Black Desert Online Review - A Colossal Slog

Black Desert Online Review - A Colossal Slog

Black Desert Online wants to be distinct from other MMORPGs, but it isn't different enough in the ways which really matter.

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Damn, that character creator though... if it allowed those levels of customization with less than human looking characters, I'd be all over it, even if it was just the character creator, like Spore did back in the day.

I got it a little while ago, and I'm torn on it. The review is quite right, in that some of the systems in place are plain baffling/geared towards the ftp model. A lot of the finer points of the game are poorly explained/justified, and the setting, while undeniably beautifully sculpted and visually stunning, is devoid of personality.

But I'm still having fun with it. And this game has done what a lot of other MMOs have failed to do for me, which is retain my interest for more than a week. Wildstar failed to keep me playing past the tutorial area, FFXIV didn't keep my attention once I unlocked the dragoon class, and hell, I couldn't play ESO for more 5 minutes before I got bored with that.

The game is very ambitious in it's scope though, with the weather systems, trade routes, workers and all that jazz. And the combat is much more fun than any MMO I've played period.

Basically it's a grindy failure of a game then.

I thought so.

All I needed to know was that it's an Asian grindfest for me to steer clear of it. I tried Lineage 2 way back as my introduction to that particular brand of MMO and hoooo boy, when I was expected to farm mobs for hours just to get a statless hat I dumped it immediately. The original Star Wars Galaxies burned me out on any sort of extended grinding in MMOs.

And people are finding they don't like most F2P games because they don't like the grind-wall and mechanics put in place to make you spend money.

The thing is people mostly would rather spend a flat rate to put everyone on equal footing, but they don't want to blindly buy into an MMO, and devs don't want to make a playable-demo anymore, so people don't buy the games. I learned my lesson to never blindly purchase an MMO after Warhammer Online turned out to be awful.

Which is partly why everyone thought F2P was the new trend, but turns out people were just enjoying the fact they could play the game to see if they liked it, and if they did, they disliked the pay walls and "pay to win" cropped up.

Some of these games did have their loyal fans, but they all eventually failed or depopulated after the initial wave of interest.

So I think people would be willing to pay, they just need to know they'll get the full experience, they just need a demo to try it out. At least that's the impression I get from my own experiences and what I've read over the years.

The mmo genre has only itselfe to blame for its decay.

Instead of concentrating on the strengths of the genre, social and deep gameplay mechanics that get people invested, everyone was chasing the WoW dream after WoW managed to blow everything and everyone out of the water with its themepark style gameplay.

Funny thing is that WoW started off alot more "core" then the braindead themepark ride it is today. Only with each passing expansion became it more and more the mcdonalds of mmos.

So what happened was that all the other developers saw WoWs monumental success... and decided that wows theme park shallow experience was the way to go and the ONLY way to go.

Not to mention that the games that followed WoW where ALLWAYS complete technical trainwrecks that where pushed out the door when the games couldnt even stand on their own.

Age of conan, massive content cuts, broken PvP

Warhammer online, a clusterfuck of broken game mechanics and balance issues (my personal swansong.. the game could have been so awesome... how can you fuck up a warhammer mmo?)

Elder scrolls online: a buggy trainwreck that barely offered anything unique or substantial to differ it from other mmos.

And those are just three examples from the long long list of WoW alikes.

WoW was the one hit wonder, build on a strong IP that had an allready established loyal following that had for some time wished to explore the world of warcraft outside the strategy games. And most importantly: They delivered. It was such a vibrant and ginormous world to explore, chuck full of (allbeit shallow) content that was surprisingly easy to get into.

Sure they had their flawed mechanics but flawed doesnt mean broken. Sure the pvp honor system for example was a catastrophe that only 24/7 grinders could reach the highest ranks of... but it worked. All n all WoW worked on release.. that is more then you can say about any other mmo that followed in its wake.

No one tried to be deep anymore, no one tried to bring the social aspects of an mmo back into focus. It became: Go here, accept 10 quests to deliver different kind of bear asses, go kill mobs to collect said bear asses, finish quests, go to next quest hub, rince repeat.

What people that looked for new mmos experienced all the time following WoW was: been there, done that. Also the mmo system of leveling up your character from lvl 1 to max lvl becomes so agonizingly painfull after a while. You can only take killing the same low lvl critters (mostly wildlife and the like) for so many games till you cant stand it anymore. In a FPS theres no level up, youre a badass from the getgo. In RPGs theres a story reason why your character starts out weak. In most sports games you dont have to grind to have your players be at a level they can compete.

Another big problem with mmos nowadays is that everyone rushed to the endgame, cause the endgame is all that counts. All the hard work put into anything that comes before the endgame is pretty much wasted. Even WoW has that problem:

If you think about it WoW has the biggest mmo world of them all... and barely anything of it gets used nowadays. People spend most of their time in the handfull of areas currently important for the newest expansion and thats it. There is absolutely no reason anymore to even go to any of the areas that came before it even when leveling alts since you can simply stand in one spot and que up the dungeon finder, leveling solely through dungeons.

So when people rush through a new mmo to get to the endgame, you know.. the only stuff that counts in the big scheme of things, most mmos are simply not ready to present a meaningfull endgame. Most mmos after launch dont even have endgame content for crying out loud because so much time was invested into the theme park leveling up gameplay.

See in vanilla wow back in the day this whole "rush to the endgame as fast as possible" wasnt present yet, it took people months to get to max level, and the few that rushed through the game where simply ignored by the larger crowd that was still out exploring the world and learning things. Meaning blizz had more then enough time to work on their first raids and when the numbers of max lvl characters increased to a significant amount the raids where ready. And they took ages to complete back in the day... molten core was hard work. (especialy before its inevitable nerf)

MMOs mistake grind for content and ease of entry with braindead gameplay. Allways standing in the shadow of WoW instead of trying to step to the side to get some sun themselves.

In short: the magic is gone because everyone was chasing the white rabbit down the rabbithole and got stuck on the way.

Your review is bad and you should feel bad.

Energy gating is not a big deal. I rarely run into times when I don't have energy to craft something, or learn some new knowledge or play the amity game. When I have had energy issues I either have my character go sit in a bed for 10 minutes while I go make some food, or I just go do some quests or kill some mobs. Crazy but you can't just spend all day picking flowers and crafting stuff to flood the market with.

The Amity game isn't RNG based as you make it out to be, it's no more RNG based than say a card game in one of the final fantasy games. You just have to understand how it works and how to do combos. I'm guessing you don't.

You've a weird fixation on loot, and how your character looks. There are sets that change how you look, but most customization come from dyes, which are easy to get as login rewards, as in FREE.

In my opinion the energy system which is majorly negatively mentioned in the review is one of the minor issue in this game as you can counter that as long as you explore and do quests (which increases the cap)

I mean it's a good review however I think that a 2.5 for a game that has brought back hope to so much people not to mention that is being praised by both old school mmo fans and people that aren't even into MMO's, just seems harsh and gives out the wrong image to a game that has a lot of potential and is possibly an attraction to people who enjoyed the oldies like Ultima Online, EQ2, Lineage 2 and Star Wars Galaxies.

synobal:
Your review is bad and you should feel bad.

Energy gating is not a big deal. I rarely run into times when I don't have energy to craft something, or learn some new knowledge or play the amity game. When I have had energy issues I either have my character go sit in a bed for 10 minutes while I go make some food, or I just go do some quests or kill some mobs. Crazy but you can't just spend all day picking flowers and crafting stuff to flood the market with.

The Amity game isn't RNG based as you make it out to be, it's no more RNG based than say a card game in one of the final fantasy games. You just have to understand how it works and how to do combos. I'm guessing you don't.

You've a weird fixation on loot, and how your character looks. There are sets that change how you look, but most customization come from dyes, which are easy to get as login rewards, as in FREE.

I too have had no issues with the Energy system. It is leaps and bounds better than ArcheAge and seems like what Camelot Unchained will be doing with their VOX crafting setup.

Many miss the task at the top of the Amity game screen in order to comprehend what is asked of them (such as failing interest 3x in a row). That could very well be why the author failed to interpret it as anything other than RNG.

As for the overall review, I have a feeling that the author had spent one too many hours playing Diablo III or something similar. They only want a game that is very simplistic, easy to jump combat into, and showers them in loot so as to give an easy pat on the head. Loot pinatas are great games for those that need an instant-gratification every so often to tell them that their game time matters. Other players like to see the fruition of their gameplay come over the course of time so that is really brings out the reward status.

I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

There are similar issues with the game's itemization system, which feels bare compared to other MMORPGs. Finding a new piece of loot is always something to look forward to in these types of games... That isn't the case in Black Desert Online. The appearance of gear you can equip is generic and rarely changes despite any stat differences.

Call me weird, but I actually really like this. Too many games try to make the players feel special from the get-go. I miss the classic WoW feeling of 'You are nobody until you've earned it' that this game seems to be going for. However, where WoW rewarded you cool-looking gear for doing endgame content, this game apparently rewards you for opening your wallet, which is pretty unfortunate.

A shame this game doesn't have a trial, because otherwise I'd give it a try. It seems like the sort of game where you can become well-known on the server for your accomplishments (see: time investment). A nice contrast to the usual way of becoming infamous in most other MMOs, which is by being a tradechat troll.

I played a bit of it in the second closed beta, just a few days before it launched. It... wasn't for me. Not necessarily for any of the reasons the review mentions, I just couldn't get into its style of gameplay. I need the slow building, the leveling experiences with the many freely-available quests to get into a game's world. If I can't RP, I can't put myself through the grinding.

But I realize this isn't a given for every MMORPG player. I've heard some really good things about this elsewhere, so I guess it's one of those games you need to try for yourself to decide. I didn't see anything technically wrong with it, just a bunch of stuff I don't like personally. If anything, it's nice that someone tries to innovate and diversify a genre the majority of which survives on license rather than content and gameplay mechanics.

Clive Howlitzer:
I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

Don't do this to me man! WHY? WHY DID THEY TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME? WHY IS THIS SO HARD? STAATESMAAAAAN!

Stewie Plisken:
I played a bit of it in the second closed beta, just a few days before it launched. It... wasn't for me. Not necessarily for any of the reasons the review mentions, I just couldn't get into its style of gameplay. I need the slow building, the leveling experiences with the many freely-available quests to get into a game's world. If I can't RP, I can't put myself through the grinding.

But I realize this isn't a given for every MMORPG player. I've heard some really good things about this elsewhere, so I guess it's one of those games you need to try for yourself to decide. I didn't see anything technically wrong with it, just a bunch of stuff I don't like personally. If anything, it's nice that someone tries to innovate and diversify a genre the majority of which survives on license rather than content and gameplay mechanics.

Clive Howlitzer:
I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

Don't do this to me man! WHY? WHY DID THEY TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME? WHY IS THIS SO HARD? STAATESMAAAAAN!

There is a very active and growing roleplay community in black desert both on the US and EU servers so if you need rp to make the game playable you'll find it if you look(Na side it's based out of Orwen server channel calpheon 02 and 01)

Nurb:
The original Star Wars Galaxies burned me out on any sort of extended grinding in MMOs.

Okay, as a non-MMO player, I'll ask. How do you put 10K hours of content in an MMO *without* it almost all being a horrible grind?

I ask this seriously. You can't conceivably have enough plot (20 books of plot are many authors lifetime output and can be read in 2 weeks of MMO hours), so that leaves progression. But to have meaningful progression means significant development over, what, a week. Which means in a year you need not one world, but effectively 50 smaller worlds of content.

For an MMO publisher, it's like having to produce a "Witcher" game every few weeks. It can't possibly be done.

So, back to my question.

What can possibly keep MMO players in the game for years *besides* the grind?

Clive Howlitzer:
I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

Agreed.

Clive Howlitzer:
I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

From what I heard, a big Korean MMO developer bought a majority of NC stock, and forced them to pull the game. Accounts vary, but it seems the Korean Devs didn't understand or like the game.

008Zulu:

Clive Howlitzer:
I just want to play City of Heroes again but NCSoft said no.

From what I heard, a big Korean MMO developer bought a majority of NC stock, and forced them to pull the game. Accounts vary, but it seems the Korean Devs didn't understand or like the game.

As someone who was playing when the servers shut down, that's always the story I've heard. Either that or the company shut it down to make their quarterly profits look better since the influx of unused operating costs would put them in the black for the year. eh, shame. It was the only good super hero mmo out there (and still is) and weirdly enough with the popularity of superhero movies no one has stepped up to the plate to create a replacement.

Anyways, on topic. I'm not surprised Black Desert is boring.

If you still have your CoH installed (I do), give this a try;

http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Titan_Icon
(It also has links to download the game)

It's a program that allows you to run very limited instances of the game. Just the character creator and the ability to move around the maps. Area transitions are done with dev console commands, however there is no combat or NPCs ingame.

 

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