Black Desert Online a Visual Eden
Despite the glaringly obvious lack of an end-game, this MMORPG benefits from a believable world steeped in realism. Furthermore, the depth of its in-game mechanics makes the journey a worthwhile one, for the most part. Sure, there is an element of grind. Seemingly, much like most MMO's of the current era. That said, the scale and complexity of its secondary systems provide plenty of fun and enjoyment away from the campaign trail.
Before we delve into the systematic approach to game-play, let's take a moment to reflect on the world that envelops you. Black desert online uses low-fantasy themes and deviates from the archetypal molds of Medieval majesty. Hence, quaint and homely households of Tuscan decent litter the lands in place of imposing castles. Of course, there are genre-conventions at play here, like distinct-races such as Elves. But they are toned-down in appearance, and often their features are cloaked by garish cosmetics.
All the while, the organic landscapes, paint more of an earth-like vibe. Absent from the array of blinding color we are accustomed too, in the fantasy field of games. Thus, there's a human-like element to the world and its lore. Meaning, it's relatable yet beautiful in equal measure. Reminiscent of the world of The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, in many ways.
Moving on, we have the classes. In total, there are eight to choose from, with plenty of depth and variety on offer across the board. However, a gender-cap does place limitations on the experience. Considering that the game gained notoriety for its flexible character creator, it's a shame that these fixes are in place. Still, the classes themselves are great, despite the restricting idiosyncrasies. So then, there is a gamut of rogues to choose from, each with conflicting styles and traits.
First up, we have the sorceress, conjurer of the dark arts, who casts wicked spells upon the enemy. Then, there's the Ranger, who has an acrobatic fight-style and is just as lethal with a blade than She is with a bow. The last class I tried out was the Warrior mold, and this deals satisfyingly addictive killer-combos. Even if they lack the eye-popping animations that those toxic spells produce. It's just a crying shame that the alter-egos are type-cast to age and gender.
Another thing worth noting is the lack of a fast-travel option. Add to this, the absence of a universal depository system for items. Then, things have the potential to get a little frustrating. Items stashed in a set location will remain there until you gallop to get them. That can mean long treks across large swaths of land. That said, it's never really a big deal, as it offers ample opportunity to soak in all that immersive atmosphere.
Despite a host of world-bosses to beat and the seemingly infinite array of PVP battles, there's a distinct lack of story-telling at play in Black Desert Online. What's more, the focus on crafting and leveling up aspects, means that large portions of the game revolve around the quest for XP. The overall goal being the soft-cap, at level 50. The result of which is a never-ending grind, whereby groups reap the rewards of substantially higher.
All in all, Black Desert Online will appeal to lovers of the MMO genre. Equally, those how are happy to grind away to their heart's content will extract plenty of joy. Albeit, at the expense of an undercooked plot with no end-game in sight, that doesn't do justice to the beautiful world within. Hopefully, this is something the dev-team can rectify in the months and years ahead. Finally, Black Desert Online is well worth the investment for hardcore genre veterans.
What are your views on Black Desert Online? Does it break the mold of the stereotypical genre-conventions of today? Have your say below.