Black Desert Online Goes Farther Than Any Game Before It

Joshua Akers, FCHS Journalist

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Beautiful visuals, wondrous lands and seas, and a terrifyingly large open world are just a few of the amazing things you’ll find in the code of Pearl Abyss’ incredible multiplayer game Black Desert Online (BDO). BDO is an extremely addictive MMORG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) with bright and colorful scenery to match its fantasy-based setting. Officially released in North America on March 11, 2016, BDO had a very slow startup compared to its many previous beta releases across the world.

Starting in 2010, BDO was a large-scale project the likes of which no one had yet seen in the gaming world. To walk and sail from one end of the map to the other takes more than six hours of real time, making its humongous in-game map much bigger than any of the previous role-playing games of its decade. Having over 9.5 million diverse players in its worldwide playerbase, BDO has–unlike many MMOs–kept traction among the criticisms of the online community.

One factor of BDO’s success is that the player is utterly necessary to the world and nearly completely freed of restrictions. Whether you’re gathering materials from the wilderness, trading in the impressive marketplace, playing with your best friends, catching monster-sized fish from the lakes and rivers, farming an absurd amount of crops, or fighting hordes of monsters, BDO has something for you to be doing at almost any moment. 

On top of that, the in-game marketplace is completely based off of a player-generated economy and you can watch as the prices of certain valuable items rise and fall over time just like stocks do.

Player combat is also an important part of your game play; ven though you could spend an indefinite amount of your time farming or fishing, most of your game will be dedicated to slaying large monsters and even bigger bosses. The combat system is very free-form and accessible, involving a lot of player input and sensation. You can either memorize and utilize each character’s aggressive key-combos to use special skills, or you can simply map those skills to certain keys using BDOs intuitive and easy UI that the player has full freedom to change.

If all of that wasn’t enough to catch your attention, consider its character creation. Since everyone has their unique preferences, character creation is often seen as one of the core backbones to role-playing games like BDO. Fortunately, BDO doesn’t disappoint when it comes down to its linear, yet varied and personal character creation system.

Sure, it’s true that characters are restricted by gender-locked classes, but don’t be fooled by this small detail. Each of these classes have their own special movesets and skills for you to play around with and learn, and you should be able to spend hours upgrading those classes and skills to perfection. Some of BDO’s diverse playstyles and classes consist of Archer, Ranger, Wizard, Witch, Berserker, Guardian, Ninja, Kunoichi, Warrior, Valkyrie…the list goes on. With such a huge roster, BDO is guaranteed to have a character that fits you.

Next up are the graphics. BDO’s remastered graphics make a game that was started in 2010 look close to one of today’s more impressive AAA titles. With a great sense of flora and diverse-looking in-game environments, you may want to have a top-tier PC rig to acquire the greatest possible visuals you can. With such graphical potency, it’s incredible to think that BDO is such an old game.

However, even with all the game’s momentum, BDO does have some slight weaknesses. An older, less-impressive game engine has left the game with bouts of glitchy rendering here and there when you enter areas with high levels of flora or large cities, and the age of the engine does create limitations. Also, the cosmetic system is entirely based around microtransactions. This is unfortunate, especially since the game has lackluster loot drops and a less than varied amount of unique armor sets. 

Overall, BDO is one of the most underrated video game titles on the market and it doesn’t have nearly the respect it should. For gamers and developers alike, BDO is the example all MMORPG games should follow and continue to expand upon in the future.