Black Desert (Special Episode)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
While Grindstone’s dropoff was pretty high after the first week and seven day trial was over, it wasn’t nearly the level of “abandon ship!” that ArcheAge provided, and we had quite a few people stick around for a while. Only a few wanted in the Tribunal, though, so we have the usual group of Dreskar, Dobar, Karochi and myself, along with Justin, to toss up what we felt.
Black Desert is a game that I am interested in and want to play, but get so frustrated and bored easily I can’t bring myself to continue playing for long periods of time. Running off to the hills to relax and fish, or deciding to go on trade runs to earn a little extra cash while I take in the scenery is fantastic. The base experience of the game doesn’t hold my interest at all, the story is terrible, the voice acting is worse, the combat is dull, the animations look off if not outright terrible, and there are so many rookie designer mistakes that much of the experience is brought down as a whole. Slimer Satan is one of the biggest examples of not knowing how to design a game, with him you have to sit through a summon animation every time you wish to talk with him, and this happens often meaning your time is wasted almost constantly. Why they couldn’t have it be an instant summon or menu, and spare us his annoyance speaks to the fact the developers aren’t that talented. So what we have here is a game that has Snail levels of convolutions but also has those brilliant sparks hidden in the rough that made us stick with Wushu for so long. This is a title I won’t be continuing with, not because I don’t enjoy my time telling the game to go to hell while I set up to fish and listen to the ocean waves, but because I need the space on my harddrive and ultimately the game doesn’t hold up to that debate. Hey at least this isn’t as terrible as ArcheAge where we had a celebration party for uninstalling the game and washing away the shame.
Recommended?: YES, if you like Sandbox. If you like theme park stay far away!
When this game came out, I was expecting this to be another ArcheAge, and I was dreading looking at this game, especially since it was buy-to-play. After playing it, the game started to grow on me and felt like what I thought a sandbox should be. I was just going out in the world exploring, crafting, doing quests, whatever I wanted to. This is the antithesis of a theme park MMO and you do not have to deal with gankers too much, even at high levels.
It took me a while to get used to everything, and even them, there is still a lot I do not know, and that can be irritating at times. There are also a lot of things wrong with the game, like the voice acting, translation, explanation of mechanics, and fighting. I found the fighting to be, at best, generic, and really boring at times, especially trying to get a drop or grind mobs for experience. I felt like I wanted to explore this world and see what was going on, though I felt like the overall story was pretty boring.
I never made it to the point where PVP was an issue, though I generally hate open-world PVP and gankers, but I am fine with gankers being penalized, unlike ArcheAge. I did not feel like I was missing out by rushing to endgame in a few hours, most of the stuff I found interesting was in the low to mid levels.
Overall, I would highly suggest anyone that who is interested in the game to find a way to get a 7-day pass from someone, as I feel that 7 days should be enough to figure out if you think this game is worth $30 or not. This game is not for everyone, but I enjoyed myself with it and will continue to play from time-to-time, though not as much as before.
Recommended?: YES, but I would suggest you try to find a way to get a 7-day trial from someone before you decided, this is the kind of game you need to try to see if it is worth the money.
Why the fuck would I keep playing this? It’s not… fun, is it? I had fun figuring everything out, but once I’d figured some of it out I realized way too much of the game is trash. I can spend way too much time getting a bunch of materials to build a vehicle that will automatically eventually die. I can spend way too much time grinding out my levels to make the gathering slightly more bearable. I can get money by trading, to invest into wagons and shit so I can get more money with trading, and then… I’ll have some more money. Getting knowledge was interesting to start with, but then it got way too fucking tedious when I had to gather all the battle knowledge. Luckily I can grind in a group!
The only fucking thing I can actually do in a group, in this -MMO-. Well, that and talk shit, but I can do that anywhere. Bye bye Black Desert.
Recommended?: NO, it’s too much like a real sandbox, in that it’s a pointless waste of time for children.
Black Desert Online is a game I’ve tried very hard to like. I really want to be engaged on more than just the combat mechanics and endgame experience. I want an MMO that is a journey, a world I feel I can explore and conquer, and if I wish, do something other than defeat the big bad. I want to fish, I want to farm, I want to raise cows and make pants with stats on ‘em. The problem with Black Desert Online is that while you can do these things, what does it mean for my character?
Activities like trading, fishing, and farming are all possible. There are very few MMOs that have such a variety, and with such a unique management system. It looks very, very deep at first glance, but the game falls short in these things with how it actually impacts you. You can task workers to harvest lumber that you then process into timber and build a cart to go trading, and this gives you money. You can build a cart and sell it on the auction house. The important thing here is that you can do all that, and in fact, you will more than likely have to, because the game doesn’t want you working together with your friends and guildmates to accomplish things like building a boat.
For some reason, the game doesn’t want you trading. The game supposedly put in many of these restrictions to undermine goldsellers and botters. By taking out the means to trade money and unrefined goods they prevent the easy third-party trading of in-game goods. The problem with this is obvious with a cursory glance at the general chat not even a week in the game – there are still spammers trying to sell powerleveling and premium items. It was best summed up by other Grindstone members: to prevent people from swimming in a pool, they drained the pool and filled it in with concrete… Then they put up a fence around it.
The spammers are unaffected since they just find other ways to bother you, but anyone wishing for a deep and engaging experience only gets to look at what might have been a great idea, but it’s paved over and walled off from them under the guise of good intention.
The combat is fine, for my tastes. The character classes are diverse and feel unique, their abilities feel responsive. At the end of the day, though, the game’s combat system has one draw – the endgame PVP. The Guild vs. Guild PVP combat is arguably its biggest draw, but for my part, I’m not interested in constant PVP. I don’t care about guild castles and taxes and all that. I want fishing to feel rewarding, I want to be able to harvest wood and give it to the guy who’s trying to build a boat. I want the game to be truly deep and involving, but at the end of the day, Black Desert Online is shallow. Pretty, but shallow.
If you like the idea of a classic, pre-themepark MMO where the entire experience was the journey, Black Desert might appeal to you. Otherwise, it’s not nearly as immersive and engaging as it first seems.
I would not go as far as saying I was dreading this game, as much as I’m dreading the review reaction, but I was one of the few in Grindstone that wasn’t convinced we’d be looking at another pile of ass a’la Swordsman, even with all the reports that were coming out from the last Closed Beta, which, of course, I was unable to partake in because MAGfest.
Hell, I keep saying the game costs 30 dollars when I payed 60, so I had a hell of a lot more invested in the game for the sake of the review.
Good thing I enjoy the hell out of this game.
Though… if you ask me, I will be damned if I can tell you why.
I can say it’s a good sandbox. The kind of sandbox ArcheAge wishes it could be. The kind of sandbox AA could have been if it was even remotely well made. Sure, there’s aspects of the sandbox that I liked better in ArcheAge, but this was an overall far more solid experience, and you can do almost all of this stuff without having to slog through a superficial level cap just to get ganked by every bored asshat with a higher level and better gear.
ArcheAge is a game I kept playing because I felt like I had to.
Black Desert is a game I kept playing because I wanted to.
Housing is instanced, so crafting isn’t limited by your inability to find a place to plant shit.
Crafting, though convoluted, isn’t made more convoluted by adding arbitrary steps.
The story is.. Well it still feels stupid, but at least no one took a cutscene to tell me the bad guys I was fighting were the bad guys all along.
Hell, I’m starting to be convinced I am the bad guy. I will remove any and all bad things I said about the story if this shit goes all Undertale on me, and I find out gaining levels was really empowering the Black Spirit the whole time, and reaching max cap means I’ve made a choice to be an awful person. I know they won’t do that, but dare to dream future MMO developers.
Though, the game is not without flaws, and Daum seriously worries the shit out of me. This cash shop is fucking atrocious. The spammers are getting worse by the DAY, and if I have to deal with one more fucking apologist in chat, I’m going to waste all my in-game energy requesting chatbans on more than just bots. No, I don’t care that “Blade and Soul has more spammers.” Perspective doesn’t work that way, and knock off the false equivalence because you won’t want to deal with a problem. Those asshats made Guild Wars 2 a pile of shit, and I won’t see them taking down a game I actually like with their zealotry.
I will clarify one thing though… Even though I like this game, and I can’t put it down, my recommendation comes with a warning. This game is going to frustrate you. You will get angry at this game. You will scream at shit. You’ll angrily exit in a fit of rage because of some really stupid thing… but if you’re anything like me, you’ll come back.. as all of my favorite games are frustrating convoluted messes. See you on stream, Slimer Satan.
Recommended?: If you’ve been aching for a solid sandbox, YES.