Black Desert team reveals perma-AFK leveling, tent camping, and a wicked sea monster

(We’ve updated this article since it went live with additional notes from Kakao – it’s all at the end!)

When it comes to divining the future of an MMO that comes from the east, it is best to go right to the source. Pearl Abyss released an anniversary letter looking at the overall vision for Black Desert, including its plans for what’s to come.

Black Desert is preparing a “second awakening” to help balance the classes out more, a feat that the team feels it hasn’t accomplished as of yet. Players will soon be able to grind experience while AFK on new permanent Black Spirit trainers, enjoy an overhauled tutorial system, shop at a luxury auction house, deploy a tent in the field to camp, and fight Bell, a sea monster guarding a valuable treasure (as previewed yesterday).

“Bell is a new sea monster we are adding,” the team said. “You will need a group of players with powerful ships like the Epheria Saiilboat or the new Epheria Convoy. Cannons and hunting rifles will be used to hunt it down. Players that defeat Bell will have a shot at Bell’s heart, the best alchemy stone in game.”

The studio is preparing to roll out Black Desert to mainland China and has a separate team dedicated to creating the mobile version of the popular MMORPG.

Source: Official site via Dulfy
Update: Kakao has now released an English-language producer’s letter promising most of the same things. Pearl Abyss Executive Producer Jae-Hee Kim recaps the Steam launch, counts 49 total servers for the game, explains the motivation for biweekly maintenance, touches on the mobile version, discusses the second awakening project, provides class balancing graphs, introduces the luxury auction system and campaing system, confirms a new tutorial system is on the way, and covers the Mystic class.

Kim further argues that the mobile game won’t take away from the PC game.

“It is true The Black Desert Mobile team was created last summer but it remains as a separate project with new recruitments being made in the team as we speak. As the team is kept bolstered yet remains separate, the mobile development has already made considerable progress. Black Desert Online has its exclusive team and organization which runs independently irrespective of the Mobile team, and we want to remind you recruitment and development are done separately. We do believe though, that the very philosophy and direction of the two teams of Online and Mobile will not be different. That being said, it will not stop us from providing Adventurers with quality and timely services as we will not have any personnel transfers of any sort. It would further add more depth and precision in our service and update.”

It’s also worth noting that apparently the big bad previewed yesterday will be called Vell in English, not Bell.

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38 Comments on "Black Desert team reveals perma-AFK leveling, tent camping, and a wicked sea monster"

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rafterman

AFK leveling doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Every MMO in the world does this in different ways anyway. Double exp weekends, level tombs, etc. I really don’t see the distinction between gaining half my levels by actually playing and half while I’m sleeping or playing during a 50% bonus exp weekend in another game. Most people would just use this in addition to their actual playing time, and if there are people who do nothing but afk level, who cares? I mean, do people still bitch and whine about instant level capped characters that the average MMO now hands out?

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Dušan Frolkovič

If every MMO skips the levelling and every player tries to get to max Level as fast as possible anyway. Then I ask, do we still need levels? Reading the comment section on this website of the last couple of months, i think a very good experiment would be a MMO without vertical progression, because either people do not care about their power level, or they race to the top anyway.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Removing vertical progression in terms of levels is not unheard of. Elite:Dangerous does this, the only progression comes in terms of money/gear (aka ships).

Guild Wars 2 does something similar with getting max gear and levels being relatively very easy, and then having masteries as a form of horizontal progression (perks/optional skills as opposed to raw power). Many of its players (including me) like it, others don’t because they feel they have nothing to work towards. Some people just want vertical progression and revolt to the idea of its absence.

Eve also has a form of AFK horizontal progression: learning skills after a certain point mostly gives you options, not power.

But then there is the matter of gear progression, which is almost always vertical as well. Some Black Desert Players have even argued (in a way that makes sense to me) in the forums that gear upgrades should be seen as a system in place of the levelling of other games, due to the fact that this is the most time-consuming vertical progression: you can get to lvl 56 easily, but you don’t get the gear to go with it as easily.

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vertisce

I miss the system that EQ2 employed. Sure, levels existed for your character and they were necessary but your real progression was in increasing your skill levels by use of Training Books.

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Brown Jenkin

Couldn’t agree more, removing or toning down its vertical progression is one of the best things BDO could do IMO. Not that I can imagine this ever happening.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

I guess if you’re still having fun with the game then there is nothing wrong with this.

To me, all these afk features make it seem pointless to even bother playing (or having it play itself for me). I play mmos to socialize with other people, not a ton computers with no one attending them half the time.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Wow the comments here.

Leveling while logged out in other games: OK.
XP gains with logged out rest periods: OK.

Gaining XP while training in game to keep the game world seem more alive (in a game already built around afk systems): Not OK.

Riight … gotcha.

This system is an improvement to the others. Open your minds beyond static convention.

Reader
rafterman

Truth.

I mean what is rest exp in WoW if not afk leveling? You literally gain exp bonuses by not playing. You get bonus champion exp in ESO by not playing. Level tombs are given out like candy in GW2. You can buy max level characters in dozens of other MMOs. FFXIV lets you buy characters and completely skip story content.

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Melissa McDonald

The actual real benefit is for people who are more casual, and see their friends race past them until they can’t group with them anymore, or they get turned down when they log on, ask for group or help, only to be turned down because the others are busy on a higher level raid and you have thus been marginalized, by your own guild.
People grouse about AFK experience, but lots of games offer these “Hey! instant level 100” kinds of buffs. Not any different to me. Why should I care of Player X is AFK or not? Doesn’t affect my game or my game experience.

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Veldan

Not entirely true. It affected me when playing BDO, at least. I hate seeing lots of people in the game world that aren’t actually there. Creates sort of an “alone together” feeling where you see other players’ characters but can’t actually interact with anyone. I’d much rather see an empty game world at off-peak hours than one filled with AFKers.

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Rottenrotny

This is some of the dumbest stuff I’ve ever read.

Why play the game when you can not?!

Mind boggling.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

The game is built around hirings and keeping players logged in to keep the world seem alive. You can do many things already while afk. This only adds the ability for players who can’t play as much to keep up with the hardcore grinders in a game that is based on mob grinding anyway.

It makes sense for the game and does not need to make sense to those not familiar with the game and applying the concept to other games. Several games, including Eve, have systems there you can train even when not logged in. BDO simply wants the world to seem full which is likely a trend in mmorpgs that will only increase like player characters turning into npcs offering services.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

But that exactly is my problem with the AFK schemes of BDO. I am not against AFK mechanisms and level boosts in general, but to use your example with EVE nd BDO, both of which I have some experience on:

1) In BDO there is no cap in vertical progression. In EVE after a point the progression is horizontal and does not create imbalances. I prefer the EVE scheme; this is purely a matter of taste, one would argue that they like the BDO scheme more. But there is definitely a significant difference right there. One counter argument which I can expect and partially accept there is that the soft cap flattens things after a point.

2) All AFK progression in BDO, apart from worker empire is not scheduled but must be tended after periodically. I just find this annoying gameplay – again subjective opinion: I prefer to either setup/optimize/schedule and then leave and forget my AFK activities, like is done with BDO workers or EVE skill plans, not click, wait or go away, come back to click again etc. Again, there is a significant gameplay difference on how different games do AFK’ing.

3) I ABSOLUTELY HATE that I have to leave my pc on while AFK’ing. If BDO wanted to make its world seem more populated by AFK’ers (I can understand that and actually like the idea, players live in the world, they don’t just vanish when logging out), they could have scripted the players after they log out, like any other NPC. I have to date found no reasonable argument in favor of this behaviour. The only rational explanations I have read after filtering out the fanboy rants are (a) pc bangs in Korea, trying to monetize online time, which I find greedy (b) lazy implementation. None of (a) or (b) are a compliment of how PA treats its players. I see this as an objective problem of BDO’s AFK mechanisms, since I have found no counter-argument that made sense to me so far.

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zuldar

This is basically just botting. Maybe next it can afk-socialize and afk-play-the-rest-of-the-game for me too.

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Ket Viliano

…for a fee…

Line
Reader
Line

Just another brick to the tower of non-video gaming.

It’s been so obvious for years, between streaming, clickers, and fake progression that people just don’t want to play video games.

What’s more sad today is that they’ll pay money to do nothing.

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Arktouros

I’ll be a big fan of the AFK combat XP. There’s lots of things you can do for a lot of different professions. If you’re a lifeskiller there’s lots of various AFK activities, but if you’re a pure grinder there’s very little you can do AFK to support your play style. This in turn gives you something to do. I don’t think it’ll have a huge impact on extremely high level characters so likely just be another catch-up measure for people under 60. The XP Transfer would be super nice, as I hate my Musa these days and would love to shave off 56-59 to an actually useful character but not sure we’ll see it in NA.

Second Awakenings kinda ignore the fact that many classes have pretty lackluster base skills. For example on my Musa it was nerfed so hard into oblivion that when you hit Awakening you pretty much never put a point into anything outside of 1-2 side abilities cause the base lines are so bad. Meanwhile strong Awakened characters like Witch/Wiz had strong and useful pre-awakening abilities that if made stronger could just be ridiculous.

Really wish they’d finally address the area disparity between Valencia, Kamasilvia and Mediah. Pretty shitty the area designed for 56 characters continues and remains the best area in the game and even receives buffs no less.

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Dušan Frolkovič

Somebody caught on how popular Idle Games are.

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Arktouros

I think most long term BDO players will say the big thing keeping them going is the ability to idle generate income with afk processing, afk fishing, etc. It’s handy to be able to go play Albion for 30 days or Path of Exile or Overwatch etc etc etc and come back to a pile of money.

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Dušan Frolkovič

If that is what keeps them coming back, then more power to them.
But for me this is the pinnacle of progression motivated “playing”, and thus not for me.
I am more about the journey than the finish line.

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Veldan

I love progression motivated playing, but I still want it to be about actually playing. I hate all this AFK stuff. It was one of the reasons I quit BDO so quickly.

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Arktouros

Okay, but what if you didn’t have to choose between the journey and the finish line? What if you could simultaneously work towards the finish line when you aren’t available to play while enjoying the journey like normal when you can play?

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Dušan Frolkovič

Actually, i wish more games would allow me to stop my progress.
I have a tendency to clear zones and do all the quests, and that more often than not causes me to get ahead of the intended level curve.
I know there are some other concerns with that feature too, but one can wish.

To get back to your question, for me personally it is irrelevant if there is a finish line or not.

But, all said, I think BDO is probably the most appropriate MMO to have this feature as its main way to level is killing mobs.

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Lethality

The journey is still there, too. AFK progression is far far less effiicent. So if you actively play the game, the benefits are in line with that.

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FreecczLaw

Out of curiosity, what are some games you think of and like to play that promotes more of the “journey” type gameplay?

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Melissa McDonald

LOTRO for sure.

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Dušan Frolkovič

Maybe just some more explanation of what i mean by journey vs finish:

For me the main attraction is the gameplay during the play, combat i like, interesting dialog etc.
I will not grind monsters for hours for the shiny loot at the end.
E.g SWTOR is for me on the edge. Its main strength, the story, has so much of its (for me) dull combat in between, that i could not get myself through it.

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Dušan Frolkovič

Disclaimer, these are my personal favorites, YMMV (the choices will be mainly influenced by my preference of more action combat, less hotkey)

GW2, Star Trek Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, SWL (or TSW, depending of which combat and skill system you prefer)

Basically all games that have enough content during levelling, that when i reach the “endgame”, i am satisfied enough to leave the game there and move to another game.
And then i return in 6 or more months of time to enjoy whatever content came out in the time.

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Vlad Petrescu

‘Players will soon be able to grind experience while AFK on new permanent Black Spirit trainers’ – AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA …… AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH ……. No really …. AFK LVL …. -_-

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Lethality

It’s actually a brilliant move. And you can already AFK level many of the life skills in the game. Plus, games like EVE and Crowfall and some others would like a word with you.

Edit: And you watch how many games copy this now.

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BalsBigBrother

I think it is great in EVE, due to time limits I only usually play the game one or two days a week. So it is kind of nice to know I am still making progress of sorts even when off line.

Will be interested to see how Black Desert implements this with their game and what reaction it gets .

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Lethality

It’s akin to offline skill training, you’re not actually going to be “at risk” :)

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Eliandal

I’d actually take advantage of that…if I wasn’t spending 12 hours a day on horseback (ensuring I have the horses necessary for good attempts at t9 when we get it) Lets talk saddlesores ;P!

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Arktouros

I still need to try to find time to AFK ride horses, there’s just so much money sitting there in my banks in raw goods to process :(

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Veldan

Lol AFK leveling. Oh well, I guess it’s not any worse than the max level boosts that other MMOs are selling. It continues to amaze me how their is demand for not having to play a game.

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Darthbawl

Players will soon be able to grind experience while AFK on new permanent Black Spirit trainers

AFK XP Grind Simulator 2017? LOL

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Joshua Dickerson

To be honest, in BDO most of the grind in the game is enchanting your gear.

In fights, gear means more than level once you get to about 58. And getting to 58 is pretty easy now. 2 weeks and it can be done easily

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Eliandal

While I’m semi-intrigued about this, wondering just how it will work, I also know that under the current “rules” it’s going to be a mess. Considering the “age” of many playing, it’s just going to be an AFK gankfest (that should perhaps be changed to ‘maturity’ and ‘most’)

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