Now, I am not actually going to review this game here. Though I am sure you’ll be able to get a feeling on what I think of the game by reading this, my intentions here are actually to complain about folks posting reviews of Black Desert who openly admit to having only scratched the surface of the game, and yet give the final verdict or assign it a score. Good or bad, I think this game requires much more time and effort to appropriately form an opinion.
So, Black Desert launched in NA and EU a little over a week ago now. Maybe up to two weeks. I was a day or so late waiting on a friend of mine to let me use his 7 day trial. I had not played a “sand box” mmo before, but I was intrigued by the idea that the main narrative and majority of the activities you would do each day are almost completely up to you as the player. No more quest chains that are perfectly designed to take you to each end of the map at just the right level, and huge set pieces to frame the events taking place.
Instead this game promised to be almost a life simulator… just with Elves and Goblins tossed in for good measure. You are pretty much free to decide what you feel like doing, and then it is on you to find the tools and means to get that done. Want to build a ship and go sail the sea and catch fish? Yep. Invest in the port town, spend a day or two gathering resources, then hire some workers to construct the parts needed. It will take about 3 days for a semi casual like myself, but even serious no-lifers will have to wait as the ships are build in real time. Took 22 minutes per log to build my raft, and I needed 25 logs. what is that… nearly 10 hours? not to mention gathering the materials needed.
And this is just the raft. There are Ferries, Fishing Boats, Guild ships, each requiring more materials, or even a city with a better Ship Building facility.
I know that was a bit long winded, but that is just one tiny aspect of the game, and you need to be able to gather wood and stone, have enough contribution points (a currency you spend on workers and trade routes) to buy workers and their lodging in the city, AND have a high enough fishing ability to make this worth it. And all the trades are like this! The game does not just let you level a cooking skill, the game lets you BE a cook. or a hunter, a gatherer, a fisher, or a market specialist. Form trade routes and study the economy of the different cities (yes, different cities pay different amounts for goods so it’s best to form trade routes and ship goods to the various towns.)
So I guess my point is that it dipping your toe into a game as vast as this and then turning around and writing a review saying “7/10 not sure if the game will work without any endgame, but the combat was fun for a while… if a little grindy” is totally undervaluing the game or the gamer’s time.
I saw someone mention on the reddit, I think, (and I am paraphrasing here) say that it isn’t that Black Desert doesn’t have ‘endgame’, it’s that it lets you into the end game the moment you start your character. So folks who have always played games like WoW or FFXIV with traditional raids and hardcore dungeons will probably rush to the soft level cap of 50 in Black Desert and then say there is nothing to do. But that does not make it true. The only thing getting to 50 (well it unlocks at 45 I suppose) is you are flagged for pvp any time you are out of a safe zone. Otherwise, a level 10 and a level 55 have the same things to work toward.
How is that not fantastic design? Want to build a shipping empire? Go ahead! We wont even make you wade through 100 hours of level grinding just to start!
That is not to say that Black Desert is without fault, and I am certainly not an overhyped fanboy. I have had my share of issues with the game and I have seen and experience a few bugs and some odd interactions. I will be keeping a close eye on that cash shop as well, I know the usual worry is pay to win, but my concern is the price itself. A $30 costume does feel a bit greedy, and I am constantly annoyed that if you want to buy something that’s $35, you need to buy $50 worth of the currency since they limit your options for amounts.
But, that being said, I have not played even close to enough to write a true review of the game. There is so much to do, and even more that is coming in the next several months as we catch up to the Korean version of the game.
I am just so tired of reviews being rushed out the door incomplete or rushed. Especially for games as huge as Black Desert.