Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Exclusive Interview

Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Exclusive Interview




Black Desert Online is getting a massive expansion called Eternal Winter in just a few days. This time we're getting a new starting zone to ease new players in, but the addition of new class Drakania might just be the highlight of this update. We asked Jesse Joo, Black Desert Online's Head of Game Design Division to give us some insight on the development and expectations for Eternal Winter in this exclusive interview.

FreeMMOStation: Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role in Black Desert Online?




Jesse Joo: Hello, I am Jesse Joo, the Head of Black Desert’s Game Design Division. I am involved in developing a variety of content, from lore to Conquest War and so on. Recently, with the help of Pearl Abyss Executive Director Dae-il Kim's strong leadership and Black Desert Executive Producer Jaehee Kim’s full support, we have been putting our focus on a “Black Desert Narrative Improvement Project.”

FreeMMOStation: Why did you decide to focus on the creation of a new starting zone?

Jesse Joo: Whenever a new, major content expansion is released, many online games, including Black Desert, market it on a large scale. These new regions tend to be the most difficult content in the game up to that point. Veteran Adventurers can naturally jump right into the new content, but new Adventurers who join after seeing all the advertisements must spend a long time leveling up to gain access. We thought it was unfortunate that such great content, which required our entire studio’s resources to create, could not be immediately enjoyed by new Adventurers, especially when the long-awaited storyline improvements were added.

Noting this, Jaehee Kim suggested that we “make a new region that is accessible to new Adventurers as well“, and that is how <A Mountain of Eternal Winter that even Level 1 Adventurers can Enjoy> was born.

Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Interview

FreeMMOStation: Do you see Black Desert Online as a game with a somewhat high barrier of entry, considering all the content and mechanics built into it during these years?

Jesse Joo: I think that it will differ for each Adventurer depending on the kind of content they pursue. Firstly, it would be a lie to say there is no barrier of entry for PvP. It has been 8 years since Black Desert’s launched in Korea, making it a long-lived game. As a result, many Adventurers have been playing for a very long time, and naturally, many of them have obtained a deep mastery of the game's combat. If I played a fair game of Tekken with a professional gamer today, I would not be able to win. In a comparable way, even if we were to provide top-level gear through events, it would be extremely difficult to close the gap in skill difference between a new and veteran Adventurer.

That's why we're trying to introduce content such as season servers and new Adventurer-friendly gear to give new Adventurers a more natural pace of progression, allowing them to experience combat gameplay more enjoyably. But Black Desert isn't a game where PvP is the only way you can have fun. Our game's vast open-world offers dozens of other in-game activities such as fishing, cooking, farming, etc. for trade-focused players and hunting, horse training, sailing, and more for those with a more adventurous spirit.

Over the course of 8 years, Black Desert has built up an extensive base of in-game knowledge, NPCs, and quests that serve to immerse players into its imaginative game world.

And generally, the most exciting and thrilling time is the moment is when you decide to take the first steps in your adventure. This kind of adventure will never have a barrier of entry. Even if you were to craft a rowboat and go out to sea today, you shouldn't feel that you are missing something; it's just a yearning for a bigger boat and grander adventures.

Even today, everyone in the studio is working hard to create a Black Desert where you can lose yourself in an unforgettable and thrilling adventure, no matter when you start. If you're reading this now, how about giving our game a try? I'm sure you'll have fun.

FreeMMOStation: How did you come up with Lando and what was the mindset behind his goofy persona?

Jesse Joo: Since the oldest residents of the Eternal Winter region were the Abets (Demibeast tribe), it seemed natural to use them as NPCs. Thanks to the lead artist giving Lando an adorable design, it further emphasized his cheerful, cute personality.

We also wanted a character that would balance out the serious and heavier personality of the other main NPC, Jordine. We wanted to avoid creating a storyline with a heavy, dragged-out atmosphere. To achieve this, we needed a character that was relatable for even new Adventurers. If you didn’t know Jordine’s long backstory, then understanding his actions would be difficult.

It was through this process that the bright narrator, who is also a lovable, pain-in-the-neck, Lando, was created. Also, here’s a fun little tidbit – Lando’s name comes from a dog that one of our writers used to have.

FreeMMOStation: Can you give us some insight into the process of creating the Drakania class? Was it already planned a while ago to have her as the antithesis of the Guardian?

Jesse Joo: At first, we simply started with a “two-handed great sword wielding female character” that we knew many Adventurers wanted. As her character took shape, we wanted to set her apart from the existing great sword character Warrior, and so we decided to add the “Dragon Knight” concept. This quickly led to the idea of Drakania utilizing her dragon bloodline to overcome the slow mobility of a typical great sword wielder.

And this was a secret, but initially, we considered making Drakania and Guardian half-sisters on opposing sides, which is why she was designed with a look that juxtaposes Guardian’s. Animal leather armor versus metal-plated armor, a woman with a more bold, powerful figure versus a woman with a classically svelte, elegant look.. I think you might find it entertaining to look for contrasts in their design.

Since the Black Desert world already has a sibling “conflict” in the Ganelle and Vedir half-sisters. We thought re-using a similar concept would be uninspired, so we tried a different relationship where they would share a dragon heritage.

Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Interview

FreeMMOStation: How difficult was it to make the new Drakania class fit into the rest of the roster, balance-wise?

Jesse Joo: It feels like just yesterday that we first launched Black Desert, but now we’re getting ready to release our 24th class already. The process of fine-tuning performance between new and existing classes could be thought of as being comparable to professional athletes working to reach a certain weight to pass the weigh-in. It isn’t an easy process taking the overtuned characteristics we implemented to Drakania in the early stage of development to emphasize unique, interesting elements and figuring out what needs to be tuned to match the reality of the game’s state.. Doing this while trying to highlight her key strengths was not easy. We will continue adjusting her PvP, PvE capabilities even after release so Adventurers can enjoy the class fully. We also welcome opinions and feedback for the class and hope that our Adventurers will love playing Drakania.

FreeMMOStation: What can you possibly share with us about the future of Black Desert Online after Eternal Winter?

Jesse Joo: The narrative revamp update for the novice region of Balenos is planned for an April 6th release in Korea. We will release the update for our global Adventurers once it passes multiple stages of quality localization.

We’ve heard feedback from many Adventurers saying, “Due to Black Desert’s characteristic story development, it feels like I, the main character, don’t exactly fit into its world.” With the upcoming narrative revamp, we are developing an organized story progression and assigning a clear role to the Adventurer, as well as making production grander and more awe-inspiring.

Following Balenos, the regions of Serendia, Calpheon, Mediah, and Valencia will receive a narrative revamp in that order.

There’s more fun to be had for Adventurers who become immersed in the world of Black Desert. Personal PvE servers, processing stone revamp, improved pet AI, and other various improvements are on the way. We’re also diligently preparing content for veteran players such as Calpheon Elvia realm. And finally, please look forward to the new region—no, the new continent, Land of the Morning Calm.

We would like to thank Pearl Abyss and especially Jesse Joo for taking some time to answer our questions. Eternal Winter releases on April 6, 2022.




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