Black Desert Online second closed beta hands-on impressions (Part 4)


Black Desert seems very complete in some aspects and still quite undeveloped in others. Pearl Abyss has done a marvelous job with the character creation and the quest system is already very rich, with a lot of quests and the NPC intimacy seems to be working nicely. The knowledge system is also a big feature, with lots of information, and looks very complete already.

On the other hand, key features like PvP or leveling seem a bit undeveloped. Leveling is very much hardcore grinding at this moment, and maybe this is one thing that may change for Western audiences, or even in Asia. This could also be due to some kind of lack of content or of a better system to level, and subject to change.

Some cool features in other games, like dynamic events, were not present in Black Desert. The world seems pretty full of life but lacks some degree of interaction in a way. You see lots of NPCs walking around, the transport system makes the roads feel very alive, but it’s not exactly an extremely interactive world at all. The developers should also add some dynamic events, like town or zone invasions – possibly this will come in the future, or maybe not, since this is an open PvP world, and dynamic events seem more suited for PvE only, but time will tell.

There are also some cutscenes that are mixing all together to make a bigger story, but for some reason, there isn’t that awe factor on those animations. Games like Blade and Soul have done it better and there’s still room for improvement here. Maybe Pearl Abyss needs to better define the core characters or the lore, since these cutscenes are still voiceless and that adds a bit to the peculiarity.

Our experience had an understandable amount of lag, resulting in some odd situations. For example, sometimes the health bar from mobs didn't update the values and the mobs didn't even die until we stopped hitting them. Other mobs were just zombies (mobs already killed by other people), some kind of lag bug. With this in mind, it's hard to appreciate to real value the enemy AI, since they were also affected by lag – the enemies followed our lagged delayed position and that made PvE easier. But in general, the AI didn't show much of a challenge, other than spamming some potions. The current raid bosses were very static and the only challenge was not being hit, since they hit really hard, but it wasn’t quite impressive at all at this stage.

When in a raid or crowded zone, the other players were just teleporting around due to the lag. All this is clearly because we’re playing the game from too far, with 400~500ms ping, but apparently some of the local people also experienced a bit of trouble with lag eventually; understandable, since it's still a very early beta and there was just one server.

To sum it up, Black Desert Online is very playable already from a global point of view, but still lacks definition at some key features and doesn’t seem ready for an open beta or release soon. Pearl Abyss has improved the game a lot from the first closed beta, and there will surely be a lot more improvements before the next closed beta. Nonetheless, Black Desert clearly has a lot of potential and is shaping up to be one of the most significant MMORPG releases of recent years. Black Desert Online was already confirmed as free-to-play and with no IP block in Russia , so let’s wait for more news on the other versions.

Impressions by and Rendermax

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