Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Hands-On Preview

Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Hands-On Preview

Few MMOs rival Black Desert Online in terms of sheer depth and content. It’s a daunting beast of a game, perhaps even too daunting for new players who don’t live and swear by the genre. The complexity of systems found in one of the classiest seamless open worlds ever made isn’t immediately enjoyable; it takes some time to get acquainted to the villages, mechanics, quest system, and so much more. Knowing this all too well, Pearl Abyss has decided to create a new starting zone for Black Desert's newest expansion, Eternal Winter, hoping to ease the fears of newcomers. There’s also the new class Drakania as another highlight for this update.

As the name implies, the new questline from the Mountain of Eternal Winter will take you to the peak of a treacherous snowy mountain. It is designed to ease you into the methods of Black Desert Online while you venture in a new and breathtakingly beautiful region, but this questline is also accessible to veteran players. You start your adventure in the village of Duvencrune and you’re swiftly recruited to do some mercenary work that will take you to the top of the mountain. The quest is offered by the overly anxious and lacking in self-esteem NPC Lando, in a nice humorous touch that may not help boost your confidence regarding your task, but it should definitely steal a smile from you.

Lando’s voice acting is top-notch, and I tried to get my head around it to put it into words: the actor sounds like a mix between Back to the Future’s Michael J. Fox and Scooby-Doo’s Shaggy. Perhaps that will give you the right picture, and never did I get tired of this little guy during the whole of the adventure.

With the help of Lando – or should I say despite of Lando – we’re going to accomplish various trials, rarely without any sort of mishap much thanks to our fox guide, in the style of the best buddy comedies out there. That is something I never thought I’d say about Black Desert Online, but the focus on humor in this new starting zone adventure is such that it makes the rest of the characters feel gritty and unwelcoming in comparison.

Jordine Ducas is the perfect representation of that. As somber as he is determined, he is going to accompany you to the top of the mountain in search of power. While he comes nout as a great helping hand, can he be trusted, or should you always watch your back? The outcome of the expedition will give you all the answers.

Your trip will take you through Eilton, a new player hub and fairly small village that still harbors many secrets… and tasty meals. However, you need a meal ticket and for that you can either pay upfront or participate in a game of Yar, sort of a mixture of Poker and Yacht. I decided to save up my gold and try the Yar minigame, and I was right – my card skills turned out to be unrivalled and I managed to score a free meal for the team. While this minigame isn’t going to keep you busy for months, it’s a nice touch that you can come back to whenever you want.

After a few hours you should find your way up the Mountain of Eternal Winter. On your way you fought, fished, laughed with Lando, experienced a few twists, and indulged in a ton of lore from this massive world. At the end of the day, Black Desert Online still feels like an overwhelming experience that requires your undivided attention, despite the successful efforts to streamline the initial hours of gameplay. However, it’s after level 50 that the real challenges begin and you are finally thrown into this world, with and against other ruthless players. The training wheels are now off, and you need to develop and train your best combos if you want to successfully experience the three new endgame locations: Murrowak’s Labyrinth, Winter Tree Fossil and Jade Starlight Forest.

Black Desert Online Eternal Winter Preview Drakania

Perhaps this is the best time to try the new class Drakania. This is the 24th class coming to the game, a sword wielder that feels like the best of two worlds, or two characters in this case, the Guardian and the Corsair. Perhaps less agile than the latter but boasting the devastating power of the former, this is a weighty class that builds up on possibilities as you explore new combos that mix fire and lighting effects to great result. Some of the skills are visually remarkable, capable of making the God of Thunder himself cower in fear.

Creating your very own combo chain has always been one of the greatest pleasures in Black Desert Online. The Drakania is a blank canvas open to experimentation and a lot more player-friendly than some of the other classes. She is clearly veered toward offensive play, and I can see her abilities performing well in PvP, assuming that you have mastered her buffs and AoE skills. As it always happens, each player should be able to find their comfortable spot with this class after a bit of training.

Eternal Winter brings a few other interesting additions to Black Desert Online players alike. The cutest class in the game, Shai, is getting an equally cute mount in the form of the Alpaca. Ice fishing is now an option, but don’t let that confuse you – you’re not fishing for ice, you’re fishing on ice. Also in tune with the new snowy area, you have the snowboard as a means of transportation.

One last mention to the new boss Erebjork, one that you’re bound to see as the posterchild of Eternal Winter. Bearing a huge ice axe and shield, this boss is a tough challenge but may end up dropping the material that you need to craft the new top-tier Labreska’s Helmet.

It’s unusual for an expansion to cater both to new players and veteran adventurers at the same time. The new starting zone is a fun and clever way of introducing Black Desert Online’s base mechanics, but this questline can also be enjoyed by the rest of the player base. The Drakania is a class that provides a rewarding experience right of the bat, but only the best will be able to master its inner workings. For those who are expecting more endgame adventures, the three new zones should provide enough challenges for the time being.

The Eternal Winter expansion is set to release on April 6, 2022.

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