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You can get Black Desert Online for free, but only if you can reach level 56 in one week

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Black Desert Online is a "buy-to-play" MMO with purchase options ranging from $10 to $50, and a free 7-day trial for people who are curious but not convinced. Starting today and running until October 17, Pearl Abyss and Kakao Games are presenting an interesting challenge to trial players that, if successfully completed, will grant them permanent access to the game, for free. 

Any players who can take a character to level 56 and complete the "awakening quest" before the 7-day trial expires will be given a free Starter's Package, which normally sell for $10/£8/€10. It doesn't include any "extra content," like a horse, Elion's Blessings, or House Furnishing Coupons, but it does provide permanent access to the game on either North American and European servers.   

I have no idea how much effort it takes to reach level 56 in Black Desert Online, but it sounds more like a step in the process than an end-game goal. Characters who reach the level are given an "Awakening Quest chain" by the Black Spirit that will enable the use of Awakening Skills and the Awakening Weapon. 

"The Awakened character users a completely new weapon and set of skills which will provide [a] unique and entertaining experience for you when exploring the world of Black Desert Online," the 7-Day Challenge page (opens in new tab) says. 

There are some restrictions: People who have already purchased the game aren't eligible for the freebie, and if you cheat (and get caught), you'll be disqualified. And the giveaway is not available through Steam: The free account offer is only available directly through blackdesertonline.com

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.