I love how in the Star Trek universe, the universal consensus on what makes for an ideal vacation spot is a planet that looks a lot like Miami Beach. I mean, there’s a whole galaxy out there, people! Is it possible that there are any slightly more exciting, exotic, and thrilling vacation destinations than Jimmy Buffet’s island paradise?
Junior Ensign JonBuck doesn’t think so: “In Star Trek Online, there’s only one good place for vacations: Risa!”
Yes, I want to go to the place where humanoid cats are getting jiggy with it while wearing a two-piece. Wait, I thought cats don’t like water?
As promised, Lahn Awakens in Black Desert
today, which is preeeeetty fast turn-around for a new class in the game.
“She can swiftly switch between awakening and pre-awakening skills enriching her already deadly arsenal of combos,” says Kakao. “With the new Soul Raid skill, she can pull an enemy towards her for close range carnage. As her dual blades are fitted with chains, she can pull off wide range AoE attacks when properly executed. Players can begin the Awakening Quest starting June 6th after regular maintenance if they have reached level 56 with their Lahn character.”
Naturally, there’s a new quest for those who embark on awakening today, as well as a week-long experience boost event. I’m sorry, but it’s called Fever Time. There are also gobs more combat and crowd control changes that will be sure to send the community into uproar once again.
Incidentally, Kakao is touting 8.5M global registered users of the buy-to-play; the PR still lists the console and mobile editions for release later this year.
If eastern MMORPGs have taught us anything, it’s that if you see a woman step onto a battlefield wearing nothing more than functional lingerie and carrying some massive instrument of death, perhaps you give that encounter a pass. Go home and tell your family that you love them, maybe go see a movie. It’s just not going to end well for you if you stick around.
The fearsome Lahn might not be upgrading her outfit but she is getting ready to experience an upgrade to her functionality. Pearl Abyss is showing off the upcoming “awakening” for Black Desert’s Lahn. While the character class currently uses a crescent pendulum, presumably purchased on sale at Target, once she’s awakened she’ll upgrade to crimson glaives.
These glaives will come with all sorts of new skills, such as furor, deadly dance, tailspin, soul raid, and bloody stride. When the update goes live tomorrow, players can unlock Lahn’s improved weapon by going on her awakening quest.
Frustration and rage is bubbling over
on the Black Desert
forums, where players are venting about the ongoing issues of botting and hacks – and Kakao’s purported failure to address these problems and punish the game’s abusers.
“Can’t speak for the new speed hacks, but I know for a fact that Kakao do not care about people using bots/hacks in this game purely because these people also spend money in the cash shops,” wrote one player. “The ban waves are usually for the worst offenders only whilst the majority remain free.”
Of particular consternation among the community are the so-called “Hystria hackers” who have been using speed hacks to farm great amounts of gold. “This is affecting everyone when hackers are freely buying up all the rare resources in market and preordering at insane prices,” another poster noted.
Want to see what a Black Desert hack looks like? Players have been pointing to the following clips, so give them a look after the break.
Bluehole has been rolling out plenty of Ascent: Infinite Realm teasers over the last couple of weeks. Today’s concept art reveal features armor for the Mystics (crowd-control DPSers), Elementalists (ice and fire mages) and Warlords (heavy-plate tanks – obviously, when you meet one of these ladies, aim for the inexplicably exposed leg artery, duh). Classes aren’t gender-locked, by the way.
“One reappearing question since the first A:IR announcement has been the query if all classes can be played as male and female characters. The answer has always been ‘Yes’ and today we are able to back this up with concept art for the Mystic and Warlord class.”
We first learned the game was coming westward – indeed, with a western focus – in November of last year, when Kakao announced it was acting as the western publisher for Bluehole and the studios took the veil off what was formerly codenamed Project M. Both companies seem to have high hopes for the RVR steampunk-fantasy open-world MMORPG; Bluehole has talked about meeting the desire for AAA MMORPGs in the west, while Kakao, which also publishes Black Desert in the west for Pearl Abyss, sees BDO and A:IR as the gateway to successful international development.
Lahn was already live in Black Desert
, but when the game returns from its extended maintenance today, she’ll be reunited with her absolute skills. Kakao is also ushering in two new events today and tomorrow: the Lauren Family Gift
event, in which players complete challenges to collect coins, and the Valencia Hunt-a-thon.
“Defeat each of Giant Mountain Goat, Giant Lioness, and Giant Lion with [Hunting] Matchlock during the event period and get the great rewards as your trophies! Participation Rewards are given out to all adventurers who participate in this event and the Special Rewards will be given out to the selected participants who get lucky from a draw.”
Meanwhile, Pearl Abyss’ promised PvP (and PvE too) balancing changes continue, despite the cries of doom on the forums and Reddit. This week’s leg of the rollout nerfs experience for negative Karma players, removes crowd control effects from defense-effect skills in PvE, adjusts some Awakening skills to not apply crowd control effects in PvP, and creates a fixed time schedule for world boss spawning. PvP will also be disabled for 15 minutes after a world boss appears. (No, people aren’t happy about this.)
Earlier in May, Neowiz clarified that the western version of Bless Online, like Black Desert, would eschew player-to-player trading, sticking instead to just an auction hall. It brought up all the old arguments over whether or not this is a good thing for online worlds.
Those in favor of kicking personal trading to the curb claim that it helps the studio crack down on goldsellers and spammers. Those opposed say it definitely doesn’t and that even if it did, the place of those goldsellers will just be taken up by the studio’s own cash shop anyway, such that the net effect on the economy is negligible.
My own line in the sand is clear: I side with those who say even if it does cut down on goldselling and spam, it’s never worth the loss to the fidelity of the game world and player community. MMORPGs have already been stripped of so much of what made them unique; I hate to see even more paved over just for the convenience of the customer service team employed to clean up chat, and I reserve a special set of side-eyes for all the studios “saving” us from goldsellers just so they themselves can corner that market.
Where do you stand? How important is person-to-person trading in an MMORPG to you?
What do you get when you ask MMO players with bulging folders of screenshots to pick their very, very best to show off? An absolutely amazing array of visual delights, that’s what.
Zyrusticae kicks off our look at the MOP community’s best-of-the-best screenshots with this view of what I think is Blade and Soul: “Just one? Really? Just the one? Boy, you really know what to say to induce absolute decision-making paralysis in me, don’t you? Well, after much deliberation, I just realized that it had to be this one. There is no other shot that gets my attention as much as this one does. The absurdly saturated, bright blue color palette in contrast with the autumn colors… yes, it does my heart good.”
Hope you took last week to roll up your Lahn character in Black Desert
because today, you can actually tote her out into the world and kick some butt
. (The customization contest, note, still runs another week.) Today’s patch further tweaks transportation routes, world and server chat, level-up challenges, and the Black Spirit rage skills.
Starting tomorrow, however, the game will see a rash of new attendance rewards. Black Desert’s login bonuses work such that you claim them in order: If you log in on day 1 and 2, you’ll get the rewards for day 1 and 2, but if you miss day 3, you’ll get the reward for day 3 on day 4. You’ll pick you can grab everything if you log in every single day from tomorrow to June 27th. If you miss a day, you can actually make it up by playing extra on the weekend (rather than just logging in and logging back out), which is a nice touch most MMOs don’t offer.
The highlight item, of course, comes on day 28, when you can pick up an adorable penguin minipet.
Lahn isn’t live in Black Desert
today, but she’s the next best thing: pre-customizable. When she officially launches next week, she’ll be BDO’s
16th class, though she’s the first to use the Noble Sword and Crescent Pendulum weapon. And players can dive in and roll one up right now.
“All players who create their Lahn class before regular maintenance on May 23rd will receive the following rewards: Horse Flute (7D), Item Collection Increase Scroll x3, Gold Bar 100G,” Kakao notes. There are even more rewards for those who sign up for the newsletter. If you’re really great at tinkering around in the character creator, you can even try your hand at the Lahn customization contest for even more chances at sweet, sweet loot.
Don’t care about Lahn? You might care about the latest round of class balancing changes coming in today’s update as more crowd control, evasion, and skill tweaks flow into the game as part of Pearl Abyss’ huge overhaul.
Pearl Abyss’ financial report for the first quarter of 2018 is good news for both the Black Desert franchise and the company. PA, which went public last year, recorded a hefty increase in revenues and profits, thanks largely to the release of Black Desert Mobile in South Korea. The report mentions the console release still slated for this summer, the continuing PvP revamp, and plans for two new characters and “Ramones battle field”. The company is also still working on two new games: MMOFPS Project K and casual mobile MMO Project V.
The investor documents for the previous fiscal year on the whole tout the expansion of the franchise around the globe and into new markets, particularly the mobile sector. North America and Europe continue to dominate sales of the original Black Desert MMORPG in particular, accounting for 56% of the game’s sales (contrast that with NCsoft’s regional report yesterday).
During the call, the executives also noted that Black Desert Mobile is expected to roll out to Taiwan and then South East Asia by fall. Don’t get too excited, though; the game won’t reach western shores until next year.
Here’s an event that doesn’t get celebrated much in MMORPGs: Mother’s Day. Oh sure, the devs will send out Tweets, but we don’t often see actual in-game events. Black Desert
, however, has an event for everything, and this week it’s kicking off the Thank You For All Your Love event
, in which you’ll be helping Santo Manzi get a batch of flowers off to his mom, in exchange for experience and chocolate.
Today’s patch notes also come with a lengthy explanation about changes to the Arsha PvP server in light of the game’s ongoing balance changes (defense effects are being heavily revised today). “We have decided to change the PvP system in the Arsha server to be the same as those in the other servers,” Kakao says. “You will no longer be able to activate Down Guard by pressing Shift while your character is down in the Arsha server. Like in the other servers, debuff will now be applied continuously only up to 2 times.” The studio promises “special features suitable for a PvP excusive server at a later date.”
Finally, the Western servers are preparing for the arrival of Lahn, the new playable class landing on May 23rd, though you’ll be able to pre-create a Lahn of your very own starting next week on May 16th.
Yesterday’s Black Desert
patch apparently caught some backlash from the community, particularly in regard to the crowd control changes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Pearl Abyss team has now responded to the feedback on Kakao’s forums
with even more balancing plans for the future.
“We want to provide a more fair and fun PvP environment for our Adventurers,” PA explains. “Therefore, we want to decrease class imbalance by adjusting crowd control effects (Freezing, Knockdown, Grapple, Knockback, etc.) and defense effects (Super Armor, Invincibility, Frontal Guard, etc.).” To counter this particular design creep, Black Spirit’s Rage Absorption effects will change for all classes and only the first hit of skills will trigger debuff effects.
That last bit in particular contributed to “class imbalance and favoritism to certain classes with successive crowd control skills,” hence the fix. “This will pave the way to giving you a fairer chance against debuffs in PvP. However, if the general rules of evasion are kept the same we think that efficiency of evasion will skyrocket, and we will have no choice but to change it as well. From now on attack damage only will be affected by evasion stats, and debuff effects will only be affected by debuff resistance effects.”