I would be lying if I told you that I stayed up late this weekend just so I could hear the executive producer Jae-Hee Kim talk about Black Desert’s balance changes at Heidel Ball. As interesting as it was to listen to, none of that was about the new class, now identified as the the Hashashin, and that’s among the highlights from the Ball that I want to dig into today.
The HashashinThe preview material for the new character was intriguing. A man in black with a curved sword. A curved sword. Speculation was initially all over the place with this guy. Some people thought it might be a male Sorceress, a Sorcerer. Others thought he might actually be a quarter-staff user with mechanical similarities to the tamer. Others even speculated it to be a male version of the Lahn. Only time would tell. The one thing I knew is that he’s clearly Valencian. Valencia borrows its aesthetic from the medieval middle-eastern regions, and there was no doubt about his origins.
Since I’d been gathering up lore bits for this column, I remembered visiting a spot in Valencia that might have some clues. I speculated that this class was somehow related to Rabam and her order, The Awakened. Visiting her locations shows a few members of her order training with long staffs and showing incredible speed and agility, sand billowing in the air as they move. This led me to believe that this character will indeed have the quarterstaff as an awakening and is somehow tied to this order of warriors.
Still, I was surprised at how much Pearl Abyss downplayed the Hashashin reveal. The studio just showed a slide and a very short preview of his abilities. The only action we saw of him was a short clip of him stabbing his (curved) sword into the ground, generating three black whirlwinds outwards in what looked like an AoE.
One of the main features of the class will be to use the sands to “imbue the memory of a specific place in a sandstorm and [return there if he’s not too far].” Mechanically, it sounds as if this class can easily reposition himself, even in the air. Lore-wise, I’m not sure if there’s time travel associated with that power, but since he can “imbue memory,” that might be time travel.” I don’t know, but I have played through the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Trilogy, and this guy’s already checking off all the inspiration boxes from those games.
It was satisfying to know I was at least right about the class’ home. And after hearing about the abilities, I’m really excited to see him in action. The Hashashin is a kind of demon slayer who manipulates the Valencian sands to achieve his combat prowess. Remember, the Black Desert got its name because of the sand’s composition: extremely tiny grains of black crystals.
He also has various flavor passives. He’ll have faster movespeed in the desert and has higher resistance to getting the desert debuffs. It doesn’t sound like anything that’s too broken. It just sounds like a neat little addition to accentuate that he’s from Valencia. Personally, I really like how Valencia’s now represented with one of the classes.
The character is slated for release in July, with the awakening coming out in August.
Seasonal servers and hard mode servers
Another intriguing reveal was the seasonal and hard mode servers. Way back in January, I entertained the idea of giving players the opportunity to fight harder versions of the pre-level 55 areas in the game. And oh my goodness, they’re doing it! I’m super hyped for these. This one just makes so much sense. It will spread out the players even more and just add variety to the grind. Extra kudos to PA if it adds a cave near Velia filled with with grass beetles with an AP requirement of 260. (Please do this PA; your players would love how in tune you are to the inside jokes.)
So far, the plan is to have a server where dark forces have begun to spread further inland towards Calpheon, Serendia, and Balenos, empowering the beasts there. It’s a great plan. Hopefully the devs won’t have just one server. It might be wise to start with two at first and add more as the need arises.
Something I didn’t know players were asking for was seasonal servers. This one sounds super neat to me. Basically, everyone will start at level one with a fresh economy. At the end of the season the player’s account will get some rewards based on his progress. Since I came in two years after launch, it’ll be interesting to see everyone on even terms, fighting over spots and partying up.
All these additions are very exciting. I think this is exactly what the game needs for the overall health of the game. With Olvia servers supporting the newer players, the main servers providing a steady place of growth, and these new server types adding a bit of extra challenge, Black Desert is clearly making that push to support as many different playstyles as possible.
Look forward to the first season starting next Wednesday, June 10th.
There’s quite a few PvP tweaks for players to look forward to. For example, PA alluded to new changes in the node-wars system, saying that they’ve read the feedback about the high barrier of entry (hopefully the team does something about that too). I myself rarely do nodewars. The problem with node wars for me has always been the hard-locked and inconvenient time slot. For someone like me, who lives in California, that’s dinner time. That’s a special time I spend with my wife, and as much as I love the game and my guild, that is one of those non-negotiable things. Hopefully, making more accessible times is somewhere on the to-do list.
Aside from that, they talked about region versus region node wars. Now this is something I’d love to do. In this format, players from the different regions will fight it out for domination of who is the strongest server in the world. From the sounds of it, though, it might just be reserved for the most powerful players, so I don’t want to get too excited for it.
There’s also The Siege of Thornwood. As a hybrid PvEvP raid type of mission, players will have to compete with players and ferocious monsters. This one has been in the works for a while now; nothing new was really revealed. It’ll be cool experiment. The cynic in me tells me that this might end up like their the Altar of Blood where nobody does it. But hopefully I’m wrong.
The bounty system
This was just briefly mentioned. Basically, if a player gets killed by another player out in the field, the victim can put a bounty on the slayer’s head. This is certainly going to be interesting in terms of emergent gameplay. But are the players really going to use it as intended? While the idea itself seems pretty sound, I can think of myriad ways this thing can be abused, and I seriously hope this isn’t something that could just be done for free.
Hopefully the cash prize needs to be provided by the person issuing the bounty because this to me sounds like it’s way more biased toward the person getting killed. On the other hand, perma-red players can get a kick out of this system since players would be coming to them rather than aimlessly travelling the desert looking for a potential target.
With the O’dyllita on its way to live servers soon, we set our sights to new places we can visit. Some of the places mentioned include the high, snowing mountains south of Valencia. Also the homeland of the guardian. Up to the north of Valencia is the fabled “land of demons” where the Hashashin carries out his missions. And there’s talk of adding the far away land of Haso: the homeland of the Ninja, Kunoichi, Lahn, Tamer, Maehwa, Musa, Striker, and Mystic. (Actually, now that I list that out, I realize that for a place we can’t visit, we have an awful lot of characters from that area.) We can expect the snowy mountain region later this year, during the winter. The other places are still a twinkle in PA’s eye, but it’s good to hear that those regions are in the works.
We’ve got so much to look forward to, and it’s a really great time to be a Black Desert Online player. It’s been fun to watch this game grow over the years. And in just the two years I’ve played, so many improvements have come to play. And at the end of the day, we all have something to look forward to.