One of the most anticipated MMORPGs ever was revealed during 2012 through an unsuspecting first trailer that slowly but surely began to draw attention from players all over the world. It was over 4 minutes of beautiful landscapes, astonishing medieval villages kept safe by the warmth of the sun or the breeze of the night, travelling shots of some of the most impressive character models yet and an impressive amount of creatures getting slashed and shot. The orchestral music was a striking piece that began softly and grew steadily until the mesmerizing ending of the video, suitably a siege battle with hundreds of soldiers. The tone was set, the cards were on the table.
There is much more to this single trailer, one that worked effectively to build hype on the first game by Korean studio Pearl Abyss, founded by the maker of Continent of the Ninth Seal (C9) Daeil Kim in September 2010, along with art director Seo Yongsu. An entire year was spent designing the game and creating the proprietary 3D engine for this sandbox MMORPG.
Localization, beta details and platform rumors
While Black Desert’s starting point is the Korean version, Pearl Abyss already confirmed Japanese and Russian publishers for the game. The studio is also working on an English client at the same time that they’re looking for a partner to publish the game in the West. Pearl Abyss revealed that they want to take their time and find the right partner for this game, and while the release isn’t yet confirmed, it is almost a certainty due to the attention that Black Desert is getting all over the world.
So far, the Korean closed beta had only one phase, which ran from October 17 to 23, 2013. The second Black Desert closed beta is scheduled to begin in April 4th, 2014. After that, there could be a third closed beta or not, but it’s not likely since the open beta is already scheduled for the second half of 2014.
The PC is the main platform and the only one confirmed so far for Black Desert, but Pearl Abyss revealed that they were considering bringing the MMORPG to the PS4 and Xbox One platforms. Nothing is decided so far on this matter.
Character and mount info
Three races are confirmed so far: humans, elves and giants. Two others, dwarves and hobbits, are rumored but not yet confirmed. As far as classes go, there is apparently some degree of gender locking – Giant (Male), Blader (Male) and Tamer (Female) won’t have alternate versions, while the remaining do. Fighter includes Warrior and Valkyrie, Ranger has Male Ranger and Female Ranger, and finally Magician class includes Wizard and Sorceress.
Mounts include donkeys (your first mount), horses, camels, elephants and more, but there won’t be any kind of flying mounts such as dragons. There is mounted combat and horses can drift, something that the studio acknowledges was inspired by Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. Mounts can be killed and since you can’t store them, you’ll have to purchase a new one. You also have to feed them or they will disappear.
Daeil Kim mentioned how he was a fan of 2D fighting games such as Street Fighter and Final Fight and the difficulty of bringing the intensity of those games to a 3D MMORPG. However, Black Desert features action combat in the same way that C9 did, meaning that you can move your character around freely with WASD while using first and secondary attacks, leaving the skill attacks to the number keys. Combat is fast and exciting; players need to time their strikes and dodges correctly in order to be effective in battle. Combat us therefore a bit similar to that seen in games such as Tera or Vindictus.
The seamless open world of Black Desert is a mighty impressive one with plenty to do and see. To help explore every tiny detail of the game world, characters are able to use parkour to climb and run. There is a dynamic weather and climate system with each region having its unique weather that the player will have to adapt to. For example, in the hot desert area players will get a camel to move faster, while warm climates will be perfect for fishing and farming. Other, colder regions may have rain and snow.
There is also a smooth day and night cycle with real influence in the game world. Most NPCs will go to their homes at night and only go outside when the sun rises again, while mysterious and potentially dangerous creatures wait for the night to fall to go out.
The housing system in Black Desert is similar to some other MMORPGs but very detailed. You’ll be able to build your house in some areas in the towns, or rent a house for a minimum of three months from the auctioneer. Over a thousand houses and mansions of different kinds will be available at launch and you can visit every house you wish as long as it is open for visitors. You can decorate your house with all manners of items, some of them of real use such as a bed to sleep or a cabinet to store objects – you can even turn your house into a business such as a store or a blacksmith. The more stuff your house has, the more NPCs will visit it and become friends with you. You can buy decorative items or get them as rewards from some quests, including some rare from bosses. While there should be a rush to get the houses when the game launches, Pearl Abyss is working on a system where the dominant guilds will be able to control supply and demand of the houses, leading to guild competition. You can always set up a tent in the field, but you can’t build a house anywhere, only inside the villages.
The first Black Desert closed beta included ruthless open world PvP, so you can be killed by someone at any time, leading to item drops. While this may not be definite, it’s something to keep in mind.
A trading system is in place, allowing players to set trade routes to deliver items such as milk, eggs, stone and more to other parts of the world. You can hire NPCs to do it as well as guards to protect your cargo, but you can also go along to protect it from other players who may try to steal your goods.
Castle sieges are your usual, exciting battles. You will be capable of attacking other castles either by demolishing the gates or using ladders to climb the castle walls. While defending, time is of the essence as you destroy the invaders to avoid critical damage to the castle.
Finally, Black Desert has a few mini-games here and there, from fishing to playing the flute, mining or shooting pigeons.
Final thoughts… for now
This was a non-exhaustive look at the current state of Black Desert Online, currently one of our most anticipated games. While there is certainly more to be said about this MMORPG, hopefully this gave you a good idea on what to expect. Hopefully we’ll be able to join the second closed beta – scheduled for April 4th – and see how the game evolved during these last few months. We can’t wait to see it and to finally learn about a Western release, but one thing at a time. We’ll keep you updated!