First things first: I got sucked into the game’s combat again. Especially because I gained a few more levels, which opened up a few more skills for me to use, which opened up a new combo path for me to learn and play with. This one actually took a bit of muscle memory time to get down, but it feels like an even better single-target series of buttons than the other combo I had discovered. It also had the added benefit of knocking the foe up into the air, so most of the time I end up killing the target before they can even land a shot. It feels like a particularly useful combo when facing a big boss monster, but then again I assume that those monsters don’t get knocked up into the air too easily. Maybe someday I’ll be able to see.
Before I knew it, several hours had wasted away and I had to remember that I was being told to learn how to cook. But there weren’t any quests that led me to a cooking trainer. I started to look around in-game for something I missed, some sort of UI element that maybe I had forgotten about, and that’s when I remembered I had a toothy black cloud for a friend.
The Black Spirit has his own quests in the mobile version. Surely, he has some in the full version too, yes? Yes, he does. But they didn’t guide me to anything about cooking, they guided me to fishing! This was a quicksand trap, y’all. There are few things I love in video gaming and MMO gaming more than fishing, and I was ready to follow the path and cast a line.
Once I figured out just what sort of steps I was supposed to take to get my fishing rod, anyway.
Another number of hours disappeared as I learned how to fish as my inventory began to fill up with bunches of starter fishes from the nearby ocean. Then the Black Spirit guided me to the ability to dry fish. This was almost like cooking, right? And hey, it means the fishes I was catching would stay in my inventory longer, apparently! And then the Black Spirit led me along to a chef who led me to another NPC who led me back to the chef…
I was getting distracted, clearly. So I did a bit of research. Turns out, apparently, I need to buy a homestead and buy a cooking utensil station in order to cook. But I didn’t have enough money in order to get a little place to set that up. All these fights and rewards I was getting and I was sure I would have had enough silver saved up to get something resembling even a basic little house, but it looked like things were too lean.
So I salved my wounded soul the best way I knew. I picked a few more fights using my new combo and I fished some more. At least these things I figured out how to do.
It was at this point that I started to realize a couple of things. One, Black Desert has a whole lot more depth to it than I had first supposed. I haven’t even been able to really scratch the surface of what my character is capable of, let alone other mechanics like deeper life skills, or hiring workers, or whatever Node Wars freaking are or what passes as end game. It makes me extremely eager to blitz through these few levels and figure it out.
But that also leads to the second thing I realized: This game doesn’t really seem to onboard new players very well. At least to the deeper mechanics of things. The mobile version of the game, in comparison, has a much cleaner curve of layering on additional systems to make you feel self-sufficient, as well as has a bunch of UI elements reminding you of the ways you could improve and progress. Black Desert on PC, by comparison, feels very hands-off in its tutoring to me. I had to remember that the Black Spirit had quests. I had to remember that empowering gear is a thing. The longer I play this game, the more intriguing and confusing it is in equal measure, with more systems and things to do and none of them really well explained.
I see this game becoming something of a pet project of mine that I dip in to now and again as I stubbornly try to figure things out under my own power, but for the purposes of this column, our time in Black Desert is over. I’ll have some closing thoughts next week, but for now it’s about time for us to find some new pastures to pursue!
I’ve got a couple of different games in mind, and none of them, frankly, fit any sort of individual mold. These are just titles that I’ve got a passing curiosity about trying out and I’m sort of hoping that others who read this column will be intrigued to follow along and guide our steps. So, in no particular order, here’s the games I’m considering for March.
What game should we head towards in March? Choose My Adventure!
- Albion Online. Let's see how this sandbox treats you. (45%, 61 Votes)
- Kingdom Under Fire II. Brawl with an army! (19%, 26 Votes)
- Skyforge. Become as a god. Or soemthing. (36%, 50 Votes)
Total Voters: 137
As always, the voting for this round will wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 6th. In the meantime, I’m probably going to log in to Black Desert and do what I do best: fish and slap people with a needlessly deadly belt buckle.