lantern on.

Bereman99
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Bereman99

Serrenity It’s weird…the game is basically one step away from letting you know the systems exist.
There seems to be a disconnect between the point where you’ve started the game and the point where you discover the frankly abundant tutorial style quests that walk you through fishing, and node management, and trading, and worker management, gathering, and production of several items including cooking, making a fishing rod, various other items, or even your first fishing boat (a raft, but gotta start somewhere).

Most of the systems I’ve encountered so far the game has taught me how to use, and while there are nuances that you have to learn (which can be tricky due not to the system but due to vagueness in the localization, or even inaccuracies, as is common with fishing quests), I’ve actually been surprised at how much I’ve learned from doing these quests in Velia.

Here’s the catch…I’m pretty sure they are easy to miss (I don’t think they show up if you aren’t tracking the type of quests they are, and the default doesn’t include every quest type), particularly if you’re focusing on the combat areas and Black Spirit quests. 

Once you find them, though, it’s an early floodgate of systems information.

Matso
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Matso

I thought i heard so much praise about the character creator and how you were supposed to be able to do anything with it and the videos of it made it seem that way to me. But now that i tired it i find it one of the most limited character creators i have seen.

Still nothing beats the char creator of Aion imo.

Husvik
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Husvik

alexjwillis  Probably initially why i wasn’t paying any attention to it, lol
Serrenity  I’m reading your post and i’m like wtf why are you not playing Blade and Soul? There is a  great video on youtube but not sure if I’m allowed to link just search for:
“Black Desert vs Blade and Soul • Which Does Action Combat Better?” by Fevir
It’s very pro BDO and very pro BnS but for different reasons, i can nutshell it, BDO is all gear a terrible player can beat anything by gearing up, BnS it’s how you play your class, your skillz… you have to be on top of things, and if you work at your class you can pull off some amazing chit. Assassin might be a really good class for you.
This is why i thought when i read your post, “and you’re not BnS… Whaaa?”  It practically screams “a game for you” since you’re a martial artist.

RagnarTheDrunk
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RagnarTheDrunk

My review:
Tonight is dart night, playoffs no less, followed by jam night with my band and all I really want to do is play BDO.

DigsAZ
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DigsAZ

RagnarTheDrunk Leilonii krieglich I just wanna beat that guy – although some of the worker’s retorts are pretty funny. “If a nail pops out and hits you it’s not my fault” lol

Jay_Bird
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Jay_Bird

You know that nostalgic feeling you have about the first MMO you played? There was that sense of wonder, mystery, and amazement. For me, no MMO since has been able to recapture it – I got that feeling back :)

I think the true magic of this game is how small I feel within the larger world – and that’s good thing! Cities, farms, and villages are buzzing with life and workers who won’t stop for me and will go about there business after I’m gone. 

Speaking of the larger world, it’s hard to grasp just how much there is to see. The sights are breathtaking, and I feel like I’ve uncovered so much. Yet when I look at my world map, the swath that I’ve uncovered is so tiny. This is an explorer’s paradise.

If any of you are on the Orwen server, my family name is JayMac. I’d love to see you out there!

zyrusticae
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zyrusticae

TadSaine zyrusticae Not very long, actually. A few hours in total. 
My biggest problem with the combat system, however, besides the braindead AI that they showed in that first impression, is how weak the defensive options you get are. B&S feels incredible when you use your defensive options properly to be pretty much untouchable. Black Desert, on the other hand, is mostly all about massive CC and damage spam and just moving out of the way of (really slow and overly telegraphed) attacks. I don’t enjoy that. It feels really primitive. 
Mind you, I’ve watched a LOT of videos of the game later on, and nothing so far has countered my initial impressions any. If someone could actually show me a video of the game looking deeper than a shallow pond, that’d be great.

Michael18
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Michael18

really nice to read such positive impressions about a newly launched MMO as given here in the comments. been a while.

alexjwillis
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alexjwillis

Serrenity Husvik The descriptions of Boob & Soul I mean Blade & Thong I mean oh FFS never mind…

…*those* descriptions? 

Yeah.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

RagnarTheDrunk ManastuUtakata 
“I reject the notion that popularity equates to quality though.”
Keep in mind, that cuts both ways, as the public can sometimes gets it right. Star Wars, cupcakes, Sanders, Guinness… But I agree, popularity is not a good measure for quality.
And thanks for the apology. /bows

djnesh
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djnesh

Any status on the “protection” crapware they are using? After reading MOP coverage I was ready to buy it but there I no chance I’ll install anything using something like that … rootkit?!? needing manual removal after game uninstall (and no uninstall option, not even on manufacturer site).

It may be best protection in the world but I’m not going near that with my main PC. If it will run in sanboxed VM, then maybe.

TadSaine
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TadSaine

zyrusticae just curious how long you played the game for.  i ask because my initial impression of combat was similar to yours, but the more i play, the harder the mobs become, and the more i love combat.  i think the game tries to ease you into the combat system, but expects you to know what you are doing by around level 20 or so.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

Husvik Honestly, the descriptions of it turned me off.  I can’t remember specifically why now.  But maybe it makes sense to give it a second look.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Xijit  Why would I as a customer want to buy from any company where the producer’s ego is more important than what I want? It’s my money.  

I think artists should make the art they want to make not what the customer wants. I expect successful commercial businesses to have a relentless focus on exceeding customer expectations.

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