Desert Oasis: In praise of the charmingly chaotic Black Desert community

    
10

One of my favorite dishes is dinuguan (dinu-goo-ahn). It’s a pork dish covered in a sauce with the consistency of curry and the dark brown color of chocolate. In America, it’s often called chocolate meat because it looks like meat in chocolate sauce. In actuality, it’s not chocolate, but pork blood. For many people, when they find out what the sauce actually is, it’s the dealbreaker for them. That’s fine, but people miss out on something totally bodacious.

It’s pretty much Black Desert in a nutshell: The ingredients may prove a little too hard to swallow for many.

Black Desert contradicts the common conception of what a good MMORPG is. There’s an endless grind, there’s a pay-to-win system, there’s so much RNG involved, and it’s simply not fun for many people. It’s unsurprisingly easy to find content explaining why people don’t play this game. And for many content creators, some are struggling to find the fun in the game.

In the comments of my last article, a lot of people asked how this game could ever possibly be fun. That’s a tough question; fun is subjective. What I can answer is why it’s fun for me. So for today’s article, I answer why it’s fun to me and dig into the gem that is the BDO community.

I was surprised to find a picture of the dish in wikimedia commons. But here it is! Dinuguan in all its bloody glory. (Pork Dinuguan with a Filipino cake at Cafe Laguna by photographer georgeparrilla)

The grind helps me get stuff done

Regular readers know how much I love Guild Wars. I was really rich in that game, and it wasn’t from doing anything savvy like flipping items or doing high-level PvP. I farmed trolls. Just outside Droknar’s Forge was a cave full of trolls. I’d fire up my favorite J-pop playlist and just go to town on those boys. It was therapeutic, productive, and fun.

After AFKing, killing mobs is a favorite MMO activity. It’s since become my mechanism to recenter myself in times of stress and frustration. Black Desert’s crunchy battle system and the simplicity of the grind is exactly what I’m looking for when things get rough. It’s the steady rhythm I enjoy; it gives me a chance to breathe and it’s relaxing.

It’s also an easy enough type of content to multitask. While I grind, I’m often doing something else, like listening to a podcast or audiobook, talking to someone, or even attending an online lecture. I’ve read many books just by listening to them while I farmed mobs in this game. But even if I’m not doing that, I don’t feel alone. I still have…

Artist’s depiction of BDO’s server chat

The server chat

I mentioned it in last week’s Overthinking that I actually enjoy server chat in MMOs. It’s got a (deservedly) bad reputation, and it’s not for everyone. I attribute the toxicity to the size of the server chat. Black Desert’s server chat is vast; it’s going to attract a few bad apples, but the standard tools are there. Players can block and turn off the chat. I keep it on because it’s pretty entertaining at times. And assuming you just read the stuff and don’t engage, it’s pretty chill in general.

Black Desert has a total of 49 servers. Four to six servers share the same name. Those servers share the same server chat. There’s also world chat. For five cents, players can send a message to all 49 servers. It’s simple, but everyone is connected through the server chat. That’s the key word: connected. Despite the size of the game, players will have others to interact with. Each server has its own cast of characters, notorious players, and powerful guilds. The drama and their interactions can lead some truly hilarious moments.

For example, after node wars, victorious guilds often flaunt their victory. Oftentimes at least one person’s going to fly off the handle and start a flame war, but for an onlooker, it’s a great opportunity to take in some of that juicy drama. Seeing it all happen in real-time helps me feel part of a larger community.

Players get to know each other

We’re all familiar with “playing alone together.” It’s been discussed on this website multiple times. I fit the stereotype of the chatty tank, talking about my air fryer or something while the party’s fighting a boss. But after that run, I’m pretty much forgotten. I’ll just be “that tank who wouldn’t shut up.” Unless you stand out in the community as a creator or something, players in games like Final Fantasy XIV don’t really get much acknowledgement. Once that alliance raid is over, everyone leaves and moves on with their lives.

In Black Desert, it’s different. People build reputations from what they do and what they say in this game. The game even keeps track of people who kill you, so you can hold a vendetta if that’s the kind of stuff you’re into.

The reputation makes for some sweet stories too. My guild was subject to some pretty interesting guild drama a few months ago. A member wanted us to be more active with PvP, particularly with a rival guild. Our leader was against it. To avoid conflict, we kept our home server a secret. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this member left our guild to create a PK-focused guild. But not before he messaged the rival guild leader with the name of our home server. All hell broke loose after that; our players were getting harassed, and we were forced to move to another server. We eventually came to a truce after being forced into a war with the guild, but there were repercussions with player relationships. Even though that beef’s long been squashed, I’m still weary when I see members of that guild out in the wilderness.

It’s pretty easy to interact with notable players as well. World bosses are on predictable timers. They come every three hours, and since there’s no fast travel, people have to plan ahead to attend these. As players gather in the spot, it becomes pretty normal to see the same player come by over and over again. One time, a pretty famous perma-red player, a player killer, was in attendance with his alt. People immediately knew him, and many were eager to duel him right then and there. The duels never happened because it was the player’s alt. The trash talk was there, though! Once again, it was entertaining to see the interaction with the community, including notable streamers and YouTubers.

Really, the fun comes from the community. I totally understand that some MMO gamers don’t enjoy this game. But having a community around an MMO is what makes it really count. For the outsider, it’s a community full of trigger-happy playerkillers. But to me, it feels like home. We have our inside jokes, and we get mad at each other, but at the end of the day, at least we’re playing together.

Please share what makes you enjoy your game so much! Also, which MOP staffer should try dinuguan? My vote’s on Justin.

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!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Ravven

I love BDO, and general chat has never bothered me. What does bother me are the guild banners, to the point that I’ve stopped playing for long stretches of time. It used to be that some guild had Pepe banners everywhere and you couldn’t just play without them being in your face all the time. So I stopped.

The grind isn’t bad at all. I’m one of those who actually like to do some mindless grinding when I’m really stressed, and this is the perfect game to do it in. (I also level alts in MMOs that I have no intention of playing until cap, I just like running around the low-level areas to de-stress.)

Reader
3dom

Chat must be different depending on server. Valencia is rather calm.

As for positive stuff – I liked rift bosses for relatively easy (almost) daily end-game quests with decent monetary rewards. Then the accessory rewards were replaced with garbage (cron stones) and I’ve returned to 20 seconds daily login/logout rewards collecting and hibernation till the devs figure out actually fun gameplay add-ons (like arcade group dungeon runs).

Staff
Mia DeSanzo

I moved from Velia to Valencia because I preferred the Valencia chat. Even when it was Meowlencia.

Ligeance
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Ligeance

Oftentimes at least one person’s going to fly off the handle and start a flame war, but for an onlooker, it’s a great opportunity to take in some of that juicy drama.

Swindle.PNG
Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

Regular readers know how much I love Guild Wars. I was really rich in that game, and it wasn’t from doing anything savvy like flipping items or doing high-level PvP.Regular readers know how much I love Guild Wars. I was really rich in that game, and it wasn’t from doing anything savvy like flipping items or doing high-level PvP.

Guildwars 2 has got to be one of the easiest MMORPG’s to make money in if you

    just play the game

regularly and know where to go. It really isn’t even a grind if you just enjoy the content. No secrets. Right now, at daily reset for me its:
– Matriarch (Amalgamated Gemstone – 1g70s) 3mins work.
– Leyline Anomly (Mystic Coin – 1g30s) 6mins work.
– Get dailies done (2g30s 10mins work.
– New zone Dragonfall, 2 full meta completions (Rare Armor/Mats – 5-7g) 90mins

Very casual play, all mainly group oriented. 9-11 gold in roughly 2.5hrs. For GW2, that is a decent haul in such short amount of time. Sorry BDO..

Not worried about the chaos (toxicity) and rivalry of the community. Not worried about the immense grind it takes to get that you want. I can handle gear treadmill and power creep over being on an even skill level playing field like GW2. P2W me and overcost my cosmetics, I cane take it. The killer for me and will always be a turn away for me is RNG. All of the work put in to obtain what you want or need should never be subject to chance of losing all that I’ve worked for. Failstack does not buffer this feeling and you said it yourself, it’s simply not for everyone.

Reader
PanagiotisLial1

I am with you on the grind, it can be a simple activity when you dont want to be on your toes for anything more focus-demanding. Its one activity I do on sandboxes in general as well. Also grind often brough players together in older games as they would meet in certain places and while grinding they would talk – while in todays games its hard to do so on dungeons and raids. For Black Desert in specific I got to admit I didnt give this game much of a chance, I bought it for 5 euros during christmas sales, played 2h in about at first, fairly liked the combat and found story OKish, and returned to my previous games(free time can be an issue for any gamer). I probably will at some point but seeing as my two current games need 2-3h each and I got a 3rd I play a couple hours per week, so I think it will take a while

Reader
Arktouros

I’m just going to say that BDO’s community is so actually toxic that it’s the only game I’ve ever actually turned off world/server/zone chat for.

Reader
wratts

Was just thinking it’s probably been a month since I deliberately looked at channel chat