Korean developer Pearl Abyss released a sandbox-oriented MMORPG called Black Desert Online in 2016. Since then, its community has been thriving, with more than 3 million registered players. What is responsible for such a great success story? Read our full review below to learn more about this game.
Sands of Time
Black Desert Online is the story of two rival nations: the Republic of Calpheon and the Kingdom of Valencia. The former is based on materialistic desires whilst the latter is spiritually-minded. Valencia controls a vast desert where precious black stones can be harnessed, while Calpheon has no means to extract the ressource in its territory. As a result, Calpheon resorts to stealing from Valencia, which is not without its death toll on both sides of the conflict.
Blood in the Sand
Black Desert Online takes a page from other MMOs such as TERA with its quick combat system. Precise aiming is required at all time to emerge victorious from battle. Players are able to dodge oncoming attacks and chain powers together to form devastating combos. Sometimes, you’ll have the feeling of playing a brawler game because the gameplay is pretty frenetic.
In total, there are 10 classes to choose from, including classics such as Ranger and Warrior to interesting choices like Ninja and Tamer. All classes have different play styles, from pure attack to control, defense, evasion and combo-oriented builds. Interestingly enough, players can also fight while riding their mounts. They’re able to fire arrows from afar or slash using a sword while in close range. Players also have the possibility to breed mounts (limited to horses for now) and create unique looks for their mounts.
Storm in the Desert
Another very interesting feature of Black Desert Online is the importance of weather. The developers created a dynamic and global system where different temperatures change gameplay in a big way. Each region has its own climate: there’s rain, snow, storms, sandstorms, typhoons and more. Not paying attention to this system has led many heroes to their demise.
On top of the unique weather system is a complex day and night system. During the day, players can enjoy breathtaking views from a vibrant world full of colors and details. As time passes in the game’s world, different shaders are applied to your character and the environments around you, bringing them in an entirely different way. Night is synonymous with danger, and most citizens aren’t foolish enough to venture outside with monsters running rampant. The day and night duality is a great feature of Black Desert Online that helps immensly to present a cohesive world full of danger.
Live to Tell the Tale
Whether you’re hunting whales, felling a mighty dragon or showing your dominance in PVP, Black Desert Online feels like a complete package. Its gameplay loop is very satisfying, if not a bit on the easy side. There are great stories to be told when playing the game thanks to its wealth of features and amazing execution. Just as with many Korean-made MMOs, be prepared to grind a lot in the latter stages of the game and to be incentivized to purchase cosmetic items through the cash shop. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you since the game is otherwise entirely Free-to-Play.