Black Desert Online Beta Impressions: Beyond Combat
Black Desert online has been making waves within MMO circles for quite sometime now. It’s the visuals and customisation that got tongues wagging, but there’s much more to the game. Black Desert’s recent Beta opened up to Western audiences, answering many questions. The scope and depth is gigantic and all consuming. This is perhaps the biggest and most ambitious MMO in some time, but only if you’re willing to learn.
It’s hard, near impossible, to truly cover Black Desert in the span of a few days. The Beta’s short length forced experiences to be more focused than free. General MMO expectations and assumptions have to be left at the door, this is not a point A to point B questing system. The sheer amount of information and mechanics thrown at the player is overwhelming, but oddly satisfying.
For far too long, new Western MMORPGs have tried to replicate their successful peers. Black Desert doesn’t skimp on it’s depth for the sake of a new market. The sheer level of depth and opportunity found at it’s core is what serves as it’s true selling point. In the same way other Korean MMOs refrain from being ‘level, get loot hit endgame’, Black Desert gives you a world to play in. It’s up to you what you wish to do, how much you wish to participate in the world’s economy. Options are key.
The Beta doesn’t do Black Desert’s depth justice, but it does provide a good briefing. Crafting, trading, ownership and renting provide such a wealth of activities to indulge into. If cynicism is left at the door, Black Desert could easily be treated like a second life. There’s room for players who wish to refrain from combat, becoming masters of Trade and Craft. Players can work their way to the top of finical game, renting out buildings and feeding economies. Black Desert’s Beta made one thing clear, this is a world in which the players have power.
It’s unfortunate that my time with the Beta was only a few days, making it near impossible to truly dive in. A number of surrounding players were setting up Trading wagons, discussing the market in local chat. Speaking with higher end players revealed a number of concerns towards the end game. Things apparently stagnate, resulting in over dependence on a certain market. It’s not too hard to imagine the Trade and Craft elements of Black Desert becoming repetitive. The simple act of gathering various materials, and managing their nodes, becomes tiresome. Even at the lower level end of the spectrum, it’s all very familiar.
Black Desert’s attempts at creating a player governed market is so far admirable. It may not be on the same levels as other MMO titles, such as EVE, but even in it’s early days it’s notable. The main problem made present in the Beta was how one note the system is. Once the process of learning Trade Routes, Nodes and resource gathering is complete, it never seems to grow. Things could easily change in the full release, or via patches, but for now the mechanic is quite compact.
Players looking to embark on a hugely deep trading and market experience may be disappointed. Black Desert’s approximation of the concept is a decent starting point, but ultimately resides in the shadow of deeper titles available on the market.