Desert Oasis: Is Black Desert’s lore actually a time-travel narrative?


In the last edition of Desert Oasis, I wrote about an absolutely dismal week in Black Desert that ultimately ended with my taking a sabbatical from the game’s endless grind. But despite my break, I’m still playing the game at much more leisurely pace — stopping and smelling the roses, as they say.

But as I sniff around said roses, I can’t help but get a whiff of the mysterious. Without that single-minded focus on collecting as much loot as possible, I’ve had the time to take a look at the game world’s lore and overthink the heck out of it. And I think I’ve stumbled into something I can’t unsee: that much of Black Desert Online’s continent has fallen victim to a semi-permanent timeloop. And I think it may be the result of the black stones, the dark energy they exude, and (if you’ll permit me the tinfoil hat) the manipulations of an organization operating from the shadows.

So for this week’s Desert Oasis, I aim to expose the dark truth behind Black Desert’s world and the shadowing organization that controls it. Lets dive into the rabbit hole.

Those in the know are well aware of what’s under this rose garden.

The season servers and the Hashashin reveal that black stones can hold the power of time

Outside of their mechanical importance to season characters, the presence of time-filled black stones reveals an important aspect of blackstones: They can hold time itself. The time-filled black stones, I assume, are just ordinary black stones, but somehow they end up getting filled with time power, and it changes their properties. They’re useless to boss weapons but are essential in strengthening the Tuvala items. These weapons and armor are exclusively produced by the Crow Merchant’s Guild. This implies that at least one organization in the game knows how to harness that power. More on that later.

The Hashashin is deeply attuned to the desert sands. If anyone can unlock their time-bending potential, it’s him.

Those that follow the game’s lore know that the titular Black Desert got its name from the sand being composed of black stone particles. The Hashashin knows how to harness the power of the sand to manipulate space-time. As it was mentioned in this year’s Heidel Ball, he uses the sands to manipulate time. That’s right out of a dev’s mouth. So even without it filled to the brim with time-power, those with the proper abilities can use whatever small amount of time power is collected in the sands.

So at its most potent, the time filled black stones gain special properties still being researched. In their natural state, even a grain of black stone material has potential to manipulate time… but what happens when that power isn’t controlled by a specialist? What happens if too much of it is out in the world? 

The mobs we grind are actually stuck in an endless timeloop

Let’s look at Black Desert Online’s most plentiful resource: the monster mobs. Kill them and they come back within a handful of seconds. But they just come back, doing whatever they were doin at the time of death. On paper, that’s a mechanical requirement in a Korean MMO. It’s a source of silver and loot. But knowing what we know now, there may be a lore-related reason behind it.

The Manes are another example of those trapped in the endless cycle.

What do they have in common? The mobs have either been tainted with some kind of dark energy, live in an area that’s historically been in an area of dark energy, or both. Let’s look at Cron Castle in Serendia Balenos (Edit: I accidently mixed up the two regions, thank you for the correction Arduanatt!). It was the site of an incident that killed the Serendian Royal Family when King Bartali III tried to use a forbidden spell to gain unlimited power. It ended up blowing up the castle and filling the immediate area with dark energy. Aside from the immediate destruction, the lingering effects may have cursed the area with some kind of time loop that’s now trapped the current residents of the castle: deserters from Mediah’s army.

That’s just one example, but their story isn’t unique. Almost every hostile faction in the game has somehow been tainted with the dark energy the black stones exude. And it’s even worse for the mobs in the Black Desert itself. They’re just surrounded by the stuff, and now they’re trapped.

The Black Spirit protects us from this endless time loop

The black spirit is a total mystery, and we know that it’s not telling us everything. The Black Spirit wants to be our friend, kill mobs, and get stronger. The spirit may be fully aware how dark energy in high amounts can cause victims into a never ending groundhog day and protects us from its effects. I mean, our characters won’t get stronger otherwise.

The adventurer and the Black spirit also seem to have the ability to make minor impacts for those stuck in their loop. Mechanically, that’s just our character moving the story along. But in lore, it’s the ability to temporarily dispel the curse. While they can’t manipulate a permanent change, like completely ending the troll attack on Quint hill, they can nudge it along when they get involved.

But the Black Spirits abilities aren’t the only things that can circumvent this terrible curse. The Crow Merchant Guild might actually have a greater role in the game’s world more than just a simple trading company. They might be able to do what the Black Spirit can’t…

The Crow Merchant Guild has the ability to move the timeline forward

And here we reach the deepest part of the rabbit hole. The Crow Merchant Guild is actually more than just what its members say they are. Players who’ve done the Crows Nest quest line learn about not only the mysterious guild but also its leader – someone our character has been working with for a very long time. (It even explains how that $46 tent works.)

Meet Tuvala the Panther. He is associated with the Crow Merchant’s guild.

It also reveals that this guild shouldn’t be messed with. Its members have their hands on every kingdom in the game, have access to teleportation, and seem to have eyes and ears in every inch of the world. Every region that opens up shows that they’re already an established presence in the region.

What’s more, they have de-facto control of the time-filled black stones. Nobody is fighting over these stones. Everyone is fighting over the Black Stones, but when time-filled black stones come up, people just bat an eye as they just throw it at them. This guild knows something. And I’m convinced that they’re using those time stones to actually move the world forward. Imagine that power: an organization that can literally move the history of the world forward. It’s a wild conspiracy, I tell you!

Anyway, there’s a knock on my door and some men in black from Pearl Abyss need to have a word with me or something. So I’ll end it here, but I am 100% convinced this is true, y’all. Was it all an accident, though? I don’t know, but if it is one that is one happy accident.

Of course, there’s the total possibility that it’s not an accident. Pearl Abyss has improved its storytelling since the game first came out, and if it managed to pivot the story into something like this, that would be awesome. It provides an explanation for something MMOs seldom explore: the lore of the grind. And as someone who has a very low suspension of disbelief, I really like having an explanation for why that giant monster I killed 48 seconds ago is back, using the same tactics to attack me, as if it never learned its lesson from the last 90 times I’ve killed it.

I honestly feel as if I’ve uncovered some hidden treasure here. Am I right, or is my tinfoil hat too tight? Say your piece on the comments!

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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I could never really get into the lore for BD so I can’t say much one way or another but if this is even half true it’s fascinating and on EVE online terms or long term lore story building. And that’s a compliment.


Oh man Carlo, just wait until Chaos gets discussed on PC. It’s time travel as for example you can spend 3 minutes there and outside of it, 3 weeks pass. That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg too. There’s also the prophecy involving the Black Sun, Illezra, and Hadum where it mentions time comes to a complete stop. Also to add to your tinfoil, ever notice how time stopped when the Black Spirit first transformed and again at Glish? Hmm…

Also my lore nerd side has to correct you, Cron Castle is in Balenos :p

Hikari Kenzaki

Have you finished the story up through Kama2 and Val2?

There is certainly something going on there.


I’ll be honest I kinda lost interest in the lore Black Desert when playing and learned that the Wizard and Witch characters are actually space aliens that traveled to the world of Black Desert using portals and their elemental energies.

Bruno Brito

Ideas that only the top tier best hentai could come up with.


I’m glad you can make some sense of it. I could barely get into it as it was so much word/plot salad from a buncha NPC’s.