Black Desert Online has been on the MMO scene for five years now, during which time it’s expanded from a mostly Russian and Korean audience to a worldwide one. Now a global phenomenon counting over 10 million players, this sweeping MMO from Kakao Games is a hit, and its constant evolution makes now the perfect time to jump in.
Here are 5 reasons why you should saddle up and give Black Desert Online a try.
Unparalleled Character Customization
If, like me, you’re one of those RPG players who can spend /hours/ on the character creation screen twiddling with everything from eye shape to nostril-hole width, then Black Desert has got you covered.
The level of customisation in Black Desert’s character creator is so granular that players have been creating uncannily accurate celebrity lookalikes in-game, as well as elaborate templates that other players can rate and use.
Adjust everything from leg lengths, age and skin texture, to other let’s-just-call-them-assets that are best not mentioned here. There are 20 distinct classes to choose from, ranging from ninjas and witches to the recently-released Guardian class - a beginner-friendly class designed for destructive melee combat.
Proper ARPG Combat
MMOs aren’t usually renowned for their intricate, fast-paced combat and direct dodging mechanics. Black Desert defies the MMO tradition of static fighting, auto-attacks and endless cooldown timers with a combat system that actually feels and looks awesome - more like a single-player action game than your usual MMO.
So instead of dice-roll dodging, you need to perfectly time your dodges to evade enemy blows, or raise up your Super Armor shield at just the right moment. Not unlike your God of Wars and Devil May Crys, you can grapple enemies, and knock them into the air to deliver hellacious combos too.
MMOs just never feel this good.
Farm, Hunt and Hit the High Seas
Every great MMO offers players the chance to live a quieter life, and Black Desert is no different. So when you’re not slaying formidable bosses using that great combat system, you can take up hobbies like sailing, fishing, trading and hunting.
It’s no cakewalk though, as you’ll need to find the best fishing and hunting hotspots. As a trader or sailor you’ll need to risk your hide on the roads and high seas to get those rewards. Those bandits, sea monsters and PvP thugs won’t make it easy...
Make Friends, Both Real and Animal
At a time when direct communication with people is at a premium, MMOs are a great way to get in those social interactions we humans need. If those interactions happen to involve fighting each other in PvP Siege Warfare or avoiding the club of an imposing ogre, then all the better.
Black Desert has a party system that lets you seek out up to five fellow adventurers to divvy up XP with. For your nearest and dearest, you can start a Clan with up to 15 members, while those with bigger ambitions can create 100-strong guilds, complete with their own insignia, missions, buildings, and ability to start Conquest Wars against rival guilds.
If fellow people aren’t your thing, then breed your own stable of horses instead. Yes, as well as buying mounts, you can get together a male and female horse, make sparks fly, and create a whole new specimen! There are tons of skills tied to horses, and they’ll prove vital to the late game too.
Black Desert Looks Amazing
We’re not a superficial bunch here at PC Gamer, and can look past a game’s graphics - whether it’s the squares and triangles of minimalism or the glossy realism of triple-A games. But in a genre renowned for often not looking all that good, it has to be said that Black Desert is a real stunner.
The game already looked great before its 2018 graphical remaster, but now it’s turned into a glimmering gem. Raindrops hit shimmering puddles, sunlight dapples the ground through forest canopies, and a dynamic weather system sees natural events like typhoons and fog have tangible effects on gameplay (particularly in PvP).
Amazingly, all this is delivered without loading screens and minimal instancing, meaning you seamlessly inhabit the world alongside thousands of players. To sweeten the deal even more, there’s an attendance event running from now until 17 June too, where you’ll automatically get up to $100 worth of rare in-game items.