I recently had the opportunity to play Black Desert Online in their second closed beta session for their upcoming Western release. Thank you Joe of Gadgets & Khajiits for providing me with a code! I hadn’t been interested in the game prior to trying it. In fact, my first impression of the game was negative. From what I had seen and heard about the game before I even played, I thought that the “boob jiggle” animation, gender locked classes, and revealing female outfits perpetuated sexism and objectified women. However, I tried the game, and I liked it a lot! None of that other stuff mattered anymore. Do not judge a book by its cover! Here’s what I thought about Black Desert Online after trying it out.
Before you choose the cosmetic features of your character, there are several classes to choose from. They are gender locked, so if you wanted to play a Warrior, for example, you must have a male character. However, I wanted a female character, so I looked through the different classes to see which I liked. I chose the Valkyrie class, because it was closest to what I liked playing in SWTOR, a melee class with a “sword.” A cool thing that the game has while you’re choosing a class is a preview video on the bottom right that lets you see what the class looks like in combat!
I had fun with the complex character creation. There are many options for colors, hair styles, and face types. Amongst those options, you could even choose parts of the face, hair or body, and customize it however you want. I’m terrible at designing faces, so I chose one of the default faces and just changed the mouth and eyes a bit.
When I got to customizing my character’s body, I did adjust her height to be a little shorter—like myself. And I know what my thoughts were prior to playing the game, but I gave my character the largest breast size. It’s not really that terrible or ridiculous, and the animation is actually impressive. You can preview your character in different outfits, including underwear, in which you can also customize things like muscle tone.
After I created my character, I started the game. It is extremely helpful in telling you how to play and what hotkeys to use. One of the first features that impressed me was being able to hit a hotkey and have your character auto-run to the current quest objective! It was convenient to be able to put your character in “auto-pilot” while you read some of the lore or looked through your inventory. There is also a journal that tracks what quests you’ve completed per day. The game also rewards you for logging in regularly, you can collect a prize, and also receive rewards for getting to certain levels. The first level you are rewarded for is level 20, which I did not get to.
I liked that the combat is enjoyable, and easy to learn. I think the game goes out of its way to show you how to play, not just with the combo videos and how to play your class, but showing you other hotkeys and shortcuts. I was only able to play for a few hours and got to level 14, but I heard the game becomes significantly more difficult after level 30. At that point, you should know how to play your class.
How the combat system works, for the Valkyrie at least, is that you have some “basic attacks” that you can do with the mouse, but you can create different combos if you press both the mouse buttons, the forward button, or utilize the other abilities that you have. At the point I got to in the game, I didn’t really need to use anything but the first combo they showed me to kill enemies, but I did try the extra abilities that I had for flavor. The first combo that they taught you is pretty easy, beginning with an ability in which you press both mouse buttons, then continue with the left mouse button and Forward (W). I can’t remember what the abilities are called, but it was fun and easy enough.
One disadvantage the game has is that there are no end-game group PvE content or anything like that. There is PvP, which starts at level 45, but I’m not really interested in that. The game is basically a huge open-world MMORPG.
I could see myself leveling, crafting, and playing the game mostly single-player. There were a few opportunities where I could defeat a monster in “co-op” mode (you summon them with scrolls), but I was able to ROFLstomp them alone. I’m guessing I would eventually need help from other players.
Black Desert Online will be buy-to-play (B2P), like The Elder Scrolls Online is now. There is a cash shop in which you can buy things like costumes and pets as well. There are three levels of preorder packages, the Traveler’s, Explorer’s, and Conquerer’s packages, which are $29.99, $49.99, and $99.99 USD respectively. They come with the game, plus guest passes and additional content, depending on which package you purchase. I genuinely enjoyed it, but I’ll have to think about it a little more before preordering or buying it after it comes out, which will be in the first quarter of this year. Obviously I want the best of the best for $99.99, but $29.99 is not bad at all to play and never have to pay again!
Have you tried Black Desert Online? What do you think? Are there any games that you want to suggest for me (currently playing Fallout 4 too, post to come later)?