Black Desert Online
This Korean developed MMORPG offers a dynamic, action-based combat system in a richly developed fantasy setting.
- A dynamic day and night system and weather effects
- Three playable races and 12 playable classes
- In-depth housing and crafting systems
- Provides players with an impressive amount of control over their environment
- Strong battle system with numerous options for customization
- Beautiful graphics portray a lively and varied setting
- Lacks a compelling narrative
- Minimal post-game content
- Freeform structure means players have to set their own goals
The massively multiplayer online roleplaying game is now well worn territory with its own expectations, but Black Desert Online seeks to fundamentally underline some of the more tired tropes prevalent in the genre. For the most part, it succeeds. This is a genre well known for the automation of its gameplay. MMO players coming to a new RPG often expect an auto-attack system where player skill comes not from aiming against enemies but instead by focusing on positioning and juggling the cool down timers of their skills. Black Desert Online creates a fresh new perspective by integrating the sort of arcade style gameplay one would expect from a third person single player shooter. Instead of using tab-targeting, Black Desert requires you to aim precisely, dodge, and maintain attack combos in real time. The result is a fluid and addictive system that helps break up the tedium of combat. The 14 classes are well balanced and offer a variety of options for how you choose to play. Witches and rangers accommodate players looking to strike from a distance, but Black Desert's melee combat system is far more compelling than that in other fantasy MMOs. Combo options are varied and complex, and the options are every bit as complex as those you might find in a proper fighting game. But Black Desert Online bucks the MMO standards in more ways than one. Forget the tedium of grinding through the same dungeons and raids in search of new equipment or a handful of more experience points. The game bucks conventions by stripping away much of what made MMOs popular in the first place. While there's a story, it's not particularly compelling or necessary to the core gameplay loops, and it mainly serves as a tutorial easing you into the core of the actual experience. Black Desert is a sandbox game at its heart, sharing more in common with something like Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto than World of Warcraft. Agency is the name of the game here, with the narrative content serving as window dressing for an acquisition tool kit. Ultimately, the path to success in Black Desert Online is decided by you. A wealth of enemy mobs as well as a robust player vs. player arena system is there to accommodate players looking to dig deep into the combat system, but there's a number of alternative options as well. A wide variety of crafting options include everything from making armor to cooking to breeding and domesticating the wildlife. All of these are tied together into a satisfying settlement system. Towns and cities can grow with the help of players, and what starts out as a bare bones hamlet can eventually be staffed by countless NPCs and built out along trade routes with other communities. It's a game that asks a lot from players but rewards them with a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that they have a direct impact on the world. It's quite a world to look at. Much has been made of the incredibly detailed character creator -- and it is quite impressive -- but the world that's been built for Black Desert Online is equally as compelling. A huge range of ecosystems are represented through the game world, and most of it flows seamlessly without the need for lengthy load times. It might not be for everyone, but it's a game that creates an immersive setting and provides satisfying results for players willing to invest.