Desert Nomad: Quality of life in the Black Desert
Hello friends, and welcome back to Desert Nomad. After last week’s in-depth look at Black Desert’s cash shop, I decided that this week I would continue the trend of demonstrating how much I like the game by complaining about it. Call it tough love if you like, but the fact of the matter is that, although I’ve been continuing to enjoy my time with Black Desert, it could stand to improve in more than a few ways.
I understand that it’s unrealistic to expect Daum to make any changes to the underlying mechanics of the game, and by no means do I expect it to do so. There are, however, a number of quality-of-life features that if added would both greatly improve the game for current players and remove some of the barriers that may be keeping some prospective players from taking the dive. So here, presented in no particular order, is my personal list of some of the quality of life changes Black Desert most desperately needs.
Although I’m certainly not enough of an idealist to expect Daum’s localization of the Korean version of Black Desert to be absolutely flawless, and so far I’ve found it more or less adequate, but there are some aspects of localization, particularly in regard to translation, that glaringly detract from the game experience. I’m not talking about the occasional bit of bad grammar or awkward phrasing in NPC dialogue and flavor text; while that may irk me from time to time, I don’t feel that it should be a priority.
What does need to be a priority, however, is making sure that quest objective text accurately reflects the actual quest objectives. I’ve noticed that the fishing quests are particularly egregious examples of this problem; the text on the quest tracker will inform you that you need to catch a certain variety of fish, but when you speak to the NPC to turn it in, it lists a completely different fish entirely. Another example from relatively early in the game is a particular quest in Velia that says the objective is to acquire a certain number of copper ore – five, if I remember correctly – but the NPC actually wants copper ingots. When you consider the fact that each copper ingot requires five melted copper shards, each of which requires five copper ore, what would otherwise be a quick lesson in resource-harvesting-101 becomes a serious time investment. This kind of translation mistake is frustrating even to the most patient of players, and it’s a huge turn-off to the less tolerant among us.
No empty slot
At this point, I feel that if I see the words “no empty slot” one more time, I’m going to tear my hair out in a fit of rage. This is the message that’s displayed when, predictably enough, you don’t have enough inventory slots available to complete whatever action you’re trying to take. It’s understandable in some situations, such as when you’re trying to turn in a quest and don’t have space for the reward, but in others it makes absolutely no sense. Why should I need to have an empty slot when I’m trying to sell items to a trade manager?
You’ll also get this message a lot when you’re turning in quests and one of the rewards is an item you already have a stack of in your inventory, which means that you’re going to have to exit the NPC dialogue and sell or destroy some items to create an empty slot that isn’t even going to be filled anyway. Double frustration points for when the NPC to whom you’re trying to turn in the quest is the only merchant within a ten-mile radius, meaning that you can’t access his or her shop until the quest is turned in, and therefore you can’t sell any items to clear up some space.
In Black Desert, a number of important functions are accessible only from the world map. Notably, you have to open the map in order to manage your properties and assign tasks to your workers. But for some reason, there are situations in which the game simply will not allow you to open your map. The most frustrating culprits here are gathering and fishing. If you’re gathering items or fishing – or if you merely have a fishing rod equipped, for that matter – your access to the world map is restricted. This is especially frustrating because gathering and especially fishing both involve a great deal of downtime that would make the perfect opportunity to open up your map, fiddle with properties, and give orders to your workers, if only the game would allow you to do so.
Since a couple of weeks ago when I opened the doors of the official Massively OP guild, our ranks have been growing rapidly and the number of managerial tasks required of me have increased, and let me tell you something: Black Desert does not make things easy for guild leaders.
For starters, there’s no slash-command to invite players to a guild, so the whole process is a bit tedious. First, I have to add the applicants in question to my friends list, then I have to ensure that we’re in the same channel, which is difficult because the devs didn’t see fit to allow you to see which channels your friends are in. Then, I have to either whisper them or invite them to a party so I can click their name in chat because there’s no option to invite someone to a guild from the friends list. And then once they’re in the guild, I can’t renew their contracts unless they’re in the same channel as I am, which is a pretty big pain in the ass when people are scattered across multiple channels.
This is probably more of a personal peeve than a strictly necessary addition, but it’s my article so it gets a spot on the list! Right now the only way to see which properties you’ve purchased in a given city and their contribution point investments, current function (e.g., workshop, residence), and so on is to open the city map and look at the property icons.
Determining which properties you’re currently renting is easy enough – rented properties are white, rentable properties are blue, and unrentable properties are grey – but determining their current functions is a bit more difficult. The housing icons are marked with even smaller icons that denote a given property’s current function, but they’re so small that they can be hard to see, and even if you’ve got eagle vision, it’s not going to do you much good unless you’ve got every single icon’s meaning memorized.
And that’s all of the information you’re going to get by simply looking at the map; to find out any other details about your properties, you’re going to have to click on them individually to bring up each property’s info panel. It would make my life, and the lives of many other players I’m sure, so much easier if there were a way to pull up a simple list that showed all of the properties in a city, their contribution point costs, current functions, and so on. Again, I don’t know if anyone besides me is clamoring for this feature, but as it stands, managing your properties – especially when you’ve rented out almost an entire city’s worth of them – can get very tedious very quickly, and I would welcome any tools that would help cut down on some of that tedium.
So there you have my current list of most-wanted quality-of-life features, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list, so as always, I welcome y’all to speak up in the comments to add your own. With any luck, the folks at Daum will keep them in mind if (and hopefully when) they decide to add some more tweaks to the game. I hope that, over time, the most pressing of them will be added so that this already great game can get even better.