Desert Oasis: The sad saga of enchanting in Black Desert Online


One of the hallmarks of our genre is the inherent heartbreak it’s capable of creating within us. Whether we’re doing a corpse run in EverQuest or wiping at 0.1% on Final Fantasy XIV’s Ultimate Coil of Bahamut, MMO players are no strangers to pain.

Black Desert also has its own share of hardship – if it’s not the PvP for some players, it’s something else. For me, it’s that bloody enchant system. As much as I love this game, there are still things I can’t stand. In an earlier edition of Desert Oasis, I critiqued the RNG systems in Black Desert and talked about just how much of an absolute pain it can be for players. But the reality of the system can be brutal. For today’s article, I want to write about a recent failed enchant session from getting one item from TRI (+18) to TET (+19). It’ll be helpful insight on what average enchant session looks like – and a therapeutic way to vent some frustration.

BDO enchanting is a risky but rewarding way of “making those gains.” Failing to enchant your DUO (+17) item to TRI (+18) will downgrade the item to PRI (+16). Items won’t downgrade to +15, thankfully, but imagine going from TET to PRI in one session. It can be pretty heartbreaking.

My most recent session was pretty soul-crushing: It was an hour-and-a-half affair. I decided to upgrade my off-hand weapon, the Kutum trinket, from TRI to TET for my Tamer. The kutum weapon is considered a strong choice for grinding mobs because it provides a massive attack bonus against monsters. I had been saving up for such an endeavor; I had about 2 billion silver and 450 memory fragments, and I also spent about $60 on artisan memories (more on this later).

Because of the RNG in enchanting, it’s wise to either have a back-up item or have the money to at least get your item back to its original upgrade in case of failure. I do not enchant often, and I do not really actively farm for memory fragments, so the fragments I had were collected from events and daily login rewards. I also had amassed quite a few Advice of Valks items that will boost a character’s failstack count to the number specific on the item. (More on this later too.)

Enchanting also involves your stable of alts. Every time an enchant fails on a character, the character will gain a bit more of a de facto buff that’s referred to as a failstack. It increases the chance of a successful enchant proc. The higher it is, the bigger the enchant bonus. There are plenty of guides out there that school players on intentional failstack building and the best use of those failstacks, but for me I just used the enchant chance percentage the game provides to guide my failstack usage, since I had a lot of the Advice of Valks items and was just using them to quickly get failstack for characters. Since I was gunning for TET, I was willing to burn my highest failstack to get the item and use everything I collected. But alas… the stars were not aligned for me.

My Tamer had 60 failstacks. That’s a pretty good stack to roll a TET for since you get a 14% chance at getting a successful enchantment. So I took my TRI kutum, did a quick prayer, spun around my chair once, and tapped “enhance.” The bar slowly filled; the excitement built. “This is it!” I thought to myself, totally sure I was going to do this in one click.

“Enhancement Failed”

Imagine my surprise when the heavy thud of the “failed enchantment“ sound played. My item downgraded to DUO, and the item suffered a few points of semi-permanent durability damage.

“It’s fine!” I told myself. It was my first attempt, and I had just started. I put my item in the storage and swapped to my Ninja, who had 20 failstacks accrued. That’s considered pretty low for a TRI attempt, but there was roughly an 18% chance it would proc, so I liked the odds. “PING!” The ring of a successful enhance worked. Awesome. I’m back at TRI. I switched back to my tamer, who now had about 63 or so failstacks and a slightly higher chance. This time I knew it was the time. I knew it was going to happen. I said a quick prayer, spun once around in my chair, and clicked “enhance.” As the bar filled, I thought of the possibilities: I would be able to kill so many enemies! I sat back, smiled, and waited for success.

“Enhancement Failed”

That success never came. It failed again. Frustrating as it was, I didn’t tilt. This time I switched to my Mystic. She had 30 failstacks. This would be an easy enchant! I had a one in four chance of success. Those are really good odds for a TRI. I was feeling impatient and confident. I clicked “skip enhance animation” to save on the theatrics and clicked enhance.

“Enhancement Failed”

She was very upset for failing that enchant.

“Wow,” I said to myself. Now I’m down to PRI. It’s fine. No harm, no foul. I can still recover. I transferred my item to my Shai, who had a very reasonable 15 failstacks and clicked enhance.

“Enhancement Failed”

It failed again! I was bent on at least getting this thing back to DUO on my Shai, and after tapping three more times, it finally got to DUO. Now it’s ready to go back to my Mystic. Since she failed a TRI attempt, she had like 33 failstacks, so the chances of getting TRI were even higher. I still felt confident, so I decided to skip the enchant animation, and praise the sun, she got it to TRI. All right! On to my third TET attempt. I go back to my Tamer, who now had about 65 failstacks. That’s a 15% chance of success. I gave it another shot and…

“Enhancement Failed”

Back to DUO it goes. This time I switched to my Warrior who had 20 failstacks and promptly failed. My item went back to PRI, but I felt it was fine. I clicked a few more times and managed to get back to DUO. By this point, the durability damage was piling up. I had to fix it with memory fragments to continue enchanting. To save memory fragments, I bought Artisan’s Memories from the cash shop. They quadruple the effectiveness of the memory fragment. Usually memory fragments repair one durability damage, but pair it with an Artisan’s Memory and it’ll repair four points. I also decided to stay on my Warrior. I used an Advice of Valks +30 on him for 30 failstacks. Which promptly failed.

This pretty much went on for the better part of an hour and a half.

In the end, because of the RNG, I managed to make only eight TET attempts in my session and did not get my TET. I managed to build my tamer’s failstack up to 80, and even at a 20% chance it still failed. I had to stop playing after that. I was getting really mad; a lot of silly things happened during this session. One of the more absurd things was when I tried to re-enchant the item back to TRI but ended up failing DUO so much I ended up with 40 failstacks on my Mystic. And that happened more than a few times on multiple characters. It was very demoralizing; it’s moments like these when a good attitude is all that keeps you sane.

This is a pretty high failstack. All of it was from failing TET.

I did end up losing quite a bit of money and almost expended all my Artisan Memories in the process but there’s a silver lining. For one, the failstacking does add up. I now have characters with pretty high failstacks, so I can now comfortably enhance anything to TRI without much drama. But once again, it all boils down to having a good attitude about the game. As frustrating as it was to lose so much money on this session, it’s best to stay positive – to not just believe that you’ll eventually get the item, but to know. And at least the whole session was dramatic!

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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