Desert Oasis: How AFKing in Black Desert is more productive than you think

This is what making money looks like after you've established a worker empire.

You know what I enjoy doing in MMOs? Not doing anything. I fancy myself an AFK enthusiast. Finding a nice, scenic spot to park your character is an art. It’s therapeutic too; after a long day of farming mobs or doing quests, it’s good to have a favorite spot to rest your laurels on and do something else. For the longest time for me, that was Marhan’s Grotto in classic Guild Warsalmost one-third of my playtime must have been spent there.

Before I played Black Desert, I never really saw AFKing as a moneymaking tool. But this game pretty much figured out a way to ensure players never log out. And as long as players take the time to actually set up those systems, they can get very rich just by leaving the game on.

The central focus of this mechanic is life-skilling and the worker empire. These are two massive concepts that I’ll eventually cover in more detail in a future column, but the elevator pitch is that once these systems are set up, players can make millions by just staying online. The worker empire will amass a staggering stack of crafting materials, and the life skills players develop allow their characters to craft items from the collected materials. In a surprising twist, it’s also competitive; there’s a leaderboard that ranks the highest-level players in their respective fields, be they fishing, training, or trading.

A crash course in fishing

If this intrigues you, I recommend starting with fishing. It’s the easiest to start and teaches the basics of AFKing. (I can’t believe I just said that.) As of this article’s publish date, the annual fishing event just ended as well, so it’s still pretty fresh in the community’s mind. Colloquially called Coachella for all the tents and horses haphazardly placed everywhere, it is one of the most profitable events for the game all year. During this event, players can obtain special fish that sell for half a million silver. It’s good money and a great way to get the money for that next big PEN (+20) attempt.

Its simplicity makes it popular for the playerbase; you just go the event area with a fishing rod, cast your line, and wander away to do something else — that’s it. Fishing in Black Desert needs very little player input, but the option to be a more active fisher-person is there. The only management required on the player’s part is to go to a trader and trade in the catch before 24 earth hours elapse. I’ve spent 80% of the last two weeks AFK fishing, and I’ve made about 250 million silver, and that’s not counting the other items I’ve fished out of the sea.

Don’t let the FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling take over you: There’s a second fishing event three months from now, so there’s more than enough time to learn the basics right now.

So how does one get started? It’s simple. First, buy a fishing rod. Then, find a body of water and press spacebar to cast your line. The message “you are currently fishing. Please wait until you feel a bite” will pop up. Wait a bit and eventually a gold “SPACE” button will appear, indicating that you have a bite. You’ll have a choice to press spacebar and do two quicktime events to catch the fish, or wait three minutes. If you wait three minutes – like, say, if you’re AFK – you’ll catch the fish automatically. Congratulations! You’ve officially mastered AFK fishing.

Now, this wouldn’t be an MMO without some form of min-maxing, right? Well, good news, you can do that with AFKing in this game! Make sure you check the box “throw away useless items caught during auto-fishing.” That way you won’t have to worry about losing valuable inventory slots to seaweed and fish-bones.

I also recommend investing in the Balenos fishing rod. Lifeskill tools are like weapons; they can be enchanted, but only up to +10. What makes the Balenos rod useful is its special ability. It lowers auto-fishing time, meaning more fish per time spent! It doesn’t hurt to get more inventory slots as well. Where you actually sell your fish matters too. The farther you go to sell your fish, the higher the profit margin. That’s because fish and other collectibles don’t count as vendor trash; they’re considered trade items. The current pulse check on trading is lukewarm at best. There are other more profitable ways as of right now.

The dangers of AFK fishing

Let’s not forget that we’re in Black Desert. We’re still playing with open PvP rulesets, so players are still subject to shenanigans, kerfuffles, and balderdash from other players. The most obvious is getting killed while fishing in a combat zone. A player might choose to fish somewhere in the wilderness to catch more fish. Popular fishing zones, like cities, are subject to over-fishing from those who prefer to stay safely inside town walls, so it’ll take longer to get a bite. For some players, the money earned by fishing in more dangerous locales is worth the risk.

A few months ago, I did some fishing in Velia. The next morning, I found myself on a faraway island. I had been kidnapped. It took me half an hour to swim back. On the bright side, I got map completion for the ocean.
There’s a way around some of the danger: If you’re level 49 or below, you’re exempt from PvP. Since players need to complete a quest to achieve level 50, many lifeskillers (i.e., players who focus on crafting and gathering) choose to stay at level 49 permanently. It removes the hassle of getting PKed when they at their favorite watering hole. The other, much easier solution is to just fish in town, but once again, those spots are usually over-fished. Be careful where you park yourself too. A few months ago, I did some fishing in Velia, one of the busiest towns in the game. The next morning, I found myself on a faraway island north of Velia. I had been kidnapped. It took me half an hour to swim back. On the bright side, I got map completion for the ocean and it was pretty funny, but it could happen to you too!

Sometimes, a mischievous player will exploit the game’s clipping to “scoop” players with their boat or raft. Imagine a spoon scooping cereal – same concept. You can imagine what could happen next, and for many players, this can be quite annoying. In other words, it’s smart not to fish too close to the water. I personally perch my character atop a rock to prevent that from happening. Overall, there really isn’t much danger in it, but maybe don’t make yourself too tempting a target.

Black Desert is like an ogre the way an ogre is like an onion: It has layers. Grinding mobs all day is just one layer of it, and to fully experience this game, you need to try out the other parts. I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to the life skill system in the game and there’s so much more to say. But for now, I encourage you to pick up a fishing rod, cast your line, and make that fortune!

The Great Valencian Black Desert is a dangerous place, but thankfully there’s always a chance for respite. Join Massively OP’s Carlo Lacsina every other week for just that in Desert Oasis, our Black Desert column! And don’t worry; he promises he won’t PK you. Got questions or comments? Please don’t hesitate to send a message!
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