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.

Localization

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.

Map mishandling

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.

Guild management

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.

Property management

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.

Every other week, join Desert-Nomad-In-Residence Matt Daniel as he wanders the sprawling expanse of Black Desert to discover what secrets lurk beneath its enigmatic sands. Gather 'round the oasis as he figures out how to survive and flourish (or fail spectacularly) on his adventures.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
206 comments
solaralune
solaralune

Here's one for you: Persistent loot windows. I just went to harvest some crops from my farm, which of course takes hours of waiting. Went through the motions, got the loot window - then was promptly hit by an enemy that happened to be in the area. Silly me thought I could back off and kill the enemy then grab my crops. Nope. That's a shit ton of time wasted by me due to a simple mistake.

alexjwillis
alexjwillis

I am looking around to find a "like" button to hit repeatedly for your Map and Empty Slot suggestions. Holy shit, these things bother me. The map thing is inexplicable -- really -- but the empty slot thing is cause for serious existential angst. It makes no conceivable sense.

jaytrust
jaytrust

Heads up, if you put in a ticket.. they ARE NOT READING THEM.. they are just clicking solve without actually solving the issues or responding back!


If you have NOT bought the game I suggest you stay away...

I'm going to be making post like this all over the internet to warn people STAY AWAY from this game if you have ISSUES THEY WILL NOT EVEN address them and will just brush you off.


Some people will try to white knight and defend them.. but the truth is the truth issues from DAY 1 and all my tickets were marked SOLVED and they weren't SOLVED or even ADDRESS!! BE WARNED this company sucks so far.. 

And to think I was actually planning on staying with this game forever.. having second thoughts now.. and will continue to try to get help, if they don't respond back I will be playing this game a lot less and taking my money else where...

Tithian
Tithian

The translation is... eh... ok?

The voice overs in the cutscenes though.... wow, so terrible. At first they were OK, with the actors actually giving a shit. But in the final quests.... ughhhhhh.... It was like they were doing unpaid overtime and just wanted to get it over with and go home. If they told me they actually asked the janitor to say some lines while he was sweeping the floor, then yeah I'd totally buy it.

PS. The final boss was a joke, sadly.

Kanbe
Kanbe

Ya voice overs are not doing this game any favors. It really bugs when there's actually something that should be dramatic going on but the voices have about as much emotion as I do at 6am asking my fiancee to pass the cereal.

Tithian
Tithian

@Kanbe  "The. Light. Will. Save. The. World". *Beep* *Boop*

Considering that in the same cutscene it was implied that imminent Doom was coming, the whole thing was just cringe-worthy. The droids in Star Wars have more emotions.

Kililin
Kililin

You can open the map while fishing:

/reloadui

M to open map in the short time the ui freezes for the reload

--> loads the ui with map opened + fishing continues


Good Workaround and it shows that it would only be a small change to implement it. 

Drunk3nShaman
Drunk3nShaman

How about a support team and customer service that actually exists?

I have had a support ticket in with them since the 3rd.... it's now the 24th and other then the canned response on the 3rd and on the 15th they have yet to reply to me.


I have never had any company take more then 96 hours to respond. and the average is 48 to 72 even on other game launches.


I thought Trion was bad but at least they got back to you rather quickly to tell you they are going to F you....Daum just gives no fucks.


So after 20 days of waiting I disputed the charge with my bank and have my money back....and my account is still open, even though i don't play......still waiting on them......waiting......playing the Division and waiting.....

DeadlyAccurate
DeadlyAccurate

I got to eavesdrop on NPCs! That made my day. Now I'm going to go around an eavesdrop on everybody I can.


OK, so another peeve: I need a bigger font. The "L" is actually invisible on my screen, it's so small. I find trying to read the quests to be quite difficult.

n3rdbomb3r
n3rdbomb3r

@DeadlyAccurate Ugh yes. a font size selector would rule. Also the Chatbox opacity slider might as well be nonexistant, and it also resets on death (I know this is a known bug, but still).

ScottLeyes
ScottLeyes

@DeadlyAccurate There's a "Scale UI" slider, but i found it caused me even more problems (things running off the screen, etc). And it would reset at random, thought this MAY have been addressed in the latest patch.

DeadlyAccurate
DeadlyAccurate

@ScottLeyes Mostly, I need a smaller UI but a larger font. Doesn't have to be huge, but right now, if I type "hello" it looks like "he  o".

DasBenty
DasBenty

Your articles got me to buy the game, waiting on the download now. Sounds like the game I've been waiting for since I stopped playing WoW.  GW2 and SWTOR just aren't doing it for me, just want something I can wander in and do random things and get lost for awhile


GeneMartin2
GeneMartin2

Some stuff is already there, but there are so many systems and UI's, it's hard to find everything or know where they are all at. You could have tutorials last for days to discover everything in this game. That's one of my largest complaints and simultaneously what I love most about this game. 


Also, holy crap, your BDO articles are getting a lot of attention. 

Velsin
Velsin

@GeneMartin2 So far what I keep finding is that the "tutorials" are actually a quest to do something new.  But obviously the challenge is that you keep wanting to do a thing long before you reach the quest which walks you through the process of doing it.  Given there are hundreds of quests, some of which are linked in a non obvious way to the completion of something elsewhere, or possibly to my level at some skill, I keep stumbling over a new quest in some place I went through days ago which teaches me how to do something I'd previously struggled with.

As you say, the lack of the game being glaringly obvious and easy is both frustrating and somehow incredibly rewarding.

Raging Berserker
Raging Berserker

Most of your QoL gripes are 100% valid.  The map lockout while fishing is especially bad when you're growing crops and can't check to see if they have gotten blight or weeds, which drastically increases the grow timer.

From my observations in crafting, a couple tedious elements I've run into is with the processing(L). Once you hit the process button the inventory and process windows close, which is especially annoying when you are trying to dry 20+ fish.  The UI also doesn't remember the last process you used.  So you are essentially repeating L + Process Button you need + Right click the item + Start button + I(inventory), to see how many you made(1-3) and repeat the process if you have to dry fish or grind enhancment gems into black stone powder.

Another problem is you can't choose how many of item you want to stop processing at when repeating a process automatically.  Since you have a chance to process 1-3 items in a given process you have to monitor how many you are making and then move to cancel what you are doing, so you don't waste some of your raw resources.  Bank and inventory space is a premium in this game and you can't keep all of the processed items in stock. 

Some of these same issues are present in cooking and alchemy as well, where you craft the finished product yourself.      

Velsin
Velsin

@Raging Berserker The cooking UI is my biggest frustration.  You get a nice list on the right showing the last 10 or so combinations of ingredients you mixed up.  But they give you no way to "Re-use this combination", so every time I go to cook, I have to add the stacks manually.  Also you're off at the shop to buy the basics like Salt/Water etc and you forget the quantities you need.  F2 gives a list of the items you need per recipe, but not the quantities of recipes you know.... Sooooo frustrating

squidgod2000
squidgod2000

Also drives me nuts that the map defaults to an angled view instead of a straight-down view.

Veldan
Veldan

There are some good points in this article. The "no empty slot" thing is super annoying. Sometimes it even gave me this error when I had 2 empty slots and none were required. 

I also very much agree on the property management. It's a real pain trying to figure out which options are available in a town, and what building to develop into what function for the best result. I always end up clicking every house icon about 27 times before I start remembering roughly what my options are >.>

Raging Berserker
Raging Berserker

@Veldan There is a filter at the top right of the ui if you are looking for a specific type of function/level.

Kanbe
Kanbe

Its been said in the comments at least once and I'd be surprised if a few others didnt bring it up as well so I figure Matt's seen that by now. Though that filter doesn't quite line up with what's in the article. The filter is really only useful to find new buildings for purchase but doesnt really help at all with seeing what you own.

ScottLeyes
ScottLeyes

More UI gripes:

- Half of the "options" in the character creator do nothing. There are eight costumes to pick from, but they don't show up anywhere else. I never figured out what the "Pose" interface does (other than letting you move joints around)

- Highlights (of items) are almost negligible. Making a teeny-tiny outline SLIGHTLY brighter is a pain for me to see.

- "Hints" in the game are terrible, for the most part. Every time I call the Black Spirit, I have a sparkling button to shove a thing into a piece of gear, whether I can ACTUALLY do that or not

McSleaz
McSleaz

Why do I have to use a warehouse to split a friggin stack?


Veldan
Veldan

@McSleaz to use processing on one of them but not the other

Noble_Einherjar
Noble_Einherjar

This is a good list. I'd also add certain quests as well. I've run into the following scenario countless times:
Character wants five meat pies. I have five meat pies. I give character five meat pies.
Yet, the quest won't complete because I didn't actually make the meat pies. Only once I go make the meat pies and talk to the character again, can I complete the quest.
And it's not like the game can still be trying to teach me to make meat pies at this point, because I've already done ten other goddamn quests to give people meat pies. I have meat pies for days. My cooking utensil is nearly broken after making so many meat pies.

squidgod2000
squidgod2000

@Veldan @Noble_Einherjar

Daily quests make you go out and harvest and/or process—most others will simply let you turn in the items, so you can grab them from the bank or marketplace or whatever.

Tithian
Tithian

@Veldan @Noble_Einherjar Some quests actually work if you've done the work retroactively, including some of the"bring me X items" quests.

"I want you to go explore X, or talk to Y... oh you've done that already, cool here's your reward".

Veldan
Veldan

@squidgod2000 I didn't really do dailies, it's normal quests I'm annoyed by. Most do let you turn in your items right away, yes, but that only completes objective 2 out of 2, objective 1 being to gather those items. 

@Tithian Yes, some do let you complete them right away, but from all the quests I did in Olvia / Velia / Heidel and surroundings, those were very few.

Knowledge based quests do of course instantly complete if you meet the objective... after all, you can only discover knowledge once, so otherwise those quests would be unfinishable.

arktourosx
arktourosx

@Noble_Einherjar The idea is, for better or worse, to ensure you can actually make said meat pies and didn't just flash your cash at the auction house for some paid energy regen.

Veldan
Veldan

@Noble_Einherjar YES

This is actually my biggest annoyance with the game. When I go and chop a hundred logs, and then the next quest I pick up tells me to go chop 10 more, refusing to complete with the ones I just gathered, I am like,

Elirion
Elirion

I agree with the map issue and property management issue. The map problem speaks for itself. In reference to property management, they have little icons on the lower right of each house you own showing what type of house they are. The problem? They are too damned small to see. You have to open every one of them to find which one you chose to make a refinery. You also have to open hundreds to find which ones can become the level four armory you are looking for. I could do without that.

All in all, my complaints are small and inconsequential. I would prefer they work on additional content than these issues if the choice had to be made.

Kanbe
Kanbe

About opening hundreds of houses to find a refinery let me help you on that one. Open up you map and click on the city you want to buy a house in. Then in the upper right hand corner there are dropdown filters that let you choose a building type and level. The game will then point them on within that city.

ayatesart
ayatesart

Is it really fun, though?


Doing all of this work; hiring NPC's, managing properties, raising horses, AFK fishing, and grinding multiple mobs endlessly.


I really liked the lush, open world and the combat was pretty cool, but, for me, I think I made the right decision to stay away, because it just sounds brutally grindy.

Nichpoiuy
Nichpoiuy

The game is very Grindr for PVE gear. That's what the grind is for pvp only. If you just like to play the games solo PVE trade craft explore content then it is not much grind

direpath
direpath

@ayatesart  It can feel grindy if you try to make everything yourself. If you pick a few things or just make what you need personally, its manageable. You also don't have to buy buildings or hire workers if you don't want to.

karmamule
karmamule

@ayatesart The key is there's enough variety of things to do that any time something starts feeling a bit tedious you can just head off in some direction, either literally for combat in some other part of the world or figuratively to do something different like raise amity, run trade routes, go fishing, set up a manufacturing chain for an item you expect to need lots of, etc etc.

ayatesart
ayatesart

@karmamule @ayatesart I guess any game can get grindy at a certain point.  Part of my problem was that the world  felt "empty" or soulless to me. That kind of thing is very subjective, I know. 


Maybe, that's the point of it, a clean slate world to live your virtual life in.  I always thought that I wanted to play a game like that, but perhaps I'm more into theme-parks than I realized...

Noble_Einherjar
Noble_Einherjar

@ayatesart Personally, I don't partake of AFK fishing (I largely don't enjoy systems that reward me for not playing), but I find all of the other stuff really enjoyable. Most of my time has been spent hiring workers, managing properties, investing in nodes, and crafting stuff to sell or trade. I take "breaks" from all that to do do combat stuff and progress my combat quests.

ayatesart
ayatesart

@Noble_Einherjar @ayatesart I agree on the AFK fishing mechanic. That was a big negative for me. It was a lot of little stuff like that that bugged me about BDO, but I can also see overlooking it, if the rest of the game is enjoyable to you.

McSleaz
McSleaz

@ayatesart I been playin 2 weeks now and I'm only lvl 25, lol. I have tons of fun fishing and then gathering mats slowly to build my fishing boat. It's the first mmo I've played where I haven't felt personal pressure to get to lvl cap, lvl cap is the last thing on my list in this game for some reason, mayb I'll never hit cap & just spend my days fishing,lol.

ayatesart
ayatesart

@McSleaz @ayatesart I like your style. Maybe, that's the key to this game(or any game...), exercising restraint and just focusing on one or two things.

Veldan
Veldan

@ayatesart I think at least part of that feeling is because the world stuff or "life skills" is a bit like an online single player game. Everyone does it for themselves, and everyone has their own little instanced ("phased") properties and farm plots and such. 

ayatesart
ayatesart

@Veldan @ayatesart That's a good point and maybe that was part of it. Although, I did like how fast the phasing was for housing; it felt pretty much seamless, walking into a house.


I was speaking to the lore and "character" of the game. Even some of the lushly detailed landscape felt kind of bland. Beautiful for sure, but still bland, to me.

Tithian
Tithian

@ayatesart No offense, but you clearly haven't looked around enough. I've gone through the mainstory line in the game and there is still new lore that I haven't found yet. There is even a entire section in the Knowledge tab for Theology.

Press H and see what you've uncovered about the lore of the world and the characters so far. If you expect to just walk into a city and get a full exposition about the characters and setting, then yeah you won't be getting that any time soon.

Bonnenuit
Bonnenuit

@ayatesart @McSleaz I'm in the same boat -- 12 days of play time now, and I'm only 25 and moving slowly, but redoing dailies that I thought were fun, learning new stuff, and helping out with guild quests. Every once in a while, I get antsy and go do some combat missions to get a few more levels, then back to managing trade, fishing, gathering, and telling my workers what to do.


I never expected to like this game, but putting a game as big and beautiful as this, with fun combat, behind a paywall about half that of new single player games -- well, count me in.


Do I like cash shops? No. Do I think an outfit is worth $30+? Absolutely no. But...


Would I be happy paying a sub every month for this game? Yes. So I can justify spending in the cash shop if I need to (I haven't yet, but I imagine I'll pick up a few things after a few months.)


Great game, and I honestly think Daum's doing a respectable job with the localization. 

Elirion
Elirion

I really haven't found the game grindy. It can be if you want to be MAX LEVEL NOW! In a certain area but I'm not playing that way. I've been doing quests, helping with guild missions, and crafting at a comfortable pace and I'm level 43 with 4 life skills in the skilled range. I know it can get grindy afret level 50 but I plan on doing that in groups and having fun with it.

It's grindy if you want to play that way.

Velsin
Velsin

@ayatesart I wouldn't call it grindy, it's just a different kind of game from your typical MMO in many ways.  If you like games like Anno or The Guild etc, games which focus on building, gathering, trading etc from a macro perspective rather than a 1st person perspective, then I think you'll find a lot in common with BDO.

AGx
AGx

@ayatesart Thing is, for me anyway, I do enjoy those things. All of it is second fiddle to fighting, as it is in all games, but at some point you want other things to do and this game has plenty of other things to do. I don't particularly enjoy just watching while my character chops a tree or stands there holding a fishing rod but I do enjoy playing the economy and earning money, figuring out the systems to maximize profits and so on. It's not for everyone but there is certainly a type of person who enjoys that type of thing.