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Black Desert Online

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Game Name:




Time Spent: 

2427 hours

Do you recommend?

Absolutely not. Never. Stay away, if you care for your sanity, money, time and electricity bill.

What you rate the game: (1 to 10)


Initial Thoughts:

I started out, playing this game with a bunch of friends. The world offers a deep lore, gameplay similar to singleplayer games like Skyrim, a huge and active community. And enough content for hundreds, if not, thousands of hours.

Gameplay and Story:

The gameplay is pretty damn hard to explain. I am doing my best to explain it well.. But it has awesome and diverse combat with a challenging, yet fun, learning curve. Lots of opportunities to grind and tons of fun stuff to do, like cooking, farming, brewing potions, etc!
You start out with your character having his/her memories lost. The only thing guiding you at this point, is a cute little black cloud with red eyes and a pleasant voice (Not fully voiced, just sound effects)
Why you have no memories is a mystery. But you'll have to learn quickly to defend yourself from monsters, if you want to survive in this world.

Guided by the "black spirit", which only you can see, your first objectives are to get stronger, followed by slowly increasing the need for you to learn as much, as you can, about your surroundings.
This is one of the major mechanics in this game. Knowledge. There's many ways to get knowledge, and it's only limited by the actual content ingame. Fighting monsters will provide you with a chance of learning about it, which provides you with heightened stats against it. The "rank"(quality) of your knowledge is key to what you get. It's absolutely random, what rank you'll get. It goes like this: C (You can see the monsters health), B (You have more defense against this monster), A (You deal more damage), A+ (You deal a lot more damage), S (You get more experience and have a higher chance at dropping rare loot)

Gathering knowledge is fast at first, but it gets exponentially harder with each area, just like advancing in the story, leveling, etc. (Corrected by the current highest level of content.)
You'll notice really quickly, that a lot of your actions take up energy. Think of this like your energy in a mobile game. You have a limited amount of actions, you can do, before you have to wait for it to get refilled/pay for it to get refilled.
These actions include Farming, Mining, Collecting herbs, Fishing, Felling trees, Cooking, Alchemy.... etc. You get the drift. There's a MASSIVE amount of things to do there.
You can actually raise your maximum energy by a bunch of things. Do quests and getting knowledge. Luckily, there's a bunch of daily quests, which you can do every day for a couple of months (10 minutes each time) until you reach a softlock on how much you can progress doing that.
The other way, knowledge, is a little bit more straight forward. Get all knowledge in one collection, and get a bunch of energy points. For the sake of explaining it, let's say, you get 2 points of energy, if you get knowledge on all Goblin types of one area. So you have to kill for instance about 500 goblins total to get knowledge on each of them. (It's a game of chance, so this number can be much lower, or much higher)

Okay so. Getting your energy up is a lot like leveling up. Just in another way. But here's the thing. This is only scratching the surface of it all.
There's a third major resource. Contribution points. These, you get relatively easily by completing quests and turning in stuff, you have made. Most of which, you can automize.
Contribution points allow you to "buy an area". Each area on the map is called a node. Think of nodes as areas, which have something to offer. A town would be a node. A village would be a node, even a busy crossway could. All nodes are connected via road or sea. Here an example
You have 10 CP (Not kidding, this is the official term), which you'll invest in a town and an adjacent farm. The town costs 3, the farm costs 2, you are left with 5. You'll invest 2 in your private home (which you can actually decorate however you want!!!!) 1 point you invest in lodging (for your workers) and 2 points, you have to invest into a subnode. The actual field, your workers will be tending to.
Next step would be to get some workers (Slaves, really), which you can buy very cheap. What quality they are depends on luck. You'll be shown 3 workers. If you don't like them, you can reroll by using energy. (Better workers = faster work and more resources) Once every 10 levels (max of 30), you'll have a chance for them to upgrade to the next better quality level (resetting them to level 1, making them really really slow again)
In any case... You'll send the workers to the farm, and they'll bring all the potatoes back to the town. In town, you'll have a cooking station inside your house. There, you can make for instance beer out of potatoes, water and yeast. Beer is actually the only pay, your workers will ever receive. If a worker has worked for instance 10 times on the farm, he might be exhausted and needs beer to replenish his energy back to 10.

Making beer is only one of MANY things, you can do. This kind of system is very scalable, and you might end up with 100 workers across 10 cities, working on 10 different things. Including armor, weapons, ships, potions and crates of goods, which you can sell at a high price.

By now you should understand, how much of a market simulator this really is.
Why would you do all this? Money.
Without money, it's really hard to progress. Want a better weapon? Well, it is available on the market, but it costs a fortune.

The upgrade system for weapons, armor and accessories is pretty straight forward.
By playing the game, you get blackstones. You need blackstones to upgrade your stuff.
But with each level of upgrade, it gets harder. Once it gets hard enough, your weapon/accessory/armor will get permanent damage. Permanent damage can be repaired, though. By sacrificing a base item, you can get roughly 10% max durability back. (The amount, you'll lose for a failed upgrade)
And with every failed upgrade, you'll increase your failstack (Which actually increases the likelihood for you to have a successful upgrade a fair bit)
In the end, this is a MAJOR resource drain. And you'll have to do complicated math to have the best chances. OR... You'll just buy an upgraded version on the market. (Lower levels, easy. Higher levels, impossible)
So one way or another, this is something, you NEED to do, to progress, as combat gets EXTREMELY unpleasant without high tier equipment.

All these gameplay elements tie into a very solid game. That is... if it weren't for all the limitations.
EVERYTHING you do ends in some way or another in a bottleneck. In farming alone, these look like "I have not enough workers. My workers are too low grade and don't produce enough. I can't keep up with all the cooking. I need to refresh my workers AT LEAST every 8 hours with new beer for them to keep going. This town doesn't have enough lodging for my needed amount of workers"
All of these bottlenecks can be made easier with the Cash shop! Yes. While it's never DIRECTLY pay to win, the bonuses are so high, it's tempting.
Want a better worker? Buy him on the cash shop. Want to cook things faster? Buy an outfit on the cash shop! You don't have enough CP to buy the necessary lodging for all your workers? Buy more lodging on the cash shop!!!! Your storage is full and the workers stopped working, until you have more free space? BUY MORE STORAGE ON THE CASH SHOP!!!!!

The game promises you to be free, once you have paid for the base game. No subscription needed. But the thing is... there is a pack on the cash shop, which has literally these effects:
Replenish energy 2 times as fast.
Have a LOT more inventory space and a higher weight limit.
Have a LOT more storage in EVERY town!
ALL XP gains +10%
Buy/upgrade nodes from afar (Otherwise, you have to physically travel to every point yourself on a MASSIVE map, just to buy more lodging/storage in a town)
Customize your character endlessly (Face, body, hair, colors of your clothing)
You get a bigger cut of the money, if you sell stuff on the market (Less "taxes")
30 days worth of this "value pack" costs 15$
By playing the early game, you get a whole bunch of these packs for free, only to get you used to the benefits.

Additionally, the cash shop provides you with things like:
Pets, which will pick up all your loot. (Low level will pick up one item every 4 seconds. You can have up to 3 pets as of last time, I played. If you combine 2 pets of the same kind, you'll have a CHANCE for it to turn out higher level. Picking up stuff every 3 seconds, or even faster.. Each pet 10$)
Clothing to automatically craft stuff, while you are gone (Still online, but tabbed out) until you run out of resources (10-20$)
Clothing to give you a bonus to cooking, taming horses, wood cutting, fishing etc. (Each its own costume, costing around 10-20$)
Clothing, that'll hide your name above your head and makes it hard to click you while in combat. (I don't recall the price, but same range... Many people considered this already pay to win in PVP)

Recent new addition:
Get stronger! Pay money to have your attack be higher. (Yep. 100% P2W...)


The game has an amazingly deep lore and a great story
The map is giant and there's very much to see
The combat is SUPER fun! Like. Little games have a similarly fun combat system.
You'll NEVER run out of stuff to do. There's always something to unlock. Nobody has unlocked everything. Just too much content.
Many of the more tedious or time consuming things can run with the game in the background. Such as fishing (idle money generation)
Little incentive for people to engage in PVP with you, as the Karma system is relentless. People will actually get killed by town guards, if their karma is too low. As well as many other penalties.


Everything in this game is designed to make pay money. And money, you will pay. Nobody, I have met, was immune. Neither was I. And I was convinced to be immune, only to lose hundreds on this.
The incentive to keep your PC turned on and the game running 24/7/365 is high. (As I mentioned. idle money, crafting, etc.)
Grinding anything at higher levels is a chore. Seriously. I have wasted around 100 hours alone on cutting down trees. Manually. Thousands. And my ship was still never finished.
It's not uncommon for some clans to gang up on you and make your life miserable. (Kill you, whenever you leave a town, despite the Karma loss)

Final Thoughts:

Just... Don't. You can have the greatest time for a bunch of months. Hell, maybe years. But the game is designed to make you addicted to games of chance.
It's a shame. This game is one of the best games, I have ever played. If not.. THE BEST GAME... Had it only not controlled my life for 6 months. Planning my sleep schedule around it. Whenever I had some spare money, I'd buy stupid shit on the cash shop, which would make my life a little easier.

In hindsight, I don't REALLY regret playing this game, as it offers amazing opportunities for whole clans to play and have fun together. Be it world bosses, hunting a rare whale on the ocean, goof around and pose for photos...

But I will not go back to this game. It's an addiction. And I'm not even the kind of person to get addicted easily.
Learn from my mistake

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On 1/3/2019 at 8:28 AM, ScottNi said:

Very cool, I'll make sure to check this out!

I remember seeing a couple videos and articles saying that this game is pay to win so if you seriously hate that I would recommend to not try this game

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As stated in my review, it IS pay to win. I did a lot of research on the gravity of it.
Anything, that has pay to win in its design like THIS should be illegal.
It manipulates you into both gambling and extremely unhealthy spending habits.

If any of you thinks, EA is bad for the lootboxes.. This game is 100 times worse.
You can progress in the game just fine, though. It only takes you exponentially longer.
And once you paid for a couple of things to make your life easier, it's almost impossible to go back.

Everyone, I played with has either spent not a single penny, or a small fortune. Nothing inbetween.

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