MMORPG players know Kakao chiefly as the publishing and localization giant behind Pearl Abyss-developed Black Desert, but over in its native South Korea, the company is a massive conglomerate of multiple companies and mergers with internet subsidiaries covering everything from chat programs and blogging to fashion and an Uber clone.
And of course, one of its biggest businesses in recent years is its gaming sector, which Business Korea says Kakao is currently consolidating into a single holding company dubbed Kakao Games Holdings. According to the company, the goal is to increase efficiency in its main “cash cow,” focus on internal development, and ultimately increase the value and desirability of its planned IPO.
In addition to MMORPG Black Desert, the company runs multiple mobile games and has apparently secured a deal to publish PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in Korea.
Have more than enough skills on your hotbar these days? Might as well mash them together and see what happens! Yes, it’s like your cooking “experiments,” only with fewer fatalities and abominations of culinary science.
Over in Korea, Black Desert’s most recent build added a new system called Rabam’s Enlightenment. It’s a fancy way of saying “skill fusion,” which is pretty much what this does. Players can combine two of the skills in their arsenal to create an even better ability that contains elements of both. Additionally, sometimes the fused skill will demonstrate completely new effects. Pretty neat, eh?
While the primary skill used to make the enhanced version won’t be available to use on its own after the combination process, the subskill will still hang around as an option. There are a few other restrictions and requirements to the enhancement process, but it does seem like it would be an interesting way to take a tired old skill and infuse it with new potential.
It’s an every-other-Wednesday, so you know what that means: It’s patch day in Black Desert
says it’s launched another round of the Rulupee’s World Travel Event in addition two new summery “attendance” rewards, including one for medium- to large-sized guild members.
There’s also been an update for Termian Waterpark, which continues on through the season with new fishing, plus tweaks to the field HQ for conquest wars, a “complete now” button for worker missions, improved character customization history, and several interface updates. My favorite? “Fixed the issue where a skin-headed Ninja would suddenly get fully grown hair during combat.” Those dang bald ninjas.
It further appears that Kakao has reduced the level requirements for a number of skills and set many more to be automatically granted as soon as a character is rolled. The whole chart of changes is on the official site.
The idea of having a mobile version of Black Desert
is no doubt appealing to you if you love the game but occasionally have to leave the house for something, like some sort of animal. But what will the game actually look like? Will it be a horrible mess or pretty close to the real thing? You can find out a preliminary answer by watching the trailer just below, which has a different view on the action but looks as if it has much of the same action.
Of course, it is a short trailer, so there are no deep looks at what’s been changed for the mobile variant on the game. But it definitely looks like something you can enjoy on the go as you want to. Check it out below, even if you’re at work; it’s short enough that your boss probably won’t catch you.
Good news for Black Desert
players in North America, you got some free compensation
! The bad news is that it’s to make up for emergency maintenance on the game; the good news again is that you probably were not playing at the time? It’s a multi-faceted situation, that’s what we’re getting at here.
While the official sources seem oddly reluctant to state the nature of the compensation, a player has posted a screenshot of the package, which buffs gains to combat experience, skill experience, life experience, and item gain, along with a boost to recovery across the board. It should last for an hour, so that’s something. Players on the forums are complaining that this is a result of the game’s reduced maintenance schedule and that regular maintenance would avoid this issue instead of requiring unexpected maintenance and compensation.
Gamasutra has an unusual piece from an Ubisoft developer this week arguing that co-op gameplay is the industry’s rising midcore trend, one that he believes will ultimately outstrip team competitive games. “It’s all about all the big data and stats that are finally available and can be mined,” author Andrii Goncharuk says, “and no surprise that it’s showing that players who played co-op mode have much more play hours, and players who played co-op with friends have even more play hours.”
He may be right, though first you’d have to believe co-op ever went anywhere to begin with (and console players would probably tell you nope!). But as I read the article, I couldn’t help but see MMOs in most of the arguments he’s making about what makes co-op games sticky, and yet MMOs are being edged out all the same. And while I don’t like to think of the MMO genre’s space in the industry as a zero-sum situation, the reality is that when people tire of MMORPG baggage but still want social play, co-op is exactly the sort of game they retreat to.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to reflect on the rise of co-op PvE games outside the MMO label. Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?
(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.”
There’s no Black Desert
patch today as expected, given that Kakao has switched from weekly to biweekly updates
. But there’s a bit of interesting news out of Pearl Abyss
, which has released a new trailer teasing one hell of a nasty ocean monster boss en route to the Korean servers (and we presume, eventually to the western servers as well). His name is Bell, and even if that sounds like the sort of name you give a kitten or a hamster, you do not
want to be on those boats, man. Enjoy.
So this is an unusual situation for me: I’ve never
actually played a game for Choose My Adventure
that I’ve disliked this much.
Those of you who have followed my writing for a while know that I’ve played some games I didn’t much like before, but that’s different. Lord of the Rings Online and Black Desert, for example, are games that were not my cup of tea but still had obvious merits I could praise. I’ve played games that I dislike or ones that deserved more criticism than praise when I played them (Ryzom, TERA, the beta period of The Elder Scrolls Online), but still had positive sides. (And in the last case, ESO turned itself around quite well and earned plenty of kudos from me.) Heck, I played Scarlet Blade with as open a mind as I could possibly have.
But not so DC Universe Online. No, this game deserves a pretty thorough drubbing. I can understand why it has fans, but it’s still just not a good game. I can only hope it’s an outlier rather than the norm on Daybreak’s overall catalog, because… wow. This is not fun.
Happy patch day, Black Desert folks. Did you enjoy getting maintenance patches every week? Not anymore.
“Due to the changes in service maintenance, the next maintenance will occur on August 16th, 2017,” Kakao noted in today’s patch notes. “Duration of the biweekly maintenance is to-be-determined. Please check the relevant maintenance announcement for the exact duration. As service maintenance will occur biweekly, guild/ family/ character name change will be processed every other Wednesday. In addition to regular service maintenance, temporary maintenances and hotfixes may occur and as always, we ask for your generous understanding and patience.”
There is a bit of fun news in today’s patch, however, as the studio is building on the Terrmian Waterpark that went live early this summer. Expect four new event quests in the park, plus Terrmian stuff in the cash shop, the retirn of the Black Spirit’s Adventure event, and a few bug fixes for horses and the Arena of Arsha. MOP’s own MJ Guthrie checked out the waterpark a few weeks back; you can watch her travails down below.
Catching up with the Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss at ChinaJoy 2017, MMO Culture wrung out of the team a short but informative interview about the future of the fantasy sandbox.
The team said that posted pictures of the male Ranger doesn’t mean that one is on the horizon; there is no playable version of the class as of yet. However, there is a new server on the way for Southeast Asia, with a closed beta test coming before the end of the year. We should also be seeing a trailer for the promised mobile version of Black Desert sometime this September.
Interesting news all around, and coupled with the new awakening system, it should give an injection of public interest in the title.
Goodies from this week’s ChinaJoy are already trickling back to us. Notably, Snail Games has posted a new trailer and screenshots for ARK Park, its VR-based ARK: Survival Evolved spinoff.
“The new trailer revealed a first look of the tower defense combat system in ARK Park,” Snail relates. “After players collect enough resources, unlock engrams and forge their weapons, they can head out to defend the attacks of raging dinosaurs. Players enter the world, first arriving at the Space Station, where they will customize their avatar and choose between single and multi-player experiences. They’ll participate in a multiplayer tour, so they can share the visceral gameplay and the thrill of witnessing dinosaurs up-close and personal.”
The PR reiterates that the game is still coming by the end of the year on the Vive, Rift, and PSVR.
Western players are getting a chunky 1GB patch in Black Desert
today as Kakao
rolls out structured PvP hosting in the form of Arena of Arsha
“Arena of Arsha has been added. It’s a unique battle arena where YOU become the host of your battles. Arena of Arsha is unavailable in the following servers: All Olvia Servers, Velia 1, Balenos 1, Serendia 1, Calpheon 1, Mediah 1, Valencia 1, Valencia 3).”
Guild voice chat as well as a new Cron Fragment event are also live today; gatherers, hunters, and fishermen will pick up the fragments for turnins through August 23rd.
The real excitement in Black Desert right now, however, is what’s going on in Korea and will eventually wind up here. Here’s a look at the Mystic launching there today (we’ll get her later this year):