I’ve begun playing Black Desert Online (BDO) as of this last weekend. I have been waiting for the the EU/US release of BDO for quite a while, and then at release time had completely forgotten about it thanks to real life. But something this last Saturday sparked my memory, I think it was in the groggy haze of having just woken up and flipping through emails, and I got the game. Of course that didn’t go off without a hitch as the power went out for nearly an hour and half mid-download, but still it finally happened.
The first thing was to pick a class: Warrior, Ranger, Berserker, Sorceress, Valkyrie, Wizard/Witch, and Tamer. My typical play style for MMOs tends to be the slower more methodical classes like a mage, or as in the case of FFXI a Monk, Puppetmaster and Black Mage. The obvious choices for me were Sorceress or Wizard/Witch, neither of which happened. I would like to quickly comment that the classes are gender locked which I find to be a bit annoying, so I can’t be a female Warrior or male Tamer, but this was hardly a deal breaker.
And so I made my choice, Tamer. I really didn’t dig much into the class other than I knew it would have pets and…that was pretty much it. As it turns out the Tamer is pretty fast combat with little thinking time as it relies on agility to stay alive instead of damage mitigation like a Valkyrie class would. This made my initial play more difficult, but also more rewarding in the end. So the standard Tamer starts out something like the picture to the right. You get to choose your Horoscope, I went with Black Dragon because it was a dragon. The level of customization available for your character is ridiculous in BDO, every little facet can be adjusted right down to the space between your eyebrows or the tip of your nose, all independent of every other part of the body. It really lends itself to immersing you in customizing everything and spending a lot of play time just on this screen. I spent about an hour and fifteen minutes making my Tamer the way I wanted, and I could have easily spent another two hours on her, but I was anxious to play.
After it was all said and done this is where we ended up. Meet Osia Kyokura! Even though I hadn’t put in as much time as I would have liked to I was pretty happy with the end result. I now had Kyokura the Tamer and was ready to set out into Black Desert. The story is a little bit murky, as I believe you are accosted by a black spirit that inhabits your body, or is attached to you in some way. At any rate this little creature is quite persistent in the things it wants you to do, and yet it makes the initial joke of Humans always asking each other to do menial tasks. You’re then set about your first menial task, go talk to the big guy standing 5 feet away. The interaction with the npc’s is actually quite good. Each one of them has some sort of spoken dialogue even if it’s on a loop with just a couple of sentences, and the actual interaction with you and the npc takes place below in the text. A lot of the conversations are trivial in that they are your standard MMO fare and ask/tell you to go to such and such or so and so, and see what they know/want. But it helps progress your character and when the black spirit calls you for something the story line. While I’m still not entirely certain what is happening I find it interesting to be somewhat of the evil character, harboring the dark energy and all, instead of the hero. It’s a nice turn.
The black spirit does like to make you do stuff, a lot. It’s always around talking about this or that and prattling on about it’s teeth or some such. Even still it’s a fun way to move the story forward without everything being a fetch quest. They’re still kill quests and a few fetch quests, but given to you in a way that feels unique, like the black spirit taunting you that you killed those mobs but they were really weak and if they were stronger you wouldn’t do so well, then sending to fight something stronger. Aside from having you kill things, it likes to, well, have you kill bigger things. I’ve encountered two of what I would consider bosses, with the Goblin King below. I really feel like by this point I had become comfortable and efficient with the combat. I do like to setup a move set and stick with it, so there is some repetitiveness.
The combat system is incredibly fun, and while it incorporates aspects of many different attempted systems it does so in a way that is really refreshing. It is controller compatible, and I always play with a controller despite all the jabber that k&b is better, mostly because I use a k&b all day at work and it hurts my hands to try and play a game with them. The controller is nice for this reason, and because so many rpg’s I played growing up were jrpg’s and pretty much always used a controller. It did take me a while to get the hang of using the controller in a non-lockon combat system such as this, but once I did it became fun, fast paced but not to the point of confusion, and relatively easy to use. I do still use the k&b for a lot of menu stuff as a simulated mouse with an analog joystick just doesn’t cut it.
From here on in I intend to relate the exploits of Kyokura as she travels through the world of BDO, and continues to do things (read: kill things) for the black spirit and uncovers her own role in this tale. Hopefully the videos won’t bog things down too much.