Choose My Adventure: The juggling act of Black Desert Mobile’s many advancement systems


Last week’s edition of Choose My Adventure had me genuinely impressed by how much stuff I had to manage in Black Desert Mobile, so reason would stand that playing the game more this week would get me more acclimated to all of those balls in the air. Considering the voting public said I should ignore the extra stuff and just deal with leveling only, it was simple to do and allowed me to focus on the business of figuring out all of the advancements, trinkets, currencies, and other stuff being tossed at me.

Much of my experience this week hasn’t changed nor has it really soured. I still find this game to be extremely pretty, I still enjoy the heck out of combat, and I still feel like I’m making some generally good progress and am learning things well. I’m dropping a few of those balls in my juggling act – I can’t tell you how often the game yelled at me to check in on my Camp – but the meat of the game feels under my control.

Then again, I also am still getting used to the basics. For instance, I just discovered there’s a dodge roll button. Up to this point, I was simply facetanking all of the fights, relying on the automatic health potion drinking mechanic and effectively chugging my way to victory.

I also found out that, yes, this game does have an auto-play feature. It’s this teeny little button with the word “auto” at the bottom of my screen, which basically let my character stand in a group of imps and absolutely go ham on them. As one would expect, this was spectacularly boring, but in the interest of improving my knowledge against these imps (and getting some XP while I did my regular desk job), it was helpful.

Just when I thought I had the juggling act down, though, in comes another wrinkle with the whole Relic system, another layer to the character advancement parfait on top of basic gear, enhancing said gear, improving my skills with skill books, and feeding unwanted gear to my Black Spirit to get more CP. It’s all about that CP, baby, and it’s… kind of convoluted, if I’m completely honest.

Just because I’m getting a hang of all of these advancement systems doesn’t really mean that they’re compelling. This is all, effectively, stuff that can be done via mathematical algorithms handled by the game every time my character levels up and decides to put on a new piece of gear. Heck, you don’t even need gear, you could just have the gear grow in power with you. Admittedly, it’s perhaps not as exciting for most people, but then again, jamming Black Stones into a piece of gear or burning Skill Books for individual attacks by using overdesigned UI elements isn’t exactly interesting either.

The problem with the sensation of advancement in Black Desert Online, then, is one of busywork. Even a juggler has to stop throwing those balls in the air, or has to do some new tricks in order to keep the crowd engaged.

Perhaps these are all advancement systems that operate in service to the game’s cash shop. I still haven’t really taken a terribly deep dive into that, mostly because I have this niggling sensation that doing so will pour cold water on my enjoyment; cash shops often do. As of right now, my character’s leveling hasn’t run into the pay-for-convenience wall, but there’s always that sword of Damocles sensation overhead that it’s about to happen, which is not fun.

It’s also entirely possible that I’m overthinking all of this. Maybe this is just how BDO Mobile operates, granting you all of the trinkets and currencies you need to get through the storyline and get towards whatever counts as endgame in this title. I’m interested in finding out, I’ll contend, but mostly because I’m still finding all of this to be a pretty good time.

Yes, I have to admit that I’m enjoying myself for the most part. This is probably owing to the fact that this feels like the most fully-realized MMORPG that mobile gaming has seen. I’m one of those naysayers who assumed that mobile gaming has been far too throwaway to be considered “real” gaming, but then I pulled my head out of my ass and started to pay attention to what mobile games are capable of and the glut of mobile MMOs that are hitting the market. It’s impossible to ignore that, and it’s hard to deny that Black Desert Mobile can be a really good time.

But then, I’m curious about our other contender. When this month’s CMA started, the voting was so close between BDO Mobile and Villagers & Heroes that I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a peek at the latter and see what it has to offer. After all, if the race was that close, one has to assume that there are fans for both games that were hoping for some impressions, right? Was that arrogant of me to assume? I think that was arrogant of me to assume.

In any case, I feel like I’ve gotten the general gist of BDO Mobile without focusing down on my Valkyrie and getting her to the endgame to see if my worries are validated or not, so our Chosen Portable Adventure will not shift to Villagers and Heroes. At first glance, this is another game that looks to be a complete MMORPG gaming experience on mobile phones, but it also looks perhaps a bit too simplistic. Then again, I had a similar feeling about AQ3D and found there was more going on there than I had first assumed.

So, let’s see if first appearances really are deceiving or not, and let’s choose the class that I should take up as we check out V&H.

Which class should I pick in Villagers and Heroes?

  • Wizard. Spells and robes all day. (14%, 6 Votes)
  • Warrior. Because being a tank in a new game is safest. (9%, 4 Votes)
  • Hunter. Bows and arrows and stuff. (14%, 6 Votes)
  • Priest. Be a healer for a little while. (14%, 6 Votes)
  • Shaman. Because axes and shields, which are shamanic now I guess? (50%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 44

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As always, polling will wrap up this coming Friday, January 17th, at 1:00 p.m. EST. While the votes tally for the next leg in our mobile adventure, I’m going to get back to my juggling act and unlock more… stuff.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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