The naked truth about Black Desert Onlines current state of affairs [Open Beta]
The administration of this website has found itself to be among the blessed few to have been given so far access to every and each testing phase of Black Desert Online, as well as, being in close contact with the Developers. This position of ours has allowed us to experience first hand the evolution of Black Desert Online and with the games’ release in Korea being imminent, we stay true to our original intentions as the global #1 hub for Black Desert Online and will proceed to reveal the current state of affairs of Black Desert Online by expressing our honest to god impression of the most recent Open Beta experience we have had.
In general, Black Desert Online has had good progress being made through all its Closed Beta Tests. From the initial honeymoon phase starting with CBT1 to the “stable” CBT2 and the eventual CBT3, we gradually saw various aspects of the original Sandbox Concept, as it was expressed by the Developers quite early on, be altered slowly shifting the center of gravity from a Sandbox to Themepark game.
There’s several flaws in key aspects of Black Desert Online, which either haven’t been adequately addressed until now or have become even worse.
To begin with, our (the western) Community is very concerned with the experience curve in the game. Even though levelling was according to early interviews supposed to last more or less the same as most new MMORPGs (meaning a few months) it actually now requires only a few days to reach the soft level cap of 50. From then on, the experience curve goes steep upwards and it now takes days to take one level. It is a very strange concept and it can be a major turn off for potential players.
We think, an overall difficult but smooth levelling curve will allow for a better game-play experience and will enable players to get a feeling of proper progression and the relative satisfaction in doing so.
Also the current potion-healing system; Because of the absence of a healing class together with the non-present healing abilities of any class, the Developers went ahead and substitute these with powerful healing-potions. It’s not that the healing-potions themselves are powerful, rather, players are able to use one potion after the other due to the short cooldown and their effect not being canceled after having received damage. This “solution” was addressed by us already at the end of CBT2 and we hoped, that the Developers would find another way to improve the way healing-potions were used, but so far nothing seems to have been done.
Some possible solutions among many would be to either reexamine the possibility of introducing a healing class to the game or strengthen the planned classes with utility skills, such as Healing Over Time, Lifesteal etc and possibly add a universal /sit, /rest function to allow for health regeneration during levelling.
Another key feature requiring imminent attention is that of the Auction House. The Auction House is build around the reputation a player has with an NPC; Selling items include a 35% tax which decreases the more reputation you have with an NPC, though it requires a lot of time to be invested in any NPC to gain a significant tax reduction. Yet, the worst part is, that a Player is limited by the game to sell their item at a price placed within a minimum/maximum figure, that is set automatically by the game. The way the Auction House works may be targeting the avoidance of inflation of prices and rewarding the dedicated players who invested a lot of time in advancing their reputation with an NPC.
We believe, that 1) adding the ability to Players to set up a”Private Shop”, for limited item slots & requiring you to be online, 2) removing the automatic fixing of the price an item can be sold will result in a more player-driven game, returning to its original sandbox vision.
Furthermore, the PvP system of Black Desert Online has been through various phases reminding us of a rollercoaster. Sadly, testing phase after testing phase, the PvP system for reasons we can’t understand is becoming worse. Currently, PvP is enabled upon reaching the soft-cap at level 50 and according to the latest patch-note, the first Player to flag (i.e to hit) another Player) receives -10k karma points (you can have a total of +300k karma points). The Player stays flagged for 3 minutes, and anyone is free to kill the flagged Player without receiving a penalty in return. On the contrary, if the flagged Player kills someone, they will receive a penalty of -200k Karma points no matter if the other Player is fighting back or not, allowing for an unfair event to take place. On another note, experience loss on death has been removed. So if someone is bothering you on your grinding spot, and you finally decide to kill them, they won’t suffer at all and will be free to come again and bother you until you kill them again and become eventually red.
Our proposal is, to make the PvP fairer and less complex. First of all, the PvP restriction of level 50 needs to be instantly removed, as it does not have a place in a supposed sandbox game such as Black Desert Online. Second, all Players should be considered flagged when hitting another Player, no matter the second Players status. Third, there should be no karma penalties involved when killing a flagged Player, rather these should be activated when someone kills an unflagged Player (i.e if someone hasn’t hit back). Fourth, reintroduce the loss of experience upon death since it works simultaneously as a deterrent and motivation in an open world PvP environment.
In general open world PvP should play a vital role in a game such as Black Desert Online. Obviously it is somewhat complex to retain a balance between joyful open world PvP and horrendous ganking. The current Karma system needs to be changed, too . When you get negative Karma, and become red, you suffer from several penalties. If you die, you drop items. You can’t enter towns because the guards will kill you. It is almost impossible to burn Karma when playing in a party because you need to get the last hit on the monster and Karma is burning really slow, like 70 points per mob. So, if you kill two players and get -100k Karma and let’s say for example burn only 70 per monster, you need to kill 1430 monsters, all alone, and anyone can kill you. This is major issue and needs to be addresses imminently, in order for a proper solution to be found. Also, if a player receives Karma, their whole clan suffers and the clan gets negative points as well. So while the Clan/Guild Karma system is a good way of reflecting their members behavior, it needs to be included in the overall PvP-Karma System renovation, as to not deter Guild Wars and destroy open world PvP and the corresponding politics and meta-game features. Another absurdity is the current Arena in Black Desert Online; you’re unable to use it before reaching level 50, you can’t hit Clan members and during PvP (also during PvP in general) potions can be spammed non-stop. Whereas, we believe, everyone should be eligible to use the Arena and the only Players not receiving damage should be the very own Party members (because of eventual Team vs Team PvP).
On the PvE side, Black Desert Online currently features a series of instanced Quest Bosses, that can even be soloed. During the levelling process from level 1 to 50, though there are “mini Bosses” i.e very strong monsters most of the times surrounded by minions and which drop high quality items, these “mini bosses” are relatively easy “tank and spank” bosses and usually a party of 3 Players is sufficient.
What we’d really like to see is open world Bosses across placed across the map where levelling takes place and especially more dungeons (preferably non-instanced) that feature such Bosses at every few levels i.e level 10, level 20, level 30, level 40 etc. Open world Bosses are a good way to rally the community, help online friendships be created, allow for the establishment of permanent levelling parties etc. These Bosses would drop items that will allow Players to have a better farming experience and/or gain rare cosmetic items.
Black Desert Online is a good game with potential to become even better and actually make a big impact in the MMORPG scene, but in order for this to happen, it is necessary that the Pearl Abyss (the developers) take action and focus on improving these important areas in their game. Obviously, Black Desert Online has to offer a lot; great graphics, an action combat system, a unique trading system, a complex horse breeding system, great Player-NPC interaction and many others, these are all features that do lay the foundation for a successful sandbox game, but we can’t understand why in recent time Pearl Abyss and their Publisher Daum have taken steps towards restricting and punishing player-driven actions instead of motivating them.
The western market is a very picky one on the one hand and on the other there’s several great theme park & PvE-driven MMORPGs. What has become truly evident via our community is the thirst for a game that caters towards Players that want a mix of freedom and risk motivating the Player to go explore the world and not restrict them to instanced dungeons and arena-style PvP. We do hope Pearl Abyss and Daum will re-orientate themselves concerning the western community and go for that “more harcore” approach they told us about back in August.
Our Team and our Community are here to offer our feedback and impressions on the game through the many threads and articles for the sake of improving our upcoming favorite- to be- MMORPG!