Black Desert Online by Pearl Abyss Review

Is it Worth Playing Black Desert Online?

The King of Simulator Games

Black Desert Online, one of the most critiqued MMO after World of Warcraft & Final Fantasy 14.

Aside from sharing the same Buy to Play business model as the other two major players in the MMO industry. It does not have a Subscribe to play feature. Instead of subscribing, it has something called the Premium Status through Value Packs.

Just like in World of Warcraft, this can be obtained through virtual currency as opposed to buying it outright with real money.

As mentioned in the past, I played this with one of my boys SpaceGnome back during beta for a solid good year. Both reaching peak of 59 pushing 60s.

Black Desert has beautiful graphics, and amazing combat system, if you get use to/minus the desync and lag and a very very very vast ever-expanding world to explore.

The game is very very very grindy, a constant forever grind and heavily relied on Luck on all aspects, whether it comes to equipment, purchasing items on auction house or even pets, and one of the most negative comments towards this game is that money can actually buy luck.

Black Desert Online was first published by Kakao games, but as earlier late last month, Black Desert Online going self published back under it’s own developer; Pearl Abyss.

Despite going Self-Published, the game is still going as strong as ever, having a 24-hour peaking at 35,994 playing from the Steam Platform.

So, what does Fayie think, is the game really worth playing in 2021?

Is Black Desert Still Good?

Publisher

As we know, Pearl Abyss, who is also the developer has completely taken over the title. While this could be a great thing, it could also spell the end of Black Desert Online.

While there have been quite a few negative feedbacks on their support system being non-existent, Pearl Abyss has yet to show any signs of “slowing down” or “abandoning” the project as a whole. Despite a totally new PVE focus Black Desert Online game alike called Crimson Desert Online came up. I do believe, BDO still has what it takes to stay popular as it would most likely be the Lifeskillers & PVE players may end up migrating over while the PVP players may just go take a poke around to see what’s new.

Combat

The combat is very smooth, one of the best Action Combat MMORPG game I have played, and trust me, I played nearly every MMORPG that has been released. It’s one of the best ever. If we are not talking about the lag and desync that does happen at times, the combat isn’t just smooth, it also very fluid and feels like a real combo instead of random skills after each other.

However, due to being a Korean game, you can guess, its very grindy, monster heavy grind, which means, unless you love grinding, it will get very repetitive, as besides questing, lifeskilling (e.g Crafting), and PVP you are stuck monster grinding. There is no dungeons in Black Desert, it is a “one” open world game without instanced “zones”. However, there are still player-only or private zones within the game that can be triggered.

Early Game

Grind, grind grind

Black Desert Online is a full grind simulator style MMORPG. The grind never stops. Doesn’t matter what type of content you are looking forward to, whether it’s for PVE, PVP or for life skilling. You have to grind, essentially forever.

End Game

Here is where the fun begins, while there is no “requirement” level to be at, majority of the community would agree that level 60 is the average starting point of the game as it is nowadays relatively easy to reach that levels as opposed to what it was a few years back.

End game for PVE and PVP would be to max out all your Boss Gear gears to Pen and +20 enchant them.

While Life skills would be the same but for “life skills” gears in addition to getting GURU Rank for each speciality such as Cooking, Alchemy, Horse Training to name a few.

Customization

Character Customization

Black Desert character is near limitless, if you have the subscription “Value Packs”, you are entitled to free unimitated customization as long as the sub is active. Since this value pack is account based, this means your entire account will receive the benefits. It does not just limit itself towards character customization, this include a free full selection of weapon and gear dyes that you can select from, for free.

If one day I felt like holding a pink dagger on my ranger and the next I wanted a blue one, as long I got my value packs sub on, I can do it for free!

Build Customization

While the build customization does not have such a wide variety as POE2 or WoW. Black Desert Online does offer some alternatives for gearing. Where as skill point eventually would be fully maxed making the player able to use any skill they want at anytime. Recently, Black Desert Online added a specialization to class builds between Awakening and Succession. Which does add a bit more of a different variety to the game.

Steam Current Population
Steam Current Population

State of Game

Updates

As Pearl Abyss is now back in charge of Black Desert, we should continue to see updates and events pour in. Black Desert Online constantly have new class added to the game. Further, there is constantly always a weekly maintenance with bug fixes and extensive changelogs for the public to view. I am not talking about a changelog that says “some bug fix”. BDO goes into super detail on the changelog as if they were writing an 1000 word essay. You can 100% count on Pearl Abyss to continue to pump out content regularly for Black Desert online despite having rumors of them working on other titles such as Crimson Desert Online.

Events

Personally from what I have experienced in the past decade, Black Desert Online is one of those few games that constantly have some special event that does not feel pre-generated monthly. If you are worried about starting a brand new MMORPG but has been pretty much abandoned, you won’t need to worry if you are playing Black Desert Online. There are always in-game event activities such as Dice board or login event that happens regularly. They even do “Welcome back events” for everyone who took a break.

Cash Shop

F2P Friendly

Black Desert is one of the games I have spent quite a bit on, this game is by far F2P friendly, as a F2P player, you can 100% get somewhere, but you will probably never work your way becoming a ranker at all. For example, pets, are just more than a convenience item, it is nearly a must have for grinding, you don’t want to pick up every loot after a monster kill, pets will do that for you, having a higher tier and multiple pets will make sure you pick up everything without even worrying about it. This game not only have a very limited slots for a Free player, it is also weighted, and $ has weight too. You can only upgrade your max weight through free means by a % and even then, it is very costly and time-consuming. While paid players can easily quadruple and above your max weight for under a hundred dollars. Thus saying, you can 100% have fun being a free player, but you will be feel the pressure to charge a bit after awhile. While, the cash shop has everything, from items upgrade materials, outfits to pets, house decorations to mount outfits to quality of life items such as storage and inventory slots and character slots. There is a free player cash system called Loyalty, which you get daily and it does provide a very vast range of great items for anyone who doesn’t want to play.

Note: BDO has limits on some items, such as Weight, you can only buy so many per character, and other items is per account (which they call it “Family”).

Artwork

The artwork in this game is just amazing, the graphics even at medium and low are still stunning. A medieval fantasy style, gameplay. Even the fighting, combat and skills are just jaw-dropping gorgeous. You will not find another game that is this beautiful with one of the best action combat gameplay.

Is Black Desert Online Worth Playing

Fun

So… Is Black Desert Online fun to play? In my honest opinion, the one thing that really does take away the fun from Black Desert Online is the constant need to grind forever. If you stop, you loose that competitive edge instantly. While PVP is fun in Black Desert Online, but it isn’t like other traditional MMORPGs where you finish the grind, you can just continue to PVP, BDO just isn’t like that. If you have negative Karma, you may loose your EXP, enchants or even gems if you die. Being the highest level possible in PVP is a major factor for “accuracy” and “hit/miss rate”. Thus making BDO a forever grind.

All in all, Black Desert Online is worth playing majority of the audience, it does have quite a few bad elements to it, however, as for the market currently out there, it is still one of the best of the best. After all, once you really have hit that top-tier level range and where you have near to full Pen Boss gear set. This is the zone where you can be a little bit more lax on levelling and go have some real fun.