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Black Desert launches a cross-regional ‘Global Lab’ test server

So many games have test servers of one form or another that we seldom even need to spell out the acronym PTS – and now one more MMORPG is moving itself to that pile. Black Desert has opened up its “Global Lab,” and it actually reminds me more of something like Ultima Online’s multi-region free-for-all temporary servers, as it’ll include boosts and other tweaks for characters being played there. Nope, you can’t transfer existing characters there.

“We are launching the first Global Lab server to help improve the stability of new updates on the live servers,” Kakao says. “Through the new server we will open game content in development earlier so that we can test them as well. Thus the Global Lab server will already have characters pre-created depending on the test purpose and some game money will be provided so that you can test the characters fully. The servers settings may also be changed so that you can gain items and raise your character faster. Similarly, the Global Lab server may be reset or the service may be suspended at any time in order to analyze the feedback as quickly as possible so that we can apply the feedback as much as we can into live service.”

The test environment does require a separate client download, and apparently it won’t work for EU players, in spite of the fact that Kakao is located in the EU. Expect a reset every two weeks.

Source: Official site. Thanks, Arktouros!

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Black Desert has reopened its renovated waterpark for the summer

Bring your board shorts and your sunscreen because summer has arrived in Black Desert! Just kidding, it’s an MMO, so get your thongs and your bizarre animal-shaped floaties!

Yep, the Terrmian Waterpark is opening once again for the season in Kakao’s MMORPG, and yes, it’ll be a safe zone this year (so no ganking on the beach!). There’s new stuff this round; you’ll have until July 18th to pop giant clams, shoot coconut cannons, cliff-dive, explore the ghost ship, shoot at water balloons, try a jumping puzzle, test your strength, hunt for treasure, harpoon fishies, and tend the whales.

I love this job.

Kakao is also running its Mysteries of Summer event starting tomorrow; it’s pushing out new login rewards, the Katan awakening weapon, gear engraving, and yet another revision to accuracy effects and CC tweaks. “We once again apologize to all of our adventurers who have experienced difficulty, particularly for the Witch and Wizard. We will endeavor to show faster response to all of your concerns and reports,” says the studio.

Source: Patch notes, waterpark splash page (pun intended)

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Black Desert’s weekly update introduces soccer-themed event, guild crafting overhaul, and summer sales

Gooooaaaalllll! Yes, Black Desert is getting into the soccer hype season with its Golden Goal event starting tomorrow. Slay monsters, fish, and harvest to collect event balls and then turn them all in for a special golden ball, then exchange that for actually sweet prizes.

Today’s update also includes a hefty overhaul for guild crafting, accuracy tweaks, and UI adjustments.

And of course, Kakao is already gearing up for the sale season as Steam’s summer sale is rumored to begin tomorrow. Black Desert’sPearifect Summer” kicks off today and runs through the Fourth of July, with all kinds of goodies marked down to just a handful of pearls, a pet pack, an “awakening adventurer” pack, furniture, and an absolutely spectacular horse and buggy set.

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Black Desert has banned another batch of almost 600 speedhackers and botters

Good thing Black Desert kept that banhammer from the Hystria bans handy because it needed it again this week – in fact, it looks like it’s about to become a recurring party favor, as Kakao says it’s banned another 599 cheaters: 402 of them speedhacking, 197 of them botting.

“With the partial success of the ban wave last week, we’ve been able to streamline our processes to ensure we can gather and analyse data much faster to roll out more effective and more frequent waves. We’re still a long way from 100% but we’ve been able to catch a considerable number that evaded last weeks wave and we’ll continue to go after not only people that are actively using 3rd party software but also historic cheaters.”

If you’ve managed to be an upstanding player not subject to the bans, you may be interested in this week’s update, which adds NPC dating to the game, as well as our E3 interview with Pearl Abyss, in which we discuss the plausibility of a Switch port.

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Black Desert’s Lahn class awakens today as Kakao counts 8.5M registered players and bans 738 cheaters

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.

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Players rage over the bots and hacks still allegedly plaguing Black Desert

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.

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Ascent: Infinite Realm posts new armor concept art, promises no gender-locking for classes

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.

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Black Desert’s weekly patch continues PvP and class rebalance with Karma penalties and crowd control tweaks

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.)

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You can roll (but not play) Lahn in Black Desert today – there’s even a contest to enter

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.

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Black Desert begins Mother’s Day event, revamps defense, guts the Arsha PvP server, and teases Lahn

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.

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Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss has even more rebalancing plans for PvP, debuffs, and crowd control

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.”

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Ascent: Infinite Realm teases its world-building as it adjusts from beta feedback

Last year’s announcement that Kakao would be bringing the steampunk-flavored Ascent: Infinite Realm to the west was a much-needed shot of encouragement to MMO players who have been desperate for new titles. There was a good month or two in late 2017 when we were genuinely excited for this game as it showed off its trailer, talked about its lofty ambitions, and started Korean beta testing.

Then it kind of dropped off the map, and for the last four months, we’ve heard very little about this game. But now it’s back, baby, and things look like they’re progressing just fine. (True story: This author was just writing a “whatever happened to this game?” post when the official account sent out an update.)

The dev team said that the game is being “refined” following its initial Korean beta test. In the meanwhile, some new teasers and art will hopefully rekindle players’ interest. More previews are promised for upcoming weeks.

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Black Desert’s weekly patch adds new events, combat tweaks, and ent world boss as Kakao deletes guild forts to save them

Tree bosses are all the rage this spring in MMOs, and Black Desert’s got one too. Oh, did I say tree boss? I meant terrifying runic entish-behemoth from the deepest, darkest bowels of the earth.

“A new world boss Mirumok Destroyer Offin has been added” and will appear on regular servers on Fridays, Kakao says. “A world message will be shown notifying the appearance of Mirumok Destroyer Offin and the actual boss will come out 30 minutes after the message. After the world message of the appearance of Mirumok Destroyer Offin is displayed, it is not possible to interact with Offin using the Ancient Contract: Mirumok Watcher.” You’ll have to defeat him within 15 minutes of spawn or he’ll become even more powerful (womp, womp). And yes, there’s gobs of loot for everyone, with even more reserved for the top 30 finishers.

Today’s update also adds several events – this is Black Desert we’re talking about, after all – including “Time is Gold and Brings You Treasure” and “It’s Raining Enhancements.” The former begins tomorrow rather than today; the latter is intended as a catch-up mechanism for newer players.

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