Desert Oasis: Fun things to do in Black Desert in 2020

Still my favorite pose in this entire game!
With the new decade upon us, I think it’s a good time to do some goal-setting for the upcoming decade. I might be biased here in the Desert Oasis column, but I really want to emphasize that it’s a great time to start playing Black Desert. It didn’t win Massively’s most improved MMO of 2019 for no reason. The new player experience has never been better, and there’s so many ways to catch up now.

But what exactly is there to do? The short answer is a lot.

Grind to level 63

A year and a half ago, getting to level 62 was a massive undertaking. With the release of the Drieghan came the introduction of the Chenga tome. The tome gives 30% more combat experience for questing. It’s an account item, so it can be gotten only once, (Edit: it turns out you only get one per character. So if for some reason it’s destroyed, players will have to do the quests on another character to get it again. Thank’s Jarette!) It’s such a valuable tool for players eager to reach the max level through quests. On top of that, sidequests in both Valencia and Kamasylvia rewarded level 60 players a whole percentage point toward level 61. Considering how each percentage point can take a few hours, it’s a massive timesaver. About five hours’ worth of questing without the tome was enough to get my level from 60 to 61.

The road to 63 is going to take a lot longer. At level 61, a single percentage can take hours without any buffs, so it can take a few weeks just to get to 62. Past that is an even longer grind. Players who enjoyed the days of a long grind in past MMOs will be right at home, and the grind is long enough for players to really learn how to play their class. Plus, that’s plenty of time to do the other things this game offers. A good place to start is to…

Explore, gain knowledge, and connect nodes

It’s an MMORPG. Of course exploring the world is part of the game! As players meet NPCs and discover new locations, they gain energy points. Get as many of these as possible. Players will use them to gather, do some active fishing, cook, and many other things. These points are account-bound too, so once players get a reasonable amount, they won’t have to do it again with their other characters.

Along with energy are contribution points. Players gain these points from questing mainly, but submitting certain by-products from cooking can also help level them up. There are daily quests players can do to gain them as well. These points are used to buy houses and connect nodes. More on the nodes later, but once again, the more contribution points, the better.

Exploring and gaining knowledge forms the foundation of all the other things players can do in this game, including one of the best ways to make money…

Shai are great classes for leveling up lifeskills. Give her a gun and she’ll learn how to hunt.


Players who’d rather build their wealth through gathering and crafting can try their hand at doing lifeskills. Pretty much anything that doesn’t involve killing monsters through swords and sorcery fall in this category. There’s a lot to do. There’s bartering, gathering, alchemy, cooking, processing, training, fishing, hunting, trading, literal farming, and sailing. With so much available, leveling up each of them can take a lot of time.

Each lifeskill level has a title and a number. All lifeskills start at beginner 1. After beginner 10, it grows to apprentice 1. After apprentice 10, there’s skilled. Then players grow to professional. Further on, they grow to artisan. The penultimate title is master with 30 lifeskill levels. Finally, there’s guru, with 50 levels total.

It’s going to take a considerable amount of time to max this out, but the payoffs for lifeskilling comes pretty quickly, so it’s a great project to start on. The wealth is well worth the effort too. Of course, what good is wealth when you can’t show it off? So why not…

Build a boat!

The recent release of The Great Expedition added bartering. Players deliver shipments from island to island and are rewarded sea coins for their trouble. They’re traded for ship upgrades and various items that sell well on the marketplace. Of course, you’re going to need a boat. Players can easily get a starter boat from Velia, but the better boats need to be built.

Far to west is the town of Epheria, where players can build the Epheria sailboats and frigates. Building a boat takes a lot of time, resources, and energy. But being able to sail the high seas on a powerful boat makes the trouble worth it. Of course, you won’t be doing it alone. You have to set up a workshop to actually get it built. That’s where you’ll need to…

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

Start your worker empire!

One of the most rewarding things players can start in BDO is creating their worker empire. Players can hire workers to do a variety of things, from gathering materials, processing raw materials, to building items the worker is one of the best ways to make money without doing anything. Getting this set up takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.

The worker empire is where all those contribution points come in handy. The world map is dotted with nodes. There are different types, the most important ones are the cities of Heidel, Velia, Valencia, Grana, Duvencrune, and Altinova. The other nodes vary from small towns, isolated outposts, or points of interest. Discovering them is the first part, that’s free. Connecting the nodes to the towns cost points though, and nodes further out need to be connected to a prior node in order to connect it to one of the towns. For example, in order to connect to the Northern Heidel quarry, players need to connect the Northern Gaurd camp first, and connect the quarry to the camp. With enough contribution points, players can connect every node to every town.

Once nodes are connected to a main town, players can hire workers in those towns and send them out to collect materials from connected nodes or have them work on a workshop to build stuff, like a boat. Just writing about it sounds like a lengthy venture, and you better believe it! But of all the things I’ve mentioned, this worker empire is one of the best ways to get rich. Have your workers collect the materials, process them, and sell it in the marketplace.

Once again, a BDO player’s main mantra is “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” None of these will happen in a day. Have a plan, take breaks, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. Who knows, maybe around this time next year, you’ll have all this and more!

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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Try it on mobile. I sort of randomly installed it having no real intention of playing it. Turns out its the MMO and the mobile game I didn’t know I wanted but now can’t get enough of.

I’ve tried a bunch of other games on mobile and never really got much out of them other than a bit of fun I had with random stuff like Game Dev Tycoon. I never could get used to the clunky controls in most RPG ports, and the ones that were made for mobile just didn’t hold my interest at all.

A big part of the reason I love BDM is the auto-play and auto-path features, which make me feel like I can actually play effectively without fighting the touch screen controls all the time. I especially love that auto-play can be used in five-man “raids” because it completely removes the anxiety of going into them and dragging down a group with my poor play.

I know a lot of people are going to say exactly the opposite and despise the mobile version or think it is ruined by auto-play, which arguably reduces it to being little more than a glorified clicker with 3D graphics. But honestly I don’t even care about it being “dumbed down.” It’s just fun, and I’ve played it more avidly in the last couple weeks than I’ve played any new MMO in a really long time.

I tried the game on PC and console a couple of times and it just didn’t hook me. But they really hit it out of the park with the mobile port, both in terms of bringing a lovely and fiendishly complex actual MMO to the platform, and in making it an actual pleasure to play on a phone. The sleep mode and black spirit mode AFK / offline grinding modes also are brilliant.

I’m really astonished at how great they did with this port, and it’s turned my view on mobile gaming around. Even made me seriously consider getting a tablet just to have a nicer screen to play on at home. If they actually ported the mobile version to Switch, it would be the best damn thing ever, and seems like for a Switch release it would be a much better fit for handheld than downscaling the regular game further.

If you hate mobile gaming in general, or if you have tried BDO on other platforms and it didn’t grab you, give BDM a try. You might hate it. But it may surprise you. It sure surprised me.

Toy Clown

I’ve recently returned to playing again and I’m loving the changes and new content. The first thing I did was learn about bartering. I love that there’s another way to earn silver other than grinding.

When the Epheria Sailboat was first introduced, it took me about 6 months of gathering and building to make it. It’s much easier to get them now. You’re given the Barteli Sailboat through a quest (or three? Not sure why I’m sitting on 3 of them!) and you can upgrade it into an Epheria Sailboat. From there, you can upgrade the ships into higher versions instead of having to build each one, which is pretty nifty.

I have a bit of jealousy for the players leveling new characters now as they are hugely benefiting from the added combat experience on some quests. Sadly, I was a bit of a completionist and my witch that I stopped playing when Lahn came out was lvl 58, but had done all content up to Valencia, and my Lahn had done every quest up to Star’s End that my gear would allow me to do, so I can’t use questing to get that coveted 61 on the Lahn and I’m trying to find quests I’ve missed on my Witch currently. How I wish cash shop items were tradeable. If they were, I’d just re-start the characters over.

Jarette Domongatt

I register just to make a correction.

With the release of the Drieghan came the introduction of the Chenga tome. The tome gives 30% more combat experience for questing. It’s an account item, so it can be gotten only once, but it’s such a valuable tool for players eager to reach the max level through quests.

This is False.
Chenga tome is per-character basis quest.
Guide here (BDO-SEA Forum (Official))

Since you mentioned Shai, here’s how to SHAI for PVE Grinding (Official BDO-SEA Forum).

In addition, for new players. Try Bartering.
This is the current BIS-Lifeskill at this moment.
While you’re new to the game and want to have a boat, there is a daily quest in Veila that gives you the Bartali Sailboat.
That is enough for you to start with Bartering and then purchase Epheria Sailboat later on for 300-500m (Depending on your Market Value).

In recent update in KR Server, Imperial Delivery (cooking) got a nerf.


I don’t think you learn how to play your class while grinding, I’d even think you unlearn it because you tend to focus on the few hard-hitting AoE/Splash-Damage skills you have to optimize your farming. Rote repetition finally will work its way into your muscle memory. If you really want to learn how to play your class in BDO you need to go to the dueling spot in Heidel e.g., in duels you need to know the ins and outs of your class(and other classes) to really excel.


Good article.

I highly don’t recommend building your own boat from scratch, however. There are usually a few Ship License that you can get from the marketplace for reasonably cheaper than the time it will take to get all of that. Especially a Frigate, which while it comes in at 1.2bn the jade coral ingots alone are enough to drive a person insane. There’s still plenty of work to be done (in case you feel you’re skipping the experience) as there’s lots of upgrades to the boats now afterwords that you will have to work for.