Any hardcore fan of the MMORPG genre has mostly likely dabbled in Korean developed entries. I know I certainly have, and I have always left them with a mixture of enjoyment, frustration, excitement, boredom, and confusion. If there is one positive note to make about Korean developed MMO’s, it is that they generally combine lovely graphics and combat that breaks the norm.
Black Desert Online is no exception to the KMMORPG formula. I could tell from inception that the graphics in BDO would be impressive from the in depth character creation screen. A fan of character customization options will indubitably find him/herself thrilled with the plethora of choices allowing massive customization.
A number of playable classes were available for me to choose from. I spent most of my time playing as the Warrior, a sword and shield melee battler. Other available classes ranged from Ranger, to Wizard, to Blader, and Tamer, among others. Each class focused on different styles of combat and gear.
Speaking of combat, Black Desert Online built itself a fast-paced, neck breaking stylized combat system. BDO focuses on attack combinations and movements to pummel foes into submission. As I progressed into the closed beta, I found myself discovering and utilizing more combos to topple enemies. With the proper clicks of my mouse and pecks of my number pad, I was able to dance around, dodge, and pulverize my adversaries.
Unfortunately, I rarely found myself in actual need of using such combos. For the first fifteen levels, I literally only had to hold down the left mouse button to auto attack. Most enemies fell with a few swings of my blade. The tougher enemies required only a few skill attacks mixed in to regular combat. Eventually, I found myself side-swiping and dodging and intermixing abilities to chain combos… but, still, it wasn’t necessary. With proper dodging, most enemies would fall in due time.
There are other unique features, however, included in Black Desert Online. For example, with the proper skill learned, one can lasso wild horses and turn them into a personal mount.
Skill trees and UI is pretty standard among MMO’s. You upgrade and unlock skills based on your skill points obtained through leveling up. It was pretty simply leveling up, too. Massive amounts of experience were rewarded for completing quests. Inversely, minimal experience was gained by slaying foes.
While the game was pretty – even on my less-than-impressive rig – I was disappointed to see the lack of equipment variation. Perhaps I never made it far enough in the beta, perhaps all the items haven’t been implemented this early, or perhaps they simply focused on combat over all else, but one of my favorite aspects of MMO’s is the immense variation in armor and weaponry. To the defense of the game, I did find a number of swords, and they all changed appearances.
The final point I want to touch upon in Black Desert Online is a combination of narrative and poor translations. The narrative of BDO was difficult to follow. This is perhaps because it has not yet been voiced yet, and the subtitles aren’t exactly expertly translated. Poor translation was never more evident than quest and character dialogue. Sometimes, dialogue was completely disjointed and unintelligible. For example, the “Hey, check out these teeth!” quote was followed with a ” I remained completely baffled throughout my experience on the lack of proper grammar. All I can say is, “Press R for Interact.”
In summation, Black Desert Online could be an enjoyable experience for fans of the genre. Glitches and choppiness of course pervaded play, but that is to be expected of the first closed beta. Combat is solid if used properly (or given a reason to properly use), and some unique features will entice players to peek in. If nothing else, the game itself is a very pretty example of today’s technology. For me, however, the poor translations and simple battles make this a fairly forgettable experience.