Desert Oasis: How I’m progressing through Black Desert without spending a dime

    
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I’ve been playing Black Desert for quite a while, and in that time I’ve made a bit of cash and built up a stable of characters I’m pretty happy with. I also spent a couple dollars here and there over the years. And why not, right? It’s one of my favorite MMOs, I write a column about it, and despite what people say, you don’t really have to spend an arm and a leg to get a single character at a reasonable level and strength. While dedicated players might get to the point where they’ll spend some cash, it’s not the only option to succeed in this game.

Granted, “success” is such a subjective term in this game. It could mean becoming the best lifeskiller in the game or being the top dog in any of the game’s PvP modes. Or it could mean having the power to grind in the highest levels monster zones. Whatever the case, it’s gotten much easier to get a character powerful enough to grind in most of the zones, especially in recent months.

Even that outfit was free. I love the Maewha’s battle pose.

My position on whether or not this game is pay-to-win has or not has changed over time, too. When I first penned this column, I felt the game was pretty pay-to-win. But now, over a year later, the game is more of a “pay-for-convenience” these days. Those who still declare from the rooftops that this game is just out there to get your money probably hasn’t been looking at how the most recent events have actually been helping players progress without spending a dime.

Black Desert has a lot of events. Like, a lot. There are times when so many events are going on at once that a person might end up spending an entire gaming session just doing the events. There has never been a time when an event is not happening. It could be a fishing event, a special item dropping from mobs, or finding pieces to make a lootbox filled with high-level gear and memory fragments. Heck, it could be all of those at once. Of course, there’s also login events found in most MMOs. This game gives out a lot of stuff regularly, and not just to new or returning accounts.

You’ll often hear the occasional player yell “dice!” in the chat. That refers to the black spirit board game; you can roll three times a day for even more free stuff.

When Pearl Abyss gave out free copies a few months back, I copped one with the sole intention of just leveling the account up casually without spending money. I rolled a Maehwa, the female samurai class in the game. And before I even set out on my adventure, I just had to collect on all the little gifts this game gave me.

As soon as you start, you’ll get a lot of neat stuff. And depending on what events are going on at the moment some times are better than others to start. I picked a pretty good time: It was during Christmas season, so Black Desert had an event that awarded players with free cash shop items simply for logging in. And they weren’t just a bunch of black stones, either. The perks included a premium pack, inventory slots, a pet, and a bunch of nice items to get me started. There was also a pretty easy quest that got me a free boss armor, which is usually one of the best pieces of equipment to obtain.

Back when I first started in 2018, I totally ignored the main quest and just started killing grass beetles and weasels. But given the new questline and adjustments to the awards given, I highly recommend doing the quests. Playing through the story got me two free pets, a sword that’s as powerful as a +15 blue weapon, and sturdy-enough armor to ensure that I can reasonably grind mobs in Mediah.

I got all this from just events. I’m probably going to sound like a brat here, but they should give me more free weight!

So at this point, I had already amassed quite a bit off goods and had about 50 million silver, which is a pretty reasonable amount for a new account that I did nothing but quests on. The original plan was to just keep doing quests, but oh man. I did not expect just how generous the game was going to be.

What gave me the largest boost so far was from the fourth anniversary event. And boy, Pearl Abyss was not stingy on the free stuff. I got more premium packs, storage and market butlers/maids, a free outfit, and a really good pet. It didn’t stop there. I got a full set of TRI level “sealed” boss weapons. They can’t be enhanced past TRI, but they also come out of the box at that level too. That pretty much saves me millions of silver in enchanting costs. This event’s running from now until June 2020, so there’s still a whole lot of time to get those items. These are massive money savers.

This most recent event gave me a massive boost, and my character is now almost powerful enough to farm the most profitable grindspots in the game including nagas, bandits, fogans, and mushrooms. (I have a secret one that I like going to, but if I told you where I go, I might have to start killing or getting killed!) Doing the quests in the event will get players sealed boss armors too – it’s the same concept as the weapons. So now I’ve got an account with four pets and a single character with a full arsenal of TRI weapons and armor, capable of grinding some of the best spots in the game.

For many players, this is considered “mid-game” in the character’s progression. Recently, it looks to me that Pearl Abyss made it a priority to get players to this point, probably because at that point, players know enough about the game to know how to spend their hard earned cash, gaming time, or both. It would seem reasonable to make some of those convenience purchases if players are inclined to, but simply grinding out those locations and doing the quests will get characters strong enough to get into the late game zones. I don’t plan on spending money on this second account, but as of right now, I’m happy with the progress, and it’s only been about 45 hours too.

It’s actually really surprising at how much progress I’ve made with this account. I don’t even play it every day. At this point, I expect things to slow down a bit as I slowly inch towards 61. And at this point, I don’t actually know what I need to spend money on. It seriously does seem that players can get into the endgame zones without spending a dime, and that’s quite impressive. If you’re interested in getting in BDO right now, you should. I don’t know when another event like this is going to happen again, but if you want to start strong, this is the time to do it.

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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Craz1kz
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Craz1kz

Hey man, it was a cool article and i enjoyed. Not sure i agree 100 percent with you, but i think its a valid point.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

The OP might be progressing through the game without spending money, but he clearly is not “winning” by any reasonable definition.

In fact, this statement alone (but there are several more) clearly show how far gamers expectations have fallen, aka drunk the Kool-Aid.

“It seriously does seem that players can get into the endgame zones without spending a dime, and that’s quite impressive. ”

“Seems like” you can get into end game zones without spending money….?

whoo hoo, let’s fking celebrate, here take one of these party hats and noise makers…and have a piece of cake too….

Tell you what, spend $40 on FO76 Wastelanders (a game this site loves to slag on) and you truly can get to its endgame.

You will obtain the best performing gear, compete competitively in PVP, kill its highest bosses, talk to npcs even, and explore every single area, zone or piece of content without ever spending another dime.

Oh yeah, you’ll easily make 4-5K atoms just from playing the game to level 35 or so, which can be spent on cosmetics or few utility items like the refrigerator or repair kits.

Heck, the expansion was totally free, for both of my accounts. (The 2nd purchased for $15 at a Gamestop sale)

As Earl Pitts used to say (really dating myself here)

Wake up Amurica!

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Jarette Domongatt

Why does your comment went from BDO to something else entirely different game?

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Bruno Brito

It also went from BDO to FO76.

Not really an upgrade.

Reader
Hikari Kenzaki

There are so many things wrong with this post that all you can really say is “Welcome to the site.”

Reader
Anthony Gray

There really isn’t anything wrong with his post, you’re just not willing to take any of it in.

Reader
Anthony Gray

Like, how do you not understand what he’s talking about here? He’s not comparing the two games on gameplay or graphics. He’s comparing accessibility to experience all there is of the content you paid for.

The premise of this article is kind of a joke, if you’re willing to think about it. You’re being sold on the idea that you can get through Black Desert without having to spend a penny more than what you spent on the game purchase.

Why does this have to even be stated, is the real question. Shouldn’t you be able to get to the end of a game without needing to buy anything extra? If not, why is that not the norm, and why are you okay with that?

Craz1kz
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Craz1kz

Hey man, i see you know a lot about this game. Can you help me finding a Berserker JIN BON WON combinations guide? Would mean the world to me.

Craz1kz
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Craz1kz

:(

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ROmina Barraco

Hey Craz1kz have you tried the official discord or gamepedia? I found this one also, https://mmogoldprice.com/news/berserker-jin-bon-won-combinations is this what you are searching for?

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Ironwu

Interesting.

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Paragon Lost

Very confused when someone says something like “it’s one of my favorite mmorpgs”, but then doesn’t want to toss them a coin every month to support them making new content or just continuing to be there to play.

Craz1kz
Reader
Craz1kz

Yep. That’s kind of a thing lately with some gamers.

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wratts

I mean, if “win” means victory in Node War and sieges, then the game is absolutely P2W, and I say that as a big fan who plays daily.

The PVP is extremely gear vertical, highly RNG based progression, and has direct cash shop impact in your ability to mitigate the downside of RNG. There are absolutely entire guilds in the game that are at the peak of gear progression, and hence PVP viability, based almost purely on wallet power.

There’s a degree of skill in the PVP, but to be honest it’s not that high. Between class imbalance an gear progression, the character with the better build beats the player with better skill. Guilds that are better coordinated beat guilds that aren’t, but discord is free and all you need is shot callers who know what they’re doing and players who can follow directions. Neither of those are a given, but that’s kind of table stakes for a competitive game

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Jarette Domongatt

If you want to P2W by purchasing outfits and sell it for silvers then you are investing your money on wrong things.
You’ll probably spend more than 1000$ just to get a single PEN Gear.

The real P2W here is to hire pilots.

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wratts

If I were going to P2W it, without piloting, I’d be buying costumes to turn in to crons to make PEN gear.

Reader
3dom

All players got ~15$ worth furniture today as a gift themed “stay at home”. The devs are great at giving away paid content – although some other devs are even better (EVE/CCP, Cryptic in Star Trek Online and Neverwinter).

Also I do imperial cooking and barter which requires no equipment (outside of buying the ship for 400M and then upgrading it for 1 billion) so there are no opportunities for p2w. Except for cosmetic ship skins maybe.

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silverlock

whether or not a game is Pay to win is dependent on what your definition of winning is for that game.

So for me Black Desert is definitely pay to win because unless you have a subscription you can’t compete in the market place. I really felt they lied to me when they called the game buy to play but then later slipped in the “Optional” subscription which slammed a 25% market penalty on everyone who didn’t have it.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Do you mean value packs? The ones the game throws at you constantly?

I don’t play nearly as much as I did the first 2 years, but I’ve still never paid cash for one of those in 4 years.

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silverlock

I don’t know what their value packs are most likely that came after I stopped playing.

I mean the monthly subscription that they offer for the game which removes the Auction house 25% penalty.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Okay, here is the thing. I’ve been playing BDO since launch day. There is no subscription. Never has been. Which is what I’m trying to figure out what you’re referring to?

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silverlock

Ok yes they do call the “optional” subscription a value pack. I’m not sure if that’s a name change or if I had simply forgotten how they marketed it.

Reader
Natalyia

You pay the market tax when you collect the money. You can buy a 24hr Value Pack (which isn’t a subscription, but is what removes the tax) every couple weeks with the loyalty points they give you for logging in. You also get 7-day or 20-day ones from events and the like occasionally.

If you’re selling stuff directly, do it when that’s live. If you’re listing something that won’t sell right away, wait for the next time you have one active. Or save them for when you have a big ticket item to unload.

It’s not a tax on your purchases, only on your sales, so you can buy things whenever you care to without worrying about it.

The marketplace isn’t exactly an unfettered realm of economic PvP, either. Prices can fluctuate, but only within limits. You can’t really “play the market” in BDO – it’s a means to sell things you don’t want or need. And for that? Doing it in bulk every couple weeks isn’t a real hardship.