Brand-new PvP server Arsha is live as promised in Black Desert
today. It’s running an alternative ruleset with “notably increased defense” stats, extra debuff immunities, altered damage calculations, and no world bosses. The intent, Kakao says, is “to enable fairer, less one-sided fights.” Just remember: “PvP between Characters (including Forced PvP) will be free from all penalties” unless you’re already saddled with an evil karma rating.
But the bigger news coming out of the South Korean import today is its plans for absolute skills.
“Over the last two years, all 15 available classes received the first awakening weapon that provided Black Desert Online players with a whole new way to play their characters,” Kakao explains. “It unlocked new powerful combos, fighting styles and tactical advantages that made each class more diverse, but it also meant that many players diverted away from their main weapon skills. To rival the awakening weapons, Pearl Abyss has developed the Absolute Skills which balances the original main weapon with regards to damage output, giving players unprecedented freedom and a huge array of combat tactics to overcome even the toughest challenge.”
It’s all coming up Kakao Games these days.
The Korean studio received a large investment package recently that totals $131.6 million. The bundle comes from five external companies, including China’s Tencent, South Korea’s Netmarble, Bluehole Studio, Premier Growth-M&A PEF, and Actozsoft.
So what does Kakao plan to do with its newly laden pockets? The studio has its eyes on global expansion and the acquisition of other studios.
Over in its signature product Black Desert, Kakao and Pearl Abyss are preparing to roll out a new PvP server called Arsha that provides incentives for player conflict. The game is also half-off ($5) on Steam right now through February 19th.
Agitators on the Black Desert
subreddit are attempting to whip up press and players
over a range of grievances players have with Kakao
, the western publisher of the Pearl Abyss
MMORPG. Complaints range from the ongoing and well-documented lag problems and bugs to misapplied bans and database compromises.
The biggest post on the subreddit as I type this, however, as well as one of the biggest in a long time, is a Valentine’s poem dedicated to Kakao calling it a “P2W scam.” Readers will recall that Black Desert has been fending off pay-to-win accusations since even before its western launch in 2016.
Still other players are petitioning Kakao for two-factor authentication, which they argue will not only make accounts more secure but reduce the number of gamers whose accounts are stolen and then banned by Kakao with no chance of appeal when the thieves use third-party software.
Just in time for the Olympics, Kakao is bringing east and west together in Black Desert. In the game’s latest dev letter, the studio explains that up until the latest patch in Korea, attack efficiency for Korean players was different than on western servers. Recent patches, however, brought them into parity.
“Effectively, with the aforementioned patch for the KR server, all regions now have the same balance systems applied,” says the studio. “We aim to develop Black Desert Online as a Single Global Build. By doing so, we believe that it will benefit both our players and us, as developers. It will allow the latest patches to be applied to all regions more quickly than any other game, and enable us to quickly reflect even the tiniest detail of valuable user feedback. Anyone who enjoys Black Desert Online will always have the same optimal experience from any region.”
There’s more to the plan than optimal experience, however: The company is also looking ahead to global PvP.
Today’s Black Desert
update is a wee one in preparation for next week’s holiday.
“Valentine’s Day is coming up next week and you will see the world of BDO to be a bit more flirtatious than usual and seasonal decorations reflect all the love in the air… xoxo,” says Kakao. “But not all is love and flowers; there is also a danger lurking.” That ancient danger would be a new guild boss called Ancient Puturum, now summonable in Valencia for titles and loot.
Additionally, there are new login rewards, a few tweaks for crafting, no more annoying combat stance reminders for highbie toons, and a fix for that poor goat in Serendia. Expect class adjustements all around, though the bulk are for Witches and Wizards. Also! “Fixed the issue with unnatural falling motions Characters made when falling off the bridge handrails near Heidel” – because the problem was the unnatural motions, not the falling! Hey y’all maybe don’t climb on the handrails? Doesn’t seem entirely safe? Just a suggestion.
Last week, Black Desert
teased its upcoming costume contest, and now we’ve got the full details
. The big prize, of course, is the chance to have your art piece actually turned into real armor and put into the game for everyone to wear – oh, and $10,000 US. Not too shabby, right? Runners-up in each region will take home $3000 apiece.
Kakao notes that designs much “follow the basic aesthetics and theme of the classes” in BDO – “excessively imaginative” concepts, as well as “provocative” and “violent images” will be rejected. Underboobage, again, is clearly welcome.
Submissions run from February 7th to March 5th, with initial screening and voting rounds in all regions running into April. The top winners will be announced on April 11th.
Good luck folks!
Seollal, the Korean version of the traditional lunar new year, technically begins just after Valentine’s day in 2018, but that’s not going to stop Black Desert
from kicking off the festivities early. As of today, the game’s patched in a bundle of themed quests and items. Here’s what to expect:
- Login rewards (they call ’em attendance rewards, mind) are getting a huge shakeup. In fact, Kakao’s helping out weekend warriors by allowing folks to catch up on collecting the login rewards by playing multiple hours on the weekends (anyone ever seen an MMO do that before?).
- In the cash shop, there’s a ton of Korean hanbok, some traditional ones for the men and some super short-skirted modern takes for the ladies, plus the requisite fireworks and lanterns.
- You can also buy those lanterns for 1 loyalty and deploy them for buffs to “light up the skies.”
- Finally, there’s the new Quests of Fortune event, which officially begins tomorrow. Hope you like fortune cookies!
Thinking about cheating in Black Desert
? Probably not; cheaters are hiding out in the bowels of the internet trading hacks with the other script kiddies. Our readers, then, will surely care that Kakao is apparently in the midst of another crackdown, as it’s announced it’s banned 647 cheaters
over the last month.
Targeting specifically “the use of nefarious software that automates gameplay and gives people unfair advantages,” the company says, it is “following up the ban wave from December 13th with an additional wave of 647 accounts. As before, this wave primarily consists of fish bots, although other bots are also included.”
Fish botting just makes the whole thing sadder. “Hey so why’d you get banned from BDO?” “Oh, I was fish botting, and I wasn’t even good enough to get away with it.”
Move over, winter – Black Desert
is done with you. But the New Year’s festivities are just getting started! As part of today’s patch
, players should hustle on over to Velia, Heidel, or Calpheon City to pick up their quest and associated pie, plus there’s a “General’s Accessories” event to encourage enhancement.
But the best bit is the new outfit mixing feature. “An often requested feature made it into the game this week: You can now mix and match Outfit pieces from different sets and still get the set bonus,” says Kakao. “We look forward to seeing what fancy fashion trends the community will be coming up with as a result of this change!”
Meanwhile, Lahn awakens in Korea today – Dulfy has the teaser lifted straight from Twitch – and the game finally launched early access in Southeast Asia.
If you’re looking forward to Ascent: Infinite Realm when it arrives on these shores, you’re probably also looking forward to learning about the world beyond “there are airships and steampunk robots.” You don’t need to know more, because who wouldn’t be sold from those concepts alone? But just so that you can actually know more all the same, you can check out the English-dubbed trailer for the game just below.
The trailer serves as a top-level overview of the concepts going on in the game. Short version? The surface of the planet got destroyed, two of the three kingdoms were blown to heck, and the king of the third kingdom had the bright idea of taking the souls of the two destroyed kingdoms, wiping their memories, and using them as a cheap force to help rebuild that third kingdom on a floating island. Presumably, that’s where the player characters come from; you can get slightly more details in the cinematic itself.
Good news, Ascent: Infinite Realm! The future of Kakao’s international plans and possible acquisition of western development studios hinges upon your success! Not that the publisher behind Black Desert is hurting for cash or anything; no, it’s a simple matter of seeing whether or not lightning can strike twice. The international success of the latter title was considered a surprise, but if A:IR exceeds expectations, a recent interview with CEO Min Kim suggests that the publisher may look into more western development studios to purchase.
Of course, this is not something that the company expects to know for some time, as A:IR is not expected to have a full release until 2019, but the suggestion of the future is still there. The current belief is that quality sells internationally, compared to the prevailing Korean notion that breaking into other markets is difficult at best. If you’d like to see more products bankrolled by Kakao, then, you may want to keep a close eye on A:IR’s performance as it moves into beta testing.
The Mystic class that just flew westward at the tail end of last year is already busying herself with awakening, live in Black Desert
as of this morning’s patch. But if you’re not into the new class, the highlight is surely the new campsite feature.
“Set up your campsite wherever you like while you are out adventuring, and customize it to suit your needs,” Kakao writes in today’s patch notes. “Some of the features you can add to your campsites are: buying or repairing certain items, putting items in storage, doing currency exchange, and buying buff scrolls. Setting up a campsite should make it easier for you if you want to go off the grid to defeat monsters in remote areas, far from any towns or cities.”
Today’s patch also includes two largish events. Not snowing enough where you are IRL? “Get snowed under a mountain of snowflakes” in BDO! But maybe wear more clothes than the character modeling the event! Or not; this is BDO, after all. Wanna get your expies grind on? Fill up some Marni’s stones!
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.
Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.
In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.
And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.
Read on for the whole list!