Desert Oasis: Why Black Desert Online is my favorite MMO


It’s crazy how fast two years go by, but it’s how long I’ve been running this column. I’ve interviewed the lead producer Jaehee Kim, provided a sneak preview to popular (and profitable) content, and showed some love to the game’s beautiful server chat. Heck, I even pushed to give it the 2020 MMO of the year award and threw a hissy fit when I didn’t get what I wanted.

But despite my enthusiasm for the game, I don’t think I’ve ever talked abut why I love this game so much. So for this week’s edition of Desert Oasis, I dive into something more personal: why Black Desert Online is my favorite MMORPG.

It fits in with my lifestyle

When my wife and I were still dating, we were in our 20s and had a whole lot of time on our hands. Being Final Fantasy fans, we gravitated towards FFXIVThe longwinded story was fine for us back then; we didn’t have much money yet. We had the time, and it was a good way to save money.

But as we moved forward, getting married, starting our careers, buying homes, and now raising a child, we don’t have much time, and when a gaming session ends up being just one cutscene (that might put us to sleep since we’re so dang tired) and walking from one NPC to the next, we slowly fell away from the game.

And yet FFXIV is my wife’s perfect MMORPG; anything else to her is a downgrade. I’m pretty sure we’ll pick up the game again, but it won’t be anytime soon. Maybe not until my kid can use a controller (and be top DPS in a PUG too).

The sunsets are still very relaxing

So when I picked up BDO, she saw that as a pretty huge downgrade. But I had a very specific thing in mind: a sexy game with a largely ignorable story, and leveling up through killing mobs. Lots and lots and lots and lots of mobs.

What made it even better was that I could fit the game in very neatly in a busy week. The game gives scrolls that increase experience gain and food items that strengthen the player character for a set amount of time, usually an hour, and that’s the perfect metric for keeping track of time. And the scrolls count down only while I’m logged in. So if I pop an hour scroll, but suddenly have to visit my sister-in-law because I forgot that it was her birthday, I don’t lose anything. I can just log off.

Compare that to a dungeon run in a game like World of Warcraft or the upcoming Swords of Legends where I have to be present the entire time or face a penalty. BDO is just much more respectful of my time, and I can still make meaningful progress.

The community

I wasn’t around for Barrens chat. But from the way people talk about it, it sounded like a blast. BDO’s chat system is pretty much that. Aside from the guild chat, say chat, and team chat, BDO features server chat and world chat. For server chat, any message sent will be seen by all players on the server shards. So if someone pops off on Valencia 3, players who are on Valencia 1, 2, 4, and 5 will all see it. It costs energy, which regenerates one point every few minutes (although personally I never run out of energy, even when I’m participating in a conversation actively).

I think this has to be my favorite thing about BDO. It’s always lively and entertaining. It’s also actually helpful (at least when I’m on!). Sometimes I just sit there and answer player questions or provide advice whenever I can. It’s fun. Sure, there’s going to be the occasional thing that’ll get people riled up, but that just adds to the flavor of each server.

Got 50 cents’ worth of BDO’s premium currency and need to say something to literally everyone in the game? Then buy a megaphone from the cash shop and send your message to all your adoring fans! The fun thing about the world chat is that it costs money. So if people are spamming their latest victory over a guild, or flexing their PEN items, it costs money. Just the fact that someone had to pull out a credit card to say something dumb with full knowledge that they’re wasting their money is in-and-of itself hilarious.

And there’s some real comedy gold too. One time, a player posted the entire first chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey on world chat. He’d post each paragraph just long enough for a person to read the paragraph before posting the next. It drowned out all the spamming, arguments, and guild recruitment messages. It was great. I was killing Blood Wolves while reading about Anastasia’s seductive lips biting a pencil and getting Christian Grey all bothered. It really “added some flavor” to the otherwise monotonous task of grinding mobs for three hours.

I also appreciate how many players are direct. I love it when people are direct with me. It’s easy to understand and gets to the core of the issues faster. And Black Desert Online’s local chatterboxes are pretty straightforward. And I just appreciate it. Makes life a ton easier. No guesswork.

It’s home

The last few reasons probably wouldn’t convince anyone to jump into the game unless they have the same exact taste as I do. But the final reason (and the inspiration for this article in the first place) is that I just feel glad to be logged on. It’s my home game, I know it so well, and simply logging onto the game brings me a modicum of comfort, even during challenging days in my life.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does this: I log into the game, put my character in a spot somewhere in town and just move on with my day. They don’t even have to be doing something productive. Just the very act of doing so makes my day complete. If I have two or three minutes to myself during the day, I sit on my chair and just hop around the town for no other reason than just do it. It’s a silly ritual (and you all do it, don’t lie), but for some reason it helps me stop and think. A very important skill. The fact that the game world is so beautiful helps a whole bunch too.

Duvencrune is my favorite town. Admit it. It’s a cute picture.

My main city is Duvencrune in Drieghan. Taking inspiration from the Himalayas and the cultures that grew from there, the city lies atop a mountain range. Just a little bit off the main road, players are treated to the sights of snow-capped mountains and a giant monolith that honors the heroes of the land. I don’t get philosophical or anything about it, but it’s still fun to look at and marvel at how far MMORPGs have come in terms of graphics.

But that’s not all. I’m just so familiar with Black Desert Online. While I still use auto travel often, I know how to get to grindspots without any assistance. I know where the important NPCs are in Velia, Heidel, Altinova, and Valencia. I know the little tricks that make my grinds a little more bearable and efficient. I’ve got a pretty good idea of the different “personalities” of each server. If I want to just chat with some pretty chill people, I play on the Valencia servers. If I want to be around RPers, I go on Calpheon 2.  If I want to hear some very intense political discourse, then I can just go on the Mediah servers and wait three seconds.

Black Desert Online is a niche game. Not everyone will like it. But for the players who call their games home, be it FFXIV, Shroud of the Avatar, or Meridian 59, it’s just so satisfying to have an online space to call your own.

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! Got questions or comments? Send him a message or drop by his Twitch channel to hang out while he’s streaming the game!

No posts to display


Please Login to comment
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:

Many thanks for this article. I am currently in the same spot as you have been with your wife.

I used to play WoW since 2005 (official release in Germany) together with my ex-wife (may she suffer from never ending diarrhea). WoW was our hobby, so we had the time to play it together nearly every day for a couple of hours.

Many things changed in my life since 2017. I got divorced, have a new girlfriend (who is not a gamer), got a new job with a lot more responsibilities and I have many other things to do in my spare time.

Playing MMOs as I did in the old days is no longer possible. I do not have a couple of hours available for games every evening. There might be some days where I cannot log in at all. Nevertheless I do love the genre and I am still looking for a MMO i may call “home” again. WoW is dead for me (15 years is enough) and even if I like FFXIV, I do not have the time to keep up every day.

So I am currently looking for a MMO which fits to my current “lifestyle” and BDO might be the thing :).

Thx for the articel, it’s always good to see that there are other in the same situation as I am.

Nana Hachi

I gave it a try a few years ago, but the stereotypes are so bad in this game, it is just too much. Male Wizards are old men, female wizards are little girls, all big warriors have to be male, all elven archers have to be female, etc.

This game lacks all imagination and is a freakish barbie world.


BDO isn’t for me (and that’s fine) but it was worth the box price to play with their awesome character creator.


I wanted to get into BDO but the entire game is ONLY grinding mobs, no thanks. Having that as an option is fine, but there is no alternative content in BDO.


There is though. You can go 100% Life Skills if you want and have fun with that.


After trying the game 4 or 5 times I’ve realized that it just isn’t a game for me. Too many things were red flags for me. But I did want to comment that I really enjoyed the article and I miss having that type of relationship with a game.

Josh Norman

This is one of the worst MMOs, balance is none existent and grinding is absolutely absurd.

Dankey Kang

It’s bad in the way that it tricks you into thinking it’s a good game for ages, only for you to get to the end and realise that there is nothing other than the most garbage gameplay-loop ever conceived in a modern game.

It’s like the ultimate bait-and-switch.

Damon Anderson
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Damon Anderson

I’ve been enjoying BDO quite a bit for a little over a month now, I had sort of burnout for a few days, took a break and am having fun with it again. I’ve got lots more things to learn so thanks for the post and previous posts have been informative.

Damon Anderson
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Damon Anderson

Also, thanks for the coupon code I believe it was from a post last week or so, it took a bit to figure out how to apply it but I was able to and it worked, thanks again.


I enjoyed Black Desert until Pearl Abyss finally forced Kakao to accept p2w costume melting back in 2018. While the game has always pushed unpleasant design features and sold cash shop solutions when the only way to realistically advance your gear is buy costumes and melt them via the cash shop, buy other costumes from others who did on the auction house, or buy an item likely enhanced using costumes from the cash shop it crosses the line for me. At that point it’s improbable to advance without the cash shop and my interest nose dived.

I think it’s an amazing game over all, and I loved their dedication to non-traditional play styles. It’s still by far the best crafting game/systems I’ve seen in any MMO out there. If they hadn’t ruined it by making progression so heavily tied to the cash shop and/or stole $20 from me and telling me too bad I’d probably still have my account going.


Excellent post Carlo. Makes me want to check out the game again. With all the new classes that have come out since I last played it (2016) to try out, I think I will!

IronSalamander8 .

I gave this one a try as a couple friends liked it, but I found it so grindy and so early, and so many little annoyances, that I gave up. None of them are playing it anymore either.

I do like the character creator though, it was excellent.