Choose My Adventure: Learning to appreciate Black Desert

First and foremost, I’d like to thank the many people who informed me about how to hide the UI in Black Desert. I shouldn’t have needed to be told that, it seems, but I did, and I really do appreciate the insight; in this case, I’d rather be thought a fool and get the answer to my questions than deny it and continue on in ignorance. So now my only real problem is my usual inattentiveness about when I should take screenshots, not failing to understand how.

This coincides nicely with starting to appreciate the game a little bit more. The first week felt rather unclear, but now that I’ve spent a bit more time with the game I’m starting to grasp what it’s trying to do. I’m still not entirely sure if I like all of it, of course, but at least I feel that I’m able to determine that based on the actual game rather than my confusion over what the game wants from me.

I really am not good with this character creator.One of the things that’s still proving something of an obstacle is the way the game handles targeting multiple enemies and combat in general. I can understand that pretty much every single one of my attacks has a pretty large area of effect; that’s the sort of game this is. This is not a game for hanging back and pulling individual enemies, it’s a game for pulling everything together and slashing at all of them at once. It seems a slightly odd choice for a game which otherwise seems to encourage a more sedate pace, but like chicken and peaches, it combines well despite sounding odd.

So what’s the problem? Well, everything dies too frigging fast.

I totally get people (and the game itself, in this case) wanting you to learn how to play by actual play, but when everything dies in one or two swipes no matter what I do, it’s really difficult to actually evaluate what individual moves do or the worth of various upgrade paths. No, I don’t want the game to launch me right into the deep end straight away, but the fact that ther’es no real time to evaluate what you should do is still bothering me a fair bit.

That having been said, I am growing more appreciative of the combat. Part of that is really seeing the differences the game encourages between one’s combat performance and leveling in general; just earning levels is separate from improving with skill points, which happens by beating things up with a giant sword. I’m usually in favor of games featuring multiple progression paths, so I like that fact.

I also like the game’s knowledge system, which ties into the energy system, which I don’t wholly understand yet. The former, though, is kind of fun, and an idea that World of Warcraft halfway copied for its tradeskills in the most recent expansion. Essentially, killing more enemies of a given type improves your knowledge about that type, allowing you to simultaneously see more information about them and getting a larger set of data added to their entries in your little knowledge database.

I like that. It’s a very lightweight system, at least at this point in the game, and I can easily see how it could get annoying where you have to kill four dozen enemies just to see their HP bars even if said enemy is just a slight reskin of something you’ve already fought repeatedly. At the same time, it’s a way to add some additional flavor and support the idea that doing stuff in the game is always advancing something.

Plus, there’s the RP aspect that fighting imps means you know more about imps and can do more against imps. That earns respect.

I should probably talk a little bit about that energy system. The concept behind it isn’t hard to grasp; you require energy to do things in the game, doing stuff costs energy, you can recover energy over time, you want to increase your energy capacity so you earn more energy and can do more stuff. Thus far, possibly due to still being low-level, I don’t really yet see how it functions in action, even though I understand the concept. Perhaps doing some crafting o venturing further afield would help, I don’t know.

Of course, venturing farther afield sounds good at this point anyway, since I’ve spent the early parts in a rather nondescript lightly wooded field for long enough anyhow. I still haven’t gotten any real narrative thrust from the game beyond, “I’m a floaty black orb, do what I tell you!” Some of that is the nature of a sandbox game, sure, but it’s still sort of lacking in a reason to go and do anything. Compare it to say, EVE Online, which gives you an immediate sense of where you are and why you’re working on eventually backstabbing everyone you know.

I mean, I want to backstab a lot of you, but not inherently, you know?

If I’m going to go anywhere, perhaps I should strike off along the beaten path a little bit. So this week, I’m going to put forth that exact question to you dear readers. Am I being too timid? Should I stop just following what I’m being told in a straight line and just wander off to explore, or is there still a rather important sense of progression I’ll miss if I just strike off in a direction and start exploring?

CMA: Should I strike off and go exploring?

  • Yes, venture off into the distance! (74%, 142 Votes)
  • No, follow the road! If you stray from the path, something bad will happen. Like in Mirkwood, even if that was two games ago now. (26%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 191

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I feel it’s important to note here that this sense of adventure extends about as far as “not getting murdered.” If I see something that can dice me to pieces in about four seconds flat, I’m going in the other direction, adventuring spirit be damned.

I also feel as if now is the time for me to start picking at another major system which I have yet to really place at any level of priority. In most of the Choose My Adventure games thus far, I’ve stuck chiefly with just fighting things and exploring, but Black Desert in particular definitely wants you crafting and gathering. Should I start investigating that for my next week?

CMA: Should I look into crafting and/or gathering?

  • Yes, both of the above. (57%, 108 Votes)
  • Yes, crafting primarily. (10%, 19 Votes)
  • Yes, gathering primarily. (12%, 23 Votes)
  • Hush up and smack foxes with a sword. (20%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 188

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As always, the polls will remain up until noon on Friday (Eastern time), at which point they’ll close and I’ll forge a course ahead. Until then, feel free to leave comments down in the comment field below, or mail them along to eliot@massivelyop.com. I’d like to note for the record that I’ve received far more email about this particular leg of CMA than usual, which shows me how much those of you invested in the game love the game, so thanks for all the advice and support! It means a lot.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Eliot each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures — and you get to decide his fate. Decide a good fate and let him be happy. Please let him be happy. He wouldn’t know if it if it showed up on his doorstep, but he’s long dreamed about being happy.
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17 Comments on "Choose My Adventure: Learning to appreciate Black Desert"

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xpsync
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xpsync

Glad to read i wasn’t the only one somewhat confused with the game. I started out doing everything, however that almost seems impractical unless this is the only game you play. If it is I’ll admit I’m jelly because this would be the perfect home.

I’m glad i dove into every system and fleshed them out as they are all deep and well done, it was very interesting. But! that doesn’t help coming back after a break as its even more overwhelming trying to figure it all out again and where the f’ i was with every toon.

The one thing i never really dug into was combat, so that’s exactly what i did. I decided to forget everything else and only quest and grind mobs, and i love it. I love gathering lots of mobs and see how long i can survive as they continually spawn in.

One of my most memorable fights was around Trent (i think) when i first encounter Cyclops. OK I’m dead WTF? Alright time to do some other quests, i end up with the only thing left to do in the area was kill 2 Cyclops. I probably wasn’t geared that great or they are really tough, but after several deaths i managed to take one down. Whew only 1 to go. I get another cornered in a nice clearing and get to work. Having no clue where i am at this time as in how much more it’s going to take to kill this thing (all i know it’s takes quite a while), i notice another in the distance and start thinking, yep keep walking nothing going on over here. Nope, i can’t believe it he joins in, DAMN! Long story shortened don’t ask me how but i got them both after what seemed like the battle of the century. I was so close to dying at least half dozen times or more but pulled it off, damn that was good, then thought yeah i love this game.

antheriel
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antheriel

Eliot, you’re completely correct when you point out that they kind of broke the early game when they made the mobs die faster. It’s way harder to learn your class when every attack kills all the mobs. Happily, you can level past level 30 in BDO in a few hours and get into the more difficult mobs. This is not like other MMOs, where leveling quickly means you miss all the content. The content isn’t typically level-gated, except by mob difficulty. If you level really fast, you’ll wind up with too few skill points for a good build, but even that will get better as you play.

I hope you stick with the game!

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Ex Ilio

I’d learn to appreciate BDO if they didn’t gender-lock the classes. All of the classes I like are the female classes..but it’s an RPG…I don’t want to play as a woman. Once they fix that, if ever, I’ll be on board.

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Arktouros

ahaha… comment image

antheriel
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antheriel

I just saw this on the BDO launcher :)

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Suikoden

I tried twice to give this a solid shot and it’s just too unintuitive and confusing, Maybe it’s the Eastern way of making everything as complex as possible. I don’t know but I was never able to grasp it. I’m able to grasp Eve, but not BDO, I think that says something about the complexity of this game.

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Arktouros

Everything is very easy until around 30 where then you start to face enemies that will challenge your survivability (without enhancements). You could honestly probably go 1-30 with nothing but LMB. Part of deciding what skill(s) to use is working out their attack ranges/radius. Since most mob grinding is AOE based (always trying to pull at least 7 mobs in a pull) moves with lots of AOE are generally preferred.

The lackluster PvE has always been one of the more valid criticisms of BDO. The most efficient way to grind is on things that aren’t challenging and you just tidy up with AOEs which sort of wastes the active combat system.

Getting into harvesting is pretty low bar. Getting into crafting with what you harvest or setting up workers to harvest for you is an entirely other thing. If you really insist on getting into crafting you should start with a modest worker setup gathering something simple like potatoes off Velia or Wheat off Heidel with workers then crafting beer. Getting into item crafting is much, much more involved.

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Koshelkin

Yeah, the only(!) thing BDO is missing atm, imo, is dedicated PvE group content. Be it dungeons or solo challenges or anything really. But having a couple of dungeon dailies to go through would enrich my playtime definitely. Just a bit of effort in that regard would be really nice.

Considering the recent livestream of the devs nothing of that sort is planned, though.

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Arktouros

Kamasylva actually brings with it group challenges.

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thickenergy

As much as I like dungeons, the combat in BDO just isn’t made for them. Especially as group content.

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Melissa McDonald

Foes are easy in first 10 levels, sure, and supposed to be. It’s a new kind of combat for a lot of people and it takes a little getting used to.

Oh, but they get plenty tough soon enough…!

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Go the trader route, Eliot. Start with a donkey, then move up to a horse drawn wagon. That will also teach you how the contribution point system works and node investment which will teach you about uses for energy. Glad to see you digging it, but don’t go with stuff like crafting/gathering that is in every MMO. Do something that is done in a lot of MMOs but has its own unique flavor. Trading is that thing. Or hunting. That’s awesome too.

Buy a boat and sail the seas.

Crow
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Crow

Uh… Grind.

BDO is a grind game. Do Sausans or whatever is better now.

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Melissa McDonald

Name an MMO that has no grind? I’ve never played one.

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topaz rage

City of Heroes? I could be wrong on the definition of grind, but I don’t recall feeling a game-enforced need to repeat content. I’d just flit from content to content, from alt to alt. I miss that game.

Crow
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Crow

I can’t name a single GAME that isn’t a grind. Quite the point.

I’m not against BDO at all! In fact, it sits at the top of my own “Fantasy MMO” list.

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Melissa McDonald

true. I love LOTRO but bears, boars, wolves, spiders, No sir I do not love them lol

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