Hello friends, and welcome to a new installment of Choose My Adv– HA HA, PSYCH! This puppet’s strings have been cut, suckers! No longer will I take your orders, blindly charging headlong into whatever folly you command, allowed respite only once your twisted fancies have been sated and my will brok– Wait, what? I still have to do that, too? Ahem. Heh, just kidding, everyone! Forget everything you just read. Done? OK, great! Let’s try this again. Hello, friends, and welcome to the premiere issue of my shiny new column, Desert Nomad. Isn’t it fancy?
Each week (or every other week depending on the demands of Choose My Adventure, which it turns out I am both contractually obligated and bound by a blood oath to continue until the end of days), I’ll be delving into the world of Black Desert. I’m super excited to finally have the opportunity to take a break from jumping between games each month and actually commit myself to exploring the many facets of this shiny new sandbox. Since Black Desert will technically still be one day away from its official launch when this is published, I figured that it would be fitting to devote this inaugural column to laying down some tips for all the new players who will be flooding the servers when the folks at Daum swing wide the gates tomorrow. So come along, fellow Nomads, and let’s wander for a while. As always, I promise that I will do my best to make it informative, and if not that, then at least entertaining.
Now, before we dive in, I’d like to start things off with something that stalwart CMA readers have come to expect from me and that all you newcomers should probably go ahead and get used to: a disclaimer! I just want to go ahead and preemptively say that I make no claims to Black Desert expertise. Although I did participate in both of the closed beta tests prior to launch and have, as of my writing this very sentence, had access to the live game for a single day, in the grand scheme of things I’m a newbie just like everyone else, and I’ll be unearthing the inner workings of Black Desert just like everyone else.
This is partly out of caution (I’d rather not base my writing on second-hand information rather than experiencing things for myself) and partly out of a plain, naive desire to once again jump into a game without immediately feeling like I know exactly what I’m doing. So with that in mind, I’m looking forward to sharing my discoveries with you folks and, I hope, learning a few things from our erudite commenters. Now that the writer-reader pact has been verbally sealed, here are some hopefully useful tips to help you get started in Black Desert.
First off, let me answer one question that I’ve seen asked innumerable times over the course of the betas and my first day in-game: What’s the best way to level? That depends on your definition of “best.” Character level experience can be earned only through combat, so if your number one goal is to reach the level cap as soon as humanly possible, the best way to do that is to grind mobs until your brain liquefies. [Commenter Azrowar points out that you actually do get character level experience from other activities like fishing and gathering, though the point stand that mob farming is far more efficient.] That’s not really my style — I like to be methodical and meticulous with my progression in a new game lest I miss something crucial along the way — but there are plenty of guides on optimal mob farming out there.
But if you go that route and sprint to the level cap by pure mob farming, you’re going to miss out on some pretty useful things. Although quests don’t reward character level XP (with very rare exception), they’re still immensely useful — especially for new players — in a number of ways. For starters, many quests serve to introduce players to the many different facets of the game, helping them to learn the ropes of gathering, crafting, trading, fishing, and so on. In addition, completing quests is the only way to earn contribution points (which have many uses, including renting property and connecting trade or resource nodes) and many of them provide useful rewards, notably including inventory space expansions and instant energy restoration. [Commenter Xijit also points out that completing quests multiple times (by way of alts) will still increase your contribution point maximum, allowing you to rack up a hefty pool of points by simply doing the early quests on multiple characters.] Obviously, if you wanna power level to the cap, you can always come back and do the quests later, but I personally plan to take my time on the road to max level.
Now that that’s taken care of, here are some slightly more specific tips in easily digestible — at least by my typically wordy standards — form:
Enable ALL the quests
In Black Desert, your quest log gives you the option of disabling certain types of quests, which hides them not only from your quest tracker but from the game world itself, meaning NPCs offering the disabled types of quests will not be marked, and in many cases you simply won’t be able to accept quests of the disabled types whatsoever. Somewhat strangely, the default quest log settings disable all types of quests except for combat quests, meaning that players who don’t realize the option is there (such as yours truly during the first beta test) will end up traipsing past tons of valuable quests.
To remedy this situation, open up your quest log (default hotkey ‘O’) and look at the top of the right-hand panel, as shown in the screenshot below. Those little buttons to the right of the word “Prefer” are the only things standing between you and a staggering array of quests. If you want to see all the quests, all the time, just click the “All” button; if you’re a little more selective, you can enable or disable Combat, Life (i.e., crafting, gathering, etc.), Fishing, and Exploration/Travel quests in whatever combination you see fit. Just a quick heads-up for those of you who decide to go all in and enable them all: There are a lot of quests, at least in the first “main” town of Velia. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Just don’t panic if you’re hit with a sudden avalanche of quests.
Claim task rewards
When you first log into the game, and sporadically thereafter, you may notice in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen a little icon that looks like a scroll labelled “Reward.” Then again, you may not notice it, because it’s pretty small. If you click this icon, you’ll be taken to the Tasks pane, which can be accessed at any time by opening your character status window (default hotkey ‘P’) and selectiong the tab labeled “Tasks” (surprise!) at the top. Here, you can view a list of tasks and, more importantly, collect rewards for any you’ve completed.
In case you’re curious what exactly tasks are, they’re divided into two categories: time-based and achievement. The time-based tasks include a daily login task as well as tasks for logging in for a certain number of consecutive days (all of which reward currency that can be spent in the game’s Loyalty store) and reaching milestones in total time played (which reward various fancy items like dyes inventory expansions, furniture, and more). The achievement tasks are basically, of course, achievements, including things like reaching level milestones, reaching milestone ranks in each profession, and so on, and the rewards for them are too varied to list, but it’s worth noting that many of the profession milestone tasks reward energy potions, which will probably prove useful for crafters.
Use your energy…
Your energy resource is used by an astounding variety of activities in the game, including crafting, gathering, fishing, and more. It regenerates at a rate of one point every three minutes, but there is a cap on how many points your energy pool can hold at any given time. In ths early parts of the game, this cap will be fairly low, and it’ll only take a handful of resource-gathering attempts to exhaust your supply. That being the case, I see no reason not to spend your energy frequently, lest your precious one point per three minutes go to waste. Just carry around a pickaxe or a butcher’s knife and take a moment every so often to mine some ore or carve up some prime cuts. Unless you think you’re going to desperately need your energy for something specific in the near future, don’t feel obligated (like I initially was) to reserve all your energy just in case there’s some kind of energy-related emergency.[Commenter Xijit and Diskonekted point out that your energy cap is global (i.e., all characters on your account will have the same energy cap), but current energy points are individual, meaning that increasing your energy cap on one character will increase the cap for all of your characters, and once you’ve used up all of your energy on one character, you can hop over to another one and still have a full pool to work with. Xijit also notes that investing energy points in a resource node will increase the drop rate of items in the area, though it’s important to point out clarify that this doesn’t make items drop more often, but it increases the quantity of items that will drop when they do.]
… But not for chatting
Here’s a sneaky little trick that messed with my head a little bit in the early days of the first closed beta: Sending a message in Channel (i.e., global) chat costs you one energy point per message. I’d settle in to do some crafting with max energy, chit-chatting in global chat to pass the time, when suddenly I’d be completely out of energy. “What gives!?” I would shout incredulously at my monitor, since it was the only thing willing to listen. Well, the answer’s that this gives. And takes. Even if you think you’ve got the world’s wittiest retort to take that guy trolling global chat down a couple of pegs, I promise there are better things to spend your energy on.
Knowledge is pow- I mean, energy
Speaking of energy, the only way to raise the cap on your energy point pool is to collect knowledge, which can be gathered by doing basically anything in the game. Every monster you kill, every item you craft, every resource you harvest, and every place you explore has a chance to impart some new knowledge unto you. Collect enough knowledge, and your energy pool maximum will increase. Energy is useful in almost all aspects of the game, and in some cases (especially harvesting and crafting), it’s downright essential.
Contribution points, in the same vein as energy points, should be spent frequently, and unlike energy points, contribution points are never actually consumed, which means that they can in fact be spent with reckless abandon. You can think of contribution points — which are used to rent property, activate trade and resource nodes, and rent useful items from NPCs — as a kind of collateral currency.
If you want to rent some property, just slap down a few contribution points, and if you decide a few minutes later that the view isn’t really that great and the landlord’s an asshole or something, you can give up the property and get your contribution points back. It’s worth noting that your contribution point pool does not “regenerate,” so to speak, so if you run out of points, the only ways to get more are to complete quests until you raise your contribution point cap (thus earning one more point to spend) or to withdraw points that had previously been invested elsewhere. But hey, spend ’em if you got ’em; there’s literally nothing to lose.
Sell your crap
Listen up, packrats: I know this is going to be like Sophie’s choice for you, but there will come a time — at least in the early game — where you’re probably gonna have more stuff that you want to hang onto “because you’ll need it eventually” than you’ll have warehouse space in which to store it. I know this because I’ve had to struggle with it myself. Unless you invest every last one of your contribution points into renting property to increase your warehouse capacity (and perhaps even then) you’re gonna have to get rid of some of the stuff you’ve been stockpiling.
My advice to you is this: Don’t agonize over it. Sure, that stack of 10 potatoes might seem important now, but unless you’re going to be using them in the immediate future, just sell the spuds and go pick some fresh ones (or send a worker to do it for you) when you need them later on. But before you sell anything to the first NPC vendor you see, make a point to go check in with the trade manager (Velia’s trade manager is named Bahar) to make sure you can’t sell it there. Only a select few types of items can be sold to trade managers (Bahar will buy up any fish you catch from the nearby water, for instance), but items sold to trade managers will almost certainly net you a more substantial profit than you’d get from pawning those potatoes off to the local blacksmith.[Commenter Leilonii adds that, before selling an item to an NPC (besides a trade manager, as mentioned above), you should make sure to check its current going rates on the auction house — which you can check remotely by hitting the escape key and clicking the Marketplace button in the menu — to make sure you can’t get a better price there.]
Night, dark, full of terrors, yadda yadda
There are two things you should know about nighttime in Black Desert: The first is that it’s seriously dark, for real. Every character begins the game with a lantern in his or her inventory, and you’re going to want to use it. Be aware that lanterns will burn out after three days, and keep an eye on yours to make sure it doesn’t flicker out in the middle of a creepy forest or something.
The second thing is that, as it gets later and later (and darker and darker), monsters in the world grow more powerful and the chances of elite mobs spawning increases drastically. If you don’t want to face the things that go bump (or stab, as the case may be) in the night, you can take shelter until monsters return to normal power at sunrise, but those brave enough to venture into the darkness might find an especially powerful mob with some especially shiny loot. [Commenter Leilonii points out that these powered-up mobs are also reward more experience points per kill, making nighttime the perfect time to hunt if you’re looking to level up.]
Watch your weight
When it comes to inventory management in Black Desert, you have to be mindful of not only your available bag space but your encumberance as well. The system’s pretty straightforward — the more weight you’re carrying, the more slowly you move — but some players might not notice it if they’re not on the lookout. [Commenter Leilonii, yet again, mentions that you can increase your maximum weight capacity by way of certain pieces of gear (generally belts) and by walking on foot while carrying a trade pack. I personally don’t think that it’s not really worth going out of your way to level up your encumbrance limit, but it may end up being more useful than I think. Also, Commenter Xijit notes that it’s not only your carried items that contribute to your encumbrance, but your coins as well; they may not weigh much individually, but if you’re hauling around an entire bank’s worth of silver coins, that’s gonna slow you down, so make sure to deposit whatever money you don’t need in your warehouse.]
Get your exercise
As you run around the world on foot, your stamina level will slowly increase. Stamina is used to sprint and dodge, as well as to use a few other abilities, so it’s probably a good idea to have as much as you can. Although it’s tempting when you get your first mount (which, in case you’re wondering, happens over the course of the main questline, usually somewhere in the level 13-16 range I think) to make sure your feet never have to touch the ground again, it might be a good idea to hold off for a bit and keep hoofin’ it on your own. I’m not sure if most players think that maxing out your stamina level is absolutely essential, and I have no idea how much of a difference it will ultimately make, but it seems to me that leveling up your stamina level is useful enough to justify spending an extra minute or two getting from point A to point B.
Thanks to reader Shermanx for taking to the comments to point out that the game’s many useful search functions are in fact case-sensitive, so be sure you’re using proper capitalization when you’re browsing the auction house or trying to find that elusive NPC.
Check them out.
And that, my friends, is all of the advice I have for you for the time being. As I said earlier, I’m no expert, and it’s entirely possible (probable, in fact) that I’ve skipped over something essential. So do me a favor, fellow Black Desert players, and if you have any other tips you’d like to offer to those who will be joining the adventure when the game goes live tomorrow, please throw ’em out there in the comments section. And on a similar note, although this might not be Choose My Adventure, I’d still love to know which parts of the game y’all would like to know more about, so if you’ve got suggestions or requests, I invite you to leave them in the comments or e-mail them to me directly, as you prefer.
As always, thank you for joining me on yet another new, exciting, and potentially disastrous adventure of a different kind, and I hope you’ll stop by next time as well, if only because you’re making bets on how long it’ll take for things to go downhill — I’m not picky! See you,
Space Cowboys Desert Nomads!