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  BLACK DESERT ONLINE is a fine MMORPG played in a Sandbox situation.

In it you can play any number of characters and can enjoy walking, running or riding across all manner of terrain and through villages and town. It is a free-running game that allows you to do as you want when you want. You can take Quests if you want and when you finish them you call up the Black Spirit who will manage the end Quest details for you. The Black Spirit does other things as well and you can call it up anytime., you can play solo, joing groups and/or guilds

Mostly the game runs like any MMORPG, fighting, questing, spell casting, creating and building, exploring, enhancing and crafting, but it has used the years of experimenting by those other MMORPGs to ensure it doesn't have the regular pitfalls during play. Weapons and equipment can be enhanced by special gems by using Alchemy - well actually you place the items on one space and the gem on another hit the button and hope that the percentages are in your favour; gems and/or items can be rendered useless if the Alchemy errors.

 

There are some things in the game that aren't to my particular taste, such as the unnecessary almost constant news updates on what is happening elsewhere in the game with Guilds and players you have never heard of and more annoying is being told to go and speak to someone for a quest and you are not given any directions or useful information. For example you are in a town and you find a Quest giver, he/she tells you to go and speak with "N" for the next part of your Quest. You can then spend ages going round and round looking for "N" and the map doesn't help one iota. THis doesn't spoil the game but it is irritating. I do like being able to call the Black Spirit at the end of a Quest, that is an unusual and very useful idea.

 

There is a fair bit of learning on the job as well which actually makes this an ideal game for new players, although it can be frustrating at times. For a minor example, your backpack looks to have all these slots in it but it isn't as it seems. After a number of levels you are given a Donkey to ride, but I am not sure what level you have to reach because at Level 15 I was mocching around in a town and just happened upon the information about mounts. The Donkey isn't much faster than walking but it is a minor increase and it actually looks good onscreen. One thing I do like about the mount is that when you dismount the Donkey doesn't disappear like it does in other games, it simply does what a trained mount should do, it stays where you got off of it. 

 

Dying is always part of an MMORPG and when it occurs you have a couple of choices about where to be resurrected. As I don't have an y sort of regular time when I can be playing I usually play solo. In some games this has been a problem in the past but in BLACK DESERT the solo player is welcome. I haven't seen many in-game messages for people to join to complete a quest and I haven't as yet seen anything that looks like an "Instance" (an MMO dungeon which is sealed off for every group that enters), not that there aren't any I just haven't found any ... yet!

BLACK DESERT ONLINE isn't unique, it's a fantasy MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, just in case you are new to the initialisation) which is like many other MMORPGs (RuneQuest, DAoC, WoW, EverQuest, Albion etc). Each of these has that "something" that people call "Star Quality" but it's represntative of the players. Some people love WoW and hate RuneQuest it's all a matter of taste, what works for one player might not work for another. BDO is a game with as much action and adventure as you want; it's nearly always up to you, though you will have to fight to gain levels and get cash. Resource gathering is also lucrative - mining, herb gardening, wood chopping etc - and the better you get at these the more different types of resource you can gather, but to do so means you need special or advanced equipment and thus to be able to afford to buy them you need to fight or quest (and quests often require combat).

 

There is a market place but as yet I haven't used it because everything within that I have looked at has been priced way out of my league and money isn't that easy to come by. I have been selling everything I find/pick up to the first Merchant I come across. There are warnings that the items I am selling are worth more on the open market but that means finding the auction house, putting the items up for sale and then waiting for someone who needs them. What I have found so far have been so common that taking a hit on their sales has been far better than wasting time hoping. This isn't a complaint, it's more of a suggestion to new players. Unless you find something that is worth one heck of a lot of loot, which is highly unlikely at the lower levels of the game (most MMOs are similar in this) just keep selling as soon as you can and that way the cash will build up so that you have enough for the one purchase, whatever it is, becomes viable.

BLACK DESERT ONLINE costs around $10.00 (about £9.00 in the UK) to purchase and then you need not spend another Dime. However if you don't spend any more you are quite likely to give up playing quite quickly because everyone around you will be getting bigger and better, progressing faster so that you'll soon find there is nothing you can do that is either fun, interesting or with a group. There is a $15.00 a month Value Pack plus you will probably want to buy Pets and these cost an average of about $9.00 each. Most items/objects/things that you can buy with real cash are available within the game for silver but they it will take you months, possibly years, to gain enougfh ingame cash to afford what you could buy for $9.00 +. Value Packs give you things like additional baggage slots in your inventory, a higher weight allowance, extra Horse Riding Skills etc, but many of these items appear to have only a 30 day shelf life. That's probably why you need to buy them monthly; to keep from going backwards. If you go for all the cash bought add-ons then BDO can become quite an expensive game, but it doesn't have to be, it's a game of your own making and playing and you are not under pressure by the publishers as to what you spend, though as I say, your fellow players may wish you to keep up with them. For $10.00 I doubt you'll get as many hours of entertainment as BLACK DESERT ONLINE offers.

 

This is Miami, my character's Donkey             and here is Tedditch riding her, see how cool she looks.

    The Black Spirit is your guide. Your destinies are entwined on your search for answers concerning the source of power: Black Stones. The Black Stones are said to have corrupted the minds of the ancients, and through their Alchemy causing the fall of their civilisation. They are commonly found in the desert between the capitalist Republic of Calpheon, and Valencia Kingdom, the land of absolute monarchy. Calpheonians call this area the Black Desert and have declared a war to claim the resources there. Valencians call it the Red Desert due to all of the blood spilled there. You will uncover the hidden secrets of the ancient civilization through the histories of Calpheon and Valencia. Lost memories and the secret of the Black Spirit will be unveiled. A journey to seek the true face of the ancient civilization around the Black Desert awaits you.

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015